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Courage and Bravery in the face of the modern day Cathaigh

A well-known figure in Irish folklore, St. Senan is known for his miracles and acts of bravery. One of the most famous legends surrounding St. Senan, is his defeat of the Monster Cathaigh on Scattery Island.

The story’s enduring appeal lies in its themes of good versus evil, courage in the face of danger, and the power of faith to overcome even the most daunting obstacles. These are timeless concepts that resonate with people of all ages and backgrounds, and they help to make the story of St. Senan and the monster Caithaigh a tale that will continue to be told and retold for generations to come.

Scattery Island, located off the West Coast of Ireland was once a place of great pagan worship. The island was said to be home to a monstrous sea creature known as Cathaigh, which terrorized the local fishermen and the inhabitants of nearby villages. The people were so frightened of Cathaigh that they would not venture out to sea for fear of encouraging the monster.

One day, an archangel brought St. Senan to Scattery island to rid the area of the monster. He walked to highest point of the island, known as ‘Ard na nAingeal’ (Hill of the Angels), where he could see the Cathaigh approach, and he began to pray. It is said that the sea began to churn and bubble and from its depths, the Cathaigh emerged. The monster was huge and terrifying, with razor sharp teeth and fiery eyes.

(Illustration Artist: Michelle Lillis)

St. Senan, unafraid, approached the monster and raised his hand in a blessing. He called upon the power of God to cast the demon back into the depths of the sea. To the amazement of the onlookers, the monster suddenly grew calm and docile. St. Senan placed a curse of the creature banishing it from the waters around Scattery Island forever.

a drawing of a face

(Illustration Artist: Michelle Lillis)

On hearing the news of the Cathaigh’s defeat, it is said that a local Chief hired a Druid to cast a spell on St. Senan. When the druid appeared on a small area of rock adjacent to the island, a huge tidal wave engulfed him and swept him to his death. This rock was named ‘Carraig An Draoi’ or Druids Rock and it can still be seen to this day at low tide.

The people were overjoyed at St. Senan’s bravery and the defeat of the monster, that a monastery was built on the island in his honour. From that day forward, the island became a place of pilgrimage, with countless numbers of people making the journey to Scattery Island to pay homage to St. Senan and seek his blessing.

While some may view the story as mere legend, it is worth remembering that legends often have a grain of truth at their core. St. Senan was a real historical figure, known to have founded the monastery on Scattery Island. The story of his battle with Cathaigh may have been embellished over time, but it is possible that it was based on a real encounter with some sort of creature or natural phenomenon.

The story remains an important part of Irish folklore to this day. Is serves as a testament to the power of faith and the courage of those who are willing to stand up against evil and protect their communities. Whether the story is true or not, it continues to inspire generation of Irish people, reminding them of the bravery and determinations of their ancestors when facing whatever modern day ‘Cathaigh’ they may encounter.