The Children Of Lir

The Children Of Lir

This elegant collection is inspired by the famous Irish tale of The Children of Lir.

The story goes that many years ago in ancient Ireland lived a King and ruler of the sea called Lir. He had a beautiful wife, called Eva, who gave him four children. The eldest son Aodh, a daughter called Fionnula and twin boys, Fiachra and Conn. When children were young, their mother Eva died. Lir and children were very sad, and King wanted a new mother for his young sons and daughter, so he married Eva’s sister Aoife who, it was said, possessed magical powers.

Jealous of the children's love for each other and for their father, Aoife plotted to get rid of the children. On a journey with the children to Bodb's house, she ordered her servant to kill them, but the servant refused. In anger, she tried to kill them herself, but did not have the courage. Instead, she used her magic to turn the children into swans. When Bodb heard of this, he transformed Aoife into an air demon for eternity.

As swans, the children had to spend 300 years on Loch Dairbhreach (pronounced 'luck darr-vrack') a lake near their father's castle, 300 years in the Sea of Moyle (off the North East coast of Antrim), and 300 years on the waters of Irrus Domnann Erris near to  Island (Inis Gluaire). To end the spell, they would have to be blessed by a monk.

One day they heard the bell. When they came back to the land a priest found them. The swans asked the priest to turn them back into humans, and he did, but since they were over 900 years old, they died and lived happily in heaven with their mother and father.