The Fall of Crom Cruach
Crom Cruach was one of the old gods of Ireland, one of the few mentioned as a god in the Annals of the Four Masters, an ancient Irish codex telling of the times before Christianity came to Ireland. His name may have many meanings, but he was most commonly known to the people as Crom Dubh, or the crouching darkness. his worshippers are said to have gathered at Mount Brandon in County Kerry and Croagh Patrick in Mayo, but nowhere is the name Crom still known as well as at Moy Slecht.
A lonely and windy plain between Leitrim and Cavan, it first enters the tales of yore when King Tigernmas son of Follach, the first to smelt gold more than three thousand years ago, the first king to give drinking-horns to his followers, and the first to have clothes dyed purple, blue and green and decorated with brooches, fringes and ornaments, built a circle there for the worship of old black stoop, the wizened bent one with many glooms.
It is written that during his reign a vessel came from across the ocean from the king of the feared and sorcerous Fomors, demanding the wealth of Ireland, gems, tin and copper, and the means for their shaping. Tigernmas called to himself the chieftains of the land to give counsel on this demand but they said they'd rather keep the goods for themselves, and why not.
Well the Fomors took this none too kindly, so they sent Ishbaal, daughter of their king, who was married to Aodab, along with a cohort of their dark priests to Ireland. They brough with them an idol of gold and silver and stone, and twelve other dark deities covered in gleaming bronze. These priests of fearsome aspect bade Tigernmas to build a fortress on Moy Senaig, the plain of glorious deeds, as a temple for their gods, and Tigernmas agreed for the sake of peace.
The priests of Crom Cruach brought the idols to that place and demanded that the Gaels should be summoned to hear the judgements of these gods on their troubles. But when the people gathered they weren't inclined to bow before the stones, so the priests threatened them with vile curses and fell works of magic, saying their corn would wither and their cows would be dry unless they gave worship to the stones.
After the people bowed on their knees, the priests passed their judgement with awful smiles on their faces - Crom Cruach demanded the firstborn child of each family and each herd in sacrifice, their heads to be dashed upon Crom's idol, that the richness and wealth of the land might not be struck down!
Great was the weeping of the people of Ireland as they heard this, and they hurled themsleves against the rocks and jagged trees of the plain, breaking their noses and the joints of their knees and elbows. Three quarters of their number perished so on Samhain, including Tigernmas himself, slain by Crom for their defiance, but those that remained rose up against the power of the Fomorians, slaughtering their chief and as many of the rest as they could catch. The Fomors fled in great haste from Ireland then, returning to their own land.
The bards sang sad songs over the body of Tigernmas, who with ten hundred and three thousand of his people died in that place, in his seventy seventh year. Thereafter the plain was known as Moy Slecht, the plain of prostrations.
And yet the worship of the Bent One of the Hill persisted for centuries after, for he was not a power to cross lightly, nor were the Druids the sorts to turn up their noses at even so deadly a supernatural ally, and his servants walked the fair green earth of Ireland sowing fear where they went.
Then came the time of Patrick and the dawn of the Christian faith in Ireland, and Patrick, upon hearing of this pagan god, went forth with haste to Moy Slecht. There he raised his crosier and struck the mighty idol, breaking it open and banishing the sly darkness that oozed out from within back to the hell from whence it came! And the twelve surrounding stones sank deep into the earth, with only their tops protruding as witness to this great miracle.
Patrick led the survivors of this battle to a well close at hand and baptised them into the faith, building a church there as well. And yet even to this day, farmers and travellers stay well clear of Moy Slecht, whispering around the fire that something yet stirs in the deep places of the earth. Some speak of a smell of burning meat, while others report faint chanting on the farthest winds at certain times of the year. Images of strange and shadowy forms in the area at sunset have been taken, and apparitions yet haunt the area, or so some say.
Indicated on the map below is the plain itself.
More Irish Gods and Monsters
Of all the different kinds of goblins that haunted the lonely places of Ireland in days of old, air-demons were most dreaded by the people. They lived among clouds, and mists, and rocks, and they hated the human race with the utmost malignity. In those times lived in the north of Desmond (the present county of Cork) a man man named Fergus O'Mar ... [more]
Ancient Ireland was said by some to have been plagued by a particularly large and fierce breed of wolf, and men would sometimes go to war with them, or call them to war alongside heroes and champions! They would even make so bold as to attack villages and towns, and a great pack of them assailed Coleraine in the year 1650. To battle these fierce ... [more]
An Cailleach or the veiled woman is among the most ancient deities venerated in Ireland, she whose realm lies in the ice and cold of winter. Once it was said that she ruled all the world, when the green things slept for untold aeons beneath her thick icy cloak, until she was given cause for great sorrow and wept floods of tears across the land, her ... [more]
They do say that good things come in small parcels, but often forget to add that not all small parcels are filled with good things! And so it was in the little village of Slaughtaverty in the distant past, ruled as it was by a fearsome dwarf-tyrant known as Abhartach. Stature and size were much prized in ancient Ireland, as well they might be fo ... [more]
In ancient times, even before the Tuatha De Dannan and the Fir Bolg went to war over the green land of Ireland, the land was ruled by a powerful sorcerous race called the Fomors. Warped and strange they were in appearance, some say dark of skin while others claim they dwelt at the bottom of deep lakes and in the turbulent depths of the ocean' ... [more]
The Banshee or woman of the fairy folk as she is known in Ireland has many names, the Little Washerwoman, Hag of the Mist and the Hag of the Black Head. She takes three forms, that of a young and comely maiden, a matron of full and generous figure, or that of a wretched old crone, and is dressed in red or white or as the occasion calls for it, in t ... [more]
Crom Cruach was one of the old gods of Ireland, one of the few mentioned as a god in the Annals of the Four Masters, an ancient Irish codex telling of the times before Christianity came to Ireland. His name may have many meanings, but he was most commonly known to the people as Crom Dubh, or the crouching darkness. his worshippers are said to have ... [more]
Of all the wonders and terrors in Irish folklore there are few quite so terrifying as the Sluagh. Tales were told of their wild hunt long before the coming of Christianity to Ireland, and even today old folk in the countryside will keep the windows on the west side of the house fastened tight at all times, but most especially during wakes or if som ... [more]
The Red Thirst, the Dearg Due, was these thousand years gone by a young maiden of surpassing fairness. Bards sang songs of her skin as fair as springtime snow and her lips as red as rubies in the light of the setting sun, men came from far and wide to seek her hand in marriage. And yet pretty as she was, he true beauty shone from within, as kindly ... [more]