The Children of Lir 

 Did you enjoy the story of the Children of Lir? Draw the part of the story you liked most in the frame included on the worksheet.

The main events in the story were – 

  • King Lir's wife died when his children were very young.
  • King Lir married an unkind lady called Aoife who was jealous of his 4 children
  • Aoife brought the children to the lake and turned them into swans.  The spell was to last 900 years. Aoife told King Lir that the children had drowned. 
  • The king went to the lake. The children spoke to him and explained what wicked Aoife had done to them. 
  • King Lir was furious and banished Aoife from the kingdom.
  • The king spent the rest of his life on the water’s edge singing and reading to his children.  He eventually grew old and died. 
  • After 900 years, the children heard the church bell ring, the spell was broken, and the swans turned back into children.

The Children of Lir statue in the Garden of Remembrance, Dublin

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Facts about Swans

  • Swans mainly eat underwater plants and algae, or grasses found on land. They occasionally feed on small amphibians (tadpoles, frogs, newts), snails and insects.  Do not feed them bread. 
  • Males are called a cob and females are called a pen
  • When swans have met their partner, they tend to stay together for life. 
  • Swans lay their eggs from mid-March onwards.  The pen will spend all her time sitting on the eggs, rarely even leaving them to eat, while the cob patrols for danger. Watch out at this time of year, swans can get very protective of their nests and have been known to attack people and dogs.  

  • The eggs take 35 - 42 days to hatch.  So, you could start seeing little hatchlings around now.  
  • Baby swans are called cygnets. They have grey fluffy feathers that turn brown and eventually white. They can swim and feed themselves straight after hatching. 
  • A mother swan will allow the babies climb on her back and shelter under her wings. 
  • Once the baby swans have turned white, the father will order his children to move away from home. The young swans must leave their parents and go and find a new place to live.  A few years later they will be ready to find a mate and have cygnets of their own.   

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