Myth is generally a lot more interesting (to me) than science, though in the case of the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland, both are pretty great.
First, the myth. Finn McCool (that’s how it sounds – it’s spelled Fionn mac Cumhaill) is angry with a Scottish giant, Benandonner, because the giant has been making noise about doing bad things to the Irish.
And if your name is Finn McCool, you don’t cotton to threats.
(Side note: why oh why hasn’t someone started a Finn McCool movie franchise? Isn’t the name ready-made for it? Maybe starring Ewan McGregor in the title role?)
McCool rips up chunks of the coastline and throws them into the sea so he can run over to Scotland and show the giant who’s boss. He then sees Benandonner and thinks, oh crap, “giant” means he’s actually giant, and runs back to Ireland with the bad guy in hot pursuit.
When McCool gets to Ireland, his brilliant wife disguises him as a baby. Benandonner sees this big baby and thinks, oh crap, this guy McCool must be huge if his baby is that big. Benandonner turns around and heads back to Scotland, and McCool and his wife are the heroes of the day.
This is the story the Irish tell to explain the strange and gorgeous landscape on the coast. Or it could also be that a volcano erupted 50-60 million years ago and left the basalt columns as evidence of the wonder and power of nature. Which is also pretty amazing, despite the lack of giants and baby disguises.
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