Map information – Lakeview Holidays self catering family holiday Portumna Ireland
This map covers a scenic and heavily wooded area dominated by the Sliabh Aughty Mountains to the west and Lough Derg on the Shannon to the east. With its rich heritage and great natural beauty, the area is popular with visitors from all countries. Much of the region, particularly parts of north Clare and Ballinakill, is framed for its traditional music and Ceili bands. The area is steeped in history, from the earliest stone monuments erected by Neolithic man, through earthen forts and lake dwellings, castles, tower-houses and the ‘Big Houses’ of the gentry. This map shows some of the many archaeological, historical and religious sites, as well as amenities in the area.
Northern Lough Derg has headlines, islands and shoals, while the south end of the Lake has mountains rising steeply on either side. Peat bogs were formed along the Galway shore, but on the Tipperary side well drained till soil was deposited. The Sliabh Aughty mountains were from about 250 million years ago. Slate, sandstone and volcanic jasper are among the rock types found in the mountain region. Most low lying parts of Ireland were once covered by a warm sea. Carboniferous Limestone, which covers much of the lowland area, was formed from shells and skeletons of underwater animals.
The River Shannon is said to take its name from Sinann, the daughter of Lodan, one of the Tuatha de Danann. There was once a mystical fountain called Connla’s Well, over which grew nine hazel trees which bore crimson nuts, full of knowledge about literature and art. Nuts that dropped into the well were eaten by salmon, which were highly prized for the knowledge they contained. It was forbidden for women to go to the well, but Sinann went there in secret. Upon her arrival the water rose up violently, drowning her, and leaving the well dry forever. Thus the stream from the well which eventually formed a river became known as the Sinann or Shannon. Sinann’s drowning is reputed to have occurred near the top of Lough Derg, close to Portumna.
Translated from the Irish, Lough Derg means ‘The Lake of the Bloody Eye’, which is explained by an old Celtic legend. Poets and bards were feared and respected for their ability to compose non-complimentary odes about people. One such Harpist, named Ahirny, toured the country, being feted by chieftains. Eochy Mac Luchta, King of South Connaught, Had lost one eye as a result of a war injury. Ahirny demaned the king’s only eye, which poor Eochy felt compelled to pluck out and hand over. The king went to a nearby lake to wash out the socket, and his assistant, noting that the lake’s surface had become red, remarked upon this. ‘So let it be’ said the the Chieftain, ‘Loch Dergdherc will be its name forever’.
The name Sliabh Aughty is also derived from a story in Celtic mythology. Eachta, the daughter of Urscethah, one of the Tuatha De Danann , was asked for her hand in marriage by the warrior Fergus. She agreed because of the land he possessed and his office as cupbearer to the King of Connaught. Having no stock or wealth, he gave her some mountain land which later became known as Sliabh Eachta or Aughty
Visitors with Irish roots or connections will be well served by the East Galway Family History Society based at the Woodford Heritage Centre (which is marked on the Woodford map) which offers a friendly and efficient service for anyone tracing their ancestors. The Centre holds for the main part pre-1900 parish records of births and deaths other documents such as shipping lists, land valuations, school roll books and other genealogical and historical material.