The storytelling of Ireland is such a huge tradition here. Our guide, Batt Burns is a wonderful traditional storyteller in the Celtic Irish tradition. The gaelic term for this Seanchaithe (pronounced something like: Shah-na-khai).The ancient Irish chieftans were descendants of the Celts. They valued the stories of their tribe and every king had a resident poet/Storyteller in his entourage. I love the idea that poetry and stories were so valued. I think it’s something our culture is losing as we choose to be entertained virtually, rather than actively entertaining and interacting with one another, but I digress…
The causeway is actually a series of rock formations that include islands in the sea between Scotland and Ireland. They are primarily comprised of basalt rock. In places the basalt forms hexagonal columns that make for some incredible rock forms. These photos are just a few views of the beautiful coastline.
The legend of the Giant’s Causeway is a good one. It’s a typical Irish story filled with lore, exaggeration, and humor. It goes something like this:
In ancient days when an Irish Giant wanted to challenge a Scottish Giant to a fight. On the Northeast corner of Ireland, there is a mere 15 K distance between the 2 countries. So the Irish giant built a series of stepping stones to Scotland and began taunting the Scottish giant trying to goad him into coming to Ireland. There he planned to ambush and defeat the Scot.
After endless trash talk across the straights, the Scottish giant took the bait and made his way across the stones ready to do battle. The Irish giant watched as he crossed and realized for the first time the massive size of the Scottish giant. He quaked with fear at the thought of fighting such a huge beast and ran home to his wife. When she asked him what was the matter, he told her that the Scottish giant was much too powerful, and he needed to hide as fast as possible.
Being a quick-witted wife, she gave him a large infant bonnet, put it on his head, and told him to curl up in the baby’s crib. He could barely squeeze himself into the crib, but he did as his wife advised (obviously an intelligent husband!) After only a moment in the crib, the Scottish giant banged at the door and demanded to know where her husband was! She replied that he was away off hunting in the South. The Scottish giant then looked in the crib and asked, “Who is that?” The wife replied, “That’s his baby.” Upon seeing the size of the “baby”, he became nervous. “If that’s the size of his baby, how big must the father be?” Immediately, the Scottish giant fled back to Scotland and never returned.
Unlike the Scottish giant in the story, I’m hoping to return to this part of Ireland someday. It’s a bit cold, but the scenery is stunning! Here’s a quick sketch from my sketchbook done with ink and watercolor.
Maybe someday I’ll get to come back and enjoy the wild and wonderful beauty of this rugged coastline for longer than a couple of days. If you are cold blooded like me, you will want to dress in layers and be ready for intermittent rain and wind. Someday, I hope you can also make the trip here to see this area of Ireland.