Ross Castle

Ross Castle, Killarney, Ireland

Ross Castle was built in the 15th century on the shore of Killarney’s Lower lake by O’Donoghue Mór. When you visit the superbly restored castle you will see the fine vaulted chamber under the roof. It was here, it is said, that O’Donoghue the great chief of Ross, became enchanted. 

As well as being rich and famous O’Donoghue Mór of Ross was also one of the wisest men of his time. He could do wonders by the power of the black art. 

But in spite of his wealth, power and wisdom there was one thing that really upset O’Donoghue. He did not like growing old. He was so worried about his advancing years that he shut himself up in his grand chamber at the top of the castle with his black book and vowed that he would not have contact with another person until he had discovered how he could make himself young again. 

The hours became days and the days weeks, but O’Donoghue still stayed locked away. His wife and everybody in the castle were getting very worried. At last, after seven long weeks , he called his wife and explained to her how he planned to become young again. “You will have to cut me up into little pieces”, O’Donoghue told his horrified wife. “You must put the pieces in a tub up here in this chamber and then lock the door and not come in again for seven weeks – and after that time you will find me alive and well, as a three year old child.” “But”, O’Donoghue warned his wife, “If at any time while you were doing of this you were to loose your nerve it would be all over with me”. 

“In order to test you I am going to read from my black book,” and he warned “while I am reading if you cry out at anything you hear or see I will be taken away from you forever.” While O’Donoghue was reading the most terrible things in the world appeared. As well there was a terrible noise, as if the whole castle was going to fall to pieces. Through all of this there wasn’t a word out of his wife. All of this she could bear, but then she saw her own child lying dead on the table before her.

She gave a terrible shriek. With that the castle shook. Whether O’Donoghue leapt or was sucked was not clear, but out of the window he went and disappeared into the waters of Lough Leane. As well his horse, his table, his library were all taken in the same way. It is said that O’Donoghue now lives in a great palace at the bottom of the lake from where he keeps a close eye on everything that he sees.

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