1Burl, Aubrey. The Stone Circles of the British Isles. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1976. 225.

2Dames, Michael. Mythic Ireland. London: Thames and Hudson, 1992. 73.
In his text the author attributes a part of this quotation to an 1879 article by David Fitzgerald (Popular Tales of Ireland).

3Dames 88.
To Dames, Lough Gur's outline appears to be the body of an ancient fertility goddess about to give birth.

4Hall, Samuel C. Ireland - Its Scenery, Character Etc. Vol. 1. London: How and Parson, 1841. 385.

5Raftery, Joseph. "An Early Iron Age Sword from Lough Gur, Co. Limerick." The Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland Seventh 9.3 (1939): 170-72.
The author states that the sword belongs to the class of Irish Iron Age swords with straight sides, and suggests a date for it between 75 and 50 BCE. The lake currently has a level of approximately 75 m (247 ft)., but when the area was first surveyed in 1840 the level was 77 m (252 ft), and evidence of a still higher shoreline suggests that at one time the lake was larger. (Mitchell, G.F. "A Pollen-Diagram from Lough Gur, County Limerick." Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy. Section C: Archaeology, Celtic Studies, History, Linguistics, Literature 56 (1953-1954): 484.)
In a nearby area, not far from the lake, a Late Bronze Age shield (c. 700 BCE) was found.

6Casey, Michael. "The White Horse." Personal interview. 25 June 1979.

7Russell, Patrick. (unpublished manuscript). Personal interview with the author's daughter, Bridey Hines. 25 June 1979.

8Vallancey, Charles. An Account of the Ancient Stone Amphitheatre Lately Discovered in the County of Kerry, with Fragments of Irish History Related Thereto, etc. etc. etc. Dublin: Graisberry and Campbell, 1812. 46.

9Wood-Martin, W. G. Pagan Ireland an Archæological Sketch; a Handbook of Irish Pre-Christian Antiquities. London: Longmans, Green, 1895. 230-31. 230-31.

10Evans-Wentz, W. Y. The Fairy-faith in Celtic Countries. London: H. Frowde, 1911. 81. This story may be read in its entirety here.

11Hall 385.
A similar tale was noted from Co. Kildare: [ relating an 'Old Woman's Story" ] "Near the Seat of Morrice Keating, Esq.,, is a Hill called Moly-Mase, where, as they say, one of the Earls of Kildare was carried by Fairies; and though it is perhaps an hundred Years ago, that he is still alive, as well as his Horse, which is shod with silver; but when those Shoes are worn out, the Earl will return with his usual Health and Vigour, and take ample Possession of the noblest Estate in the Kingdom..." (Chetwood, W. R., and Philip Luckombe. A Tour through Ireland in Several Entertaining Letters: Wherein the Present State of That Kingdom Is Consider'd ... Interspersed with Observations on the Manners, Customs, Antiquities, Curiosities, and Natural History of That Country. London: Printed for J. Roberts, 1748. 233.)
According to local tradition, stories connecting Gearoid Iarla with Loch Gur may have originated in the "webbing of the toes and fingers that are known to be perculiar to the Fitzgeralds." (Quinlan, Michael, ed. The Lough Gur & District Historical Society Journal: Special Folklore Edition 7 (1991): 5.)

12MacNeill, Maire. The Festival of Lughnasa. London: Oxford University Press, 1962. 345-46.
Geároid Iarla was also known as "Gerald the Rhymer." (Killanin, Michael Morris, and Michael V. Duignan. The Shell Guide to Ireland. London: Ebury P. in Association with George Rainbird, 1967. 358-59.)
One of the better known poems attributed to Geároid Iarla is entitled "Speak Not Ill of Womankind." This may be read in its entirety here.

13Dames 109.
According to the author, the historical Geároid Iarla did not die at Lough Gur, but actually elsewhere in Co. Limerick, or in Co. Kerry. The author explains these, and other discrepancies thusly: "The magnetism of a sacred centre pulls at what is historically dispersed and gathers further weight thereby. In this case, the historical fact that both the brother and nephew of Geároid were drowned (brother Maurice while crossing the Irish Sea in 1358, and his son Sean, in the River Suir) was pressed into service. These drownings were transferred to Geároid because as a poet, he was required to submerge into the muse of the birth lake, for the benefit of society in general. (In Ireland, poetic truth tends to take precedence over historical fact because the benefits of poetry can be more widely distributed in time and space.)"
A story abut Maurice, Geároid Iarla's father, that was once heard locally, resonates with the story of "The Green Cloak" as told by Tom McNamara. In this story, Maurice was walking by the shore of Lough Gur when he saw the beautiful enchantress Áine bathing. He seized her cloak, and by so doing magically put her into his power. He then had his way with her. Thus Geároid Iarla was conceived When he was born Áine appeared at the castle of the Earl to present the child to him. (Ó hÓgáin, Dáithí. Myth, Legend, and Romance: An Encyclopaedia of Irish Folk Tradition. New York: Prentice Hall, 1991.)

14The entire Limerick Leader newspaper obituary for Tom McNamara may be read here. A photograph of Tom and his family in 1979 may be seen here. A video which morphs Tom's 1979 and 1999 portraits may be viewed here. When we knocked on the McNamara's door in 1998, nearly 20 years after we last saw one another, we were met by his wife Anne. I explained who I was, and, as she remembered our first visit, she startled my daughter Elana (then 14) by exclaiming, "Go away!" Elana soon realized that "go away" in the Irish vernacular meant something akin to "I don't believe it." When Tom came to the door, before I could remind him of my name, he greeted me with "Goldburn!" I thought that was close enough, given that we had had but a couple of letters back and forth over the two decades. An early printed source (1878-1879) of some of the Lough Gur stories told by Tom McNamara may be read here. The folkloric tradition at Lough Gur continues with a new generation of storytellers.

15Dames 69-78.

16Ó hÓgáin, Dáithí. Myth, Legend, and Romance: An Encyclopaedia of Irish Folk Tradition. New York: Prentice Hall, 1991.

17Delargy, J.H. "The Gaelic Story-teller." Proceedings of the British Academy 31 (1945): 32.

18Ó Ríordáin, Seán P. "Lough Gur Excavations: The Great Stone Circle (B) in Grange Townland." Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy. Section C: Archaeology, Celtic Studies, History, Linguistics, Literature 54 (1951/1952): 56-57.
According to the author, the reconstructed vessel was the only one for which the completed profile is certain. The fragments were found near Stone 12 (the northern entrance portal). The vessel is 21.2 cm (8.3 in) in height and the diameter at the rim is 14.5 cm (5.7 in).

19Ó Ríordáin, Seán P. "Lough Gur Excavations: The Great Stone Circle (B) in Grange Townland." 42-44.
At the exact center of the circle the excavations discovered a post-hole 12.7 cm (5 in) in diameter. "Two suggestions have been made regarding the purpose of this posthole--that it carried a central wooden post, a sort of totem-pole, connected with the ritual of the site and that it held the pole from which the builders marked out the circle. The latter practical alternative appears to be the more likely."

20Burl 227-30.

21Ó Ríordáin, Seán P. "Lough Gur Excavations: The Great Stone Circle (B) in Grange Townland." Fig. 1. The plan of the excavation may be seen in its full resolution here.

22Roche, Helen, "The Dating of the Embanked Stone Circle at Grange, Co. Limerick." From Megaliths to Metal: Essays in Honour of George Eogan. Ed. John Bradley, Barry Raftery, John Coles, and Eoin Grogan. Oxford: Oxbow, 2004. 109-16.
The author explains the results of her stratigraphy studies: "The most recent pottery-type, found at a position which would have predated the monument - in this case beneath the bank on the old ground surface - was 'Class II' ware. This type, in the light of extensive comparative studies with securely dated material over the years, is now judged to be a Late Bronze Age coarse ware. Therefore the circle, officially designated to have been constructed in the Neolithic, is actually a Late Bronze Age site."

23McNally, Kenneth. Ireland's Ancient Stones: A Megalithic Heritage. Belfast: Appletree, 2006. 65-66.

24Damery, Patricia. "The Horned God: A Personal Discovery of Cultural Myth." The San Francisco Jung Institute Library Journal 23.3 (2004): 18-19.

25Zucchelli, Christine. Stones of Adoration Sacred Stones and Mystic Megaliths of Ireland. Doughcloyne, Wilton, Cork: Collins, 2007. 76.
According to the author, there was a local believe that the Crom Dubh stone used to speak as an oracle and provide divinations. Anthony Weir wrote of the legend that the Grange Stone Circle enclosure was dug by Crom Dubh with his two-pronged spear. Michael Dames said that Crom Dubh "was believed to emerge in most parts of Ireland at the start of harvest, on 1st August, midway between summer solstice and autumn equinox. In Co. Limerick the day was called Black Stoop Sunday...That Crom Dubh and Aine were anciently linked together as harvest deities is clear from a mid-nineteenth-century report from Co. Louth, which calls the festival Domhnach Aine agus Chroim Duibh (the Sunday of Aine and Crom Dubh)." (Dames, Michael. Mythic Ireland. London: Thames and Hudson, 1992. 100-105.)

26Ó Ríordáin, Seán P. "Lough Gur Excavations: The Great Stone Circle (B) in Grange Townland." 42.
In another article Ó Ríordáin again warned about accepted J.F. Lynch's folklore accounts at face value: "It is...difficult to differentiate between genuine local traditions and beliefs based on the writings of the late Rev. J. F. Lynch." (Ó Ríordáin, Seán P. "Mediæval Dwellings at Caherguillamore, Co. Limerick." The Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland Seventh 12.2 (1942): 37.)

27MacNeill 346+.
The author, along with Ó Ríordáin, warns "...we are forcibly reminded of the resemblance to the anecdote about a specific stone circle which...was the source of the medieval literary legends of Cenn Croich."

28Ó Ríordáin, Seán P. "Lough Gur Excavations: The Great Stone Circle (B) in Grange Townland." 73-74.
The author deduces that the circle was ceremonial due to " negative evidence:" the absence of signs of habitation or burial. He suggests that the wide bank around the stones might have been "a stand where an audience could observe what was going on within."

29"Legendary Lough Gur." Lough Gur Development Co-Operative Society. Web. 15 May 2012. <http://www.loughgur.com/>. The entire audio tour may be downloaded here.

30"Legendary Lough Gur." The entire audio tour may be downloaded here. Information on ordering a copy of Michael Quinlan's novel, The Sun Temple, may be found here.

31McNamara, Tom. "Grange Stone Circle." Personal interview. 25 June 1979.

32Feehily, Patricia. "Summer Solstice Wonder at Lough Gur Farm." The Limerick Leader 27 June 1998: 1.

33White, Gary C., and Elyn Aviva. Powerful Places in Ireland. Santa Fe, NM: Pilgrims Process, 2011.
The authors cite other alignments, such from the entry stones to the stones on the opposite side to the midsummer moon. But they caution, "...it is often hard, if not impossible, to know which of the so-called alignments are intentional and which are the result of people with a theory who find stones to match it."

34Windle, Bertram C.A. "On Certain Megalithic Remains Immediately Surrounding Lough Gur, County Limerick." Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy. Section C: Archaeology, Celtic Studies, History, Linguistics, Literature 30 (1912/1913): 293-94.
The excavator of the Lough Gur monuments, Professor Ó Ríordáin, believes that early visitors had "Circle B" in mind "as the object of their admiration since it is likely that the cottages which stood in D in the early nineteenth century and the road which cut it in the west, already existed in the previous century to the detriment of the monument." (Ó Ríordáin, Seán P. "Lough Gur Excavations: The Great Stone Circle (B) in Grange Townland." Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy. Section C: Archaeology, Celtic Studies, History, Linguistics, Literature 54 (1951/1952): 37.)

35"Legendary Lough Gur." The entire audio tour may be downloaded here.
The destroyed circle was meant to be 52 m (171 ft) in diameter with 72 stones, larger than the Líos without its wide bank. The most frequently noted legend about Stonehenge and Merlin has him relocating the stone circle from the Curragh of Kildare.

36McNamara, Tom. "Double Stone Circle." Personal interview. 25 June 1979.
A 1988 interview with Lough Gur resident Phil Russell contains a similar story: "The people wouldn't go near one of the stone circles; they wouldn't even pull a stick or a weed out of 'em. And I'll tell you, my father told me he knew a little boy and he was flying, going round the road like for maybe three or four years. His father went up on the hill lone day with two dogs and the little dogs went hunting rabbits. And he followed the dogs and when he came back, he left the young fellow inside the circle and when he came back he was asleep, and he never was the same young fellow again. He never walked after, I know him. They made out that to go interfering with them circles was dangerous. He was a little young retarded young fellow after . He's buried twenty or thirty years, I suppose, now. He was always in and out of hospitals after that. He was sick when he woke up on that meadow, he was a different young fellow. The fairies were blamed for it." (Quinlan, Michael, ed. "Phil Russell's Account." The Lough Gur & District Historical Society Journal: Special Folklore Edition. 7 (1991): 41.)

37Windle 302-303.

38Lynch, J.F. "Antiquarian Remains at Lough Gur." Journal of the Cork Historical and Archaeological Society Second 19 (1913): 9. This article may be read in its entirety here. The "Paddock Hill" translation of Ardaghlooda is from the Lynch article. The "High Hill of Lugh" translation was taken from a display at the Lough Gur exhibit kiosk.

39McNamara, Tom. "The Nun and the Pillar Stone." Personal interview. 25 June 1979.

40McNamara, Tom. "The Green Cloak." Personal interview. 21 June 1999.
According to C. Austin, writing in The Celtic Connection, "The concept of a divine World Tree or Tree of Life, the mythic bridge between the worlds of god and human, is entwined with the veneration of trees. As an embodiment of the universe, the roots of the World tree inhabit the underground, the deep knowledge of earth. The trunk unites the roots with the upper celestial canopy. The products given by each tree were considered a physical manifestation of divine providence." (Austin, C. "The Wisdom of Trees in the Celtic Landscape." The Celtic Connection. Web. 15 May 2012. <http://merganser.math.gvsu.edu/myth/trees.html>.)
According to Michael Dames, "The stone...may have served as a solid reminder to those in the real world that the phantom tree beneath the lough, the ideal tree, was also substantial, and would be seen again." (Dames, Michael. Mythic Ireland. London: Thames and Hudson, 1992. 78.)

41Cooney, Gabriel. "In Retrospect: Neolithic Activity at Knockadoon, Lough Gur, Co. Limerick, 50 Years on." Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy. Section C: Archaeology, Celtic Studies, History, Linguistics, Literature 107C (2007): 220-22.

42Jones, Carleton. Temples of Stone: Exploring the Megalithic Tombs of Ireland. Cork: Collins, 2007. 230-231.

43McNamara, Tom. "Women and Children." Personal interview. 25 June 1979.
Regarding the banshee, McNamara added, " I have heard the banshee, not that often, but I have heard it; there's no doubt about that. It is the most weird soul-searching sound. It starts down in an awful low key -- 'tis a wailing and wailing that re-echoes itself around. It always heralds someone about to die. The old people would always bless themselves if they heard it, you know. But I heard it on an occasion or two. I was out late one night and coming home the old way, and I heard it. I'm telling you, you would fairly go home! And you wouldn't want to memorize it!"

44Dames 88.
The "mysterious old man" quotation is from J.F. Lynch. The "beyond the edges of the map" description of Tír na nÓg is from Wikipedia.

45Dames 90.
Lough Gur is connected with Fionne Mac Cumhaill in an legendary tale cited by Maire MacNeill. "The presiding prince brought the black horse from his druid grandfather and gave it to Fionn. Fionn and his companions were entertained for three days and three nights in the house described as 'dun os loch' (fort above the lake). This episode relating how Fionn became the possessor of the champion black horse is told also in the Acallamh na Senorach, and O'Grady, in his translation, says that the 'dun os loch' is the hill of Doon over Lough Gur." (MacNeill, Maire. The Festival of Lughnasa. London: Oxford University Press, 1962. 344-45.)

46Monaghan, Patricia. The Encyclopedia of Celtic Mythology and Folklore. New York: Facts On File, 2003. 432.
Michael Dames tells the story of a James Cleary, who in the 1870s said that he saw Áine appear at the Housekeeper's Chair. "''She was every inch a queen', he told his friends. A few evenings later he was out on the lough in his curragh when it capsized and he was drowned. Her call, they concluded, could not be resisted. Anyone who saw her, it was believed, was driven insane by the spell of her beauty, or died shortly after. (Madness is a voyage to another reality, where 'normal' behaviour dies.) [These people] may be said to have enjoyed or suffered a reverse birth into Lough Gur, and a return to the divine as sacrificial victims." (Dames, Michael. Mythic Ireland. London: Thames and Hudson, 1992. 98.)

47"Lough Gur." Gentleman's Magazine 1 (1833): 109.

48Ó Ríordáin, Seán P., and Gearóid Ó H-Iceadha. "Lough Gur Excavations: The Megalithic Tomb." The Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland 85.1 (1955): 50.
From the Irish Folklore Commission archives, Michael Dames wrote that "Tom Hamon recalls the I938 archaeological excavation of the Giants' Grave, a Neolithic tomb, standing close to the south shore: 'Giants' Grave: they excavated that. They took the bones, put 'em in a bag and brought them here to the castle. I worked with them. But I believe, - I've been told it by several people, that if every bean si in Ireland were ever clanned together that night, that the greatest keening and crying was heard all around the lake, and through the hills, and even farther on, away even into the bog, the Red Bog, and across even to Knockderc." (Dames, Michael. Mythic Ireland. London: Thames and Hudson, 1992. 80.)

49Jones 228.
Michael Dames recounts aspects of the bull in Celtic spiritual practice: "In Munster and Connacht folklore Crom's bull was believed to be immortal. By trickery St Patrick once killed and ate it, and then ordered the bones to be thrown into the hide, whereupon the animal returned to life. Around Galway Bay at Samain every household skinned and roasted a bull in honour of Crom Dubh, and one may assume that Crom Dubh and the Bull were originally synonymous." (Dames, Michael. Mythic Ireland. London: Thames and Hudson, 1992. 100-105.)

50"The New Church, Lough Gur, Co. Limerick." The Standing Stone. Web. 15 May 2012. <http://www.thestandingstone.ie/2010/03/new-church-lough-gur-co-limerick.html>.

51Evans-Wentz 81.
The author is here quoting J.F. Lynch. There is more about the poet O'Connellan here.

52"The Grave Of A Bard - 19th June 1948." Ask About Ireland. Web. 15 May 2012. <http://www.askaboutireland.ie/reading-room/history-heritage/pages-in-history/an-mangaire-sugach-the-li/local-historical-events/the-grave-of-a-bard-19th-/>.