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Stone-Groan…

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When Father Fish… Entertained Corrgenn… A powerful Connaught chief… And his wife at Tara… His wife… Was suspected of becoming over friendly with Aeth… The son of Father Fish… In a fit of jealous rage… Corrgenn slew the lad… In the very presence of his father… Rather than avenge the death… On the spot… The high-king… Imposed an eric... On Corrgenn… To take the body… Of his dead son… On his back… And never to lay it down… Until he had found… A stone… To fit him… In length… And breadth… And of a sufficient quality… To form… A fitting tombstone for him… And then to bury him…

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In the nearest hill… Corrgenn was forced… By the rules of custom… And tribal honour… To submit to the eric… So accordingly… He set out with his burden… Only finding a fitting stone… For the task… On the shores of Loch Foyle… In Derry… Here then… He deposited the body… On the nearest eminence… Went back down… Raised the stone… And carried it up the hill… There he dug a grave… And finally laid the prince… To rest… And with many a groan… Finally placed the stone… Over him… So wearied… By his labour… He had hardly… Completed the task… When he dropped down dead… By the stone…

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The combination of the Connaught man’s groans… ‘Ach’… And an old word for stone… ‘Ail’… Gives the spot its name in Irish… Ail-e-ach... It was customary to institute… Games and tournaments… At the site of royal burials… And this… Father Fish duly did… Though one wonders what was done with the body of the murderer?… But what are we to make… Of such a tale?… Is it true?… It seems unlikely to be true in all its aspects… Though undoubtedly… There are elements… Of truth… Within it… Games were inaugurated at the site of royal burials… And eric’s were imposed… To avenge unlawful killings.

 

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