Cave of the Giants

Thursday August 02, 2018 Written by Ronan

It was some 60 million years ago that a slow moving lava flow left its mark on Scotland’s Inner Hebrides island. Towering 21 metres high and extending 82 metres deep, the technicoloured chasm known as Fingal’s Cave features near-perfect hexagonal-columned walls, giving it an eeriely human-made appearance.

The Celts knew it as Uamh-Binn, or Melodious Cave, and believed it was created by an industrious giant named Fionn mac Cumhaill. Legend has it the cave was at one end of a bridge that linked Scotland and Ireland. The other end supossedly formed the Giant's Causeway in Ireland, whose strange basalt structures we've written about earlier.

The cave has gone on to inspire artists and writers as varied as Jules Verne, John Keats, Pink Floyd and former Bjork beau Matthew Barney, who filmed part three of his Cremaster Cycle there. German composer Felix Mendelssohn was so moved by Fingal's Cave that the opening phrase to his overture The Hebrides came to him while he was inside it. You can listen to the song here, while you book the next flight to Scotland.