The Legend of Lough Leane

By Daithi O hÓgain

Editor: Rory Darcy

The O’Donoghue, the great chieftain of Ross, had a violent temper.  No matter how foolish his commands, they had to be obeyed.

          In the centre of the garden that surrounded his palace there was a fountain and on top of this there was a large, flat, rectangular stone . The fountain was made by a magician who had great powers.  He had warned that if anyone ever dared to take the flagstone off the fountain the castle and the surrounding country would be flooded by a great deluge.

          On one of his birthdays O’Donoghue held a great stag hunt.   Returning home in the evening there was a huge feast in the palace with many noble guests attending.

The O’Donoghue Legend Sculpture, Mission Rd. Killarney
(Leticia Mangan, Sculptor)

          Late in the night, after he had been drinking for many hours, in an almighty state of excitement O’Donoghue said, “We will see if there is any truth in the magician’s threat.”

          The guests stared at one another in fright and wonder.  Then they began to laugh thinking that the bold chieftain was only joking.  But O’Donoghue ordered the captain of the archers to take off the stone.   Immediately, the waters started to pour out.  The terrified archers ran to the palace to tell the chieftain what was happening.

          It was not long before the waters of the fountain began to enter the palace.   There was terrible uproar – the ladies screaming… knights running to and fro .. others ordering their horses that they might get home before the waters got too high.

          But, alas, it was too late, the swirling mass of waters were gaining on them at an awesome rate, until the palace was entirely covered.   Nobody escaped, neither O’Donoghue, or his guests or his workers.

          Next morning the valley, where the palace had been, was filled with water and only the tops of the mountains,  which surround the valley,  were to be seen.

          There are many other  legends and stories about O’Donoghue.   It is  widely believed in Killarney that O’Donoghue rises out of the waters of Lough Leane  on his horse   at the dawn on May Day every seventh year.   However it isn’t known which year is the seventh!

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