The Irish myth of the Giant’s Causeway – Iseult Gillespie

The Irish myth of the Giant’s Causeway – Iseult Gillespie


On the coast of Northern Ireland, a vast plateau of basalt slabs
and columns called the Giant’s Causeway stretches into the ocean. The scientific explanation for this is that it’s the result of
molten lava contracting and fracturing as it cooled in the wake
of a volcanic eruption. But an ancient Irish myth
has a different accounting. According to legend, the giant Finn MacCool lived happily
on the North Antrim coast with his wife Oonagh. Their only disturbance came from
the taunts and threats of the giant Benandonner, or the red man,
who lived across the sea in Scotland. The two roared insults
and hurled rocks at each other in dramatic shows of strength. Once, Finn tore up a great clump of land
and heaved it at his rival, but it fell short of reaching land. Instead, the clump became the Isle of Man, and the crater left from the disturbed
earth filled with water to become Lough Neagh. The giants’ tough talk continued, until one day Benandonner challenged
Finn to a fight, face to face. And so the Irish giant tossed
enough boulders into the sea to create a bridge of stepping
stones to the Scottish coast. Finn marched across in a fit of rage. When Scotland loomed before him, he made out the figure
of Benandonner from afar. Finn was a substantial size, but at the sight of his colossal
enemy thundering towards him, his courage faltered. With one look at Benandonner’s thick neck
and crushing fists, Finn turned and ran. Back home, with Benandonner
fast approaching, Finn trembled as he described
his enemy’s bulk to Oonagh. They knew that if he faced
Benandonner head on, he’d be crushed. And so Oonagh hatched a cunning plan – they needed to create an illusion of size, to suggest Finn was a mountain
of a man whilst keeping him out of sight. As Benandonner neared
the end of the bridge, Oonagh stuffed her husband
in a huge cradle. Disguised as an enormous baby, Finn lay quiet as Benandonnner
pounded on the door. The house shook as he stepped inside. Oonagh told the enraged visitor
that her husband wasn’t home, but welcomed him to sit
and eat while he waited. When Benandonner tore into the cakes
placed before him, he cried out in pain for he’d shattered his teeth
on the metal Oonagh had concealed inside. She told him that this
was Finn’s favorite bread, sowing a seed of doubt
in Benandonner’s mind that he was any match for his rival. When Finn let out a squawk, Benandonner’s attention was drawn
to the gigantic baby in the corner. So hefty was the infant swaddled
under piles of blankets, Benandonner shuddered at the thought
of what the father would look like. He decided he’d rather not find out. As he fled, Benandonner tore up the rocks
connecting the shores, breaking up the causeway. What remains are two identical
rock formations: one on the North Antrim coast of Ireland and one at Fingal’s Cave in Scotland,
right across the sea.

100 thoughts on “The Irish myth of the Giant’s Causeway – Iseult Gillespie

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  2. Something I find really funny about old mythology is how their can be such differing versions of the same story

    The tale of the Giant's Causeway that I've always knows was it was a Giantess in Scotland and a man from Ireland who fell in love from looking at each other over the sea. They threw rocks to make a pathway to each other, but could not make it long enough. Before giving up, in a fit of rage the Giantess threw a chunk of land into the ocean which made the isle of man

  3. Why is Scotland always the bad guy! I’m Scottish, and we have great things! For one, we got Gerard Butler. But jk, I really do love this story. It’s awesome!

  4. Hey! I’m from Bushmills (like not even two minutes way from the causeway), it’s so bizarre seeing this in a playlist of myths. I heard this story as a child so many times I could recite effortlessly. Loved the video!!

  5. Lol of course the Irish giant had to runaway and pretend he was a child to get away from SCOTLANDS giant lol

  6. In the version I heard, the wife also asked the big giant rotate the house so that the breeze didn't come in, her husband allegedly did it all the time. The task exhausted the big giant, what giant of a man could do that regularly?

  7. Don't u love it when ur Irish so u already know all of these stuff but still enjoy the animation

  8. How did onna give birth to the giant baby? Is there a myth to this to? Like a myth that the giant makes the baby’s? :/

  9. scientists: oh yeah that was caused by volcanic eruptions

    ancient irish people: must be giants

    everyone: 🤦‍♂️

  10. You should do more Irish myths! I’d love to see the story of Cú Chulainn/Setanta and the hound or Bridgid’s cloak or one of the stories about Queen Medhbh done in this format

  11. Great information! My love of Giant lore led me to write this piece of music based on British Giants GogMagog~ https://youtu.be/Rfz3utcMdVU

  12. i remember that in my old elementary school there was a kid whose family was irish, and for international day (basically a day for everyone to embrace other ppl's cultures and stuff) we got told this story. I got smacked in the face with memories just from the title of this video.

  13. There are countless african, afro latino, and Caribbean myths/folklore that you all could explore and add to this playlist… but im sure you already knew that.

  14. 這頻道的繁體中文翻譯還是保持優良傳統,一樣詞不達意又爛,換人翻譯好嗎?

  15. Personally, if I was Benandonner, I’d be shuddering more at the thought of what the mother had to go through.

    I’d still flee, though.

  16. Im shocked that his voice from the last Mythical video is different like did they get a different microphone?
    Edit: Sorry I thought that the name on the title was the narrator

  17. Hello im from Germany. In my English class we gotten told a story that was a bit different. Can it be that there are more versions of this story?

  18. I had heard the same story albeit a little different. When Oona says that her husband and child eat the same type of bread, she asks Benadonner to check the baby's teeth to see how sharp it is. Benadonner does that and his middle finger is ripped by Finn. Since Benadonner's entire strength was on his middle finger, he thus has no strength left and is forced to run away.

  19. This is my favorite video. (because I want to learn more about giants.) Someday, I do want to visit Ireland and study the giant's causeway. Giants are my favorite creatures!

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