A variety of tales are recorded about the Gobán Saor, the mythical master builder of Irish tradition. This particular account was recorded from Mícheál Mac an Mháistir, Kilcommon, Co. Mayo, in 1937.
Cúig bliana agus trí fichid go Nollaig seo, bhí m'athair mór ag insint scéal dom faoi Ghobán Saor. Bhí Gobán Saor ins an tír seo in Éirinn, agus ba é an saor ab fhearr é a bhí ins na seacht ríochta. Ní raibh caisleán le déanamh in áit ar bith a bheadh ardnósach nach gcaithfeadh Gobán a bheith ina mháistir agus ag dearcadh. Chuaigh sé suas ag déanamh caisleán Bhaile Átha Cliath agus bhí blianta fada ar an chaisleáin sin. Tháinig sé anuas go Sligeach agus phós sé bean mheasúil dhóighiúil. Bhí aige gabháltas mór talúna agus chuaigh sé suas go Baile Átha Cliath arís. Agus nuair a phós sé an bhean seo agus d'fhan sé aici sé mhí. B'éigean dó gabháil suas go caisleán Bhaile Átha Cliath arís ag dearcadh thar éis a chuid saorthaí agus fir. Bhuel, chuir Rí Shasana litir chuige ag iarraidh air agus ag guibhe air a dhul anonn chuige féin go ndéanfadh sé an pálás mhór dhó féin i Sasana. Agus ní dheachaigh chomh fada leis ar an am sin.
Sixty five years ago this Christmas, my grandfather was telling me a story about Gobán Saor. Gobán Saor was in this country in Ireland and he was the best craftsman in the seven kingdoms. No castle could be built anywhere that was of high quality but that Gobán was the master and looking after it. He went up making Dublin castle and was long years on that castle. He came down to Sligo and married a respectable handsome woman. He had a large holding of land and he went up to Dublin again. And when he married this woman he stayed with her six months. He had to go up to Dublin castle again looking after his craftsmen and men. Well, the King of England sent him a letter asking him and pleading with him to go across to himself to make a big palace for himself in England. And he didn't go as far as him at that time.
Stonemasons at work, An Spidéal, Co. Galway, 1940s.