So the story goes, the Long Woman’s Grave, also known as the “The Cairn of Cauthleen”, is the grave of a Spanish noble woman who was tricked into marrying an Irishman from Omeath in County Louth.
Lorcan O Hanlon was the youngest son of the “Cean” or Chieftain of Omeath. His father, upon his deathbed, ordered that his lands be divided between his two sons, Conn óg and Lorcan.
However, Conn óg tricked his brother Lorcan by bringing him up to the Lug or Hollow in the mountains at Aenagh, telling him that he would give him the land “as far as he could see”. The mist and the bleakness of the hollow was Lorcan’s only legacy.
However, Lorcan owned a ship and begun trading in the East, making his fortune and becoming prosperous. On one of his voyages to Cadiz, Spain he bravely saved the lives of a Spanish nobleman and his daughter. Lorcan was enchanted by Cauthleen, a descendant of the great O’Donnells of Ulster and fell in love with her. The pair made a handsome couple, she was 7ft tall, only three inches smaller than Lorcan.
Cauthleen was already engaged to be married but was wooed by Lorcan’s professions of love and the promises of the the good life they would have back in Omeath. The pair eloped. When the couple arrived in Carlingford Lough the locals were enchanted by this tall beauty adorned with jewels.
The couple set along the mountain path until they came to the Lug or Hollow in the rocks. Lorcan bade his bride to stand in the centre and look around as far as she could see as he “Was Lord of all she could survey”. Cauthleen looked around, so great was her disappointment and the realisation of what she had left behind in Spain that she fell to the ground and died.
Lorcan was horrified that his duplicity had caused his wife to die and flung himself into the murky waters of the marsh at the crossroads. His body was never recovered. The locals found the long woman’s body and dug a grave for Cauthleen in the “Lug Bhan Fada” (Long Woman’s Hollow) where she lay. Each person laid a stone on the grave to raise her burial cairn and here she sleeps today in the hollow of her disappointment and unfilled promises.