Long, long ago, an attractive young man in Drimnagh decided to host a great feast.
After all the preparations were done, he went to a nearby hill to sit in his finery. He was wearing a fancy linen hat, a silk undershirt, a lovely tunic and a dark red cloak. He brought his gold-hilted sword with him―you never know when you’ll need one.
When he had a good view of the settlement, he put down his sword, rested his head on his arm, and fell asleep.
When he woke, he reached for his sword, only to find a distaff. A distaff was a woman’s tool, used to hold fibre for spinning.
The sword was not the only change. His tunic had become a full-length gown, and his hair had grown long and beautiful. He touched his face to find smooth skin; his beard gone. Then he checked between his legs, finding changes there too. He’d become a woman!
She was astonished, and worried, and sad. How could she go home like this? But she couldn’t stay on the hill with no sword.
So she took herself to nearby Crumlin.
In Crumlin, she met a handsome lad, recently widowed. They fell for each other, and the young woman went home with the young man.
There they lived happily for seven years, producing seven children.
But then came a day when the couple were invited to a feast at Drimnagh. The woman grew tired as they neared the settlement, and stopped on the hill for a rest while her husband continued on. She fell asleep, not thinking what might happen. When she awoke, she reached out and found her sword. She checked her clothes, her hair, her face, between her legs. She was a man again!
Again, he found himself worried and upset. What of his seven children?
He went back to his original home in Drimnagh and told his tale. At first, no one believed him, but eventually there was a ruling that his children with the Crumlin man be divided between them. Three children to live permanently with each, and the seventh child to be fostered in Crumlin.
Dun in Mara sometimes have feasts in Drimnagh Castle. We can promise you good food, but we make no commitments regarding transformations!
The Abbot of Drimnagh is probably originally from the 12th or 13th century, but the existing copies are all 15th and 16th century. There is one in the Book of Fermoy in the Royal Irish Academy (MS 23 E 29, pictured above), two in the British Library (MS Additional 30512, MS Egerton 1781), and one in the Bodleian in Oxford (MS Rawlinson B 512).
Dun in Mara is marching in Dublin Pride tomorrow, Saturday 29th, and holding a free revel afterwards: https://duninmara.org/posts/2019/05/30/pride-revel/