The Split Rock

(Local legend from Dromore West, Co. Sligo)

Fionn Mac Cumhaill arrived at the top of the Ox Mountains in Sligo with another big strong man named Cicsatóin. They spotted two great boulders close by, and Fionn was challenged to throw one of these into the sea at Easkey. In normal times this would not cause him any bother, but he had a heavy heart at this time. The woman he wished to marry, Gráinne, had eloped with Dermot, one of his own young warriors, and he couldn't have that. He had to find her and Dermot, and quickly at that. Whatever was on his mind anyway, he did not give the task in hand enough attention, and his boulder fell short. It landed just across the road from where Killeenduff National School is now built. Cicsatóin hoisted his boulder into the air, and with a great roar, lofted it far away into the sea where it made a mighty splash. Some say it created such waves that the sea hasn't been the same since, and that is why the Easkey coastline is renowned internationally for surfing. There are wild waves there every day of the year.

As to Fionn, when he saw that he had lost the wager, on top of losing his would-be bride in the same year, he took off from the mountain-top like the wind. He passed out three hares on the way down, and never stopped until he arrived at the rock. "There is magic at work in this boulder, but it won't bother anybody else!," he said angrily to himself, as he split the rock in two with his sword.

The rock is still there today, where it fell many years ago.

It is said that the two halves of the rock will come together to sandwich anyone brave enough to pass through the opening three times.

The Split Rock, Dromore West, Co. Sligo

(Click image to zoom)

Note that it is almost as big as the house! It is about 5 metres long, 3 metres wide and over 2 metres high.

Damien and Shane (3rd) preparing for the roboshow at the Digital Hub, 2005

Details: Model shows one of the giants at the Split Rock. The body could rotate at the hips, and the left arm could be wound backwards using a motor controlled by the RCX.

An elastic band forced the arm quickly forwards to release the "boulder" in the palm when the latch was released. A second identical model was made, and by varying the tension on the elastic bands it was possible to predict which giant won the toss! Fabric and cotton wool were used to get the effects of the sea and landscape.

At the roboshow in May in The Digital Hub, Thomas St., Dublin, which was open to the public, the boys were asked to speak about how they built the model and to tell the legend of the Split Rock at Easkey, Co. Sligo.

(The other models on the right show a robotic arm in action and the mill at which Michael Davitt lost his right arm at the age of 12 years, which was designed and built by fifth class.)


(Click image to zoom)

Split Rock movie