Long ago in Ireland Fionn MacCumhail had a rival giant who lived over in Scotland. Now the one thing that giants love doing above all else is proving how big and strong they are to all other giants. And so was the way between Fionn and his Scottish rival Benandonner. Far across the sea on the coast of Scotland, Fionn could sometimes see Benadonner, especially in fair weather. Fionn would then roar across the sea, until Benandonner roared back.

Then one day, Fionn began to quarry huge rocks and throw them into the sea to make a land bridge or causeway across to Scotland. Fionn did this day after day until his causway finally reached the coast of Scotland. But as he neared Scotland he suddenly realised that Benandonner was a massive giant, far bigger than he imagined from a distance. In fact, Benandonner towered way higher than Fionn.

Fionn began trembling at the knees. For the first time in his life, he was genuinely scared. Turning on his heels he begins to run towards his homeland in Antrim back across the causway, as the waves of the Irish sea crashed around his knees. He didn’t stop until he reached his own home where his wife Una was waiting.

When he threw open the door Una saw that Fionn was as pale as a sheet and shaking with fright. Una then said, “what is it Fionn? What has got you into such a terrible state?” Fionn managed to catch his breath enough to reply, “Oh Una, there’s this Scottish giant and he’s absolutely massive. He’s coming across the causeway I built to get me and surely he will break every bone in my body.”

Now one of the morals of this ancient legend is that a sensible man should be willing to rely on the wisdom of a good woman. Una thought for a moment then replied, “dont worry Fionn, there is something we can do. You grab some planks of wood and we’ll make a cot. So Fionn went out and quickly gathered the necessary planks and nails the size of door bolts (remember there were no Ikea stores back then). He and Una then hurriedly built a giant sized cot. Una then grabbed the cloth from the table, tied it around Fionn’s head like a little baby’s bonnet, and helped Fionn get into the cot. She then sat next to him pretending to shussh him asleep.

Suddenly, there were three loud knocks on the door, bang, bang, bang. It was Benandonner at the door. In through the door he then burst. “Where is Fionn Mac Cumhaill?” he bellowed angrily “Oh, he’s not here”, says Una. “He’s away off hunting somewhere. It’s only me and the little baby here sir. Sit down and I’l make you a cup of tea sure while you’re waiting.”

Benadonner sat down and looked over at the baby in the huge cot. He then scratched his head with his giant club until the thought suddenly comes to him, “if that’s the size of Fionn MacCumhaill’s wee baby, what size is the father?”

I’m not going to hang around and see,” he said to himself. Benandonner jumped up off his chair and rushed out the door as fast as his giant legs could take him. He then leapt from the sea cliffs onto the causway and began smashing it up with his giant club to prevent Fionn from pursuing him back to Scotland.

That is why to this day you can only see the unique pillars of this wondrous causeway – mostly at the Giants Causeway in North Antrim and some identical formations over on the Isle of Staffa in Scotland.

Check our Day Tour from Derry/Londonderry to the Giant’s Causeway.

The myth of the Giant's Causeway

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