Nine Daughters Hole
Photo and text by Richard Creagh
Cave of the Nine Daughters
Back in the time of the Vikings Ireland must have been a fairly rough place to be living. For over 200 years Viking raiders from Norway and Denmark made regular attacks on Irish settlements, taking what they wanted away with them and leaving a trail of destruction behind. Eventually the Vikings even settled here, presumably to have Irish bases from which to make further attacks into the country. The bastards! Many placenames in Ireland have a Scandinavian origin that we still use today, like Smerwick (Smjǫr-vík – butter harbour) and Wexford (Veisa-fjǫrðr – muddy fjord).
This cave near Ballybunion is known as the Cave of the Nine Sisters, or Daughters even. There’s a story that during a Viking raid a local Chieftan, presumably having accepted the battle was lost, threw his nine daughters into this cave through the hole in the ceiling, for fear of losing them to the Vikings. Many Irish women were taken as slaves by the raiders, and this Chieftan obviously didn’t like the idea. I don’t know if his daughters had any say in the matter.
Most old stories are rooted in truth, however extravagant they may seem after centuries of embellishment. It’s been known for awhile now that Iceland was settled by Scandinavians. Genetic markers have revealed that the majority of the first women settlers were of Celtic origin, while most of the men have roots in Northern Europe. So there may well be some truth to the story of this cave, because the Norsemen were certainly taking women away with them. I’ve been to Iceland twice and the women there are generally pretty good looking. They can thank us.
Presentation Secondary School, Listowel
A significant event in the life of the early Listowel Presentation
community was the ‘Battle of the Cross’ in 1857. The Sisters were
ordered to take down the Cross from outside their school by
the Education Board. In spite of dire threats, the sisters refused to
do so, and defied the Board. Eventually the Board yielded. The cross is still there today.
As I was in the area recently I took the opportunity to take a few snaps of my old workplace.
Through many seasons I watched this old tree which is just over the wall from the carpark. If it could only talk what a tale it would tell.
Once upon a time the convent had an open door policy. Anyone who was hungry could make his way to the kitchen door knowing he would be looked after.
Then and Now
It was a sad day for Listowel in 2007 when the nuns finally closed the doors.
Typical Sunday Morning in Childers’ Park
Lots of youngsters out playing sport and lots of adults giving up their time to train them
Tutenkamun, King Tut to his friends, was an Egyptian pharaoh who reigned for ten years nearly 4 thousand years ago. He came to power aged 10!
Young Tut never heard the Irish saying, “You can”t take it with you.”
The reason the world still remembers Tutenkamun is because of the massive wealth uncovered in his tomb, one hundred years ago, in February 1923.
His coffin was solid gold. In fact to be sure to be sure he had 3 coffins nested inside each other like Russian dolls.
His tomb was a passage grave and in it Howard Carter, who opened the grave in 1923, found a carriage, weapons and loads of beautiful jewellery.
This is the funerary mask that was over the head of the mummified Tut.
It took 10 years to remove and document all the stuff Tut took with him. Up to 2020 there were tours of different pieces from the collection to museums around the world.
In 1972 some of the loot was in London and believe it or believe it not, I was also in a summer job in town and I joined the the throng filing past. The stuff was breathtaking in its magnificence and in the horror inducing realisation that this was just buried to accompany a ruler to the other world.
Scarab brooches were all the rage that summer. I bought a cheap one. They were meant to bring luck.