Following the Milesian invasion of Ireland, An Tuatha de Danann were forced to move to the mountains, hills and caves. The leaders of An Tuatha found safe places or ‘sidhe’ for their people to live. These ‘sidhe’ were areas of natural beauty, high in the hills and away from the Milesians. Lir was assigned ‘Sidhe Fionnachaidh’ or ‘Hill of the White Field’ on top of Slieve Fuait in County Armagh. He lived there happily with his wife Eve. Their four children, Fionnuala, Aodh, Conn and Fiachra, also known as ’The Children of Lir’ were born and raised here.
Unfortunately, tragedy struck this beautiful family. Eve died and Lir re-married Aoife, who in a jealous rage turned her step-children into swans. The curse lasted 900 years and Lir never saw his children again. The Children of Lir are said to have died on Inish Glora when the curse ended and are buried together on the island. Other sources say they are buried on the shores of Tullynawood Lough close to their childhood home at The Hill of the White field. It is said that the Children of Lir used play and swim in Tullynawood Lough in happier times when they were young.
This area is now known as ‘Carrickatuke’ and is the highest point on the mountain range, Sliabh Fuait. It is an area of outstanding beauty close to Newtownhamilton, Co Armagh. ‘Carrickatuke’ meaning ‘The Rock of the Hawk’ commands views as far as Antrim to the north, Louth and Meath to the south, Monaghan to the west and the beautiful Mourne Mountains to the east. Cúchulainn is said to have watched the ’Gap of the North’ for invaders from an old stone seat at the southeastern side of the summit and the same seat was sat upon by St. Patrick. St. Patrick had intended to build his first church on the slopes of Carrickatuke at a place now known as ‘Armaghbreague’ meaning ‘False Armagh’. He built his church instead in Armagh city.