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The Giant’s Causeway

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Mythical Landscapes, Magical Tales

Finn is having trouble with someone across the water. The Scottish giant Benandonner is threatening Ireland. An enraged Finn grabs chunks of the Antrim coast and throws them into the sea. The rock forms a path for Finn to follow and teach Benandonner a lesson.

Bad idea – Benandonner is terrifyingly massive. Finn beats a hasty retreat, followed by the giant, only to be saved by our hero’s quick-thinking wife who disguised him as a baby. The angry Scot saw the baby and decided if the child was that big, the daddy must be really huge.

For Eleanor Killough, a guide at the new state-of-the-art visitor centre, the Finn story holds water: “Of course it was Finn McCool! That’s what we the locals believe anyway.

“We give our visitors the two sides of the coin – the stories and the science and let them decide, but most visitors leave believing this place is an ancient home of a mighty giant.”

As Eleanor says, though, there are two sides to the story.

The science bit

“The Giant’s Causeway is the aftermath of volcanic crashing, burning and cooling,” Eleanor explains. “An epic 60-million-year-old legacy to lava. Over 40,000 basalt columns. Interlocked.

“It’s no wonder this place is a Unesco World Heritage Site because beyond the mindboggling beauty, the Causeway is our portal into Earth’s most ancient past,” she concludes.

Picture-perfect scenes

Whatever you choose to believe, there’s no disputing that the Causeway makes a pretty picture. Thousands of tourists click their cameras here every year, and when the Olympic Torch visited Northern Ireland, it was a photo opportunity not to be missed.

Director Ben Joyner was so enamoured with the Causeway, he put it on screen. The result won Discover Ireland’s “Jump Into Ireland” video competition.

Giant or science? Maybe you should check it out for yourself.