The Tiveragh Fairy Hill
Cushendall, Northern Ireland
Legend and lore has it that this very broad sided hill with steep sides overlooking the small village of Cushendall in Northern Ireland is the gateway to Tir na nOg. A place very well known locally to be haunted by faeries, leprechauns, elves, and pixies … this giant hill is a natural fortress all in its own and easily seen to be claimed as a stronghold by the fae. Fairy tales mention many stories about it rising up on pillars during the twilight evening with glimmering meriment of faeries frolicking and dining. Many believe that the wee folk live in this hill that is accessed by a nearby cave. As the warning goes, if ye are mortal, regardless of how appeasing the faerie music may sound, if you wander within, you’ll never be seen again on this plane of existence. Time holds a whole different rhythm in Faerieworlds.
We however, of fae persuasion, did venture up the hill at the turn of twilight just as the sun was going down. We spied the hill with visions of faerie impressions while across the valley atop Ossian’s Grave – the Megalithic tomb believed to be the burial spot of the fabled poet and bard Oisin. Now Oisin was lured into fae, into Tir na nOg where he lived until he requested to return to the land of mortals to visit his family. Of course due to faerie time, he came back several hundred years later to find them all gone and deceased. He fell off his faerie steed and became a blind old man wandering these fields eventually dying. If the faerie tale is true, this would be the hill he would have rode out of and across the valley would have been his grave overlooking it … curiouser and curiouser. Midway along the way up the base of the hill is one of the most magnificent Faerie Thorn Trees I’ve ever encountered. As usual with these faerie hills, I always find a wee hole just big enough for the Victorian sized fae to enter within, usually lined with heavy rocks, making it look peculiarly like its a miniature mine rather than a animal hole. We climbed atop as the sun was going down, empowered by the feelings of the ancient ones. Archaeologically though, this may be a massive hillfort. I’m looking for those records and will post my findings here.
On Tiv-ra Hill near Cushendall,
I heard a commotion behind a wall,
I stopped and looked over, and boys-o-boys!
Now what do you think was making the noise?
Twas a Hurley match – and may I choke -–
It was two wee teams of the Fairy folk
That was rippling’ and tearing’ and weltin’ away
In the light of the moon was bright as day.
And their playing pitch was hardly as big
As my Uncle Barney’s potato rig;
And me there watchin’ them puck and clout –
At the back o’ the wall with my eyes stuck out.
When all at once, like the squeal of a hare,
A wee voice shouted, “Who’s that up there?””
And a bit off a thing about nine – inch tall
Came climbing up to the top of the wall.
And he stood there; he stood about pot -size
With his two wee fingers up at my eyes,
And its God’s own truth that I’m speakin’ mind ye,
“”Get out o’ that,” says he, “or I’ll blind ye!””
Aye that’s what he said, “I’ll blind ye,” says he,
And by Jing what he said was enough for me,
Did I run? Aye surely; I didn’t miss -–
And I haven’t seen Tiveragh from that to this.
The Fairy Hill Tiveragh is a fairy hill and near to Cushendall,
And nobody goes there at night, no nobody at all.
The hill is small, the sides are steep.
And I have heard it said That flickering lights go in and out While everyone’s in bed.
And on the top two hawthorns grow, A white one and a red.
~ John Irvine Desmond
~ Yours truly, Leaf McGowan