The Hound of Lismullin

original pictures of the dog burial and pottery and other things at    


I have wondered often about this famous story. What if 'Setanta' - who
is remembered as 'Cullen's Hound' or 'CuChullainn,' was not a boy or a
man ever, but really a dog. A big dog, like an Irish Wolfhound, that,
like Setanta, trades a long life for a valiant life. What if, in the
telling of that valiant hound's story, details were embroidered,
bejeweled and knotted, and changed ever so slightly over generations
until some fine points were lost. After hundreds or tens of hundreds
of years, who would believe that that brave hero was 'only' a dog? What
if CuChullainn himself lay there, in that honored place at the center
of Ireland? And what would be the consequences of destroying such a
noble grave?

Ah, Setanta, I fear a terrible deed has been done, and the evil that
comes from it, may never be connected to the desecration of your
honored resting place. Your very skeleton was imposing and beautiful;
your head was large and your chest deep, and your slender legs were
swift. I know the sory well. A geasa was the cause of your dying, and
now the geasa is on those who vandalized your remains - the
descendants of the race that bred you in the bright early time.

It is too bad. We could use a few real heroes - of any species.

On Dec 18, 2007, :

Slán a Chara,
adrien rain burke


This is certainly a possibility. Cuchullainn (Hound of Cullen). Perhaps
you are right. I was watching a documentary on the Last Stand of the 300
Spartans at Thermoplyae. The 300 Spartans and Cuchullainn fought to
defend their homes until their dying breath. They are among my few heroes
and I intend to stand by Tara and defend it until I can defend it no
longer. I swore it to Tara and our ancestors that I will not abandon her
and I call on everyone to unite and defend Tara until the end in any way
possible. I will never give up. Neither should you.



Find the dog, Colm, if you can. That skeleton, posed as if running in
the grave or in the afterlife, spoke to me. It is inexpressibly sad
that the skeleton is now missing. It seems to sum up the whole rotten



Hi Adrien,
Just to clarify, I'm not saying the dog disappeared just that the NRA
never mentioned him/her in their report on Lismullin.
The bones were bagged and taken away like all the other finds and bodies
of humans and animals.
So the dog is not missing - but it is in a warehouse with everything else.


adrien wrote:

> Find the dog, Colm, if you can. That skeleton, posed as if running in
> the grave or in the afterlife, spoke to me. It is inexpressibly sad
> that the skeleton is now missing. It seems to sum up the whole rotten
> project.


Hi Adrien,
Sorry, I should have been more delicate but there is no pleasant way to
describe what happens. Let me make it clear, I'm not an archaeologist
and what I knew of archaeology 4 years ago could be written on a beer
mat, but I've learned so much over the past 4 years. I had a passing
interest in it but decided against it in College. But excavation as
carried out at present, on any site, is destruction. Even on a proper
research site the art of archaeology is to bring the site back to the
beginning to learn how it was made. Then it is left there - so the
burial stones at Collierstown were left at the side of the field, the
stones from the souterrains at Roestown were left there to be broken and
also at Lismullin, many are broken, they are only taken away if they
have special markings on them, to wit the decorated stone. Human bodies
are also dug up, dismantled and put in bags. Just like the dog. I agree
with you. That was a perfect skeleton and it was a very old dog, I have
no date but it was viewed, independently, by experts - I sent the photos
I could go on at length about the dog, what he might mean, who he might
be or have belonged to but I wont.
I think that your standards are right but the layman/woman is only
learning through these road projects recently what happens on sites -
its just that usually the site will be there afterwards but on a road
project obviously they disappear completely.
I don't know if it will be displayed - I find the whole thing very, very
disturbing but I'm a historian/literary person so I'm not become immune
to all of this. You can get very attached to the sites as well - as some
of us who have seen them disappear before our eyes have learned to our
emotional cost.
What bothers me most here is that the NRA have never mentioned the dog,
as i said either they dont realise the significance or they do and
therefore they are not saying anything.
If the Gabhra Valley is the putative site for the last battle of the
Fianna (although historians do not accept its historicity) and Finn mac
Cumaill had two huge dogs (that were originally human according to the
story) - one wonders ...
Sorry, did not mean to go on and on.


Not at all - it's good to hear from you. Not too long ago, two
skeletons in an embrace were found in a 5000 year old burial in Italy.
The scientists who are studying them have promised to return them to
their embrace eventually. I wish the same guarantee would be made for
the dog.

On Dec 19, 2007, at 15:14, Dr. Muireann Ni Bhrolchain wrote:

> Sorry, did not mean to go on and on.
Slán a Chara,
adrien rain burke



Hound turns up .... briefly - in NRA glossy magazine

Hi Adrien, and all,
Thanks  for the link to the new Seanda magazine on-line by the NRA.
If you scroll down to page 23 of the PDF file they finally mention the
dog in the report on Lismullin.
It is a disgrace that it is the National ROADS authority that are
producing glossy, expensive publications on archaeology. Here is the link.,11163,en.pdf
It is notable that they are trying to distance the henge from Tara in a
way with some of the comments made.
Also a report on Baronstown and a few others. Have not had time to read
them through. I usually get a copy of Seanda from the NRA - I must have
fallen off their mailing list.



   ........ I have pasted up a page of the text at    because I hate reading off pdfs   no pictures yet tho -sorry

- yes it does mention the hound - briefly - in between saying how wonderful the NRA is and how they only ever build roads after archaelogical advice -

  And how Polish archaeologists have to be retrained  - interesting since the Polish Archaeologist - Martin - that we met at Tara  walked off the site in disgust at their low standards