Quin Heritage were anxious to engage the local school children in Historical research and therefore invited sixth class, under the guidance of teacher Donnchadh Murphy, to document local items from the 1930’s Dúchas Folklore Schools Collection.
They did a wonderful job and we are so grateful – may it plant the seed of historical interest!
At Derrymore Lake, which is about nine miles north east of Ennis a very large eel is seen. About eight years ago a certain man set a line for pike and caught this eel. He could not get the eel [in] out of the lake so he went for more men to help him. After a great deal of pulling, they got the eel out and pulled it about one hundred yards away from the water. Again the eel started to pull back towards the lake and he dragged all the men after him and would have pulled them into the lake only they let go the line. At Spancilhill, which is about four miles north east of Ennis a black dog was seen. One night about a year ago, a certain man, who was returning home from his cusirt after midnight saw this dog. The animal appeared suddenly in the road. He was about the size of a sheep and had two green eyes. The man stood terrified, afraid to pass the dog, but the latter disappeared as suddenly as he had appeared.
An Sí Gaoithe
One fine day in the month of July, a party of men and women were saving hay in the townland of Knockanoura, Clooney, Quin, County Clare. The day was very calm, and not a movement of the air could be felt. There was a fort situated in the adjoining field. Suddenly they observed a cloud of dust coming. it hovered over their heads for some time. The sky was cloudless and the sudden appearance of this cloud put wonder on everybody. It kept whirling about for about three minutes, and then it fell softly down at the feet of the workers, and they saw it was hay. There was not hay around for some distance, and the wind that carried the hay so far is called “An Side Jaore”. The old people say that when “Jaor na Side” is noticed one should not stand in its way but, stand aside and let it pass.
About thirty years ago a young man in the Parish of Clooney,Quin, Co. Clare told me he was coming home, one night about half past one o’clock from a wake. As he was passing a certain house in his own townland he saw a light shining through the kitchen window.
In this house were an old man and an old woman a couple of boys and a girl or two as far as I can remember. As he knew none of the boys or girls was at the wake he was inquisitive to know why there was light in the house so late.
So he stole over to the window and looked in, and what did he see but the old man walking up and down the floor, a sugawn thrown across one of the collarties of the roof, and two ends of the sugawn hanging down and the old woman drawing the two ends of the sugawn, like she’d be milking a cow, and filling the churn with milk.
I remember hearing one time about a priest who was called one morning to attend a sick call. As it was an urgent call he went across the fields to the house. On his way he came on an old woman unknown to her. She was down on her knees and she had a ‘sugawn’ in her hands. He heard her saying “Give all to me, Give all to me. Give all to me”Do not” said the priest, “Give half to me”. When the old woman heard the voice, she looked behind her and when she saw who it was in it, she got up at once and ran away leaving the sugawn behind her. The priest took up the sugawn and when he saw what it was, he said to himself, “This will come handy when we are saving the hay in the harvest”. So he took home the sugawn and threw it up in the garret. When the time came to save the hay, the priest remembered the sugawn he threw up in the garret. He told one of his men to go up for it and when the man went up in the garret there was no sugawn there but a big lump of butter.
Some 200 hundred years ago men were digging in Deer park Hill ,Ballykilty ,Quin. They came on a stone cross, the arms of which were each six feet long.
The stone was as clean and as smooth as glass with no sign of chisel mark on it. It was removed to the Church Cross, Quin and erected there. It was around this cross the market used to be held.
The people used to bring their butter, eggs and fowl,Piqqins, flannels, socks, brogues, and all home articles were sold there. The famous Clare scythes, hooks and scythe stones were also for sale there.
There is no trace of this cross now. Some say it was buried at the crossroad when the newline Road was made.
Dan Corbett, Ballykilty, Quin
A Famous Class Horse
About ninety years ago ,the Bridgeman’s of Caherkine, Quin owned a race horse named Heaven’s Delight. He was never beaten and as the races were run in heats at the time it was very hard to win a race. On one occasion he ran at Ballycoree Races near Ennis. There were seven heats in the Race and the seventh heat which was run by candle light was won by Heaven’s Delight.
He became as famous as a stallion as he was as a race horse and mares were brought to him from all parts of Ireland. He was kept constantly in the stable where he was neglected by his owner and it is said he died of hunger.
He was buried in the lawn in front of the hall door or by a wall on the southern side of the lawn. Some years ago a large sum of money was offered by Mr Studdert, Cullane to any person who would find the skull of this famous horse. He wanted to have it preserved in Dublin.
Killone Lough is about a mile distant from Ennis. It was said that this lake, was at one time, the abode of a mermaid. There was a ‘big house’ in Newhall which was occupied by a family of the O’Brien’s and wasn’t far from the lake.
It is said the mermaid used swim up a small river and steal wine out of the cellars of Newhall. The butler lay in wait for robbers but what did he see coming into the cellar, but a woman as he thought….it was a mermaid that was in it and he stabbed her.
As she floated away down the river into the lake she prophesied that the O’Brien’s in Newhall would all die out. Her blood stained all the lake and the water still becomes a rusty red at long intervals,and is said to foretell a change of families in Newhall House.
A Ghost Story
Late one night many years ago there was a priest on a sick -call at a farm house. When he was on his way home he was accompanied by the farmer across the fields. When going over a wall the priest knocked a stone and the farmer made an attempt to lift it but the priest told him not to have anything to do with it the man being inquisitive wanted to know the reason but the priest wouldn’t tell him. Still he kept asking so much that he vexed the priest who told him that if he looked underneath the uplifted arm of the priest he would never forget what he would see. The man persisted on the priest lifting his arm and the priest in a rage allowed him to look and what the man saw shortened his days. It is said he saw the lost souls of he world hanging between heaven and earth. The sight preyed so much on the man’s mind he died a short time afterwards.
There was a woman living in Crogán, Doora ,Ennis and she could never make any butter. Her two sons said one May Eve that they would stay up that night and go to the field to see if anybody would come to milk the cows. They took their guns about eleven o’clock that night and went to the field where the cows used to be kept. They sat at the gate going into it, and they remained there until three o’clock in the morning. As they were very cold and tired, and as nothing had come they said they would go home. As they were about to go a large hare jumped over the wall into the field. It went to where the cows were and began to milk one of them. One of the boys fired at it, and it jumped over the wall again and ran away. The boys followed the hare and it went into a house. They followed it in and when they went in there was a woman lying on the floorbleeding.They knew her very well. She asked them not to tell anybody. They then went home and they had butter ever afterwards. The woman died the next day.
Thunder And Lightning
There was a great thunderstorm on the 14th of August 1873. Before the storm the sky was very dark and there were very heavy showers. Some people were killed by the lightning. Some houses were knocked and roofs were blown off some houses. Cattle were killed, trees were knocked and crops were destroyed. The people were praying and shaking holy water during the storm. Some people were caught out saving hay. The birds and animals were looking for shelter during the storm and some animals were racing about the field. All the wild animals went into their burrows when the storm began. There is a very large stone in Paddy Markham’s field which is said to have been brought there by this storm.
A Funny Story
This story was told by James McNamara, Ballyhickey, Quin, Co. Clare. To Eilis McNamara, Hazelwood, Quin.
A man named Mickie Devaney had an Irish terrier and he used to let him sleep in the kitchen every night. Before Mickie went to bed he used ‘rake’ the fire, fill the kettle and hang it down. At seven o’clock every morning the terrier used scrape out the ashes, light the fire and boil the kettle, and hop on to the bed and bark into Mickie’s ear to call him when the kettle was boiled. This same dog used always fight with a dog belonging to Jack Halpin of Ardsollus. At last Mickey’s dog died and he was so fond of the dog that he got a waistcoat made of the skin. One night as Mickey was passing Halpin’s wearing the waistcoat he met the dog that his dog used fight with. Immediately the hair stood upon the waistcoat preparing to fight as if Mickey’s own dog was present