"In the footsteps of giants…"
Continuing up the Northern Coast of Ireland, our next to last stop on Day 3 was at the mysterious natural wonder of the Giant's Causeway. According to legend, the hexagonal basalt columns here are the remains of a causeway built by a 54 foot tall giant named Finn McCool. The story goes something like this...
"The Causeway story tells us that Finn McCool lived happily on the Antrim coast with his wife Oonagh until he discovered he had a rival in Scotland known as Benandonner. Finn was frequently taunted by Benandonner from afar and on one occasion Finn scooped up a clod of earth and hurled it across the sea at him but missed. The huge clod of earth landed in the middle of the Irish Sea making the Isle of Man and the depression formed from scooping up the earth filled up with water to become Lough Neagh. Finn finally challenged Benandonner to a proper fight and decided to build a causeway of enormous stepping stones across the sea to Scotland, so that he could walk across without getting his feet wet. But as he approached and caught sight of the great bulk of Benandonner, Finn became afraid and fled back home, with Benandonner hot on his trail. In his haste as he ran, Finn lost one of his great boots and today it can be seen sitting on the foreshore in Port Noffer where it fell to the ground. The story takes a humorous twist when Finn asks his wife Oonagh to help him hide. Clever Oonagh disguised Finn as a baby and pushed him into a huge cradle, so when Benandonner saw the size of the sleeping ‘child’, he assumed the father must be GIGANTIC. Benandonner fled home in terror, ripping up the Causeway as he went in case he was followed. This is the reason that the Giant’s Causeway exists in north Antrim, with similar columns at Fingal’s Cave on the Scottish island of Staffa."
I guess giants don't like to get their feet wet! Whether the legend is true or just folklore fodder, one thing the world can agree on is that this part of the Antrim coastline is beyond fascinating. The soft beauty of the cyan sea juxtaposed against the rigid stone columns jutting out from the water is quite supernatural. The dramatic cliffs and footpaths to the ocean paint a landscape like no other I've seen. D and and stood in awe of this place…even with tourists traipsing about, the Causeway was magical. I could have spent days there and still not enjoyed all the wonder there was to to be seen. A word of the wise--while relatively safe, the stones are wet and if you're not the sturdiest of walkers, you might want to skip climbing on them. Certain areas of the Causeway are a bit steep, so keep a close eye on your footing so you don't end up in the sea! I'm so thrilled we added this tour to our Ireland itinerary. Even in my wildest dreams I couldn't picture such a beautiful country!
Hours: Dawn till dusk (visitor's center open 9am-7pm)