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to the gods.1 This story in various forms occurs inland in Connacht and West Munster. My kind informant, Mr. Tim Toole, "Austin," 2 the nearest resident to the Dún, also told me, in 1911, that his grand-uncle, a hundred years ago, found a vessel with lumps of gold at the foot of the knoll, directly below the gateway of the fort. He sold it for £40 and was told later on that it was worth thousands." It should be remarked that ingots of pure gold formed part of the great Bronze Age treasure found below Moghane Fort, near Quin, in Co. Clare,3 when the railway was being cut near Moghane Lake.
At Ballyteige Churchyard, near Newport, Co. Mayo, legend says "Hosty Meyrick, the last of the Danes," was buried. The O'Malleys cut off his head on the gunwale of his boat, after slaying his brother, who was riding from Co. Galway to see Hosty.4
Pirates. There are a number of undated and unidentified personages, like "Guarim" and "Bosco," in Inishbofin (by some said to be Danes, while others say Bosco was an ally of Grainne Uaile) and "the Pope's brother." The latter was wrecked on a rock on the east shore of Cliara (or Clare Island) and killed by a weaver with his beam, bringing a curse, still in full efficiency, on the island. This was as told by E. O'Maille to Dr. Charles R. Browne, a variant called the victim "brother of the Emperor of Rome." It is based on the fear of a drowning man escaping, or being saved, from the sea, which is far from extinct, even in this century (in Galway Bay, at least) as I shall show in treating of the folk-lore. Another informant pointed out the rock at the north point of the bay at the O'Maille's castle as having been formerly the end of a long headland. One stormy day a ship was lost and only one man escaped. As he clambered up the rock a weaver seized a heavy club and ran to know who he was. The foreigner could not
1 Proc. R.I. Acad. ser. iii. vol. iv. p. 66.
2 The usage of adding the name of one's father or mother for distinction where persons of the same name are numerous prevails in Connacht and Co. Clare, along with the "serious use of nicknames."
4 Legend told by Mr. Hubert T. Knox and Mr. P. Lyon, 1916.
reply intelligibly and the islander struck him with all his strength on the forehead, laying him dead. When the Pope got to know of it (how, I was not told) he cursed Clare Island and all its people and no attempt to benefit them has ever since been of any use. The improvements of the Congested Districts Board. are regarded by local pessimists as misguided kindness, certain to end in failure on this account, no success of the islanders being ever more than temporary. In Achill “four tyrants, Henry, Púca, Coman and Cuimin, broke the stone cross of St. Colman's killeen." 1 Was Henry the bluff Tudor destroyer of monasteries? The Púca is at times an alias for Satan himself
in the islands and elsewhere.
Lynott and Barrett.—I find no definite legend till we touch on the horrible story of the Lynotts and the Barretts embodied, so grimly and vigorously, in Sir Samuel Ferguson's Lays of the Western Gael as "The Vengeance of the Welshmen of Tirawley." The more brief account found in the Tribes and Cus toms of Hy Fiachrach, by Duald MacFirbis in the mid-seventeenth century is remembered at two places. Tobernascorney, in Carns, where the prototype of the tax assessor slain by Wat Tyler preceded him in a like offence and a like fate, Sgorna. bhuid bhearrtha, the Barrett's bailiff, was slain at the "Scrag's Well," is still known. The legend at the ford and steppingstones of Clochán na ndall (or blind man's crossing) on the river four miles north of Crosmolina in Garranard, across which the blinded Lynotts were left to pass, all save their destined avenger being drowned, has an echo of the tale. I believe the instrument of his crafty vengeance, Tibbot Maol Burke, has (or had) a place in legend at the spot where the Barretts slew him. The verse among the people in 1838 called him "Teabod Mwylee," and showed the place of his death at the ford of Cornassack. "The Barrets" (said the rhyme) "came into the country, they committed an act which was not right; they left the Lynots blind and Teabod Maol in a sack; at the narrow stream of Cornassack." This spot was in Creeves townland, near Ballycastle. People at that time also showed where the Barretts defeated the Lynotts, and blood (in red veins) 1Ordnance Survey Letters, Co. Mayo (MSS. R.I. Acad.), vol. i. p. 342.
was shown ineffaceably marked on a stone long since covered up and now forgotten. The real site of the battle, however, is said to have been in Carn in Moygownach. The date of these tragic events is not, I believe, accurately fixed. MacFirbis 2 adds it as a sort of postscript to his Hy Fiachrach. It was probably in the fourteenth century, before the Burkes were established all through the Barretts' lands.
Lynch.—I had not intended to touch on the legends of Galway city but must briefly allude to one so locally famous though a mere variant of a story widespread and as old as the legend of Brutus and his sons. How much truth lies behind it I have been unable to find, as I know of no contemporary records, and the early lists of city magistrates in western Ireland I have found most unreliable, notably in the case of Limerick. It is said to have occurred in 1492, a period of extensive trade and great prosperity in Galway, which has left its mark on the Collegiate Church of St. Nicholas and many other buildings in "The City of the Tribes." The son of the mayor, Lynch, murdered, under aggravated circumstances, a Spaniard with whom he had long been on most friendly terms. His father brought him to trial, his guilt was established, and he was sentenced to death. Then an outburst of horror and pity carried away the minds of the citizens. The stern judge, unmoved by threats and heart-broken entreaties, would not reprieve the prisoner. He got to hear that there was an attempt to rescue his son and (being unable to find anyone to act as executioner) he hanged him, with his own hands, from the window of his house, in presence of the excited, but overawed and horror-stricken, crowd. A tablet, with a skull and crossbones and a far later date, is reputed to commemorate the event, a modern tablet records the tale; they are set in the ruins of the Lynch house, near St. Nicholas' Church and are familiar to all visitors to the city as well as the earlier and richly elaborate house of the unrelenting magistrate in the principal street.
Inish Bofin.-Guarim and Bosco were two fierce tyrants and
1 Ord. Survey Letters, vol. i. p. 295.
Genealogies, Tribes and Customs of Hy Fiachrach, pp. 336-9, ed. John O'Donovan.
pirates living on Inishbofin. The ruin, called "Aittighe Guarim," near Bunnamullen Bay, was levelled to supply material for the priest's house before 1839, the late Mr. Cyril Allies (whose kindness to me when on the island I must recall) tells me that a quern was dug up on its site in recent years, before 1911; whether, as on Torry Island, this had been set. in the foundation for luck or a propitiatory act I could not learn. Guarim's castle stood on high ground near the new Church of St. Colman, but had been levelled before the earlier named date. Guarim is said to have been "a certain old chief " who quarrelled with the monks of St. Colman's monastery, refusing to pay tithes to them. Not content with this, he laid an ambuscade, captured six monks, and put them to death in the townland of Middle Quarter, where their blood still is said to rise from the ground on the anniversary of their slaughter. This sacrilege was too much even for the millstone consciences of his followers; they bound him and brought him to Renvyle Castle, on the opposite mainland, where he was tried and condemned and chained to a rock for the tide to drown. Since then it is said that none of his family, now Gorham," can enter the priesthood. When the new church was built in recent years the legend took an entirely new form, that a bishop had been drowned in a similar manner by the Cromwellian garrison. Older legends varied in making Guarim, some, a contemporary of St. Colman of Lindisfarne, A.D. 664, others of Grania Uaile nine centuries later.
Bosco, whose castle was supposed to be embodied in “Cromwell's Barracks," was another tyrant and pirate, a Dane or a Spaniard. He stretched a chain from a rock across the mouth of the harbour to protect the ships of himself and the sea-queen Grania Uaile. He planted a cannon on another rock, still called "the Gun Rock," for their further protection, and used to throw his prisoners into the sea through an embrasure, still shown, in the Barracks." He buried his vast treasures in the fortress and set a spirit to guard it. When even a priest ventured to
1 See Dr. Charles R. Browne, "Ethnography of Inishbofin and Inishark," R.I. Acad. Proc. vol. iii. ser. iii. pp. 360-363; Ord. Survey Letters, vol. i. p. 484; and Clare Island Survey, p. 68.
dig in the court of the ruin a voice from underground told him, in Irish, to stop, and he gave up the search.1
The legend of the white cow is so out of relation with all history that I reserve it for a later section on supernatural animals.
Aran. Save the legends of the saints I got no quasi history in Aran save that Cromwell's soldiers levelled the Round Tower (which really fell in a gale) and the churches, at Killeany. In 1878 no legends were told of the forts, even of the gigantic Dún Aengusa and Dun Conchobhair. One man said Dun Oghil (Eochla) "may have been made by the Danes." In the Middle Island the vast prehistoric Dun Conor was attributed to King Conor O'Brien about 1260. In 1839 O'Donovan (who was too fond of generalizing on isolated facts) said the last man who knew the name of the first huge fortress was one Wiggins, of Cromwellian descent, who knew it as "Dun Innees,' but I see no reason to doubt that the forms "Aun Donguis (1825), "Dun Unguish," or "Unguist" (in 1858), and "Dun Aingus" or Aineez" (in 1878) are genuine traditional names (not book-names) despite the great scholar's assertion.
Grania Uaile 2 (O'Malley), "Grace O'Malley" or "Granny Weal!" is a favourite in local tradition in the Islands of Achill, Clare and Bofin. The "famous feminine sea-captain " (as the Elizabethan soldiers called her) was an ally and friend of the British Government, but, by a strange perversion of tradition, she has become in ballad poetry a great patriot and in English tradition an assertor of equality with the Tudor Lioness herself. Grainne looms large in local tradition from Doonáh, on Blacksod
1I have collected this material in the Clare Island Survey, pp. 68 and 69. See also Dr. Browne in Proc. R.I. Acad. vol. iii. ser. iii. under the account of Inishbofin.
2 For her legends I may refer to MacParlan's Statistical Survey of Co. Mayo (1802), p. 136 at Rockfleet, p. 138 at Dunah; O.S. Letters, Mayo, vol. i. p. 165; Clare Island Survey, part 2, pp. 18, etc.; Proc. R.I. Acad. vol. v. ser. iii. p. 67; Dr. Charles Browne's "Ethnography," ibid.; Ethnography of Ballycroy, vol. iv. ser. iii. p. 106; Here and There Through Ireland (Miss Banim), part 1, p. 138; and Caesar Otway, Tour in Connaught, pp. 287-294.