Jan 16, 2012

Fionn mac Cumhaill & the Giant's Causeway

After posting about Fingal's Cave, a fellow blogger pointed out that it was part of something much bigger...and she was so right... It is called the Giant's Causeway...a story that hovers between legend and geology that is fascinating and mystical!!

 The Geology is based on the causeway being created by an ancient volcanic event in which the heating and cooling formed the pillars in County Antrim in Northern Ireland. 
"Here are no less than forty thousand pillars, fitted together into a vast pavement, the joints of which are so exact that neither falling rain nor beating billows can find space for penetration. The more these columns are examined, the more remarkable they appear. Not only are they fashioned into pentagons and hexagons of perfect geometrical construction, but they are also divided into sections like a bamboo rod, each with a convex surface joined with the utmost nicety to the concave meeting it.........." 
"....Standing upon this pavement, laid so many ages ere a human foot was pressed upon its surface, the unseen was to me more marvelous than the seen. For, far away across the water, off the coast of Scotland, lies the island of Staffa, pierced by the far-famed Fingal's Cave"
                                         John Stoddard Lectures

Balsalt Columns 

Giant's Causeway

The Legend of Fionn mac Cumhaill comes in different 
versions but the basic premise is the same... 

 After deciding to fight one another, Fionn mac Cumhaill  builds the causeway to reach Scotland in order for the Scottish giant Benadonner to come over to Ireland. But as soon as he is done building, Fionn sees the size of the giant he flees to his home. There his wife Oonagh disguises him as a baby. Benadonner shows up and sees the size of the baby. Imagining the size of a father who could produce a baby like this, Benadonner takes off in fear with Fionn in pursuit throwing rocks where by one missed and landed in the sea to become the Isle of Man. Benadonner hits the causeway running & tearing up the road as he goes so Fionn cannot follow him...

The legend of Fionn mac Cumhaill & the Causeway is just one of many stories of his exploits on the Emerald Isle. There were some who compared Fionn to King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Fionn was the leaders of a band of young Gaelic warriors known as Fianna. I have posted links attached to all the names so you can read the stories yourself. You won't be disappointed......especially when Nature & Storytelling combine their forces in these beautiful Gaelic places...

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