|Home||The Children Of Lir|
ago there was a king in Ireland called Lir who was the father of four
beautiful children, a son, a daughter and twin sons. Their mother
(daughter of the High King of Ireland) died when they were young. And so
it came about that King Lir, who dearly loved his four children and
wanted them to have a new mother, married his wife's sister, Aoife.
Aoife, seeing King Lir playing with them, became jealous of them. One
night she secretly bargained with a druid for the use of his magic wand
and made her plans while the children were asleep.
morning,when they woke to a beautiful summer's day, Aoife had perfected
her plan. "Come with me," she said to the children,
"Today I am going to take you to the lake and when the sun gets hot
you can all go into the cool water for a swim." When noon came
Aoife saw a dark cloud coming from the North and, fearing her plan would
be spoiled, shouted "Quickly now, into the water with you
all!" Then using the druid's magic wand Aoife cast a spell on the
four children, turning them one by one into swans. The great dark cloud
from the North turned black, shut out the sun, burst into thunder and
with a scream Aoife disappeared into the cloud and was never seen again.
But Aoife, with her druid's wand, had not taken away the children's
human voices; she had told them they would be set free again from the
spell in 900 years time when St. Patrick would come to Ireland and they
would hear the sound of the first Christian bells.
children spent 300 years on lake Davra, 300 years on the sea of Moyle
and another 300 years on the lake isle of Glora in Mayo. Then one day
they heard the distant sound of one of the first Christian bells to ring
in Ireland. They immediately followed the sound until they came to the
house of a Christian called Caomhog and told him what had happened to
them so long ago.
were lovingly cared for by the people of the house and people came from
far and near to see the swans who could talk and sing. Then one day a
princess sent her servants to try and steal the swans. But just as the
servants were about to steal them the time had come for the swans to
become humans again and the servants ran away terrified.
that the swans were again human, although 900 years old, Caomhog had
them baptised and the bells rang out at their Christening. Soon
afterwards, when they had died of old age, Caomhog dreamt on the very
same night that he saw four beautiful children - a boy, his sister and
two twin brothers flying out over the lake then straight up to heaven
and he knew they really were the children of Lir.