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Mullaghmast


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[Ir. mullach, a hilltop; maisten, of Maiste].

Hill (563 feet) 1 mile W of Ballitore, Co. Kildare, rich in mythological and archaeological associations. In nearby Glenn Treithim [OIr. Treichim], the smith-god Goibniu was thought to have had his forge. Copper ore was mined here in ancient times to make swords and spears. A standing stone formerly at Mullaghmast, now in the National Museum, contains a three-armed triskele; commentators are divided over whether it was once sacred to the pagan goddess Brigit or exemplifies very early Christian art. In the ráth at Mullaghmast is thought to lie Gearóid [ang. Garret] Óg, the 11th Earl of Kildare, who emerges once every seven years to ride around the Curragh of Kildare on a horse with silver shoes. (His story is easily confused with that of Gerald Fitzgerald, 3rd Earl of Desmond.) Two events from modern history have greater resonance in the popular imagination. The first was the treacherous slaughter by the English and their O’Dempsey allies of the chiefs of Laoighis (ModIr. Laois) and Uí Fháilghe on New Year's Day 1577. According to folk etymology, the English adventurer Maiste, eponym of mullach maisten, led the Irishmen to their deaths. The second was when Daniel O'Connell held a ‘Monster Meeting’ here on 1 October 1843.

Subjects: Religion.


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