CORMAC SETS UP THE FIRST MILL IN ERINN
During the reign of Cormac it happened that some of the lords of Ulster
made a raid upon the Picts in Alba and brought home many captives.
Among them was a Pictish maiden named Kiernit, daughter of a king of
that nation, who was strangely beautiful, and for that the Ulstermen
sent her as a gift to King Cormac. And Cormac gave her as a household
slave to his wife Ethne, who set her to grinding corn with a hand-quern,
as women in Erinn were used to do.
One day as Cormac was in the palace of the Queen he saw Kiernit labouring at her task and weeping as she
wrought, for the toil was heavy and she was unused to it. Then Cormac
was moved with compassion for the women that ground corn throughout
Ireland, and he sent to Alba for artificers to come over and set up a
mill, for up to then there were no mills in Ireland.
Now there was in
Tara, as there is to this day, a well of water called The Pearly, for
the purity and brightness of the water that sprang from it, and it ran
in a stream down the hillside, as it still runs, but now only in a
slender trickle. Over this stream Cormac bade them build the first mill
that was in Ireland, and the bright water turned the wheel merrily
round, and the women in Tara toiled at the quern no more.
The High Deeds of Finn and other Bardic Romances of Ancient Ireland.
T. W. Rolleston, ed. Illustrations by Stephen Reid.
London: G. G. Harrap & Co., 1910. 185-186.