LOUGH NEAGH

From Legendary Fictions of the Irish Celts by Patrick Kennedy

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Our ancient annalists took it upon them to assign the year on which sprung forth certain rivers and lakes, and consequently it was not at all strange that their associates who took charge of the imaginative affairs of the island, should improve the hint; and, neglecting the trifling circumstances of dates, and names of contemporary monarchs, proceed to tell their willing listeners to what faults or negligences it was owing that the once fertile vale, dotted with the habitations of happy mortals, was flooded over, and how keen-sighted guides can to this day behold through the deep waters the pinnacles of churches, and occasionally the conical cap of a round tower. There being no need, in this instance, to rank our fine sheets of water by the more or less beauty of the surrounding scenery, we take them at random, and commence with

LOUGH NEAGH

This beautiful sheet of water issued from a spring well which only waited an opportunity of being left uncovered, to send forth a mighty flood. The inhabitants of the neighbourhood, aware of the danger, kept it securely covered, till at last one luckless gossip walked off with her pitcher, forgetting to replace the smooth round flag, and in consequence the water burst forth in such a volume that the poor woman was drowned before she reached home. Incredulous readers objecting to this mode of lake-making, have only a choice between it and another theory somewhat less probable. Fion Mac Cuil having routed a Scotch giant with red hair, was pursuing him eastwards, but the canny Scotch monster was rather more fleet of foot than his Irish rival, and was outrunning him. Fion, fearing that he might reach the sea and swim across to Britain before he could overtake him, stooped; and thrusting his gigantic hands into the earth, tore up the rocks and clay, and heaved them after the Albanach. As Fion miscalculated height and distance, the mighty mass which had filled the whole bed of the present lake, launched from his hands, flew past the giant at a considerable height above his head, and did not lose its impetus till it came over the mid sea. There dropping, according to the laws of gravitation, it formed an island, afterwards called Man, from its Danaan patron, Mananan, son of Lir.

End of this Story

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