Folklore of County Leitrim (Folklore History Series)
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An absorbing collection of folklore and legend from a timeless county in the heart of Ireland. Comprising stories on fairies, Leprechauns, witches and wizards. Many of the earliest books, particularly those dating back to the 1900's and before, are now extremely scarce and increasingly expensive. We are republishing these classic works in affordable, high quality, modern editions, using original text and artwork



Publié par
Date de parution 11 novembre 2011
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781447491316
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 4 Mo

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0350€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


Folklore of County Leitrim
Leland L. Duncan
Copyright 2011 Read Books Ltd. This book is copyright and may not be reproduced or copied in any way without the express permission of the publisher in writing
British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library
Folklore Gleanings from County Leitrim
The Glass Mountain - A Note on Folklore Gleanings from County Leitrim
Further Notes from County Leitrim

THE district from whence these notes are derived lies to the south-east of the lower end of Lough Allen, and comprises part of the parishes of Kiltubrid and Fenagh, in County Leitrim, the latter better known on account of the Book of Fenagh and the remains of St. Caillin s Abbey. This part of the county is fairly hilly, with wide stretches of bog, and many lakes; while towards the north of Kiltubrid lies the wild mountain district of Slieve-an-iarain. At the present time it is devoid of timber, except such as has been planted round the houses of the gentry, and this absence of trees and hedges gives the whole district a rather desolate appearance. Until the Cavan, Leitrim, and Roscommon Light Railway was constructed, a few years ago, Kiltubrid was quite cut off from outside influence. Carrick-on-Shannon is ten miles off; and Drum-shanbo and Ballinamore, five and seven miles away respectively, are only small country towns. The people, therefore, have not yet lost the old traditions of the place, in spite of the fact that the native tongue has almost died out; but they are fast disappearing, and it is to be feared will ere long be extinct, as they have become under similar circumstances elsewhere.
The stories in English which I have heard told by the peasantry in co. Leitrim are, of course, not to be compared with those collected in Irish by Dr. Hyde in the next county (Roscommon), but they are interesting, I think, as showing the form that the tales have taken at the present day. As regards the general superstitions, etc., current in the district, my informants were as a rule people of over forty years of age, who referred to such matters as having been told them by their parents, who were Irish speakers.
The tales were related to me by a little lad of fourteen, whose mother, in her turn, heard them in her youth from her father, John Tighe, of the townland of Cordery Peyton, the son of Peter Tighe of Corrick-beside-Laheen Peyton (co. Leitrim), both of whom were Irish speakers, and spoken of as great story-tellers. The lad, Michael McManus by name, son of Patrick McManus of Aughrim in Kiltubrid, very kindly wrote the tales down for me-for which I owe him my best thanks-and I have thought it proper to put them forward here in his own words without alteration. It may be worth while to add that, so far as the family knew, the tales had never appeared in print.
There do not appear to be any customs peculiar to the immediate neighbourhood, but it may here be noted that fires are still lighted on the hills and along the sides of the roads on Saint John s Eve.

That the fairies are fallen angels is a widely spread belief, but still it is interesting to compare the ideas of the people in different localities on this subject. This is the Kiltubrid version: Who are the fairies? I asked one evening of a country woman. The Good People (God speed them!) is it? said she. Well, I have heard that when there was war in heaven, and the wicked angels were being cast out, that St. John asked the Almighty would he waste the whole heavens and earth? So God said, Let everything stand as it is! and so everything remained as it was that instant, and that is why there are fairies in the air (you ve heard noises in the air, haven t you?), and on the earth, and under the earth.
A belief in the good people is, of course, very general. Cashels or forts in the fields-those round earthworks, common in many parts of the country-are held to be specially the place of meeting, and no one would willingly disturb one. There are stories of persons being struck dead for even cutting bushes round a fort. It is also said to be unwise to attempt to build on a walk ; buildings so put up are invariably thrown down during the night. A tale is told of a man who attempted to add an outbuilding to his house, in spite of the advice of a friend-for it is in that way the fairies dissuade one from building. What he built in the day was promptly thrown down at night, because the good people had a walk on that side of the house, and he finally had to take his friend s advice and build on the other side.
That the good people take away infants from their parents, and leave an old stick of a thief in the guise of a child in their place is also believed. There are several tales of these changelings and their doings. Here is one: Once on a time there was a woman whose child was taken away, and an old thief left in its place, yet was he so disguised that the woman never found out the difference. Now, there lived in the same house a tailor, and one day when the woman had gone into the town, to the tailor s surprise, the baby got out some pipes and began to play. He played away merrily until he thought the woman would be returning, and then he told the tailor that he must on no account tell her, or it would be no more tunes he d be playing him. However, the tailor did tell the woman, and sent her out to the town with directions to return speedily. So she came back in a short time and found the young old man sitting up in the cradle and playing to the tailor; but when she came in at the door he put the pipes under the pillow, and was as though he were an infant again. The woman was afraid when she saw that it was not her child, for when she heard the pipes going she knew the good people had changed them, so she took counsel with the tailor as to what was to be done. Take the old man on your back , said he, as though for a walk, and when you come to the stream, go to cross it, and when you are in the middle, throw him down into the water and drown him. So she did so; but when she got halfway over the stream, and went to throw the old thing into the water, he turned upon her and threw her in instead, and drowned her, and made his escape! 1
Another tale is told, showing how useless it is to try and outwit the changelings left in the baby s place.
One night, a man was returning home, when, as he passed a house, the window was opened, and a baby was pushed into his arms. He said nothing, though rather surprised, perhaps guessing the truth, but made his way home and told his wife what had happened, and they agreed to keep and take care of the child until its parents should claim it. Now it happened that the fairies had made a mistake that time, for they thought it was to one of themselves they were giving the child. However, they, as usual, left an old thing in its place. The father of the child one day happened to see the people to whom he had been given, and from them he learnt the truth. So when he went home he made a great fire on the hearth and waited until it was well hot, and then he took up the supposed baby and threw it on the fire. He was ill-advised, for after a few moments the old man gave three great puffs and blew the fire all over the room, and set the house on fire, and they were all burnt. The changeling doubtless made good his escape.
The fairies sometimes pay domiciliary visits, and do not hesitate to avail themselves of anything there may be in the house; indeed, it is unlucky to have nothing ready for them, as the following story shows:-
One night, after retiring to rest, a woman was disturbed by a great noise in her kitchen, and, on going to the door, she found that the good people were in possession, some toasting bread at the fire, others getting ready the meal. On attempting to enter the kitchen, the fairies shouted to her as with one voice, Go back! so there was nothing for it but to retire to bed again and leave them alone. The next morning she found everything as usual, save that one pail was full of blood- which same was a parable to her , said my informant, and for that reason the country people always leave a gallon of water in the kitchen at night, lest the good people should come and want it.
The Lepracaun is sometimes to be seen, so I am told; at least some years ago, down Fenagh way, a man was working in a field and heard a noise behind him, when, turning round, what should he see but a Lepracaun seated under a big leaf, cobbling away merrily at a shoe. Before the little man had time to escape he found himself in the peasant s grasp, and was frightened almost out of his life, for the Lepracaun is always impressed with the idea that if he is caught he will be killed. His captor, however, knew right well how to turn his opportunity to account, and told the little man he would let him go if he would show him where treasure was hid, with the knowledge of which the Lepracaun is credited. Glad to escape, he showed the man where he would find a pot of gold, and was rewarded by being set at liberty.
There are throughout Ireland stories of milk stealing and butter bewitching. In the district under notice there are many tales of butter being taken from the milk, and consequently of antidotes therefor. One way is to tie a rope with nine knots in it round the churn: this will bring the butter back, supposing it to have been stolen; or you may put a harrow-pin and a crooked sixpence in the four corners of the house. A common method is to place a half-burnt turf under the churn, or a piece of heather, or a branch of rowan-berries (mountain ash) is said to be efficacious.
Once on a time there lived in the parish of Fenagh a family whose supply of milk invariably turned sour, and no butter was to be obtained. It chanced that there came to them one day an old trav

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