“NO!!!” screamed Fionnuala, spreading her arms around her brothers in a vain attempt to protect and save them. But it was no good. The spell had been cast.
As the morning mist cleared, there, on the water, where only moments ago the four children had huddled, were four graceful white swans.
One beautiful large swan with wings spread wide protecting three smaller ones.
Aoife’s spell had worked, and the children had been turned into swans, left with their voices and condemned to spend 900 years as swans. 300 years to be spent on Lake Derravaragh, 300 years on the Sea of Moyle and 300 years on the waters of Erris near to Inish Glora Island. The spell could only be broken at the tolling of a bell from a new God.
Lir was enchanted by the sweet, sad song of the swans on the lake that he stopped to listen. The swans had been waiting for their father to stop, and, having been left their voices, Fionnuala was able to tell her father the truth of what happened. Lir spent all night listening to the swan’s song, and once again his heart broke, and he grew angry. So great was Lir’s rage at Aoifes deception, that he turned her into a gust of the air, to spend forever more in that form.
Lir faithfully visited his children daily for the next 300 years, as did many of the Tuatha De Danann to listen to their song, and so the first 300 years passed quite quickly. But the time came for them to move on to the Sea of Moyle, to spend the next 300 years, and it was with a heavy heart that they flew away, knowing they would never see their father again. Lir did indeed soon after die of a broken heart. The children suffered greatly on the Sea of Moyle being separated frequently by storms, but they survived together. Once again, they took to the air, and flew west towards Inish Glora. On their journey they flew over Lake Derravaragh, and saw their father’s home in ruins, and now knew all that they had known was lost and gone forever, and they only had each other. It was with a heavy heart that they landed on a small, salt water lake, where the next lonely 300 years passed slowly.