IT is a tragic tale of beauty and lust that ends with the death of two doomed lovers.

The ancient mythical story of Deirdrie and Naoise is also one of the first documenting the shared destiny of the people of Scotland and Ireland.

Now a romantic landmark has been unveiled on the west coast of Scotland in honour of the legend, close to a spot where the couple were said to have found some tranquillity together.

The “Sheiling for Deirdre and Naoise” was officially unveiled at a ceremony on Saturday, attended by Michael Russell MSP and Mark Hanniffy, the Consul General of Ireland to Scotland, along with more than 100 guests and local dignitaries.

The sheiling itself – a Gaelic word for a hut, or collection of huts, once common in wild and lonely places in the hills and mountains – is on the slopes of Beinn Ghlas, near Taynuilt, overlooking Loch Etive, Argyll.

It marks a personal love story as well as it was commissioned by Sam Macdonald, whose wife, Evelyn Day, died of cancer last year, six weeks after being diagnosed. Mr MacDonald, 76, said that when his 83-year-old Irish wife of 50 years was told she did not have long to live, she asked him to build a memorial to mark her favourite story, so famed in Irish mythology.

Mr Macdonald said: “We decided on the garden when we knew that time was running out. We came out of the consultants, and after we gathered ourselves together, we started working on some lasting memory.”

The tale itself, which links Ireland with Scotland, was first featured in the Glenmasan Manuscript, which is held in the National Library in Edinburgh and has just celebrated its 780th anniversary.

Known as “Deirdre of the Sorrows”, legend has it that before she was born, the most famous woman in Irish mythology was prophesied to become so beautiful, kings and lords would wage war over her. Urged to kill her at birth, King Conchobar of Ulster decided to put her into seclusion until she was old enough for him to take as a wife.

But fate intervened and Deirdre met Naoise, a handsome warrior in the King’s court and the pair fell instantly in love, fleeing to Scotland where they lived a happy life alongside his brothers for a number of years, until word reached them that the King would allow them to return to Ulster. However, upon so doing, Naoise was killed and the distraught Deirdre went on to take her own life.

The President of Ireland, Michael Higgins, was unable to attend the ceremony at the weekend, but sent a message of support, which read: “The tragic tale of the two doomed lovers is one of the great tales of an Ruraiocht, the Ulster Cycle, a mythic arc that is the shared inheritance of the peoples of Scotland and Ireland.

“There is perhaps no place on our islands more representative of that shared inheritance than Argyll, once the home of the ancient Gaelic Kingdom of Dal Riada. It was there that Cu Chulainn, the warrior-hero of the Ulaid, was said to have learned the arts of war, and it was there that Deirdrie sought sanctuary with Naoise and his brothers Arden and Ainle.

“I am so pleased that a magnificent memorial will now rest forever on Beinn Ghlas, not far from Gleann Èite, the place Deirdre and Naoise were said to have found a moment of peace. May it stand as a monument, not only to the common past of the peoples of Scotland and Ireland, but to the shared destiny of our two ancient countries.”

The sheiling is on land once owned by Mr Macdonald, now taken over by onshore wind generation firm Ventient Energy. It features within it the statue of Deirdre and Naoise that was originally created by Glasgow School of Art graduate, Fiona McLeod, for Scotland’s National Gardening Show, held in Strathclyde Park in 1997. The golden statue had been in Mr Macdonald’s garden since the show closed.

Visually, the sheiling, situated near one of the turbines on the Ventient Energy wind farm, looks like it has been on the site for 1,000 years due to its historic features, looking across the stunning Scottish landscape to where Deirdre and Naoise were said to live in the 7th Century AD.

Scott Mackenzie, CEO of Ventient Energy, said: “We’re delighted to support Sam Macdonald in creating the stunning ‘Sheiling for Deirdre and Naoise’. Its creation is being celebrated by the entire community and is something that can be visited and enjoyed by locals and visitors from further afield, including Ireland.”

Mr Macdonald said the stories preserved largely through oral tradition are from a time when “an aristocratic warrior class dominated”, “ characterised by dramatic stories of fighting and adventure on the part of the chiefs”.

He said Deirdre’s powerful tale, with its “elements of lust, treachery and ultimate death”, is vividly told and that while one may question whether the characters in the story ever existed, recent research into place names in the North Lorn area of Argyll suggests they may well have done. The findings raised the idea that perhaps Deirdre, Naoise and his brothers Arden and Ainle were real and did indeed reside in Glen Etive, given the number of place names that memorialise them in the landscape.

In raising the Sheiling for Deirdre and her lover, Mr Macdonald said he hopes to revitalise the ancient myths and reinforce the strong social and cultural ties that link the people of the west Highlands with their Irish neighbours across the water.

He is hopeful it will draw visitors from around the world as well.

“I think it’s going to be a very romantic spot,” he said. “It will be lovely if someone proposes there – and there’s the possibility of weddings, as outdoor weddings are very much in vogue now.”