The Pigeon Hole, or Poll na gColum as it is known in Irish, is a cave located between Lough Corrib and Lough Mask just outside of the village of Cong.
There is a steep flight of limestone steps which lead down to the mouth of the cave, a fairly large chasm over 12 feet wide and with a subterranean stream running through. It’s a popular spot where pigeons nest, hence the name.
There is an Irish legend that states that the cave is home to a sacred trout, “the fairy trout,” which, according to legend, avoided bait and evaded capture. The story told is that a beautiful young woman was set to marry a king’s son, but the prince was murdered before they were wed. Heartbroken, the young lady went mad with despair and then disappeared unexpectedly. It was believed she was taken away by the fairies.
After a while, a white trout appeared in the subterranean river of the cave. It was fable to be a fairy, and given the utmost respect. However a soldier came to put the rumors to the test and caught the trout to fry for his dinner. He placed it on the pan, but the fish would not cook. Although the fish would not cook, he decided to eat the fish anyway. As he put his knife to the fish, it screamed, leaped from the pan to the floor, and transformed into a beautiful young woman.
The woman explained that she was waiting for her true love in the river. She demanded he renounce his evil courses and take her back to the river. In the blink of an eye, the woman disappeared and in her place laid a small, white trout.
The soldier quickly put the trout on a plate and rushed to the cave to put her back into the river. When he did, the river turned blood red momentarily. To this day it is said that one can find a white trout, with a little scar where it was cut, swimming in the sunny part of the river.