Clare County Library
Clare Folklore
Home | Search Library Catalogue | Foto: Clare Photo Collection | OS Maps | Search this Website | Copyright Notice

County Clare Folk-Tales and Myths by Thomas Johnson Westropp


Semi-Historical Tales

Crimthann mac Fidach, a reputed High King of Erin, had a sister Mong finn (Fair Hair), and was poisoned by her in A.D. 377. In her anxiety to disarm her brother’s suspicions and to secure the monarchy for her sons, she drank first of the poisoned chalice and died. The dying king bade his followers take him southwards, and was brought to a flank of the Cratloe Hills opposite Limerick City. There he died, and was buried in haste under a cairn. ‘Crimthann mac Fidach’s poor tumulus’ long remained, and the hill was called Sliabh oided an righ (the hill of the king’s death). A shadow of the story clung to the king’s cairn up Glennagross, but is now on the point of being forgotten. The heap has been nearly removed, and is unmarked on the maps,—a most unpardonable omission. Before 1872 Michael Hogan, ‘The Bard of Thomond,’ went to examine the cairn, and found all taken away to make fences except the principal slab. The peasantry called the hill Knock Righ Crimthan at that time. I hear from Dr. George Fogerty, R.N., that the site is still shown.

Crimthann had a foster son, Conall of the swift steeds, son of Lugaid Meann, who had already swept into Clare, fighting seven battles and reducing under his sway all the central plain up to Luchaid ford, still the county boundary on the side of Galway. A foster son stood almost in closer relation to his foster father than the latter’s actual children, and Conall demanded an eric or atonement for his foster-father’s death. For this he claimed the district which, despite the hostility of the Connacht tribes and the wars of their able king Fiachra, was held by the strong hand by Conall and his descendants down to Dioma, whose decisive victory in the seventh century at Knocklong wiped out all future claims of Connacht on the territory. After the Norse wars the later princes claimed lineal descent from Conall, and thus southern Connacht is said to have become ‘North Munster,’ Tuadh Mumhan, or Thomond, in the stead of the older district of that name south of the Shannon.[30]


Chapter 3


Chapter 5