Both the Giant's Causeway, on the north East coast of Ireland, and Fingal's Cave, on the island of Staffa in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland, were formed during the Paleogene period. Both arose from the same flow of lava, when highly fluid molten basalt intruded through the chalk beds to form an extensive lava plateau. The rapid cooling of the lava resulted in contraction. While contraction in the vertical direction reduced the thickness of the flow, horizontal contraction could only be accommodated by cracking throughout. The extensive fracture network resulted in the distinctive and magnificent columns we see today.
Considered one of the leading painters from Belluno of the second half of 18th century, Antonio di Bittio travelled to England circa 1749. He is known to have been in Ireland in 1772, where he is recorded as being in the service of Frederick Hervey, 4th Earl of Bristol and Bishop of Derry.