Siubhalfaidh sinn an rathad mor

Purpose of the Londonderry and Derry Sister Sites:

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For those who may be curious about the Gaelic verse, Uidhlin was a prophet and seer in County Derry. The Muintir Mhaoláin (or Mullens), were the inhabitants of the glen where he lived in Lisnascreagh (Lios-na-scréachóg or Place of the Night Owl) near the top of Beann Bhradach (or Thieves' Mountain) near Dungiven. In Ireland around that time there was much superstition about owls which were thought to be witches or 'familiars'. They were also thought to be sent to steal the souls of the dying. Muintir Mhaolain in this eery place at night would keep up their spirits to the strains of Uidhlin's chorus:

Siubhalfaidh mise an rathad mór
Siubhalfaidh mise an rathad mór
Siubhalfaidh mise an rathad mór
Gan taincidh do mo námhaid.

or, in English translation, 'I will travel the highways, no thanks to my enemy'

This chant is ironic in that the most feared highwayman or reparee in these parts came to be one of their own O'Maolain clan. This was in the person of Shane Crossagh O'Maolain (or O'Mullen) who in the 1730s terrorised the Glenshane Pass which still goes by his name today. Shane, who also gained a perhaps undeserved reputation as an Irish Robin Hood, got his come-uppance when he and his sons were all caught and publicly hanged in the Diamond in Derry City.


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Last updated: June 14th, 2008

 County Londonderry Coordinator

© 2007 Dr. Don MacFarlane

© 2005-2007 Denise A. Wells
© 2004-2005 Peggy Tebbett
©1998-2003 In Memory of Kathleen Woodside
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