Monday, October 22, 2012

The Giant’s Causeway

Author: Emily Johnson

Legends about how strange landmarks came to be, how things are the way they are, and some just for fun. Irish legends range from the ridiculous to the astounding Giant’s Causeway located on the North coast of Ireland is a chain of interlocking basalt columns with a legend a colorful as Ireland itself.  From the 1700's it became widely known as the 'Eighth Natural Wonder of the World' and visitors began to come in increasing numbers to see the wonderful array of over 40,000 basalt columns. (“Causeway Coastal Route”)

One of the famous legends about the Causeway says that a giant by the name of Finn McCool created the causeway to fight a Scottish giant.  The legendary giant Finn McCool was on the coast and spotted a rival Scottish giant named Benandonner, and issued fighting words at him. Benandonner said he would crush Finn if he could get to Ireland, but he could not swim. Throwing chunks of the mountainside into the sea Finn made a walkway out of the rocks so that they could fight. Traveling over the causeway to Scotland he was frightened when he saw how big the Scottish giant was. He ran back home afraid although the Scottish giant saw him and followed him back to Ireland over the causeway. Finn was terrified and ran to his wife Oonagh for help.

His wife was a smart woman and came up with the idea of dressing him as a baby and putting him in a crib to fool Benandonner. Although some of the versions of the legend say that Finn was the one to come up with the idea, because he was tired and didn’t want to fight Benandonne. Although no matter what version of the legend is told Benandonner does come from Scotland to fight Finn. Finn’s wife tells Benandonner that Finn was not there. Benandonner sees the baby crib and went to go look at the “baby”. He was shocked at how big the baby was and stuck his finger into the crib. Finn bit off Benandonner’s finger and the giant became extremely terrified, for if the baby could do something like that then what could the father do? Benandonner ran away in fear, terrified for his life. As Benandonner ran back to Scotland he destroyed the Causeway all the way back.    

The Causeway’s creation is speculated by many people, they have different ideas on it. The geological view is that three levels of lava outflow. The second idea is that the causeway was created by humans, it is said it’s been derived from the Finn McCool story. The third idea is that it was created by God as he made the earth. The legend is my favorite story of how the Causeway came to be, it’s much more exciting. 

Giants Causeway Visitors Centre - The Myth of Finn McCool from The Pond Studio on Vimeo.

The Giant’s Causeway is visit-able and is open to the public, for a charge. The causeway brings people from around the world to view the cliffs and the strange causeway. The legend captivates people and draws them into the Irish legend, who doesn’t like to believe a tale about strange stones? I sure like the Giant’s legend more than the other tales; it has a lot more excitement and fantasy. Everyone needs a good legend in their lives.

Works Cited:

McGarry, Gerard. “The Giant’s Causeway and the Legend of Finn McCool.” The Northern Ireland Guide. N.P. 05. November. 2007. Web. 18. October. 2012.

“How it was formed.” Causeway Coastal Route. Art Ward.2008. Web. 18.October.2012

The Pond Studio. “The Myth of Finn McCool.” Vimeo. July 2012. Web. 18 Ocrotber.2012.

“Causeway Coast and Glens.”Causeway Coast and Glens. 2010. Web. 18.October.2012

Richardson, Jim. “Giant’s Causeway.” Photograph. Web. 18.October.2012.

Further Research:

Causeway Coastal Route
The site contains all kinds of helpful information about the Giant’s Causeway.

Jump into Ireland
The site contains the Giant’s Causeway legend but also other really cool Irish legends.

This site contains plenty of information on the Giant’s Causeway it includes the legend which is great.

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