Finn MacCool & the Giant’s Causeway

The other day it hit me that every major character in Heroes & Harbingers is either human or has a basis in a myth I’ve already blogged about. Ms. Sirin is a sirin and related to many alkonosts, and I wrote about Alkonosts and Sirins long ago (and then resolved to highlight them in a book). Mrs. Selkie is a selkie (my favorite mythical people) and I wrote about them and their common tragic legends, and her wife (who is only mentioned) is a rusalka. Principal Cailleach is based on my favorite deity. Even Maman Brigitte makes an appearance in Heroes & Harbingers.

However, I’ve never covered the male lead of Heroes & Harbingers in my blog, even though he features in countless and intriguing tales. My only excuse is that it’s a daunting task to fit all that MacCoolness into one post. So what I’ve decided to do is recount one of my favorite stories.

The Giant’s Causeway

In parts of Northern Ireland, you can just about see Scotland’s coast on clear days. This is because there’s a point where the two countries are only 12 miles apart. 5 kilometers (3 miles) northeast of the town Bushmills, there’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site called the Giant’s Causeway, where mostly hexagonal columns trail away from the coastline into the Irish Sea. It’s quite a striking view.

The Giant’s Causeway

You can imagine such a beautiful and unique formation inspired many stories explaining its existence. The prevailing tale is that Finn MacCool formed it to protect Ireland. In fact, this is the story the park shares to its visitors.

Finn Saves Ireland from a Scottish Giant (sorta)

Finn MacCool

There was a giant in Scotland named Bennandonnar who was set on claiming Ireland for himself. Well, the legendary Irish warrior and leader of the Fianna, Finn MacCool, wasn’t having any of that. Being supernaturally strong, and by some reports, a giant himself, Finn started picking up fistful after fistful of the Antrim coast and hurled these boulders into the Irish Sea so that he could run over to Scotland and beat some sense into that Scottish usurper.

He made it all the way to Staffa Island on Scotland’s coast, when he saw Bennandonnar was bigger than Finn estimated. The Irish braggart realized he would lose in a fight against his foe. So he split. That Irishman turned tail and ran as fast as his legs would carry him. He didn’t leave early enough for the Scottish giant not to see him in the distance, however. Bennandonnar chased him from a great distance, but his long legs would catch up with Finn’s own, and the Irish hero knew it.

Finn got home to his wife Sadhbh in a panicked state. He recounted the horrible mistake he’d made. Have a cooler (and arguably sharper) mind than Finn’s, she hatched a plan. Sadhbh swaddled her husband up and laid him in a bassinet. Then she hid him behind a curtain.

Soon enough, Bennandonnar came pounding his fist against the door. Sadhbh opened it up with all the graciousness of a hostess greeting a dinner guest. When the Scottish giant asked where MacCool had gone, Finn’s wife explained that her husband had gone out but would be back soon. She offered him a seat and some tea while he waited.

After a moment, Sadhbh stated that she needed to check on her and Finn’s newborn baby. She pulled back the curtain to show her husband swaddled and in a bassinet. Bennandonnar didn’t realize this was Finn. To him, it seemed as if she had the largest baby he’d ever seen in his life. And if MacCool’s baby was that large, how big was the Irishman himself?

So the Scottish giant ran back to his country, never to return again. And that is how Sadhbh MacCool saved Finn and Ireland from a fight they couldn’t win.


The Science Behind the Legend

So where did the Giant’s Causeway actually come from? The science is just as interesting as the legend (at least to me, a giant science nerd). 60 million years ago, molten basalt spewed from volcanic activity. The lava cooled into hexagonal interlocking columns of basalt. Since then, the geological wonder has fascinated everyone, from the earliest residents of Ireland to every tourist who visits the park today.

Heroes & Harbingers Updates

As promised, I have news about my upcoming release, Heroes & Harbingers. My proof came in and it’s gorgeous! Here it is in all its over-loved glory. I have cracked open this sucker so many times while writing its sequel Portals & Pantheons.

Heroes & Harbingers paperback proof


Amazon ebook preorders went live on April 19th! You can find that here. I also have paperback preorders available at Barnes & Noble here.

The ebook will be only available through Amazon for now, so that Kindle Unlimited readers can access it. However, paperbacks will be available anywhere books are sold in June. If you prefer to wait until release day to order books and think you may forget to order it when it becomes available, I recommend you follow me on Amazon Author Central for real-time updates. You can do that here. Even if you intend to purchase it from another retailer, this will notify you when it’s available.

Currently looking for ARC readers!

If you filled out my Google form to receive a free ARC of Heroes & Harbingers, I am sending those out today. If you haven’t and my news of Heroes & Harbingers has enticed you, I encourage you to volunteer as an ARC reader. An ARC reader receives a free copy of the finished ebook in exchange for an honest review on platforms such as Amazon and Goodreads. If that sounds like something you’d be interested in, please fill out the sign up form here:

Did you like reading this? Then, you’ll love my book!

Struggling With the Current is the first book in The Telverin Trilogy, a story about an exiled princess who finds herself in a terrifying world with equally frightening powers.

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Princess Eya’s life changes forever with the discovery of the Statue of the Goddess Winds, just as she’s coming of age. The long-overlooked kingdom of Hicares finds itself in a war it isn’t prepared for against the far more powerful empire of Pescel. To survive, Eya must flee her home, losing everything and everyone she loves in the process.

Yet, by leaving behind all she’s ever known, she learns that her sheltered life didn’t prepare her for the real world’s strange and frightening nature. She encounters people, places, and creatures beyond anything she ever imagined, along with sinister enemies from every direction. Perhaps her most surprising revelation is that she is developing terrifying powers of her own. Will Eya be able to find happiness in her new life, or will she continue struggling with the current?

Struggling With the Current is the first book of The Telverin Trilogy, a fantasy war story that takes place between several countries in the world of Telverin.

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  1. Pingback: Cryptid Stories with Some Fun Heroes & Harbingers Updates | A.R.K. Horton

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