Moytirra East

The Eglone Stone

This is unlabelled by Wakeman, so we do not know when he illustrated this. The Eglone is not a megalith or a standing stone, but is one of many large glacial boulders or erratics that are located near Highwood village. The ice sheets that once covered Ireland over 10,0000 years ago during the Ice Age deposited these. The Eglone is the largest of them and it measures 5.2m in height.

Possibly because of its size and position it has a number of stories associated with it. Moytura, or Magh Tuiread, which means 'Plain of Pillars, is the ancient name of this upland limestone area to the east of Lough Arrow and was the site of the central tale concerning the ancient gods of Ireland, the Tuatha Dé Danann. This epic story entitled Cath Maigh Tuireadh, tells of the violent conflict between the Tuatha De Danann and the demonic Fomorians. The basic meaning of the story reflects a cosmic battle between order and chaos. The tale introduces various characters and episodes relating to the Tuatha Dé Dannan before the actual battle, which took place at Samhain, Halloween.

One local story says that while the Tuatha De Danann were waiting for the battle to begin and had a rock throwing contest to pass the time. The erratics were a result of this and the Daghda, a god of fertility, was the one who threw the Eglone. The two armies assembled and a three-day bloody slaughter began. On the last day Lugh, the ancient sun god and king of the Tuatha De Danann, fought against his grandfather Balor of the Evil Eye, king of the Fomorians. Lugh used his spear to pierce Balor's eye, killing him instantly As the venomous eye fell from Balor's head, it burned a great hole in the ground forming Loughnasool, Loch na Súil, the Lake of the Eye which lies at the north end of Moytura. With their leader dead the Fomorian leaders surrendered to Lugh and the battle became a rout.

Another story tells of a giant called Eglone who had been challenged by another giant to throw a rock from the Curlew Mountains to Carran Hill above Geevagh. He threw the Eglone only as far as Highwood and having failed, forfeited his life and was buried next to the rock.

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