The Baboon’s Rescue: A Folktale of Athy, Ireland

Pinpoint Location: Athy, County of Kildare / Map data ©2016 Google

This folktale from Woodstock Castle (Athy) tells of a heroic baboon who ended up on the Arms of the Duke of Leinster. 

It is said that Dorothea O’More, daughter to O’More of Leix, brought in dowry to Fitz-Gerald, Baron of Offaly, the town of Athy, with the manor and adjoining Castle of Woodstock.

A local legend prevails, that the Castle of Woodstock accidentally took fire. The nurse of Fitz-Gerald’s heir, the son of Dorothea, perished in the flames; but, when the family and servants looked up, they beheld a large baboon, with the child in her arms and on the highest parapet of the Castle.

As the baboon clanked her chain for aid, a ladder was speedily procured, and the infant was happily restored to his despairing parents.

In remembrance of this wondrous event, the chief of Offaly had the baboon and her chain added to his banners. Today this continues to be the coat of arms of the illustrious House of Leinster;

As always, if you enjoyed reading this folktale from Athy, please consider keeping it alive by sharing it with your friends.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here