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The chief idol of Eirin. This huge object stood on the plain of Mag Sleact (the plain of adoration or prostration) in County Cavan in Ulster. Situated around him were twelve smaller idols made of stone while his was of gold. To him the early Irish sacrificed one third of their children on Samain (November 1) in return for milk and corn and the good weather that insured the fertility of cattle and crops. The god was held in horror for his terrible exactions; it was even dangerous to worship him, for the worshippers themselves often perished in the act of worship.
It is said that his cult was introduced by a pre-Christian king names Tigernmus. During the prostrations one Samhain night, he and three fourths of his followers destroyed themselves.
The twelve lesser idols that encircle Crom have led to the assumption that he was a solar deity; certainly a fertility god. However, he has not been identified with any of the ancient Irish gods. According to legend, St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, cursed and destroyed it (the idol sunk back into the earth). The saint preached to the people against the burning of milk-cows and their first-born progeny.
Crom Cruach, or Cromm Crúac means bloody crescent or bloody bent one and is mentioned as such in the 6th century Dinnshenchas in the Book of Leinster. It is also referred to as Cenn Crúaic (bloody head) in the Tripartite Life of Patrick. Another name is ríg-íodal h-Eireann, the king idol of Ireland.
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# 454: The gold and silver image to which the Irish offered their first fruits and first-born in pagan times. It stood on the plain of Mag Slecht in Ulster. It bent down to Saint Patrick and was overcome, sinking back into the earth.
The Encyclopaedia of the Celts, ISBN 87-985346-0-2
Compiled & edited by: Knud Mariboe©, 1994
Here used to be
a high idol with many fights
which was named the Crom Cruaich
It made every tribe to be without peace.
To him without glory
They would kill their piteous, wretched offspring
with much wailing and peril
to pour their blood around Crom Cruaich
by Squire, Charles Published by NEWCASTLE + PUBLISHING (0878770305)
Crom:The Diety that Hollywood Made Real
Historically/Mythically we need to remember that the idol of Crom Cruach has never been identified with any member of the Tuatha de Danann. No where in any part of Irish Gaelic mythology does a diety named Crom Cruach ever appear.(Ever.)
It is alleged that St.Patrick overthrew the idol of Crom. It is known that King Tighernmas and his army, were stricken with sudden death in the presence of the idol. It allegedly stood on Magh Slecht a.k.a the "Adoration Plain".
The common piece of information on Crom Cruach is the most revealing,allegedly people offered up one third of their healthy issue(children) to Crom Cruach.(In a time of death during pregnancy,famine,and war this is a little hard to buy.)
It is common to portray non christian peoples as baby sacraficing simpletons who would offer up thier young without so much as a "how do ye do!?" I am continuing to look for more information on Crom and am trying to find the timeline on the myth of Crom. If you have any information please email me.
Cromm Cruaich is mentioned in a Dindshenchas (a type of poem that often explains geographical features of Ireland in terms of myths, legends, and etymology of how the place and the name came to be ? Edward Gwynn has translated many in ?The Metrical Dindshenchas?, 5 vols, Todd Lecture Series 8-12, Dublin, 1903-1935) from the Book of Leinster if memory serves me correctly, about the ?Mag? (?plain?) of ?Slecht? (?prostrations?). And sorry I can?t remember if my notes are the full poem or just excerpts (I believe it?s the full poem), but here is what I have copied ? no doubt with a few errors (see Gwynn, MD, vol 4, p19ff):
He was their god, the wizened Cromm, hidden by many mists: as for the folk that believed in him, the eternal Kingdom beyond every haven shall not be theirs.
For him ingloriously they slew their hapless firstborn with much wailing and peril, to pour their blood round Cromm Cruaich.
Milk and corn they asked of him speedily in return for a third part of all their progeny: great was the horror and outcry about him.
To him the bright Gaedil did obeisance: from his worship ? many crimes ? the plain bears the name Mag Slecht.
Thither came Tigernmas, prince of distant Tara, one Samain eve, with all his host: the deed was a source of sorrow to them.
They stirred evil, they beat palms, they bruised bodies, wailing to the demon who held them in thralls, they shed showers of tears, weeping prostrate.
Dead the men, void of sound strength the boasts of Banba, with land-wasting Tigernmas in the north, through the worship of Cromm Cruaich ? hard their hap!
For well I know, save a fourth part of the eager Gaedil, not a man ? lasting the snare ? escaped alive, without death on his lips. Round Cromm Cruaich there the hosts did obeisance: though it brought them under mortal shame, the name cleaves to the mighty plain. Ranged in ranks stood idols of stone four times three; to beguile the hosts grievously the figure of the Cromm was formed of gold. Since the kingship of Heremon, bounteous chief, worship was paid to stones till the coming of noble Patrick of Ard Macha.
He piled upon the Cromm a sledge, from top to toe; with no paltry prowess he ousted the strengthless goblin that stood here.
Máire MacNeill, ?The Festival of Lughnasa? (Oxford, 1962) p.28ff talks about the folkloric survivals of a festival named Domhnach Crom Dubh (Dubh = ?black? or ?dark? in Irish) in August that she associates with the festival of Lugh (i.e. Lughnasa on August 1).
There is reasonto think that the worship of stone idol figures may have been practiced in Ireland at some time, and the stone figures found on Boa Island and Lusty More Island in County Fermanagh may give us some insight into how the idols might have looked (see http://www.beyond-the-pale.co.uk/fermanagh.htm for images
The Chief of the Mound
"Crom Cruaich" Dalriada Archives - 1995 Lorraine MacDonald [Author]
Tigernmas. This monarch set up the famous idol called Crom Cruach
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