What happened to the Swans? Cá raibh siad?

photo of Children of Lir statue


“The swans are back”, Fionnuala texted, “a brown one and six white ones, down on the canal near Portobello”. Back? – yes, they’d been gone since the beginning of May. Where had they gone? – who knows, but they disappear each year and, they’re gone for the summer, and then they return – that’s all I know…

But it reminds me of the Irish legend of the “Children of Lir” – Fionnuala, Aodh, Fiachra and Conn, the four children, turned into swans by their wicked stepmother Aoife and condemned to live for 300 years on Loch Dairbhreach, 300 years on the Sea of Moyle, between Ireland and Scotland and 300 years on Sruth Fada Conn, on the North Mayo coast. Fortunately, they retained their beautiful singing voices and their haunting music could still be heard on the wind, wherever they ventured.

One of my favourite pieces of public sculpture is the statue of the “Children of Lir” by Oisín Kelly in the Garden of Remembrance in Dublin (seen above). This garden is dedicated to the memory of all those who gave their lives in the cause of Irish Freedom. In Celtic custom, on concluding a battle, the weapons of war were broken and cast in the river, to signify the end of hostilities. On entering the garden, you can see a mosaic of broken weapons underneath the water in the cruciform pond.

n’fheadar an é mar gheall ar an cogadh cathartha a chinn siad ar an leagan amach seo –  iarracht ar athmhuintearas a chothú idir an dá thaobh, b’fhéidir…  ní dóigh liom, áfach, go raibh siad ag súil leis na trioblóidí a bhí fós le teacht.

The photo above comes from archiseek.com and you can see more about the Garden of Remembrance at:





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