Ulster, home to Giant’s Causeway is the most northern of Ireland’s ancient kingdoms, with beautiful landscapes steeped in legend.
During a recent day trip from Dublin to Giant’s Causeway, our Tour Guide told us the following legendary tale…
“Legend has it that there was once a great Irish Giant, Finn MacCool who was most feared by his Scottish Giant enemies. Finn was so angry with the Scottish that he decided to build a causeway across the sea from Ireland to Scotland. Each six-sided cobblestone fit together perfectly and could easily take a Giant’s weight if needed.
One day, Finn MacCool shouted a challenge to a famous Scottish Giant named Benandonner also known as ‘The Red Man’. He challenged the Scot to cross the causeway and fight him. However, as Benandonner crossed the causeway, Finn MacCool realised how much bigger the Scot was and off Finn ran back to his home town of Fort-of-Allen in County Kildare.
Benandonner kept on running – all the way to MacCool’s hometown. MacCool, realising he was wrong to pick a fight with the Scot would not answer the door and asked his wife to do so for him instead. Finn’s wife, Oonagh was a smart Giant indeed – she shoved MacCool into the bath and threw some large sheets over him.
Upon opening the door to Benandonner, Oonagh exclaimed “Sure it’s a pity but Finn is away hunting deer in County Kerry. Would you like to come in anyway and wait? I’ll show you the Great Hall so that you can sit down after your journey.”
After showing Benandonner around their house and cooking him dinner, Oonagh asked Benandonner “Would you like to say hello to the baby?”
Benandonner noticed the cot and the sleeping ‘baby’ inside it and he suddenly felt very afraid. He thought, “My goodness, if this is the size of the baby, what size must the father be?” He decided it was time to go back to Scotland and avoid fighting with MacCool.
Finn leapt from the bath and chased after Benandonner to banish him from Ireland. Whilst passing Portadown, County Antrim, Finn scooped a huge clod of earth out of the ground to fling at the retreating Scot.
This hole filled with water and is said to have become the largest Lough in Ireland – Lough Neagh. The clod he flung missed its target and landed in the middle of the Irish Sea, henceforth known as the Isle of Man.
Both Giants swore to one another that they should never speak again and so each demolished the causeway, leaving ragged ends in both Ireland and Scotland. Each of which you can still see and visit today.”
Some shots from the beautiful countryside of Ulster
Have you heard of this legend before? Have you been to the Giant’s Causeway? Share your thoughts in the comments section below…