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

Parish of Killaloe (d)

In this Parish, about a mile northwards of Killaloe and rising over the road as you go to Tomgraney, is the far-famed rocky mountain of Craig Liath, which is well known by name in every part of Ireland as the habitation of the great spirit Eeval, the familiar sprite or Banshee of Munster in general and of the Dalcassians in particular. Her palace is shewn in a wild glen in the mountain. It is a rock about forty feet in height and most romantic in appearance. A well called Tobar Aoibheal after the same fairy queen springs from the side of the same mountain.

The Banshee is celebrated by the poets of the last century, many of whom, however, did not know her locality. I am not aware either that any of our ancient or modern topographical writers have pointed out her locality.

Ar Ríogan Aoibheal croidhe gan claenbheart,
Cara na Muímhneach sídh-bhean leith-craig. - Merriman.

Éistig feasta go n-aithrisead sceal díbh
A’s tar éis na sparainge geallaim nach bréag sín,
Tre lár mo smaointeadh ‘s m’ínntinn traechta,
Do tháinig an tsidh-bhean mhíonla mhaerdha

A cuacha sgaoilte síos go féar léi
‘s a gruadh mar caor a’ sníomh a Sgeimhe
Air fighir a pearsann d’ aithin mé air eigin
Aoibheal chleasach na Carraighe Léithe. - Donogh Roe Macnamara
                                                                          of the Co. Waterford.

Air leabain ‘s mé sínte a réir gan tapa am aenar
D’aislingeas taobh liom Aoibheal na Craige Léithe
Go cathuightheach caoidheach, caoineach, cneadach, céasta;
A basa da sníomh ‘sa dlaoigh go Talamh Léithe.
                                                                          - Shane Clarach Mac Donnell.

In this Mountain of Craig Liath, about a quarter of a mile west of the Shannon and about half way up the side of the mountain, is situated the site of Grianan Lachtna, which was built by Lachtna (Lucius) the brother of Brian Boroo in the year 953 according to the Annals of the Mac Bruodins. This house was properly called Grianan from the noble prospect which it commands of the Shannon, of the Mountains of Doohara in Tipperary, of Keeper Hill, of Killaloe, Kincora Hill and of Beal Boroo lying in the valley beneath it on the brink of the Shannon. It was an oblong edifice surrounded with a fosse and ditch now much effaced. It is seventy two feet long and thirty eight feet broad but no idea can be formed from what remains of the kind of building it was (there is considerable quantity of stones in the mound). A quadrangular wooden house? See my notice of Cloonfree near Strokestown in the Co. Roscommon, and of O’Dempsey’s house at Ballykeane near Portarlington.

In the southern part of the Townland of Craglea is a field called Park-na-Neach (of the Horses) where Brian Boroo (Boru) is said to have kept his horses.

In the Townland of Aghareynaghmore in this Parish is situated the Castle of Aghareynagh which is mentioned in the College List as belonging to Donogh Mac Conogher (O’Brien).

 

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