The Hag and Cu Chulainn

Cliffs of Moher Old Hag

Cliffs of Moher Old Hag

There once was a hag or witch called Mal. She fell in love with Cú Chulainn, the great warrior who was a member of the legendary Red Branch, the warrior band of the High King of Ulster. Cú Chulainn, however, did not return her love and sought to avoid the Hag. But she was not to be ignored and so she pursued him and he fled all the way across the island of Ireland until he reached the tip of land at Loop Head to the south of Cliffs of Moher on the mouth of Shannon river.

Cú Chulainn leaped from Loop Head over to the island known as Diarmuid & Grainne’s Rock, but Mal followed and the wind caught her skirts and carried her over to the island. Galvanised by the fear of being stranded on the small island with the Hag Cú Chulainn gathered his strength and sprang back to the headland. She followed again, but this time the wind was against her and shefell short and was dashed to pieces on the rocks below.

Her blood reddened the sea from Loop Head to the Cliffs, and it is said that Malbay is named after her. The rock, now known as Hag’s Head, took her form, and can still be seen to resemble the profile of a woman looking out to sea.

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