Finn McCool…

Erin Schaden
5 min readMay 24, 2024

He could have been anyone really. You. Me. But he was legendary. He is the mythical man, excuse me giant, who is responsible for the existence of Giant’s Causeway. According to his epic legend, he created the hexagonal rock formations on the edge of the Antrim coast, in order to fight off a Scottish giant interloper. Apparently he needed more land than was available at the time so that he might achieve a better footing.

In truth, McCool was simply claiming creation rights over the volcanic eruptions that likely caused the whole structure in the first place. So apparently taking credit for shit you didn’t do, is actually a legendary process.

Whether it was really McCool or volcanoes, the fact remains that Giant’s Causeway is pretty spectacular. And it was the only destination I had listed on my Irish trek. And I have to say, I was somewhat disappointed. I didn’t know that it was a touristy thing. I somehow thought Ireland had escaped the throngs of lookey Lous. Somehow Ireland was able to preserve the natural wonder while also preserving the remoteness and peaceful abiding that hexagonal formations on a rocky short might conjure up in one’s mind.

No such luck. I was shocked to find that it is a place of tour buses and the masses. I am not sure why I thought I would happen upon this place in some solitary form. Seemed to me that places where giants defended would somehow be immune to progress…if we can even call it that.

I know that many people might have felt like me, like they needed to see this place. Like it called to them, beckoned to them from the beyond. And perhaps they were similarly let down when they realized the only way to see it was en masse with a few thousand other people.

What a bummer.

For me, the beauty of a place needs a quiet resolve. A unhurried pace, a nothing better to do vibe. Without it, it is just another item on life’s long checklist of experiences. And that, at least to me, takes away from the whole experience.

I didn’t want to be there with all those other people. Being in crowds makes me crazy these days. I find myself needing and wanting to escape the masses every chance I get. And I find myself annoyed at the interlopers, even though they aren’t really interlopers…like at all. I am just like them, there is no difference, the fact that I want to be there alone, and am annoyed to have to share a space with others, kind of makes me more of an asshole than them, in fact. I see this.

But channeling McCool, I think I get why he was so hellbent on running off the Scottish invader. I mean, that place is really something and I can relate with McCool’s need to run others off and away. I felt the same way about the throngs of others there with me when I went. And I felt myself wishing, quite desperately, that I would metamorphize into a giant who was capable of holding off the others, so I could have the place all to myself.

Perhaps McCool and I were kindred spirits. We both needed our peace and Giant’s causeway was where we thought we might find it at long last.

I hope McCool fared better than I. I achieved no success while there. Like none at all. My best efforts were to walk hurriedly to the coastline, and then attempt to find an out of the way spot where I could let the majesty of the place envelope me…I had marginal success.

I am not sure why sharing the locale with others ruins it for me, I can only admit that it does. There is something about standing in nature in solitary form that allows the experience to be something other worldly. And when there are people like ants swarming about the place, I just hate it all. I know, I know, my selfishness seems to hold no bounds. I get it. And I see it. And I know.

However, all the acceptance and knowledge in the world would not ever change how I feel. I need the solitude to appreciate and that is just how I am. And I like to think that McCool’s legend might speak to the same feeling and vibe. I think, he too, needed the space in order to allow his soul to rest there. And the presence of others, be they tourists or Scottish interlopers, the result is the same.

Funny, McCool’s selfishness spawned a legend and mine just reeks of self aggrandizement and self centeredness. Amazing how a few hundred thousand years can change things.

Giant’s causeway was amazing. And I am grateful I went there. However, I will admit that after all the vistas I was privileged to view while in Ireland…Giant’s Causeway paled in comparison to perhaps the less grand, but no less impressive other vistas I got to view and experience in a hushed and out of the way feeling.

The experience is somewhat ruined by my own humanity…in a multitude of ways. I see that, no really I do. My own humanity ruins quite a lot of lovely things as it turns out. And so does yours. Humanity might just be the thing we all have to survive in this life. The will and might of the masses may just be the very thing that threatens us and our ability to truly commune with the natural world. Because with it we bring litter, debris, disrespect and this idea that somehow we are entitled to more than we are due.

And as much as I would like to draw the line in such a way as to excuse myself, I can’t. I am just as much part of the problem as anyone else. Sad, but true.

So I will keep attempting to escape the crowds and the throngs in my effort to experience a deeper connection to the places that call to me. And I will also, attempt, to not greatly dislike those who want a similar vista. I said attempt…I am working on it folks!

For now, McCool and I are simpatico. I want to run off the warring factions too, but I don’t have such a cool name, or the ability to create my own causeway for the fight….yet.



Erin Schaden

Who am I? I am all that I write, all that I learn, share and grow. Read and find out? Check out for more.