Len the Smith

 

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Metal in Early Historic Times ] [ Len the Smith ] 18th Century Mining in Killarney ] Rudolf Raspe ] Weaver Map ] Mining At Muckross ] An Industrial Venture ] Thomas Weaver ] The Mining Companies ] Mines in Killarney ]

The importance of Killarney as an area of metalworking in the early historic period is also attested to by the name of Lough Leane. This derives from a mythological character, Lén Línfíaclach ('Len of the White Teeth'), a famous artificer who had his forge on the shore. His accomplishments are recalled in an early medieval poem:

'I have heard of Lén with hammers in plenty,

as being under the marge of its blooming bank,

where he shaped by no feeble forceless work

the shining vessels of Fainne daughter of Flidais...

Were it chariot or helmet of gold,

were it cup or well-made instrument of music,

justly Lén won good fame therefrom,

it was finished work ere night.'

Lén the Smith appears in one modern folk legend as a giant who dwelt in Lough Leane and jealously guarded the mineral treasure of Ross Island, leading modern miners astray.

Early Christian period furnace, Ross Island

Len the Smith

Metal in Early Historic Times