Moytura Mythology Trail
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If you wish to explore magnificent South Co. Sligo with us, love Irish mythology and want to see some impressive historic and megalithic sites, then this is the perfect choice for you. Learn about the oldest known battle that took place here between the ancient races of Ireland known as the Tuath dé Danann and the Firbolgs! Moytura, otherwise known in Irish as ‘Maighe Tuireadh’ is situated on a limestone ridge overlooking Lough Arrow which is surrounded by woodland and pasture. An old ‘Mass pass’ follows the ridge leading to a stone cairn. Meeting your guide first and visiting a beautiful 500-year-old site known as ‘Ballindoon Friary’, we will drive to the start point of the trail. Your senses will awaken to the magic of the land around you where cattle graze happily in the fields.
The terrain on this trail consists of rock outcrops covered in grassland and random boulders strewn across the fields. These boulders are known as glacial erratic boulders left after the meltdown of a huge ice sheet which covered Ireland prior to 10,000 years ago.
In the past and to this day, local people were curious about the ancient megalithic sites here and these huge boulders and the folklore derived from this curiosity. One to note is called the ‘Eglone Stone’ which we can see if you wish on a customised tour of the area.
We will visit this ancient grave on our guided walk amongst other megalithic sites. It is the highest located megalith on the ridge from where you can see Knocknarea Mountain, Benbulben Mountain, to the north and the peaks of the Ox Mountains to the west. According to Irish mythology, ‘Shee Lugh’ was Lugh’s viewing platform for the battle of Moytura. Another megalithic site that will intrigue you on route is the remains of a prehistoric wedge tomb with a lime kiln incorporated into it. So, book now as there is lots to marvel in and plenty of fresh air to be had too!
We strongly recommend you do a customised tour with us in this area. Here, we include sites on a driving/walking route such as local lakes, one of which is linked to the story of the Battle of Moytura called ‘Loch na Súil or ‘lake of the eye’. If you wanted to make a day of it and have a picnic stop, we can do that too on the water’s edge of a pretty lake and visit sites close by such ‘Labby Rock Portal Tomb’ and the 5-metre tall Eglone Stone. Legend has it that this stone was thrown by the god of fertility, ‘The Dagda’ and that it may have fertility benefits for those who touch it!
We have a rich and fascinating folklore tradition in Ireland. The ‘mythology’ or ancient history of pre-Christian Ireland was preserved in oral tradition known as ‘Béaloideas’. However, it was the monks who began to record this lore passed on from pagan druids. They recorded and illustrated it magnificently in manuscript form over the centuries. Some of the manuscripts that survived intact to this day are housed in the Trinity Library and The Irish Manuscripts Library in Dublin. Many however have sadly been lost, stolen, or destroyed over time.
Cath Maighe Tuireadh
‘Lebor Gabála Érenn’ or ‘The Book of Invasions’ is a collection of poems and prose narratives written by monks in Irish. It is a history of Ireland beginning at the creation of the world right up to the Medieval period including stories of our ancestors, the Milesians. The earliest edition dates to the 11th Century. Two of Sligo’s most famous surviving manuscripts are ‘The Book of Ballymote’ and ‘The Book of Lecan’ which are based on ‘Lebor Gabála Érenn’. This is where we read of two great battles that took place in Connaught. It appears that the first took place near Cong in Co. Mayo and the second took place here in Moytura or ‘Cath Maighe Tuireadh’ which means plain of the pillars. The battles took place thousands of years ago between the residing ‘Tuatha Dé Danann’ warrior force, the Fomorians (seagoing, supernatural race from the North) and the ‘Firbolgs’ who had been enslaved by the Greeks and later returned to Ireland to regain territory. Lugh, pagan God of light or the sun was the leader of the Tuatha dé Danann warriors after former leader, Nuada.
€25 Adult, €10 Child
From €75 pending numbers
Rocky, grassy, road
Moytura guided walk 1-1.5 hours
Half/Full day Customised tour 3-4 hours
Water, snacks, hiking boots, sunscreen