The Giant of Antrim, Ireland: Biblical Titan or Colossal Hoax?
The image and descriptive article of the purported Irish petrified giant of Antrim, have made the rounds on the internet as proof of the existence of ancient giants for several years. Renown authors on the subject of giants, Hugh Newman and Jim Vieira have taken a deep dive investigating this case to figure out if there is any truth to the claims. The photo of the ‘fossilized Irish giant’ was taken at a London rail depot, and appeared in the December 1895 issue of Strand Magazine, a British publication.
The giant was claimed to have been dug up by a Mr Dyer while prospecting for iron ore in County Antrim (Ireland). The full account from the Strand Magazine reads: “Pre-eminent among the most extraordinary articles ever held by a railway company is the fossilized Irish giant, which is at this moment lying at the London and North-Western Railway Company’s Broad-street goods depot, and a photograph of which is reproduced here. This monstrous figure is reputed to have been dug up by a Mr. Dyer whilst prospecting for iron ore in Co. Antrim. The principal measurements are: Entire length, 12ft. 2in.; girth of chest, 6ft. 6.5.in.; and length of arms, 4ft. 6 in. There are six toes on the right foot. The gross weight is 2 tons 15 cwt.; so that it took half a dozen men and a powerful crane to place this article of lost property in position for the Strand Magazine artist. Dyer, after showing the giant in Dublin, came to England with his queer find and exhibited it in Liverpool and Manchester at sixpence a head, attracting scientific men as well as gaping sightseers. Business increased and the showman induced a man named Kershaw to purchase a share in the concern. In 1876, Dyer sent this giant from Manchester to London by rail; the sum of £4 2s. 6d. being charged for carriage by the company, but never paid. Evidently Kershaw knew nothing of the removal of the ‘show’, for when he discovered it he followed in hot haste, and, through a firm of London solicitors, moved the Court of Chancery to issue an order restraining the company from parting with the giant, until the action between Dyer and himself to determine the ownership was disposed of. The action was never brought to an issue.”
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Jim Vieira is a stonemason, explorer, historical detective and host of the History Channel shows -"Search for the Lost Giants" (2014) "Roanoke: Search for the Lost Colony" (2015) and "Return to Roanoke: Search the Seven" (2016). He is co-author of Giants on Record and The Giants of Stonehenge and Ancient Britain: Investigating the Lost Records, Missing Skeletons and Giant Lore of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales with Hugh Newman.
Top Image: David and Goliath by Daniele da Volterra (1550-1555) Louvre Museum (Public Domain)
By Jim Vieira