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Ethereal Cliffs (S)
Ethereal Cliffs (S)

The Myths and Legends of the Cliffs of Moher

According to folklore, the cliffs are said to be home to otherworldly beings and mystical creatures.

These captivating myths and legends add an extra layer of enchantment to the already awe-inspiring Cliffs of Moher, captivating the imagination and leaving visitors with a sense of wonder and mystery. The cliffs are also steeped in tales of ancient warriors, witches and giants. These captivating myths and legends add an extra layer of enchantment to the already awe-inspiring Cliffs of Moher, captivating the imagination and leaving visitors with a sense of wonder and mystery as they stand on the edge of this dramatic natural masterpiece.

 

history of O'Briens tower (1)

Leap of Foals/Aill Na Searrach

With the arrival of Saint Patrick and the spread of Christianity in Ireland, the influence of the Celtic pantheon, the Tuatha De Danann, gradually waned. Feeling resentful towards the rising prominence of the new faith, the deities of the Tuatha De Danann transformed themselves into horses as an act of protest.

They sought refuge in the caves of Kilcornan, where they remained concealed for countless centuries. Eventually, after a prolonged period of darkness, seven foals emerged from the caverns. However, disoriented by the sudden exposure to sunlight, the startled foals galloped recklessly along the cliff’s edge, tragically meeting their demise as they plunged into the depths below. The location where this fateful event occurred is now known as Aill Na Searrach, or The Cliff of the Foals.

The Witch’s Unrequited Love

Legend has it that a witch named Mal became infatuated with Cú Chulainn, the valiant warrior of the Red Branch. However, Cú Chulainn did not reciprocate her feelings. Undeterred, Mal relentlessly pursued him throughout Ireland. Eventually, the chase led them to the southern region of the Cliffs of Moher, near the mouth of the Shannon River, where Cú Chulainn leaped onto an island known as Diarmuid and Grainne’s Rock.

Unrelenting, Mal attempted to leap to the island as well, propelled by a gust of wind. Seizing the opportunity, Cú Chulainn swiftly jumped back to the mainland, but Mal, relying on the wind’s assistance from the previous leap, fell short. Tragically, she crashed into the rocks below, staining the bay with her blood and giving rise to the belief that the bay was named after her, known as Malbay. Known to day as Miltown Malbay.

The rocks, now known as Hag’s Head, are said to bear the profile of Mal, forever etched in their form, serving as a lasting reminder of the legend to this day.

The Mermaid of Moher

In the legend of the Mermaid of Moher, a local fisherman stumbled upon a mermaid’s presence while casting his line near the Cliffs of Moher. Intrigued, he engaged in conversation with the mystical creature. As they conversed, the fisherman noticed a magical cloak resting near a rock nearby. This cloak was essential for the mermaid to return to the sea, as she needed to wear it. However, his desire for her magical cloak quickly consumed him. Seizing an opportunity, the man snatched the cloak and hastily made his escape to his home, carefully concealing the precious item.

Desperate to regain her cloak and return to her ocean abode, the mermaid pursued the man to his dwelling. However, despite her thorough search, the cloak remained hidden from her grasp. Left with few alternatives, the mermaid agreed to marry the man, and together they would go on to have a son and daughter. Yet, the mermaid’s longing for her lost cloak persisted.

Years passed, and one day, while the man was away at sea, the mermaid discovered the hidden cloak. Seizing the opportunity to reclaim her freedom, she swiftly returned to the sea, vanishing without a trace. Neither the man nor their children would ever lay eyes upon her again, forever left with the memory of the mermaid who slipped away.

The Lost City of Kilstiffen

The Lost City of Kilstiffen

The city has also been called Cill Stuifin, Kilstpheen, Kilstuitheen, Cill Stuithin, and Cill Stuifin.

The city sank when the chieftain lost the golden key that opened the castle doors. The city is said to remain underwater until the key is returned, which has yet to happen. Some say the key lays under the ogam-inscribed gravestone on Slieve Callan, east of Milltown Malbay while others claimed the key was in a lake on top of a mountain.

Many have claimed to see the city shining below the surface while others say the city rises every seven years. The legend has it that if someone witnesses the city above water they will die before it rises again in seven years. Within the reef of Lisacannor Bay, there are submerged forests and bogs, which many believe to be the basis for this legend.

To be Irish is to stand as tall as the cliffs with a soul as deep as the ocean. ~ Irish Proverb

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