I remember the first time I saw a photo of the Giant’s Causeway (not long ago, embarrassingly), hypnotized by the black hexagons under sherbet sunsets. “This has got to go on my bucket list! Where on earth is this place?”
Well, Northern Ireland. Yes, it’s a different country, even though I never knew much about the distinction growing up. Ireland was Ireland: one island shaped like a happy ghost floating toward England (seriously, look at it). Of course now I know more about what separates Ireland into two countries, and I’m glad I finally made it up to the North.
On this blessedly sunny day, I was tagging along with my aunt and two cousins, one of whom studies at Queen’s University in Belfast. I intended to listen to our tour guide’s speech about how the rocks formed, but the views were too distracting. So I lagged behind to snap photos and just Googled it afterwards.
The Giant’s Causeway is made up of “40,000 interlocking basalt columns, the result of an ancient volcanic eruption.” If I were my eco-genius sister, I would explain this whole process further. Instead, I’ll give you a link to the Wikipedia article and a bunch of pretty pictures.
The more exciting version of the story is that the Causeway was built by an Irish giant, Fionn mac Cumhaill (Finn MacCool). Finn was challenged to a fight with the much larger Scottish giant, Benandonner. He built the Causeway between Ireland and Scotland so the two could meet. In one version of the story, Finn sees how enormous Benandonner is from afar and realizes he can’t possibly beat him. So, Finn’s wife Oonagh dresses him up as a baby and puts in him a cradle just in time for Benandonner’s arrival. When the Scottish giant sees the size of the baby, he decides he’s no match for its father, and turns around and runs back to Scotland. Irish ingenuity triumphs!
Up next: Belfast and Dublin!