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|County Clare Folk-Tales and Myths by Thomas Johnson Westropp|
1. The tales have, however, been touched up and remodelled since 1892.
2. I do not refer to the euphemerized tales of the Tuatha Dé Danann, of which the recension dates probably little, if at all, before the Norse wars, and far later than the introduction of Christianity.
3. The Paps of Kerry are called Da chich Danainne (‘The Two Breasts of Ana’), ‘Annals of the Four Masters’ (ed. O’Donovan), vol. i., p. 24 n.
4. ‘Dindsenchas’ (ed. Whitley Stokes), ‘Revue Celtique,’ vol. xv. (1894), p. 458. See also the later ‘Agallamh na Senorach’ (The Colloquy with the Ancients), S. H. O’Grady, ‘Silva Gadelica,’ vol. ii., p. 126.
5. See paper by Mr. G. H. Orpen in ‘The Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland,’ vol., xxiv., p. 119.
6. ‘Dindsenchas,’ Revue Celtique,’ vol. xv. (1894), p. 317.
7. ‘Folk-Lore’ vol. xxi., p. 198. So in ‘Silva Gadelica,’ vol. ii., pp. 123-6, people are afraid to sit on certain tulachs or mounds from fear of the Tuatha Dé Danann. For a description of this remarkable district see ‘The Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland,’ vol., xxxv., pp. 343-52.
8. See Rolls series, ‘Tripartite Life of St. Patrick,’ vol. ii., p. 315, for Tirechan, and p. 409 for Fiacc. Tirechan died A.D. 656.
9. ‘Cathreim Thoirdhealbhaigh,’ written about 1345-60, not, as usually stated 1459, an error arising from a date in the original of an eighteenth-century copy.
10. Cf. ‘Folk-Lore,’ vol. xxi., pp. 187-9. Her name in 1839 was Caileach Cinn Boirne (the ‘Hag of Black Head’). The old name of Hag’s Head in Moher Cliffs, not far south from Black Head, was Ceann Cailighe (Kan Kallye in the 1580 maps). The Calliagh (cloaked woman) in older legend was younger, i.e. a Caillin.
11. Such ‘leaps’ abound up the coast. There is Leamanivore (‘Big Man’s Leap’) in North Mayo, the ‘Giant’s Leap’ at Downpatrick Head, Leimataggart (‘Priest’s Leap’) and the ‘Leap of (Fiachra’s) Sea Horse’ in the Mullet at Dun Fiachrach Fort, Leim Conor, Leim Chaite, near Donegal Fort, and Cuchulainn’s Leap in Clare, the Leap of Ballingarry in Kerry, and the ‘Heir’s’ Leap near Ardmore in Co. Waterford. There are also inland leaps such as that at Ardnurcher Castle.
12. O’Curry, in the ‘Battle of Magh Leana,’ p. 92, gives the tale rather differently: the hero’s paramour (Cannan) pursued him from Emania, and struck her back against a stone slightly below the edge, leaving an impression, whence it was called Leac na Cannain, and people believed that anyone with nerve enough to turn on one heel in the mark could obtain any wish.
13. ‘Dindsenchas,’ ‘Revue Celtique,’ vol. xvi, p. 57-8.
14. ‘Dindsenchas,’ loc. cit., vol., xv., pp. 478-481.
15. ‘Silva Gadelica,’ vol. ii. p. 126.
17. Seacht srotha Teiscaighe.
18. ‘Ordnance Survey Letters’ (Co. Clare), vol. i., p. 71; taken down in 1839 from Shane Reagh O’Cahane, an old tailor and shanachy (story-teller) in Corofin, by O’Donovan and E. O’Curry.
19. I refer to a few in ‘The Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland,’ vol. xxv., p. 227.
20. ‘Ulster Journal of Archaeology,’ vol. i. (O.S.). See also ‘Annals of the Four Masters’ (ed. O’Donovan), vol. i., p. 18 n.; P. A. Joyce, ‘Irish Names of Places,’ vol. i., cap. iv.; Curtin, ‘Hero Tales of Ireland,’ pp. 1, 283; ‘The Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland,’ vol. ii. p. 315, for Howth. The Bothair na bo ruadh is said, p. 318, to run all round the Irish coast at a distance of three casts of a dart from high-water mark. I only note one Boru well on Ardoilean or High Island. Like the Bo ruadh well at Elmvale, Clare, it is now misnamed after King Brian Boru. The Rev. P. Power of Portlaw gives a Waterford legend of the Glas cow’s tail cutting Gleann an earball in Desies without Drum, (‘The Journal of the Waterford and South East Ireland Archaeological Society,’ vol. x. (1907), p. 117). The Balor legend is also given, from Shane O'Dugan of Co. Donegal, by O’Donovan in ‘Annals of the Four Masters,’ vol. i., p. 18 n. W. Larminie, ‘West Irish Folk Tales,’ p. 1, gives a Glass Gavlen tale from Achill, and J. Curtin, ‘Hero Tales of Ireland,’ the tale of the sieve in Elin Gow and the cow Glas Gainach at Cluainte, Co. Kerry.
21. Nathrach is a man’s name (e.g. St Senan’s smith), and not a literal ‘serpent.’
22. Dr. G. U. MacNamara, ‘The Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland,’ vol. xxxi., p. 206. The name, of course, means Mac Brian’s land.
23. It was given by Angus of the Brugh on the Boyne and had a red stone; when the desired event occurred, the stone turned green.
24. ‘Ordnance Survey Letters’ (Co. Clare), vol. ii., p. 71; ‘The Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland,’ vol. xxxviii., p. 350. It will be noted that Crochan and Sal are the ‘humped knoll’ and the ‘brine’ of that wild peninsula. Much of the story is given in the ‘Journal of the Kilkenny Archaeological Society,’ vol. ii. pp. 303-6.
25. The five readings extracted by Theophilus O’Flanagan in 1788 (‘Transactions of the Royal Irish Academy,’ vol. i.), surpass those of Oldbuck and Pickwick. I have told the story in ‘The Journal of the Limerick Field Club,’ vol. ii, p. 250.
27. General Vallancey tells the same tale of the mirage land of Tir Hudi off the Donegal coast; its key, too, lay hidden under a druidical monument.
28. Note the name Crochaun, as in the Loop Head story.
29. For further particulars of Kilstuitheen see ‘Folk-Lore,’ vol. xxi., pp. 485-6. The whole subject of spectral islands and their legends is dealt with in ‘The Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy,’ vol. xxx., part v.
30. The most accessible of the many records of the story is perhaps ‘Silva Gadelica,’ vol. i., p. 413; vol. ii., p. 378; (from the Book of Ballymote). The early Dalcassian stories are examined in the ‘Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy,’ vol. xxix. (C), p. 192.
31. Of course this refers only to Clare, where time-serving Earls of Thomond and Bishops of Killaloe long protected the old conditions by a show of conformity.
32. The Franciscans of Quin and Ennis survived continuously, in the former place to 1825, and in the latter until the present day, but the Cistercians of Corcomroe Abbey only until about 1650.
33. Editions published by Dr. Whitley Stokes in the ‘Transactions of the Royal Irish Academy’ and those of the Henry Bradshaw Society.
34. I discussed its identity in the ‘Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy,’ vol. xxv. (C), p. 395. The ‘Agallamh na Senorach’ (‘The Colloquy with the Ancients,’ ‘Silva Gadelica,’ vol. ii., pp. 101-265), however, tells of an excursion of St. Patrick in eastern Clare, but I do not think that this work has any weight against the authorities, loc. cit., p. 126; it is later than 1142 if by ‘Drogheda’ Monastery it means the one founded in that year and not the venerable Monasterboice, which was sometimes called the ‘Abbey of Drogheda.’
35. ‘Book of Lecan,’ p. 214. One might speculate that the mythical island ‘Brasil’ took its name from the saint, in the same way as St. Brandan’s Isle, St. Ailbe’s Isle, and the Isle of the Seven Bishops.
36. See Lord Dunraven, ‘Notes on Irish Architecture,’ vol. i., plates xliv.-v.; G. Petrie, ‘The Ecclesiastical Architecture of Ireland etc.,’ p. 140, reads ‘capiti Brecani,’ but part of the ‘S’ remains. A horseman on the broken cross at Killeany is supposed to be Brecan.
37. I assume that St. Enda is intended by ‘the saint from Aran’ in the Toomullin story.
38. Charter of Donaldmore O’Brien, King of Munster, to Forgy Abbey (Clare), as quoted in a later charter of 1461, MSS. F. I. 15., Trinity College, Dublin; see ‘Handbook’ vi., ‘The Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland,’ pp. 67-9.
39. Roderic O’Flaherty, ‘A Chronographical Description of West or H-Iar Connaught,’ p. 78.
40. J. Colgan, ‘Acta Sanctorum etc.’ (1645), Tom. I., March 8th. The metrical ‘Life’ is attributed to St. Colman of Cloyne, and a prose ‘Life’ to his successor Odran, but the latter is probably many centuries later. See also ‘Lives of the Saints from the Book of Lismore,’ edited by Whitley Stokes in ‘Anecdota Oxoniensia.’
41. W. S. Mason, ‘A Statistical Account or parochial survey etc.,’ vol. ii., p. 439, a report of exceptional fulness and interest.
42. The Calendar of Oengus (ed. by Whitley Stokes), ‘Irish MS. series,’ R. I. A., vol. i., p. lvi., March 8th, says that Senán ‘gibbeted’ the monster. The ‘Lebar Brecc,’ pp. 83-4, says that Senán hanged and fettered the monster, whose name was Cathach, for eating his smith Narach, and ‘Senán was hangman to the beast’ (p. lxii.).
44. ‘The Journal of the Royal Historical and Archæological Association of Ireland,’ vol. xiii. (1874-5), p. 259.
46. J. F. O’Hea, ‘Irish Pleasantry’ (1882), p. 216
47. It has been maintained that the early Irish adopted a form of humour consisting in attributing incongruous acts to persons notoriously incapable of them; see S. H. O’Grady’s preface to ‘Silva Gadelica,’ vol. ii., p. xviii. This view has been contradicted by others, who ascribe the instances to the defective ideas of the narrators; see ‘Folk-Lore,’ vol. iv., p. 380. Both views are probably in some cases correct.
49. ‘Annals of Ulster, Clonmacnoise and Tighernach,’ 548-51.
50. ‘The Calendar of Oengus’ (loc. cit.), p. lxxvii. The patronymic may be corrupt.
51. It now appears on a slab over the restored Holy Well at Fenloe.
53. ‘Ordnance Survey Letters’ (Co. Clare), vol. i., p.110; G. Keating, ‘History of Ireland,’ Book ii., sec. vii., (ed. Dineen, ‘Irish Texts Society,’ vol. iii.), tells the story, pp. 65, 71, but calls the saint Mochua.
54. ‘Analecta Bollandiana,’ vol. xvii., p. 135.
55. ‘Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy,’ vol. xxiv. (Sec. C.), plate v.
57. ‘Silva Gadelica,’ vol. ii., p. 436. Cf. a later tale of Dysert infra.
58. In Micheal O’Brannan’s poem on the Shannon (1794), Caimin is stated to have built the tower. See ‘Ordnance Survey Letters’ (Co. Clare), vol. ii., p. 158.
59. The ‘Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland,’ vol. xxix. (1899), p. 328.
63. So at Lough Graney in 1893.
64. Really seventeenth-century tobacco pipes.
65. Mr. and Mrs. S. C. Hall, ‘Ireland,’ vol. iii., p. 420. J. Windele, ‘Topographical Ms.’ (Royal Irish Academy, 12. c. 3), pp. 614-27, calls Balboru ‘the circular rath of Kincora.’
66. ‘Promenade d'un François en Irlande,’ p. 153.
67. It was probably the revival of the name at the modern house that led the people of the neighbourhood to separate Kincora from Balboruma; it had arisen in 1843, for in Hall, loc. cit., we find that ‘his kitchen was at Kincora where the steamboat station now is.’
68. The ‘Ordnance Survey Letters’ (Co. Tipperary), vol. ii., p. 28 (1840), render it ‘stone of the wine,’ but cloch is very common for a castle, and sometimes used for a church; e.g. Cloghnarold, Harold’s Castle (Co. Limerick), Cloghansavaun (Co. Clare), Cloghjordan (Co. Tipperary), and many more.
69. ‘Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy,’ vol. xxix., pp. 210-1.
70. However, cairns may have been made even later in some cases.
71. Mr. P. J. Lynch gives a still later ‘antique’ tradition, told to him on the spot, that an old tree grew there and an Orangeman came from Ulster and cut it down,—an obvious modernization of the Bili Maigh Adhair, a venerated tree, felled by the Ulstermen in 976, or of its successor cut by Aedh O’Connell of Connacht in 1051.
72. So the late Professor Brian O’Looney.
73. ‘Ordnance Survey Letters’ (Co. Clare), vol. i., p. 309. Serpents and the Black Pig are frequently associated with famous meeting places of pagan times. See de Vismes Kane, ‘Proceedings of Royal Irish Academy,’ vol. xxvii., p. 301.
74. Cf. ‘Life of St. Maccrecius’ and ‘Annals of the Four Masters.’
75. It is not mentioned by Dyneley in his description of the Cathedral, in Harris’ ‘Ware’s Bishops,’ or in any authority known older than 1860, such as the ‘Historical Memoirs of the O’Briens.’ Lenihan describes it in ‘Limerick: its history etc.’ (1866), adding that lions are the arms of the O’Briens, but not hinting that the slab was connected with Donaldmore. The late Dean O’Brien had it moved to the steps of the monument of the Earls of Thomond, resting it in a handsome base.
76. Not behind Ballyvaughan, as marked on the Ordnance Survey maps, but near the Castles of Muckinish.
77. ‘Revue Celtique,’ vol. xv., p. 478, from the Rennes ‘Dindsenchas,’ sec. 78, ed. by W. Stokes. Roderic O’Flaherty says ‘Chonquovar’ (‘Ogygia’ and ‘A Chronographical Description of West or H-Iar Connaught’).
78. Ms. Trinity Coll., Dublin, i. 1. 2, pp. 332 (‘Commonplace Book relating to Ireland’).
79. ‘Ordnance Survey Letters’ (Co. Clare), vol. i., p. 156, collected by John O’Donovan and Eugene O’Curry. A very inaccurate view of the monument is given in the ‘Dublin Penny Journal,’ vol. ii. (1834), p. 341, and in Canon Dwyer’s ‘Handbook to Lisdoonvarna’ (1876), p. 81. The account in the former says wrongly that the monument is of ‘Donchadh’ O’Brien, slain in ‘1267.’ Donchadh also fell in battle and was buried in the Abbey (in 1317), but the monument is for Conchobhar, whose powerful son reigned for many years later.
80. [The tale of the slaying of a great architect by his jealous employer is found throughout the Old World; see, for examples, the Roumanian ballad of ‘Manoli,’ and note by W. A. Clouston in ‘N. & Q.,’ 7th S. vol. iv. (1887), p. 141.—Ed.]
81. J. Colgan, ‘Acta Sanctorum etc.’ (1645), Tom i., March 8th, sec. xiv.
82. Unless a vague fight ‘where the English were beaten’ near Ballycarr be Torlough's victory in Tradree.
83. ‘Transactions of the Royal Irish Academy,’ vol. xxxii., Sec. C, Pt. ii., pp. 139-40.
85. ‘Commonplace Book,’ p. 224.
86. As the Castle was far later, O’Dea’s residence may well have been the fort not far from Dromcavan in the intervening townland now called Ballycullinan. The old townlands have been greatly subdivided, even since 1655.
88. Colgan, op. cit., March 8th, sec. xxxxvi.
89. Cobhal, pronounced locally ‘Cowl,’ is used, even by English speakers, near Corofin and Tulla for a ruined house or even cabin. Coul na brawher (‘the friar’s ruin’) is still shown, not far north from ‘de Clare’s House.’
90. ‘Ordnance Survey Letters’ (Co. Clare), vol i., p. 51. It was also called ‘O’Quin’s ruin’; v. ibid. pp. 61-3.
91. This tallies with the statement in the ‘Castle founders’ list.’ So far as I can judge, no portion of any earlier building is left.
93. So Prof. Brian O’Looney. The tale is also alluded to in ‘Revue Celtique,’ vol. xiii. (1892), p. 67.
95. O’Donovan’s enthusiastic belief in this late history has affected all Irish archæology. ‘No other authority is heard, once the Four Masters have spoken!’ seems still operative.
96. ‘Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy,’ vol. ii., Ser. II. (P.L.A.), p. 201.
97. More probably after the O’Sheedy, a branch of his house.
98. This story was told as a well-established one at a public meeting at Ennis about 1895.
99. L. Wadding, ‘Annales Minorum,’ vol. vii., p. 574.
100. Cf. E. S. Hartland, ‘The Science of Fairy Tales,’ pp. 255-82, 337-52.
101. See also ‘Irish Penny Journal,’ 1840-1, pp. 122-3; ‘Antiquities of the Northern portion of Co. Clare,’ p. 66 (republished by the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland in 1900 as Antiquarian Handbook No. V.).
102. Dunán (Doonaun) is a rather rare component (Dun, Dunádh, and Duneen being more common), but occurs attached to two actual promontory forts at Doonaunroe and Doonaunmore in the county.
104. ‘A young man found seven wild swans, and caught one on the lake. It became a girl and he married her, and when he was false to her she flew away again.’ I got a similar story at Lemaneagh, in the same visit.
105. ‘Memorials of Adare’ (1865), pp. 170-7; the tale in the ‘Irish Penny Journal’ is also reproduced, p. 168.
106. There was actually no wreck there, but to this day wreckage and drowned bodies are swept up there by the prevailing current from Mutton Island, near which one of the Armada was really wrecked.
107. ‘The Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland,’ vol. xli., p. 65.
108. ‘The Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland,’ vol. xxx., p. 93.
109. ‘Calendar of the State Papers relating to Ireland’ (1588-92), pp. 29-30, 38.
111. This is probably an explanatory remark by Graham, and not local tradition.
113. ‘The Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland,’ vol. xxx., pp. 403-7.
114. Collected by Dr. G. U. MacNamara.
116. At Lemaneagh in 1884, and also told by the Stacpooles.
117. So Dr. W. H. Stacpoole Westropp in 1878, and Rev. Philip Dwyer in 1881.
118. At Lemaneagh in 1884.
119. So Mrs. Stamer of Carnelly and others down to 1883. The tale was generally known to the various O’Briens and MacNamaras, and was kept alive by Maura’s portrait still at Ennistymon, and a copy of it at Dromoland.
120. ‘Rambles in the South of Ireland,’ vol. ii., p. 183.
121. So Dr. G. U. MacNamara.
122. So Messrs. Denis Boulton and Daniel O’Callaghan at Ballydonohan. See also ‘Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy,’ vol. xxvii. (c), p. 395.
123. ‘Ancient Legends, Mystic Charms, and Superstitions of Ireland’ (1888), pp. 27-9.
124. Prof. Brian O’Looney, 1891.
125. Chatterton, op. cit., vol. ii., p. 184.
128. Mss. Royal Irish Academy, 24, M 37. In fact the family of Macadam now in Clare was of good birth and fortune at the time.
129. Capt. Ralph Westropp often used it when riding out of Limerick, and he and others often told me of their amazement when the treaty myth grew up.
130. ‘Memoirs of Du Guai Trouin,’ p. 6. Fortfergus (or Liskilloge) is a low picturesque ivied house near the Fergus.
131. M. Lenihan, ‘Limerick’ (1866), p. 308. This verse has other attributions.
132. At Edenvale and Coolreagh. It is only from private papers that the true character of a ‘protestant discovery’ can be ascertained. The Law and its records, of course, regarded the trustee as the actual owner, and it depended entirely upon the personal integrity of him and of his successors whether the Roman Catholic owners enjoyed the benefits. However, such a trust was rarely broken, and its breach was never forgotten nor forgiven.
133. Drew and Westropp took counsel’s opinion, got a Dublin wigmaker to act as discoverer, bought up his rights, and then each leased the lands to the family for which he acted. When the Penal Laws were repealed, the trustees sold their rights to the true owners for small sums. The Barretts then repudiated sales made in their interest by Paterson, and so caused litigation lasting even as late as the beginning of the nineteenth century.
135. ‘The Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland,’ vol. xxxix., p. 121; ‘Journal of the North Munster Archæological Society,’ vol. i., p. 225. The original papers belong to Col. O’Callaghan Westropp of Lismehane.
136. ‘Folk-Lore,’ vol. xxi., p. 343; ‘Ordnance Survey Letters’ (Co. Clare), vol. i., pp. 371 et seq. (Aug. 21st, 1835). Fuad is a personal name in the Dind Senchas (Sliabh Fuad, ‘Revue Celtique,’ vol. xvi., p. 51); but St. Moling was once pursued by a fuat or spectre (‘Martyrology of Donegal,’ s. June 17).
139. ‘Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy,’ vol. xxvii.
140. Collected by Prof. Brian O'Looney, 1860-70.
141. Arthur Fitzgerald Geoghegan.
143. ‘Dolmens of Ireland,’ vol. iii., p. 809.
144. ‘Ordnance Survey Letters’ (Co. Clare), vol. i., p. 32. The tale perhaps arose from a certain Donough O'Daly writing a poem to the shade of a sorcerer who was one of the Tuatha Dé Danann.
145. Except the ‘soul cages,’ for which see ‘Journal of the North Munster Archaeological Society,’ 1914, pp. 122-3.