Abbildungen der Seite

was only remembered by one old man of Cromwellian descent at Dun Innees (or Dun Aengusa), for others found the name in various forms, evidently archaic, and not merely derived from O'Flaherty's works (1687), in the period of O'Donovan's Letters as Dun Unguish, or Dun Ungust, and Dun Eanees.1 Dun -Croohoor, Conor, or, as O'Flaherty writes: "Conquovar," was attributed to Conchobhair na Siudaine (O'Brien, King of Thomond), who was slain 1267; the old name, as we saw, was Conchiurn. The theory that the Clann Umoir were "gods of darkness," routed by the "solar gods" of Tara, is unconvincing in the abuse of solar theories in the last century.

We have seen that Rev. Caesar Otway placed Domnall Duailbuidhe among the Tuatha De, not (as the Tain bo Flidhais shows) among the mortals of the Gamanraighe. He calls Dun Domhnall (which in the Annals, under 1386, is Dún Domhnainn, connected with another human family, the Fir Domnann of Iorris, or Erris) "a doon of the Tuatha De Dannann," but (as we saw) he was most uncritical. It is, however, certain that at a rather similar fortified knoll in Co. Clare, Croaghateeaun (Cruach an t sidaun, the humped Hill of the fairies or "fairy blast"), we were told to cross ourselves on entering the fort "because of the Dannanns "2 so perhaps Otway after all had other reasons for the statement than his mere theory.

Chief among the gods remembered in north-west Connacht is Mananánn macLir, the sea god. Roderic O'Flaherty identified him with Orbsen, from whom Loch Oirbsen, or Loch Corrib, the great lake behind Galway city, is named.3 Larminie gives a tale from one P. M'Grale, in Achill, where much is told of Mananánn, King of Erin, as "a king of druidism and enchantments and devils-craft" and "the best man of druidism to be found." Kaytuch, son of King Keeluch, and Londu, son of the King of Loch Gur (a well-known fairy lake in Co. Limerick


1S. Ferguson, Dublin Univer. Magazine (1853), vol. xli. p. 95; Haverty's Guide for the British Assoc. (1858).

2 Folk-Lore, vol. xxi. p. 343; vol. xxiv. p. 97.

A Chorographical Description of West or Hlar Connaught (ed. James Hardiman, 1846), p. 55.

Irish Folk-Tales (1893), p. 1.

and a centre of legendary druidism according to those who with no evidence choose to regard remotely prehistoric circles as druidic temples) go to study druidism with him. It will be remembered that the " whole fleet" of the Danaan at Croaghateeaun came from the seaward side, up Croaghateeaun.1 The Achill story has curious and archaic features, but how far these were true folktales and how far booklore I am not in a position to determine.

The sea-god Lir (divested of his divinity) figures in Mayo legend as the father of the Swan children; a fruitful subject for a paper by itself; this tale calls for a student. The swans are remembered from Portacloy to Inisglora. They were three boys and a girl, children of a king, and turned to swans by their cruel stepmother. She compelled them to haunt the roughest "streams" (i.e. tideways), chief of which is the tiderace called Straffoda-con, running up the east creek of Broadhaven, between the promontory forts of Dookeeghan (Dumhach Ui Caochain) and Duncarton (Dun Certain or Dunkirtaan). Her power ceased on Sunday, when, as we saw, the hapless birds sat on the church of Inisglora till delivered by the saint. When a sinful hand touched them they fell to dust. The swan song of the dying princess is preserved. Other legends told of them resting in the cliff forts of Dun Fiachrach and Dunminulla.2 If, indeed, the word eala (swan) be a component of the last name, as Scales' map (1776) and Bald's map (1813) with "Dunvinalla' suggest, we have an allusion to the enchanted birds, but I never heard any local person from Downpatrick to Belmullet name the huge fort platform anything but Dunminulla, as also Otway and his friend Henri name it. Otway tells us of yet a fifth site which he calls "Tholler na Amloodheer." Here a man came from the east and fought on behalf of the royal birds in a field near Shaen Lodge close to Belmullet.3

1 Folk-Lore, vol. xiv. pp. 97-98; see also vol. xxi. p. 198, and vol. ii. Silva Gadelica, pp. 123-6.

2 Described in Journal Roy. Soc. Antt. Ir. vol. xlii, p. 124, p. 197. Fiachra was one of the sons.

3 Erris and Tyrawly, pp. 95-97, and Dr. Charles Browne, Proc. R.I. Acad. vol. iii. (ser. iii.), p. 641.

Finn and the Giants.

Closely connected with the Finn legends is that of the Glas gaibhneach cow, with it long ancestral line of myths and kindred tales of many lands and ages. As at Torry Island and elsewhere, the cow is even more closely connected in Donegal and Mayo with the far more archaic legends of the demon-god "Balor of the baleful eye." W. Larminie1 gives John MacGinty's version from Achill. It begins with a tale of the "Strasburg Clock" or "Prentice Pillar " type. The master mason, Gobán Saor and his son build a palace for Balor Beimann and the latter removes the scaffold to leave them to die of starvation lest they should build as good a house for someone else. A girl reminds them that it is easier to throw down seven stones than to put up one, and Balor, seeing the impending ruin of his palace, hastened to let them down. An exactly similar story is told at some of our round towers and castles. To continue, the second part of the tale shows Balor questioning his victims as to the best smith to do the iron-work, Gobán replies "the Gavidjeen Go." The latter artificer would want for payment the celebrated gloss (cow) which can fill twenty barrels with milk. Balor gave her without her halter and the Gavidjeen Go used to agree with every champion who came to buy a sword that the purchaser should tend the cow for a day, for she used to graze at Cruachawn of Connaught and drink in the evening at Ulster. Kian was one of the applicants, and was warned that if he did not bring back the gloss in safety he should lay his head on the anvil and be beheaded with his own sword. Kian took the cow by the tail when he was called to hold the sword, and letting her go she ran away. The smith demanded the penalty and Kian asked for a respite of three days to recover her. Kian coming to the sea got the use of a curach (skin canoe from Mananann, and after many adventures over sea got the cow's halter from Balor's daughter and, despite the giant's attempt to slay him, recovered the cow. The story may be profitably compared with the tale of Balor, Kinealy and the

Irish Folk-Tales (1893), p. 1.

glas at Torry Island,1 and the smith Lon, Caeilte and the glas on Glasgeivnagh Hill, Co. Clare, besides other variants in Kerry and elsewhere.

This tale belongs rather doubtfully to the Finn cycle; to turn to the undoubted tales of the hero we find that at Downpatrick Head he, like his son Oisin in the poems, is made a contemporary of St. Patrick. A curious variant of the Geodruisge legend (where a stone or spear is hurled at the saint in hostility) makes Finn so anxious to help the saint in building the little oratory that he hurled a granite boulder for its material, which fell short and used to be pointed out in Ballyglen when Otway visited the place. In 1839 Finn's adventures were told by the professional story-tellers in North Mayo; the name "Seefin" attached to more than one lofty summit which the hero used as a seat. Finn's rival in love, Diarmait, and the faithless wife, Grainne, were (and are) remembered at various prehistoric monuments, not dolmens, as elsewhere, but rings of stones, as at those in Ballyglas (Tirawley) and Glengad (Erris, near Duncarton), though I suspect the one at the last to be modern derived from some book. I did not hear the lovers' names at the dolmens of Achill and Murrisk. At the dolmen in Glengad, however, "Darby " was a great giant who left the marks of his fingers on the cover of " Darby and Grania's bed," but the legend of the lovers seemed forgotten. Gal mac Morni was one of the numerous reputed builders of Doona Castle

Lady Wilde notes a legend near Killeries. Finn and Oscar came to Lisnakeeran fort and here its owner entertained them, but, when they tried to get up after dinner, their followers were stuck to the benches. Finn and Oscar being suspicious at not being offered chairs were left free. Finn then bit his prophetic thumb and saw a hideous warrior riding towards the fort. Knowing that all was lost if the warrior crossed a certain 1 Ulster Journal of Archæology (Edmund Getty, 1845), vol. i. 1853, pp. 140sqq. Abstracted in Roy. Soc. Antt. Handbook, No. vi. p. 2.

2 See Folk-Lore, vol. xxiii. p. 89, and xxiv. p. 100.

3 Erris and Tyrawly, p. 259.

Ancient Legends (1887), vol. i. p. 158.

ford Oscar ran to meet him, and, after a fierce fight, cut off his head. He sprinkled the blood over each of his warriors save one, and they were at once free. The last, however, had

to be pulled off, tearing off all his skin, to replace which they used the raw skin of a sheep which grew on to him and the patient recovered, but they used to shear seven stone of wool off him every year! I found no Finn tales in the Islands.

The Giants.

Legends of the giants have at least a respectable antiquity in this district, for one of them has found a place in the Life of St. Patrick, as told in the Book of Armagh. The saint had come into the territory of MacEarca, in Dichuil and Aurchuil, in Co. Mayo, when he reached a huge sepulchre his followers refused to believe that any man of corresponding size had ever lived, so Patrick raised its occupant from the dead. He was a cowherd of Lugir, a king contemporary with King Cairbre a century before, and, though his aspect was so terrible that none could bear to look on him, he humbly thanked Patrick for having released him, even for a moment, fron the "everlasting bonfire." The saint assured the monster that if he only believed and was baptized he should return to happiness. The pagan needed little argument after his fearful experience, was admitted to the faith and died at once. The promontory forts are frequently connected with giants, we have noted the tales of the giant Geodruisge (Deodruisc or Johdhrick) at Downpatrick and Dunbriste; 1 Kirtaan, at Duncarton; Fiachra, at Dun Fiachrach; Eanir (Ean Fhir), at Dunaneanir and Darrig (Dearg), at Dunadearg,2 near Port na Francagh. In the remarkable triple headland fort, the Dun and Dangan of Kilmore, on Achillbeg3 I heard of two giant brothers who lived respectively in the two first-named forts. One always remained on guard, but, in the dim evening light, he saw a monstrous 1 Supra, vol. xxvii. p. 226.

2 Roy. Soc. Antt. Ir. vol. xlii. pp. 103, 197, 205, 209.

3 Proc. Roy. Ir. Acad. vol. xxix. (C), p. 29; Roy. Soc. Antt. Ir. vol. xliv. p. 313.

« ZurückWeiter »