fbpx
Close
Articles by Year

<<     >>

Articles by Category
844 235 6240
Flag

Locations

Selected Trips

    Irish Folklore, Myth & Legend: Finn McCool & Giant’s Causeway

    By Dawn Rainbolt, PR Manager
    More by Dawn

    Myths and legends surrounding the Giant's Causeway

    Once upon a time, there was a mythological Irish giant called Finn McCool who got himself into a spot of trouble with a high-tempered Scottish giant called Benandonner, who had made a claim for Finn’s island of Ireland.

    Enraged at Bennandonnar’s claim to Ireland, the giant Finn McCool starts angrily throwing boulders into the sea off the Antrim coastline in Northern Ireland. Inspired by the 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 Isle of Staffa. Using his causeway to Scotland, he could challenge his rival to a proper duel over the fate of Ireland.

    Giants Causeway

    Finn’s Giants Causeway stretches out towards the horizon and Scotland’s Isle of Staffa.

    In a mythical world where size dictates winners and losers, Finn realises he has underestimated his enemy – Benandonner is a giant, even for a giant! Brute force won’t work on him – so Finn quickly returns to Ireland via his Giant 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 Sadhbh (pronounced “Siive”) tending her enormous baby giant. Realising that Finn’s child was this big, Finn himself must be huge.

     

    Fingal's Cave, Isle of Staffa

    Welcome to Fingal’s Cave on the Isle of Staffa. Look familiar?

    The Scottish giant Benandonnar hurries away, retreating back to Scotland with his tail between his legs. As he hurries home, he frantically tears away bits of the causeway, severing all ties between Scotland and Ireland to prevent Finn McCool from following him as he retreats to the Fingal’s Cave on the Isla of Staffa.

    Incidentally, Fingal’s Cave shares a similar geology and appearance to the Giant’s Causeway! (Read about Fingal’s Cave on our sister company Wilderness Scotland’s website).

    He is determined to leave Ireland and stay away from the giant Finn McCool, who regains undisputed control over Ireland once more.

    Thus, the myth of the Giant’s Causeway was born.

    Beyond the Myth

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

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

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

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

    The UNESCO World Heritage site is the result of an ancient volcanic explosion some 60 million years ago. The burning and quick cooling of the volcanic 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, as well as basalt columns of the tiny Scottish Isle of Staffa, remote an uninhabited but for birdlife.

    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?

    Interested in Irish folklore? Stay tuned...

    This is but one in a series of articles about Ireland’s rich patchwork of folklore, myth and legend.

    Read the rest of the stories and stay tuned – new myths will be added here.

    Learn More

    Find your next adventure

    Wilderness Ireland Departure DatesAvailabilityStatusPriceBook
    Hiking – The Causeway Coastal Route & Donegal

    22nd Jun - 28th Jun 2024

    1 place(s) leftGuaranteed 2,520Book Now
    Hiking – The Causeway Coastal Route & Donegal

    6th Jul - 12th Jul 2024 Women only departure

    4 place(s) leftGuaranteed 2,520Book Now
    Hiking – The Causeway Coastal Route & Donegal

    20th Jul - 26th Jul 2024

    1 place(s) leftGuaranteed 2,520Book Now
    Hiking – The Causeway Coastal Route & Donegal

    3rd Aug - 9th Aug 2024

    2 place(s) leftGuaranteed 2,520Book Now
    Hiking – The Causeway Coastal Route & Donegal

    12th Apr - 18th Apr 2025

    8 place(s) leftAvailable 2,520Book Now
    Hiking – The Causeway Coastal Route & Donegal

    26th Apr - 2nd May 2025

    7 place(s) leftAvailable 2,520Book Now
    Hiking – The Causeway Coastal Route & Donegal

    10th May - 16th May 2025

    8 place(s) leftAvailable 2,520Book Now
    Hiking – The Causeway Coastal Route & Donegal

    24th May - 30th May 2025

    8 place(s) leftAvailable 2,520Book Now
    Hiking – The Causeway Coastal Route & Donegal

    7th Jun - 13th Jun 2025

    8 place(s) leftAvailable 2,520Book Now
    Hiking – The Causeway Coastal Route & Donegal

    21st Jun - 27th Jun 2025

    8 place(s) leftAvailable 2,520Book Now
    Hiking – The Causeway Coastal Route & Donegal

    5th Jul - 11th Jul 2025

    8 place(s) leftAvailable 2,520Book Now
    Hiking – The Causeway Coastal Route & Donegal

    19th Jul - 25th Jul 2025

    8 place(s) leftAvailable 2,520Book Now
    Hiking – The Causeway Coastal Route & Donegal

    2nd Aug - 8th Aug 2025

    8 place(s) leftAvailable 2,520Book Now
    Hiking – The Causeway Coastal Route & Donegal

    16th Aug - 22nd Aug 2025

    8 place(s) leftAvailable 2,520Book Now
    Hiking – The Causeway Coastal Route & Donegal

    30th Aug - 5th Sep 2025

    8 place(s) leftAvailable 2,520Book Now
    Hiking – The Causeway Coastal Route & Donegal

    13th Sep - 19th Sep 2025

    8 place(s) leftAvailable 2,520Book Now

    Meet 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 and sweeping landscapes of Ireland. Armed with a Masters Degree in Tourism Marketing and a love of writing and photography, she is Wilderness Ireland's Marketing Executive since 2017.

    View profile More by Dawn

    mail

    Want more Wilderness in your life?

    Be the first to hear about new trips, locations and activities with our monthly newsletter