The Legend of Godred Crovan

The Legend of Godred Crovan

Goraidh Crobhan was an Islay hero. His father was Harald the Black of Islay and his mother was a descendant of the House of Erc, so he was popular with the Norse and Celtic clans alike.

At one time, Islay was being harassed by a wild, fierce dragon which had its den near Ballygrant, in the north of Islay. It was said that, because the dragon had attacked almost all the islanders, nothing could be seen on the island except the smoke rising from the three single households left unscathed. Crobhan - whose galley was anchored near Bowmore - heard the story and decided to act.

He rode to the dragon's den, taking with him three old horses, which he placed at intervals along the route. He goaded the dragon into giving chase across the island. Crobhan galloped on with the dragon at his heels. When the dragon came to the first horse, he stopped, wolfed it down, then continued the chase. The same thing happened with the other two horses. Each stop gave Crobhan time to keep ahead of the dragon.

By this time, the dragon was so full of food that he became slow and sluggish. From the shore to his ship, Crobhan had laid a line of barrels from the distillery at Bowmore, into which he had hammered iron stakes *. Crobhan leaped across the barrels, but the old dragon, full and moving laboriously was impaled - leaving Crobhan to finish him off for the people of Islay.

The story of Godred Crovan, as adapted from Peggy Earl's book, 'Tales of Islay - Fact and Folklore'.

*We sincerely hope there was no whisky in them at the time.

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