Finn McCool & The Cloughmore Stone

Most have heard about Finn McCool and the Giants Causeway but the lesser known story is that of Finn McCool and the Cloughmore Stone on the shore of Carlingford Lough! There are many different versions of this story but below is my favourite version.

The story begins with Finn McCool pursuing a wild boar across Slieve Foy mountain in Carlingford and slew it. He cooked it on top of the smouldering Volcano that had long since erupted but which still emitted enough heat to cook the unfortunate but delicious hog. He lay down to sleep and woke as the dawn sun began to rise in the Mourne’s, and as he cast his eyes on Carlingford Lough below, a great shadow stretched over the Lough and momentarily blocked out the sun. To his surprise he saw another giant as big as himself, a white shield slung over his shoulder, armed with a mighty sword in one hand and a club in the other.

“Who are you?” shouted Finn his voice reverberating around the mountains. “I am the cock of the North,” shouted the other giant and he began to crow and flap his elbows like they were wings.”If I go across that Lough, said Finn, I’ll put the crowing off you mighty quick.”

“Cool down Finn McCool,” said the other giant. “If you want to know my name, it’s Ruscaire, I am the Giant of Snow and Ice, the enemy of the whole human race, and if it’s fighting you want I’m your man.”

You dare to challenge me said Finn, I, the Giant of Summer. You may think you have conquered me, you may even hold me prisoner, but in the end I will break out and the whole of nature will rejoice.

There was no escape from battle now, both giants drew their swords, each with one foot in Carlingford Lough, and the other astride the mountains. They fought day and night with swords and on the second day with clubs. On the third morning Ruscaire awoke early from the nights slumber, and while Finn still slept he crossed the Lough and stole the sword of Finn. He could have slain him as he slept but he had some honour.

When Finn awoke and found that his sword was gone and that Ruscaire had taken it, he fell into a great rage, picked up stones and fired them at him across the water. A great battle of stone and rock firing began, thumping down and rocking the very foundations of the mountains. Close to where Finn stood lay the Cloughmore stone, it weighed nearly 50 tons. With a great effort, Finn, summonsing all his strength, gathered his great arms around it and hurled it at Ruscaire. It landed on the unfortunates head. It crushed his great body back into the mountain where it melted away like ice beneath the stone.

Finn overtaxed himself with the mighty effort, he was exhausted and lay down on top of the smouldering volcano to sleep. His head lay at the mountain top and his feet rested in the Lough. Such was his tiredness that he never awakened and as the years passed by, his great body turned to rock, and the outline of his body can be seen to this day!

The author of this version of the story has been lost to me – so apologies for lack of credit. Photo Credit – Tourism Ireland

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