The Children of Lir

The Children of Lir

The legend of the Children of Lir has long been told in Ireland, and this Irish myth forms the basis of the famous ballet; Swan Lake.

According to the story, long ago there was an Irish King called Lir with four beautiful children. Their mother died when the children were very young and King Lir eventually remarried. But the new Queen was a devious woman of witchcraft who wanted the throne to herself, and saw the children as a threat to her plans.

One day, the Queen took the children down to the lake to teach them to swim, but once the children got into the water, the evil Queen cast a spell on them, turning them into Swans.

For 900 years the Children of Lir were doomed to live as swans by daylight and only in the light of a full moon could they take their human form. They lived on lake Davra, the sea of Moyle and the lake Isle of Glora in Mayo, before their spell was broken with the arrival of Christianity to Ireland.

When the Children of Lir heard the sound of bells ringing out from a church, they flew down to investigate and as they entered the church their feathers fell away and they once again became human.

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