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How to Build a Bridge: Myths and Legends of the Giant’s Causeway

Posted on Mar 08, 2017 by Dawn Rainbolt

Once upon a time in a faraway place called Ireland…

…there was an Irish giant called Finn McCool, also known as Fionn Mac Cumhaill, who got himself into a spot of trouble with an angry Scottish giant called Benandonner who made a claim for Finn’s island of Ireland.

Enraged, the giant called Finn starts throwing boulders into the sea just off the Antrim coastline in Northern Ireland. Inspired by way they fell into the water, Finn decided to use his boulders to make a bridge or a causeway – a Giant’s Causeway – all the way to Scotland’s Isla of Staffa to challenge his rival to a duel.

Hiking on the Giant's Causeway - Ireland Giant's Causeway myth

Hiking along the mythic Giant’s Causeway in search of Finn

In a mythical world where size dictates winners and losers, Finn realises he has underestimated his enemy – Benandonner is giant even for a giant! Brute force won’t work on him – so Finn quickly returns to Ireland via his causeway and decides the best way to beat Benandonner is to con him.

Leaving the Giant’s Causeway for Benandonner to find, Finn McCool’s wife disguises him as a baby. When his rival arrives, he finds Finn’s wife tending her enormous baby giant. Realising that if Finn’s child son was this big, Finn himself must be huge! Benandonnar hurries away, tearing away bits of the causeway as he retreats to the Fingal’s Cave on the Isla of Staffa, determined to leave Ireland and stay away from the giant Finn McCool, who regains undisputed control over Ireland once more.

Thus, the Giant’s Causeway myth was born.

It’s a nice story, isn’t it? And clearly it holds some water – at least culturally, as the Giant’s Causeway myth is mirrored in the name.

But if you’d consider yourself more of a scientist, perhaps you like the alternative (albeit easier to prove!) version of the birth of the Giant’s Causeway?

Myths and legends regarding Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland Giant's Causeway myth

Waves crashing on the legendary Giant’s Causeway

The UNESCO World Heritage site is the result of an ancient volcanic explosion some 60,000 years ago. The burning and quick cooling of the lava left a series of impressive 40,000 interconnected basalt columns hugging the northern Irish coastline, forming the Giant’s Causeway, one of Ireland’s most iconic and impressive landscapes to date. And the Giant’d Causeway myth is right to some degree – the same volcanic explosion also caused the creation of the similar-looking Fingal’s Cave on the Scottish Isla of Staffa.

Whichever story you prefer, well, the Giant’s Causeway is a place that you have to see to truly believe. So what are you waiting for?

Come with us to explore the Giant’s Causeway myth, a legendary natural marvel in Northern Ireland!

Trip Date Name Price Availability Book
20th Apr - 26th Apr 2019 Hiking - The Causeway Coastal Route & Donegal €1,7106 place(s) leftBook Now
4th May - 10th May 2019 Hiking - The Causeway Coastal Route & Donegal €1,7108 place(s) leftBook Now
1st Jun - 7th Jun 2019 Hiking - The Causeway Coastal Route & Donegal €1,7108 place(s) leftBook Now
22nd Jun - 28th Jun 2019 Hiking - The Causeway Coastal Route & Donegal €1,7106 place(s) leftBook Now
20th Jul - 26th Jul 2019 Hiking - The Causeway Coastal Route & Donegal €1,7106 place(s) leftBook Now
10th Aug - 16th Aug 2019 Hiking - The Causeway Coastal Route & Donegal €1,7108 place(s) leftBook Now
31st Aug - 6th Sep 2019 Hiking - The Causeway Coastal Route & Donegal €1,7106 place(s) leftBook Now
14th Sep - 20th Sep 2019 Hiking - The Causeway Coastal Route & Donegal €1,7108 place(s) leftBook Now
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About the author

Dawn Rainbolt

American by birth but European in spirit, Dawn has called the US, Costa Rica, Spain, England, Poland, France and now Ireland home over the years. While she has travelled to more than 30 countries, she has fallen in love with the rich Irish culture, intriguing history, ancient castles, cheery locals and sweeping landscapes of Ireland.

Read more articles by Dawn


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