Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Giant's Causeway

I had visited the Giant’s Causeway in County Antrim during my childhood in Northern Ireland. I clearly remember being enthralled by its strange and magical shapes, so on a return trip almost fifty years later, it became first on my list of things to revisit.

The Causeway
is renowned for its polygonal columns of
layered basalt, the result of a volcanic eruption 60 million years ago. Lava welling up through fissures in the chalk bed and quickly cooling formed the famous amphitheatres of hexagonal columns in the Causeway.

Today, the Giant’s Causeway is UNESCO’s only World Heritage Site in Northern Ireland and it is managed by the National Trust. A very special memory for me: my sister on one side, my husband on the other, and the North Atlantic crashing loudly into the rocks around us! This is a moment in time I will hold in my heart forever.
(Photo by Troy Bell)

Of course, this is Ireland we’re talking about, and science is not the only possible explanation for this curious landscape! Legend has it that the giant Finn McCool lived on these shores many years ago, and repeatedly tossed insults across the sea with another giant called Benendonner. One day Finn decided to go to Scotland and destroy the foul-mouthed Scot once and for all. He tossed huge columns of stone into the water to build a Causeway, (which also appears on the coast of Scotland). In this way, Finn approached his opponent quietly…and then just as quietly, turned and rushed home once he saw that the other giant was so much bigger than him.

Finn MacCool

Benandonner noticed the Causeway and, in turn, decided to go to Ireland to take care of his haughty opponent. When Finn saw him approaching he was terrified, but his wife Oonagh had a brilliant idea. She dressed Finn as a baby and put him down as if to sleep. When Benandonner arrived and declared his intentions, Oonagh asked him to wait around until Finn returned from a supposed hunting trip. In the meantime she asked him to help her feed “the baby”. When Benandonner saw the size of “the baby” he was terrified as he wondered how big the father would be. He therefore excused himself and in horror hurried back to Scotland tearing up the Causeway on the way to ensure his safety. Henceforth the two giants lived happily ever after in their respective lands and never again hurled abuse at each other.
Believe whichever story you wish, but should you get to Northern Ireland, I guarantee you too, will fall under the enchantment of the Giant's Causeway!

I'm linking this post to Watery Wednesday! For more photos that are damp, doused and drenched check out the link


  1. Those are amazing formations! I have seen nothing like them here in the US! I love the *real* story of the giants too. Thank you for sharing. Here is my entry.

  2. I LOVE this. The rock formations are amazing,and the giants' story is wonderful! Way cool! Beautiful photos and terrific narration, as always:)

  3. p.s. Getting into the spirit of thething, the code word for my last comment was foologor, which seems apt!

  4. So that's what those are! I've seen many pics but never found the story of how they were formed! Thanks for this post & great shots, too

  5. This is so awesome! I had not known of this. Love the story of the giants...and I prefer to believe that explanation myself.
    Thank you so much for taking me places that I have never been! You are so blessed to have been able to see all these wonderful places!
    Hugs- Tete

  6. i enjoyed the story very much! now i have a new story for my young nephews!:p

    and these basalt formations are awesome! worthy of being a UNESCO heritage site. nature is truly amazing.

  7. Great post! I have never seen anything like this.I hope to visit one day. I especially enjoyed the giant legend. Thanks for sharing, Annette

  8. An amazing number of rocks in this causeway! A fascinating place!

  9. I have heard of the Giants Causeway, but I think these are the first images I have seen of it. Wow! No wonder so many people talk about it!

  10. I loved this story of the giants, and the pictures are beautiful.


I'm glad your travels have brought you to my little corner of blogland! I'm Lynette and I'm interested to know where you've been and what you think...