Monday, April 18, 2011


Legends of Ireland

In the Irish folklore rests the remenants of the once great fili and bardic culture and the druidic magic of pagan times.
At the coming of Christ under Patrick druidic lore of magic and science passed to the inadequate control of the church preachers and later in a fragmented state to the storytellers, the seanachie and folkore.

The tales often relay various features of land as well as the people who inhabited them and Mr Kennedy relays some of these to us as his collections goes along.

One of the mountains forming the North West boundry of Wexford was called Cooliagh on White mountain.

That a skiagh, which was a flat wicker basket used in ancient days, as a form over which strong tough untaned leathers were placed and attached forming a suitable shield against attack by knife sword and ax.

The wicker skeeoge was also used as a strainer for potaots having been boiled and the hot water drained of into pools at the base of the yard in which they were cooked.
[a yard being 3 feet the space round a fire to cook these potatos].

The Irish did a lot of living out of doors.
The climate being mild and the shelter skanty and dark.

Wicker techniques were also highly develped as a constuction material for these houses.

Posts being driven into the ground and these lined with wicker forms and then covered in a mud clay mix forming walls.
Roofs being added over roof poles with rows of thatch and straw or reeds from the lakes.

Skills almost completly lost today but a mainstay of life before the invasions.

These ancient dwellings, Raths and cottages, used the natural at hand materials and required mimimal tools beside the hands of men and the brawn of strong sholders.

Rath circles consisted of around 60 or 100 poles in the ground each set at equal distance giving a circumfrence probably based on the 360 degrees of the actual mathmatical circle.
Approximately 3 feet apart -our yard- measure.

The rath enclosure was sufficiently strong to hold in cattle and sheep, the children ,and to keep out wolves lynx and other predatory wild cratures.

Usually the entirety of the enclosure was large enough to accomadate 3 or 4 cottage structures holding the separate household of a family of 3 or 4 generations and was known by the name of the progenator such as Rath Cool.
Center, of course, of the Cuils.

At the particular area discribed it is noted a Munster sept had emigrated there to North East Wexford and this tribal people were still living in N E Wexford in 1816 when Kennedy was among them.
And they still relate their legends as outlined in 'The Profit Before his Time' ,relayed to Kennedy by Owen Jourdan at Cromogue farm house ,7 miles from the place of the legend happening which was near Slieve Buie [yellow hill].

As Jourdan of Duffrey is Norman name, we are allowed to know these hills were occupied by some of their warriors from the 1169 AD invasion and henceforth after that century.

The legend itself reveals studies of Astrology and occult works of Agrippa and the keeping of servants.

Ireland was never detched from Europe and its civilization ,or for that matter, the east as some scholars of recent years would have us believe, as little tangable evidence exists except the references of stories, poems and such.

Many of the folk tales reveal a working incite into animals as having speech and having qualities that reveal the belief, as Africa's Uncle Remus tales, that man and animal are related in may ways in their being.
Just as the fairy tales related a supernatural connection between
mortal and spiritual beings.

The Cat is a particular symbol of legend consepts of shape changing days which relate deeply to the Hindue belief of returning in another form from one existance to the other according to ancient events on earthly works.
A religious significance as well as a subconcious awarness of genetics and DNA.

The tales also reveal the working of human desires in areas of sex and services and in a relayer of religious information and deaths along the roadways.

The cat assumed an aura of eerieness and other worldiness and an ablilty to have 9 lives and be indistructable.

The legends again revive funs and activities such as a carmans drive from Bunclody to Dublin of a morning to Luke Byrnes on Francis Street where all the carmen [transporters] from Wicklow and Wexford gathered. Which place was a tap room that served beer, not in glass ,but in pots.
But I suppose you could have a pot of beer and a jar of wiskey.

Witches and the devil or almost, always discribed in folk lore as an assortment of wild orgy and excessive drinking of foriegn wine.

Usually old women are the partisipants as the crones partook of the punch becoming riotous and gleefull and these drunken beings went about the countyside and often to England in a Booliann Bui and soaring up chimneys like Santa Clause.

These creatures in this shape would pass through small holes, key holes and such ,and their excursions, usually to get more wine and become even more riotous and detached from body and their ecstacy usually followed by unconciousness as they passed out and the following hangover.

The Irish have never claimed an unfamiliarty with the drink.

The memory of armed kings crop up in the legend with belief of their immortality.
Such as the appearance of James 4 of Scotland after his survival of Flooden Battle; to appear when his county wanted him.
Or Don Sebastion of Portugal who it was believed did not die in Africa.
Or Holdan of Denmark waited from his cavern or the legendary king Arthur watching on the Ilse of Avalon.

The Lianun* Sighe fate of mortals loved by women fairys were never free of this connection without their consent and the system of Lianun go back to pre christain Ossin and Fionn legends and the Tuirean included the shape changing of humans to animals as represnted in Bran and Sceoluing.

Under pagan rule the rules of engagement were not looked on as unnatural but under Christain times the mortal so bound cannot be freed from such an alliance without a finding of a replacement for Himself.
Such as the miltary draft allows a well off person to buy off his sons obligation or for a substituted friend to go into battle for another.
Such as a Champion for a King.

Such a possessed person can force the Lianun to convey riches and wordly goods on favorites but Himself cannot recieve such for Humself.
As such, the king or ruler can require a Lianun to provide for others but not for himself as he Himself is a slave to the Sie [shee].

The mortal familar becoming the wreached slave but at his rashly trying to tear assunder the veil that divides the visable from the invisable world.

As such man does this day ,tempting Fate and the invisable power of radiation and fision of the invisable world and bringing on Himself a future mysery of its effects, desease, poison and distruction of Himself.

All these legends of old went from the professional bards and story tellers, the poets to a lower range of weavers of tales the seanachie to the uneducated peasants , to a degraded form to be told by a scealuide of the lowest rank.
Told at rustic cottage firesides.

Around Kildare Co. rests the neighborhood of Borrahen, Baltry and Rath Coffey.
It is an area where much garden produce can be grown and hence the fertile land also produces comfortable farmers like Pat Gill and storeytellers such as Molly Anthony whom the Church refused to santify by a funeral Mass after she died, so illuminating was her conversation and life.

Molly had a son who had some vetinary skills which he was curing cattle with herbs and did not profess any supernatural or magic gifts.

This Jack Anthony son of Molly was riding along with his friend Pat Behan in Pats jaunting cart when a woman wearing a red cloak appeared from the bushes and called to Jack it was time for him to come.

Jack excused himself from the car and went to say a word with this neighbor of his.

Jack went over the fence and through the bushes and when his friend heard nothing he had his servant climb the fence to find Jack.

But the servant looking along the ditch over the fence was perplexed.

His master went to see this and found he too could see right and left and up the slope but no Jack nor a red cloaked woman were visable.

However, months later Jack Anthony did reappear but could not give an accurate account of his disapearance.
This undoubtedly a visit from his Lianun fairy consort.

At Ballenglas a hill called Bally Carrigeen ,Rocky Pass ,had on its top a ring of round flagstones [stone circle] 9 yards round -being 27 feet in cicumfrence.
These called Fan a Cuil s griddle stones.
On side of the high place next the circle of stones, are two long turf strips of bright green; the resting place of Fionn mcCuil and his wife, who rose early each morning walked down the slope to wash their faces in a stream and baked their breakfast cakes on these flagstones.

Near the burial site was the church of Kilranlagh a totally catholic church yard bearing no remains of any Prodistant.

This church boundry wall is built of loose stone with a narrow top and each time a funeral is held, each man coming, brings a stone picked up on the way to place atop the circular ring fence of the Church.
A deep round well rests outside the Kilraneagh church boundry wall with a long recess just above it.

This recess is full of wooden cups.

These cups provided by those buring a child under 5 years of age.

The spirit of the last intered must suppy all his or her predecessors with a cup of water [Uisce] and watch over the sacred enclosure till the next funeral.

In Ireland the Feach- to see- story is common.
A phanthom seen in the morning is of good fortune and long life but if in the evening death awaits.

A Miss Strickland was in the household of Queen Elizabeth I, when in 1603 Lady Guildford on waitng by the Queen slipped out for a breath of air and saw her majesty a bit out of her privy chambers sleeping body.
Mrs Guildford was conserned at this as she feared being caught at leaving the royal patient aone and this terrified her so she returned immediately to the privy chamber where lay the Queen of England still sleeping.

Frequently non believers in Fetchs saw or beheld these apparations and died shortly thereafter even though they held this phantom to be superstition.

Apparations are common In Ireland in old ruins, old churchs, old lands and bogs, along the night road and usually portent disaster for the viewer.
They are ,in effect, the same school of premonition as the Banshees.

* Lia means a rock or a doctor
unse means an ounce

therfore liaun might mean doctor ounce or stone ounce.
I would chose the later an ounce of stone

Judi Donnelly
copyright 17 April 2011

sourse:Legendary Fictions of the Irish Celts,Patrick Kennedy, Mcmillan and Co., 1866

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