15. Lurigethan

14. King’s Fort
7th March 2023
16. Mountsandel
7th March 2023

15. Lurigethan

15. Lurigethan

Project Attributes


Royal Connections


CCGBC Museum Services


7th March 2023

Lurigethan stands tall above the village of Cushendall with the plateau forming one side of the Queen of the Glens, Glenariff.

The defensive qualities of the site were apparent to the ancient rath builders of Ireland, and a prehistoric promontory fort can be found on the summit.

Legend says that Finn MacCool and Ossian were born on Lurigethan. The fort is said to be the fortress of the warrior Goll Mac Morna, Finn MacCool’s arch enemy. Goll (one-eyed) lost an eye in a battle in which he killed Finn’s father.


Dominating the landscape above Cushendall, Lurigethan, sometimes known as Lurig, separates Glenballyemon from Glenariff. A massive Bronze Age hillfort once sat atop the mountain with commanding views down the glen towards the sea and Scotland in the distance.

Photograph of Lurigethan.


According to local legend Finn MacCool and his son, Oisin (or Ossian), were born on Lurigethan and it has many associations with the famous warrior band, the Fianna. Finn was said to have been Commander-in-chief of the armies of Cormac MacArt, High King of Ireland, in the second century. His arch-rival was Goll MacMorna, who commanded the Connaught contingent, and although it was a strange place to fight, the opposing armies of these rivals met to do battle on the top of Lurigethan. Finn’s army defeated MacMorna’s men. Sam Henry tells of a place called Lagafeenie – “the hollow of the Fianna,” or soldiers of Finn, where the battle is supposed to have taken place.

Scan of an article by Sam Henry - Place-name Pictures, No. 20 - Lurigedan, Cushendall.

An article by Sam Henry – Place-name Pictures, No. 20 – Lurigedan, Cushendall.

A neolithic court tomb in the townland of Lubatavish, in Glenaan, is known as Ossian’s Grave.

The Legend of Tír Na nÓg

One day Oisin was out riding when he met the most beautiful young woman he had ever seen. She told him her name was Niamh, and that her father was King of Tír Na nÓg. She said she had come to take the great warrior back with her to the ‘Land of Eternal Youth’.

Having fallen deeply in love with Niamh at first sight, Oisin agreed to go with her, promising his father he would return soon. Niamh and Oisin lived together happily for many years, but Oisin longed to see his father and friends again. He begged Niamh to let him return to Ireland and she reluctantly agreed as she could see how much he missed his family. She gave him her magical white horse, warning him not to get off the horse as he must not let his feet touch the ground otherwise he would never be able to return to Tír Na nÓg.

When Oisin returned to Ireland he found his home in ruins and no sign of his father and the Fianna. While searching for someone he might know he came across three old men trying to move a huge rock. He leant over to help them but lost his balance and fell from his horse. As soon as he touched the ground he immediately aged 300 years – what had felt like a few years in Tír Na nÓg was 300 years in Ireland. Before Oisin died a short time later, he shared the stories of Finn MacCool and the Fianna and the magical land of eternal youth – Tír Na nÓg.

Photograph of Lubitavish Court Tomb - Ossian's Grave.

Libitavish Court Tomb – Ossian’s Grave.



From Cushendall follow the signpost for Glenballyemon Scenic Route onto the B14 Ballyemon Road. Follow the road for approx. 2.5km and there is access to Lurigethan Mountain by foot via a small gate on your left (co-ordinates 55.0669, -6.0849).

Co-ordinates: 55.0635, -6.0795


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This project is receiving financial support via the District Council Good Relations Programme.