The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian




So many raths. But this one's stoney and could be the right one for the story. I like the way the story was up to date at the time of writing (the 1930s) and features named people and contemporary events.
After the Ambush near Cliffoney in October 1920, the Black and Tans burned to the ground a house in Cliffony owned by a family named McCannon. The father and a son were arrested and lodged in Derry Gaol and three other sons had to go "on the run". They were all prominent Sinn Feiners. One of the sons, D[?] McCannon, who did not take any part in the movement was not molested. The mother and he went to live in a cottage in the townland of Ballinphull, near the village of Cliffoney.

Their former residence which was destroyed by the Tans was in the townland of Cartron. Their land, which comprised a few fields lay to the rear of their dwelling home. The entrance to their new home in the cottage was a very soft and boggy path. The boys who were [?] used often at dead of night and in terror of their lives come back to visit their mother and brother.
The Tans were active and paid many a visit to the cottage.

D[?] McCannon decided to make a rough path to his cottage so that no boot tracks could be seen, and in this way give no clue to the Tans as to the visits of the boys. Helped by his uncle, Pat Clancy, he removed some stones from an old fort on his land at Cartron, broke them up and so made a good solid path to his house. The day after the work was completed, D[?] had to go to a fair. It would necessitate his being away two nights to get his business done. The first night the mother was all alone and an uneasy night she spent.

About midnight she heard a terrible noise around the house. An argument appeared to be going on. Thinking it was the boys who had some trouble among themselves she did not open the door for a considerable time. Then anxious to know what was happening and wondering why they did not knock she opened the door and went outside when to her amazement no person could be seen. Returning to the house she went to bed, but did not sleep that night.

Next day she informed her brother Pat Clancy. He said he would keep her company that night. He did so and such a night. The running of people around the house - the arguments - the shouting and screeching of people, as they thought, were terrible to listen to. Pat Clancy ordered his nephew D[?] Mc Cannon, who returned from the fair the following day, to leave the stones, although now broken up into small pieces, back at the old fort again. D[?] gathered up all the pieces of broken stone, and carted them back to the fort.

From that time forth, Mrs McCannon and her son had no more trouble, except visits from Black and Tans.
From the Schools Collection, currently being digitised at

But then again, there's another story about the McCannon family - they must have been daring or daft to try stealing the stones twice. This was before their house burnt down and they had to move. I can't help thinking that cows are probably stubborn animals - how lethargic were they really?
In the year 1917, the MrCannon family were building a byre at the rear of their dwelling house. Building stones were very scarce at that place, and it was necessary for them to take stones from the fort.

It was in the month of May and as the weather was good, the cows were out at night. D[?] Mc Cannon proceeded to the field to milk the cows and was surprised to find all four lying down.
He tried by every means in his power to get them to stand but without avail. Going back to the house he informed his brothers who in turn acquainted the neighbours. They all proceeded to the field again and tried to force the cows to get up, but as before it was unavailing.

An elderly man amongst them who knew that they had taken stones from the fort said "Boys, leave back those stones, you took from the fort yesterday." The stones were carted back to the fort the following day, and in the evening the cows were on their feet, and gave their milk as usual, and were as healthy as ever.
From the document here.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
3rd April 2016ce
Edited 3rd April 2016ce

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