Strangely Named Holes
May 06 Posted by Rosemarie Mangan in Carne Golf Links Blog 

Strangely Named Holes

Visitors to Carne Golf Links in Belmullet will notice that holes 11, 12, 13 and 14 (on the Hackett course) are named Conn, Fiachra, Aodh and Finnuala. These are traditional Irish names – the first three are boys’ names and Finnuala is a girl’s name.

So who are Conn, Fiachra, Aodh and Finnuala? And why are four of Carne’s golf holes named after them?

There is a famous mythological Irish story that is known by people all over the world – ‘Die Kinder von Lir’, ‘Les Enfants de Lir’, ‘I Figli di Lir’. In Irish, it is known as ‘Clann Lir’, and in English, it is called ‘The Children of Lir’. Conn, Fiachra, Aodh and Finnuala are the children of Lir.

The Legend of the Children of Lir

Many years ago in ancient Ireland there was a King called Lir. He had a beautiful wife, Niamh, and they had four children including twin boys, Fiachra and Conn. Alas, Niamh died when the children were very young. The children were very sad and the King decided that he wanted a new mother for his children. So he married Niamh’s sister, whose name was Aoife. It was said that Aoife had magical powers.

At first, they were all very happy and Aoife loved the children. However, it wasn’t long before she became very jealous of the children. King Lir spent a lot of time with them, and she wanted all of his attention. So, one day, she took the children to a lake for a swim, where she cast a spell over them. She turned them all into beautiful swans with feathers as white as snow. Aoife knew that if she killed the children, their ghosts would haunt her forever. Instead, she forced them to live as swans for 900 years – 300 years on Lake Derravaragh, 300 on the Straits of Moyle and 300 on the island of Inis Gluaire. Lake Derravaragh is in Co. Westmeath, and the Straits of Moyle is between northeastern Northern Ireland and the highlands of Scotland. The island of Inis Gluaire (Inishglora) is off the coast of the Mullet Peninsula in Erris, Co. Mayo – in full view of holes 11, 12, 13 and 14 at Carne Golf Links.

One day on Inis Gluaire, at the end of their 900 years, the Children of Lir heard a bell ringing. It was a monk, now known as St. Brendan the Navigator, who had rung the bell in his church. Upon hearing the echo of the bell, the swans turned back into their human form. St. Brendan baptised them and looked after them, but they did not live for very long after that. They were buried together in one grave on the island and that night, St. Brendan dreamed of four swans flying up through the clouds. He knew then that the Children of Lir were on their way to heaven to reunite with their mother and father.

The Legacy

This wonderful Irish legend has had a lasting legacy for thousands of years. It is evident in places all over Ireland and especially in this part of northwest Mayo, on the Wild Atlantic Way.

There is a pub in Belmullet town called ‘Clann Lir’, but the locals simply call it ‘The Clann’.

The local arts centre in Belmullet is called Áras Inis Gluaire, after the island.

You will find an abstract mural of the four swans in Belmullet town, visible from the pier in Blacksod Bay, a short walk from the ‘Clann Lir’ pub.

A breathtaking loop walk in the nearby village of Ceathrú Thaidhg (Carrowteige) is named ‘The Children of Lir Loop’. This coastal walk provides staggering views of towering cliffs, secret caves and lonely islands. The loop is a 13km hike with an ascent of 270m – and truly stunning views.

From 22 to 25 May there is a Clann Lir Festival in the Erris region, celebrating the area’s connection with the Children of Lir. The festival includes: guided walks, storytelling, traditional music sessions, a kids’ event in Ballycroy National Park, traditional Irish dancing, arts & crafts, kayaking and coasteering in the Atlantic Ocean, an animated screening of the story and, of course, a golf challenge at Carne Golf Links.

And now you will understand why the logos of both Carne Golf Links and Belmullet Golf Club include four white swans.

Inis Gluaire

The island of Inis Gluaire (Inishglora) is considered to be the holiest of all the islands of Erris. There are several archaeological remains on the island, including the ruins of St. Brendan’s Church and two other churches – Teampall na bhFear (Men’s Church) and Teampall na mBan (Women’s Church). There are also remains of beehive huts, St. Brendan’s Well, and Early Christian period cross slabs and pillars.

One of the best views of Inis Gluaire is from Carne Golf Links – a truly unique aspect of the golf course. Unless you have a helicopter, going to the island is quite difficult, so visitors are rare. Unlike the nearby deserted islands of Inis Gé, there is no pier or dock for passing boats. In this way, Inis Gluaire and its former inhabitants have managed to retain its mystery over the years. And rightly so.

What better way to pay your respects to the Children of Lir than to soak up the views and absorb the living history, than by pausing at the seaside holes 11-14 at Carne?
Posted by admin at Jun 22, 2016 Category: Other
Tags: carne golf links, Children of Lir, Clann Lir Festival, Erris, Links Golf Ireland