In a much earlier incarnation of Shades of Avalon, Emrys’s (Merlin) cave was located in Roscommon. In a place called the Cave of the Cats – Oweynagat. It’s a place of much mystical significance in Irish legends. Depending on who you are talking to, it’s either a gateway to the otherworld or a gateway to Hell.
It’s is the birthplace of Queen Medb. Her army went up against Cú Chulainn (Sétanta) when she tried to steal the Brown Bull of Ulster. It’s also the home of the war deity, Morrígan. Both Cú Chulainn and Morrigan make an appearance in Shades of Avalon.
Another possible location was in Dunmore Cave in Kilkenny. Early tales thought to refer to it, call it one of the three darkest places in Ireland. It’s the site of a Viking massacre in the 10th century where up to a thousand perished. Remains found at the site indicate some starved to death in the dark recesses of the cave. In the 15th century, a woman accused of witchcraft hid there until she could make her escape.
More importantly, it’s the location of The Fairy Hall and The Crystal Chamber, and it’s thought another hidden and yet unexplored chamber. Not to mention the monster. What’s a cave without a monster, right? Dunmore cave had Luchtigern, a huge cat-like creature and the cave itself is described as looking like the mouth of a huge beast.
Neither of these caves made the final cut for Shades of Avalon and in the end and Merlin’s cave ended up located outside Ireland.
The blog tour for Shades of Avalon is now over. For more posts and reviews, please see here. I’ll be in touch with prize winners soon.