In modern-day, a good number of human societies would most likely know about giants. Yes, those tall, mostly chubby beings that are believed to have been alive a good number of centuries ago. Some might argue that they are just the product of folktales, however, there are several of evidence that proves their existence. One of which is the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland.
Related media: The Giant’s Causeway Doesn’t Look Like A Natural Monument
What’s The Giant’s Causeway?
The Giant’s Causeway is a large area of about 40,000 interlocking basalt columns. Yes, very hard to imagine right? The interlocking of the basalt is believed to have been caused by an ancient volcanic fissure eruption. Located in County Antrim on the north coast of Northern Ireland, it was declared a United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Site in 1986 because of its interesting features.
The very surface of the site form stepping stones that lead from the cliff foot and disappear under the sea. These stepping stones are also known as columns, and they are mostly shaped like hexagons with some having four, five, seven, or eight sides. The tallest columns are about 12 meters (39 feet) high and the solidified lava in the cliffs is about 28 meters (92 feet) thick in certain places.
Most parts of the site are owned and managed by the National Trust of Northern Ireland. It is one of the most popular tourist sites in Northern Ireland gathering about 998,000 visitors as of 2019. The rest of the site not governed by the national trust is owned by the Crown Estate and several private owners.
Links To Giants And The Legend
Just like anything too good to be true, the Giant’s Causeway has a legend attached to it. According to legend, the columns created are the remains of a causeway, (a road created above a low or wet ground), built by an Irish giant named Fionn Mac Cumhaill. It is believed that Fionn was challenged to fight the Scottish giant Benandonner.
As a result of Fionn’s acceptance of the challenge, he built the causeway so that the two giants could meet there. As to how the fight turned out, there are many versions of the story. In one version, Fionn turns out victorious after the fight. In another, Fionn went into hiding after he saw that Benandonner was much larger than him.
In an interesting take, it is said that out of fear of Benandonner, Fionn’s wife Sadhbh disguised her husband as a baby and put him in a cradle. When Benandonner saw the size of the baby, he thought that its father, who is Fionn, must be a very big giant therefore he fled back to Scotland in fear, and on his way, he destroyed some part of the causeway behind him so that Fionn would be unable to chase him down.
The site first became popular with tourists in the 19th century, particularly after the opening of the Giant’s Causeway Tramway. After the National Trust took over its care in the 1960s, commercialism was removed from its activities.
The first recorded tourist visit to the site was in 1692 when the Bishop of Derry visited the place. This caused the existence of the Causeway to be announced the following year through the presentation of a paper to the Royal Society from Sir Richard Bulkeley, a fellow of Trinity College in Dublin.
The site also received international recognition when Dublin artist Susanna Drury made watercolor paintings of it in 1739. Those paintings won Drury the first award presented by the Royal Dublin Society in 1740 which were later engraved in 1743.
The site is blessed with notable structures after haven undergone several million years of weathering. Some of these objects are the Organ and Giant’s Boot structures and the Giant’s Eyes which are many reddish, weathered low columns coming together to form a large shape of an eye, as well as others.
A Place Everyone Must Visit
The formation of these tall, hexagon-like columns must be added to everyone’s bucket list. Imagine visiting an area that is believed to have been built by giants! The structures left for humans to see and wonder over are exceptional and there may be more information around the area to prove the folklore right.
Who knows, maybe one might discover an actual giant boot hiding in a cave!
Read more facts like this one in your inbox. Sign up for our daily email here.
The Factionary is ever ready to provide you with more interesting content for your reading pleasure. If you’re amazed by our work, you can support us on Patreon with a donation fee of your choice. Thank you!
Written by: Abigail Adeyemi, Sun, Jun 12, 2022.