Tuesday we went to Giants' Causeway, a place noted for its polygonal columnar basalt (like that of Staffa in the Hebrides), on the coast of County Antrim. It is a much ballyhooed and successful tourist attraction (though here again the visitors' center had been burned); but it seemed a little silly to have driven so far into Northern Ireland for scenery when we had finer right within walking distance. Nor am I much impressed by the alleged mythic significance of the place, which I suspect of being cooked up or warmed over for purposes of tourism. The story turns Finn mac Cumhail (here "Finn McCool") into a fairy-tale giant. The twelfth-century Tales of the Elders of Ireland (Acallam na Senórach) admittedly notes that when the last survivors of the fían met with St. Patrick and his men, "the tallest of the clerics came only to the waist or shoulder-tops of these great men, who were already sitting down" (trans. Ann Dooley and Harry Roe, Oxford U.P., 1999, p. 5; compare the account of Sigurd's stature in the Volsungasaga). Still, making Finn a fairy-tale giant strikes me as infantilizing Irish myth, possibly as part of the standard rationale for subjugating any group: "They're just like children."
Speaking of children, though, our three enjoyed climbing around on the columns as you can see. I could have wished that Trevor had more deeply pondered the significance of the ambulances that had overtaken us as we were driving to this point. The scene to which they had been called was not twenty yards from where he is standing in the photo.
Wednesday afternoon I dropped Stas and the children off at Five Fingers Strand while I went on to Carndonagh to try (in vain, as in Derry Monday) to upload the northern installments of this journal. The children's afternoon, playing on the dunes, appears to have been more successful than mine; but I'll try again today (Thursday).