Lough Ree

She was feared and fearless. The Queen of Connaught. Meabh rode her black stallion from county to
county in the search for property. There were many warlords who were seduced by her beauty.
Once she had him in her lover’s lair and his property signed over, she killed him. No one could resist
her beauty or satisfy her lust. It was said that it took seven lovers to satisfy her. She started an all-
Ireland war to win a stud bull that was better than hers, making its owner more powerful than her.
For me it was the same with the voluptuous Susan. If she needed seven men, that was fine
by me, once I was top of the queue or at least in the queue. If I were to die afterwards, I would die
happy. She was a neighbour. One Sunday I plucked up the courage to ask her if she fancied a spin up
the River Shannon in my father’s lake boat. I used the small outboard engine to take us into Lough
Ree. I moored at Sunken Island, just opposite Greenwood. She always wore revealing tops and had
that seductive look. I hoped I could entice her into the water.
The sun was shining when she pulled off her top to reveal a canary yellow bikini. She sizzled
in the cold water, her white body contrasting with the dark lake water, the occasional flash of yellow
like a lure for a trout. I knew I was the luckiest lad in the county to be with raven head. When it was
time to get out, she rose like a phoenix, the water dripping off her outstretched arms like a waterfall.
She stood for a moment in the heat of the sun, goosepimples on her arms and legs. I was transfixed.
I handed her a towel.
“Turn around!” she ordered me, “and don’t look back.”
The yellow bikini top and bottoms landed beside my feet. I needed to turn around. I wanted to see
the vision, savour it, maybe even touch it. In that moment I knew just how Queen Meabh’s suitors
had felt. The desire, the quest for loving. I would have signed over my land to her just then. But
suddenly I recalled the revenge that was carried out on Queen Meabh in Lough Ree. Her nephew,
Furbaide, used a slingshot with a lump of hard cheese in it and killed her as she swam. She had killed
his mother while she was pregnant with him and he was born by posthumous caesarean section.
Meabh was jealous of her sister who had been given by her father to her ex-husband. That day, in
the lake her beauty had been no deterrent.
Susan stepped into the boat and I pushed us out past the very spot where the mighty Queen
had been murdered. She had spurned my advances and I yearned for proficiency with a slingshot.