In Ireland we have tales of faraway lands, magical creatures and strong warriors but also we have many tales of love and romance! There is one story that springs to mind and that is the story of Cliodhna and Ciabhan. Cliodhna was in the Tuatha De Danann (Tribe of the Gods), an ancient Irish race of beings who were seen like Gods and lived in Ireland before anyone else arrived on our shores. She was seen as ‘Queen of the Banshees’ and is known for being one of the most beautiful beings there ever was.
One day a human named Ciabhan stumbled upon the beautiful Cliodhna and they instantly fell madly in love with each other. Such was her love for Ciabhan she stayed in the mortal world to be with her mortal love. As they journeyed together around the island of Ireland, Cliodhna and Ciabhan stopped to rest in a small harbour on the coast of Cork in a place named Glandore.
Unbeknownst to them they had journeyed too far into the territory of a Sea God called ‘Manannan Mac Lir’ (Son of the Sea) . Ciabhan heard this beautiful music faintly in the distance, it was as if it was dancing above the sea waves. Mesmerised he wanted to swim out and see what it was, but Cliodhna stopped him, she said it was too dangerous for him a mere human but she herself moved closer. Suddenly Cliodhna entered into a trance and moved further and further into the water. It was not mere music but a spell to lure the Banshee Queen into the ocean.
The music grew louder and louder and suddenly Cliodhna closed her eyes and was put into a dream like state, defenceless, a wave as big as the cliffs swept her away and poor Ciabhan, her new love, was unable to reach her.
To this day the Glandore harbours tide is named Tonn Chliodhna or Clionas wave, indeed every time a thunderous wave breaks on the seashore her memory rises from our island’s history echoing from the mystical era that, although now at an end, is never forgotten.
I know this love story does not have a happy ending however imagine the love that they had for Cliodhna to leave everything to be with Ciabhan. What a love indeed…
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