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

Loughcrew Complex


Before I have done with the Irish instances I must append one in the form it was told me in the summer of 1894: I was in Meath and went to see the remarkable chambered cairns on the hill known as Sliabh na Caillighe, 'the Hag's Mountain,' near Oldcastle and Lough Crew. I had as my guide a young shepherd whom I picked up on the way. He knew all about the hag after whom the hill was called except her name: she was, he said, a giantess, and so she brought there, in three apronfuls, the stones forming the three principal cairns. As to the cairn on the hill point known as Belrath, that is called the Chair Cairn from a big stone placed there by the hag to serve as her seat when she wished to have a quiet look on the country round. But usually she was to be seen riding on a wonderful pony she had: that creature was so nimble and strong that it used to take the hag at a leap from one hill-top to another. However, the end of it all was that the hag rode so hard that the pony fell down, and that both horse and rider were killed. The hag appears to have been Cailleach Bheara, or Caillech Berre, 'the Old Woman of Beare', that is, Bearhaven, in County Cork.
From 'Celtic Folklore Welsh and Manx' by Sir John Rhys, 1901.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
28th September 2009ce

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