The Mythology of Lough Derg

Mythology tells us the sorrowful tail of how Lough Derg got its name. Eochaidh Mac Luachta, King of Mid-Erinn whose fort bordered what is today Clare and Galway, had the misfortune to be visited upon by a wicked bard, AithirnĂ© the Importunate, (sent by King Connor to stir up trouble in a time of recent peace and test what prince would refuse his demands and thereby be drawn into war). AithirnĂ©, whose skill as a satirist was unmatched and who seldom asked for anything easy or honourable to grant, displayed his abilities at the King’s court. He then demanded the King’s eye for his guerdon (reward or recompense). Rather than be considered ungenerous to a bard and have his people drawn into battle, he tore out his eye there and then and gave it over. The poor King only had one to begin with. A servant brought his blind master to the edge of the Shannon to wash the wound where he informed the unfortunate King: “Alas! Dear master, the water is all red with your blood.” The King announced then: “Let that circumstance give it a name for all future time…’Loch Derg Dheirc’ (Lake of the Red Eye) shall it be called while the Sionan runs to the sea”.