Legend or Science – The Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland


The battle between two giants, one Irish and one Scottish, is the reason behind the construction and name of the Giants Causeway. So, Legend has it and that legend varies depending on who tells the story. However, according to science, it is completely different. Science state it possible to be the consequence of something that happened about 60 million years ago. Could a volcanic eruption have caused the perfectly hexagonal beehive-shaped formatted rocks?

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The Giants Causeway Legend One

The Giants Causeway

Many, many, years ago (no one knows exactly when), the battle between Scottish giant Benandonner and Irish giant Finn McCool (also known as Fionn mac Cumhaill) peaked. Benandonner kept making threats to Ireland from across the Irish Sea. Finn was so enraged with Benandonners repeated threats to Ireland he built a path (the causeway) with rocks so he could get to Scotland and teach Benandonner a lesson. After completing the rock path and reaching Scotland, Finn quickly became shocked and frightened by the size of Benandonner. The Scottish giant was significantly larger than Finn. Out of fear, Finn sprinted as quickly as he could back home. He darted so fast he lost one of his shoes on the path.

Benandonner saw Finn running away in the distance. He decided to follow him to Ireland and teach him a lesson. Finn was scared and in a panic when Benandonner knocked on his door. Lucky for him, he had a quick-thinking wife. She had him dress up and made him pretend to be a baby in a cradle in another room. She invited Benandonner in for something to drink. When he noticed Finn in the other room he was stunned. Thinking that if a baby was that huge, imagine how gigantic the father must be. He quickly left and went back to Scotland. As he fled, he demolished the causeway behind him. All that can be seen now is the remnants of the pathway built by Finn.

Read about a Family  City Break in Belfast here.


The Giants Causeway Legend Two

The Giants Causeway

The second Giant’s Causeway legend, again according to the Irish, is similar to the first. However, this one says that Finn was not initially scared. He was tired from building the path, so he went home to go to sleep. While sleeping Benandonner arrived at Finn’s home. Finn’s quick-thinking wife dressed him as a baby and the rest of the story remains the same.

I’m sure the Scottish have a completely different story about the Causeway and the giant stone steps.



The Science Behind The Giants Causeway

The Giants Causeway

The Giants Causeway formation is made up of over 40,000 near-perfect hexagonal basalt columns. Scientists claim it is the result of a volcanic eruption that occurred about 60 million years ago, leaving the puzzle perfect pieces intertwined. This is a very precise contour among columnar basalt formations around the world. It is best described as honeycomb patterns found in beehives. The majority are hexagonal columns; however, others are known to be between four and eight-sided. In the cliffs, the solidified lava can be up to 92 feet (28 meters) and in other areas can reach 39 feet (12 meters) in height.

The Giants Causeway County

The Giants Causeway

The Giant’s Causeway, along with the entire Giants Causeway County, is a magnificent area of global geological significance. Various footpaths throughout the 173 acres (70-hectare) area enables visitors and tourists the chance to view the stunning Causeway coastline from above the cliffs. To the south is Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge. Some people call this the Giant’s Causeway Bridge and you need to stop and visit this area. Take a Giants Causeway bus tour and they will stop for you to have some time to embrace the stunning views and walk across the rope bridge swaying 100 feet above the sea.


The causeway is located about 4.8 km (3 miles) northeast of the town of Bushmills on the northern coast of Northern Ireland. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is also a national nature reserve. In 2005, the Giant’s Causeway was known as the 4th greatest natural wonder in the United Kingdom. You can take the Giants Causeway tour from Dublin, Ireland. Alternately there is a Giants Causeway tour from Belfast, Northern Ireland.


The Giants Causeway Visitors Center

The Giants Causeway

The visitor’s center is open daily from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm. However, the last admission is at 5:00 pm – one hour before closing. Ticket prices (2018) are as follows:

  • Adult is £11.50 (15.00 USD),
  • Child is £5.75 (7.50 USD),
  • Family is £28.75 (37.25 USD).

Check out their website here for discounts that are available and more information.

Through the visitor’s center, you can access an interactive exhibition. An outdoor audio guide is available in nine different languages. There is also a gift shop, coffee shop, and the Giants Causeway tourist information center on-site.



Legend Or Science

The Giants Causeway

The Giant’s Causeway is a symbol for Northern Ireland has been a known attraction for over 300 years. What do you believe? Was the creation of the Giant’s Causeway produced by the legendary battle between Scottish giant Benandonner and Irish giant Finn McCool? Or is it due to a volcanic eruption that took place over 60 million years ago?

My day trip from Belfast to the Giant’s Causeway was booked through the Visit Belfast Tourism Board. Check out their website here.

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