At the Lake of the Jewel Mouth


I was back on the hills this week, in the heart of the Galtee Mountains, at Lake Muskry; back to where the pulse beat of the walking helps to pattern the rhythm of story and words.

Appropriately, it is the place of the ‘jewel mouth’. For folklore has it that the ancient name for Lake Muskry was Lough Beal Sead – Lake of the Jewel Mouth. This refers to the powerful Coerabar Boeth who was attended at the lake by her maidens and wore a necklace of red-gold with a sparkling jewel at its centre.

Many writers have put on their walking or running boots, seeing the fluidity of movement as an aid to their literary work. Joyce Carol Oates spoke eloquently of the connection between the ‘literary mind’ and ‘literary feet’.

Talking about her running routine she says, ‘the mysterious efflorescence of language seems to pulse in the brain, in rhythm with our feet and the swinging of our arms’.

So I plan to keep the literary feet moving this year and hope for some fluency benefits from the place of the jewel mouth high above the Glen of Aherlow.


  1. Mary M on 23 January 2011 at 3:35 pm

    You sure thats not fearbreaga?? Good luck with finishing your novel

  2. Patricia Byrne on 23 January 2011 at 4:00 pm

    My mistake. Yes, it is Lake Fearbreaga! Wonder if it has a jewel mouth as well! See you on the hills soon.