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|Ordnance Survey Letters by John O'Donovan and Eugene Curry, 1839|
Parish of Carron (c)
In this Parish, in the Townland of Cael-Choille and within half a mile of the boundary of the Co. of Galway, are situated the celebrated Boher na Mias and Hermitage of St. Mac Duagh. What a dismal and gloomy spot! I walked thither on the 15th inst. from Corofin, and I never felt so fatigued, after having walked for miles across the country on the uneven surface of the lime-stone rocks. What an enthusiastic recluse St. Colman, the son of Duach must have been, to have retired from the busy scenes of life to contemplate eternity and the uncertainty of human fate in this dismal valley, then thickly wooded and haunted by wolves!
The story about Boher na Mias and the dishes of Guaire Aidhne, the Hospitable, has already been given from various authorities in my letters on Dun Guaire in the Parish of Kinvara, and it is not, therefore, necessary to repeat it here. It will be sufficient to state that Boher na Mias or the Road of the Dishes is situated in the townland of Keelkilly in the Parish of Carron and Barony of Burren, and at the foot of a high cliff called Kinn-Aillé.
This is the very name it is called in the Life of Mac Duach published
by Colgan. “He
fixed his dwelling near a pleasant fountain “(now Tobar Mac Duagh - J.O’D.)” in
the great wood of Boireann, and in that part of it which is called Kinn-Aillé,
about five miles from Durlus, the Palace of Guaire”.
This is certainly the original oratory of St. Mac Duagh, (“They built there an oratory surrounded with trees.” - Scholiast of Aengus.) and the very one in which Guairé Aidhné, King of Connaught, discovered him when induced him to remove to Kilmacduagh where he built a sumptuous Monastery for him.
Immediately to the east of Templemacduagh at Kinallia is Tobermacduagh, at which Stations are performed and a “Pattern” held on St. Mac Duagh’s Day, said to be last day of summer, but this must be an error, as St. Colman Mac Duagh’s Day is the 3rd of February.
There are also here two altars or penitential Stations at which pilgrims perform their turrises or rounds on the “Pattern Day” or on any day they wish.
Over the little Church to the
northwest is a cave in a rock called Mac Duach’s Bed or Leaba Mhic
Duach, in which he was accustomed to sleep every night before King Guaire
discovered him, and about twenty perches to the south of it is shewn the
grave of his servant (Leacht - ?) who died after partaking of the dinner
which flew hither from Guaire’s table! The poor man had been so
emaciated from eating herbs in the wilderness that when he swallowed a
piece of substantial food he died on the spot! His grave is a curious
one and could be very easily explored.