First Love: Cliodhna’s Passion for Ciabhan
Legendary beauty Cliodhna is the patron of the O’Brien family and the source of the Blarney Stone’s mystical ability.
AND it was in the time of the Fianna of Ireland that Ciabhan [pronounced Kee-von] of the Curling Hair, the king of Ulster’s son, went to Manannan’s country.
Ciabhan now was the most beautiful of the young men of the world at that time, and he was as far beyond all other kings’ sons as the moon is beyond the stars. And Finn liked him well, but the rest of the Fianna got to be tired of him because there was not a woman of their women, wed or unwed, but gave him her love. And Finn had to send him away at the last, for he was in dread of the men of the Fianna because of the greatness of their jealousy.
Now Gebann, that was a chief Druid in Manannan’s country, had a daughter, Cliodna [pronounced Kleev-na] of the Fair Hair, that had never given her love to any man. But when she saw Ciabhan she gave him her love, and she agreed to go away with him on the morrow.
And they went down to the landing-place and got into a curragh, and they went on till they came to Teite’s Strand in the southern part of Ireland… And as to Ciabhan, he came on shore, and went looking for deer, as was right, under the thick branches of the wood; and he left the young girl in the boat on the strand.
But the people of Manannan’s house came after them, having forty ships. And Iuchnu, that was in the curragh with Cliodna, did treachery, and he played music to her till she lay down in the boat and fell asleep. And then a great wave came up on the strand and swept her away.
And the wave got its name from Cliodna of the Fair Hair, that will be long remembered.
Text source: Lady Gregory – Gods and Fighting Men, 1904