I am reading “The Yellow House, which is a novel written by Patricia Falvey. It starts out in the shadows of Slieve Gullion, which is in County Armagh, in Northern Ireland. Right away my own writer’s antennae went up! The Mountain, which is the highest in the country, where it is said that on a clear day, one can see the Dublin and Bay and even Wicklow! I visited the burial cairns in Northern Ireland a few years ago so it was easy to put myself there.
Slieve Gullion triggered the stories that I have been retelling last summer for my new book, “Irish Myth and Legend, lest we forget.”
Slieve Gullion is a worthy location, even today as two ancient burial monuments are located there on both sides of the lough. The forest covered in heather and stone make it a breathtaking must-see.
Slieve Gullion is a touchstone in Irish Mythology, similar to Tara and the hoy grounds which surround it such as The Hill of Slane. Slieve Gullion was the place Fionn, (Finn) leader of the Fianna was ticked by Milucra, who some believe was really the ancient goddess, Cailleach Bhera. Because Milucra’s sister, Aine and she both crushed on the leader of the King’s army, and because Aine had sworn never to marry a man with which hair, her sister put a curse on the lake on the mountain. The spell made anyone who swam in the lake old. Then using her woman’s charm, she convinced Finn to fetch the ring, she supposed dropped into it.
From that time on he wore a head of white.
Another tale which had its setting on the mountain was the one which gave CuChulainn his name, he being the young man who
was attacked by Culain’s hound. King Conchobar mac Nessa’s home was located on Slieve Gullion and CuChulainn attended a feast there.
Finally, one of my favorite tales about the badass Irish Queen Medb of Connacht. She was the character in the epic tale of “Cattle Reid of Cooley.” She set out to steal the famous stud bull, Donn Cuailnge. The tale happening, of course, in the Gap of the North which is in the mountain pass running through Slieve Gullion. CuChulainn also appears in this as the defender of Ulster.
It seems the more I read and learn, words, people and landmarks from Irish Culture are called to the front. When I saw Slieve Gullion in my reading it nudged me to make connections.