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Ordnance Survey Letters by John O'Donovan and Eugene Curry, 1839

Parish of Kilballyowen (c)

At about the distance of a mile within the Point of Leap-Head are three ancient forts, that on the north or Atlantic side built of stones and called Cahir-Crochan; the middle one, also built of stones, is called Cathir-Sall, immediately behind which - that is, between it and the head (cape) - is the foundation of a small Cahir called Cathair-na-h-aon-mhna; the one on the south or Shannon side is built of earth and called Dun Daithlionn. The origin of these Cahirs and Dun has been attempted to be explained by Michael Comyn of this County, who wrote a romantic tale, about the year 1760, entitled the Adventures of Turrolbh-Mac-Starain and of his three sons, Crochan, Sall and Daithlionn, who, he says erected the above Cahirs and Fort (Dun) in a direct line across the neck of land within Loop Head for the purpose of protecting, or rather preventing, their only sister, who was called An Aon-Bhean, i.e., the Lone (only) Woman, from becoming the wife of any man, because it was prophesied at her birth, by Cathfa, the Druid of Conor Mc Nessa, that the lives of her brothers should terminate with the period of her espousal, and the young lady’s beauty having attracted the attentions of Dermot O’Duibhin, the Adonis of the Finian heroes, they selected this wild remote and inaccessible promontory for their abodes, placing the sister to the west of them by way of greater security from his attempts to possess her. And thus they remained for sometime until the three brothers, Ruadhin, Ceannuir and Stuithin, from Hag’s Head in Corcomroe, made a nocturnal plundering excursion into their territory and carried away all their cattle, on the discovery of which by the youths they followed them with a party of their people, overtook them at Creach-Oilean near Liscanor where a bloody battle ensued in which the plunderers were all slain and the three youths returned home with their recovered property and the spoils of their enemies. But an unforeseen misfortune awaited them at home, for Dermot O’Duibhin, who for twelve months before that had been watching (waiting) the absence of the three together from home, now perceived through the aid of a magical ring that their mansions were defenceless and immediately putting out to sea in his curragh soon found himself at the side of the lone woman, who so far from being displeased with his entrusion volunteered at once to elope with him across the mouth of the Shannon, so that on the arrival of her brothers at home they missed her from her abode, and tracing her footsteps from the cahir southwest till they had reached a certain point of the cliff, and then, directing their searching eyes across the water, they observed her with her lover ready to land at the other side, whereupon, thinking that their own destiny had been fulfilled, they took each other’s hands and threw themselves over the cliff into the deep below where they were soon no more. That cliff is still called Aile an Triuir, and a cave at the bottom of it is called Poll-na-Peiste, i.e., the Hole of the Serpent, from a tradition that it was inhabited at that time by a monstrous serpent that guarded the Shannon’s mouth, but which was killed by Dermot on the above occasion.