Churning, Fairies & Ghosts


If a person enters a house where the bean a’ti is churning milk that person should take the ‘dress’ or ‘dash’ at the churning in case he or she might bring the butter. If a person came to a house during the churning for a coal out of the fire, under no circumstances could that person bring it as he or she would brings the butter. Such a person was classed as evil.


There are several stories told about fairies. A person should never build a house on a fairy path. If a man was in doubt before commencing the building he should erect what was called a ‘seal foscaide’ (temporary shelter) and if this was knocked to the ground over night then the site was on a fairy path so better choose another.

A story is told about a local couple who were returning late from Cavan one night about seventy years ago. They were travelling by car (model T Ford) when suddenly the lights failed as they drove through the ‘Gap’ so they had to wait until daylight to finish their journey home. They got out of the car, decided to walk in the opposite direction waiting for the dawn to break. They heard music, singing and laughter and then arguments. Suddenly the cock crew and the noise vanished. ‘Come on’, said the man and the couple set out on their journey home and arrived back safely. The lights were working on the car. They told their story to an old man the following night and he claimed that they had disturbed the fairies or the ‘good people’ as he called them.

There are several stories told about the fairies and their crocks of gold on the mountains around the area.

A story is told about a local young man who had a dream about a crock of gold high up on the mountain. One night he left his home in search of the treasure. He brought a spade with him and began to dig when suddenly he hit the crock of gold and a hen flew out of the hole. The man got so frightened that he ran the whole way home. He became very ill and his parents sent for the priest who came and said prayers over him. The young man began to improve and in a few days he was fit and well again but he never found the crock of gold.

There is a place called the ‘gold digging’ in a river on the Cuilcaigh mountains.


Telling ghost stories was a common practice in this parish until the introduction of television. People used to ceili (ramble) in a neighbour’s house and sit around the hearth fire on a long winter’s night telling such stories. Some people are afraid of ghosts while others fear nothing.

The story goes that a man in this parish put down a bet that nothing would frighten him. His friends defied him and arranged a night when he would have to go to the graveyard and dig up a skull after midnight. Sure enough he brought a spade with him and began his task. One of his friends lay in hiding. He dug up a skull and on his way out he heard a voice (that of his friend] saying ‘That’s my father’s skull, leave it back in his grave. He did so and went to another grave where he dug up a skull. On his way out he heard a voice saying – ‘That is my father’s skull leave it back in his grave’. The wager answered ‘Go to hell, your father had not got two skulls’ so he put the skull under his arm and brought it to his friends.

People often tell of meeting a certain person who ask them to do something. Usually the request is carried out and that certain person is never seen or met again. These ghosts are often regarded as the souls from purgatory who wander about doing their penance.

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