A series with David Mullen

For Ireland’s most distant inhabited offshore island (some nine miles off the coast of Donegal), Tory certainly plays a central role in the great legends of old.

It was, so the stories go, once home to Balor, the giant Fomorian king of the evil eye who supposedly locked his daughter Eithne in a tower on the island to prevent her becoming pregnant after a prophecy foretold that Balor would be killed by his own grandson.

After Balor stole the Glas Gaibhnenn, the magical cow of plenty belonging to Cian, one of the Tuatha Dé Danann, Cian sought revenge, using magic to enter the tower and impregnate Eithne. After she gave birth to triplets, fearing the prophecy, Balor ordered the children killed, though one, unnamed, but probably the god Lugh, survived and was raised by his uncle.

At the second battle of Moytura, the Fomorians opened Balor’s eye whose terrible power had the ability to wreak havoc on an opposing army. With the eye open, Lugh managed to fire a stone from a slingshot into his grandfather’s eye, killing him and toppling him onto twenty-seven Fomorian soldiers, winning the day for the Tuatha Dé Danann.

Continue reading in this week’s Ireland’s Own