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Labbacallee

Wedge Tomb

<b>Labbacallee</b>Posted by megamanImage © megaman
Also known as:
  • The Hag's Bed

Nearest Town:Ballyhooly (3km SSE)
OS Ref (IE):   R722025 / Sheet: 73
Latitude:52° 10' 25.54" N
Longitude:   8° 24' 23.05" W

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Fieldnotes

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Visited 19.5.11
Yet another cracking Irish Wedge Tomb – another 'must visit' site.
Very easy to access being right beside the road although you do have to climb over a metal raining to get into the tomb. This must be an impressive site as even Karen squeezed through the gap in the uprights to get inside the tomb! From the inside the burial chamber looks much bigger than it does on the outside. The largest of the 3 capstones is huge.
We had a family picture taken sat on the stones in front of the tomb.
Posted by CARL
2nd June 2011ce

There is a new information board here and they have cleared some of the wall at the back of the tomb away so that you can get a better picture. This is a truly impressive tomb and definitely worth a look. The capstone on top of it is massive and really would have taken some moving.

A few excerpts from the info board:

Labbacallee is aligned on the setting sun of the equinox, 22nd March and 24th September when the day is of equal length. On these days the sun illuminates the chamber.

The excavation in 1934, a womans Skelton was found. Her Skelton was found in the inner chamber, her head in the larger outer chamber.

Edit 15th April 2011

I sped down from work in Limerick to try and make the March 22 equinox at Labbacalle - my first problem was a sign-post on the Mitchelstown bypass that read Glanworth was only a few kms. Unfortunately it must be a least 14kms. I made it for about 6 30 but at this stage the sun was all but gone down as you can see from my pictures. If there is an alignment it must be from much earlier possibly 6 00pm.
bawn79 Posted by bawn79
23rd October 2006ce
Edited 13th April 2011ce

Folklore

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At Fermoy, the name given to a somewhat curious cromlech, "The Hag's Bed," interested me. I was at some trouble to learn the origin of the name, and fortunately our car-driver succeeded in finding an old man, who gave me the desired information..

"On yonder hill there lived, in days gone by, a giant and a giantess. They were called Shara and Sheela. One day Shara returned from his labours (wood-cutting) in the forest, and finding no dinner ready he was exceeding angry, and in his passion gave Sheela a severe wound with his axe on the shoulder. His passion was assuaged as soon as he saw the blood of his wife, and he carefully bound up the wound and nursed her for many weeks with great care.

Sheela did not, however, forgive Shara for the injury he had inflicted on her. She brooded on her wrong. Eventually she was so far recovered that Shara was able to leave her; and their stock of wood having fallen short, he proceeded to the forest for a fresh supply. Sheela watched her husband as he descended the hill, and, full of wrath, she seized her bed, and, as he was wading through the river, she flung it after him with a dreadful imprecation. The devil changed the bed into stone in its passage through the air. It fell on the giant, crushed him, and to this day he rests beneath the Hag's Bed.

In the solitude which she had made she repented her crime, but she never forgave herself the sin. She sat on the hill-top, the melancholy monument of desolation, bewailing her husband's loss, and the country around echoed with her lamentations. "Bad as Shara was, it is worse to be without him !" was her constant cry. Eventually she died of excess of grief her last words being, "Bad as Shara was, it is worse to be without him !"

"And," said the old man, finishing his story, "whenever any trouble is coming upon Ireland, the voice of Sheela is heard upon the hill still repeating her melancholy lamentation."
From "Popular Romances of the West of England" by Robert Hunt (1903 edition), online at the Sacred Texts Archive:
http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/eng/prwe/prwe332.htm
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
2nd January 2007ce

Some excerpts from the information board:

Labbacalle translates as "hags bed" and local folklore abounds with deeds of the old hag and her powerful husband the druid Mogh Ruith.

One story tells of a large boulder in the nearby river being thrown by the hag at her fleeing husband pinning him in the river.

A story related to the chamber is that four men went looking for gold in it. After they started to dig a strange cat appeared with fire coming out of its tale. Dazzled by the light they ran off and fell into the River Funshion. One man died in the river but they other three lived to tell the cautionary tale.
bawn79 Posted by bawn79
23rd October 2006ce