Dohbar-Chú

Irish legend tells of a fearsome creature, part hound and part otter.  The Dobhar-chú is a blood thirsty creature that lives deep in the waters and is known for its speed, aggression, and appetite for human flesh.  Such a creature doesn’t exist, right?

September 22, 1722, Gráinne Connolly (often Anglicized in modern use to Grace Connolly) left her home in Creevelea located on the northwestern part of Glenade Lough. Grace was heading to the nearby shallows to bathe or wash clothes. The Dobhar-Chú emerged from the water and made its attack.  With a creature as fierce as the Dohbar-Chú, one can only hope that death came quickly for Grace so that she did not suffer.

Upon hearing her scream, Terence McGloighlin (her husband) grabbed his sword and set out to the lake in search of his wife.  Find her he did.  Terence came across her body in the shadow of the great beast, a beast that was now sleeping beside her bloody corpse. Mad with grief, Terence attacked the Dobhar-Chú with his blade. He succeeded in slaying the beast as it was defenseless in its sleep. As the creature died, it let out an ear-splitting scream. Just then the water of the lake began to ripple, and the the creature’s enraged mate rose from the depths of the lake.

Terence ran for his horse but the second Dobhar-Chú was close on his heels.  Terence rode for miles but the creature was relentless in its pursuit. The chase went on for hours, until eventually, Terence was forced to stop in the township of Cashelgarron to have his faltering horse seen to. He told the local blacksmith of the Dobhar-Chú following not far behind.  The blacksmith then advised Terrence to stand his horse upon a hill.  When the Dobhar-Chú caught up to him, the blacksmith said, it would thrust its fearsome head through the body of Terence’s horse giving Terence his only chance to strike. Terence followed the blacksmith’s words to the letter, allowing him to cut off the creature’s head and avenge his wife in doing so.

This tale seems so farfetched but there is further information to back this tale up. Grace's grave actually exists. Dated September 24, 1722, this marker is the last resting place of Grace. Her grave is located in Cornwall cemetery in the downland of Drummans.  Sadly the Tomb itself is old.  Most of the written details have been worn down and are now illegible.  On her grave it is possible to make out Grace’s name and that of her husband.  What is more clear is a detailed depiction of her killer, the Dobhar-Chú.  The creature is depicted lying down on its back.  A spear-like weapon is shown piercing the creature’s neck, re-emerging below.  A human fist can also be seen gripping the spear. Buried in Co. Sligo, not far from Cashelgarron stone fort, both the Carved on her tombstone is a detailed depiction of her killer, the Dobhar-Chú and McGloighlin’s horse are buried.