Placenamesni.orgthe history behind our place-names

Giant's Causeway, County Antrim

Origin

Background

Famous columnar volcanic rock formation on the N Antrim coast, 4km NNE of Bushmills

par: Billy bar: Cary

The name Giant’s Causeway appears to be a loose translation of the original Ir. Clochán na bhFomhórach [kloghan na wo-woragh] ‘causeway of the Fomorians’, the latter being a mythical race who are depicted as demonic opponents of the divine Tuatha Dé Danann in the medieval Book of Invasions. Another Ir. name for the Giant’s Causeway was Tóchar na dTréanfhear [togher na drainar] ‘causeway of the strong men/warriors’. In more recent times the Causeway was known in Ir. as Clochán an Aifir [kloghan an affir] which appears to be a corruption of the earlier Clochán na bhFomhórach. A legend tells how Finn Mac Cool used the causeway to return to Ireland having vanquished his Scottish rival Benandonner. The Giant’s Causeway is in the townland of AIRD [Clochán na bhfogmharach c.1675].

References

McKay, P. (2007): A Dictionary of Ulster Place-Names, p. 72

Additional Information

Historical name form

Old FormRef. DateReference
Giants Causeway1780Lendrick Map
Giants'' Causeway1830OSM xvi 41, 47
Giants'' Causeway (physical description)1830OSM xvi 36-37, 41
~Clochán an Aifir1989GÉ 225
~Clochán an Aifir1989GÉ 225
Clochán na bhFomhórach ""causeway of the Fomorians""1999Dict. Ulst. PN 72
Tóchar na dTréanfhear ""causeway of the strong men/1999Dict. Ulst. PN 72
~Clochán an Aifir1999Dict. Ulst. PN 72
Barony
Cary
Parish
Billy
Parish in 1851
Billy
Townland
Aird
Place name ID
15384
Place name type
M:W