How Lake Inchiquin got its name.

Roisin Neylon
Community engagement, Education, Other
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This story tells how Lake Inchiquin in Corofin, County Clare got its name. Set at the foot of Cinn tSlea this beautiful lake weaves its spell on all who see it. The story of Lake Inchiquin is a universal story of love and loss from the Béaloideas or rich story telling tradition found all over Europe since time began.

How Lake Inchiquin got its name. Once upon a time a chieftain called O ‘Quin lived in a place called Dúnán- Uí – Chuinn in the Barony of Inchiquin near Corofin in County Clare. There was a well near his house and it had the purest water on earth. You couldn’t find purer if you travelled the length and the breath of the country. O’ Quinn hunted wild deer and boar every day on Cinn tSlea which overlooked his land. Hadn’t Fionn MacChumhail and the Fianna hunted on this very same hill? It was a magical place. One day when he was out hunting O’Quinn met a beautiful lady near the well. She was the most beautiful lady he had every met with long golden hair and sky blue eyes. He immediately fell in love with her and asked her to marry him. She agreed on one condition, that he never bring any of the O’ Briens back to his Dún and he agreed. So they married and had two children a boy and a girl and for seven years were the happiest people in the world. One day O’Quinn heard that O’ Brien of Lemanagh and other chieftains were holding a race meeting in Comhad not far from where he lived. His wife begged him not to forget his promise and he said he wouldn’t and off he went to the races. He was very lucky at the races and won a lot of money. He came home triumphant, bragging about his good fortune. His wife reminded him off his promise as off he went again the next day. Again he was lucky and had celebration drinks with O’Brien. The third day he went and again had great luck. O Brien insisted he bring him back to his Dún to celebrate and forgetting all about his promise O’Quinn invited O’ Brien and all the rest back to his Dún. His wife saw him coming. She prepared a sumptuous meal for them but as they reached the Dún she took her two children and dived into the well. After the men had ate and drank their fill they began to play cards. O’ Quinn’s luck changed and as the night wore on he lost all his money and his home to O’ Brien. Too late he remembered his promise and ran out in search of his wife. There was no sign of her and the children but the well was overflowing and the water rushing out soon covered all the land and made a lake. Soon it surrounded his Dún. That is how Lake Inchiquin got its name “the Island of O’ Quinn”. Swimming close to shore O’Quinn saw three swans .The largest turned to him with the saddest eyes he had ever see. O’ Brien soon took over all O’ Quinn land and they were never to get back to their former glory. It is said that every seven years the three swans change back to their human form and ramble in the island where they were once so happy.

European Dimension

European Heritage are the shared values, customs and traditions which come down through the ages and are expressed in the built and natural environment. These common values are expressed through story telling, myths and legends passed on through the generations.

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