Jonathan Swift’s Loughcrew Poem

The hills at Loughcrew are commonly known by their Irish name: Sliabh na Caillí. Meaning Mountain of the Witch. This comes from the local legend about how the Cairns were formed. Jonathan Swift heard of this story and put it to verse.


Determined now her tomb to build,

Her ample skirt with stones she filled, 

And dropped a heap on Carnmore;
Then stepped one thousand yards, to Loar, 

And dropped another goodly heap; 

And then with one prodigious leap

Gained Carnbeg; and on its height

Displayed the wonders of her might.
And when approached death’s awful doom, 

Her chair was placed within the womb 

Of hills whose tops with heather bloom.
Jonathan Swift, c. 1720

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