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Fionn MacCool and the Giant's Causeway

Updated on January 24, 2012

Pronounciation Guide

Fionn MacCool

Fyunn (rhymes with bun)-Mac-Cool



A Mural Near the Giant's Causeway Depicting Finn McCool, the Legendary Irish Giant.
A Mural Near the Giant's Causeway Depicting Finn McCool, the Legendary Irish Giant. | Source

A Celtic Legend

There once lived a legendary giant, who was known as Fionn Mac Cool. Perhaps you've even heard of him? However, Fionn was no ordinary giant - he was a burly, colossal beast of a giant. He was the biggest and strongest in all of Ireland. His tremendous, thundering voice could be heard echoing around the hills and valleys of the Irish countryside for miles around, and it was said that he could lift one hundred men in the palm of a single hand. For many years he lived happily with his wife, Oonagh, in the hills of Antrim.

However, that all changed one day when a messenger arrived at his door bearing troubling news. The fellow had travelled all the way from Scotland to inform Fionn that the great Scottish giant, Angus, had challenged Fionn to a battle. Now, the Irish giant had never laid eyes on Angus, but he - like everyone else in the land - knew that he was the world's largest, strongest giant. Fionn had never backed down from a provocation in his life, so with an assured smirk, asked the messenger to tell Angus that he would accept his summons. At this time, he was not aware of just how dangerous the Scottish giant could be.

Of course, Fionn needed to get across the water somehow, so he began building a path across the sea to Scotland. With his enormous, powerful hands, he tore thousands of rocks from the nearby hillsides and hammered them into the seabed with his fists. The passage stretched on for miles and miles into the ocean, and when Angus heard about this, he began to do the same. Both giants worked at this task for weeks, and today this isle is known as "the Giant's Causeway."

One morning as Fionn was taking a stroll through the forest that surrounded his castle and admiring the beautiful Irish landscape he'd recently helped shape, he noticed Oonagh rushing towards him. He hurried in her direction, worried that she was in trouble. With each of his energetic bounds, the ground itself shook under his massive feet.

"Oh Fionn!" she cried. "I've just heard that Angus is the biggest, strongest giant in the entire world! His height and strength are twice that of yours!"

"I cannot fight such a being!" Fionn exclaimed. The Irish giant was finally beginning to panic.

He spent the rest of that day agonising over his options. What on earth was he to do? At sunset there came a knock on the castle's front door, and when he opened it, he saw that it was the messenger. Fionn was told that Angus wished to battle him at sunrise the next day. As soon as the messenger left, Fionn and Oonagh went into their bedroom and used their bedsheets to make gigantic baby clothes. The great Irish giant put them on and climbed into an old giant cradle.

The Giant's Causeway, off the Coast of County Antrim
The Giant's Causeway, off the Coast of County Antrim | Source

Sure enough, a knock sounded on the castle's front door the next morning, and when Oonagh opened it, she came face-to-face with the tallest, bulkiest, most fierce-looking giant she'd ever seen. Angus introduced himself, and asked her if Fionn was ready for the challenge. Oonagh said that her husband was gone out for a walk, but that he would be back shortly. She asked him inside, and the monstrous giant obliged. Before long, the Scotsman heard a wailing cry coming from one of the castle's many rooms and enquired as to what it was. Oonagh explained that it was her son, Fionn Og (or Young Fionn.)

She took him into their bedroom and presented the "baby" to him. Angus was absolutely amazed at the youngster's size. He reasoned that if the infant was this large, his father must be a mammoth lad. He panicked, and told Oonagh that he had to leave right away. He dashed out of the castle without waiting for a reply, and back across the Causeway, tearing it up as he went. He wanted to be sure that Fionn MacCool would not be able to catch him. When he returned to his own country, he swore to himself that he would never return to Ireland, terrified that Fionn would hunt him down.


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    • VendettaVixen profile image

      VendettaVixen 6 years ago from Ireland

      Thank you, Angie. That's what I like to hear. So glad you enjoyed my version of Fionn's adventure.

      I know, right? You can trust them as far as you can throw them. (Hint: it isn't very far.)


    • Angie Jardine profile image

      Angie Jardine 6 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

      A great retelling of this tale, VV ... it just shows brain is better than brawn.

      Those giants, huh ... they're all the same.

    • VendettaVixen profile image

      VendettaVixen 6 years ago from Ireland


      @BeckyCatz, and


      Very glad you all enjoyed it so much. 'tis one of my favourite stories from Irish mythology.

      Thank you all for reading and commenting.

    • David Legg 7 profile image

      David Legg 7 6 years ago from Trout Paradise, Colorado

      That is an awesome piece of work. I love the inclusion of the image of the giant's causeway.

      Thank you for sharing!


    • Becky Katz profile image

      Becky Katz 6 years ago from Hereford, AZ

      Funny and awesome story. I really liked it.

    • RedElf profile image

      RedElf 6 years ago from Canada

      I love Irish mythology. Thanks for this marvelous retelling.