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Tír na nÓg – Lahinch – 1935

Irish Examiner 13th April, 1935 p.13 (abridged)

Ossian François Pascal Simon Gérard 1770-1837 Wikimedia Commons

Ossian
François Pascal Simon Gérard 1770-1837
Wikimedia Commons

It is said that two miles out to sea and due west of Lahinch there is a great span of submerged rock, where breaking waves constantly spread in the white stretch of foam. The tale goes on to relate that on the very sport there once stood a great city of magnificent palaces and lofty castles. One morning it disappeared and the waves rolled over the place where it once stood. On calm days when the sea is placid it is claimed that glimpses of the towers can be seen beneath the waves. Whether the story can be taken with the proverbial grain of salt or not, is not what I am concerned with. Neither am I anxious to prove that it is a deliberate fable invented by some ancient seanachie. I am concerned though with the insistence of the tale’s oldness and wish to emphasise that it has been associated with West Clare fireside gatherings since time immemorial.

The tale mentions the city’s size;
“It was as wide as Liscannor Bay and built as high as the cliffs of Moher.” There too, is mention of “towers and battlements that guarded wonderful palaces where happy people lived.” I have, as a youngster, often listened to the story and any doubt as to its authenticity I was wont to harbour, used to be dispelled by the narrator’s (who was an old fisherman) air of seriousness. The narrator insisted that every seven years and on a certain day, indicated by the phases of the moon, the towers of the buried city appeared over the surface of the sea. Anyone that beheld the sight died within the year and many instances used to be related to bear out this fact. In time I became convinced that such a place did exist, and often when seeking periwinkles on the rocks my eyes would wander westward towards the reef.
DPT

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