The Giant’s Causeway

The Giant’s Causeway

The Giant’s Causeway is located in Bushmills, County Antrim in Northern Ireland. While it may have technically been created by an eruption of an ancient volcano, as far as legend has it, the Giant’s Causeway was created as stepping-stones to Scotland by a fearsome and famous giant, and this is how the legend goes:

Fionn Mac Cumhaill (also known as Finn McCool) had built a broad path across the sea from Antrim to Scotland using hundreds of thousands of black rock, all different sizes, with six, eight and sometimes ten sides to each rock. Before long, his causeway stretched miles into the sea between the two coasts of Scotland and Ireland.

After returning home from work one day, Fionn was greeted by a messenger who was sent by the mighty Angus, the tallest, strongest and most fearsome giant in all of Scotland. According to his message, Angus had beaten all other giants in combat and, having heard tales of Fionn’s great strengths, wanted to challenge Fionn to a fight. Fionn accepted this offer and told the messenger that he would be waiting for Angus in Antrim.

However, once Fionn told his wife, Una, about the duel, Una expressed her concern as she had heard that Angus was much bigger and stronger than Fionn. And so, they decided that if Fionn was unable to beat the giant with his strength, he would then have to outwit him; but the two of them could not think of a plan to save Fionn from his fate.

It wasn’t until days later that Una had come up with a plan of her own. She spent the next two days knitting and sewing.

“How can you waste time sewing and knitting at a time like this!” bellowed Fionn when he saw what she was doing.

“Look carefully,” said Una. “What do you see?”

“Clothes,” said Fionn. “Baby clothes. But who on earth could they fit? They’re enormous!”

“Why you, of course,” said Una. “I’ve asked Fergus to make a cradle while you were working. Now put these on and get in quick! I can hear Angus coming.”

The ground shook with every step the Scottish giant took, and Fionn obediently dressed himself in the clothes Una made and jumped into the cradle. When Angus arrived at the castle, he was met by Una.

“Where is the mighty Fionn?” Angus roared. “I have come all the way from Scotland to find him. Is he afraid to meet me?

“No, not at all,” Una replied. “You’re very welcome. My husband is out hunting at the moment, but he won’t be long. Please come in. I’ve just gotten the baby to sleep, so I’d be grateful if you could speak more softly.”

Angus looked over at the cradle. “THAT is your baby?” he asked, shocked. He had never seen such an enormous baby in his life.

“Yes, this is our little one,” said Una, glowing with pride. “We’re very proud of him, even though he is small for his age, but we hope he’ll grow up to be at least as big as his father.”

Angus was suddenly very frightened. If this baby was that of Fionn, then what size could Fionn be?!

He then rushed out of the castle and ran across the causeway back to Scotland. As he was running, he suddenly realized that Fionn might be following him, so he turned around and began to remove the stones from the path behind him, so that by the time he arrived back in Scotland, there would be just a few stones left, jutting out from the coast of Antrim into the sea.

And so, to this day, this (as well as the few stones left in Scotland) are all that remain of the Giant’s Causeway.

To learn more about the Giant’s Causeway, click here.

Reference: Pocket Irish Legends: 28 classics to delight and entertain by Tony Potter.

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