Northern Ireland news

Link to Led Zepplin sees Giant's Causeway named among top cultural attractions

The Giant's Causeway featured in an image on the cover of Led Zepplin's 1973 album Houses of the Holy.
Paul Ainsworth

THE Giant's Causeway's appearance on the cover of a 1973 classic rock album has led it to be named the second-most popular cultural tourism destination in the UK behind London's Abbey Road, which was made famous by the Beatles.

The Co Antrim geological formation and UNESCO World Heritage Site appeared on the cover of Led Zepplin's fifth album, Houses of the Holy, which was released at the height of the English band's popularity in 1973 and went on to sell over 10 million copies.

Shot by English art design collective Hipgnosis, who also created cover art for bands including Pink Floyd and Paul McCartney's Wings group, the famous image of the basalt columns has led to the Causeway attracting fans from across the globe in significant numbers, it has been claimed.

Led Zepplin also famously performed their best-known track, Stairway to Heaven, for the first time live during a gig in Belfast's Ulster Hall in 1971.

Dr Ruth Adams, a senior lecturer in cultural and creative industries at King's College London, compiled the top 10 cultural tourist attractions list for hotel chain Premier Inn, and said music fans felt more connected to their idols when visiting famous places that featured in art they love.

Other locations on the list include Edinburgh's Princes Street, which featured in the opening to Danny Boyle's 1996 movie Trainspotting, based on the Irvine Welsh novel.

"Visits to TV, film and musically significant locations are modern pilgrimages," Dr Adams said.

"We create world leading art and popular culture - from literature to film, television and music, and many people like to plan their holidays around pilgrimages to sites of cultural significance to get closer to their idols and fantasies."

She added: "Going to locations that the Beatles or David Bowie not only visited but made iconic on album covers can bring fans closer to the 'aura' of these stars."

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