A morning of Belfast tours and delicious Beef and Guinness Pie from The Crown Pub, and we set off along Northern Ireland’s Causeway Coastal Route towards Giant’s Causeway. The day was rainy with low clouds completely shadowing the tops of Ireland’s green, craggy coastal hills. Where the road veered inland, mist hindered our vision of all but a few sheep-dotted pastures. The Irish Sea was rough with no horizon: sky and sea melted together in one tempestuous gray.
Folk stories are wide and varied. These variations can be regional or house to house, and Giant’s Causeway is no exception. But as many renditions of the folk-tale that there are, the modern world has come up with one fundamental tale to tell tourists of the region:
A man named Finn McCool (Fionn mac Cumhaill) wanted to fight a giant who lived across the narrow passage between Northern Ireland and Scotland. He taunted the giant and challenged him to a fight. But the giant could not cross the sea as he was too large for any boat to carry him. So Finn built a causeway between the two shores.
The giant then journeyed across the land-bridge. Seeing just how large the giant was up close, Finn panicked and devised a plan. His wife dressed him as a baby and when the giant came inquiring after him all he saw was a very large infant. He thought, if the child of Finn is so large then Finn must be enormous! I cannot fight him and win!
Afraid for his well-being, the giant ran back to Scotland, breaking up the causeway as he went so that Finn could not follow him.
One variation we were told was that Finn’s wife made biscuits: one batch with rocks in them and the other without. The giant ate the rock-filled biscuits and despaired because the baby, eating the normal biscuits, had no trouble at all!
Giant’s Causeway is actually an incredibly beautiful geological site with up-thrust hexagonal-shaped rock formations. We reached it near dusk and in a storm, but we were not deterred! I fell in love with that wild and rugged place.