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I’m thinking tonight of Kilcolgan

The Schools’ Collection, Volume 0033B, Page 10_051
National Folklore Collection, UCD.
Greta St. George, Ballinderreen NS

No 1
I’m thinking tonight of Kilcolgan
That village far over the sea
To the cottage wherein I was born
My memory it brings back to me
Im thinking tonight of Kilcolgan

No 2
The stile that I often climbed over
The garden where many flowers grew
And mother so patiently waiting
How void was the picture to view

No 3
Kilcolgan I’m often times thinking
If you look as I saw you of yoe’r
For its twenty long years since I left it
And came to Americas shore

No 4
I wonder If there’s any changes
How many the friends I should know
That I used to ramble about with
In the dear happy days long ago.

No 5
Is Kilcolgan castle still standing
Where I looked on with wonders so great
And the house of Tyrone not far distant
Where dwelt the St. Georges in state

No 6
The demaine with acres so many
Got round by a very high wall
The avenue where oft I did wander
With trees so stately and tall

No 7
Does the tide still come upon the river
How often I’ve watched it of yore
Does the boatmen from Old Connemara
Bring over the turf to our shore

No 8
Connemara I ne’er will forget you
Where gaedhlach is spoken go leór
Where fish and potatoes are plenty
And a welcome is always in store.

No 9.
A me will I e’re see you again
Shall I visit the land of my birth
Far dear to my heart is old Ireland
The dear little Isle of the blest

No 10
Shall I e’er see the Kilcolgan I know not
And still cherish hopes that may
And yet cross the stormy Atlantic
And sail into dear Galway bay.

No 11
To visit the home of my childhood
Once more to lay foot on that shore
And hear that glad welcome god save
As I often times heard it before.

No 12
I’ll still keep on hoping and longing
I’ll never give up in despair
But patiently watch and keep waiting
For the ship that will carry me there

This song was written by a man named John Wates

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A warmer cell – 1888

Alabama Enquirer And Morgan County News
Date: January 26 1888 p2

Wilfred Blunt has been moved to a warmer cell in the Galway prison, and his overcoat has been returned to him. A band tried to serenade him, but was prevented by the police. Mr. Blunt says that while staying at a country hotel in the south of England last September, he met Mr. Balfour, who made the statement that he intended to imprison six of the physically weakest of the Parnellites, adding: “I shall be sorry for Mr. Dillion, as he has some good about him. He will have six months, and as he had bad health he will die in prison.” In response to an inquiry, Mr. Balfour said: “The history is a ridiculous lie. I do not believe that Mr. Blunt ever made the assertion attributed to him.”

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Tír na nÓg, the Burren

Burren sunrise Photo: EO’D

The Schools’ Collection, Volume 0047, Page 0159
National Folklore Collection, UCD.
Gort N.S.
In the mountains of Burren in the county Clare, about ten miles from here, there is a place called the Caves of Cill Corney. There are large caves and undermines (sic) there. Something over a hundred years ago, horses and foals used come out of them caves and graze the peoples land and cornfields. The neighbours made up their minds to catch the horses. The horses passed them by like the wind and they caught one mare’s foal at the mouth of the cave. They took the foal home and kept him in a dark stable for one year, until he was fit for training. He trained very quiet and did every sort of work. Every Saturday at twelve he would get out of work and no man could put him to work after that. His breed is still to be found and how you would know his breed is that every one has a whisker on the upper lip.

Sometimes when floods rise very high the water floods up on this cave and spreads round like a bowl. Some old people called it Tír na nÓg.

One time an old woman wanted to make a cake. The water was very low at the time. She took some of the water and made the cake. She put the cake baking on a griddle. Before the cake was baked, the flour dried on the griddle as it was on the bog. She went back to the pond and found it was gone down.
Within the present generation with the past ten years. One man experimented on the water as it was going down. He took home some of the water and made a cake also and baked it on a griddle. Before the cake was baked the flour dried on the griddle as it was on the bog. About forty or fifty years ago.

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The Old Mills

By Thoor Ballylee
Photo: EO'D
Thoor Ballylee Photo: EO’D

The Old Mills
Kiltartan N.S.
The Schools’ Collection, Volume 0047, Page 0111
National Folklore Collection, UCD. c.1938
The Gort river which goes underground at “Poll Tuaithbheall” in Castletown worked four mills in and around Gort, one at Cannahown (1/2 mile to the South of the town, now derelict, one in Gort (Hynes’s, still working) one at Kinineha 1/2 mile to the N.East of the town (now derelict) and a fourth at Ballinamanton 1/4 mile farther on (derelict)
Of rootcrops the principal kinds sown are turnips, mangolds, parsnips and beet. Turnips and mangolds are given as food to cattle and sheep. During the hard dry weather in spring and early summer sheep, and especially ewes, are fed on mangolds. Parsnips are grown only in small quantities for table use. Beet is sent away by Rail to the Beet Factory in Tuam. A Beet Train for Tuam leaves the Gort Station every night about 10.30pm, for about eight weeks before Christmas.
The land is suitable for potatoes also. Any surplus potatoes are disposed of in the Gort marked every Saturday.

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Christmas in Clare

Road to Corofin Photo: EO’D

The Schools’ Collection, Volume 0597, Page 505. Collected by Michael Custy from James Custy. (abridged). Meelick N.S.
National Folklore Collection, UCD
On Christmas Eve night all the Catholic people light a candle or Christmas candle. The leave the candle lighting all night and they quench it in the morning. On Christmas night some of the people do not lock the door because the Holy Family were looking for shelter on that night
All the people put up holly and ivy on Christmas Eve. The put a little branch of holly and ivy at the sides of every picture. Sometimes people get leaves of holly and ivy and put a twine through them all Then they nail the twine to the window in the form of a cross. The reason for putting up holly and ivy is, on the walls of the stable in which Our Lord was born there were holly and ivy growing. So when people see holly and ivy on the walls, it reminds them of the birth of Our Lord. On Christmas Eve and Christmas Night there is a big candle lighting on the kitchen window. It is to be lit by the eldest son of the family

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The Stone in Clare

Collected by Peggy Moran, Ballinderreen N.S. from Mrs Mannin (aged 67) 1938
The Schools’ Collection, Volume 0033B, Page 04_031
National Folklore Collection, UCD.

There was once a stone in Clare, and every night, there used be a candle lighting on it. If anybody saw that candle lighting after sunset they would be dead next morning. It happened when St Patrick came to Ireland that he heard of the stone. One night He went and took lodging at the house nearst the stone. When he saw the man of the house locking the doors and bolting the windows he asked him what was the idea of doing that. Then he told St Patrick about the stone. The Saint said open thye windows and doors and come with me, to see the stone.
The man was afraid, because if he looked at the candle he would be dead next evening
St Patrick said not to fear while he was with him. Then the Saint put on his Stole and said prayers near the stone. He struck it with his Stole and broke it in two halves. A black bird flew out. He struck the blackbird with the Stole and it fell dead. It fell into the water which was near the stone. Saint Patrick turned it into wine because it was turned into blood at first when the bird fell into it. The man said if he left the water in wine people would be coming from all parts of Ireland and get drunk. At that moment it was changed into water. Ever since it is called Lough Ruadh or the Red Lake.

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Home-made Toys

Collected by Patrick Nolan, Kiltartan N.S.
The Schools’ Collection, Volume 0047, Page 0090
National Folklore Collection, UCD.

Clare’s Doll House
Photo: EO’D

A Fob Gun

Nowadays toy guns, made in Germany or Japan can be bought for a penny. Long ago boys made their own guns. This is how they did it.
First they got a piece of an elder tree. Then they would redden a piece of an iron and bore a hole through it. Then a piece of wet paper was got to act as a bullet. This was stuffed into one end of the gun. Next a stick was got to fit the hold. Another ‘bullet’ was inserted into the other end of the gun, and everything was ready.
The stick was then pushed through the bore of the gun. The force of the air through the gun would make a shot.

Spinning Tops
These were made by the boys themselves long ago. An empty thread spool was pared and shaped like a top. The hole through the centre of the spool was then filled with a piece of timber, and a nail (from which the head was removed) was then driven into the pointed end of the top. The top could be made spin by twisting several coils of twine around it.

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The Schools’ Collection, Volume 0050, Page 0147
Image and data © National Folklore Collection, UCD.
Collector: Eileen Kelly, Keanspound, Gort

Garryland Photo: EO’D

This was composed by a local poet who’s name is unknown.
It is about the Loughnane brothers, natives of Shanaglish beyond Gort. They were members of the I.R.A. and they were brutally burned by the English. They were dragged behind two carriers for three miles and they died near Kinvara. Their bodies were then thrown into a pond and were not discovered till ten days afterwards. The Tans that committed this outrage in Nov. 1920 (abridged)

As the winter’s wind blew wild on a cold November’s night,
The sad news reached Kinvara of a mournful tragic sight,

It was the finding of two brothers pale corpses lay side by side,
Far from their loving mother these true hearted brothers died,
They were taken by our enemies while threshing their mother’s corn,
And came back cold corpses to the place where they were born,
They were taken in a lorry by a military escort,
From their native home Shanaglish
Three miles south-west of Gort.
They were dragged behind two carries for three miles and more,
Till the blood gushed from their faces and their bodes bruised and sore,
They were taken to Drimharsin on a clear November’s day,
While the blood gushed from their faces
and their roars were head for miles away.
“What they suffered God only knows.”
Their bodies were brutally burned as they lay upon the ground,
Then left into a pond to prevent them from being found,
For ten long days in this desolate grave unblessed by any priest
Those martyred brothers Loughnanes by God’s aid was released,
To an old house near Kinvara the funeral marched next day,
Under a body guard of I.R.A. who took the remains away.
That day was a sorrowful day for their mother,
To see the fresh blood oozing from a wound in Harry’s side,
Poor Padraigh’s flesh was torn, o’er his eyes were boiled within,
There was nothing left to recognize but a nose and half a chin,
His brothers bones lay visible as cold corpses they did lie,
Their bodies they were coffined and wrapped in brown and white,
And left into the Church of God where they rested that night.
The following day was a mournful sight for the mother of the brave,
To see her darling boys going to the bosom of the clay,
Those brother nursed with tender care are now beneath the sod,
Their spirits are despite their foes today before their God,
In the church yard of Shanaglish those two young heroes lie,
They gave their blood for Ireland and died for you I, (sic)
And gave up all they had on earth and suffered all these pains,
To strike for you anther blow and smash the Saxon chains.
Is there any rebel here amongst you still to repeat those words again,
To thread the path of dauntless men who have suffered without fear or disdain,
But if you be true to England by obeying her Saxon laws,
They you’ll soon forget our men shot down by the cold blooded murderers, the servants of the Crown,
Let this ring throughout land and echo over the main,
That our gallant Loughnane brothers were not sacrificed in vain.

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The Feast of St. Martin

Photo: EO’D

The Schools’ Collection, Volume 0620, Page 062
National Folklore Collection, UCD.
Collected by: Séamus Ó Sealbhaigh, Kilfenora N.S. 10/12/1937
The feast of St. Martin falls on the eleventh of November. In parts of Ireland fowl are killed and the blood spilt in different houses, the stable for the horse, in the cowhouse for the cow’s and in the dwelling house. As the belief was that the Saint protects the animals and people. Another belief was that if the blood was soaked in cotton wool and the wool kept safely and applied to affected parts when people got pains. It was supposed to cure them.

Some people also believe that it was not right to roll any sort of wheel’s on that day.

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Matthew Mahon, Poet – Dooras, Kinvara

National Folklore Collection, UCD. The Schools’ Collection, Volume 0615, Page 073

Collected by May Burke, Turlough, Co. Clare from her mother 21st April, 1938
My mother tells me the only poet she know personally, was an old man, names Matthew Mahon. He lived near Kinvara in a village called Durras. When she first saw him, he was a very old man, and he was lame from his birth. He was very poor. He used to travel around the country on foot, taking notes of rivers and lakes, or any thing of note.
He would then go home and shut himself in for weeks, composing verses in thanks and praise of those who would be good to him or give him lodging’s. A few of these verses are the only ones she remembers of the poems -:

Just in winter before the spring
I went to Turlough there for to sing,
To take down notes of each place I pass,
I arrived in Turlough just after Mass.
My mind at first was in great grief
Knowing they might repose it would give relief,
My feet were panting, for alas I’m lame
and to ask for lodging’s I felt great shame.

Collected by Margaret McGann, Turlough N.S, from her father Thomas McGann, Aughavinane, Bellharbour, Co. Clare
April 21st 1938
The only poet that they knew of around here was Matt Mahon. He lived in Duras in the parish of Kinvara. He was fairly well educated. He used to come around here with an ass and car. One of his hands and one of his legs were disabled. When he would come into a house if he was not well received he would make up a bad song about the people of the house and if he was well received he would make up a good song. He was travelling one Sunday and he went into a lot of houses and he got nothing until he came to Peter McGann’s.

He was highly received there and he composed the following verse:-
I been from Connaught and in in (sic) Clare And by my conscience I must declare
That the likes of Peter and his family are not living now in this country.
They are kind, they’re mild, they’re good and grand, they’re likes I find are not in this land.
For their hearts are wide, I really swear, surpassing all I know in Clare.

He used used to have these songs written in ballads and he used to sell them for 1d each.

Collected by Brigid Hynes Ballymanagh N.S., from Stephen Donohoe, Ballymanagh – 24th June 1938
National Folklore Collection, UCD. The Schools’ Collection, Volume 0036, Page 0161

There were no poets in this district formerly, but there was a wandering poet from Dooras, Kinnara (sic), Co Galway. His name was McMahon. He made a poem relating to anyplace he was ill treated in. He made a poem about Michael Cunniffe, Cahergal Craughwell, because he wasn’t entertained in it. The poem is as follows.

In Ballymana there are nice people,
Kind and decent, when strangers pass,
Especially those who are old and feeble,
And poets are often of the class,
But when a poet has walked the parish,
To where Mick Cunniffe has got his home,
The latter he did not him cherish,
So now I will begin my poem.
Mick so bold, proud, and haughty,
Thinks all others are a botch,
If people speaks they are faulty,
Because he carries a curious watch.
He is old enough to marry now,
I think he is fifty nine,
He wants a son to drive his cos,
who yet will have his coin;

McMahon died in the year 1924. He was sixty two years of age. He is buried in Doorus, Kinvara, Co. Galway. One day he was talking to children on their way to school and he asked a slate of them. They gave it to him, and he wrote on it this verse;

The world is round, and it goes on wheels
And death is a thing that everyone feels,
But if death was a thing that money could buy,
The rich would live, and the poor would die.
But God is so merciful, it would not be so,
The rich and the poor on their turn must go.