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The Irish myth of the Giant's Causeway - Iseult Gillespie

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On the coast of Northern Ireland, a vast plateau of basalt slabs and columns called the Giant’s Causeway stretches into the ocean. The scientific explanation for this is that it’s the result of molten lava contracting and fracturing as it cooled in the wake of a volcanic eruption. But an ancient Irish myth has a different accounting. Iseult Gillespie recounts the Giant's Causeway myth.

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Meet The Creators

  • Educator Iseult Gillespie
  • Director Dylan Glynn
  • Animator Dylan Glynn, Samantha Maurer
  • Editor Dylan Glynn
  • Art Director Dylan Glynn
  • Storyboard Artist Dylan Glynn
  • Illustrator Dylan Glynn
  • Character Designer Dylan Glynn
  • Composer Joseph Mpalirwa
  • Sound Designer Ryan Ongaro
  • Associate Producer Bethany Cutmore-Scott, Elizabeth Cox
  • Content Producer Gerta Xhelo
  • Editorial Producer Alex Rosenthal
  • Narrator Addison Anderson

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Additional Resources for you to Explore
Finn MacCool is an important figure in Irish mythology—one who is not always portrayed as a giant, but who is known for his cunning, strength and wit. Finn is the protagonist of the Fenian cycle of Irish mythology, which is rich in tales of love, magic and war.

The question remains as to whether the Causeway is a product of an intense rivalry between giants, or the result of an aggressive lava flow. For the scientific explanation, click here. You can find out more about basalt formations and the wonders of this igneous rock here. See a close-up of the Causeway in this video.

Today the Causeway is a Unesco World Heritage Site and part of the National Trust, as well as an exciting object of study for geologists. Among some 40,000 slabs of rock at the Giant’s Causeway, strange marks of a giant’s hand appear. The Giant’s Boot looks like a stone shoe about to send a nearby boulder flying, while the Giant’s Gate resembles the entrance to a towering fortress with its tall, tightly packed columns. And, across the sea, the remnants of a great mythological rivalry remain at Fingal’s Cave.

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About TED-Ed Animations

TED-Ed Animation lessons feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Iseult Gillespie
  • Director Dylan Glynn
  • Animator Dylan Glynn, Samantha Maurer
  • Editor Dylan Glynn
  • Art Director Dylan Glynn
  • Storyboard Artist Dylan Glynn
  • Illustrator Dylan Glynn
  • Character Designer Dylan Glynn
  • Composer Joseph Mpalirwa
  • Sound Designer Ryan Ongaro
  • Associate Producer Bethany Cutmore-Scott, Elizabeth Cox
  • Content Producer Gerta Xhelo
  • Editorial Producer Alex Rosenthal
  • Narrator Addison Anderson

Share

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