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The Connemara Giant : Modern Irish Mythology

It is said that you haven't truly visited Connemara until you have touched the hand of the Connemara Giant.

Perched atop his pedestal in Recess, halfway between Galway city and Clifden, Conn is my first welcome to Connemara.

Connemara Giant, Joyce's Craft Shop, Recess, Ireland

The Legend of the Connemara Giant

We were woefully unaware of the legend of the Connemara Giant during our first visit to Connemara in 2012, only learning about the myth surrounding this late 20th century antiquity upon our return home.

Local legend says that if you touch the hand of the Connemara Giant you will be blessed with the knowledge of his ancient tribe.

But which hand is the ‘hand of knowledge'?

Connemara Giant, Joyce's Craft Shop, Recess, Ireland
Is this the hand of knowledge?

This question was still weighing on our mind when we returned to Connemara in the fall of 2013.

After paying a visit to Conn, we crossed the road to Joyce's Craft Shop, “For those of you, who like this sort of place, this is the sort of place you like,” says the sign to the right of the door. The shop, filled with woolens, jewelry, books, trinkets, and treasures made of Connemara Marble, is a terrific stop for gifts and souvenirs. And while we bought a few trinkets to bring home, what we were actually in search of was an answer to our question.

It's not often that you meet the man behind a legend, but the luck of the Irish must have been with us as Mark Joyce, the artist who crafted the Connemara Giant, was in the shop. Caelan, ever curious and not afraid to ask a silly question, raised the issue with Mark. “Which hand are you supposed to touch?” she asked.

Mark Joyce, creator of the Connemara Giant
Caelan and Brenna with Mark Joyce, the man behind the legend

After a moment or two of silence Mark replied, “No one has ever asked me that before. I don't know!”

Perhaps you should touch both – just to be sure.

The Connemara Giant is one connected legend! Like him on Facebook (he loves to see your photos- starring him, of course!).

And Mark has a wonderful page, Mythology Ireland– be sure to check it out!




Jody Halsted
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