Monday, April 11, 2011

CNOC se O gobhna


A mountain in Tipperary has a central peak with a ledge built on its conical top and ladies went there for pleasure parties,
but it has long since been shut down.

This top used to have a pasture where the herd was taken for the summer and that pasture spot had been an old faery ground.
When the faerys of summer heard the lowering of cattle on their gaboling ground it angered the fairys and the fairy chieftainess took a way to get rid of the cows and the herder.

She thus thought when the harvest moon shone brightly on the hill and the stars twinked above that she herself would come and dance for the herder in shapes now one, now another, but all times an ugly and frightening sight to behold.

The poor herder was thus frightened and called all the saints for help but they were of no help and paid him no attention.

The condition lasted over him all night while the cattle covorted and scampered about until the sun rose and this want of rest turned the cattle into sickly pinning beasts not eating and gaining and thus having many accidents.
Every night some beast maimed or killed or drowned in the river and in this predicament no herdsman could be found for any bargain who would tend the cattle.
The famer thus lost substance and the hill land was completely reocupied by the fairy troop and he could not pay his rent.

Now at this time a man called Laurence Hoolahan who played the pipes the best in 15 parishes came down the road.
He was a dashing fellow and had no fear and if he was plyed with liquor he would defy the devil himself and the piper met the degected farmer on the road and asked of his degection to which the landholder told his troubles.

Larry said if that was all that ailed him to make his mind easy and he agreed to face the fairy.

The bargain was stuck and Larry went to the hill top of Cnoc se o
Gobhan when the moon was bright and before he had gone he had drunk the barley corn.

He seated himself on a big stone with his back to the wind and began playing his pipes.

The fairys said,
'What! another man upon the fairy ring.', and sent out the queen to make him repent his rashness.

The fairys than flew past him in the shape of midges and a black cat on its claws beteen him and the moon.
This cat than whirled and became a salmon in top boots.
This was of course the fairy queen.

Larry said,
'If you dance I'll pipe for you.', and this he did as well he knew how to do.
But at last the fairy Queen lost patience with him and changed to a soft gentle and fawning calf to throw him off guard but Laurence Hoolihan was not decieved and when she came close he leaped on her back.

From the top of Cnoc se o Gowan to the west you can see the Shannon spreading like the sea to mingle in its gentle course with the broad Atlantic Ocean as it passed through the city of Limerick.

On this night the river was beautiful beneith the brilliant moon from the distant hill.
50 fishermen boats were on the water and the fishermans song rose from the shore.
The fairy calf thus happy to have Larry on her back leaped in one jump over the Shannon .
The river being only 10 miles from the base of the Tipperary mountain and there she flung Laurence on the soft turf on the distant shore of the river Shannon.

'Well done!', cried Larry. 'Not a bad leap for a calf.'

The fairy woman then assumed her own shape and said,
'Laurence, you are bold fellow.', and she offered to take him back to where he had come from.

He than got on her back as she obliged him be becoming a calf, and they bounded back to Cnoc Se Gobhan and there she again resumed her noraml shape.
She commended his courage and said while he kept herd on that hill she and hers would never molest him and offered to him any service that Larry asked of her .
She kept her word and never in Larrys lifetime molested the hill and he in turn never troubled her with requests.

He piped and drank at the farmers expense and stayed in his chimney corner herd shanty overlooking the flock.

At last he died and is buried in a green valley of Tipperary and if the fairys returend to Cnoc se Gobhan after that no one can say.

Judi Donnelly
copyright April 8 2011

sourse: Legends and Tales of Ireland, Thomas Crofton Croker, Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent and Co., London
Glascow, Thomas D Morison

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