The March of the Dead Maguires

Dublin Core


The March of the Dead Maguires


Lough Derg--Henry Newland--Folklore--Dead Maguires


An account of Lough Derg folklore on a fishing trip, explaining the strange circular currents of the lake in supernatural terms


Henry Newland, 1804-1860


Newland, Henry, The Erne, Its Legends and Its Fly-Fishing, pp. 230-32


Chapman and Hall, London




Digitised by Internet Archive, originally from University of California


Public domain


xiv, 395 p. plates. 20 cm




Fishing memoirs




54.616218, -7.876212


Text Item Type Metadata


"'This lake has its legends, I suppose?' said the Captain.

'Of course it has,' said the Parson ; 'and of course they take their tone from its scenery. I will tell you one that is peculiarly characteristic ; it is called "the March of the Dead Maguires." The lake is, as you see, of a rounder form than most lakes ; and whether it is from that cause, or whether there is anything peculiar in the shape of the hills that surround it, I do not know, but in certain winds there is a heavy roller of a wave that runs along its shores, and looks as if it were sweeping round and round the lake, setting all the reeds and bulrushes in motion, and dragging, as it were, the great beds of lake-weed after it.

'Now the legend is, that the great Maguire, of whom I told you last night, when he saw his island sunk, took it as a sign of Heaven's displeasure ; and giving up all thoughts of resistance, dispersed his clan, and retired with a few faithful followers to Lough Derg. His intention was to pass the remainder of his life in the religious seclusion of the Purgatory ; but whether he had been rejected by the church, or whether he had committed any particular crime, or whether a peculiar mode of purgation had been prescribed to him, I do not know, but, as he crossed the lake, a furious tempest arose, and he and his people were overwhelmed in the dark waters. And it is said that, from that time to this, whenever any misfortune threatens Ireland, the dead Maguire winds his ghostly bugle, and summons to his train not only those of his own clan who fell in the wars or perished afterwards in the horrible massacres of Cromwell, but also all those of his name who have died in arms against the Sassenagh from time immemorial ; and the whole train of spirits, thousands upon thousands, each in the dress and arms of its own century, march round and round the lake under its waters, heaping up the waves before them, and leaving traces of their past age in the broad stains of blood among the trampled weeds.'"

Original Format




Henry Newland, 1804-1860, “The March of the Dead Maguires,” Digital Derg: A Deep Map, accessed June 22, 2024,