The great folk tale deals with Gearoid Iarla, 3rd Earl of Desmond who was Chief Justice for Ireland in 1367 following the Statutes of Kilkenny. He lived from 1338 to 1398 and as well as dabbling in magic, he composed verse in both Irish and French. As a punishment for his involvement in magic, he did not die but lives beneath the waters of the lake. Every seven years he rides around the lake margin on his white horse, shod with silver shoes. When the shoes are finally worn, he will regain his mortal form and restore the glory of the Desmonds.
Owen Bresnan (1847 – 1912) in his manuscript “Lough Gur – its pillarstones, Stone Circles and traditions” recounts the following tale.
“The Covetous Herdsboy – many a tale of Lough Gur have I heard from young and old but none so valuable and interesting as that of the Bean’Ti and her golden comb. Long ago the Bean’Ti sat on her seat, having come up from the depths of the lake. She sat upon her seat and combed her hair with her golden comb which she placed beside her when the work was done. And then the Bean’Ti slept. High above the seat was the hill on which stood the Buachall or a Herdsboy, watched he the lady of the lake as she dressed her golden tresses, saw he the golden comb and coveted it for himself. Bean’Ti sleeping, dreamed not of robber Buachall, who now softly approached the seat and stole the golden comb. From that day, misfortunes hard and fast came upon the buachall and death soon came to him. When he was about to die, he ordered that the golden comb be flung into the lake and so the Bean’Ti joyfully regained it.”
Of Owen’s poems the most popular is “Teampall Nua” in which he pays tribute to Thomas O’Connellan, poet-harper who died during a feast at Bouchiers Castle c. 1700 and is buried…
”in that churchyard by Lough Gur’s romantic shore,
where the shamrocks and the ivy every grow
where the wild dove and the raven like protecting spirits soar
o’er the green graves of silent Teampall Nua”
The Farm by Lough Gur
The Farm by Lough Gur is the story of Mary Fogarty (Sissy O’Brien), born in 1858 as told to and written by Lady Mary Carbery. It was published by Longmans, Green & Co in 1937 and has been reprinted in June 2010. It is an account of life in Ireland during the second half of the 19th century. Woven into the story of the O’Brien family are the customs and superstitions of the time, Fenianism and Parnell and the coming of the antiquaries and objects being found. The house is still the same, the trees the family planted still grow.
The Lough Gur Trilogy
The Lough Gur Trilogy comprises books by local historian Michael Quinlan and are fictional accounts of pre-historic life in Lough Gur.
A Place of dreams – the Lough Gur people
“A Place of dreams – the Lough Gur people” deals with the coming of the first inhabitants – 7 families led by Fer and Gar who crossed the seas bringing animals with them. On their way disaster occurs when Gar’s family is washed overboard and drowned. Eventually they arrive and settle in Lough Gur c. 3,500B.C.
The Sun Temple
“The Sun Temple” tells of the coming of Bronze Age people to Lough Gur c. 2,500 B.C. Neken and the newcomers brought metal, horses, beaker pottery and the culture of the stone circle. They were allowed to settle on the Western tip of Knockadoon. When Neken marries Aal, a tribal bonding takes place. With the help of surrounding tribes, the huge task of building the Great Stone Circle is undertaken.
The Sun Shield
“The Sun Shield” deals with the people who lived in the stone forts of Carrig Aille in the early Christian period. They were the keepers of the Bronze Shield of Lough Gur which dates from the 7th century B.C. In a very difficult time, they made a votive offering of the shield to the lake. It was discovered in 1872. The finder, Cathal Hayes, sold it and went to America, stopping to visit Honey Fitz in Boston on his way to San Francisco. John Francis Fitzgerald was named after his father. He got the name “Honey Fitz” because of his beautiful singing voice, Mayor of Boston he emigrated from Bruff, and married Joesphine Hannon, whose father Michael Hannon was born at Lough Gur. His Grandson was the 35th US president John Francis Kennedy.
To order the Lough Gur trilogy please contact Michael Quinlan at [email protected]