7 Irish Love Stories
Valentine’s Day is the day of love 💕💕💕💕💕
Whether you think it’s a load of commercial nonsense or an excuse to get all loved up, take a look at some of our top Irish love stories!
They always involve deep love and loss – it’s why the stories make such a connection and prevail through time.
The stories of love, joy and sometimes heartbreak are preserved forever in our songs.
The stories of love, tragedy and mythology (or fact) is a thrilling adventure for anyone who is visiting Ireland.
We would love to hear your favourite Irish love stories and songs – please comment on our Facebook post – link below!
Lassara and The Musician
Ever wondered why Lassara Heights in Warrenpoint, Co. Down got it’s name.
The story goes like this….
Once upon a time, there was a young lady called Lassara who was the daughter of a powerful Irish Clan Chief.
There was a musician who entertained at court.
He regaled all with tales of Finn MacCumhaill and Oisin (read his story below) and how the Vikings had raided the shores of Carlingford Lough.
Lassara would sneak into the back of the Banquet Hall as the the evening’s festivities got a little out of hand.
The Musician always had the crowd in his hand.
She was smitten!!
First it started with secret notes being passed back and forward through friendly servants.
Lassara and the Musician fell in love with each other but they knew their relationship was doomed before it even got started.
Her father would never allow this love match to happen.
He would banish the musician from the kingdom or worse….
Lassara and her lover hatched a plan to escape the clutches of her father and the life he had planned for her.
In the dark of night they planned to stow away and live happily ever after!
They decide to set sail and escape via Carlingford Lough!
They had no idea where their final destination would be!
The signal to leave would be the dreamy notes of the Musician’s harp.
“To get away from the shadows of that damn Ireland Visiting Places – Narrow Water Castle will be a start, I never want to see it again” Lassara always said.
They had to pass Narrow Water Castle on their way to freedom and happiness ever after.
The night was stormy and the Castle guards were on full alert, tipped off about an imminent raid on the Castle.
Lassara was giddy with anticipation of freedom.
At last she was out of the control and influence of her father.
They set sail in joyful anticipation but it was short-lived and tragedy was minutes away.
The guards were already on red alert.
They quickly spotted the activity and uncertain whether it was friend or foe they rushed into action.
Their warnings to stop were ignored and he fired an arrow
It struck the musician and wounded him fatally.
All the dreams of a life together had come to an end!!
Lassara’s shrieks pierced the Lough air.
Her dreams had been shattered.
Her lover was dead, her life shattered.
The guards grabbed the inconsolable Lassara – she was soaking from the rain, sea water and tears.
One of the guards said “Oh my God , that is the lady of the Castle…get her inside”
They knew that she had disobeyed her father’s orders…and he was a tough man.
For her own safety and not knowing what to do they put her in a cell in Narrow Water Castle.
The love of her life minutes before so brutally stolen from her.
The cold stone walls of The Castle echoed her pain…..
A guard opened the cell to check she was ok.
She rushed out passed him and quickly ran up the steep stairs to the top of the castle.
Heartbroken at the loss of the one she loved, she threw herself off the top of Narrow Water Keep to join him in the spot he perished.
CLÍODHNA & CIABHAN
CLÍODHNA was the Queen of The Banshees and the Irish Goddess of Love and Beauty.
Clíodhna was one of the Tuatha Dé Danann – an ancient tribe of Ireland said to have supernatural powers.
She left Otherworld, known as ‘Tir Tairngire’, to be with her love CIABHAN.
She was prepared to give up all for her powers because she fell head over heels in love with the youthful CIABHAN with the curling locks.
CIABHAN was a mortal man but love blossomed between the mystical Clíodhna and her young lover.
One day he went off to hunt.
While he was away, CLÍODHNA was lured to sleep by the playing of beautiful music and was swept away by a powerful wave, tearing the lovers apart forever.
OISÍN & NIAMH
Oisin was the son of Finn McCumhaill.
As Oisin sat by the shoreline one day he noticed a white horse approach him.
A most beautiful lady rode the horse across the sea.
She introduced herself as Niamh, the Fairy Queen of Tir Na nOg.
Tir Na nOg was a magical land where no one gets old, there is no sickness or war and everyone lives in peace and happiness.
Niamh asked Oisin to go with her to Tir Na nOg.
Oisin agreed to go.
Tir Na nOg was indeed a magical place but Oisin yearned to see his friends and family back home.
He thought he had been away for only a few years but in fact it had been 300 mortal years!!!
Niamh warned Oisin that his home would not be the same as he had left it but that he could return if he stayed on his horse.
If his feet touched the ground, he would never get back to Tir Na nOg and the lovers would never see each other again.
Oisin arrived back to Ireland and to his dismay, he seen the change.
He was about to return to Tir Na nOg when he leaned off his horse to help some men and tumbled onto the ground
As soon as he hit Irish soil, he aged 300 years and died soon after.
He never returned to Tir Na nOg to be reunited with his love Niamh.
Charles Stewart Parnell and Katharine O’Shea
Charles Stewart Parnell was the Leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party from 1882 to 1891.
His political objective was to secure Home Rule for Ireland and sought to achieve this by obstructionism in the British House of Parliament.
Parnell began a relationship with Katharine O’Shea.
Katharine was married to Captain O’Shea at the time.
Parnell and O’Shea made no attempt to conceal their relationship.
However, when Captain O’Shea filed for divorce (which was extremely rare in these times), it became a national scandal.
This ruined Parnell’s political career with the Irish Parliamentary Party refusing to allow him to continue as leader.
Parnell and Katharine eventually did marry but he died in her arms only 4 months after their wedding day.
JOSEPH PLUNKETT AND GRACE
Joseph Plunkett, one of the leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising, married his love Grace Gifford hours before his execution.
She had persuaded the British Military authorities to allow the marriage ceremony to take place at Kilmainham Jail.
Grace who was Protestant had converted to Catholicism so she could marry Joseph Plunkett.
Their love story is told in the popular Irish Ballad – Grace
Check out The Coronas’ frontman Danny O’Reilly, his sister Róisín O’Reilly and their cousin Aoife Scott performing Grace
Rosie McCann – The Star of The County Down
A story of love at first sight!
The song tells of how a young man spots a beautiful young lady, Rosie McCann, like none he has ever seen throughout the whole of Ireland
“Near Banbridge town, in the County Down
One evening last July”
This is romance Irish Style indeed…
You got to love that imagery of how Rosie’s eye roll was so persuasive that it would coax a spud from a hungry pig!
“And when her eyes she’d roll
she’d coax upon my soul a spud from a hungry pig”
Check out more about The Star of the County Down Song
Patrick Kavanagh and Dr Hilda Moriarty
Raglan Road is synonymous with the great Luke Kelly – he made it his own!
However, Raglan Road was first published as a poem called ‘Dark Haired Miriam Ran Away’ penned by the Irish Poet, Patrick Kavanagh.
The poem was about Hilda Moriarty who Patrick had met in 1944.
Patrick knows that he may ‘one day rue’ this love encounter but the enchantment of love is too hard to resist
The relationship didn’t work out but we have been left with a Irish folk classic.
On Raglan Road on an Autumn Day,
I saw her first and knew
That her dark hair would weave a snare
That I may one day rue.
I saw the danger, yet I walked
Along the enchanted way
And I said let grief be a falling leaf
At the dawning of the day.