Legend: Fionn mac Cumhaill, also known as Finn McCool, was an Ulsterman. He was the leader of the Fianna (so he was the original unrepentant Fenian bastard!)
Comment: Bad news for the DUP
Finn’s son Oisinn (another giant) returned home as a decrepit old man after running off to join the fairies
Comment: More bad news for the DUP
Finn’s big claim to fame was that he built
because he had to go to Scotland to fight a Scottish giant. But he had a hot and wily wife, who disguised Finn as a baby to save him from defeat at the hands of the Scot!
Being a giant was Finn’s main claim to fame as all his prodigious works were due to his being big!!
Comment:Finn wasn’t the only legendary Irish giant. Others included
Nuada the Silver Arm, who ceded his kingdom to
Lugh The Longhand. Both were giants and great warriors.
Cultures worldwide contain stories of monstrously big and strong human-like beings. They are often portrayed as primeval beings like Pan Gu, sometimes as the precursors of the gods, sometimes in conflict with them as in Greek and Norse mythologies. In the Old Testament the small youth, David overcame the giant, Goliath
Comment: Good news for the DUP
Even the English have the story of
Jack and the Beanstalk
Comment: more good news for the DUP
So let’s examine the myth: who were the giants?– Did Finn McCool exist? Was he really a giant?
Fact 1: Gigantism, occuring in childhood prior to the closure of the growth plates in the long bones, has been described since ancient times, Two partial skeletons, one from Poland and another from Egypt, were identified as “probable” cases of gigantism.
A Roman specimen was found in 1991 during an excavation at an Italian necropolis. At 6 feet, 8 inches (202 centimeters) tall, the man would have been a giant in third-century A.D. Rome, where men averaged about 5 and a half feet (167 centimeters) tall. Interestingly, the second century A.D. emperor Maximinus Thrax was described in literature as a “human mountain.”
Fact 2: As far back as 3750 years ago, giants appear to have sprung from a mutant gene – the aryl hydrocarbon-interacting protein gene (AIP). The ‘gigantism gene’ was identified in the DNA of Charles Byrne,
an 18th century man from Northern Ireland. He harboured a mutant gene predisposing to gigantism and the mutation persists in the contemporary population of Northern Ireland.
It is still causing excessive growth in families in the same area of Northern Ireland where Charles Byrne was born.
The mutant gene was found in living patients from four Northern Irish families. In Mid-Ulster, about 1 in 150 people carry this genetic mutation of the AIP gene. So around 200 to 300 people may be carrying the same mutation today
Scientists suspect they all inherited the gene from the same common ancestor who lived up to 66 generations ago.
Query: Do Finn McCool’s descendants still walk among us today in Northern Ireland ?
PS – Another fact: The Giant’s Causeway is an area of about 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, the result of an ancient volcanic eruption around 50 to 60 million years ago