Aillinn was the daughter of Laoghaire mac Fergus Fairge, or
sometimes she is
also said to be the daughter of Eoghan mac Daithi, and the
grand-daughter of the
king of Leinster. She fell in love with Baile, son of Buain, who was
the heir to
the kingdom of Ulster. Ulster and Leinster were sworn enemies, and so
Aillinn and Baile arranged to meet together in secret on the shore near
Dun Dealgan (Dundalk).
Baile reached the appointed place first and was approached by a
told him that the warriors of Leinster had discovered Aillinn's
assignation and had prevented her from coming. The stranger continued
his message and told Baile that his beloved Aillinn, sick from grief,
had died. Hearing this grim news, Baile fell on the spot and died from
a broken heart.
Next, the stranger went to Aillinn and delivered the news to her of Baile's
death and then she too died from grief over her lost love.
Baile was buried at Traigh mBaile and a yew tree grew from his
grave, and from Aillinn's grave there grew an apple tree. The poets of
Leinster and Ulster cut branches from the two trees and carved the
story of this tragedy in ogham wands that they made from the branches.
Two hundred years later, according the story, when Art the Lonely
was High King of Ireland, the ogham wands were gathered from Ulster and
Leinster and taken to the Tech Screptam, or library, at Tara for
safe-keeping. As the wands were put into the library they sprang
together and could not be separated.
Ellis, Peter Berresford. A Dictionary of Irish Mythology. (Santa Barbara,
California: ABC-CLIO, Inc., 1987). Pages 26 and 27.