The Story Of The Children Of Lir
The Irish are known for their ability to talk! As we say it “the gift of the gab”. This probably connects way back to the oral tradition of storytelling. When people were mostly illiterate they entertained each other around the fire in the house telling stories. A famous Irish legend The Children of Lir is just one example from this tradition. Here is a shortened version:
Many years ago there was a king called Lir. His wife was called Aoibh (pronounced Eve). They had four children: one girl, Fionnuala, and three sons, Aodh (pronounced Eh), Fiachra (pronounced Fiakra) and Conn.
After many happy years together, Aoibh died. The king and his children were devastated. Eventually Lir remarried. His new wife was Aoife (pronounced Eefa).
She became extremely jealous of the king’s love for his children and plotted to get rid of them. On a journey with the children she ordered her servant to kill them, but the servant refused. She tried to kill them herself, but was afraid of the king. Instead, she used her magic to turn the children into swans.
As swans, the children had to spend 300 years on Lough Derravaragh (a lake near their father’s castle), 300 years in the Sea of Moyle, and 300 years in Irrus Domnann Erris near to Inishglora Island (Inis Gluaire). They had to be blessed by a monk to turn back into humans.
Babel Academy of English Summer School Art Project – Origami Swans representing the Children of Lir:
If you like this post, you might be interested in viewing our Story of St Patrick post