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THE FLAGGY SHORE

THE FLAGGY SHORE

Sometimes she represents an owl, a cat and very often a bat

There is a special spot in New Quay. It has derived its name from the vast number of enormous rocks which are still to be seen near the shore. The following story is told about this special spot :-
Once upon a time the devil came into Clare. He had nearly all the people of Clare under his control, but the people of New Quay resolved he would never enter. The devil came along one morning holding his little son by the hand. The people of New Quay were well prepaired (sic) for him, so the fight started. They flung stones at one another, but luckily enough the devils little son wasn’t able to fire the stones far enough, and the stones and flags were all in the same spot. This special spot has the honour of being called Flaggy Shore.

Tradition tells us that once upon a time St Bridget was going to church. As she was near Bellharbour, the thunder rolled and the lightning flashed, and the rain poured. St Bridget prayed to God for some shelter and that very moment a huge tree sprang up by the power of God. Bridget prayed that any poor person who would go that way would have shelter. This bush is now called Sceach Brighid.

It is said the banshee is one of the fallen angels who died without being baptised, and is therefore sent to this world to get penance and forgiveness. It is said there is a special room in Skeretts house and the door was never opened, the banshee is supposed to live in this room. It is said the banshee makes it her headquarters and always lived there when she was not occupied screeching around other dwellings as her calling requires. She always sleeps in the room and no one ever dared to disturb her. The floor is supposed to be covered all over a foot high with the dried leaves which blow in from the tress (sic) through the little round openings which represent windows. Sometimes she represents an owl a cat and very often a bat flying through the window in the twilight. She always cries most dismally before the death of a Kerins, Skerrett, Traynor, Mac or O.
Collected by Caitlín Ní Fhathaigh, age 14, Ballyvaughan N.S. from Michael Wall, age 86

The Schools’ Collection, Volume 0615, Page 245//
National Folklore Collection, UCD

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The Flaggy Shore

The Schools’ Collection, Volume 0615, Page 245
Image and data © National Folklore Collection, UCD
Ballyvaughan N.S
THE FLAGGY SHORE
There is a special spot in New Quay. It has derived its name from the vast number of enormous rocks which are still to be seen near the shore. The following story is told about this special spot :-
Once upon a time the devil came into Clare. He had nearly all the people of Clare under his control, but the people of New Quay resolved he would never enter. The devil came along one morning holding his little son by the hand. The people of New Quay were well prepaired (sic) for him, so the fight started. They flung stones at one another, but luckily enough the devils little son wasn’t able to fire the stones far enough, and the stones and flags were all in the same spot. This special spot has the honour of being called FlaggyShore.
Tradition tells us that once upon a time St Bridget was going to church. As she was near Bellharbour, the thunder rolled and the lightning flashed, and the rain poured. St Bridget prayed to God for some shelter and that very moment a huge tree sprang up yb the power of God. Bridget prayed that any poor person who would go that way would have shelter. This bush is now called Sgeach Brighid.
It is said the banshee is one of the fallen angels who died without being baptised, and is therefore sent to this world to get penance and forgiveness. It is said there is a special room in Skeretts house and the door was never opened, the banshee is supposed to live in this room. It is said the banshee makes it her headquarters and always lived there when she was not occupied screeching around other dwellings as her calling requires. She always sleeps in the room and no one ever dared to disturb her.The floor is supposed to be covered all over a foot high with the dried leaves which blow in from the tress (sic) through the little round openings which represent windows. Sometimes she represents an owl a cat and very often a bat flying through the window in the twilight. She always cries most dismally before the death of a Kerins, Skettett, Traynor, Mac or O.
Collected by Caitlín Ní Fhathaigh, age14 from Michael Wall, age 86
Finavarra Demesne, Co. Clare

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The Banshee – 1898

The Globe-republican 3rd November, 1898 p3(abridged)

Spirit Child Acrylic on canvas EO;D
Spirit Child
Acrylic on canvas
EO;D

God between us and all harm
For I tonight have seen
A banshee in the shadow pass
Along the dark boreen.

And as she went she keened and cried
And combed her long white hair.
She stopped at Molly Reilly’s door,
And sobbed till midnight there.

And is it for himself she moans
Who is so far away?
Or is it Molly Reilly’s death she cries
Until the coming day?

Now Molly thinks her man is gone
A sailor lad to be.
She puts a candle to her door
Each night for him to see.

But he is off to Galway town.
And who dare tell her this?
Enchanted by a woman’s eyes,
Half maddened by her kiss.

So as we go by Molly’s door
We look toward the sea,
And say “May God bring home your lad
Wherever he may be.”

I pray it may be Molly’s self
The banshee keens and cries,
For who dares breathe the tale to her
Be it her man who dies?

For there is sorrow on the way,
For I tonight have seen
A banshee in the shadow pass
Along the dark boreen.

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The Banshee – 1888

Irish Examiner 15th December, 1888 p5

The Burren and beyond Photo: EO'D
The Burren and beyond
Photo: EO’D

(abridged)
Once I saw a banshee. It was many years ago. During the summer months the twilight is very long and late one afternoon, when the sun had gone down, I happened to walk over to the farm of M.B. Well, as we stood and talked, my friend suddenly said;
“Mike, do you want to see a banshee?”
Of course I did and looked where he pointed. Sure enough, there in the lane, creeping along near the hedge, was a wee bit of a thing, no more than three feet high. It looked like a young girl, only its hair, which was long and yellow, fell down its back clear to the ground, and as it crept along it whimpered and moaned just like a child in pain. My friend looked very grave, saying;
“That’s a family banshee, and I’m afraid some of my relations are going to be sick.”
Pretty soon after a neighbour came riding up and told my friend to make haste as his mother had been taken very ill.
The next day I learned that the poor woman had died before her son reached her.
The banshees are queer things, and they never let anyone come near them. Another man I knew came across one sitting in a corn field, near the fence. When he suddenly appeared it ran out of sight among the corn, but it dropped its comb from its yellow hair and the man picked it up and put it in his pocket. That night the banshee came near the house and whined so piteously that the man dropped the comb out of the window. The banshee then left, and when a search was made the next morning it was found that the comb had disappeared too.

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Cry of the Banshee – 1887

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JAMESTOWN WEEKLY ALERT, APRIL 21, 1887, P1
THE CRY OF THE BANSHEE

There is now living in Bristol ad Mrs Linahan, an old Irish woman, who has not seen her own country for forty years. She is old, poor, bed ridden and suffering, but patient and cheerful beyond belief.
Her strongest feeling is love for Ireland, and she likes talking to me because I am Irish. Many a time, sitting in her little close room, above the noisy street, she has told me about banshees and phookas and fairies, especially the first. She declares solemnly she once heard the cry, or caoin of a banshee.
“It was when I was a little young child,” she told me,
“And knew nothing at all of banshees or of death. One day mother sent me to see after my grandmother, the length of three miles from our house. All the road was deep in snow, and I went on my lone – and didn’t know the grandmother was dead, and my aunt gone to the village for help. So I got to the house, and I see her lying so still and quiet I thought she was sleepin’. When I called her and she wouldn’t stir or speak, I thought I’d put snow on her face to wake her. I just stepped outside to get a handful, and came in, leaving the door open, and then I heard a far away cry, so faint and yet so fearsome that I shook like a leaf in the wind. It got nearer and nearer, and then I heard a sound like clapping or wringing of hands, as they do in kneeling at a funeral. Twice it came and then I slid down to the ground and crept under the bed where my grandmother lay, and there I heard it for the third time crying, “Ochone, Ochone,” at the very door. Then it suddenly stopped; I couldn’t tell where it went, and I dared not lift up my head till the woman came in the house.
One of them took me up and said: “It was the banshee the child heard, for the woman that lies there was one of the real old Irish families – she was an O’Grady

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Banshee Lament – 1909

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THE INTERMOUNTAIN CATHOLIC, NOVEMBER 20,

Photo; EO'D
Photo; EO’D
1909
THE BANSHEE LAMENT

The Banshee is famale fairy attached to ancient Irish houses. Her province is to foretell the near approach of death or disaster to members of the family by mournful wailings or unearthly cadence. Every ruling house had its own supernatural retainer. During centuries of invasion and foreign misrule, families lost titles and estates by confiscation and now their descendants may be found in every land. But through all vicissitudes the Banshee remains faithful to the “ould stock,” and has never transferred her allegiance to the comparatively mushroom conquerors who supplanted the original rulers of the soil.” – Boston Traveler.

O’er Erin’s sea girt isle,
Two thousand leagues away,
The gentle spring wind sighed
One peaceful night in May.

On surf’ lashed northern coast
The waves dashed fast and free,
And ‘cross the meadows came
Salt odors of the sea.

On Ennis Eoghan Head
The grey old castle stands,
Where in dark ages past,
The lord of all those land

The grim old warrior prince –
Ruled stern, yet kind and just;
Ten centuries have passed
Since his body turned to dust.

O’er turret, hall and keep,
The moon shone wierd and bright,
And blazed toward the west
A track of silver light.

The clouds obscured the moon,
And night birds screamed and cried;
The ancient church bell clanged
Across the ebbing tide.

And the Banshee wailed and mourned,
As she pointed to the west,
For a daughter of the race,
Was passing to her rest.

The princess of her people
Lay dying far from home,
Two thousand leagues to westward,
Across the ocean foam.

And the lonely night birds screamed
While the gentle night winds sighed,
And the Banshee moaned and grieved,
In time with the ebbing tide.

CHARLES HENRY STEVENSON.

Salt Lake City, Utah.
Ed Note – Charles Henry Stevenson, who died in this city last fall, was a native of Ireland. He wrote the “Banshee’s Lament” after the death of his only daughter, a beautiful girl of 20. Several months after his death Mrs Stevenson found the poem among his papers.

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The Banshee

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The Banshee Henry Meynell Rheam (1859-1920)
The Banshee
Henry Meynell Rheam (1859-1920)
DAILY YELLOWSTONE JOURNAL, AUGUST 21, 1889 P4
THE BANSHEE

The single superstition of which every one has heard, and which is almost universal in Ireland, is of the banshee. Bean-sidhe is the Irish name for this wonderful creature and it literally means ‘the woman of the fairy mansions’. Her office is to announce a coming death. For several nights she appears, sometimes as a radiant maiden, sometimes as a decrepit old woman with long flowing hair, and wails her plaintive lamentations for the approaching death. If the death is to occur by natural ailment, the ‘keening’ of the banshee is simply measured and pathetic; but if accident or untoward calamity are to be associated with it, then her lamentations are loud and clamorous.
But she is easily disturbed and vexed, and if ever frightened away will never return during the same generation. This would be a calamity; for while the Irish banshee favors no particular class, cast or religion, she only comes to families of long and respectable line. She comes as a friendly spirit to these, not as an inimical one, and to be known as a family deserving and possessing her pathetic guardianship, is regarded as an honor of a very tender and sacred character. Many truly believe the banshee to be the spirit of some former member of the family.

Cor. New York Commercial Advertiser.