Claddagh Ring Blog - The Irish Swan


There are three naturally occurring swans in Ireland. The 'Mute Swan' the 'Whooper Swan and the 'Bewick's Swan'. The 'Mute Swan' is resident and occurs throughout a diversity of Ireland's wetlands and occasionally seen grazing in fields. The 'Whooper Swan' migrate from Iceland. Flighting to and from their wetland roosts at dusk and dawn. The 'Bewick Swan' migrates from Siberia. There is one other species of swan that occurs in Ireland - the Black Swan. Native to Australia and introduced into Ireland. They occur in small numbers at relatively new sites.
Swans usually mate for life, though "divorce" does sometimes occur, particularly following nesting failure, and if a mate dies, the remaining swan will take up with another.
Let us now find out some interesting facts about the 'Irish Swan'. Its interesting connection with Ireland.
The 'CHILDREN OF LIR' is an Irish legend. The legend is part of the Irish Mythological Cycle.
The Irish legend of the Children of Lir is about a stepmother transforming her children into swans for 900 years. In the legend The Wooing of Etain, the king of the Sidhe (subterranean-dwelling, supernatural beings) transforms himself and the most beautiful woman in Ireland, Etain, into swans to escape from the king of Ireland and Ireland's armies.
The swan has recently been depicted on an Irish commemorative coin.
Swans are also present in Irish literature. The poem written by W.B. Yeats entitled 'The Wild Swans at Coole' focuses on the characteristics of the swan.

'The trees are in their autumn beauty,
The woodland paths are dry,
Under the October twilight the water
Mirrors a still sky;
Upon the brimming water among the stones
Are nine-and-fifty swans.

The nineteenth autumn has come upon me
Since I first made my count;
I saw, before I had well finished,
All suddenly mount
And scatter wheeling in great broken rings
Upon their clamorous wings.

I have looked upon those brilliant creatures,
And now my heart is sore.
All's changed since I, hearing at twilight,
The first time on this shore,
The bell-beat of their wings above my head,
Trod with a lighter tread.

Unwearied still, lover by lover,
They paddle in the cold
Companionable streams or climb the air;
Their hearts have not grown old;
Passion or conquest, wander where they will,
Attend upon them still.

But now they drift on the still water,
Mysterious, beautiful;
Among what rushes will they build,
By what lake's edge or pool
Delight men's eyes when I awake some day
To find they have flown away?
William Butler Yeats

We hope you have enjoyed some interesting comments on the Irish Swan and its relationship with Ireland. If you are visiting Ireland for a vacation. A visit to Bray Harbour in County Wicklow is an enjoyable experience. A 'Swan Sanctuary' is located on the Harbour.
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