What is the story of the Giants Causeway?

Here at Irish at Heart, we love old Irish tales. It is funny to think how so many different cultures tell fables and stories but our stories are rich with meaning and that renowned Irish humour. Some of the oldest stories are still told today! Here’s one I find to be very funny about the creation of the world famous Giants Causeway in Northern Ireland.

‘Long long ago there lived a giant named Finn McCool. He was the biggest and strongest giant in all of Ireland. He was 54 foot tall and he was said to have the strength of 500 men. His voice could be heard for miles around. He lived happily with his wife Oonagh on the Antrim coast. At the same time there lived a giant name Benandonner on the Scottish coast. Benandonner believed that he was the strongest of all the giants. He constantly taunted and shouted at Finn from across the water. One day Finn became so mad with Benandonner that he picked up a huge lump of earth and throw it at him. The earth miss but it landed in the middle of the Irish sea making the Isle of Man. The hole left by Finn became Lough Neagh.

Tired of all of Benandonner’s taunting, Finn finally accepted to fight Benandonner to settle who was the strongest giant. Finn started to build a path to Scotland that he called the causeway. With his enormous hands he laid down thousands of rock. When Benandonner heard what Finn was doing he decided to build a path from Scotland to meet up with Finn’s path. The two giants worked vigorously for weeks building their paths. 

Finally early one morning Finn’s path met Benandonner. Finn was delighted and was about to run across to find Benandonner when he saw him coming over the hill. Finn was shocked! Benandonner was twice his size as he looked twice as strong. Benandonner had not yet seen Finn, so Finn ran back to his house. Finn asked Oonagh to help him hide. Oonagh was very clever and she thought of a cunning plan. She disguised Finn as a baby and put him into a huge cradle. Benandonner knocked on the door and Oonagh opened it. At that moment Finn, dressed up as a baby, pretended to cry. When Benandonner saw the size of the baby in the cradle he was terrified. If the baby was that big his father must be enormous Benandonner thought!! Benandonner turned as fast as he could and ran, ripping up the causeway behind him so that Finn would not follow.’

Scientists have since found that the real cause is due to the heating and cooling of molten basalt rock – but I think I prefer this story. What do you think?

 

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