Giant’s Causeway, located on the northeastern coast of Northern Ireland, falls into the landscape category of oddly beautiful. Comprised of an expanse of basalt hexagonal columns sprouting from the earth in stepped configurations leading into the sea, this geological wonder is the byproduct of many ancient volcanic events. And because it is so ancient, there are a number of Irish legends derived from its otherworldly appearance.
One such legend tells of an Irish giant named Finn MacCool, who built the causeway to do battle with Benandonner, a neighbor giant located 25 miles across the channel in Scotland. The two had never met before, but apparently the time had come to determine who was the mightier.
Benandonner advanced first. When Finn saw him approaching on the causeway, he was immediately struck with fear, for his Scottish counterpart was indeed colossal, much larger than himself. Running home, Finn was uncertain of what to do. Thinking quickly on her feet, it was Finn’s wife who saved the day. She disguised him as a baby—so that when Benandonner appeared minutes later, he stopped dead in his tracks. “If Finn’s baby is as big as this, then Finn himself must be a giant among giants!” This sent the Scottish giant fleeing home, ripping up the causeway behind him.
This particular myth remains the most popular, in part because it is “substantiated”. The evidence? Identical basalt columns found in Scotland, on the isle of Staffa.
-Wear sturdy shoes for proper exploration and bring a jacket for chilly Atlantic gusts.
-There is an admission fee only if you enter via the Visitor’s Center.
-Be sure to combine this popular destination with a visit to the scary but spectacular Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge further up the coast. Spanning a huge chasm, the Indiana-Jones-type swinging bridge is not for the faint of heart, but views will be outstanding.