Uilleachas - The Legend of the Inukshuk

  Belmullet, Co. Mayo.

  Béal an Mhuirthead, Co. Mhaigh Eo.

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Belmullet - Erris Our Ancient Land Our Legends

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 Our Legends Uileachas
       
     
 

Erris is a mysterious land, alive with legend, heritage and adventure.

Enjoy reading some of our legends.

The Legend of the Children of Lir

A long time ago King Lir and his beautiful wife had four children. There names were Conn, Aedh, Fiachra and Fionnuala.

Sadly Lir’s wife died leaving Lir with his four young children. He was heartbroken but after some time he married his wife’s sister Aoife. She was very jealous and felt that Lir loved his children more than he loved her.

She decided to do something about this and plotted to kill them. However because of their beauty and their beautiful singing voices she couldn’t bring herself to commit this terrible deed. She brought them instead to Loch Dairbhreach in County Meath where she cast a spell on them which turned them into swans.

Lir was beside himself with grief when he found they were missing. One day he heard beautiful singing voices coming from the shores of the lake and rushed to find his children. Instead he saw four beautiful swans. In a mournful song Fionnuala told him their story and how they were doomed to spend 900 years on the waters around Ireland – 300 on Loch Dairbhreach another 300 years on Shruth na Maoile and the last 300 years off the coast of Iorras in Co. Mayo. Lir came to the lake every day to visit the swans and listen to their beautiful singing. The grief was too much to bear and he soon died of a broken heart.

In their final days the swans landed on the shores of Innis Glóra off the coast of the Mullet peninsula. This island was inhabited by Christian monks and after their evening prayers they were drawn to the shores by the sound of beautiful singing voices. Again Fionnuala sang of their plight and on hearing this, the monks blessed the swans. The spell was broken and they immediately regained their human form.

Of course, by this time, they were old and decrepit. They were then baptised by St. Mochamóg and are buried on Innis Glóra. Legend has it that the four Children of Lir were buried in the form of a cross. Four grave stones can be still identified in the shape of a cross on Innis Glóra.


St. Deirbhle and St. Deirbhle’s Well

Among many of the legends associated with the Erris area is the legend of St. Deirbhle.  A lady of noble lineage-her father was Cormac Mac Daithí- (Annals of Connaught); Deirbhle was being pursued by a suitor who was dearly in love with her.  She, on the other hand, wanted to devote her life to working hard, with the poor and in the service of god.

Do what she may; she could not convince her father or her suitor that she wasn’t interested on marriage.  Eventually she left her native County Meath and travelled westwards till she reached Fál Mór at the southern tip of the Mullet peninsula.  Here she spent her time in prayer and working among the people of the area.

However ‘love is a disease that herbs won’t cure’ and her suitor was not satisfied ‘till he found Deirbhle in Fál Mór.  Here he professed his undying love for her while she tried to persuade him that there was no future for them together.

At last she asked him what it was about her, more than any other girl, which attracted him to her.  “Your beautiful eyes” was his response.  With that she plucked out her eyes and threw them towards him.  With horror and a broken heart he left her never to return.  Deirbhle, now blind, continued her work with difficulty.  One day as she was stumbling through the sand dunes in Fál Mór she heard the ripple on a stream near her.  She bent down to bathe her face in the water and as soon as the water touched her eyes her sight miraculously returned.  From then on St. Deirbhle’s well became a holy well and a place of pilgrimage especially for people suffering from eye ailments.

An annual pilgrimage takes place on August 15th.

According to legend St. Deirbhle is buried near the ruins of the old monastery in Fál Mór Graveyard. Deirbhle’s church is now a national monument and probably dates to the early Christian period.  The ruins, as they appear today, were probably built in the twelfth century replacing or incorporating an earlier structure.

Legend has it that if you can pass through the small east window you will never drown or better still heaven is your reward!


“Sail Óg Rua”

Seo scéal Sail Óg Rua mar a thóg mé as Fánaíocht i gContae Mhaigh Eo, leabhar a scríobh m’athair Séamus Mag Uidhir, beannacht Dé leis.

Tráth amháin ba mhór ar fad an cháil a bhí ar na h-aontaí a bhíodh i mBéal an Mhuirthead, go mór mhór ar aonach Lá’l Muire Beag agus aonach na Samhna.  Bhíodh ceannaithhóirí ó chuile cheard sa gcontae mórán, ar na h-aontaí seo mar go mba mhór and tír chaorach é an ceantar thart ar an mbaile mór, an trath sin. 

Chuile lá riamh bfhearr oileáin Inis Géidhe i gcomhair caorach ná áit ar bith eile ar an mórthír thart ar an gcósta sin. B’fhurasta na caoirigh a thigeadh as na hoileáin a phiocadh amach ar aonach Bhéal an Mhuirthead, bhíodh said chomh ramhar beathaithe sin.  Dá bhrí si bhíodh tóir mhór i gcónaí ag na ceannaitheoirí go léir ar chaoiraigh na n-oileán ar aontaí Bhéal an Mhuirthead. 

San tráth sin bhí triúr deartháireacha de na Breathnaigh ina gcónaí in Inis Géidhe.  Fir breátha, chrua-dhéanta a bhí iontu agus bhí sé de cháil ortha nár dhún said súil riamh ar an mbochtán ná ar an té a raibh call ná fágáil ar bith air, fad is bhí an chaoi acusan fóirithint air.

Deirfiúr amháin a bhí acu.  Sail ab ainm dí agus mura raibh cion ag a cuid deartháireacha uirthi ní lá go maidin é.  Cailleadh an mháthair nuair a rugadh Sail agus ba le haire chiúin agus freastal críonna a tugadh an naíonán thríd, ach bhí a bhuióchas seo ar bhean ghlúine an oileáin.

Gearrchaile gleoite, sgiamhach ba ea Sail.  Bhíodh sí i gcónaí in éineacht leis na deartháireacha ar Aifreann, aonach agus margadh agus ba doiligh clann eile a fháil a bhí comh dílis dá chéile leis an gclann seo.

Ar aonach i mBéal an Mhuirthead tráth, tháinic ceannaitheoir ó cheantar Chaisleán an Bharraigh ag breathnú ar chaoirigh na Breathnaigh.  Bhí Sail i láthair ag and mbéaláiste agus ba é seo an chéad uair riamh a leag an ceannaitheoir súil uirthí, cé gur chuala sé caint uirthi go mion minic.  Ón móiméad ar leag sé súil uirthí thit sé i ngrá leí agus sos ná suaimhneas ní raibh aige ná ag na Breathnaigh uaidh gur socraíodh lá an chleamhnais.  Ógfhear múinte tóigthe a bhí ann agus bhí na breathnaigh lán-toilteanach a ghlacadh leis mar chéile don deirifiúr. Ar chuma ar bith pósadh an bheirt  agus in ndiaidh an bhainis a bheith thart in Innis Geidhe thug sé Sail leis abhaile go Oileán Éadaigh.

Ba chiotach ar fad a bhí and saol anois orthu sa mbaile gan bean sa teach acu ach righnigh said leo ag baint lá as agus gan cainnt ag aoinne acu pósadh.  Chastaí fear Shail orthu go minic ag na h-aontaí agus ní bhíodh aige dóibh ach an deá scéal,  agus lomchlár na fírinne aige ann mar go raibh an saol ag dul ar aghaidh go seolta leis féin agus lena bhean ó pósadh iad.  Ach mar a deir an seanfhocal “nuair atá an cupán lán is ea is fusa a dhoirteadh” agus ba é a fhearacht sin é ag Sail agus a fear.  Cailleadh ise i dtinneas clainne leis an tríú breith agus fágadh an fear le triúr dílleachtaithe le tógáil agus le soláthar dóibh.

Cuireadh Sail in roilig Oileán Éadaí gan focal ná scéal faoina bás a chur go hInis Géidhe.  Bfhéidir gur mhór a bheifí sa milleán ar an mbainntreach fir a leithéide a dhéanamh ach ba le teann trua dhóibh a rinne sé é mar nár mhaith leis an drochscéal a sheoladh chucu agus bhí a fhios aige go gcluinfeadh said é sách luath.

Ní raibh caoi anois ag an gceannaitheoir a bheith ag dul chuig na h-aontaí chomh minic agus bhíodh sé agus níor fachthas é ar aonach ná ar margadh taobh amuigh díobh seo a bhí congarach dá bhaile féin.  Chronaigh na Breathnaigh as Béal an Mhuirthead é agus bhíodh said i dtólamh ag cur fáisnéise le ceannitheoirí eile faoi, go dtí ar deireadh fuair said amach an scéal ar fad, is é sin, go raibh Sail marbh agus nach mbíodh a fear ag dul i bhfad ó bhaile ó cailleadh í.  B’aisteach leo é sin agus ghoill sé go mór orthu nuair nár chuir sé scéal  chucu faoi bhás Shail.  Bhraith said go ndearnadh éagóir uirthi, nach raibh sé ina cheann maith dí agus go raibh sé ag ceilt na fírinne orthu.  Shocraigh said a dhul chomh fada leis agus cruthú a fháil dóibh féin faoin scéal uilig.  Bhí rún ina gcroí acu ag fágáil Inis Geidhe dóibh go mbainfeadh said díoltas amach da bhfaigheadh said cruthú go ndearnadh feall nó éagóir ar an deirfiúr.

Níor fhás mórán féir faoina gcosa acu ó d’fhág said Inis Geidhe gur bhan said baile an cheannaitheora amach.  Bhí an clapsholas ann nuair a bhí said in amharc an tí agus chinn said go bhfanfadh said ag fálróid thart go n-éiríodh sé dorcha, agus ansin go ngabhfadh said go dtí an doras ag cluaséisteacht le fáil amach céard a bheadh ar siúl istigh.  Nuair a bhí an oíche tite i gceart agus an saol socair ciúin, d’éalaigh an triúr leo go raibh said taobh amuigh de dhoras an cheannaitheora.  Ar shroichint an tí dóibh chuala said fear istigh ag bréagadh na bpáistí chun codlata agus an t-amhrán “Sail Óg Rua” á ghabháil aige go binnghuthach brónach.

D’fhan an triúr ag éisteacht go raibh an t-amhrán críochnaithe agus ansin ba léir dóibh nach raibh aon fheall ná éagóir sa scéal.  Bhí said sásta in n-intinn agus cé go mba gear a scrúdaigh bás na deirféar iadsan thuig said go mba seacht ngéire a ghoill sé ar an té a thug grá a chroí go fírinneach di an chéad nhóimead ar leag sé súil uirthi ach gur scar an bás ó chéile go deo iad.

D’fhill na Breathnaigh ar ais go hInis Geidhe gan cur isteach ná amach ar an mbaintreach fir bocht.  Thuig said ónar chuala said go raibh a dhóthain go binn de bhuairt air agus sin á nochtadh aige in amhrán dá chumadh féin.

Níl aon cheantar, mórán, sa gcontae nach bhfuil an t-amhrán le fáil ann.  “Sail Óg Rua” a tugtar air in áiteacha agus “Oileán Éadaí” in áiteacha eile, ach admhaítear go bhfuil sé ar cheann de na hamhráin is brónaí ach san am chéanna orthu seo is binne sa teanga.  Seo anseo é “Sail óg Rua” focal ar fhocal mar a chuala na Breathnaigh é á chanadh ag an mbaintreach fir bocht.

Sail Óg Rua

In Oileán Éadaí atá mo rún is mo chéad is mo chéad ghrá,
An bhean ar lig mé leí mo rún is mé óg.
Triúr ar aon chiall ag gol ina dhiaidhse,
Is an bhean a bhréagfadh iad mo léan, faoin bhfód.
Tá mé go tréithlag is níl gar á shéanadh,
Níl mé ar aon chaoi ach mar an gceo,
Is a stór mo chléibhe nach tú d’fhág liom féin mé
Is go ndeachaigh tú igcré uaim is tú i do chailín óg.

In aois a sé déag is ea phós mé féin í,
Ba deas as féirín í ag fear le fáil,
Ba deas a béasa is ba chiúin í a méin mhaith,
Is ba geall le réalta í ar maidin bhreá.
Mo ghrá do bhéilín, nár chum na bréaga,
Do ghrua geal gléigeal mar an eala ar snámh,
Do chomhrá tréitheach le do leanbh a bhréagadh,
Ach a grá níor fhéad mé thú a thabhairt ón mbás.

Dá bpósainn málóid de chailleach ghránna,
Thóigfeadh a lán orm bheith ag gol ina diaidh,
Ach an ógbean bhán úd ar thug mé grá di,
Is gur ina páistín sea phós mé í.
B’fhearr liom go mór mór i mo dhiaidh sa ród í,
Ag bleán mo bhó nó i gceann mo thí,
Ná saibhreas Sheoirse agus é a fháil le stróinse,
Is gur faoi na fóide a cuireadh í.

Níl a fhios ag na daoine chomh brónach is bhímse,
An tráth a smaoiním ar stór mo chroí.
Is mé ag oileadh a leanbh ar bhacán mo láimhe,
Is á chur a chodladh le tíocht na hoíche.
Níl gar dom smaoineamh go bhfeicfidh mé choíche í,
I mbun mo thí nó mo leanbh bán.
Tá fuil mo chroí istigh ag silt ina braonacha
Is, a Dhia, cé hionadh dom bheith i ndiaidh mo ghrá.

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