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Local Spirit(s) – Kinvara, Duras, Ballinderreen – 1920

The Burren Photo; Norma Scheibe

The Burren
Photo; Norma Scheibe

Visions and beliefs in the west of Ireland, collected and arranged by Lady Gregory: with two essays and notes by W. B. Yeats.
Second series, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, New York and London
The Knickerbocker Press 1920
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A FAIRY FORT

A woman I know had business one time in Ballyvaughan, and when she was on the road beyond Kinvara a man came to her out of a fort and he asked her to go in and to please a child that was crying. So she went in and she pleased the child, and she saw in a corner an old man that never stopped from crying. And when she went out again she asked the man that brought her in, why was the old man roaring and crying. The man pointed to a milch cow in the meadow and he said, “Before the day is over he will be in the place of that cow, and it will be brought into the forth to give milk to the child.” And she can tell herself that was true, for in the evening when she was coming back from Ballyvaughan, she saw in that field a cow dead, and being cut in pieces, and all the poor people bringing away bits of it, that was the old man that had been put in its place. There is poison in that meat, but no poison ever comes off the fire, but you must mind to throw away the top of the pot.

A GATHERING OF SPIRITS

Stream near St. Colman's The Burren Photo: Norma Scheibe

Stream near St. Colman’s
The Burren
Photo: Norma Scheibe


There’s a bad bit of road near Kinvara Chapel, just when you get within sight of the sea. I know a man has to pass there, and he wouldn’t go on the driver’s side of the car, for it’s to the right side those things are to be seen. Sure there was a boy lost his life falling off a car there last Friday week. And I knew him, a quiet boy, and married to a widow woman; she wanted the help of a man, and he was young. What would ail him to fall off the side of an ass-car and to be killed?

It’s by the big tree outside Raheen (where you take the turn to Kinvara) that the most things are seen. There was a boy living in Gort that was out before daylight with a load of hay in a cart, and he sitting on top of it. He was found lying dead just beside the tree, where he fell from the top of the cart, and the horse was standing there stock-still. There was a shower of rain fell while he was lying there, and I passed the road two hours later, and saw where the dust was dry where his body had been lying.

And it was only yesterday I heard a story of that very same place. There was a man coming from Galway with a ton weight of a load on his cart, and when he came to that tree the linching of his wheel came out, and the cart fell down. And presently a little man, about two and a half feet in height, came out from the wall. He lifted up the cart, and held it up till he had the linching put up again. And he never said a word but went away as he came, and the man came in to Gort.

The Old Castle, Kinvara Photo: Norma Scheibe

The Old Castle, Kinvara
Photo: Norma Scheibe

THE SHEE
I heard a churning one time in the hill up by the road beyond. I was coming back from Kinvara, and I heard it plain, no mistake about it. I was sorry after I didn’t call down and ask for a drink. Johnny M— did so, and got it. If you wish for a drink and they put it out for you, it’s no harm to take it, but if you refuse it, some harm might happen to you. Johnny H——— often told that he heard churning in that spot, but I wouldn’t believe the sun rising from him, he had so many lies. But after that, I said, “Well, Johnny H——– has told the truth for once.”

THE MONSTER
There is a monster of some sort down by Duras, it’s called the ghost of Fiddeen. Some say it’s only heard every seven years. Some say it was a flannel seller used to live there that had a short fardel. We heard it here one night, like a calf roaring.

THE BANSHEE
There is a boy I knew near Ballinderreen, told me that he was going along the road one night and he saw a dog. It had claws like a cur, and a body like a person, and he couldn’t see what its head was like. But it was moaning like a soul in pain, and presently it vanished, and there came most beautiful music, and a woman came out and he thought at first it was the Banshee, and she wearing a red petticoat. And a striped jacket she had on, and a white band about her waist. And to hear more beautiful singing and music he never did, but to know or to understand what she was expressing, he couldn’t do it. And at last they came to a place by the roadside where there were some bushes. And she went in there and disappeared under them, and the most beautiful lights came shining where she went in. And when he got home, he himself fainted, and his mother put her beads over him, and blessed him and said prayers. So he got quiet at last.

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