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Rosses Point



Ireland's Historic Environment Viewer has this site as a rath. It can be seen as a raised circular area (about 22m diameter) surrounded by a bank of earth and stone, with a break at the SE where the entrance was.

I was reading the following story (part of the DĂș schools collection from the 1930s) and thought it might be connected with the site:
Once upon a time in years gone by a fairy played mysterious tricks on a farmer in the near by village. The farmer had three cows, and a pig with some little ones and near his house stood a fort. the farmer was on edge to cut the fort away so he started one day to do so and that night one of the cows took sick and died and so on until the pig and her five little ones died. But the farmer was a head strong man and would not give into the fairies, but his wife was in an awful state till an old beggar woman came around and she asked what was all the trouble so the farmer's wife told the tale. And then the old woman told her to get her husband to put the trees or bushes back and their luck would change so he did one night and they prospered afterwards.
But I think it's also mentioned by W B Yeats as he speaks about this area generally in his 'Celtic Twilight' - there are souterrains here too, according to the map and his stories.
At the northern corner of Rosses is a little promontory of sand and rocks and grass: a mournful, haunted place. No wise peasant would fall asleep under its low cliff, for he who sleeps here may wake 'silly,' the 'good people' having carried off his soul. There is no more ready short-cut to the dim kingdom than this plovery headland, for, covered and smothered now from sight by mounds of sand, a long cave goes thither 'full of gold and silver, and the most beautiful parlours and drawing rooms.'

Once, before the sand covered it, a dog strayed in, and was heard yelping helplessly deep underground in a fort far inland. These forts or raths, made before modern history had begun, cover all Rosses and Columkille. The one where the dog yelped has, like most others, an underground beehive chamber in the midst. Once when I was poking about there, an unusually intelligent and 'reading' peasant who had come with me, and waited outside, knelt down by the opening, and whispered in a timid voice, 'Are you all right, sir?' I had been some little while underground, and he feared I had been carried off like the dog.

No wonder he was afraid, for the fort has long been circled by ill-boding rumours. It is on the ridge of a small hill, on whose northern slope lie a few stray cottages. One night a farmer's young son came from one of them and saw the fort all flaming, and ran towards it, but the 'glamour' fell on him, and he sprang on to a fence, cross-legged, and commenced beating it with a stick, for he imagined the fence was a horse, and that all night long he went on the most wonderful ride through the country. In the morning he was still beating his fence, and they carried him home, where he remained a simpleton for three years before he came to himself again.

A little later a farmer tried to level the fort. His cows and horses died, and all manner of trouble overtook him, and finally he himself was led home, and left useless with 'his head on his knees by the fire to the day of his death'.

A few hundred yards southwards of the northern angle of Rosses is another angle having also its cave, though this one is not covered with sand. About twenty years ago a brig was wrecked near by, and three or four fishermen were put to watch the deserted hulk through the darkness. At midnight they saw sitting on a stone at the cave's mouth two red-capped fiddlers fiddling with all their might. The men fled. A great crowd of villagers rushed down to the cave to see the fiddlers, but the creatures had gone.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
1st April 2016ce

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