Deader Than The Male


Intrigued by this account from Giraldus Cambresius, of an Irish island that wouldn’t tolerate womenfolk:-

“In the north of Munster there are two islands, one larger than the other. On the larger one is a church which has been held in great veneration from very remote times; and on the smaller stands a chapel which is devoutly served by a few unmarried men called Culdees. As to the larger island, no woman can land on it without dropping down dead as soon as she touches the shore; and the same thing happens to the female of any of the lower animals. This has often been proved: for the females of dogs, cats, and other animals have been brought over to make trial: and they have always died the moment they reached the island.

“It is very extraordinary to see male birds of every kind in great numbers on the bushes all over the island, and not a female among them. For the instinct of the females teaches them to avoid it; and when they come near the shore with their mates they fly suddenly back, as if the place were infested with a plague.”

It appears (Joyce, Wonders of Ireland) that the island mentioned is situate in Lough Cre, Inishnameo, County Tipperary. The drying up of the Lough appears to have ended its magical powers and we ladies (and female cats, and ducks and so forth) can walk, slink, or waddle on without hazard. Photo of its innocuous looking remnants here.

As you can see, there was a monastery on the island, back in the day. Possibly the story about its women-killing characteristics were designed to keep stray and sometime distracting females from its celibate inhabitants?

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About sdaedalus

The sibling of daedalus
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2 Responses to Deader Than The Male

  1. El Sido says:

    Intresting picture. Does it have a title?

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