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  • Writer's pictureFrank Klaus Jordan

there were giants upon the earth

once upon a time

Stories are told about a Giant, named Finn McCool, who lived in the ancient Irish kingdom of Ulster. Finn McCool's most fearsome enemy was the Scottish Giant Benandonner. But to face him at the other side of the sea, Finn McCool had to build a bridge from Ulster to Scotland. So, he constructed a causeway of unusual six-sided cobblestones, fitting neatly together like a honeycomb.

Right after the causeway was built, Finn McCool challenged the Scottish Giant Benandonner. The Scot accepted and got on his way to the Irish coast. But the closer Benandonner got on the causeway, Finn McCool realised that Benandonner was much bigger than he had imagined. Finn McCool got scared and decided to run and hide in his home, Fort-of-Allen in Kildare.

Finn’s wife, Oonagh, thought quickly and before the Scottish Giant arrived, she dressed her husband in a bonnet and shawl, disguising him as a baby and tossed him in a crib. As soon as Benandonner arrived she opened the door and invited the Scottish Giant in, pretending that Finn McColl wasn't home. When the Scottish Giant looked at the crib and the size of "McCool's baby", he imagined how large his father must be. He realized that Finn McCool would be too big of a Giant for him to fight. So he cut it short and hightailed it back to Scotland, destroying the causeway across the sea on his way home; just leaving the ragged ends at the two shores. So much about the legend of Giants.

County of Antrim

We are driving along the beautiful coast of this ancient Irish kingdom of Ulster (today the county of Antrim), with its towering cliffs, rocky hills and winding rivers. The nature here never fails to impress. We wonder what remains today of the Giant's Causeway and whether it was actually built by a Giant. There are many stone tombs around here, thousands of years old, made of gigantic boulders. The local people call them "Giant's Graves", believing that only Giant's could have lifted these enormous stones. However, science tells us that the Giant's Causeway was formed by a lava flow, caused by volcanic eruptions millions of years ago. These over 40,000 interlocked basalt columns were formed as the lava dried, creating near-perfect symmetrical hexagonal pillars, stacked next to each other like puzzle pieces.” Could something this perfect be really the result of a volcanic eruption million years ago?

While walking over the ancient stone pillars, that are left of the Giant's Causeway, it is easy to imagine them as a bridge leading out over the sea. They are so perfectly formed, like hand crafted, that we slowly believe in the legend of the Giants. There are similar basalt pillars at the Scottish Isle of Staffa. Could this be the other side of the Giant's Causeway?

While touring this beautiful place, childhood memories about magic tales of mighty Giants are going through our minds. We don't bother with millions of years geology and decide that it is much more fun to believe in the legend of the Giants. Science or legend; we just care about the memories that we take back home from this ancient place. When we leave the Causeway we are sure that, "Once upon a time there were Giants upon the earth".

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