A 9,000-year-old axe sheds light on burial practices
Analysis of an axe that is more than 9,000 years old, found at Ireland’s earliest burial site, in Co Limerick, has shed light on the ancient burial practices of our hunter-gatherer ancestors... continues...
This is situated in the townland of Ballingarry, Barony Coshlea. A "light" was always associated with it. It is near a graveyard and the light was supposed to be seen going from there to the moat and back again. In my young days when passing by that moat (there is a double ditch beside it, a short cut to village of Ballylanders) we would walk very quietly and silently and never go nearer than the double ditch and we would not dream of crossing at night. Now all that fear is gone.
A story was told by my father (RIP) how one night about midnight he was returning from a hayrick and a light left this moat and went along the road before him and when he came to the crossroads near Ballingarry he heard trampling as if horses were travelling fast but saw nothing and the light was still there. The noise turned at the cross and went along the road whence he had come, towards the churchyard, and the light left him and also went back, and he could see the light facing for the moat again. He used to say that it was a funeral of someone who had been buried in a place he or she did not like and was coming back to their own burial ground.
I think this must be the right place from its proximity to the churchyard and the footpath. It's recounted in the Schools Collection of the 1930s, now being transcribed at Duchas.ie.
Glenbrohane (Knocklary, Barony of Coshlea, and Co. Limerick) has a collection of moats. Hardly a farm that does not hold a moat and the old people and some of the younger generation hold these moats in great awe and veneration. No one would be allowed to cut a bush off one of them or interfere in any way with them, and stories are told of punishments meted out to some who did dare to interfere with them.
In this place are 13 or 14 moats and from the top of any one of them, three more are visible.
The largest moat of all is in a farm called Quane's, and is known as Quane's moat, and it is said to be the second largest in Munster, and it is said that it is from a chief who once lived there that the name Glenbrohane is got. The Glen of the Brohans (Brohan's being the name of the Chieftain). From this large moat, the others circle so that a complete half circle is formed by all. An underground channel connects all but so far, no one seems to have gone down and explored any of these passages.
One of these is said to have removed from one farm (Madden's) and goes across the river to another farm (Howard's) in one night. The hollow is in Madden's farm where they say the moat once stood. The late owner of the farm - Howard's - would not allow a bush to be cut from the moat, so that it is overgrown with furze bushes, and I remember myself as a child passing by that silently and very [sickened?] lest the fairies would hear us within. That idea prevailed in this place up to the last generation, who had a great dread of insulting the fairies or rousing their anger in any way, but at present bushes are being cut and these moats are regarded as part of the farms and no more. But when the antiquarians were excavating in Cush-Kilfinaine, Co Limerick, which is only one mile from here - a man who had a moat on his farm would not allow them interfere with it, lest there may be reprisals by the fairies.
Laune's Moat, in the townsland of Glenbrohane, is a very large moat and though it was overgrown a few years ago, a man came along and cut away all the furze from it, but he lost the farm, and the old people said that it was not right to interfere with the moat.
Story:- The owner of this - Morgan Laune (RIP) had made up his mind to cut the bushes from this one day, years and years ago. He had a very quiet old horse and he harnessed him meaning to take down a car to bring home the bushes. No sooner was he harnessed than away with him from under the car, towards the moat and fell dead at the entrance to the moat.
Ever after, no one ever interfered with that moat during his life time, but the bushes are being cut now and the grass mown off it.
From the Schools Collection of the 1930s, currently being transcribed here and here at Duchas.ie. I'm not sure which of the many moats are the ones referred to. The grid reference I've give is the largest and is named 'Doonglara' on an old map.
In the townland of Ballyvocogue there is situated a fort. This fort belongs to Pat Kennedy. Some years ago a dog was seen coming out of the fort, and run along the bank of the fort. It is said that the dog used be throwing fire from his mouth, and all along the bank of the fort people used see burnt patches. The colour of this dog was white.
All the people in the district, and the people in the surrounding districts knew about this dog, and even some of the people in the district shunned that after sunset. No one knows how the dog went out of the fort but, he was not seen after the owner cutting down some of the trees on the bank of the fort.
This is rather odd - a white not a black dog. But it's still rather otherworldly what with barking fire everywhere. And also rather backwards is its disappearance after trees were cut, rather than the usual fairy disapproval of such things. Perhaps he actually wanted them cut so he could have more room to run around in, dogs being dogs and all. From the 1930s Schools Collection being digitised at duchas.ie.
The hill of the fairies. This is the loftiest mountain in the county abovenamed, and lifts its double peak on the Southern side, pretty accurately, I believe, dividing it from Cork. Numberless are the tales related of this hill by the carmen who have been benighted near it on their return from the latter city, which is the favourite market for the produce of their dairies. That there is a Siobrug or fairy castle in the Mount, no one in his senses presumes to entertain a doubt. On the summit of the highest peak is an unfathomable well, which is held in very great veneration by the peasantry. It is by some supposed to be the entrance to the court of their tiny mightinesses. A curious fellow at one time had the hardihood to cast a stone down the orifice; and then casting himself on his face and hands, and leaning over the brink, waited to ascertain the falsity of this supposition by the reverberation, which he doubted not would soon be occasioned by the missile reaching the bottom. But he met with a fate scarce less tragical than that of poor Pug, who set fire to the match of a cannon, and then must needs run to the mouth to see the shot go off. Our speculator had his messenger returned to him with a force that broke the bridge of his nose, locked up both his eyes, and sent him down the hill at the rate of four furlongs per second, at the foot of which he was found senseless next morning.