Sean Quinn’s downfall is fairies’ revenge say locals in Cavan
Published 22/11/2011 | 05:00
HE was once Ireland's richest man, with a fortune of €4.7bn, before his huge gamble on Anglo Irish Bank shares toppled him into bankruptcy.
But for some in his heartland on the Cavan/Fermanagh border, the downfall of Sean Quinn has more to do with the wrath of the fairies than risky business moves.
According to these locals, it was the decision to move a megalithic burial tomb 20 years ago which led to the fall of his cement, hotels, and insurance empire.
The Aughrim Wedge Tomb stood for 4,000 years in the townland after which it is named, two miles outside Ballyconnell, Co Cavan.
But when it got in the way of the expansion of a massive quarry for Quinn Concrete in 1992, permission was granted by the Office of Public Works to move it.
Following a full excavation of the site, it was moved -- stone by stone -- and relocated in the grounds of Mr Quinn's Slieve Russell Hotel on the other side of the village.
Mr Quinn has since lost the cement works, the hotel, a raft of other businesses and his multi-billion euro fortune. According to bankruptcy documents, he now claims to have just €11,000 in the bank.
Some locals have linked the movement of the tomb to Mr Quinn's financial woes.
"I'm a big supporter of Sean Quinn because of what he has done for this area but that tomb should never have been moved," said publican Toirbhealach Lyons, the owner of Molly Maguire's pub in Ballyconnell.
"There would be a lot of people who would think you could never have any luck after moving an ancient tombstone."
Such superstitions are common and widely believed according to University of Ulster folklore expert Seamus MacFlionn.
"Cavan is full of ancient sites like these and therefore many people there would be more superstitious about moving any ancient rath, tomb or fairy tree," he said.
"People do genuinely believe that to do so brings bad luck. It's part of our ancient Irish history," he added.
However, not everyone in the area subscribes to the view that the movement of the tomb brought Mr Quinn his bad luck. One sceptic is Ballyconnell butcher Gerard Crowe, "It's a load of auld rubbish. . . Simple as that," he said.