A geological masterpiece located on the north coast of Northern Ireland; the Giant’s Causeway has been captivating people for generations. Around 40,000 interlocking basalt columns descend gently into the sea, the result of volcanic activity. The site gets its name from Irish folklore, named after two feuding giants.
“The Irish giant Finn McCool and Benandonner, a giant in Scotland,” Siobhan tells us. “Now we know today that giants didn’t exist. But because these people were big, strong and powerful and no one had ever seen them, just as today stories get legs as they go from person to person, thus the perception that they were giants.
“Irish folklore tells us that the two giants had never met but used to hear each other. Northern Ireland is only 10 miles at our nearest point to Scotland. The giants decided to meet and fight each other so they built steppingstones across the sea – the causeway for the eventful day.”
When Benandonner arrived from Scotland, Finn McCool had disguised himself as a baby. He had built a giant cradle in which he was lying when Benandonner arrived. So when Benandonner saw the size of the baby, he didn’t hang around to see what Finn his father looked like and ran back home to Scotland. “People believed the story of the giants until in 1620 the Bishop of Derry after a visit, wrote a paper on it for Trinity College in Dublin, who investigated and….no giants!
“We now know of course that the Giant’s Causeway is formed of basalt from three different volcano eruptions, around 60 million years ago. When the lava met the cold Atlantic Sea, it cooled very quickly, with cracks in it forming the hexagonal columns.”
Journey to the iconic Giant’s Causeway for a MAKE TRAVEL MATTER® Experience on Best of Ireland and Scotland. Learn how the National Trust is enabling farming and biodiversity to work together, supporting both wildlife and quality food production.
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