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Dun Bhuirg

Broch

Nearest Town:Tobermory (30km N)
OS Ref (GB):   NM42172624 / Sheet: 48
Latitude:56° 21' 29.11" N
Longitude:   6° 10' 28.28" W

Added by Rhiannon


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Folklore

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By the Rev. Thomas Hannan.

The recent announcement that the proprietor of the small estate of the Burg has given or bequeathed it to the National Trust for Scotland recalls to my mind many journeys which I have made from my summer quarters at Lochbuie, on the south shores of Mull, to the wild and interesting peninsula on the west side of the island which bears the name of Ardmeanach. The western end of that peninsula is easily the wildest part of Mull - rugged in the extreme, in many parts terrifying in aspect; the last and almost inaccessible home of fairies, glaistigs, and grugachs. The Burg is on the southern side of the peninsula, very near the western end; Tavool or Tapul, another house famous in fairy lore, is on the way to Burg from Tiroran, the residence eastward of Brigadier General Cheape; and the wonderful fossil tree is about the middle of the western end of the peninsular.

... At Tavool the farmer's wife was much troubled by the officious help of the fairies, who seem to have lived at Dun Burg; and "the rhyme of the goodman of Tapull's servants" - that is, the fairies - is a testimony to their desire for work -
Let me comb, card, tease, spin;
Get a weaving loom, quick;
Water for fulling on the fire;
Work, work, work.

Of course, all that is in Gaelic, which is the language of the fairies as well as of the people, and the results of their work were seldom equal to their zeal.

An example of this unfortunate trait is associated with The Burg, which is nearer than Tavool to Dun Burg. The good lady of the house had seen her husband and family to bed, and had sat up to do some weaving in the quiet of the night. But she had already spent a busy day with the farm and the cows and the hens and the children, and was tired. So she sighed and said - "Oh that some one would come from land or sea, from far or near, to help me with the work of weaving this cloth." This was quite enough, for the fairies are inveterate eavesdroppers.

A knock came to the door at once, and a voice said - "Tall Inary, good housewife, open the door to me, for so long as I have, you will get." Inary opened the door, and a woman in green entered and sat down at the spinning wheel and got busy. That was satisfactory enough; but knock after knock came, and fairy after fairy entered and set to work, until the room was full of fairies, all making the most awful noise. Then they wanted food, and the more they ate the hungrier they became, so that Inary was veritably being eaten out of house and home. At last, when she had baked the last of her flour and meal, she went and stood on a hillock outside the door, and cried - "Dun Burg is on fire." That fetched the whole tribe out of her house to save their own.

As they rushed out, she rushed in and barricaded the door. But they came back, very angry; and she had a terrible business to prevent the spell-bound spinning wheel, distaff, wool cards, fulling water, and other things which the "good people" had used, from admitting the crowd again. As fully told it is a very long story.
In 'The Scotsman', 2nd April 1932.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
29th April 2019ce