In 1693 an academic paper by Richard Bulkeley from Trinity College, Dublin, revealed the Giant’s Causeway to the world. The Giant’s Causeway is a mystifying expanse of about 40,000 basalt columns located on the steep coast of Northern Ireland, and is considered to be the country’s most famous landmark. Formed between 50 to 60 million years ago, the ’causeway gets its name from the
Considered to be a unique jewel along the north Antrim coastline, the Giant’s causeway is known to the Irish folk as the 8th Wonder of the World. A rough headland of neatly packed columns of hexagonal basalt rocks created millions of years ago by a flow of basaltic lava. As the lava cooled off it formed these hexagonal shapes just as the bottom of a dried riverbed cracked into shapes.
“The size of the columns, which varies from site to site between a few inches and a few yards, is primarily determined by the speed at which lava from a volcanic eruption cools,” says U of T physics professor Stephen Morris, who supervised a project studying these mysteriously formed hexagonal structures, which are said to be the work of Finn MacCool, an Irish Giant.
The tale goes like this, the mythical Irish giant, Finn MacCool, built the causeway to go to Scotland and battle a rival giant called Benandonner. When he made it across, he found that the Scottish giant was asleep but also far bigger than himself, so Finn returned back across the causeway. When Benandonner awoke, he came across the causeway with the intent on fighting Finn. Meanwhile, Finn’s wife dressed up her husband as a baby and when Benandonner arrived she said Finn wasn’t home and to be quiet as to not wake the baby. When Benandonner saw the baby he decided that if the baby was that big, Finn must be massive. So he turned around, and fled back across the causeway ripping it up as he went. All that remains at the Giant’s Causeway and on the island of Staffa in Scotland where similar formations can be found.