Fionn Mac Cumhail or Finn MacCool was the legendary Irish warrior/hunter who led the band of Irish warriors known as the Fianna and created the Giants Causeway. Fionn is connected to many of the legends of the Fenian Cycle. He first came to prominence after catching and eating the Salmon of Knowledge. Another important legend tells how Fionn met his first wife Sadbh while hunting.
She had been transformed into a deer by a druid and after Fionn, caught her she turned into a beautiful woman. She bore Fionn a child, Oisín, before befing transformed again into a deer and separating Fionn from his son for many years. Another tale tells of how Fionn in a jealous rage, pursued the lovers Grainne and Diarmuid across Ireland after they had eloped together. But the most famous legend of Fionn Mac Cumhail surrounds the Giants Causeway in County Antrim.
The story goes that Fionn built the causeway to get to Scotland and battle with a rival giant called Benandonner. When he got there he found that the Scottish giant was asleep but also far bigger than himself, so Fionn returned back across the causeway. When Benandonner woke up he came across the causeway intent on fighting Fionn. Fionn’s wife dressed up her husband as a baby and when Benandonner arrived she said Fionn wasn’t home and to be quiet not to wake up the baby.
When Benandonner saw the ‘baby’ he decided that if the baby was that big, Fionn must be massive. So he turned tail and fled back across the causeway ripping it up as he went. All that remains are the ends, here at the Giant’s Causeway and on the island of Staffa in Scotland where similar formations are found.