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The aughisky (agh-iski) is the Irish Water-horse, very much like the each uisge of the Scottish Highlands.


Etymology

Anglicization of the Irish Gaelic 'each uisce'.


Place

The water-horse inhabits inland lakes and is not supposed to gallop along the shore like the each uisge or streaming water like the kelpie. November seem the month most likely for the aughisky to be seen.


Family

The aughisky belongs to the same family of water horses as the Scottish each uisgeand bears some relationship with the Welsh ceffyl dwfr. It should not be confused with the beautiful, lake-dwelling horse called Cúchulainn which can be captured and trained; it did even return the riders to their mountain pool of his own volition when they were mortally wounded. The shoopiltee is a variant of the each uisce from the Shetlands, and is thus distinguished from the kelpie which inhabit running water.


Quote

Excerpted from "Notes on Irish Folk-Lore" by G. H. Kinahan, from Folk-Lore Record 4, 1881.

There are fairies like a horse who inhabit certain lakes; they seem to be very common, as the Aughinch (the island of the waterhorse) is not uncommon in connection with most of the lakes. The horse comes out of the water of an evening to graze on the land. In general no bad stories are told about these horses, yet most people are afraid to pass a place they frequent after it is dark.
If a person gets between them and the water and can steal up and put a halter on them, they can be subdued and used as long as they are not allowed to see their old lake; but if once allowed to see it all power over them is lost, and various stories of them and their riders dashing into the water never to be seen again are told.
An aughisky a few years ago frequented Lough Mask, co. Mayo, preying on the cattle, until it was laid by a monk of Toormakeady. Another that lived in Lough Corrib had a serpent's body and a horse's head; this used to feed on the bodies buried in the churchyard to the south-east of Ough-terard, but one of the Lees whose sister was buried watched her body and killed the monster, its blood staining the church wall to this day: the holes through which this aughisky came up can be seen along its track through Lemonfield Bog. A waterhorse that lived in Litter-craffoe Lake was captured by a boy of the Coonneys, who was told by a wise woman if he ever let it see the water it would be the death of him. For years it was a faithful horse, but one day he brought it in sight of the lake, into which it shot like an arrow, carrying its rider with it, whom it killed and tore to pieces, as blood and fragments of his body floated on the surface of the water.
A ludicrous story is told of Tom C______. He was turning a 'lock of malt' on an island, when he saw a waterhorse coming towards him. He rushed into his boat and pulled for his life; but when he got to land he met a neighbour who asked him to lend him the boat, as his old mare and foal had just swam across the lake and he wanted to follow them - so much for this aughisky."


See also