A Tale of Gigantic Proportions

There is lots of information about how the Giant’s Causeway on the Northern Irish coast was formed by volcanic eruptions more than 60 million years ago. As the surface of the lava flow cooled, it contracted and crystallized into hexagonal columns. As the rock settled and eroded over time, the columns broke off so they now look like steps of various heights.

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Long shot
Long shot

But the locals know that the Giant’s Causeway was really the home and playground of a giant Ulster warrior named Fionn mac Curnhaill (or in English, Finn MacCool…I kid you not). Finn built a series of stepping-stones all the way to Scotland so he could spy on his rival and fellow giant, Cullihin. When he realized that Cullihin was much larger than him, Finn came running back to his wife – with Cullihin in quick pursuit.

Finn’s wife Oona was the clever one in the relationship. She dressed Finn up as a baby and put him to bed, warning him not to say a word. When Cullihin showed up looking to fight Finn, Oona asked him in for tea. She explained that while Finn has stepped out for a while, perhaps Cullihin would like to see their baby.

Cullihin was amazed at the size of the infant, and decided if the babe was this large, then Finn must be huge. Cullihin made a quick retreat back to Scotland, smashing the stepping stone bridge as he went.

Looking around the causeway, there are all kinds of signs that Finn, Oona, and Finn’s grandmother really existed (and still exist).

Here's Finn's boot that fell off his foot in his haste to get away from Cullihin and into the safety of his own home.
Here’s Finn’s boot that fell off his foot in his haste to get away from Cullihin and into the safety of his own home.
And here's Finn's pipe organ. It is said that if you go to the causeway at 6 a.m. on Christmas morning, you can hear him playing.
And here’s Finn’s pipe organ. It is said that if you go to the causeway at 6 a.m. on Christmas morning, you can hear him playing.
These are Finn's chimney stacks. It is said that if you see smoke rising from them, you know Finn is at home. Apparently he wasn't around the day we visited.
These are Finn’s chimney stacks. It is said that if you see smoke rising from them, you know Finn is at home. Apparently he wasn’t around the day we visited.
If you look really carefully just right of centre in this photo, you can see Finn's grandmother climbing up the mountain. She was apparently rather meddlesome, always being critical of Finn for not building the causeway the 'proper' way. Maybe he sent her up the mountain just to get a bit of peace and quiet!
If you look really carefully just right of centre in this photo, you can see Finn’s grandmother climbing up the mountain. She was apparently rather meddlesome, always being critical of Finn for not building the causeway the ‘proper’ way. Maybe he sent her up the mountain just to get a bit of peace and quiet!
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