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Legend of Eileen MacSweeney
Turlough Og O'Boyle

John Sweeney

In 1620, Maolmhuire MacSweeney was Chieftain of Doe. A proud and wealthy man, he had an only daughter, Eileen, who was reputed to be so beautiful that songs were composed in her praise. Maolmhuire, always with an eye on wealth and power, was determined to ensure that his beautiful daughter would marry well, preferably another chieftain.

One day while out walking in the woods near the castle, Eileen met the handsome young Turlough Og O'Boyle. Legend has it that it was love at first sight, and the carefree couple spent many blissful hours together, roaming the woods, oblivious to the world around them.

Maolmhuire was enraged on hearing of the romance, and, making it clear to Eileen that young O'Boyle was not good enough for her, in his estimations, he forbade her from meeting him ever again. She was not allowed to leave the castle and young Turlough was banished from MacSweeney territory.

But true love always finds a way, and one night while roaming aimlessly around the battlements of the castle, the hapless Eileen spied her love rowing across Sheephaven Bay toward the castle. Unfortunately, her father's troops spied him as well and duly reported him to Maolmhuire. The enraged Maolmhuire ordered Eileen to hers quarters and then sent two boat- loads of armed men to capture Turlough and bring him to the castle where, along with some friends, he was thrown in the dungeons and left to starve to death.

Eileen, unaware that her love was captured and imprisoned in her father's dungeon, spent many nights watching out over Sheephaven Bay waiting for a glimpse of Turlough in his boat, rowing the bay, but alas, in vain.

Then one day she chanced to look out the window of her quarters on the fourth floor and to her horror saw her father's men carry the dead body of Turlough Og from the dungeons to his grave. Some say she died of a broken heart shortly afterwards others say that on seeing the dead body of her young lover she was so overcome with grief, that she jumped from her window as the remains were passing underneath, and died instantly from her injuries, by the side of Turlough Og. They say that they were laid to rest, side by side, in Castlesween Cemetary, adjacent to the Castle, and that a rose bush grew from each grave and the branches intertwined and produced blooms of great beauty.

Visitors to Castle Doe have occasionlly reported seeing a beautiful young woman in a dark cloak sitting, as if in mouring, in various parts of the castle. Whether this is true is not certain, but one thing is cetrtain: On a moonlit night if you stand on the battlements and watch out over Sheephaven Bay you may see a skiff floating lighty across the bay, guided by Turlough Og O'Boyle, and beside him with her beautiful raven hair streaming in the cool breeze, the figure of the lovely Eileen MacSweeney, happily together again."

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