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Another world‐famous heritage site, the Giant’s Causeway was built by giants… or so the legend goes. Reports might state that volcanic eruptions created the 40,000 interlocking basalt columns with their hexagonal tops at this unique UNESCO location on Northern Ireland’s Causeway Coast, but local storytellers claim otherwise…
Discovered in the 17th century, the Giant’s Causeway was the centre of some debate back in the day. Was it the work of nature, or man – or of giants? It took some years before a Frenchman called Demarest announced that it was the result of volcanic activity, but the legend of the giants has always hung upon this iconic landmark. In particular, the stories speak of Finn MacCool…
One version tells of a rather gentle Irish giant called Finn MacCool and a larger Scottish giant called Benandonner, who decided to find out who was strongest. MacCool volunteered to build a causeway across to Benandonner’s home at Fingal’s Cave, but fell asleep with exhaustion, which was how his wife Oonagh found him in the morning.
Basalt Columns of the Giant Causeway (Blue)
Basalt Columns of the Giant Causeway (Grey)
Basalt Columns of the Giant Causeway (Green)
When Oonagh heard Benandonner coming and realised just how giant he was, she felt sure MacCool would never defeat him and so, she dressed her husband like a baby. Fooled into thinking this was MacCool’s child, and fearing the father would be even more gigantic, Benandonner fled back to Scotland, wrecking the causeway as he went…
Now owned and managed by the National Trust, the Giant’s Causeway is one of the most popular attractions in the world and is home to a rich variety of wildlife and rare plants.