The Irish are famous for their story telling, and there is no better Irish story than how the Giant’s Causeway was created. In the story, an Irish warrior giant, Finn McCool, was goaded by Scottish giant Benandonner. Benandonner was ridiculing Finn McCool by shouting insults at him across the Irish Sea. Finn McCool was incensed by the ridiculing and challenged Benandonner, but the Scottish giant replied that he could not swim. Unable to fight for his honor, Finn McCool was further infuriated. In his anger he started tearing up chunks of the Irish Coastline and throwing them into the sea to make a bridge – or causeway – between Ireland and Scotland. Now there was a way for Benandonner to get across.
Finn McCool’s exertions building the bridge had made him tired and therefore nervous of taking on the bigger Scottish giant. His wife, Oonagh, had the idea to disguise Finn McCool as a baby. When Benandonner arrived, Oonagh told him Finn McCool was out cutting wood and invited him in to wait. She served him tea and “cake”, which had been replaced with stones. Benandonner broke his teeth eating the fake cake. This started to make him nervous about his adversary as Benandonner thought Finn McCool must be bigger and stronger than him if he could easily eat the same “cakes” that had just cracked Benandonner’s teeth.
Oonagh then played her masterstroke. She introduced Benandonner to Finn McCool’s “son”. Of course, it was really Finn McCool himself lying in the crib. When Benandonner saw the size of the “baby” in the crib his fears of Finn McCool’s enormity were confirmed and he took flight, racing back across the causeway to Scotland. As he went, he ripped up the stone bridge so Finn McCool could not follow him.
All that remained of the causeway once Benandonner had escaped was the section just outside of Finn McCool’s cave – the site of today’s Giant’s Causeway.