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Lore of olden days – 1937/38

Photo: EO'D
Photo: EO’D

Collected by Kathleen Fallon,Clochar na Trocaire, Kinvara from Patrick Fallon, Carpenter, aged 57
There is not a district in Ireland that has not certain days and dates for different things. On Friday people who wash clothes are supposed to be unlucky for the rest of the day. Friday is cross day round the district of Kinvara. To keep crosses away from them during the day the people when they rise, make the sign of the cross on the door three times.
The farmers say that Friday is a very lucky day to sow seed and if they have not time to sow them on Friday they throw a handful of seed on the ground. It is said that if a person cries on his birthday he will be crying for the year. People say that it is very unlucky for ships to leave the harbour on may day for the sea is rough on that day and storms usually occur on that day.
The farmers have a superstition that it they have not their potatoes sown on the first week of April they will rot, if they are sown after the first week (sic.). People say that Tuesday and Friday are very lucky days for changing to a new house. People say that it a person moves into a new house on Saturday that he will not remain there long.
People say it is very unlucky to go near water during Whit week. When rain occurs on a Friday is is noted that the following Sunday is always wet. It is said that a person suffering from sore feet can be cured on the eight of September and on the fifteenth of August. If fain falls on St. Swithen’s day is is said that the rain will fall for forty days and forty night.

The Schools’ Collection, Volume 0049, Page 0147

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The Long Black Hand

The Schools’ Collection, Volume 0036, Page 0210

The long black hand

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.

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The Headless Coach – Kinvara

The Headless Coach

Behind the gate Photo: EO’D

The Headless Coach is a sort of a topic of a story that is talked of in the country inns. But it is not entirely a fairy tale.

When a person sees the Headless Coach they are supposed to die soon afterwards.

I went up for a holiday in Kinvara, and I went down to the small quay where the turf boats used come in to unload and load. I saw a hearse coming up the street and a crowd of mourners behind it “Who is dead” I said to one of the Irish fishermen “Ní thuigeann tú” he said and then he started to fire a flow of Irish questions at me with such speed that I could not understand head nor tail of what he said. When I did not answer him he answered them himself so I took my leave. I went to a group of boys and men who were standing outside a shop. I asked them “Who is dead” and they told me that a man who said that he had seen the Headless Coach a week ago.

A girl in the Convent nearby said that she had heard a great rattling of chains on the night that the man had peofessed to have seen the Headless Coach as if horses werestraining at their traces, so there might be some truth in the story.
School: Cill Moicheallóg (B.) (roll number 15740)
Kilmallock, Co. Limerick
Teacher: Conchobhar Mac Raghnaill
Collector: Maurice Power, age 13
Kilmallock, Co. Limerick
Informant: (name not given), age 50
Language: English
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Kinvara – 1889

The Irish Standard, April, 13, 1889 p7.

On Friday the 15th ult., a large force of police, accompanied by Redington’s representative, Malone, and a brace of emergencyment, with a battering ram, invaded the town of Kinvara, for the purpose of carrying out evictions on the property of Major John Wilson Lynch, chairman of the Galway board of Guardians. On the arrival of Mr. Kendall, the agent, the evicting party proceeded to Caherireland, a village some miles distant. Having arrived at their destination, the sheriff’s baliff and agent entered the house of Thomas Cavanagh, and demanded possession. This they took by force, casting all that was inside the house out on the street. The evicting party next proceeded to the house of Pat Cavanagh and cleared it of its occupants and effects. The tenants in those cases farm some thirty acres of land, and were well to do until the depression in the time set in. Before the eviction the tenants offered one year’s rent to the agent. This he refused to accept. The tenants evicted are determined not to advance a single penny on their former offer.

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Land Law Bill – Ireland – 1895

HC Deb 02 April 1895 vol 32 cc735-817 735
THE CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (Mr. J. MORLEY, Newcastle-upon-Tyne)(abridged)

The late Sir William Gregory. In his autobiography I find this passage. He is speaking of the sale of some portions of his ancestral estates in the county of Galway:— I may here mention that the result of this sale had a very strong influence afterwards in my political career, and rendered me a very advanced politician on the tenants’ side, on the landlord and tenant question.

Shortly after my father’s death, I visited every holding on the estate, and was struck with the results of the unflagging industry of the tenants who occupied the light stony land about Kinvara. They had by their labour, and with no allowance from the landlord, cleared large portions of their farms, and the great monuments, as they called them, of stones attested their industry. From these clear patches they had excellent barley crops, and were in prosperity. My great-uncle and father were both just men, and allowed them to enjoy the fruits of their toil for many years without raising the rent. On the occasion of my visit, when I was about to drive away, I said to these tenants, who had assembled to greet me, that I was surprised to see so much good land, and that I thought it was capable of bearing a higher rent. Of course, this called forth a general protestation, and very sad were their faces; but they soon cleared up when I said to them, ‘Were I to take one shilling out of your pockets on account of the additional value you had given to my property by your industry, I should be a robber and ashamed to look you in the face. You can go on in good heart with your work, and be assured that while I own this property, your rent shall never be raised on account of your improvement.’

Such were my intentions, and such was the confidence of those tenants that they never asked for a lease, or I should have gladly given it to them. When the sale came on I was so occupied with other matters that I quite forgot their danger. Indeed, it never crossed my mind, for I had then heard of no particular instances of rapacity on the part of new purchasers; but I very soon had a terrible account of my remissness in not securing these poor folk.

Mr.——, to whom I have referred, as soon as he was placed in possession of the lots he had purchased, on which those tenants dwelt, lost no time in dealing with them in the most remorseless fashion. The rents were raised so as to pay £5 per cent. on the borrowed capital, and a large income besides for himself. They were almost invariably doubled, and in some cases £5 was charged where £2 had been the rate of the former rent. But he killed the goose for the golden egg, the town of Kinvara was all but ruined, and the best tenants ran away. I met one in Australia, at Ballarat, and he assured me he was well off when I was his landlord, but a pauper three years after, when he emigrated. It is things of that kind that have sent thousands and tens of thousands of Irish across the sea, not only to Australia, but still more to the United States, with hatred in their hearts for the system which exposed them to these abominable cruelties, and for the Government and this Parliament which allowed such wrongs. I am all the more glad to have read that passage, because Sir William Gregory and his ancestors had none of this harsh spirit, and it shows that there were some exceptions, at all events, to Mr. Justice Keogh’s violent description of the Irish lairds as “the most heartless, thriftless, and indefensible landocracy in the world.”

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St Caimin/Coman -1931

Tuam Herald January 17th, 1931 p4.

Photo: EO’D

St. Caimin of Inis-Cealtra, was half brother to King Guaire, and he is also called Coman of the Third Order of the Saints. Dr. Lanigan things the two identical and, if so, Coman was the founder of the Church of Kinvara. He was a great scholar, versed in Hebrew as well as older languages. He composed commentaries on some of the Psalms, and his commentary on Psalm cxviii is to be found in the Franciscan Monastery at Dublin, having been originally in and seen by Sir James Ware in the Franciscan Monastery at Donegal.

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Francis A. Fahy

Connacht Tribune, 13th October, 1967

The unveiling of the memorial to Francis A. Fahy at Kinvara on Sunday last led to a large turnout.  A son of the Kinvara-born poet, Mr. Dermot A. Fahy, from Cambridge, travelled from England to be present.  With him were cousins of the poet, Mr. James Quinn and Miss Bofey-Quinn (Corofin), Mr. and Mrs. Marlborough(Corofin) and Mr. George Marlborough (Corofin). 
The local branch of Muintir na Tire organised the erection of the memorial and the County Executive of Muintir na Tire were represented by Mr. Peter Moylan, Loughrea, Mr. Joe Lally, Manager, Ireland-West was also present.
The late poet’s son, Dermot, unveiled the memorial and addressed the attendance.  Mr. Thomas Donlon, N.T., Dr. Francis Greene, Mr. Patrick Diskin, M.A., and Very Rev. B. Mulkerrin P.P., also spoke.
Fifteen year old Geraldine Quinn from Crushoa, Kinvara, presented Mr. Fahy with her own oil painting of the scene of the “Old Plaid Shawl.”  Mr. Richard J. Johnston, recited his own verse composition, “To Francis A. Fahy, Poet and Patriot: a Tribute.”

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Kinvara and Ardrahan- 1949

Connacht Tribune 10th December, 1949 p7 (abridged)

Photo: EO’D

South Galway, which has already succeeded in having most of its parishes entirely or almost entirely electrified, is now moving steadily towards the completion of the scheme.
Kinvara Guild, Muintir na Tire, has already completed the preliminary spade work necessary for the launching of the scheme. The area hoped to be electrified comprises the entire parish of Kinvara, plus the northern part of Ardrahan parish not included in the primal electrification done in the district. In order to arouse interest the Parish Council of the Guild secured the services of Messrs. Treston and Carlin of the E.S.B. who showed films in Kinvara illustrating the many advantages of electricity. Mr. D. Treston, a member of the well-known Gort family, gave an excellent commentary on the films and explained the scheme of rural electrification. The members are conducting a house to house canvass prior to the official house to house visits of the officials of the E.S.B

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St. Coman’s, Kinvara – 1866

The Irish Times 8th December, 1866 (abridged)

St. Coman’s
Photo: Norma Scheibe

The Privy Council met yesterday in the Council Chamber at 3.30.
Excellency the Lord Lieutenant,  the Lord Chancellor,  the Recorder,  Right Hon. J.Napier,  Mr. Justice O’Hagan, the Chief Secretary, Mr. Justice George, and the Lord Bishop of Meath. The Attorney-General and Solicitor-General attended.

In re the Churchyard of Kinvara, County Galway;
This matter came before the council on an application by the Poor Law Guardians of the Gort Union, for an order to close the ancient churchyard of Kinvara, on the ground of its being in a state dangerous to the public health of the district.

Mr. Blackburne and Mr.Mullins appeared on behalf of the parishioners of Kinvara, who memorialled (sic.) the Privy Council against the closing of the churchyard. The memorial against the closing was signed by Dr. McEvilly, the Roman Catholic Bishop of the diocese; by the Parish Priest; Mr. Lynch, a magistrate and upwards of 200 families living in the district, all testifying that it was not necessary to close the churchyard, that it was not overcrowded and that up to the present some portions of it had not been used for the purpose of interment. There was no danger of its becoming overcrowded, as the population of the district had very much diminished. The people of the district, counsel stated, were most anxious that the right of interment in this ancient burial ground should be preserved to them, for there were few families in the district who had not relative interred in it. If it were closed they would be under the necessity of having a new burial ground opened, for which it would be difficult to get a suitable site. It was admitted that some ten or twelve of the graves were scantily covered with earth, but that was a matter which a few workmen could remedy in a short time.

The Parish Priest of Kinvara was then examined by Mr. Blackburne, and his evidence was with a view of showing that the graveyard was not injurious to public health. He admitted portion of the earth in the eastern end had given way, but the bones exposed were the bones of persons interred at a remote period, from which no injurious miasma could possible arise. There was but little mortality in the district and it was not likely the graveyard would become overcrowded. The claim of the parishioners to the churchyard was on the ground of their ancestors being interred there.

The Recorder said it was very natural the parishioners should entertain a strong feeling on the subject. He inquired if upwards of 700 persons did not still claim the right of sepulture there. The Parish Priest, in reply, stated it was not likely more than 200 would claim the right. The Recorder said that there was no doubt as long as the churchyard was left open all would have the liberty.

After some discussion the Council determined not to grant the request of the Gort guardians, so the cemetery will remain open as usual.