Name: Crom Crúaich /Cromm / Cróich / Crooach / Cruach /Cenn Cruach / Kerman Kelstach /Kerum Kerugher / 'Bloody Crescent'/ 'Bloody Head' / 'Chief of the Mounds'
Properties: Sun God / Zodiac God / Chief God
Associated Sites: Mag Sléacht / 'Plain of Adoration/Sacrifice' now called Moysleet, near the present village of Ballymagauran in Co. Cavan. Also part of Brefin in the 1700's.
Associated Kings: Tigernmas Loeghaire
Festivals: Domhnach Crom Dubh - Last Sunday in July or First Sunday in August. During Lughnasadh - (The August festival of Lugh)
Crom Cruaich was the most ancient and venerated god of all the various tribes of Ireland. It is said that the worship of Crom was brought to Ireland by the legendary king Tigernmas. The God was worshipped in idol form at Mag Sléacht 'The Plain of Adoration'. The word 'sléacht' means either 'to genuflect' or 'destruction' in modern Irish. The idols were extremely ancient even in the time of King Loeghaire a contemporary of Patrick the christian bishop of the 5th century A.D.
The Crom idol is described as having been once covered in gold (the accounts vary some sources say he was covered in both silver and gold - Vallency in his Ancient History of Ireland) and it was surrounded by twelve plain stones in a circle. The stone idol is described by classical Roman writers as being rectangular in shape and unadorned by any carvings or inscriptions. Even in the time of the classical Roman writers, the idol was ancient and the ground level had risen so that only the tops of the thirteen stones could be seen. The main figure in the centre being slightly slanted or falling over.
An old reference to Crom in ogham writing is translated: 'In it Cruach was and twelve idols of stone around him and himself of gold' *
Some writers believe that animal and possibly even human sacrifices were made to this God. There is no definite evidence to either prove or disprove this theory. The christian saint Patrick is cited as having destroyed the idols and the worship of the idols in his time, one story has him hitting the stone with his crozier and knocking it over. Obviously he felt it was a threat to his beliefs. However as has been stated above the stones were already old and covered up by the time of Patrick so these stories are probably anecdotal.
*source James Bonwick, Irish Druids and Old Irish Religions, Dorset Press, 1986. p.121
Stories, Myths & Legends Associated with Crom Cruaich