Maol-Cu


Maol-Cu Shane O'Neill's castle was situated on the banks of the Lough Neagh in Ulster and it was beautiful and far to be seen. It was a huge building with several houses for the dignitaries, the servants and the guests - as it was usual for a prince out of the dynasty of Ulster kings. Shane O'Neill had almost no enemies and he needed no other protection than the big walls of his castle, the large lake and his extended properties between him and the other princes. There was much wood to be find, accommodating stags, deers, wild boars and sows, as well as sometimes wolves.

Shane O'Neill liked hunting very much and his huge, strong dogs, that grew up in his own kennel accompanied him; grey, straggly animals whose power and courage were sufficient to kill even a bear. Nevertheless, one day Shane was in great danger because he fell down just in front of a big wild boar, and he only survived because one of his dogs attacked the boar and put him to flight. That was a still young dog without having already a name, and as Shane did not found a name that contributed in the right level to his courage and loyalty, the dog was called "Maol-Cu" as long as he lived, the grey hunting dog.

As "Maol-Cu" grew older, he was allowed to live inside the castle and he loved to spend much of his time right on the top of the castle's tower and to look at the woods in which he once had been hunting and fighting. When "Moal-Cu" died, everybody was as sad as if a human being would have died.

Years passed by, and Shane O'Neill grew old. Wild bands of robbers were crossing all over Ulster, and nobody was safe anymore. One night, the people of Shane's castle were rudely awakened: on the top of the tower a wolfhound was horribly and continuously howling and warning about great danger. "That sounds like Maol-Cu", said O'Neill and ran up to the tower. On the top of the tower, there was, however, nobody and nothing and the howling stopped at the moment O'Neill arrived, but from above he could recognize a large number of robbers approaching his castle. Now, as the inhabitants had all been woken up and warned, they succeeded in defeating the robbers, while the horrible howling of the invisible wolfhound was to be heard all the time during the fight. From that time O'Neill's castle has never been attacked anymore.

Today nothing more than a ruin has left over at the shores of the lake, and also the tower of O'Neill's castle is empty and fallen into disrepair - only his name remains forever: Wolfhound-Tower.