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Dun Flodigarry



"Not far from the house is a small mound and so green is its grass that none can doubt the fairies dance there. Indeed, their music has often been heard: once, a man joined them in the dance and disappeared, but was rescued when, exactly one year later, his brother flung a knife so that it stuck in his clothing. He believed he had only danced for an hour."

- Otta F. Swire, Skye: The Island and its Legends, 1961, p. 48.

The "house" to which Swire refers is Flodigarry House, "now a hotel", and the only ancient site marked nearby on the map is "Dunflodigarry", which I suspect to be a broch. Perhaps this is the "mound" which Swire mentions (it is certainly close enough to the hotel: its national grid reference is the one I've used for this site). However, there are hints of a wider prehistoric significance to this landscape, since Swire also describes two suspiciously "holy" sounding wells: "Near Flodigarry House, and not far from the shore, are two wells. Once there was only one spring here and from it the people of the township drew their water" (Ibid). These people, however, were half of them Christian and half pagan, and a bitter quarrel sprang up over the well, "each faction trying to prevent the other from using it". They appealed to St. Turog, a hermit resident on nearby Flodigarry Island, to resolve the dispute, and the saint agreed, meeting with them at the well. The people, however, became so furious in recounting their grievances to the saint that they "fell upon one another with sticks and stones", causing the hermit to hit the well with his staff, so that it dried up, and return to his island. Several days later a sheepish-looking deputation of people implored St. Turog to return their well, which they promised to share between them peacefully in future. The saint separated the people into two groups, pagan and Christian, and used his staff to create a well for each of them:

"The people were delighted and surrounded the old man with shouts of joy. Then he bade them, lest they forget their folly, to go sunwise round each well on the first day of each month before filling their vessels and drop into the well an offering of gratitude for the water. This they promised to do ever after. The two springs sometimes overflow into the rock-pools below. Where one overflows can still be found holy relics, sacred medals and little carved crosses; below the other the finds are quite different, being beads, carved shells, and curios; but below both are small coins."

- Swire, op. cit., p, 49.
TomBo Posted by TomBo
30th June 2004ce
Edited 30th June 2004ce

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