Were there Giants in Ireland long ago?

photo by Eoin Mac Lochlainn of Glacial Erratic in the Cavan Burren

Well, you’d have to wonder who put that huge sandstone rock on top of the limestone plinth, wouldn’t you?  Is it possible that we had giants living here in the old days, after all?

Who knows, but I was given another explanation recently and it had to do with time – or maybe you could say that it was because of the weather.

This is one of many strange sights in the Cavan Burren Park which we visited recently. This park is located on a limestone plateau in Co. Cavan that was formed about 340 million years ago, in the Carboniferous Period.

Then, during the last Ice Age (about 13,000 years ago), huge boulders of sandstone were carried along by glaciers and deposited on the limestone plateau. These boulders, known as ‘Glacial Erratics’, can be seen throughout the park, proudly sitting on their limestone plinths.

pencil drawing by Eoin Mac Lochlainn of glacial erratic in the Burren, Co.Clare

Now, the park in Cavan is wonderfully lush and sheltered so it doesn’t look anything like the Burren in Co. Clare but, as you can see above, one of my pencil sketches from Clare shows a lonely ‘Glacial Erratic’ lying on the limestone pavement – as it might’ve looked after the last Ice Age.

But why the plinths? Yes, yes, I’m coming to that.

Limestone is softer than sandstone so – time and the weather gradually eroded the limestone, all except for the bits that were protected by the sandstone boulders – so that’s why they have their plinths. It’s only natural.

Other natural geological features such as sinkholes, an empty gorge and a dry riverbed (where a river disappeared underground), further explain why this amazing area was recognised by UNESCO as a global Geopark.

But back to the giants. Yes, they’ve been on my mind recently as I’ve been reading about Don Quixote and how he thought that the windmills were giants. The Olivier Cornet Gallery has been invited to exhibit at this year’s Opera Festival in Wexford and the show will be entitled: ‘Drawing on Don Quixote’.

More news about this coming soon.





  1. Like the drawing Eoin !- synchronicity?- because we have just been clambering over an ocean coastal rocky island , beach accessible on foot only at very low tide , (at Noja nr Santander ); of metamorphic conglomerate, heavily pitted and weathered and we thought it just like the Burren but not ‘straight’ limestone, but with a blast of heat from GAIA’s belly !- we are stranded here for few days (very happily) due storm Lorenzo agus a cháirde and our postponed sailing to Cork is now set for Sunday – more whale watching! – gives us time for more wonder and a chance to enjoy https://www.facebook.com/groups/367578480056670/?ref=bookmarks , met the curator Jésus, who then had us meet the Mayor and now we are discussing getting the exhibition to Ireland ! ; I can just imagine your having a 1 sq M watercolour in this show , next time !


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