A Lighthouse about seven miles north-east of Skerries. It is
formed of two rocky islets of granite one larger than the other
- the islets are often called the cow and calf from the following
story current in the neighbourhood:-
was a very famous cow called Glas Gablin belonging to Ulster.
No matter how large the vessel used to milk her, she could fill
it immediately with rich creamy milk. She lived about the time
that the De Dananns
were in Ireland.
Balor of the Evil Eye, one of the De Danann Chiefs, was anxious
to get this wonderful cow for himself. He and his servant went
to the Mourne Mountains where Glaas Gavelin was grazing with
her calf. He got the servant to drive the cow and her calf to
the province of Leinster - to Wicklow, where he had his stronghold.
He told the man to keep the calf in front all the time so that
the cow would not look back and that she would not know that
she was leaving the province of Ulster. The servant did as he
was told and everything went well until they crossed the River
Rockabill islands pictured from Skerries.
the servant got careless and allowed the calf to walk behind
the cow. Soon after the cow missed the calf and she looked behind
her to see where she had gone. Looking back she saw the Mourne
Mountains far away to the north, and knew that she was very
far from her native Ulster so she gave a terrible scream the
like of which was never heard before. Balor heard the roar and
he understood there was something wrong.
Balor had only one eye and that was in the middle of his forehead.
When the giant was talking to anyone he had to keep his eye
covered. The eye was evil and had the power of turning to stone
whatever was seen by it - animals, people and so on. When Balor
turned to see what was wrong he forgot to cover the eye and
immediately the cow and calf were turned into stones. The two
rocks stand today as Balor left them - the cow on the south
side and the calf on the north side.
1937-'38 Recorded by Mary Halligan, Strand St. Died 1906 Aged
89. From the archives of Skerries Historical Society.
story clearly relates how everything went well 'until they crossed
the River Boyne'. The fact that Balor turns, just like the rising
sun does in the days after Winter Solstice, when they had crossed
the Boyne, points to the location of the Baltray standing stones.
From Baltray, the Mourne Mountains, which are also mentioned
in the story, are easily visibile, and mark the furthest rising
point of the sun as viewed from Baltray on the Summer Soltice.
books on Irish and Celtic mythology, click
following legend about the Boyne estuary comes from an ancient
story about Dublin:
When the men of Erin broke the limbs of the Matae, the monster
that was slain on the Liacc Benn in the Brug of Mac Oc, they
threw it limb by limb into the Boyne, and its shinbone (colptha)
got to Inber Colptha ("the estuary of the Boyne"),
whence "Inber Colptha" is said, and the hurdle (clíath)
of its frame (i.e., its breast) went along the sea following
the coast of Ireland until it reached yon ford (áth); whence
"Ath Cliath" is said. Source: Ancient Irish Tales,
Tom P.Cross & Clark Harris Slover, 1996, Barnes and Noble.
drowning of Boann
tale comes from a folklorist in Drogheda, and is a common tale
in Irish mythology. Read
the full account here.
legend of the hound was that Boann was very curious and there
was nobody allowed to go near the sacred well except her husband
and his cup-bearers. She got curious and went to the well with
her dog, Dabilla. She lifted the cover off the top of the well
- it was a lid or cover of some kind - no-one was allowed to
touch it except the king (Nechtain) and his cup-bearers.
The water rose up and covered them up and swept Boann and her
dog from there, 70 miles all the way to the sea at Baltray.
The well is located at Carbury, a small village in County Kildare,
where it can still be seen today.
(Inbher or Inber in proper Gaelic) Colpa is the old name for
Baltray. Colpa was one of the sons of Milesius. He was drowned
at the Boyne where it enters the sea at Inbher Colpa.
There's a small mound there near the Protestant Church in Colpe,
which has retained its name from this legend. Inver Colpa means
the Inlet of Colpa.
Boann, the Queen, was married to Nechtain, who at that time
was the king of Leinster.
It was only him and his cup-bearers, or his closest conifants,
probably druids, who were allowed near the well. It is said
that if you look out at Rockabill, it has the shape of a big
hound. Dabilla was the name of the dog.
books on Irish and Celtic mythology, click