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The Legend of Godred Grovan

 
 

Goraidh Crobhan (pron: Gorry Crow-van) was an Islay hero. According to the ancient stories, he was the son of Harald the Black of Isla and his mother was a descendant of the House of Erc, so he was popular with the people of both the Norse and Celtic clans.

It seems that, at one time, Islay was being attacked and 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 that had been left unscathed.

Crobhan – whose galley was anchored at the head of Lochindaal, near Bowmore – heard the story and decided to take action.

He galloped on horseback to the dragon’s den, taking with him three old horses, which he placed at intervals along the route. He goaded the dragon into coming out of his den and 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 Goraidh Crobhan time to keep ahead of the dragon.

By this time, the dragon was so full of food that he became slow and sluggish in his movements. From the shore to his ship, Crobhan had laid a line of barrels from the distillery at Bowmore, on 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.

 

Legend Tin Box - Released 2005

(Limited Edition)

         

This Limited Edition Tin illustrates an artist's interpretation of the story of Godred Crovan, as related by Peggy Earl in her book ‘Tales of Islay - Fact and Folklore’.

From this design no Italian version has been produced.

 

 

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