Monday, 8 October 2012

The Giant's Causeway

Story (1) 
Finn McCool an Irish Giant lived on the Antrim headland. One day when going about his daily business a Scottish Giant named Fingal began to shout insults and hurl abuse from across the channel. In anger Finn lifted a clod of earth and threw it at the giant as a challenge, the earth landed in the sea.
Fingal retaliated with a rock thrown back at Finn and shouted that Finn was lucky that he wasn't a strong swimmer or he would have made sure he could never fight again.
Finn was enraged and began lifting huge clumps of earth and rocks from the shore, throwing them so as to make a pathway for the Scottish giant to come and face him. However by the time he finished making the crossing he had not slept for a week and so instead devised a cunning plan to fool the Scot. 
Finn disguised himself as a baby in a cot and when his adversary came to find him Finn's wife told the giant that Finn was away but showed him his son sleeping in the cradle. The Scottish giant was amazed when he saw how huge Finn's son was - whatever size would the father be?
In haste to escape Fingal sped back along the causeway Finn had built, tearing it up as he went. He is said to have fled to a cave on Staffa which is to this day named 'Fingals Cave'.
Fingal's boot as he fled from Ireland back to Scotland
via wikipedia
Fingal's Cave the other end of the causeway in Scotland
Story (2)
Since the 18th century the Giant's Causeway has often been described as 'The Eighth Wonder of the World'.
The headland bay on the beautiful Antrim coast looking across the sea to the isles of Scotland consists of approximately 40,000 hexagonal basalt columns, which were formed during a volcanic eruption 60 million years ago.
Strangely, the Causeway is thought to have lain undiscovered by the outside world until a visit in 1692 from the Bishop of Derry (Londonderry). The Bishop alerted authorities in Dublin, who then notified learned circles in London. Many papers were produced and many theories on how it had been formed were put forward.
last two images via wikipedia
Engraving done in 1768 by Susanna Drury from Encyclopédie, ou Dictionnaire raisonné des sciences, des arts et des métier, Paris. 
An extra photo for Road to Parnassus to introduce some scale into the images.

44 comments:

  1. Dear Rosemary,
    How interesting. I knew the first story but didn't know the second one. I like hearing of such things and they conjure up such lovely images.
    I think that the photographs are fab, especially the view across the headlands.
    You have a great 'eye' for taking shots!
    Bye for now
    Kirk

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    1. Kirk it is a very special place. You feel as if you witnessing a geology wonderland - natures own sculptural creation. A memorable visit.

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  2. Hello Rosemary

    Your images and the mythology behind the Giant's Causeway had me breathless. I have learned something new today and thank you for the wonderful images. I have yet to follow in yours and Finn's footsteps but it is on my list now.
    A brilliant post

    Funny how you and I were at opposite ends of the island making our own discoveries.
    Life is good.

    Helen xx

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    1. It was a coincidence that we were at opposite ends of the country at the same time. Are you going to be spending some time in the north before returning home?
      There is something very special about seeing the results of the volcano eruption 60 million years ago, it really gives you reasons reflect.

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    2. Hi Rosemary

      I regret I shall not be able to visit Norther Ireland. There is only so much free time as I have 4 brothers and one sister still living in Ireland and their families to visit. I love it all and feel like I need a holiday now.
      Have a great week

      Helen xx

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    3. Hopefully next time then Helen. There is only so much you can do when on holiday, especially when you have so many relations to visit as well.

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  3. How interesting, I know The Giant's Causeway from pictures and the TV but I'd never heard any of these stories and of course my favourite is the 1st story, so much more imaginative.

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    1. The giants tale is one of true Irish blarney and fits in well with the surroundings. It is a really interesting place to visit, somewhere I would recommend if you have the opportunity.

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  4. What a work. This is just unbelievable. Great place to visit.

    Greetings,
    Filip

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    1. Great place, as you say Filip - hope that you have the chance to visit sometime when on your travels.

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  5. I had heard of this place long ago but to be there must be magical. I just showed your pictures to my sons sitting here, sms'ing away with their friends but I got their attention with this, well, you did actually ;-)
    Beautiful pictures again! Love how you edited some of them as well.
    Bye,
    Marian

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    1. Dear Marian - I am so delighted that your sons enjoyed seeing the Giant's Causeway photos. I know from my own family that youngsters love anything to do with geology and dinosaurs, and in fact my eldest son is now a Geologist for his profession.

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  6. Thank you Rosemary for taking me along on this holiday. Your images are spectacular. I missed your last post and that property and grounds were stunning too.

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    1. Dear Olive - so nice to hear from you, and I do hope that you are feeling somewhat better now.
      Glad you enjoyed the previous post and this one. That is the end of Northern Ireland now - my last post on it.

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  7. brilliant pictures and what an amazing entry! thanks for taking us with you and thanks for the addd info! wishing you a great new week...

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    1. It is a magical place and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Glad you enjoyed the photos.

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  8. I have seen these places Rosemary in pictures!How interesting, I'd never heard any of these stories and of course my favourite is the 1st story!Have you been in West Cork?Thats the area i want to visit and particul Τoormore!Thank you for sharing these experiences with us!I have awards for you!Wish you a lovely week my dear!
    Dimi..

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    1. West Cork is a beautiful area to visit, you would have a lovely time there.
      ♥Thank you very much Dimi that it is extremely generous and kind of you to grant me these awards♥

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  9. Absolutely breathtaking, Rosemary. What an awesome natural wonder! The beauty and power of nature. Wonderful photos....I say this each time, and will keep saying it :)
    xo
    Loi

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    1. Dear Loi - when you see such spectacular results formed by the power of nature from so many millions of years ago it is awe inspiring. Glad you enjoyed the photos.

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  10. Hello Rosemary, I have seen photos of the Giant's Causeway, but none that revealed their breadth and magnificence as these do. There's no real scale in the photo, but Fingal's boot looks quite small--If so, I would have thought it would have been eroded away or simply removed by now.

    My favorite feature was the cave. It is beautiful in a mind-arresting way. How deep was the water in it?
    --Road to Parnassus

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    1. Dear Jim - for you, I have included another photo to try and bring some scale to the images.
      The boot is about 5 feet long and 4 feet high, and from this the good folk of Ireland estimate that the giant was roughly 56 feet high!!!
      The cave, sadly, is the only thing not seen. The photo is via wikipedia, Fingals Cave is across the sea in Scotland and I was in Ireland. A visit for another time perhaps?

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  11. Hello Rosemary,
    this a very interesting piece of local folklore
    the Giant's Causeway leaves one amazed and once again certain about nature being the most wonderful artist of them all...

    Enjoy your day : )

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    1. Dear Demie - To think that these wonderful rock formations have been here for 60 million years is awe inspiring, each one like a work of art - as you say nature is the most wonderful artist of all.

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  12. I knew about the Giant's cauesway . I remember being fascinated with it as a child, but never thought about it again , until your post now.
    How absolutely fascinating. The myth of Fin and Fingals throwing stones and clods of earth. I laughed when Fin put himself into the basket as a baby. ha): very Irish indeed.!!
    Your photos are amazing Rosemary. The Causeway truly seems to have been built by man!.. not so of course.. but the formation of the rocks and how they are formed is beyond comprehension.. fantastic.
    Could it be- that at one stage on earth.millions of years ago- .The two countries were joined!
    Once again I have learnt something new.
    This post was so interesting.
    Thank you Rosemary.
    val

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    1. Dear Val - first a little bit of geology for you.
      Two million years ago, nothing compared with the 60 million year old Giant's Causeway, after a long period of climate cooling the UK experienced glaciers advancing to the southern most tip of England. The UK was then buried under a huge ice sheet. When things eventually warmed up and the ice melted, sea levels rose and created the North Sea, the English Channel and the Irish Sea. Up until this point, Ireland was attached to England. So in conclusion, when the volcano erupted 60 million years ago we were attached to Ireland, and 2 million years ago we were separated by the Irish Sea resulting from the melting of the ice sheet.
      Glad you enjoyed the post Val, revealing the Irish humour, and the fantastic geological formations that are in Ireland.

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    2. Thank you Rosemary,
      I had an incling from reading geography here and there..that there was a split millions of years ago.
      I am still fascinated and intigued with the causeway.. it looks as certain points as though it was made.
      Nature baffles us all the time.

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    3. You are right Val, it does look as if it is man made - geology is intriguing, and that is one of many reasons why my eldest son is a Geologist.

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  13. Wonderful historical review! The landscape seems to come from another planet full of power and mystery! This is the miracle of nature! Thanks for shared this with me.
    I read my gide for Irland and reports the "seat of wishes " that made from FIN when he was child and that the wishes will be realize !! Did you seat there ?
    Olympia

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    1. Dear Olympia there is a seat that was supposed to be Fin's chair as a child where you can make wishes. We did not sit in it or sadly did not make any wishes, we were too busy climbing over the stones, and I was, of course, taking photos.

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  14. Yes, it would take a myth the size of your story to explain this spectacular creation. The entrance to Fingal's cave is so mysterious and captivating, I can't believe I've never heard of this before. Does it attract a lot of tourists? I can imagine children jumping from step to step for hours.

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    1. I am sure that it will attract more tourist as Northern Ireland is quickly becoming a popular holiday destination. It is a wonderful place for children. As you know children are very attracted to fossils and dinosaurs and this all fits in with their curiosity about the natural world. The National Trust for Britain have just built a magnificent eco centre there at a cost of £18.5 million and it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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    2. Fantastic news! I'm so happy to add this to my "must see" list.

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    3. North and South of Ireland are both worthy of a visit.

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  15. This formation has always amazed me, and I would love to see it in person. I imagine the Bishop of Derry would have thought that it must have been man-made.

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    1. It is one of the things that we were particularly keen to see in Northern Ireland Mark. The whole thing is an amazing formation, and you could readily believe that it was man-made except for the fact that it is so extensive. If the Bishop of Derry did think like that, then I am sure that he would still have company even today.

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  16. What an interesting post, Rosemary!
    How amazing to see this formation. I've never heard of it before.
    Thanks for sharing, I learn and see a lot visiting your blog.
    Mette

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    1. It is an amazing geological formation with such an ancient historic background of 60 million years. I have wanted to see it for many years. So pleased that you found the post interesting Mette.

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  17. What a wonderful story and it must be a "must see" location to visit in Northern Ireland. Looking at your pictures it reminds me of some of the cliffs on the Isle of Skye they have a similar rock formation too such as "Kilt Rock.
    Sarah x

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    1. Perhaps there is a connection Sarah. Fingals Cave, the Scottish end of the causeway, is on the Isle of Staffa, which is situated just off the Isle of Mull, and the Isle of Skye is to the north of them both, not a great distance away. I know Skye has some of the oldest geology in Britain much of it the result of a solidified volcanic lava reservoir which is 60 million years old and forms the Cuillins - I should think it must be the same volcanic eruption as the one that formed the Giant's Causeway. I am not saying this with any authority, my son is a Geologist, but is away at the moment, so I cannot check it out with him. This is supposition on my part.

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  18. All these images bring back wonderful memories. I've not been to the Scottish side though.

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    1. It is lovely to think that you have been there too. Many people have not heard of it before.

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  19. Those gorgeous photos take me straight back to my childhood, Rosemary, when we went on a family visit to my aunt when I was 10. They took us to the Giant's Causeway and I've never forgotten it.

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    1. I can just imagine the impact that it would have on you as a 10 year old, especially the mystery and magic surrounding the stones at that time, also remembering how much children love fossils, dinosaurs etc.

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