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Folklore Friday - Fingal's Cave

Folklore Friday - Fingal's Cave
By Sophie 3 months ago 276 Views No comments


This unbelievable formation is situated on the island of Staffa and is surrounded by myth. With many theories as to how it came to be, many think volcanic activity was responsible for this stunning cave, while others are sure it was giants. Either way, this unique cave was inspiration for a very famous poem by James MacPherson, as well as a pointing by Turner.

MacPherson's poem speaks of a hero named Fingal, or Fionn mac Cumhaill. In Irish and Gaelic mythology, Fingal was a courageous warrior who built a causeway between Scotland and Northern Ireland. The columns on Staffa are thought to be the remains of this connecting bridge, with was made of the same basalt columns.

Fionn mac Cumhaill, sometimes transcribed in English as MacCool or MacCoul, was a mythical hunter-warrior of Irish mythology. 'Fionn' means blond, fair or bright. With a childhood name of Deimne, which means 'sureness' or 'certainty'. It is said that Fionn gained his name when his hair turned prematurely white.

Many geographical features are attributed to Fionn, one of which is the giant's causeway. Theories over whether Fingal was a real man, or a giant are common, and we wonder, did he build the causeway to fight another giant, or to make friends?

Mythology aside the column features of this incredible formation allow for amazing acoustics and sounds, which resonate through the walls. This resulted in it gaining the Gaelic name 'Uamh-Binn' which means 'The Cave of Melody'.

If you'd like to take a look at the cave yourself, take a boat tour to the Isle of Staffa during spring and early summer, when the cliffs and grassy slopes provide nesting sites for various seabirds, including Puffins!