Friday, August 13, 2010

County Cavan's Dark Secret

Cavan may look all nice and friendly - gentle hillocks, still clear lakes, friendly people. But beneath the pleasant veneer lurks an ancient, evil secret.

Just southwest of Ballyconnell, a wonderful town in the northwest of the county (and near to where Mrs. Aitor is from), you will come across a wide expense, a weird and eerie place, called the plain of Magh Slecht.

Although called a plain, in actual fact Magh Slecht is quite hilly, only marginally flatter than the rest of drumlin-rich Cavan. Dotted across the area are barrows, stone circles and standing-stones, ruins which stretch back, in some cases, 4000 years. Unsurprisingly, when the Celts arrived in Ireland during the Iron Age (around 700 -600 BC) they were somewhat in awe of the existing neo-lithic structures on-site, and turned the area into a site for religious worship, focussing on the god Crom Cruach. Now, this fella had a bit of an old penchant for blood, and thus this area of Cavan became Ireland's main centre for...

Human Sacrifice (and people think Quinn Group put Cavan on the map!)

"Crom Cruach's cult image, consisting of a gold figure surrounded by twelve stone figures, stood on Magh Slécht ("the plain of prostration") in County Cavan, and was propitiated with first-born sacrifice in exchange for good yields of milk and grain. Crom is said to have been worshipped since the time of Eremon. An early High King, Tigernmas, along with three quarters of his army, is said to have died while worshipping Crom on Samhain eve, but worship continued until the cult image was destroyed by St. Patrick with a sledgehammer."

So if you find yourself wandering among Cavan's rolling drumlins, just remember the soil you walk on is soaked in blood...


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