In a time of myth and magic,
lived a man of timeless power,
Lir was his name,
but his temper had turned sour.
He would not be king of the land,
Bov Dearg was chosen instead.
Lir would pay no tribute to him,
And secretly wished he was dead.
Alas with time Lir's wife did lie,
and he was full of great sadness,
Dearg heard this and sent word to Lir,
to meet with him in his palace.
When they met they both embraced,
Their friendship was made then.
Dearg summoned his daughter eve,
And told Lir he must marry again,
Lir's love for Eve was as strong as with his first wife,
A seed was planted, Fionnula and Aedh were born.
But her next child birth would take away her life,
Fiachra and Conn, from their mothers stomach were torn.
Lir's sadness knew no bounds -
he cried out to the night,
Dearg was there to comfort him
and help him see the light.
He had 4 beautiful children
and with time another bride,
Eve's sister Aoife would stay loyal to his side.
But Aiofe had a jealous side - a canker in her mind,
She moved against the children, love for them she could not find.
She took them in her chariot to a lake not far away.
And changed them into swans like night time into day.
300 years on Derravaragh, so commenced the spell,
the children would swim to the shore, their story to tell.
300 years on the sea of Moyle, a cruel and bitter place,
The children missed their father here, the smile upon his face.
In the sea of Moyle the waves did crash,
and beat the land with might,
The rain fell fierce and the wind blew hard,
the swans all feared for their lives.
Fionnula was strong and wisest of all,
And guarded her brothers from strife.
Under her wings they hid from night,
And waited for the morning light.
Finally the day did come,
to leave this terrible sea,
300 more years to live as swans,
then they at last would be free.
To Inish Gluaire the swans did fly,
As fast as they could go.
New lands and kingdoms everywhere -
Fionnula did see down below.
There they waited, till at last the day did dawn,
The spell was ending,
they felt themselves transform.
They were now ancient,
their youth was gone forever,
And as they died,
they held hands and went together...
Long ago there lived a king called Lir. He lived with his wife and four children: Fionnuala, Aodh, Fiachra and Conn. They lived in a castle in the middle of a forest. When Lir's wife died they were all very sad. After a few years Lir got married again. He married a jealous wife called Aoife.
Aoife thought that Lir loved his children more than he loved her. Aoife hated the children. Soon she thought of a plan to get rid of the children.
One summer's day Aoife took the children to swim in a lake near the castle. The children were really happy to be playing in the water. Suddenly Aoife took out a magic wand. There was a flash of light and the children were nowhere to be seen. All there was to be seen was four beautiful swans, with their feathers as white as snow.
Aoife said, "I have put you under a spell. You will be swans for nine hundred years," she cackled. "You will spend three hundred years in Lough Derravaragh, three hundred years in the Sea of Moyle and three hundred years in the waters of Inish Glora," Aoife said. She also said, "You will remain swans for nine hundred years until you hear the ring of a Christian bell."
She went back to the castle and told Lir that his children had drowned. Lir was so sad he started crying. He rushed down to the lake and saw no children. He saw only four beautiful swans.
One of them spoke to him. It was Fionnuala who spoke to him. She told him what Aoife had done to them. Lir got very angry and turned Aoife into an ugly moth. When Lir died the children were very sad. When the time came they moved to the Sea of Moyle.
Soon the time came for their final journey. When they reached Inish Glora they were very tired. Early one morning they heard the sound of a Christian bell. They were so happy that they were human again. The monk (some even say it was St. Patrick himself) sprinkled holy water on them and then Fionnuala put her arms around her brothers and then the four of them fell on the ground. The monk buried them in one grave. That night he dreamed he saw four swans flying up through the clouds. He knew the children of Lir were with their mother and father.
Y a-t-il une vie avant la mort ? [Seamus Heaney]