1Ferguson, Samuel, George Petrie, and Margaret Stokes. The Cromlech on Howth: A Poem. London: Day, 1861.
Another page from the book, in color, may be seen here. A grayscale pdf of all the verse pages from the book may be viewed here. The text of "Aideen's Grave," as published by the author in his Lays of the Western Gael collection of poems (1888), may be read here.

2Bonwick, James. Irish Druids and Old Irish Religions. London: Griffith, Farran & Co., 1894. 262.
A quoit is defined as "a single-chambered megalithic tomb."

3McNally, Kenneth. Ireland's Ancient Stones; a Megalithic Heritage. Belfast: Appletree, 2006. 95.
Sources differ on the dimensions of the tomb's capstone. William Wakeman wrote in 1903 that it was nearly a meter larger on each side than measured by modern visitors.

4"Howth Castle." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 15 July 2012. Web. 19 July 2012. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Howth_Castle>.
An 1895 book described the scenery in the vicinity of the monument: "There are many beautiful spots on the Hill of Howth, and there is no place near Dublin, at all events, which teems with such rich and varied associations with our history and literature. But there is one spot in Howth preeminent in its beauty and preeminent too in its associations. It is a dell in the demesne bordered on one side be precipitous cliffs. A grassy path lies through it edged with ferns and shaded with larches and firs, and graceful silver birches, such as McWhirter so loves to paint, and then it ascends in a gentle slope to the top of the cliffs. In the latter end of May, and beginning of June, these cliffs from base to summit are all ablaze with the purple, and rose, and flame colour, and yellow and white blooms of myriads of rhododendrons, while along the right, beyond and among the ferns, is spread a great blue carpet of wild hyacinths. Near toward the path ascends the cliff, another path turns off to the right and leads you to the Cromlech of Howth." (Carton, R.P. "The Associations of Scenery. Part II." The Irish Monthly 23.263 (1895): 234-35.)

5Kennedy, Patrick. Legendary Fictions of the Irish Celts. London: Macmillan and Co., 1866. 183.
In legend, Oscar's "battle-rage" was so intense that "in his fury he also slew by mischance his own friend and condisciple." (Rolleson, Thomas William. Myths and Legends of the Celtic Race. London: George G. Harrap, 1949. 260-61.)
From Ferguson's introduction to his poem: "Oscar was entombed in the rath or earthen fortress that occupied part of the field of battle, the rest of the slain being cast in a pit outside."


7Ferguson, Mary Catharine Guinness. Sir Samuel Ferguson in the Ireland of His Day. Vol. 2. Edinburgh: W. Blackwood, 1896. 82-85.
The poem "Aideen's Grave" was also published in collections by the author, and subsequently by many others. One reviewer wrote in 1889, "Sir Samuel Ferguson's poetry is delightful in its lyrical and elegiac vein as well as in its narrative. A better specimen of it can hardly be referred to than 'Aideen's Grave'...Obviously its qualities are those characteristic of the noble, not the ignoble, poetry, viz. passion, imagination, vigour, an epic largeness of conception, wide human sympathies, vivid and truthful description; while with these it unites none of the vulgar stimulants for exhausted or morbid poetic appetites, whether the epicurean seasoning, the skeptical, or the revolutionary. Its diction is pure, its metre full of variety; and with these merits, common to all true poetry, it unites an insight which only a man of genius can possess into the special characteristics of those ancient times and manners which are so frequently its subject. His Irish poetry is Irish, not, like a good deal which bears that name, i.e. by dint of being bad English, while stuffed with but the vulgarer accidents, not the essential characteristics of Gaelic Ireland—not thus, but by having the genuine Gaelic spirit in it. That spirit, like the Irish airs, its most authentic expression, has much of the minor key about it, and many 'shrill notes of anger' besides; but alike with its sadness, its fierceness, and its wild fits of mirth, a witching tenderness is mingled; and all those qualities are largely found in Sir Samuel Ferguson's poetry." (De Vere, Aubrey. Essays, Chiefly Literary and Ethical. London: Macmillan and Co., 1889. 120-25.)

8"Capital Letters 007." A Whole New World. Web. 19 July 2012. <http://dublincitypubliclibraries.com/content/capital-letters-007>.
The Cromlech on Howth's illustrator, Margaret Stokes later edited Dunraven's Notes on Irish Architecture. She wrote and illustrated Early Christian Art In Ireland (1887). She produced two works on early medieval Irish saints in Europe, Six Months in the Apennines (1892) and Three Months in The Forest of France (1895). Her final work, The High Crosses of Ireland, was unfinished at her death. Stokes was credited on the title page of The Cromlech on Howth only by an elaborate monogram of her initials. See the page here.

9Denman, Peter. Samuel Ferguson: The Literary Achievement. Savage, MD: Barnes & Noble, 1990. 93-94.
Author and folklore scholar Ron James writes (in a personal email 7/20/2012) "[Ferguson] creates a tradition, which was a perfectly acceptable practice in nineteenth-century Romanticism...So much of real, honest folklore was inspired by the written word, just as folklore inspires literature. It has been a fluid back and forth since writing was invented, and that is a healthy process. Nineteenth-century Romantic nationalists felt they were fully justified in creating traditions where existing ones might be a little thin. And for a poet to find artistic if not spiritual inspiration when gazing on a megalith ruin, creating a tradition out of that inspiration where no folk tradition might exist, was perfectly in keeping with the time."

10Hofheinz, Thomas C. Joyce and the Invention of Irish History: Finnegans Wake in Context. Cambridge UP, 1995. 75-78.
The author links Ferguson's work to Joyce's in Finnegans Wake: "Finnegans Wake's cultural kinship to literary works like The Cromlech on Howth is evident on many levels. Like Ferguson's poem, Finnegans Wake performs topologically, forcing readers to encounter it as an
autonomous object that demands them to meet it on its own terms. Like the poem, Finnegans Wake's superabundance of graphical imagery precludes clearly charted narrative by simulating problems of historical understanding through rapid alternation of the familiar and the unrecognizable, guiding readers with submerged indexical structures. Most of all, Finnegans Wake, like The Cromlech on Howth, constellates historical reflection around an interment in the Howth promontory. The legendary Irish figure buried alive in Finnegans Wake is Finn rather than Aideen, but the cryptic location of Fenian imagery determines the Wake's narrative in a way linking it thematically to Ferguson's poem."
Russell K. Alspach writes that Ferguson was the "Irish poet who, before Yeats, most made use of Ireland's legends in his poetry." According to Alspach, a line in Yeat's "The Wanderings of Oisin" can directly be traced to "Aideen's Grave" ["We thought on Oscar's penciled urn ."] Alspach, Russell K. "Some Sources of Yeats's "The Wanderings of Oisin"" PMLA 58.3 (1943): 859.)

11Ferguson, Samuel, George A. Cogan, and Joseph Tierney. Aideen's Grave. Dublin: Talbot, 1925.
Two pages from this small volume are included on our web page. Another one, a painting of Aideen's Grave, may be seen here.

12Parsons, Anne, and Niamh Parsons. "The Wild Bees Nest Project." Niamh Stage Two. Web. 19 July 2012. <http://www.thewildbeesnest.ie/Niamh_Stage_Two.html>.

13Denman, Peter. Samuel Ferguson: The Literary Achievement. Savage, MD: Barnes & Noble, 1990. 93-94.
The author writes, "Ossian is represented as looking forward to a later age when some future poet, also on Howth, will transfer the burden of his poem into a form more suited to that later time. Whom might he have had in mind, if not Samuel Ferguson?"