Aibell

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As described by Donal O'Sullivan, Aibell or Aoibheal (pronounced ae-val)

"was the Fairy Queen of Thomond in Irish mythology; and her palace, Carraig Liath or The Grey Rock, is a hill overlooking the Shannon about a mile and a half above Killaloe, on the Clare side of the river."[1]

She is the principal fairy goddess of the Dál gCais and O'Brien dynasty.[2]

Contents

Literature

In Seán Ó Seanacháin's song An Buachaill Caol Dubh, Aoibheal appears to a young couple and offers the man a hundred Fairy servants if he will renounce his mortal lover in exchange for the bed of Aoibheal herself. He refuses, to the delight of his young paramour, and Aoibeal promptly disappears. This is a mis-reading of the poem. In this poem Seán Ó Seanacháin likens the grip that drink (An Buachaill Caol Dubh - the dark slender lad - probably a whiskey bottle) has on him to the love that a young man would have for him. In the last verse he expands by saying that, when Aoibheal met the two of them walking the road, she promised the lad a hundred men if he would let go of the poet. The lad replied that he was steadfast and true and would not desert his friends until they died. Thus Seán acknowledges his addiction will never disappear. A definitive version of this song is available on the CD "O'Riada sa Gaeity" sung by Seán O'Sé with lyrics in the notebook. This will support this reading of the poem.

Lady Gregory

"AND Aoibhell, another woman of the Sidhe, made her dwelling-place in Craig Liath, and at the time of the battle of Cluantarbh she set her love on a young man of Munster, Dubhlaing ua Artigan, that had been sent away in disgrace by the King of Ireland. But before the battle he came back to join with Murchadh, the king's son, and to fight for the Gael. And Aoibhell came to stop him; and when he would not stop with her she put a Druid covering about him, the way no one could see him.

And he went where Murchadh was fighting, and he made a great attack on the enemies of Ireland, and struck them down on every side. And Murchadh looked around him, and he said: "It seems to me I hear the sound of the blows of Dubhlaing ua Artigan, but I do not see himself." Then Dubhlaing threw off the Druid covering that was about him, and he said: 'I will not keep this covering upon me when you cannot see me through it. And come now across the plain to where Aoibbell is," he said, "for she écan give us news of the battle."

So they went where she was, and she bade them both to quit the battle, for they would lose their lives in it. But Murchadh said to her, "I will tell you a little true story," he said; "that fear for my own body will never make me change my face. And if we fall," he said, "the strangers will fall with us; and it is many a man will fall by my own hand, and the Gael will be sharing their strong places." "Stop with me, Dubhlaing," she said then, "and you will have two hundred years of happy life with myself." "I will not give up Murchadh," he said, "or my own good name, for silver or gold." And there was anger on Aoibhell when he said that, and she said: "Murchadh will fall, and you yourself will fall, and your proud blood will be on the plain tomorrow." And they went back into the battle, and got their death there.

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