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The Burren: The Legend of Bothar na Mias

The strange marks left in the flat crags by the weathering of softer portions and of fossils have caused numerous legends. The dish-like hollows in the crags below the hermitage of St. Colman MacDuach, at the great 'Cliff of the Eagle,' in Kinallia, the name Bohernameesh (bothar na mias, i.e. road of the dishes), and marks like the footprints of men and animals all seem to have been seized on by the saint's biographers. Colman, brother of King Guaire 'the hospitable,' of Hy Fiachrach Aidhne (the district round Gort), early in the seventh century retired to fast and pray in the wilderness. After a most austere observance of Lent, a companion monk yearned for meat, and Colman pitied him and prayed.

The King's Easter feast therefore flew to the hermitage, pursued by the whole Court. Terrified by the angry warriors Colman again prayed, and their feet and the hoofs of their horses stuck fast in the rocks. The legend is still told in a form identical with that in the Life. The servant is said to have died from the feast, and his grave is shown beside the Boher.

View of the Burren
View of the Burren

Thomas J Westropp, 'Folklore of Clare'. Ennis, Clasp Press, 2000.

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