‘The Legend of the Gunner and the Buttermilk’ is a famous piece of local folklore that is associated with the seat of the Power Clan in Waterford, Ireland. Nobody really knows the origins of the tale that follows but it is certainly very entertaining to think on it and the events that happened to bring the villain Oliver Cromwell another lot of illgotten loot.
The legend goes that as Cromwell was attacking the castle in 1649, having pillaged his way across the entire country en route to safe havens for the winter, he came across the stout Dunhill Castle, atop a bleak hillside in Co. Waterford. It was then being defended by the lady of the house – Lady Power. Her husband was absent, defending another local castle from the Cromwellian forces – that of nearby Kilmeaden.
Cromwell’s men, tired and battle weary, could not take the castle easily, owing to its position and defences. During the siege, one of Lady Power’s gunners requested some refreshments for an attachment of his men defending the battlements. Not wanting her men to consume alcohol at the time, or perhaps from being particularly frugal, she is said to have sent the men some buttermilk instead of the beer they would have normally been expecting. The men were apparently insensed and the afrementioned gunner signalled to Cromwell’s men, and led them into the castle, taking it !
The gunner himself was promptly hanged as a traitor by Cromwell and hung from the castle walls … or so the legend goes !