The Building of Ardfert Cathedral

Patrick Kennedy
1891 (2nd Edition)

The Celtic elves as well as the trolls have a great dislike to the intrusion of churches near their own residences, though they express it in a milder form. Sir Walter Scott has told how when they were going to erect a church at Deer, in the old ages, a chorus of the little people was heard to this effect:—

"It is not here, it is not here,
That ye shall build the Kirk o' Deer,
But on Taptillerie,
Where many a grave shall be."


When St. Brendain, who went to search for the sunk isle of Hy-Breasil, was about to build his Cathedral of Ardfert in the kingdom of Kerry, he fixed on a spot where lay the remains of a deserted lios. This was a favourite resort of the red-capped gentry, a circumstance unknown to the saint. He cleared the foundation, and had made some progress in the building, when he was thus interrupted. The projected building would occupy a tolerably high rock, opposite to which stood another, and between them lay a wooded valley. One fine sunny morning as the trowel was making merry music on the stones, and the workmen were singing, a large crow came from the rookery in the valley, deliberately took up the measuring line in his bill, flew across the wood with it, and deposited it on the other eminence. The saint accepted the omen, and raised the sacred edifice on the spot pointed out by the fairy in disguise. We use the word fairy advisedly. If the messenger had been from another quarter, he would have made his appearance under snowy plumes.

End of this Story