Gearoid Iarla

Irish - A Norman who became Earl of Desmond. He was born as the result of the seduction of the goddess, Aine, by Maurice who discovered her bathing in a lake. Aine handed the child to Maurice, warning him not to be surprised if the child did exceptional things. When Gearoid jumped into a bottle and then out again, his father expressed his astonishment, whereupon Gearoid changed into a goose or swan and flew away. Other stories say that he became Earl of Desmond on the death of his father but later mysteriously disappeared. One version of this story says that he enjoined his wife to be silent when he allowed her to witness some of the magic he could perform but, seeing him change shape, she cried out and the palace, with all its occupants, sank to the bottom of a lake. Some say he still lives under the water of Lough Gur, awaiting a call to return to help his descendants in their hour of need. In other versions, he lives in a cavern with an army of sleeping knights. Some say that he returns at midsummer every seven years and rides round the lake on a white horse. On occassion, called Gearoid Iarla, Gerald the Earl or Gerald the Earl.

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