Collected by Kitty Moran, Ballinderreen N.S from Mrs Thomas Moran
BACKGROUND On Mr De Valeras first visit to Galway in the year 1913 the Sinn Féiners engaged all the sidecars in the parishes to go to the meeting. The meeting was held on New Year Day and the Sinn Féiners painted Pat Smyth’s horse because he did not go to Galway like the others. This song was composed by James O Connor Ballinderreen
Thomas dear and did you hear your horse was painted green
And taken from his stable and drove through Ballinderreen
We thought it was a circus horse with colours bright and gay
But it was a piece of good advice to remember New Years Day.
Pat Smyth arrived upon the seen and standing five foot two
He said he would revenge his gallant steed the pride of Caheradoo
He pursued the noble animal but his efforts were in vain
For the horse he boldly started off and snorted up Sinn Féin
Friends gathered round from Mulrook
and from Cillín Aran too.
To try to solve the mystery of the horse from Caheradoo.
But the perpetrators they were gone and behind them left no trail
They tied a flag upon his name and one hung from his tail
And sure it was an ugly thing to treat the horse like that
For we all had veneration for Tom and little Pat
The Sinn Feiners they are gone to hell and that’s plain to be seen
They’d paint the very devil in that place called Ballinderreen
So now to conclude and finish and I think its nearly time
I hope you will excuse me I’m a little out of rhyme
But they say the Smyths have sworn and promised without delay
To send their horse to Galway on the coming New Years day.
The Schools’ Collection, Volume 0033B, Page 03_042
National Folklore Collection, UCD
National Folklore Collection, UCD.
From Ardrahan, Co. Galway
Teacher: Tomas S. O Meadhra
Collector: Cahal Kelly from Michael Kelly, Ardrahan.
There was a certain old witch in Kinvara and she lived under a big tree with five branches out of it. Every night at ten o’clock she used to come out on the road and every one that would pass she would kill them. There was one brave man in Ballindereen named Blake and this night there was a great banquet in Clough. The people of the place told Mr. Blake that there was a ghost in the place and he would not believe it. He sent a soldier named Hynes to see if this was true. They gave him three sheaves of oats by which he would know if the ghost was there. The man with the sheaves of oats ran on around the grave three times and the third time she hit him with the lid of a churn. The man went from the place about three miles and the long black hand gripped to the horses mane. He drew his sword and cut the hand up near the shoulder. A voice said ‘Hit again. You have enough and keep it.’ He went home and told them but they would not believe him. He told them to go out and see the long black hand on the horse’s mane and they did and found the horse dead.
Ballinderreen, Co. Galway. Teacher: Treasa Bean Uí Bheirn
Collected by Rose Niland from Martin Kelly, Tyrone, Co. Galway
About fifty years ago a horse-man used to pass the Ballinderreen road towards Kilcolgan every night. A certain woman used to look out after it so she lost the sight of one of her eyes. My grandfather and a few companions were coming from a dance from James St. Georges about two o’clock one night and as they were coming back at Glynn’s they heard a galloping horseman coming towards them. They said it must be some man going to the Loughrea horse fair. So when the horseman was within five or six yards of them they moved in one side of the road to let it pass. They heard something like a breeze of wind passing between them and the wall but they saw nothing. Just a few yards behind them they heard the horse galloping again. They knew then that it was no living person that was in it but the fairy horseman that used to pass the way every night.
Australian Chronicle 17th November, 1840 p.2 (abridged)
To the Editor of the “Freeman’s Journal.”
The Very Rev. Mr. Mathew, being on a visit at Kilcornan, the hospitable mansion of N. Redington., Esq., M.P., administered the total abstinence pledge, on the 21st and 22nd ult. to upwards of eight hundred postulants. Many from the neighbouring parishes of Oranmore, Ballinacourty, Ballinderreen, & c., who lost the opportunity of approaching him while in Galway and Loughrea, took advantage of his propitious visit to Kilcornan. The people of this locality have been extremely fortunate.
Great excitement prevailed at Ballinderreen on Wednesday (says the “Freeman” April 1), connected with service of processes for non-payment of rent upon tenants of the St. George estate. A fortnight ago the process-server, under the protection of a number of police, attempted to serve the processes, but the attempt failed, owing to the resistance offered by the people. Today a force of sixty police left Galway to assist the process-server, with a contingent of police drawn from other places. The people, however, were apprised in advance of their coming. The dry stone walls on each side of the road had been torn down to the ground and thrown upon the roadway, so that no vehicular or foot traffic could take place upon the road.
The whole force was set at work to clear the debris, but the pace was slow as some of the boulders required two or three police to remove. During the work the chapel bells at Ballinderreen were tolled. A large crowd of people gathered on a hill over-looking the village and shouted and jeered at the police and the process-server, while the latter did his work by nailing the processes to the doors of the houses of the different tenants who were being processed for rent. Relays of police were stationed all along the public road, and were kept continually employed in making a roadway for the cars. As the walls were levelled on to the road the whole way. It took three hours to serve all the processes.
The land on that part of the estate is of very poor quality, being cut into small patches by great boulders and other impediments. The price paid by the tenants is between 15s and 20 per acre, and from appearances is far in excess of the value of the land.
To the Editor, Connacht Tribune
I would suggest to the police doing protection duty on the Tyrone estate to watch the sky; they may catch Jack Dunne’s air-ship, the “Hope of Europe,” and they might find the hope of the tenants on the Tyrone estate. The R.I.C. are very good to the people of Ballinderreen. Lately, some person found a coat, and gave it up at the barracks at Kinvara, and the Kinvara police are making a house-to-house visit to find out if any of the inmates lost it.
H.G. St. Birds.
Tuam Herald 4th September, 1920 p.2 (abridged)
A correspondent sends us some interesting details of the malicious burning of Tyrone House, the ancestral home of the St. Georges – a family settled in Ireland for over three hundred years, and for over one hundred, the most prominent and influential in the county of Galway. This splendid and imposing structure, which could be seen for miles around, was built by the late Christopher St. George, D.L., at a cost of over fifty thousand pounds. It could not be built now for two hundred thousand pounds. It was in the late Georgian style and the finest house in Ireland. The ceilings were all painted by Italian masters and were regular works of art. The mantle pieces were of rare Italian marble and very costly. In the hall was a fine full-sized marble statue of Baron St. George, again the work of an Italian artist. The head was broken off the night of the raid. All the ceilings and mantle pieces are now ruined, and the entire structure an empty shell and ruin.
There was no grounds for the report that the military or police intended or were to occupy the house, and agrarian motives are believed to have inspired and instigated this act of purely wanton destruction.
Of late years the place was freely allowed to be used by pleasure parties who came out from Loughrea and other places to have a dance which cost them nothing, and who were never prevented from having their pleasure and a dance on the spacious floor of the dining room. They can now no longer do so, where in olden days the finest balls in the county Galway took place.
Kinvara was the scene of feverish activity on Sunday when the Ballinderreen Platoon, under Lieut. E. Quinn; Dooras Platoon, under Cpl. M. Fahy, and Kinvara Platoon under Vol. M. Quinn, held a Field Day for the purpose of holding star grading tests. Forty volunteers were tested and although the standard of examination was high, 32 were successful in gaining the coveted “stars”.
Richard Cronnolly was born in Ballinderreen Co Galway in 1828. He joined the Dublin Metropolitan Police and spent his spare time in the Record Office where he studied old documents. Without any assistance, financial or otherwise, he found a publisher willing to give the result of his researches to the world. He was working against time, and died in the moment of success at the age of thirty five.
He left behind him a work that is remarkable. The Long Black Hand, a recitative poem, which tells of the slaying of malicious spirit who made life miserable for the people of Ballinderreen a few hundred years ago.
The Long Black hand may be read on Fadó Fadó at theburrenandbeyond.com
If the people emulate the example of the brave men of Ballinderreen, by keeping their counsels to themselves, and giving no quarter to traitors, the days of landlord rule and rent office truculence are numbered in the district. The descendants of the men of Kinvara and Duras who, in the days of the 1848 Movement, shielded John Blake Dillon from the Government of the day, when a huge price was offered for his apprehension, and carried him away in triumph to an Atlantic liner bound for the “land of the free,” are surely not going to falter in the most supreme crisis in the history of the country.
The meeting will be addressed by Messrs Wm. J. Duffy; John Roche, M.P. Coghlan Briscoe; C.W. Cogan; Rev. B. Corcoran C.C. and several well-knownn public speakers. Mr C.W. Cogan, U.I.L. organiser has visited all the districts and organised immense contingents for the meeting. The Rev. Martin Keeley, C.C. has consented to preside. The chair will be taken at 1.30 pm sharp. Mr Thomas P. Corless, the indefatigable and energetic secretary and organiser of the meeting, has spared neither time nor trouble to make it a great success. The names of the different contingents should be handed in to the secretary early.