Abhartach – Ireland’s Vampire

mormantul-lui-abhartach     Irish legend dubs Abhartach as an ancient ruler of a small kingdom from the 5th or 6th century.  During this time period in an area known as Glenuilin (glen of the eagle) comprised of several kingdoms with their own ruler.  This area has been well documented through history and many indications of their existence still remain in the country sides.

Abhartach was recorded as being dwarf like in nature but was revered as a powerful magician and a tyrant monarch.  Hated by his subjects, they plotted his demise.  Too fearful of his powerful magic to attempt the deed themselves they recruited a chieftain from a neighboring village named Cathrain to execute the task for them.

Happy to oblige, Cathrain quickly rose to the deed and Abhartach was murdered and buried, but not for long.  An angry Abhartach returned the next day demanding blood from each of his subjects to “sustain his vile corpse”.  Cathrain consulted with a druid priest and then returned to kill Abhartach again.  His task completed, he reburied the twice dead ruler.  Abhartach arose once, maddening with rage and demanded more blood from his subjects.  Baffled by his resurrection, Cathrain consulted with a Christian Saint instead of a druid.  The Priest told Cathrain that Abhartach was not completely dead, nor could he be killed because of his acquired powers.  Abhartach was now one of the marbh bheo (the walking dead) and would torment his people for eternity until he had been suspended.  The Priest instructed Cathrain to stab him in the heart with a sword made of Yew wood, burying him upside down and then to place thorns around his grave topping him with a large capstone.  Cathrain followed the instructions going one step further and building a leacht over the gravesite.

Today the leacht is gone but the capstone remnants of the capstone remain as a tree has grown from the thorns or the Yew hewn sword.  Around the roots of the tree grass will not grow and a ring of red soil surrounds the tree.  The ground is cursed and has changed owners many times throughout history.  Current occupants of the town will still not go near the tree after dark.

In 1997 several attempts were made to clear the land by new owners, upon every attempt to cut down the tree, the workers’ chainsaws would malfunction.  Eventually the tree surrendered and was removed from the site revealing the large stone surrounded by several smaller stones.  Several attempts were made to remove the stones resulting in the chain snapping and injuring several of the workers.  No further documentation is found.