THE GIANT'S CAUSEWAY
Basalt Bridge of Giants and Heroes
On the coast of Northern Ireland lies a remarkable feature: a field of more than 40,000 interlocking hexagonal columns, leading down into the sea. To the ancient Irish, the basalt columns -- the result of a long ago volcanic eruption -- seemed like the foundations of a bridge made for giants. And so they are still called the Giant's Causeway to this day.
On this abnormally long episode, we discuss the mythological origins of the causeway and the legendary Irish hero, Fionn Mac Cumhaill, a.k.a. Finn McCool. While the physical bridge to Scotland might be a myth, other connections in the early medieval period were very much evident.
Dr. Lucy Barnhouse (@singingscholar), medieval historian and contributor to @historyfootnote, drops wisdom about Irish monasticism and its impact in Ireland and abroad. We discuss the beer-multiplying, chariot-riding St. Brigid, the hot-tempered St Columba, and the wandering St. Columbanus.
In addition, listeners Jenn and Diarmuid talk about their experiences visiting the causeway and reflections on the North. We also discuss Game of Thrones locations, surfing off the Antrim Coast, and the joy of grabbing a pint in an Irish pub.
There's Irish butter and soda bread and more Houses of the Holy references than are necessary. (That 1973 Led Zeppelin album features the Giant's Causeway on the cover).
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The Boyhood Deeds of Fionn mac Cumhaill
Bunting, Eve. Finn McCool and the Great Fish
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De Hamel, Christopher. A History of Illuminated Manuscripts
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MacNab, P.A. Mull & Iona
Marron, Emmet. “The Communities of St Columbanus: Irish Monasteries on the Continent?”
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McCullough, David Willis. Wars of the Irish Kings: a Thousand Years of Struggle from the Age of Myth Through the Reign of Queen Elizabeth I
Meehan, Bernard. The Book of Kells
O’Hanlon, John. Life of St. Brigid, Virgin: First Abbess of Kildare, Special Patroness of Kildare Diocese, and General Patroness of Ireland
Ollivier, John J. Fun with Irish Myths: a Must for Every Irishman or Those Who Have to Live with One
Rick Steves Guide to Ireland
Suehle, Ruth. “The story of St. Columba: A modern copyright battle in sixth century Ireland”
Photograph by wikipedia user Jal74
Music by Aislinn
Views of the causeway, submitted by listener Megan Thomas