Once upon a time, the Irish giant Fionn mac Cumhail (Finn MacCool) was challenged to a fight by the Scottish giant Benandonner. Finn accepted the challenge and built a causeway across the sea from northern Ireland to Scotland so that the two giant’s could meet in battle. Fionn crossed the causeway but when he saw how big Benandonner was he fled back home.
Fionn pleaded with his wife, Oonagh, to help him and she told him to get in the baby’s cradle and put on his bonnet. When the giant Benandonner showed up, Oonagh told him that Fionn was not home and it is just her and her “baby”. When Benandonner saw the size of the “baby” he figured that Fionn must be much bigger and he fled back to Scotland destroying the causeway behind him so that Fionn could not follow.
Giant’s Causeway has long been on my list of places to visit. An area of about 40,000 interlocking basalt columns located on the north coast of Ireland, it is the result of an ancient volcanic eruption. Most of the columns are hexagonal, although there are also some with four, five, seven or eight sides. The tops of the columns form stepping stones that lead from the cliff foot and disappear under the sea.The tallest are about 12 metres (39 ft) high, and the solidified lava in the cliffs is 28 metres (92 ft) thick in places. Across the sea, there are identical basalt columns (a part of the same ancient lava flow) at Fingal’s Cave on the Scottish isle of Staffa, and it is possible that the story of Fionn mac Cumhail and Benandonner was influenced by this.
In addition to visiting the Visitor’s center and National Trust site, I also hiked along the trail that runs along the Causeway Coastal Route. A perfect day, truly gorgeous, and I can understand why it is a place of both stunning natural beauty and imaginative myth and legend.