The Legend of Godred Grovan
Goraidh Crobhan (pron:
Gorry Crow-van) was an Islay hero. According to the ancient stories,
he was the son of Harald the Black of Isla and his mother was a descendant
of the House of Erc, so he was popular with the people of both the Norse
and Celtic clans.
that, at one time, Islay was being attacked and harassed by a wild, fierce
dragon which had its den near Ballygrant, in the north of Islay. It was
said that, because the dragon had attacked almost all the islanders,
nothing could be seen on the island except the smoke rising from the three
single households that had been left unscathed.
– whose galley was anchored at the head of Lochindaal, near Bowmore –
heard the story and decided to take action.
galloped on horseback to the dragon’s den, taking with him three old
horses, which he placed at intervals along the route. He goaded the dragon
into coming out of his den and giving chase across the island. Crobhan
galloped on with the dragon at his heels. When the dragon came to the
first horse, he stopped, wolfed it down, then continued the chase. The
same thing happened with the other two horses. Each stop gave Goraidh
Crobhan time to keep ahead of the dragon.
time, the dragon was so full of food that he became slow and sluggish in
his movements. From the shore to his ship, Crobhan had laid a line of
barrels from the distillery at Bowmore, on which he had hammered iron
stakes. Crobhan leaped across the barrels, but the old dragon, full and
moving laboriously, was impaled –leaving Crobhan to finish him off for the
people of Islay.
Legend Tin Box -
This Limited Edition Tin illustrates
an artist's interpretation of the story of Godred Crovan, as related by
Peggy Earl in her book
‘Tales of Islay - Fact and
From this design no
Italian version has been produced.