The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

Loughcrew Complex


..the Cailleach Bheara is most closely associated with the great cairns at Loughcrew, about two miles south-east of Oldcastle, Co. Meath. The Hill called Sliabh-na-Caillighe is 904 feet high and a prominent feature in the landscape. It has three main peaks, two of which are covered with tumuli and cairns while the third had large tumulus on it which was broken up by the landowner to make walls round his property.


The legend, which was commonly related in the neighbourhood up to fifty years ago, was that a famous old hag of antiquity called Cailleach Bheara came one day from the North to perform a magical feat, by which she was to obtain great power if she succeeded. She took an apron full of stones and dropped a cairn on Carnbane; from this she jumped to the summit of Sliabh-na-Caillighe, a mile distant, and dropped a second cairn there; then she made a third jump and dropped a cairn on another hill about a mile distant. If she could make a fourth leap and drop a fourth cairn, the feat would have been accomplished; but, in making the jump, she slipped and fell in the townland of Patrickstown in the parish of Diamor, where the poor old hag broke her neck. Here she was buried, and her grave was to be seen in a field called Cul a'mhota, "Back of the Mote", about 200 perches east from the mote in that townland, but it is now destroyed.
p246 of "Legends and Traditions of the Cailleach Bheara or Old Woman (Hag) of Beare" by Eleanor Hull, in
Folklore, Vol. 38, No. 3. (Sep. 30, 1927), pp. 225-254.

She refers to Conwell and O'Donovan in Proc. R.I. Acad., vol ix, pp42, 356
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
29th November 2006ce
Edited 29th November 2006ce

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