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Sacred Hill

<b>Knockfeerina</b>Posted by bawn79Image © Bawn79 © 2009
Also known as:
  • Knockfierna
  • Cnoc Fírinne

Nearest Town:Rathkeale (4km W)
OS Ref (IE):   R452362 / Sheet: 65
Latitude:52° 28' 28.52" N
Longitude:   8° 48' 23.65" W

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Buachaill Bréige Cairn(s)
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Knockfeerina Wedge Tomb

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Photographs:<b>Knockfeerina</b>Posted by bawn79 <b>Knockfeerina</b>Posted by bawn79 <b>Knockfeerina</b>Posted by bawn79 Maps / Plans / Diagrams:<b>Knockfeerina</b>Posted by bawn79


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Using an OS map it is easy to see that a long bye-road goes up most of the way up the hill. The road is pretty bad and there a number of gates on it as it is a farm track. Depending on the weather, if it is wet best to park before the first gate as there is no real alloted parking. Follow the track up the hill, the soil in the area seems to be an orangey/red.
Views from the top of the hill are amazing looking all over limerick, south-tipp and down into kerry (I think). I could pick out my own hill tountinna in north tipp here. The cross and the tv masts however really take from the hill and the cairn on top is pretty disappointing. However the mythology attached to the hill and the views more than makes up for it.
bawn79 Posted by bawn79
4th January 2006ce


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The Boy Who Was Taken By The Fairies Of Knockfierna.

Elm Park is a townland situated in the County Limerick, about five miles to the west of the city. About fifty years ago there was an old man and his wife living in a farmyard in this place. One night, about eleven o'clock, the old man heard someone moving about in the yard. He opened the door and saw, standing about ten yards from the door, a little boy about twelve years of age. He called him in and asked him who he was. He could get no answer from the child, who appeared to be in a dazed condition. They kept him throughout the night, and in the morning the man sent for the priest. The latter came and prayed over the child.

When the prayers were finished, the child seemed to regain the use of his faculties and he told the priest his name, and said he was from Knockfierna. He further stated that at about 7 o'clock on the previous evening he was looking for the ass about two miles from his home. As he approached the "lios" a horseman came forth from it, snatched up the boy, placed him in front of him and galloped off. The boy remembered nothing until he found himself at the place mentioned above.

The priest communicated with the parents of the child, and on the following day he was taken home, much to the relief of his people, who had spent the previous night searching for him. The belief was that he was taken by one of the fairy huntsmen of Knockfierna.

W. J. Carey.
Munster News, 11th October 1930.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
6th August 2021ce

Knuck Fierna.
The hill of the fairies. This is the loftiest mountain in the county abovenamed, and lifts its double peak on the Southern side, pretty accurately, I believe, dividing it from Cork. Numberless are the tales related of this hill by the carmen who have been benighted near it on their return from the latter city, which is the favourite market for the produce of their dairies. That there is a Siobrug or fairy castle in the Mount, no one in his senses presumes to entertain a doubt. On the summit of the highest peak is an unfathomable well, which is held in very great veneration by the peasantry. It is by some supposed to be the entrance to the court of their tiny mightinesses. A curious fellow at one time had the hardihood to cast a stone down the orifice; and then casting himself on his face and hands, and leaning over the brink, waited to ascertain the falsity of this supposition by the reverberation, which he doubted not would soon be occasioned by the missile reaching the bottom. But he met with a fate scarce less tragical than that of poor Pug, who set fire to the match of a cannon, and then must needs run to the mouth to see the shot go off. Our speculator had his messenger returned to him with a force that broke the bridge of his nose, locked up both his eyes, and sent him down the hill at the rate of four furlongs per second, at the foot of which he was found senseless next morning.
From The Literary Gazette v8, 1824.
A much longer version is told in 'Fairy Legends and Traditions' by Thomas Crofton Croker (1825).
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
3rd December 2012ce
Edited 3rd December 2012ce

"Knock Firinn is called by the people of the country 'Knock Dhoinn Firinne,' the mountain of Don of Truth. This mountain is very high, and may be seen for several miles round; and when people are desirous to know whether or not any day will rain, they look at the top of Knock Firinn, and if they see a vapour or mist there, they immediately conclude that rain will soon follow; believing that Donn of that mountain and his aerial assistants are collecting the clouds, and that he holds them there for some short time, to warn the people of the approaching rain. As the appearance of mist on the mountain in the morning is considered an infallible sign that that day will be rainy, Donn is called 'Donn Firinne,' Donn of Truth."
In 'Fairy Legends and Traditions of the South of Ireland' by Thomas Crofton Croker (1828).
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
8th April 2009ce

Taken from Sacred Ireland by Cary Meehan

"is traditionally known as the 'Hill of Truth'. It is said to personify Donn Fírinne, the Celtic God of death and fertility. In folklore he is seen as a giant or the Fairy King. He is said to live at the bottom of a deep hole in the hillside called 'Poll na Bruinne' and anyone trying to investigate this entrance to the Otherworld will not come away unscathed and may even be drawn in, never to be seen again. There are many cautionary tales to deter the curious. However, good custodians are rewarded. One local farmer was granted temporary entrance to Donn's world under the hill where he met with a brother and sister, both of whom had died many years before.
Donn is closely associated with weather omens. He is said to collect the clouds on his hill and hold them there for a while to warn of approaching rain. Sometimes he is said to be in the clouds if the weather is particularly bad. He is also said to be flying abroad when someone dies.
There is a cairn on the top of Knockfeerina called 'Buachaill Bréige', meaning 'the false or lying boy' and it was the custom, and indeed the duty, of local people, to carry a stone up the hill to put on this cairn once a year. The hilltop has traditionally been a popular Lughnasa assembly site visited at harvest-time, and at this time freshly picked berries and flowers were strewn around the cairn as offerings for the hill's fairy inhabitants. On the eves of the festivals of Bealtaine and Samhain, young girls used to leave gifts high up on the side of the hill below the western ridge called 'the Stricken'.
Like the hills to the east, Knockfeerina is also associated with the adventures of the Fianna. On the Stricken is a large ring-fort called 'Lios na bhFian' or 'Fort of the Fianna'. One such adventure is named after the 'Palace of the Quicken Trees' where the Fianna become the victims of an act of revenge after being lured to a feast in an imaginary palace.
A little wary of the invitation, Fionn had left his son Oisin and a number of the Fianna behind. And sure enough, while they waited for the food to arrive, the fire began to send out black clouds of evil-smelling smoke. The palace around them disappeared and they found themselves sitting on the hillside and fixed to the ground, unable to rise.
Fionn put his thumb to his month, which he did when he wanted to see to the heart of things, and found that the spell that held them had been cast by the three kings of the Island of Torrent. These kings where marching on the palace to kill them and only the blood of these three kings could undo the spell.
When Oísín and the other Fianna came to see if they were alright, Fionn warned them not to come in. He explained what they must do to stop the kings. Evenutally the Fianna managed to intercept and then kill the three kings. They took their heads and sprinkled the blood around their companions. Thus the spell was broken.
Issues of revenge and death are common in Fianna stories. This particular story also illustrated the dark side of Knockfeerina and its reflection in the human psyche. On a lighter note, folk tradition has it that Donn and his followers fought battles on behalf of the countryside. They might take the form of a cross-country hurling match against the fairy people of Knockainy. The winner would take the best of the potato crop to their side of the county"
bawn79 Posted by bawn79
4th January 2006ce
Edited 4th January 2006ce


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This ogham stone was seemingly originally on Knockfierna at one stage.
bawn79 Posted by bawn79
2nd December 2008ce


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Aerial photo of Knockfierna

Last time i looked, Knockfierna wasnt on Google Earth so this Aerial photo may be of use.

Link doesnt seem so to get to the photo, click the menu for photos.
bawn79 Posted by bawn79
29th July 2008ce
Edited 11th September 2008ce

Latest posts for Knockfeerina

Showing 1-10 of 14 posts. Most recent first | Next 10

Buachaill Bréige (Cairn(s)) — Images (click to view fullsize)

<b>Buachaill Bréige</b>Posted by bawn79 bawn79 Posted by bawn79
26th October 2012ce

Knockfeerina (Wedge Tomb) — Images

<b>Knockfeerina</b>Posted by bawn79 bawn79 Posted by bawn79
26th October 2012ce

Buachaill Bréige (Cairn(s)) — Links

Old photo of the cairn on Knockfeerina

Looks very similar to cairns on Paps of Anu
bawn79 Posted by bawn79
5th April 2009ce

Knockfeerina (Wedge Tomb) — Links

Link to old photograph

Old photo of the wedge tomb
bawn79 Posted by bawn79
29th July 2008ce

Knockfeerina (Wedge Tomb) — Fieldnotes

I never got to see this tomb the last time I went to Knockfeerina. This time i got here just as the sun was beginning to go down and although it was a beautiful time of the evening it wasn't great for photography with my camera.
To get there, take the track leading up to Knockfeerina and where it branches off at the bottom of the hill take the left branch.
Follow this until it ends and you should be able to see the tomb away in the distance to your left over one ditch.
The tomb itself is big, I measured it roughly 11m long by about 2m wide. It is aligned East-West with the east end pointing towards a rock outcrop.
bawn79 Posted by bawn79
2nd January 2007ce

Knockfeerina (Wedge Tomb) — Images

<b>Knockfeerina</b>Posted by bawn79<b>Knockfeerina</b>Posted by bawn79<b>Knockfeerina</b>Posted by bawn79<b>Knockfeerina</b>Posted by bawn79 bawn79 Posted by bawn79
2nd January 2007ce

Buachaill Bréige (Cairn(s)) — Fieldnotes

This cairn is in poor repair and not very impressive. Its on average about 2-3m high. Diameter of very approx 15-20m. bawn79 Posted by bawn79
4th January 2006ce
Showing 1-10 of 14 posts. Most recent first | Next 10