The Legend of Giant's Causeway

For me, one of the best parts of travelling is finding out about local legends.  Some are historically plausible, others… not so much.  In Ireland, the legends are about haunted places like Kytler’s Inn, castles(such as Dunluce Castlewhere the kitchen falls into the sea during a dinner party) and feuding giants, my personal favorite local legend.  The story goes something like this…

Giants_Causeway_watermark.jpg“Once upon a time there were two feuding giants – Finn Mac Cool (I love this name!), from Northern Ireland and Benandonner, from Scotland.  One day Benandonner decided he would challenge Finn Mac Cool to a battle and started to build a causeway between Scotland and Northern Ireland in order to get to Finn.  Told that Benandonner was on his way, Finn dressed up as a baby and hid in a pram.  When Benandonner arrived, Finn’s mother told him that the baby was Finn’s younger brother.  Upon seeing the size and strength of the baby, Benandonner assumed that Finn must then be much bigger and stronger. He quickly turned and ran back to Scotland tearing up the causeway as he went so that Finn could not follow him.  The few the stones he left behind can still be seen on the shores of Northern Ireland and Southern Scotland.”

As for the scientific reason behind the Giant’s Causeway, it is an area of approximately 40,000 interlocking polygonal basalt columns resulting from an ancient volcanic eruption which occurred over 60 million years ago. Three periods of volcanic activity gave rise to the Lower, Middle and Upper Basalts. The Middle Basalt rock is the one which forms the columns seen today in the Causeway.

The Giant's Causeway is the only UNESCO World Heritage Site in Northern Ireland and has attracted visitors for centuries. The crystals that are packed together to create it are nothing short of amazing.  To me, this sight rivals any of the other natural (or supernatural) wonders of the world.

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