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Giants Of Ireland

Were There Really Giants In Ireland?

There are many myths of giants in Ireland, such as that of Finn McCool, who is reputed to have built the world famous Giant's Causeway in County Antrim, as stepping stones to Scotland and to have created the Isle of Man (an island in the middle of the Irish Sea) by tearing out and throwing a piece of land from Northern Ireland into the sea with the hole left behind then becoming Lough Neagh, the largest freshwater lake in the British Isles. But is it possible that these myths have their origin in the existence of real giants?

The Irish Giant

A more recent giant, known as "The Irish Giant" was Charles Byrne, who was born in 1761 and who died in London at the age of 22 years. He was 7 feet 6 inches tall at his death and his skeleton is on view in London.


Recent work in Belfast and London has identified a genetic link to gigantism and acromegaly that is particularly common in the mid Ulster area, where about 1 in 150 people carry the gene responsible. This compares with about 1 in 1000 in Belfast and 1 in 2000 in the rest of the UK. It is thought that a number of families in the Mid Ulster and County Tyrone area carry the gene, though only about 20 per cent of carriers go on to develop symptoms. A recent sufferer from gigantism and acromegaly was found to be related to The Isish Giant and it is thought that many other sufferers are also related to him. It is possible that this genetic mutation occurred over 1000 years ago.

Irish Link To America

Of course, many people in America claim links to Ireland and many Irish people left the Mid Ulster area to travel to the United States. It is possible that they carried this mutated gene with them. It would be interesting to see whether there are any links between any sufferers of gigantism and acromegaly in the United States and possible links to the Mid Ulster and County Tyrone area in Northern Ireland.

There are a couple of videos available to look at on gigantism and acromegaly at

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VinceSummers wrote on December 28, 2017, 5:49 PM

Ha! I am acromegalic! And genetically, I am about 2/3 or so Irish. As to giants other than these? I know of the nephilim (these were real) giants who roamed the earth. Quite a few legends were born due to the existence of these ones. Legends such as Hercules, and the demigods of Greece. You see, the nephilim were the offspring of a human mother and an (sinning) angelic father. These were the fallen angels who wondered what it would be like to experience physicality - pain and pleasure. The angels de-materialized during the flood, but their nephilim offspring drowned.

MegL wrote on December 28, 2017, 7:06 PM

Yes, I thought you might be interested in this recent work.

VinceSummers wrote on December 28, 2017, 8:36 PM

I am convinced that essentially all illness is a matter of genetic imperfection, rather than anything else.

MegL wrote on December 29, 2017, 3:18 AM

Yes, when I did biology and genetics, I realised that I was the product of outbreeding (parents from very different geographical locations) which appeared to give a health benefit. (You probably know a biblical quotation that mentions this.) I determined to give my children the outbreeding advantage too and married someone from a different geographic location.

melody23 wrote on December 29, 2017, 4:59 AM

All sides of my family have a little Irish in them, but none of us are giants! Rather the opposite actually, all sides of my family are full of short folk save the exception of my mums sister who is about 5 foot 6 or 7 which is pretty tall for a woman in her 50's now. She sure looks like a giant next to my mother who doesn't quite reach five full feet tall!

I have been working on our family tree for months now, its really quite interesting actually. I think it shows how people who emigrate to other countries naturally stick with people who also came from their home country. On mums side, her grandparents both came from the same town in Ireland and both moved to the same small Scottish town before they met and married.

VinceSummers wrote on December 29, 2017, 7:47 AM

Yes, inbreeding, these days, is not good. Though it mattered relatively little in earlier times. For instance: Cain married, but who? Abram (Abraham) married his half-sister, Sarai (Sarah). And Isaac and Jacob married close relatives. For that matter, how close was the DNA of Adam to that of Eve if Eve's DNA was relatively unchanged from the rib of Adam?

Last Edited: December 29, 2017, 8:00 AM

MegL wrote on December 29, 2017, 12:49 PM

Yes, I think that happens quite a lot with people who emigrate.

MegL wrote on December 29, 2017, 12:51 PM

I was thinking of the story where (Jacob?) left his employment and took half the herds of sheep and goats with him but NOT the purebred ones. Maybe they realized the survival benefits of outbreeding in those days. Sorry, can't get the reference any closer.

VinceSummers wrote on December 29, 2017, 4:18 PM

Starts Genesis 30:31. Don't mess with Jacob. He had God's backing...

MegL wrote on December 29, 2017, 7:05 PM

That's the one, spotted and speckled sheep.

Colibry21 wrote on February 18, 2018, 6:15 AM

My paternal grandfather was born in Ireland. I always liked the fact that I was second generation Canadian of Irish decent on that side.

MegL wrote on February 18, 2018, 10:05 AM

The Dublin records office has put a lot of census material up on line from 1911 and earlier. The 1921 census data was destroyed in a fire I think. You might get some family info from there.