I spent some time over the weekend asking questions about the relationship between Balor of the Evil Eye and Croagh Patrick.
Anyone who’s been to Westport will realise that this is a mountain with powerful magical connotations. The fact that the Church had to claim it for their No. 1 Irish related saint will give some idea of how powerful they must have been.
I always thought that the mountain had been the location for Balor of the Evil Eye (said eye being either a third eye in the middle of his forehead or a large war machine eye operated by a series of pulleys and winches which was opened to cast a baleful gaze upon his enemies, depending on which source you prefer). He had lived atop said Croagh, and was somewhat akin to Tolkien’s Souron in his generalship of malevolent forces throughout the land.
I was meeting with a number of archeologists on Sunday, and thought I’d quiz them further about the mountain and its place in old stories. I was disturbed to find that their training had left them utterly ignorant on this important issue. Instead they seemed to have spent their time learning about mud and arrowheads.
They finished their comprehensive pooh-poohing of all the epics of ancient Ireland, and all the local tales of fairy forts and standing stones as being utter fiction dating back merely to the Early Christian period. Nothing could be learned from them as to what had gone before then, and so they could be, and should be in the interests of science, utterly discounted as fiction and superstition.
In return, I asked them how they could sleep at night for all the brambles left in their beds.
UPDATE: For further evidence of Croagh Patrick being up to something, see this Nationwide report (realplayer) on the Rolling Sun, which happens twice a year.