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Title: Irish Historical Illusions - Curious Customs and Superstitions
Author: Foley, Patrick
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Irish Historical Illusions - Curious Customs and Superstitions" ***

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  Historical Allusions

  Curious Customs

  County of Kerry



  Patrick Foley


  Printed in the United States      Published by the Author

  _Erin you are still Gra-Mo-Chree._

    The Author reserves the rights of re-publication and translation
    excepting in the Irish language.


  My Son


  This book, the fourth of a
  series designated to present
  all essential historical information
  on this County is

  by his
  Affectionate Father,
  The Author.


While these manuscripts were in the hands of Messrs. Sealy, Bryer &
Walker, Printers, Dublin, the late Irish rising took place. During
the fight, between the British military and the Irish Republican
forces, a portion of the City of Dublin was destroyed by fire and
artillery, including the printers' premises, together with the
author's manuscripts for these books, and other works. Fearing the
destruction of liners, by German submarines, the author held copies
of his works until landed in Ireland. Believing that there they were
safe, the copies were neglected and portions of them burned and lost.
Therefore in the following pages the author presents to the reader
but the remaining two parts of a book left after the Dublin fire, to
which is added a brief account of Sinn Feiners and the outbreak.


Dated at Oakland, California, this 3rd day of July, 1916.



  Abduction                                                 16

  All Fools' Day                                            76

  Ancient Cross Roads                                       76

  Ancient National Dances                                   78

  Ardnane                                                   78

  Bally-Ferriter Evictions                                  78

  Banshee                                                   78

  Barking Disease                                           18

  Battle of Boyne                                           18

  Battle of Glantarf                                        19

  Begrudging                                                79

  Bellman                                                   79

  Black Death                                               19

  Black Famine                                              20

  Blind Fiddlers and Flute Players                          80

  Blood Money                                               20

  Boats and Canoes Haunted                                  80

  Bodach                                                    80

  Bone Fires                                                81

  Bone Setters                                              81

  Boycotting                                                21

  Brack-an-Tobar                                            81

  Brandon Mountain                                          81

  Brehons                                                   21

  Brendon (St.) Feast                                       82

  Brigid's Day (St.)                                        21

  Cat Brack                                                 22

  Catholic Rent                                             23

  Changelings                                               82

  Charity Meal                                              23

  Charms                                                    82

  Cholera Plague                                            24

  Clanna-Gael                                               24

  Cloghane Pattern Day                                      24

  Cockfighting                                              25

  Contracts with the Devil                                  83

  Corkaguiny Magistrates Dislike Attorneys                  25

  Cross Thursday                                            83

  Cromwell                                                  25

  Crowbar Brigade                                           26

  Curious Customs--Introduction                  69 to 75 inc.

  Death Warning                                             84

  Doon-an-Ore                                               26

  Easter Sunday or Sun Dance                                84

  Eastern, Protestant and Catholic Winds                    85

  English Garrison                                          26

  Enlisting Young Men with a Shilling                       26

  Excommunication with Bell, Book and Candle                27

  Faction Fights                                            27

  Fallen Angels                                             86

  Fenianism                                             29, 64

  Forty-Shilling Freeholders                                29

  Funeral Bells                                             86

  Gates of Glory                                            87

  Gaudy Ribbon Crosses                                      29

  Ghosts Cannot Cross Running Water                         87

  Glas-Guineach                                             87

  Glenbeigh Evictions                                       30

  Gospels                                                   88

  Great Famine                                              30

  Halley's Comet                                            30

  Harrington and Esmond's Election                          31

  Haunted Houses                                            88

  Head Act                                                  30

  Headless Coach Stories                                    88

  History of Ireland--Introduction                3 to 15 inc.

  Hold out the Hand and Split the Difference                89

  Holy Water Bottles in Canoes                              89

  Holy Wells                                                89

  Home Rule                                                 31

  Horn Dance                                                89

  Horse Shoe Nail Over the Door                             89

  House League                                              32

  Hurley                                                    90

  Influenza                                                 32

  Invisible-Blood-Jobbers                                   33

  I Usga Bagha                                              90

  Ivy Day                                                   33

  Judges Bringing Bad Weather to Kerry                      90

  Kennels and Hunting                                       33

  Kerry Bonds                                               33

  Kerry Cows Know Sunday                                    33

  Kerry Election                                            34

  Kissing the Blarney Stone                                 34

  Lady Day                                                  91

  Landlords' and their Land Agents' Approval Necessary to
      Marriages                                             37

  Land League and Irish National League                     37

  Land Purchase Act of George Wyndham's                     29

  La Varaha na Feir                                         38

  Leith Broath                                              38

  Leprachawn                                                91

  Lycanthropy                                               91

  Marriages and Weddings                                    91

  May Day                                                   92

  Middlemen and the Conacre System                          38

  Mistletoe                                                 92

  Molly McGuires                                            39

  Moonlighting                                              42

  Mother Carey's Chickens or Stormy Petrels                 93

  Mug                                                       94

  Mugs                                                      94

  National School Teachers Slapping Children for Speaking
      Irish                                                 42

  Ogham Characters                                          43

  Orangemen                                                 43

  Pagan Wells                                               95

  Parnellite Splits                                         43

  Patron Days                                               96

  Peelers                                                   45

  Penal Laws                                                45

  Penitent Pilgrims of the Cat-Brack                        97

  Phoenix Park Murders                                      46

  Pitch Cap                                                 47

  Plan of Campaign                                          47

  Poff and Barrett Hanged                                   47

  Poor Scholars or Hedge School Teachers                    47

  Pope's Brass Band                                         47

  Primrose League                                           46

  Public Pilgrimage to Brandon Mountain                     48

  Racing at Weddings                                        97

  Recantations (Public)                                     48

  Red Coals of Fire Given Out of the House                  98

  Rounds                                                    98

  Saints' Birthdays                                         48

  Sinn Fein                                                 49

  Skelligs                                                  55

  Shea-Hated by the Mermaids                                98

  Snap Apple Nights                                         99

  Soupers' Campaign                                         55

  Spanish Armada                                            55

  Statute of Kilkenny                                       56

  Steel-Pen Coats                                          100

  St. Martin's Eve                                         100

  St. Patrick and the Snakes                               100

  St. Patrick's Day                                         56

  St. Stephen's Day                                        102

  Sunburst of Erin                                         103

  Tanistry                                                  56

  Tara                                                      56

  Tenants' Defense League                                   57

  Tenant League                                             57

  Thierna-Dubh's Raid                                       58

  Thomas-an-Aehig                                           61

  Tithes                                                    61

  Tithes Artificial Famine                                  62

  Toothache Cure                                           103

  Treaty of Limerick                                        62

  Turn Coats                                                62

  United Irishmen                                           62

  White Boys                                                63

  Wicker Baskets                                            63

  Wild Geese                                                64

  Wreck of "Port-Yorack"                                    64

  Witches                                                  103


According to leading Irish historians, close on three thousand years
ago, Ireland was fairly well peopled. Of the several tribes that
settled in the country, the most important colony was the Milesians.
Dr. Keating, the Irish historian, says that race of people landed
in Ireland thirteen hundred years before the birth of Christ, while
McGeoghegan put this event down for 1029 B. C., and O'Flaherty, one
thousand years before the Christian Era.

At the time of the landing of the Milesians, Ireland was governed
by three Dedaanan Kings, viz: MacCull, MacKecht and MacGrena, whose
Queens were Eire, Fodla and Banba.

_The Milesians._--There were many battles fought between invading
Milesians and the older settlers. Probably the first notable battle
ever fought in the country, was that which took place between the
Tuatha-de-Danaans, who possessed Ireland for over two hundred years
previously, and the invading Milesians. This battle is said to have
taken place about one thousand years before the Christian Era, and
was brought about by the following circumstances: The Milesians,
having left Scythia, settled in Spain, where they lived for several
generations. One of their chiefs, named Ith, having on one occasion
sailed in the direction of Ireland, unexpectedly touched the country,
where he landed, with the result that he was attacked and wounded.
Although he was carried away alive in his ship, he died on sea, and
his remains were conveyed to Spain. To avenge his death the sons of
Milesius assembled a large force, and headed by their mother, Queen
Scota, eight of them with a fleet of thirty ships, landed in Ireland.

Having marched into the country and demanded battle or submission,
the De-Danaans complained that they were taken by surprise and
treated unfairly, and if the invaders re-embarked and retired
from the shore, and if the Milesians were then able to effect a
landing, the country should be given to them. The very moment the
Milesians were on the high sea, a great storm blew, which scattered
and wrecked the fleet. Four of Queen Scota's sons perished on the
coast of Kerry. When the storm ceased, Queen Scota and her two sons
made good a landing in Tralee Bay, which in olden times was called
"Lough-Foirdreamhuin," and marched inland to Slieve-Mish. Here Queen
Scota met a part of the De-Danaan army, led by one of the De-Danaan
Queens, called Eire, with the result that a great battle was fought
on the mountain of Slieve-Mish, in the County of Kerry, in which the
Milesians were victorious, but the Queen fell.

After this victory the Milesian army marched towards 'Tara, where
they defeated and killed the three De-Danaan Kings, MacCull, MacKecht
and MacGrena. The Milesians then took possession of the country,
which they divided between them, and gave a long line of kings to
Ireland, many of whom fell in battle and few died a natural death.

The Milesian kings, princes and chiefs ruled the country for over
2,140 years. Roderick O'Connor was the last High King of the Milesian
race to rule the whole of Ireland. He reigned in 1168 A. D. The
largest percentage of the Irish are descendants of the Milesians.

Christianity was established by St. Patrick, and judging by the way
he handled the Pagan Irish kings and chiefs, he must have been a wise

From 432 to 812, Ireland was known throughout the world as the
"Island of Saints and Scholars." Foreigners came from all parts of
the Old World for education. The ancient language of the country
then, as now, was Irish. In the Irish wars most of the fine Irish
arts and buildings were destroyed by foreign invaders. Probably the
"Book of Kells" is the finest production of its age in the whole

Latin was the written language of England in the 12th Century, or

_The Danes in Ireland._--About the year 795, Danish and Norwegian
pirates appeared in ships upon the Irish coast. Here and there they
sailed into harbors, landed, ran into the country, robbed the people,
ravaged women, tossed children from lance to lance for pleasure,
drank the blood of their victims, imitated the dogs in their wild
ferocity, set houses on fire and successfully returned to their ships
before their very presence in the locality became generally known.
Year after year they increased in numbers. In the summer they came
like swarms of flies. They robbed monasteries, tore up fine Irish
arts, took ornaments off books and killed the monks. After some
time parties of them settled on the seaboard. Their chief towns in
Kerry were Ballinagaul, Ballylangford and Broadford. For two hundred
and twenty years they held their criminal sway of rape, murder and
robbery over the inhabitants of the seaboard of Ireland. In several
engagements they were defeated and driven from Ireland by the Irish
kings, chiefs and princes. However, in 1074, at the invitation of
the Prince or King of Hinster, they attempted to conquer Ireland. On
Good Friday, the 23rd of April, 1074, the Danes and their followers
were completely defeated in battle at Glantarf, County Dublin, by
the Irish, under Brien Borue, King of Munster. This day the Danish
power in the whole of Europe was broken down, and their piratical
expeditions ended. The same day Brien Borue fell while praying in his

_English Invasion._--Fighting between petty Irish chieftains became
common. Following the example set by the Danes, the rule of might,
not right, was very much practiced. Just as the people were settling
down in peace, the Prince of Linster induced the wife of another
Irish prince or governor to elope with him. Ireland was now divided.
There were circumstances in the case which in the opinion of many
did not justify the marriage of the Princess to O'Rourke. The High
King of Ireland and the Irish could not stand the disgrace of such
an act to occur on Irish soil, and consequently declared war on the
Prince of Linster. The Prince of Linster appealed to King Henry II
of England for aid. The kings, princes and people of Ireland stood
for virtue, while the English king and his barons under the color and
pretense of restoring virtue to Ireland, stood for a licentious old
man and introduced rape, plunder and murder into the country.

In 1170, Richard Clare, commonly called the Earl of Strongbow, on
behalf of the King of England, landed in Ireland. In 1171 the King
of England in person visited Ireland. He produced the Pope's Bull,
showing that he had authority from Rome to establish virtue, settle
and possess Ireland. The majority of the Irish chieftains refused to
recognize the King of England, no matter from whom he pretended to
possess the authority.

These are the circumstances which brought about the first Norman
English raids on the peaceful valleys of Ireland. Little by little
the English succeeded in establishing a foothold on Irish soil. It
took the English over four hundred years to completely conquer the
whole island. After some time the English in Ireland became more
Irish than the Irish themselves, but they had to get the "fat" of the
land; they even appointed their own clergy, although both at the time
were Roman Catholics.

_The Protestant Reformation._--The most of the districts in Ireland
were governed by their own independent native chieftains, although
they were supposed to be under English rule. When the Protestant
reformation burst forth, King Henry VIII of England hunted Luther and
other Protestant reformers out of England. The Pope conferred upon
him the title of "King Defender of the Faith."

This King Henry married his deceased brother's wife before the
marriage of the latter was fully consummated. It is a settled
doctrine of the Catholic Church that when both parties to a marriage
enter into it of their own free will and accord, and that no
moral objection is standing in the way of the ceremony, upon the
consummation of marriage no priest nor power on earth can divorce and
religiously remarry any of the parties while they both live.[1] Henry
VIII knew this. After being for twenty years married, he pretended
to feel frightfully uneasy because "it was wrong for him to marry his
brother's wife" after the brother's death. He applied for a divorce
to the Pope, and the Pope refused to grant him a divorce. He at once
established his own ecclesiastical courts, declared himself head
of the Church, and his courts at once granted him a divorce from
his lawful wife. Immediately he married one Anne Boleyn, whom he
divorced and killed for another wife. In all he had six wives, one
of whom he caused to be ripped open on child's birth. He seized and
confiscated the churches, chapels and all religious houses in England
and converted them to his own use. Of course these acts were resisted
with bloodshed.

The foundation on which the Protestant Reformation was founded in
England, was born in lust, murder and plunder. The British sovereign
declared himself supreme head of the Church on earth, and substituted
the parson for the priest. Henry VIII attempted to introduce his
new-made religion into Ireland. This religion was not Catholic nor
was it Protestant. Ireland rejected it and Henry VIII was not able to
enforce his orders there.

In the year 1553, Edward VI died, and Queen Mary, daughter of Henry
and of Catherine of Aragon, became Queen of England. This Queen
was a staunch Roman Catholic. Maddened at the ill-treatment of her
mother at the hands of Henry VIII, his ministers, the ecclesiastical
courts and reformers, she restored the Catholic religion, recovered
Catholic churches, monasteries and like property, and tortured and
burned Protestant leaders, especially those who refused to deliver up
the property. By Protestant historians she is styled "Bloody Mary."
As Ireland was always Catholic, her reign there did not cause much

_Queen Elizabeth._--After her came Queen Elizabeth, called the
"Virgin Queen" by Protestants, because she never married. However,
she was the reverse of a virgin. She declared herself a Catholic, but
when the Pope was notified that she ascended the throne by hereditary
rights and the will of the people, it appears he made use of some
language to the effect that he did not see how she could claim the
Crown of England by hereditary rights, as she was the daughter of
Henry VIII with Anne Boleyn while his first wife was alive. Queen
Elizabeth, fearing the influence of Rome might deprive her of the
crown, at once declared herself a Protestant.

During her long reign, Catholic Ireland became her greatest slaughter
field. Although in the Protestant Bible she is said to be the "bright
occidental star," "of most happy memory," the truth is that she did
not care much for any religion, but used Protestantism as the most
favorable one to gain her ends. Bad as "Bloody Mary" was, her reign
was a mild one when compared with "virgin" Elizabeth. England became
worse in those days than Mexico of today. The instruments of torture
in the Tower of London bear silent evidence of many dark crimes.

_Charles I Beheaded._--After this hateful Queen dying, James I, son
of Mary, Queen of the Scots, came upon the throne. He was followed
by King Charles I, whom over a question of a little tax, Cromwell
beheaded and established the Commonwealth. Cromwell did not confine
his butchery to England; he landed in Ireland, took Drogheda, killed
women and children and put the priests to the sword; he caused both
the real and personal estate of the people to be seized and had
the lands parcelled up amongst his officers or "gamesters." These,
together with some of Queen Elizabeth's followers, became Irish
landlords and tyrants of the worst kind. The people who reclaimed,
tilled, improved and erected buildings on those lands, could not
understand how a foreigner who never tilled or improved one inch
of land could claim ownership of everything which the farmer
raised. For two hundred and fifty years, war has gone on between
the landlords and the tillers of the soil. Today the descendants of
ancient occupiers of the holdings are repossessing same and Cromwell
landlords are disappearing.

_Cromwell._--When Cromwell died, England did not become a Republic,
and again a king in the person of Charles II ascended the throne.

_King James II and the Battle of the Boyne._--The next most important
event in Irish history is the Battle of the Boyne--the disgraceful
boast of some Englishmen--fought in Ireland between King James II
of England, a Catholic, of the Stuart family, and his son-in-law,
William of Orange from Holland. In America this war is called a
religious war, fought between Catholics and Protestants. It is true
that because this king declared himself openly a Roman Catholic,
Protestants in wrongful occupation of Catholic property became
intensely alarmed for their future, and invited William, Prince of
Orange, to invade England.

King James was one of the greatest cowards that ever lived. With
his English troops he lost almost every engagement in England. He
then fell back on Ireland. William, Prince of Orange, on landing
in Carrick-a-fergus, Ireland, on the 14th day of June, 1690, found
himself at the head of about 40,000 men. The Irish had no love for
any British king. However, priests and Catholic leaders influenced
the Irish to come to aid King James, on the pretense that his own
daughter and her Protestant husband, a foreigner, were depriving this
old man of his kingdom because he was a Catholic. The Irish, blinded
with sympathy, entered the fight. On the 1st of July, 1690, the
Battle of the Boyne was fought. William in person led his own army
while King James stood at a distance, ready to mount his horse and
ride away if the battle should be favorable to the Prince of Orange.
The Irish fought bravely for over half the day, but as they began
to retreat in good order, the English King mounted his horse and
rode away into Dublin, leaving the Irish fighting behind him. He was
designated "Dirty James" by the Irish.

The Irish, although deserted by the King and others, continued the
fight for over one year from the River Boyne to the walls of Limerick
and Athlone. On the 3rd of October, 1691, the generals of both armies
signed the famous treaty of Limerick. According to the articles
signed, full religious liberties were granted to the Roman Catholics,
but no sooner did the Irish soldiers sail away to France, than
England wilfully and wickedly broke the treaty. England has never yet
kept a treaty with the Irish, if it stood in the way of plunder or

_Treaty of Limerick Broken._--In 1692, contrary to the articles of
the treaty of Limerick, the Catholics were excluded from the Irish
Parliament. Education of a Catholic child, shortly afterwards, was
declared to be a serious crime. Catholics were required to take an
oath declaring the mass damnable. No Catholic could learn a trade.

In 1701, contrary to the treaty of Limerick, Catholic solicitors
were disqualified. Priests found in Ireland were branded with redhot
irons on the cheeks. The law made it death to shelter, and penal
servitude to know where a priest was concealed and not to inform
the government. Priests were dragged from the altars, branded,
disemboweled, quartered, hanged and transported. A Catholic could not
have a horse worth more than five pounds (twenty-five dollars). Any
Protestant tendering a Roman Catholic five pounds for his horse, the
horse would have to go.

_Flight of Wild Geese._--The young Irishmen of that period rushed to
France and were called "Wild Geese." Catholics could not send their
children to be educated at home or abroad, and Catholic doctors were
not allowed.

_The Irish Brigade at Fontenoy, France._--At Fontenoy, France, on
Tuesday, the 11th of May, 1745, the Irish Brigade in battle swept
before them the British and their flag. The war cry was "Revenge!
Remember Limerick!! Dash down the Sassenach!!!" From that day onward
Irish priests and Irish Catholics could move about without the danger
of being hanged or transported. At Fontenoy the Irish exiles made the
British ministry conscious of the harsh and unjust manner in which
they had treated the Irish Catholics, and gradually the penal laws
were forced to disappear.

_American Revolution._--In 1775, Irishmen were found very active
in the cause of the American Revolution. Shortly after, England
granted Ireland an independent Parliament. This Parliament is known
as "Grattan's Parliament." The progress of Ireland under her own
Parliament surprised the world and immediately England set about for
its destruction. In 1801, Ireland was again a bleeding nation--her
Parliament was gone. Although an Irish Catholic could not sit in
Irish Parliament, yet the people expected Catholic emancipation from
it much sooner than from the British Parliament.

_Tithes and Orangemen._--During all this time Roman Catholics
resisted the payment of tithes to the parson. The parson was a
minister of the Protestant church, who was substituted for the priest
and never ministered to a Roman Catholic. Catholics were compelled by
law to give one-tenth of their crops to the support of the Protestant
Church without receiving anything in return but insult and injury.
Then came the landlord, giving nothing but claiming everything to
the body and souls of the tenants. Up until the land agitation the
buildings and all improvements made or erected by the tenant became
the property of the landlord. In order to keep Ireland divided, the
wealth and power of the Unionist (capitalist) class from England to
New Zealand is still lavished on a body of foreigners in the North of
Ireland, called "Orangemen."

_Orangemen._--It must be remembered that it is not the Orangemen
alone the Irish have to contend with in their fight for Home Rule,
but the whole power and wealth of the Unionist Party in England,
Scotland, Ireland, India, Africa, Australia, New Zealand and
Canada. The English under the color and pretense of peacemakers and
Christians are always doing the utmost in their power to sow the
seeds of discord and dissension amongst the Irish people. One of the
sharpest wedges they can drive to divide the people is religion. If
the English Unionists believed that by granting Home Rule they could
set Irishmen fighting, a full measure would be granted in eight hours.

_Irish Patriots._--Amongst the Irish patriots the following
Protestants took a leading part for Irish freedom, namely, Charles
Stewart Parnell, Sir Isaac Butt, Henry Grattan and Robert Emmett.
Their names, with many others, Ireland will hold in grateful

Every blade of grass that grows on Irish soil is consecrated by the
blood of Irishmen, women and children, shed in the cause of freedom.
England, in her efforts to destroy the Irish language, the Catholic
religion and the nationality of the country, tried the rack, gibbet,
pitch-cap, quartering, coercion, famines, bribery and every barbarous
and refined form of cruelty, without success. The war between Sax
and Celt will rage hot and fierce until the last vestige of English
misrule is swept from the green hills of Erin.

_Taxation and Refunds._--By the Unionist Parliament, whiskey was
taxed much heavier than beer. Few Irishmen drink beer, but many of
them drink whiskey, while nearly every man and woman in England likes
to have beer. After a careful study of Irish customs, every taxable
article desired by the Irish was especially aimed at. To make the
tax appear just, the sum for the same quantity was raised alike
all over the United Kingdom. By such plans and others of the like,
Ireland was robbed of over $28,000,000 a year, outside of her proper
proportion, not to mention the millions the landlords or other office
pets took out of the country. Money raised in Ireland went into the
British treasury. Recently the England Parliament would make a grant
of a few million pounds to Ireland for some purpose, the largest
portion of which would go to some English pets holding offices of
some kind in Ireland. Then a cry would be raised of "millions of
English money granted by a generous government to Ireland." The truth
is that in such grants the Irish people only received back a small
portion of their own money.

_Author's Most Earnest Desire Is to See Ireland Free._--The author's
most earnest desire is to see the morning dawn when Protestant and
Catholic in Ireland would be linked together in one bond of peace,
enjoying the blessings of good laws made by a free people in an Irish
Independent Parliament. He is opposed to a class or creed ascendency,
the adoring of human false gods, or the keeping of the whole island
in slavery by a few non-productive, pampered gamesters.


  P. M. FOLEY, Author.

_Abduction._--Forceable abduction for a time was common enough in
those parts. The most common source from which those abductions
sprung was a man, after courting a girl for some time and finding
her for him inclined, but the parents refusing to consent to their
marriage, would come, accompanied by a dozen or more persons with
saddle horses, drag the girl screaming out of bed, place her on
horseback, gallop off to his hiding place--sometimes to his own
house, but at other times to a friend's house--and there keep her
until married.

When it happened that a Catholic boy and a Protestant girl were in
deep love with each other, and the feminine members of the Protestant
family would wish for their marriage, but after sounding the feelings
of the girl's father and finding that he was steadfastly opposed to
allow a Roman Catholic to be connected with his family, the hint
would be thrown out to the boy that the only way he could possess his
sweetheart now was by kidnapping. A hint so broadly given was quickly
acted on. In a short time abuses set in, and instead of honest
courtship, persons made for girls inheriting large fortunes.

Next came our "Squireens," or country gentlemen. These were made up
chiefly of that class of landlords called middlemen, and persons
holding some petty offices. The majority of them were corrupt, low
and immoral, but still had the presumption to insist that others
look up towards them as gentlemen. For cockfighting, fox-hunting, or
race-meeting, they would dress themselves up in great brilliancy and
make such a display that they appeared just as remarkable as the
rancheros or caballeros of Old Mexico, whom, I understand, are their
nearest comparison, and would have been their fittest companions.

A young man of that class, having his proposal of marriage with a
young lady of fortune rejected, would become an abductor, and with
the aid of firearms and a faction would carry her off and force a
marriage upon her. To remove the reputation of a scandal, the clergy
of both churches willingly performed the marriage ceremony, and often
without any fee from the parties at the time. The strangest part
of the transaction was that both Protestant and Catholic churches
allowed forced marriages to stand as valid. Once the example was
set by those high-class parish gentlemen it was adopted by their
understrappers and, like a contagious disease, it reached the common
people, with the result that in the seventeenth century abductions of
pretty girls with fortunes and good names became for a time numerous.

_Bally-Ferriter Evictions._--These were evictions which the Sheriff
of Kerry was never able to carry out. On portions of the estates of
the Earl of Cork, near Bally-Ferriter, several tenants were to be
ejected. On the 16th of February, 1887, the Sheriff with a staff of
Bailiffs, protected by a large force of police armed with rifles,
bayonets, revolvers and battons, under the command of District
Inspector Gray, started from Dingle, towards Bally-Ferriter. Upon
reaching a place called Shannacnock, two thousand people assembled.
They were armed with pitchforks, scythes and sticks. They forced
the Sheriff, his assistants and escort hastily to return to
Dingle. Several attempts to carry out these evictions failed. A
settlement was arrived at through the Rev. Father Egan, P. P., of
Bally-Ferriter, whereby the evictions were abandoned.

(See P. 281, History Co. Kerry-Corkaguiny.)

_Barking Disease_ prevailed about the year 1341. It appears persons
of both sex went about the country barking like dogs. This disease
was pretty bad and visited those parts.

_Battle of the Boyne._--This battle was fought on the 1st of July,
1690, at the River Boyne, in Ireland, between the soldiers of King
James, the lawful King of England, and his son-in-law, William,
Prince of Orange, a foreigner from Holland.

Protestants of England, who held Catholic confiscated lands, feared
King James, and invited William into England. In England, James
offered very poor resistance; in Ireland it was different. Although
the Irish had never much love for any English King, yet the leaders
and clergy worked upon the sympathies of the people by pointing
out the wrong of the King's Protestant daughter to be depriving
her father of his lawful throne, his home and country. Blinded by
sympathy, the Irish were induced to fight. By his own fault James had
but six guns, while William had fifty. William's army was only 25,000
men against 50,000 in James' army.

The Irish fought well, but several times showed signs of yielding in
the afternoon. King James mounted his horse and deserted his Irish
troops. The Irish nicknamed him "Dirty James."

This battle was lost but the Irish continued the fight, although the
King was off for France.

On the 12th of July, 1691, another decisive battle was fought
at Aughrim, in which the soldiers of the Prince of Orange were
victorious.[2] However, the fight was continued in Limerick and
Athlone. On the 24th of September, a truce of four days was agreed
upon. The 3rd of October, 1691, the Generals of the English and Irish
armies signed the famous Treaty of Limerick. The Irish soldiers
sailed away to France. In 1692 the English broke the treaty.

_Battle of Glantarf._--On Good Friday, the 23rd of April, the final
battle was fought between the Danes and Brien Borue[3] at Glantarf,
Dublin. Before the battle started Brien Borue rode on his horse
amongst his troops; holding a crucifix in his hand he addressed his
army. This was a hand-to-hand fight. From the time the tide was
high-water until a long time after it was low-water the result was
doubtful. Before evening the Danes gave way all around. Victory
crowned Brien and his Munster men. The losses were: Irish, over
4,000, and Danes, over 7,000.

However, Brien Borue was assassinated while praying in his tent.

This battle released the whole of Europe from the Danish power.

_Black Death._--This dangerous contagious disease made its way into
Ireland about the year 1348. It was so dangerous that any person who
touched the sick or even looked for a few seconds into his face was
immediately affected and died. It swept the English out of Ireland.
According to the English accounts, it touched but few of the native

_Black Famine._--This was called to the famine years of 1845, 1846
and 1847. During these years for the want of food people died by
thousands from hunger. From November, 1846, until the end of the
spring of 1847, people were falling dead like Autumn leaves in a
storm, by the roadside, in their cabins, and in the fields. For
burial their corpses were conveyed to the graveyard in sheets and
buried without coffins. Dogs in search of food tore into the tombs
and preyed upon the emaciated corpses of the famine victims.

This famine was caused by a failure of the potato crop, on which the
common people lived for sustenance. The blackest feature of this
famine was that the Irish branch of the Church of England availed of
it to seduce the starving people into Protestantism with soup and
bibles, and that these years there was enough corn shipped out of
Ireland to maintain the class ascendency in luxury, that would feed
as many as died through hunger.

(See P. 212-232, Hist. Co. Kerry.)

_Blood Money._--This is money paid by the government to spies,
informers and crown witnesses, to induce them to swear against
persons charged with murder, or serious crime. It was much used
during the Irish agitation. By the Crimes (Coercion) Act of 1882,
it was proposed to levy a "Blood Tax" for murder on the innocent

At present, compensation to police injured in certain cases in the
execution of their duties and malicious injury to property is charged
against the rate-payers.

_Boycotting._--This word was derived from Captain Boycott, a land
agent who was boycotted. Today it is to be found in every dictionary
in the English language. Its use and effect in our district is fully
set forth by me in my "His. Co. Kerry"--Corkaguiny, and also under
The Reading of Chronology.

_Brehons._--Were the names given to ancient Irish judges, who
administered the Irish ancient laws with strict justice and
impartiality. In 1365 or thereabouts, the English by the Statute of
Kilkenny, forbade the English subjects to obey it. However, for its
justice it was respected and obeyed until after Cromwell's wars in

_Brigid's (Saint) Day._--This falls on the 1st of February of each
year, and formerly was observed as a holy day in honor of the death
of St. Brigid, she being the founder of the famous nunnery of Kildare
and the patroness of Ireland. In those parts a pretty ancient custom
of carrying a _Brideoge_ on St. Brigid's Day, and receiving gifts
in her name, still survives, although in a dying form. In country
homes eggs were usually given to those accompanying or carrying
Brideoge. However, if any of those receiving these gifts were seen
drinking intoxicating liquors with the proceeds of St. Brigid's Day,
it would be made sufficiently clear to some member of the party that
thereafter their visits were undesirable, and the next time they came
around they were to go empty-handed.

St. Brigid was born about the year 452 at a place called Foghert,
near Dundalk. She founded her convent under or near an oak tree, from
which the town and county of Kildare took their present name.

She was the mother and foundress of many others and was known as the
"Wonderful Worker" throughout Ireland. On the 1st of February, 525,
she died and was buried at Kildare. Her nuns honored her memory so
much that they kept a fire continually burning both day and night
which was not extinguished until 1220, when the Archbishop of Dublin
ordered it to be put out, as it was fast becoming the object of

Owing to the Scandinavian raids upon Ireland, in which they tore
down churches and monasteries, her body was taken from Kildare and
transferred to Down Patrick. In 1185 a triple vault was discovered
containing the bodies of St. Patrick, St. Brigid and St. Columba. On
the 9th of June, 1186, or thereabouts, the Pope caused the relics
of these three great saints to be placed in the Cathedral of Down.
This cathedral with its contents was destroyed by order of King Henry
VIII of England, but pieces of the relics, including the head of St.
Brigid, were saved by some clergy. The head was carried to Neustadt,
in Austria. In 1587, Emperor Rudolf gave it to the Church of the
Jesuits at Lisbon. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, her hand
is preserved at Lumiar, near Lisbon, Portugal, and another relic is
at St. Martin's, Cologne.

_Cat Brack._--This was the name given to printed matter found
in Irish primers supplied by the Irish Protestant Society to
Irish-speaking Roman Catholics in those parts, because the former,
under the color and pretense of preserving the Irish language,
both oral and written, instead taught the Protestant version of the
Scriptures and thereby attempted to overthrow the Roman Catholic
religion. This campaign started out very active in 1836 and lingered
on to the last days of the last century. While the scholars were
learning both teachers and pupils were in receipt of pay. Some
teachers made it a practice to enter the names of Roman Catholics on
their roll books who were not students, but as a friendly neighbor
would accommodate the teacher so as to enable him to get his fees.

_Catholic Rent._--This was a tax levied in 1823 upon Catholics by
Daniel O'Connel's Catholic Association to support the fight for

_Charity Meal._--At the end of 1879, a famine threatened Ireland.
The British Government at first refused to take any steps to prevent
death from hunger. The Land League, which was founded by the later
Michael Davitt, in April, 1879, by Parnell, was temporarily converted
into a relief organization. In America, Parnell and John Dillion
collected $250,000 for the relief of distress.[4] The Duchess of
Marlborough also appealed for help. In January and February, large
contributions arrived from Canada, Australia, India, and the United
States. The funds were distributed amongst the clergy of the poorer
parishes, who issued tickets to traders to supply poor people with
Indian meal.

_Cholera Plague._--On the 14th of March of 1831 this great plague
made its first appearance in Belfast, Ireland. It visited our part of
the country shortly after. When it was first discovered in the town,
the inhabitants fled to the country. It was nearly as fatal as the
Black Death. It also followed the famine years of Black Death.

_Clanna-Gael._--Clanna-Gael is an Irish society formed in America in
1881, or thereabouts. It was made up of most loyal members of the old
Fenians, who hated to their dying day British rule in Ireland, and at
the first opportunity available are determined to overthrow British
power in Ireland.

_Cloghane Pattern Day._--This pattern is held on the last Sunday
of July in each year. The old people of the parish believe that it
originated in honor of a pagan chieftain called Crom Duff, signifying
_Crom of the Heap of Stones_, one of the deities of the Irish Druids.
The last Sunday in Summer is called Black Crom, being held sacred to
St. Patrick as the anniversary of commemorating the destruction of
this class of idols as well as others of a like nature.

Cromleacs, composed of huge stones, the selection of ancient Druids,
are to be found in the Parish of Ballyduff, and other like evidence
in the neighborhood which go to show that the district was the scene
of ancient ceremonies. Tradition gives credit to a pagan chieftain
for building the old church, the remains of which stand at the east
end of the dismantled Protestant church in Cloghane burial ground.
However, the present structure was not erected for many centuries
after paganism was overthrown. It is probable that the first
Christian building in Cloghane was erected by a pagan chieftain,
the follower of the Crom Duff form of worship. After mass, dancing
and other like innocent amusements are carried on here. Excessive
drinking and rowdyism, I am very glad to note, is very very much on
the decline; in fact, is gone out of existence there.

_Cockfighting._--These games were common in those parts until
suppressed by law.

_Corkaguiny Magistrates Disliked Attorneys and Decided Cases
According to Dingle Justice._--From 1720 downward to 1822 the
Corkaguiny justices of the peace would not allow any attorney-at-law
to plead before them, but instead of deciding cases according to
law settled them in conformity with "Dingle justice." Whenever an
attorney was brought at high expense from Tralee to appear before
them, the cases in which he was engaged were adjourned from court to
court and his client in the end defeated.

Lady Chatham in her visit to Dingle noticed that cases were not
decided in keeping with "the law," but according "to justice." She
did not know that the houses of the Dingle magistrates were filled
with smuggled goods, and that they reaped a rich harvest from several
just but illegal trades. Therefore they sat more often for the
protection of the smugglers than the enforcement of the law. (See
"His. Co. Kerry"--Corkaguiny.)

_Cromwell._--Oliver Cromwell rebelled against King Charles I,
beheaded the latter, and set up a Republic. In 1649, Cromwell
landed in Dublin, took Drogheda, and put the priests and women
to sword. Pierce Ferriter held Kerry against the English for ten
years. Ferriter was the last Catholic chieftain to hold out against
Cromwell's forces. In direct violation of the English pledges,
Ferriter was hanged at Killarney in 1653, together with Father T.

_Crowbar Brigade._--This was applied to the Sheriff and landlords'
bailiffs because, armed with crowbars and protected by police, they
forced an entry into the houses of those to be ejected and demolished
the homes of the evicted tenants. They also often carried a battering
ram, i. e., timber bound with irons, hoist on poles, and swung
against the sides of the buildings.

_Doon-an-Ore and Olean-an-Ore._--These were the names given by the
country people hereabouts to a rock in Smerwick Harbour on seeing
it covered with brass cannon, the flags of Spain and the Pope's
consecrated banner sparkling in the sun. Foreigners also had the
reputation of bringing a large quantity of gold with them. (See
"Hist. Co. Kerry"--Corkaguiny.)

_English Garrison._--The Irish landlords are so called by public
speakers because as Cromwell's soldiers they possessed themselves
of all the Irish lands, and since then the British Government by
military force has maintained them in this country, where they became
a crushing burden on the people.

_Enlisting Young Men by Slipping a Shilling Into Their Hands._--The
custom of recruiting sergeants going around the country and slipping
a shilling in the Queen's name into a young man's hand, then forcing
him into the army, has been stopped. In Dingle peninsula the
recruiting sergeant very often secured crippled tailors of good
appearance, who on purpose would sit in the darkest room in a public
house likely to be visited by the sergeant, keeping their feet under
a drinking table and their crutches hidden, with a half-gallon of
porter before them. The recruiting sergeant, looking into the faces
of fine, strong-looking, muscular men, would force a drink upon them
and ask them to enlist. At first they would take the drink, but would
pretend to be hesitating very much about taking the shilling which
the recruiting sergeant would have spinning on the table before them.
After a good deal of sham pretentions of being unable to fight and
unwilling to do so, each of them would slowly accept the shilling,
spend it at once, swallow the free drinks and eat Queen's dinner and,
when fed like game cocks, would ask one of their companions to look
for their crutches for them so they could accompany the sergeant and
enlist in the army. When the sergeant would discover his mistake the
trouble started to get back the shilling, but as they made it a point
not to have more than one penny in their possession he was compelled
to leave without recruits or money.

_Excommunication with Bell, Book and Candle._--During the Souper
Campaign persons were excommunicated in Dingle, Ventry and Castle
Gregory Chapels. After the priest had read the sentence, the bell was
rung, the book closed and the candles extinguished. That moment the
person excommunicated was excluded from the sacraments.

_Faction Fights._--The fairs of Ballinclare were noted for their
faction fights. The way these fights usually were started was a hero
follower of the Fitzgeralds, primed with drink, would prance through
the fair, waving his blackthorn cudgel and at the same time shouting
for a Moriarity. Of course, he would not go very long until he would
be met by a gang of the followers of the Moriarity's. Then a fight
was started in which whole parishes became involved. They fought
each other without any individual ill-will, using stumps of furze,
sticks of hawthorn or oak as their weapons. Sometimes big fights
were started by a man holding out a stick and having one member of a
faction spit on it and asking a man of the opponent's faction then
to let him spit on. If he did, this was a challenge and the fight
started. Tents were upset and the people scattered leaving the fair
grounds to the combatants.

The origin of these factional fights in those parts was the betrayal
of the Earl of Desmond--a Fitzgerald--by a Moriarity. However, in the
course of time they branched into minor factions. There, too, was
a class of idle half-gentry, called middlemen, in the country who
pretty often caused faction fights. They made it a practice to attend
fox hunts, horse races, cock fights and country fairs. They were
idle, extravagant drunkards having the pretentions of gentlemen, and
by the common people were called master "D--R--fe," while in truth
and in fact they were the very pest of society. Another mistaken
notion entered their heads that to give drink was a first-class
qualification to be a gentleman, consequently they gave it freely
pretty often and therefore secured a following. An insult arising
out of a fox hunt, a horse race, a cock fight, or even a common game
of cards in which they were concerned often led to serious faction
fights. These faction fights were disapproved of by the honest
worker; they were denounced by the clergy and suppressed by the

_Fenianism._--(See Author's Note on page 64.)

_Forty-Shilling Freeholders._--Persons (men) in occupation of very
small holdings with an annual valuation of both buildings and land
combined amounting to forty shillings or over, were entitled to
vote at Parliamentary elections. Landlords who used their tenants
as voting instruments encouraged the dividing of holdings into as
many patches with a valuation of forty shillings as was possible so
as to multiply votes. In villages like North Cahirdorgan, Kildurry,
Cahirs, Culibeen, Smerwick, Ballybrack and others a surprisingly
large number of votes were obtained by this means. Usually the
small holders voted as their immediate lessors requested. They were
deprived of their votes with the passing of Catholic emancipation
and the valuation has increased to ten pounds. O'Connell was blamed
for it, but he is credited with having said that he would not accept
Catholic emancipation if he knew that by so doing the forty-shilling
freeholders would have to be sacrificed. The general belief is that
he was in full accord with it from the start, in order to check a too
rapid growth in the population of the country.

_Gaudy Ribbon Crosses_ (_St. Patrick's Day_).--These of various
colors were sold on our streets some thirty-five years ago and worn
on children's arms on St. Patrick's Day, but are now wholly extinct.
A green rosette with a harp is now worn in front on the left breast
instead. (See "His. Co. Kerry," page 37.)

_George Wyndham's Land Purchase Act._--This land act of 1903,
introduced by George Wyndham, then Chief Secretary for Ireland,
was the first good "Broom" brought by the Government to sweep the
landlords of Ireland out of existence.

_Glenbeigh Evictions._--These took place in 1887, or thereabouts. At
the suggestion of General Revvers Buller, who was then in Ireland,
the agent had the tenants' houses destroyed by fire. Mr. Edward
Harrington, M. P., and Mr. Sheehan, M. P., played a prominent part in
opposing the carrying out of those evictions.

_Great Famine._--This famine started in both Ireland and England
in 1315, or thereabouts. Mothers were known to devour their own
children, and children ate their dead parents. Parents stole the
children of others to eat them. Starving women started dancing
around open air fires, to attract children so as to kill and cook
them. Dead bodies were taken from the graves to be used for food. In
jails prisoners ate each other. This famine, and the pestilence that
accompanied it coming and going, lasted about eighty-five years.

_Halley's Comet._--On the 18th of May, 1910, the earth passed through
the tail of Halley's comet. Its approach caused great fear and
excitement in some places. It is very remarkable that great wars
follow Halley's comet.

_Head Act._--By this law if an Irishman was found going on a
journey from one county to another without being accompanied by an
Englishman, dressed in English apparel, and of name and fame, it was
lawful to kill the Irishman and cut off his head. For every head cut
off the murderer was to receive one penny reward. The slaughter was
great. Incredible as this might appear to the reader, it is too
true. Deputy Earl of Desmond, representing British law in Ireland,
was responsible for this Act.

_Harrington and Esmond's Election._--This Parliamentary election
contest took place between Edward Harrington, Parnellite, outgoing M.
P. for West Kerry, and Sir Thomas Gratton Esmond, anti-Parnellite. By
the undue influence of the clergy, Sir Thomas Gratton was elected.

_Home Rule._--On Thursday, the 19th day of May, 1870, this
association sprung into existence in Dublin under the leadership
of Isaac Butt, a Protestant Nationalist. Briefly stated, the
principal object contemplated by the organization was to obtain
for the Irish people power to make their own laws and manage their
own local affairs by an Irish Parliament, and to be subject to the
English Crown, like Canada, Southwest Africa and Australia. In the
Irish Parliament there was not to be a class or creed ascendancy,
but Protestants and Catholics were to be linked together in one
bond in a free and independent Parliament. In 1871, Isaac Butt was
elected a member of Parliament for Limerick without a contest. Many
Protestants joined the Home Rule cause. In the North of Ireland there
exists a class of foreign Irish better known throughout the world
as "Orangemen." The English Unionist classes, under the false color
and pretense of peacemakers and Christians, are doing the utmost in
their power to sow the seeds of discord and dissension among the
Irish people. One of the sharpest wedges they can drive to divide
the people in Ireland is religion. They raised the cry that it was
not "Home Rule" but "Rome Rule." The wealth of the Unionist party,
or capitalist classes, of England, Scotland, Ireland, India, Africa,
Australia, New Zealand and Canada is behind them, and this class of
people are petted and pampered for keeping the Unionist party in

Home rule bills were often passed by the House of Commons as
representing a substantial majority of the people of the United
Kingdom but rejected by the House of Lords. However, it may be well
to note that a fight to restore the Irish Parliament under the title
of "Repeal of the Union" started in Ireland before the doors of the
Houses of Parliament were closed.[5]

_House League._--This league was introduced into those parts in 1886,
through the Irish National League. The object of the House League was
to check the owners of houses from charging exorbitant rents to the
occupants. In Dingle, Castle Gregory, and other places, the League
fixed "fair rents" and compelled the owners to give clear receipts,
on payment of the new rents. For various reasons, the House League
was never popular. As intimidation was practiced by the House League
upon the owners of houses, the law courts held the receipts given
invalid, and the old rents were recovered.

_Influenza._--This is one of the most contagious diseases known,
and far more dangerous than most people believe. Its last serious
appearance amongst the people was in 1889-90. Every time it started
from China and traveled the world quicker than any other disease. A
letter written by one person to another, although over three thousand
miles apart, caused an outbreak of the disease. Those suffering
from any other malady, especially consumptives, were swept away to
their graves. It made many a fond mother cry. It was known to be in
Ireland in 1836-37, 1847-48, 1889-90. It is said that influenza first
appeared in the country in 1570.

_Invisible-Blood-Jobbers._--These are false and corrupt political
leaders who for blood-money, and in hopes of receiving positions with
pay, power, and false honor, are seducing the young men of Ireland
into that mad and insane war now raging in Europe.

_Ivy Day._--The anniversary of Parnell's burial. Ivy is an evergreen,
therefore it is worn on Sunday following the 6th of October to keep
the memory of C. S. Parnell forever green in the hearts of his

_Kennels and Hunting._--Formerly hunting was very much carried on
in the peninsula. Every Sunday during the hunting season the sides
of our mountains and valleys resounded with the yells of packs of
half-starved beagles kept by middlemen. With the disappearance of the
latter class, the beagles also followed, save a few exceptions.

_Kerry Bonds._--Persons who were unable to pay their tithes in full
when demanded and overdue, gave a bond bearing interest. The system
appears to be peculiar to the promontories of Kerry for some time,
but finally became extinct. Many of these bonds were given for tithes
illegally levied.

_Kerry Cows Know Sunday._--This old saying is handed down to us as a
relic of the wicked famine which started in 1739, when living cattle
were bled once a week and the blood boiled with milk, cabbage or
grass to make a Sunday meal for the family. (See 1713.)

_Kerry Election._--This election took place in February of 1872. It
was the first great flame kindled between the Home Rule party and
the landlord classes in the county. The landlords were so irritated
by the speeches delivered by the Blennerhassett supporters that they
were determined to make their power felt and destroy the Home Rule
party. The candidate chosen by the Home Rule party was a Protestant
gentleman named Ponsby Blennerhassett from Kells. James A. Dease, a
Roman Catholic gentleman from West Meath, was selected by the family
of the Earl of Kenmare for the landlords. Dr. Moriarty, a Roman
Catholic bishop, did all in his power to elect the nominee of the
Kenmare family. In face of terror and landlord's oppression, in open
voting the Home Rule candidate was elected by the Roman Catholics
of Kerry. Many patriotic priests took sides with Blennerhassett.
This gentleman remained true to the Home Rule party, but the Home
Rule party, led by Sir Isaac Butt, was considered too mild. (See my
"History of County Kerry" for a full account of this election.)

_Kissing the Blarney Stone by the Silver Tongue of Kerry and
Others._--There is a saying among some people that Counselor Hussey
of Farnakilla, known as the "Silver Tongue" of Kerry, kissed the
Blarney stone in Blarney Castle, County Cork, and thereby secured
his sweet, fluent, silver-tongued speech. He is not the only person
hereabouts who is said to have kissed the Blarney stone. Everyone
from the South of Ireland who has secured a fluent or flattering
speech is credited with visiting it. As some individuals will be
found ignorant enough to ascribe such a virtue to the stone and tell
others in foreign lands that it possesses such, I am going a little
outside my province to remove it as far as possible. If you _were
forever rubbing your tongue to the Blarney stone, you would find no
virtue in it whereby your speech will be improved_, and I dare say
Silver Tongue of Dingle never kissed the stone.

Thousands of legends and stories are woven about it, but these were
written for amusement, and the circumstances connected with kissing
the stone supplied good food for legends and diversion.

There is a castle called "Blarney Castle" about six miles on this
(Kerry) side of the City of Cork, within the Village of Blarney
in the County of Cork. This castle contains a stone bearing the
following inscription:

  _Fortis me Fieri Facit_
  A. D. 1446.

or the like. In 1602 an Irish chieftain named Cormach McDermod
Carthy, who held the castle against the English, when hard pressed,
concluded a truce with the Lord President, kissed the Blarney
stone which his forefathers placed there, thereby leaving the Lord
President and the English under the impression (without promising)
that the castle would be surrendered as soon as McCarthy would reason
with his followers and remove some of his belongings. The Lord
President sent messengers to the English officers, gladly informing
them that he "got Blarney" from McCarthy without much trouble.
McCarthy, who was only borrowing time and quietly strengthening his
castle, then set about and with fair promises and false pretext day
by day put off the Lord President until he was reinforced by the
Spaniards. Even then the Lord President was firmly assuring his
countrymen that he "got Blarney" for them.

However, when the English found that instead of the Lord President
having Blarney Castle he had nothing but McCarthy's honey and
flattering speeches and they then had a hard fight before them, the
Lord President became the laughing stock of both English, Irish and
Spaniards, who mockingly would say of him, "He got Blarney."

If you will ever visit Blarney for the purpose of kissing the Blarney
stone, you may be prepared for all sorts of tricks. The more earnest
you appear about kissing it, the more fables you will be told about
it. If a man is too feeble looking to climb, those in the Village of
Blarney will most likely point out another broken stone lying on the
ground belonging to the castle, telling him that a drunken blackguard
dug it out of its place for carrying it away to make money by
improving people's speech, and let it fall down and it was smashed,
and then it lost its virtue.

If you are young and active, they will point out to you another stone
about one hundred feet from the ground and tell you you must go up to
the top of the castle and be held by the heels and leave your head
and body hang downwards outside the parapet wall of the castle. Of
course, you will say that is impossible for you to do. Then you are
told you must go home without improving your speech.

_Land League and Irish National League._--On the 28th of April, 1879,
the Land League was founded in Irishtown, West Mayo, by the late
Michael Davitt. The object of this League was to abolish landlordism
and make tenant farmers owners of their own holdings. Charles Stewart
Parnell was placed at the head of this new organization, and on
the 8th of June, Parnell and Davitt appeared at a monster meeting
held at West Port. The Land League was suppressed by the Coercion
Act, but the spirit was untouched. The name was changed to the
Irish-National-League and Parnell chosen as its president. The Land
League succeeded in its object.

_Landlords or Their Land Agents' Approval Necessary to
Marriages._--Within my personal recollection in this part of the
country tenant-farmers had to go to the landlords or their agents
or secretaries and get their landlord's approval of their sons' and
daughters' marriages. If a farmer's son got married and the landlord
or his agent was not consulted in his case, he would have to canvass
for great influence when it would be time for him to become tenant,
and even then he would stand great danger of never being accepted.
The parents of the parties to be married would pretend to their
landlord's agents that, owing to the holding being small or the
quality of the land bad, they received a very small fortune. Castle
Gregory was about the first place which I noticed to rebel against
the system. Whenever a landlord, his agent or secretary passed by,
the custom was to lift the hat off the head. Tenant farmers or
any member of their families not doing so were looked upon very
unfavorably thereafter. With the Land League, these customs rapidly
began to decline.

_La Varaha na Feir, or The Killing of People in Dingle by the
Military._--It appears a fierce encounter took place between soldiers
and civilians in upper Main Street and Goat Street, Dingle, resulting
in the killing of several persons. I regret I have forgotten
grandmother's story in which was given the date, loss of life and
circumstances that led to it.

_Lieth Broath, or Quirn._--This is a kind of hand millstone for
grinding corn which formerly could be found in almost every house in
the barony, but at present has almost entirely disappeared.

_Middlemen and the Conacre System._--Middlemen were landlords between
the head landlords and the cultivators. Head landlords with large
properties, wishing to live away in some other country, divided their
properties and let them to persons called "middlemen." The middleman
divided his portion and sublet the same at about treble the rent he
was paying his head landlord. A third middleman would parcel his up
into small divisions and sublet at an enormous profit. With a string
of middlemen between the head landlord and the cultivator, an acre
let by the head landlord to his immediate lessor for five shillings
per acre might cost the cultivator five pounds. But that was not
the worst. Very often a man was required to pay two or three times
for the same patch of ground--even the man paying for his little
"hundred" of ground had sometimes to pay twice for his little patch
of potatoes--because two men would be claiming title to the land.
Then there was the usual staff of office men, rent warners, bog
rangers, bailiffs and under-strappers who claimed tributes as well as
the middlemen. Tenants were called upon to cut, save and draw home
corn, hay, turf and sea manure for nothing, leaving the women and
children attend to the tenant's own crops. Whether the middlemen were
of Irish descent or foreign, Catholic or Protestant it did not matter
much to the tenant, as they were nearly all oppressors of the worse
kind imaginable.[6]

The middleman of the Eighteenth Century were the very scum of society
and the seeds of immorality. They destroyed and brought to sorrow
most young girls that put any confidence in them or entered their
service. Parnell's land agitation destroyed the last of them.

_Molly McGuires._--This name was given to three secret societies
The first was an Irish secret society, formed in or about the year
1833, in the Barony of Farney Co., Monogham, Ireland, to co-operate
with the Ribbon-Men, and was called after C. McGuire, a leader in
the Irish wars of 1641. The object of this society was to resist
the distraining of cattle for rent, then common with landlords and
middlemen. At that time very often a poor tenant had to pay five or
six times for the same piece of ground, for which he had already
paid his immediate lessor, because the immediate lessor, or landlord
failed to pay one of the middlemen or landlords over him. (See
Middlemen.) Distraining a tenant's cattle, impounding them, and
selling them at auction before his eyes, in the name of British law
and justice, for another man's debts, of which he had no knowledge or
control and provided no legal remedy, to him appeared a wicked law.
The McGuires applied the most desperate remedies available. Disguised
as women, they rescued the cattle, flung boiling water and porridge
on bailiffs, clubbed and stoned process servers, broke the locks on
the pounds and released the cattle.

The activities of this society were confined to Ireland. Dressing in
women's clothing caused the name "Molly" to be given to them.

As other new tenant-league societies grew up, they began to decline
about the year 1856.

The second and next Molly McGuires was an Irish-American secret
society, with many branches in the coal mine districts of
Pennsylvania, U. S. A. This society took the name of the Irish
society, but these societies had no other connection whatsoever
with each other, _only in name_. The first qualification required
by the American society was that its members should be Irishmen by
birth, or descent, and also Catholics. This society took an active
part in politics, and had its secret signs and passwords conveyed
to them from England, through a Board of Erin. For being a secret
organization, the Catholic Church declared against its members.

From amongst the local branches of the society in the anthracite coal
mines of Northeastern Pennsylvania another notorious secret criminal
inner ring of Molly McGuires was formed. They converted the local
branches of the Molly McGuires, for their own protection, against the
encroachments of English miners (Cousin Jacks and Cousin Germans
included), on their jobs. Many of these Irish miners, previous to
their coming to America, worked in the coal mines in England. In
the latter country they received very poor treatment. They left
that country carrying with them a deep hatred for anything that was
English. Through secret societies, churches and lodges, to which
bosses and superintendents belonged. English miners were making
their way in amongst the Irish miners and Irishmen discharged. This
was the start of the trouble. Soon the Molly McGuires by violence,
conducted secretly, started at getting rid of superintendents, bosses
and police hostile to them. In face of their condemnation by their
church, they went forward, the most religious dropping away from the

In the war between the North and South, there was an increased
demand for coal. English, Welsh and German miners were sent into the
mines to work, and Irishmen of American birth or who were American
citizens, taken away to fight. Replacing Irishmen that were fighting
for America, with their most hated foes, the English, also with Welsh
and Germans, caused trouble, with the result that they began to
oppose conscription, and some army officers were roughly handled.

From this onward, rough handling, burning, faction fights and murder
went on in the coal mines. The Molly McGuires were blamed for nearly
all crimes, no matter who committed them. On or about the year 1865,
they killed a colliery superintendent, which attracted widespread

James McParlan, an Irish Catholic detective, joined the society and
became one of its leaders. After three years a member he secured
damaging evidence which led to the execution of the ringleaders and
imprisonment of a large number of the Molly McGuires.

_Moonlighting._--In 1878 this name was assumed by an unknown leader
in this county (Kerry), who wrote threatening letters containing
a diagram of a coffin, skull-bones and a rifle. He signed himself
"Captain Moonlight." Small bands of men, secretly armed and
disguised, went by night and raided the houses of land grabbers,
emergency men and bad land agents. Gladstone and Foster's Coercion
Acts, prohibiting the holding of meetings or allowing the people any
means whatsoever of seeking a redress of their grievances forced this
regrettable but necessary evil. In some cases in those moonlighting
raids lives were taken, and to satisfy the Government and the
ascendency class many innocent persons were hanged and others sent to
penal servitude. The police and landlord under-strappers manufactured
many crimes for which moonlighters and land leaguers were wrongly
blamed and punished.[7]

_National School Teachers Slapping Their Pupils for Speaking
Irish._--The movement for the preservation and revival of the Irish
language put a stop to the National school teachers' habit of beating
their pupils for speaking their native language.

When I was in Old Mexico I found the peons and Indians made use of
a number of words corresponding in sound and meaning to words in the
Irish language.

_Ogham Characters._--These are a species of ancient Irish writings,
marks and lines cut into upright pillar and monumental stones which
are very numerous in Corkaguiny. It is said that the term Ogham was
first applied to the sacred writings of our Druids.

_Orangemen._--These are foreign Irishmen espousing the cause of
William of Orange, who on the 1st of July, 1690, defeated dirty King
James of England at the Battle of the Boyne. About the year 1795
Orangemen began to organize. Their first oaths and declarations were
that they would never rest satisfied until they would be victoriously
knee-deep in Papist blood, i. e., Catholic blood. In suppressing
Irish societies, administering those oaths were also forbidden,
and in 1857 the Lord Chancellor ordered that justices of the peace
should not be members of Orange clubs. Orangemen in their 12th of
July celebrations wrecked Catholic churches and police of the Orange
type in our locality often celebrated the 12th of July by assaulting
civilians, afterwards arresting them.

(See Supplementary History County Kerry for a clear account of the
Battle of the Boyne, the Fall of Limerick and the Broken Treaty of

_Parnellite Splits._--On the 6th day of December, 1890, this
unfortunate Parnellite split took place. On the 17th of November
of that year a decree of divorce was granted to Captain O'Shea,
separating him from his wife on the grounds of improper conduct with
Parnell. Three days after the decree was pronounced by the court, a
meeting of the Irish Parliamentary party was held in Linster Hall
Dublin. Here Justin McCarthy proposed and Timothy Healy seconded
that Parnell possessed the confidence of the Irish nation and five
days after the Irish Parliamentary party unanimously elected him
their leader. While these proceedings were taking place amongst the
Irish Nationalists, Gladstone addressed a letter to John Morley,
Chief Secretary of Ireland, demanding Parnell's resignation from the
leadership. Parnell refused to yield to Gladstone's dictation.

Immediately the bishops and priests of Ireland were ranked in all
their fury against Parnell and his supporters. During the whole of
the years 1891, 1892 and 1893, almost on every Sunday the priests
from the altars were denouncing the Parnellites. Young priests out
of college were allowed to go to the utmost extremities. The whole
country was very much divided, even members of the same family
differed--the father argued against the son and the son did the
same against the father. One party was called Parnellites and the
other Anti-Parnellites. It was very plain that the Irish people were
very unwilling to throw aside their fallen chief, especially at the
bidding of one of Parnell's former political foes.

Parnell was a Protestant and divorces were pretty numerous in
England, therefore many considered the question outside of the
jurisdiction of the Catholic clergy, while English church and
statesmen could not consistently make such a demand upon Irishmen.
For the first time, here the clergy met serious opposition from the
people. At meetings priests were hooted. Fights with fists and sticks
became frequent.

In the West Kerry Parliamentary Division every parish priest,
with the exception of Canon Daniel O'Sullivan, did the utmost in
his power to force the electors to vote for Sir Thomas G. Esmond,
Anti-Parnellite, and against Edward Harrington, M. P. In this split a
very fine brass band belonging to the Dingle Temperance Society was
broken up and destroyed because it was to play at an Anti-Parnellite
meeting, contrary to the wishes of the Parnellite members who were
refused permission to take the band to one of Parnell's meetings. The
Cattle Fair, re-established in Goat Street by the National League,
was carried back to the old Brewery on the Spa Road. Lord Ventry
was back again as Chairman of the Dingle Poor Law Board. It was a
bad split for Ireland. Sir Thomas G. Esmond was declared elected,
but as clerical intimidation was too fierce the result was more an
unnecessary display of priestly power than a true representation of
the choice of a free people.

_Peelers._--This was the name given by the common people, in the
Irish language, to the police force, because they were appointed in
pursuance of the Peace Preservation Act of 1814, of which Sir Robert
Peel was the proposer. In after years a like law was applied to
England, and the English, to be different from the Irish, nicknamed
their police "Bobbies," for Robert.

_Penal Laws._--These were laws passed both by the English and Irish
Protestant Parliaments, prohibiting a Catholic to live in England or
Ireland, if he practiced any part of the Catholic religion. Priests
were banished. However, they performed the Catholic services in
caves, mountains and other hiding places.

By Catholic emancipation the Penal Laws were nearly abolished.

_Phoenix Park Murders._--On the evening of the 6th of May, 1882, Lord
Frederick Cavendish, a new and friendly Chief Secretary to Ireland,
and Thomas H. Burke, a prominent Under-Secretary, were surrounded
by the Invincibles while walking in the Phoenix Park, Dublin, and
silently stabbed to death with amputating knives imported for the

While Foster was Chief Secretary, many attempts were made to murder
him, but they all failed. His escapes were miraculous.

Burke was blamed for poisoning the mind of every Chief Secretary
or Minister sent into the country, and also for the Coercion Act.
Lord Cavendish was offered permission to escape, but he refused, and
therefore met the fate of Burke. On the evidence of James Carey,
the informer, the Invincibles were hanged. The Government tried to
smuggle Carey to South Africa. He was followed by Pat O'Donnell,
an Invincible, and shot on board the "Milrose" in or near Port
Elizabeth, South Africa.

For the murder of James Carey, Pat O'Donnell was convicted on the 1st
of December and executed on the 17th of December, 1883, at New Gate,

_Primrose League._--This is a kind of a league of landlords,
their ladies and followers, putting forward three principles,
viz.: Maintenance of religion, estates of the realm and imperial
ascendency. It was founded in England in 1883. Meetings of the
Primrose League were held in the Grove, Dingle, and many other places
in the barony, which were attended by the "Shoneen" class. On the
anniversary of the death of Lord Beaconsfield members wear a bunch
of roses, although not his favorite flower.

_Pitch Cap._--This was a cap made of pitch or tar. In 1798, pitch
caps were placed by English officers on the heads of the Irish rebels
until they would stick on to the hair and flesh, then these were set
on fire.

_Plan of Campaign._--This was started by William O'Brien and John
Dillion (without the approval of Parnell), about the year 1886. A
fair rent was offered by the tenants to the landlords, which the
latter refused. With a view to forcing the landlords to terms, a
strike was started against the payment of any rent. The rents were
paid into the "Plan of Campaign" and deposited in the bank. However,
in many cases the landlords obtained garnishee orders from the courts
and seized the money in the banks. Politicians blame William O'Brien
and John Dillion for not using better judgment in this and the
building of New Tipperary in 1887.

_Poff and Barrett Hanged._--On the 22nd of January, 1883, Sylvester
Poff and James Barrett were hanged at Tralee jail for murder. They
were convicted by a packed jury at Cork. By public opinion they were
found innocent and their execution is classed with Crown judicial
murders of Kerrymen.

_Poor Scholars or the Hedge School Teachers._--These wandered all
over the country and taught lessons, very often in the open air. They
disappeared with the introduction of the national schools.

_Pope's Brass Band._--This was the name applied by the English
press to the Irish Parliamentary Party which distinguished itself
in the fight against the ecclesiastical titles bill. Its leaders
were Keogh and Saddlier. The Irish people had such confidence in
their Parliamentary representatives that they called them the "Irish
Brigade." However, soon they discovered that the leaders were the
worst traitors that ever stood on Irish soil. Keogh and Saddlier
accepted Government positions. Judge Keogh cut his own throat while
confined in a madhouse, and on the 16th of February, 1856, Saddlier
committed suicide by swallowing prussic acid. Another prominent
member of the band of traitors ended his life much after the fashion
of the leaders, while the band melted quickly.

_Public Pilgrimage to Brandon Mountain._--This took place on Sunday,
the 28th of June, 1868. The religious services at the mountain peak
were presided over by Dr. Moriarty, the Catholic Bishop of Kerry.
About twenty thousand persons attended.

(See Hist. Co. Kerry, Chapter V, page 39.)

_Recantation (Public)._--During the great anti-Catholic campaign in
the Dingle Peninsula, when a Roman Catholic became a Protestant it
was the custom to supply him with a written document to be signed
by him wherein he withdraw all he ever said against Protestantism
and gave particulars of the superstition and errors of Popery which
he then denounced. Sworn documents were read in Protestant churches
and published. However, not more than five per cent of the alleged
subscribers to those recantations and depositions knew what they

_Saints' Birthdays._--It was not on the birthdays but the death days
that the early Catholic Church held festivals in honor of saints and
martyrs, notwithstanding that such celebrations found in ancient
documents may be given as that particular saint's birthday. St.
Bridget's Festival and St. Patrick's Festival are celebrated on the
reputed anniversary of their deaths.

There are a few cases in our country where pagans, after being
converted, baptised and received into the church, have their
celebrations on the anniversary of their baptism or public entry.
Usually they selected a saint's festival day for that purpose.

Birthday celebrations at the beginning of Christianity were looked
on with anger by the Christians, because they were oppressed and
persecuted by both Jews and pagans, and they found in their start the
world hard, cold and cruel.

_Sinn Fein._--This is a new party which sprang into existence. Its
motto is "Sinn Fein," or "Ourselves Alone," meaning thereby that not
through a British Parliament but through Irishmen working together
in building up Irish industries and holding to the national language
will the redemption of Ireland be accomplished.

The Sinn Fein movement is purely a political, economic and
non-military society. The name "Sinn Fein Volunteers" today
throughout the world is more wrongly applied to the Irish
Revolutionary Party than calling the Battle of Bunker Hill to
the battle fought between the British soldiers and American
Revolutionists at Breed's Hill, Boston, Mass. The Irish
Revolutionists were made up of Irish Volunteers, Gaelic Leaguers
and other Irish societies. They protested against the youth of
Ireland under false colors to be drawn into the British army. These
societies pointed out that the English secured the first foothold
on Irish soil by fraud and misrepresentation. Ever since then the
English are the so-called owners, contrary to the will of the Irish
people. Protestant and Catholic alike wrote their protest with their
life's blood against British tyrannical laws. Through disrespect for
them the revolutionists were called "Sinn Fein Volunteers" by their
opponents. These revolutionists now erroneously called "Sinn Fein
Volunteers," broke out in the City of Dublin on Easter Monday, 24th
of April. A body of revolutionary Irish Volunteers, dressed in Irish
military uniform, marched in processional order through the streets
of Dublin, took possession of the general postoffice and proclaimed
an Irish Republic. Patrick H. Pearse was chosen as Provisional
President, and James Connelly, Commander.

[Sidenote: P. S.--While this book was in the hands of Messrs. Sealy,
Bryer & Walker, printers, Dublin, the war broke out. The premises of
the printers, together with several manuscripts of the author, were
burned. The account here of the revolution is added now to the part
of the burned copies.]

English military forces of all kinds, with artillery and field guns,
were quickly brought against the revolutionists. Against wrecking
fire of shot and steel, these Republican Irish Volunteers, with
little food and no sleep for nearly a full week, fought against the
British. During the fight a portion of the city was burned. The
English army burned whole blocks of houses, apparently with the
object of giving themselves a clear field for the play of artillery
and field guns against the revolutionary army. The Volunteers also
set fire to buildings, hoping that the flames might reach Dublin
Castle and destroy that British official stronghold in the country,
but without success.

Liberty Hall, the Revolutionary party headquarters, was bombarded
from H. M. S. "Helga." Machine guns secretly hidden by the government
in the Custom-House were also turned upon it and it was destroyed.

Early in the fight James Connelly, the Irish Commander-in-Chief, was
wounded and nearly died. P. H. Pearse took command. Foreign relief
from Germany was expected, but it did not come, as Sir Roger Casement
was arrested in Tralee and the vessel containing arms sunk.

After a week's hard fighting, both day and night, the British troops
were getting the best of the Irish Volunteers. P. H. Pearse saw that
they were completely surrounded by troops and artillery. In order to
prevent further slaughter of the unarmed, he agreed to surrender and
accordingly advised the Republicans. Ladies and shop girls fought
bravely for Irish freedom. Contrary to the rules of warfare, sixteen
leaders were shot dead. Eight of them signed the document proclaiming
the Irish Republic.

The men shot after surrendering were Patrick H. Pearse, Thomas
J. Clark, Thomas MacDonagh, Joseph Plunket, Edward Daly, William
O'Hanrahan, William Pearse, Edmond Kent, John McBride, Cornelius
Culbert, J. J. Hewston, Michael Mallon, Thomas Kent, James Connelly,
John M. Dermott, F. S. Skeffington. Killing these men cannot improve
the conditions of the country because they were no traitors to their
native land. They were prepared to accept aid for the freedom of
Ireland from any country and refused to be hirelings.

The immediate cause of the revolution was, it appears, a secret
document distributed in cypher amongst the military authorities
containing instructions to the military to seize the Sinn Feiners,
Gaelic Leaguers and Irish Volunteers' headquarters, and arrest the
leaders. Conscription was then to be enforced in Ireland. Postoffice
officials who were Irish Republicans evidently kept a close eye on
the Government proceedings and the documents fell into the hands of
the Irish Republicans. The Irish Volunteers stood pledged to the
single service of Ireland, and decided that if they were to die
fighting they should do it for the cause of Ireland. Accordingly
they broke out two days before the day fixed for capturing their

The plan of the British Government failed completely, but it cost
many valuable lives, both of men and women--Catholic and Protestant.
The revolution is condemned by Mr. John Redmond and his other
Parliamentary followers. On the other hand, John Redmond and his
followers are classed as traitors and job hunters by the Irish
Volunteers in Ireland, and almost by every national body in the
United States, and the spirit to avenge the deaths of these martyrs
is growing fast.

Since 1907, the present Parliamentary party showed signs of departure
from the course outlined by Parnell, by accepting a half measure of
Home Rule.[8] The Sinn Fein National Council repudiated a definition
by the National Directory of the Irish demand, to the effect that the
minimum Irish demand was a sovereign Parliament, in Irish affairs "to
be equal to and co-extensive with those of the Parliament of Great
Britain," or, in other words, Grattan's Irish Parliament.

When the half measure of Home Rule was passed and Sir Edward Carson,
a Unionist M. P., went to Ulster to get the people of Ulster to
sign a covenant to resist with firearms Home Rule, he boasted he had
40,000 (more or less) Ulster volunteers to prevent the Act from going
into operation. The Irish Volunteers asked the Government of Great
Britain "If the Orangemen can arm and drill, why cannot the rest of
Ireland do the same?" Irish Volunteers were allowed to arm because
the war cloud was hanging over Europe and it was considered useful to
have Irish half-trained soldiers ready to fight.

When the European war broke out, Home Rule was quickly passed, and
on the 18th of September, 1914, signed by King George, and placed
on the Statute Book, but suspended from operation until after the
end of the war. The German people were painted in every false color
for the Irish people. Most of the common people did not believe that
the Germans were as bad as they were painted. Moreover they had no
confidence in the British Government and looked upon this Home Rule
scheme as a recruiting bait.

Next a demand was made on the Irish people to "furnish men to fight
for the protection of their homes and Home Rule." Then a split
started in the ranks of all Irish Volunteers. John Redmond preached
that "the cause of the Allies was just and the neutrality of Ireland
impossible, and that England stood for the protection of little
nationalities." The Irish Volunteers answered that they stood pledged
to the single service of Ireland; that the war was not an Irish war,
but an English war, and in that war Irishmen should not fight; that
the sacrifice for the honor of having Home Rule on the Statute Book
only, was too great; and also Irishmen received only coercion from
England until England's difficulty.

By the Defense of the Realms Act free speech was completely
suppressed and Irishmen imprisoned. For advising his son not to join
the army, a father was imprisoned and in fact conscription was partly
in force in Ireland, but not on the Statute Book.[9] When the people
were deserted by their leaders, free speech suppressed, as usual in
such cases the country became honeycombed with secret societies. Now
Sir Roger Casement is hanged on a charge of high treason.[10]

The History of the Revolution of 1916 is still making.

_Skelligs._--(See my History of the Skelligs, Blasket Islands and the
West of Dingle, to which you will add the disputes between Rome and
the Irish Church over the observance of Easter.)

_Soupers and Souperism._--During the last black famine the Irish
Protestant Mission Society established in the Dingle Peninsula soup
and gruel kitchens for the purpose of tempting starving mothers with
young children to become Protestants. A Dingle Catholic curate named
O'Connor called those who accepted the soup on condition of joining
the Protestant church or Scripture classes "Soupers." Finally the
expression was extended to all of that class of Roman Catholics who
while still believing in their former religion went under the color
and pretense of converts for lucre and joined the Protestant Church.
(See my book on the Skelligs and the Souper Campaign.)

_Spanish Armada._--This was a mighty big fleet of Spanish ships which
in 1588 came to fight against England. Many of them wrecked by a
storm on our coast. A big ship called "Our Lady of the Rosary," went
down in Blasquet Islands Sound. The destruction of the Armada caused
Spain to lose the supremacy of the sea.

(See my book on the Skellig and Blasket Islands for more particulars.)

_Statute of Kilkenny._--Statute of Kilkenny was a law passed by the
son of Edward III, Lionel, Duke of Clarence, preventing English
settlers speaking the Irish language, wearing Irish dress or adopting
Irish names or customs.

_St. Patrick's Day._--Ireland's national holiday. This is the date
(17th of March) set down for the death of St. Patrick.

_Tanistry._--This was an ancient law and custom amongst the Irish
whereby the owner made equal divisions of his lands amongst his sons,
legitimate or illegitimate alike. This was abolished by British law
in 1604.

_Tara._--On a hill in the County Meath stood a court called Tara,
where the Kings of Ireland were crowned. Daniel O'Connel, the
Liberator, held a repeal meeting there which was attended by one
million persons. The Irish protested against this being added to
tithes of the Earl of Aberdeen, the last Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.

_Tenants' Defense League._--This was an offshoot of the suppressed
Land League, and Irish National League. It was formed after the
latter was suppressed by Balfour's Coercion Act of 1887. The object
of this league was to defend the tenant farmers against tyrannical
landlords, and to obtain the land for the people at just rents. This
league was announced by Parnell and William O'Brien in July of 1888.
In the winter of that year a branch of it was started in Castle
Gregory by the Rev. John Molyneaux, then P. P. of Castle Gregory.

_Tenant League._--This league was organized in 1850. On the 4th of
July, 1851, a great meeting was held on the site of the Battle of the
Boyne. In 1852 a general election took place and about fifty-eight
leaguers were elected. However, their leaders broke their pledges,
betrayed the Irish people, destroyed the party and within a few years
after killed themselves. A branch of this league was established in
Dingle. (See the Pope's Brass Band, also Supplementary History of
the County Kerry, for more particulars.)

_Thierna-Dubh's Raid, or the Black Earl's Raid._--This was applied
to the Earl of Ormond, who was Lord Governor of Munster. During
the Great Desmond Wars, in 1580, he converted the whole barony of
Corkaguiny into one great slaughter-house. He went to oppose the
Spaniards, then with a Pope's banner, at Fort-del-Ore, in Smerwick
Harbor, and also to capture the 15th Earl of Desmond, a Catholic,
because the latter was suspected of favoring his cousins in a
rebellion against the British crown, and Ormond was anxious to
possess Desmond's confiscated estates. At Tralee, Ormond, the Black
Earl, divided his forces into three divisions, and from thence
marched westward towards Dingle, through Slieve-Mish. In this journey
the English soldiers slaughtered every man, woman and child they met.
At Standbally, they tossed the children for pastime from pike to pike
and next stabbed to death the feeble mothers. Father Dominick O'Daly
calls it "Cooling their impious thirst with the blood of Catholics."
Classing Father O'Daly as a supporter of the Desmonds and rejecting
his evidence and taking their own evidence, the author finds that in
the commander's letters to Queen Elizabeth they promised "If God will
give us bread, we doubt not but to make as bare a country as ever
a Spaniard put a foot on," meaning the Dingle peninsula. (Pelham's
Letters to Queen Elizabeth.) "non was spared the toddling child,
the feeble old man, the blind, the lame, the idiot, the strong man
and the weak shepherd." As the soldiers of Queen Elizabeth entered
a village they had the laggards set on fire. Mothers clasping their
babies together with the dwellers were surrounded and driven into the
flames or cut off with the sword. The English soldiers were hunting
defenseless poor people for pleasure. The only way to receive pardon
was to bring the bleeding head of one of their countrymen and throw
it at the head of an English commander in order to sow hatred for
one another amongst the Irish. This wicked journey of the Earl of
Ormond, such was the blight that it brought on the homes of everybody
that it left a memory everywhere through which he passed, which can
never fade while a Father can speak to a son. The soldiers under
Ormond, like ravenous beasts, having once tasted human blood, could
not quench their craving for slaughter. Young women, who refused to
be outraged were hanged from trees by the hair of their heads. When
they could not subdue men they turned their weapons against women and

      "His hosts are all gather'd, his cordon is set,
      Strong and close wove the meshes--wide stretches the net,
      As it sweeps the doom'd district, its progress thus trace'd,
      All before as a garden--behind as a waste.

      Their course is unsparing and searching as fire,
      Leaves not sheaf in the barn, nor hoof in the byre,
      While hymning their triumph, in concert combined,
      The wild wail of women, with the lowing of kine.

      The raid is accomplished--the war waves roll back,
      Smoke, ember, and bloodprints are left on the track,
      And long the scared mother, her infant will tame,
      With the terrors attached to the _Thierna-Dubhs'_ name."

--Three verses of twenty published in the Kerry Magazine, a
publication under the control of a Protestant minister.

Spenser the poet described the people "as emerging like ghouls to
feed on corpse, carrion and grass." "All such people as they met
they did without mercie putte to the sworde. By this means the whole
countrie having no cattel nor kine left they were driven to such
extremities for want of vittels they were either to die or perish
in the famine or to die under the sword."--The Black Earl's Raid on
Corkaguiny in 1580 in Hooker's Chronicle A. D. 1580.

(The Burning of Dingle, Lord Gray Slaughter at Fort-del-Ore and the
torture of Kerry martyrs and other subjects are lost in the Dublin

Before the Fitzmaurices arrived in Dingle, or Fort-del-Ore, three
persons landed in Dingle off Spanish ships. They were seized by
government spies, and first taken before the Earl of Desmond. The
vain creature ordered them to be taken before the authorities in
Limerick. Two persons turned out to be Dr. Patrick O'Haly, Bishop
of Mayo, and Father Cornelous O'Rourke. To extract a confession the
English had them tortured. When this failed they were hanged to a
tree and used as targets by the soldiers. Desmond, in his pretentions
of loyalty, took credit for this act.

The reader is referred to the following Protestant authorities:
Hooker's Chronicle, 1590, Smith's History of Kerry, Pelham's Letters
and the State Papers from 1579 to 1585.

_Thomas-An Aehig._--Parson Moriarty, late of Mill-street, County
Cork, a native of the Dingle District, was so-called because in his
writings addressed to outsiders he placed under false colors the
religious practices of his Catholic neighbors, and manufactured
crimes on paper out of trifles.

(See my book on the Skellig, Blasket Islands and the West of Dingle
for the state of religion in those parts during the Souper Campaign.)

_Tithes._--This was a tax of one-tenth of the produce or its value
authorized by law to be paid for the support of the clergy and the
Church of England. Because the Church of England was not the church
of the people of Ireland, the payment of tithes by Roman Catholics
caused famines and was resisted with bloodshed. Often a poor man's
cow was seized in our parts and sold for eight shillings (less than
two dollars) to satisfy the tithes. The case was still worse when he
did not belong to that church for which he had to pay. A short time
ago the tithes were transferred from the tenants to the landlords,
but the landlords saddled them on to the tenants again by increasing
their rents.[11]

It appears payment of tithes to Pagan priests existed long before
the Christian era. Until the English introduced their system into
Ireland, the Irish Catholic clergy were content with a voluntary
offering, mostly in kind.

_Tithes Artificial Famine._--This famine started in the winter of
1739 and ended in 1748. The start of it was caused by a frost which
penetrated very deep into the ground, destroying potatoes. In an
effort to escape payment of tithes to ministers of the established
church, people sowed only as much potatoes and grain crops as were
absolutely necessary. A dreadful famine came. Black '46 and '47 were
no comparison to the famine which ended in 1748.

(See Supplementary History, Co. Kerry-Corkaguiny.)

_Treaty of Limerick._--The Treaty of Limerick was made on the 3rd of
October, 1691, between King William's army (English), and the Irish,
on the fall of Limerick and Athlone. By the articles of the treaty,
full religious liberty and the exercise of their trades, professions
and callings were guaranteed by the English to the Irish Catholics.
The Irish soldiers sailed away to France. Immediately England broke
every article of the treaty and for religious liberty gave Penal Laws
allowing no man to live in Ireland, possess property, exercise a
trade or profession, if he was a Catholic.

_Turn Coats._--Persons who changed their religion for lucre during
the Souper Campaign were called "Turn Coats" by their Catholic

_United Irishmen._--The Society of United Irishmen was founded by
T. W. Tone, a Protestant. His object was to unite Protestants and
Catholics of the North and South to join hands for the freedom of
Ireland. The United Irishmen rebelled against the English in 1798.

_Wicker Baskets._--Carrying loads on horseback by means of wicker
baskets suspended on both sides of the horse is now almost everywhere
out of practice. I remember clearly when the first common cart
entered the villages of Ballynalockon, Cloghane, and places in
Dunquin Parish.

_White Boys._--These were a body of young men who appeared in many
places in Munster between 1761 and 1763. The reason they were called
White Boys was because they wore white linen frocks and shirts
over their coats. They openly resisted the enclosure of commons
and the compulsory payment of excessive tithes levied on Roman
Catholics for the support of ministers, wardens, preachers and the
upkeep of Protestant churches. Because the tax was raised chiefly
on tillage lands, consequently it forced the farmers to sow very
little potatoes and let their lands for grazing. The horrors of the
artificial famines created by the tithes between 1739 and 1748 when
mothers devoured their own children and children ate their dead
parents was fresh in the memory of the people. Then the Protestant
Church of Ireland was not the church of the people. In one of the
White Boy uprisings, by hamstringing and like methods they killed
and destroyed cattle in thousands making certain that if a potato
famine existed that year there would be plenty of meat to prevent
starvation. In this great cattle slaughter farmers' sons, unknown
to their fathers, took the lead in maiming their own cattle.
At Ballynalackon in the Parish of Cloghane, is a place called
_Cnockane-na-bouchaelee-bawna_, where local White Boys of that place
assembled. The White Boys were suppressed by military force and the
ringleaders hanged.

_Wild Geese._--These were young Irish immigrants who in the 18th
Century went to France; there many of them joined the Irish Brigade
in the service of France. In the Battle of Fontenoy they trampled the
British flag in the dust and swept before them in the wildest rout
England's columns of reserves to the war cry of "Revenge! Remember
Limerick!! Dash down the Sassenach!!!" Immediately after that England
cancelled some of her Penal Laws.

Many persons from the Dingle Peninsula about this time went as "Wild
Geese" and settled in France.

_Wreck of the "Port-Yorack."_--This Glasgow iron-clad barque was
wrecked in Brandon Bay on the 29th of January, 1894, and all the
crew of twenty-one drowned. The vessel was laden with copper ore. On
inquiry it was found that the barque was insufficiently manned, badly
provisioned and the crew suffered great hardships during the voyage,
especially returning from South America. The owner was fined £70.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Fenianism._--This was a secret society formed for the purpose
of establishing an Irish Republican Brotherhood and severing all
connection with the British crown. James Stephens was the leader and
supreme chief of the Fenian revolutionary movement. It went as far
as to decree a republic established. It destroyed some of the best
regiments in the British army and extended to the navy, as well as
to parts of France, America and England. The Fenians took the field
in Cahirsciveen in February, 1867, and in the counties of Cork,
Limerick, Clare, Waterford and Tipperary, Dublin and South on the 5th
of March following.

This revolution did not succeed in its purpose.


[1] A marriage ceremony does not in itself wholly complete a marriage
in the Catholic Church. (See the Catholic Encyclopedia.)

[2] The anniversaries of the Battles of the Boyne and Aughrim are
celebrated on the 1st and 12th of July in Belfast, by Orangemen
wrecking Catholic churches and assaulting women and old people.

[3] Brien Borue: Borue was only a nickname given to Brien. His
father's name was Kennedy. Brien Borue and his father were of the
family of Cormac.

[4] In America, Parnell was offered twenty-five dollars, five thereof
to buy bread and twenty to buy lead, i. e., for the Land League. It
was accepted.

[5] The Union came into force on the 1st of January, 1801. Ever
since the fight to restore to Ireland her Parliament has gone on
without intermission. The members of Grattan's Parliament were all
Protestants yet the majority of Roman Catholics in Ireland prefer it
to a union with England.

[6] Bess Rice and Clara Hussey were Catholics and belonged to the
last century. While they held sway to the west of Dingle they both
caused so much misery to their unfortunate tenants that the tears
which fell from mothers, wives, children and husbands would, I am
told, water those ladies' whole properties. The way in which they
oppressed their victims would, it appears, be their most fitting

[7] Many in America unacquainted with Irish politics are under the
impression that moonlighting is "moonshining," i. e., making poteen
whisky. Moonshining is pretty common in backward portions of Florida
and Virginia. Moonshiners have no welcome for strangers for fear of
informing on them. They denounce the laws which compel them to work
by night boiling the produce of their toil in the wilderness while no
law stops ladies from wearing aigrettes or slaughtering fine birds of
Florida for their feathers. On the approach of strangers moonshiners
hide the still, extinguish their campfires and hide themselves in the
forests very quickly.

[8] Edward Harrington, M. P. for West Kerry, addressing a meeting
held by Parnell in the Square Tralee, said: "We will have no half
measures of Home Rule, and we will have no Chief but Charlie."

[9] The following is a copy of a letter addressed by the author to
Mr. Thomas O'Donnell, M. P., on the 1st of January, 1916:

  San Francisco, January 1, 1916.


  Dear Sir: I understand that it is the intention of the British
  Government to introduce a bill for conscription. Since I left
  Ireland, I notice many strange changes have come over the
  National leaders of Ireland. They are not as fearless as they
  were in the days of Parnell and they completely lost or destroyed
  their independence. I suppose England will now want Irishmen to
  fight for her and therefore extend conscription to Ireland:

  My views are:

  1. FOR PEACE, first and last.

  2. NEUTRAL as between the leading nations responsible for the
  war, viz., England, Germany and Russia.


  4. England is not fighting to protect the nuns of Belgium
  from the ravages of the Germans, because the British soldiers
  destroyed the women of their own land by thousands before leaving
  for the battlefront.

  5. England is not fighting for the protection of little
  nationalities, because that country was the greatest exterminator
  that ever appeared on the face of the globe. She put out of
  existence the two Boer Republics, as recently as 1902.

  6. That the war is a mass murder of human beings carried on for

  7. Opposed to secret treaties or invisible governments,
  especially those binding the people without the full knowledge,
  consent and vote of the people of the contracting countries,
  especially treaties made in support of an unjust cause.

  The history of this war now raging in Europe is still in its
  making. To the one standing here it appears to be a monstrous
  mass murder of human beings who are made the victims of a
  scramble of European financiers, their rulers and supporters,
  for many years plotting to rob one another of trade profit and
  territory. It is plain to a child that each of the nations of
  Europe for many years were struggling to out do each other in
  building murderous equipment and forming compacts for the same
  purpose. The sudden killing of the Crown Head of Austria was like
  setting a lighted match to oil barrels already in position for
  the blaze.

  The plain leading facts as they appear to me are that Germany
  wants the expansion of territory and sea power, and England is
  jealous of the rapid growth of sea commerce of Germany, and
  therefore avails herself of this opportunity to destroy it for
  ages. I honestly believe that all the other arguments about
  militarian little nationalities, etc., ought to at once be
  rejected as manufactured excuses to justify war.

  Having come to the conclusion that this is legalized murder
  of the people carried on in the false color and pretense of
  patriotism for the benefit of gold crazed human wolves, as
  between the three leading nations at war, the author is neutral.
  However, he is opposed to the shedding of blood in such a wicked
  cause, or fond Irish mothers raising children to be targets for
  rifles at the becking of every false leader. Look at the fruits
  those rulers and politicians of Europe produced; they have washed
  the frontier red with a sea of human blood; peaceful homes are in
  ruins; the wild wail of women, children or aged parents cannot
  stop their hungry craving for human slaughter; by soldiers at
  home and abroad women are ravaged; the flower of Europe are drawn
  from the common people by thousands, and most of them must pay
  for militarism with their life's blood in the trenches. Cattle,
  sheep, hares and deer, will take the places of Irish, Scotch,
  Welsh, and English, shot down in this war.

  England, contrary to the rules of warfare, tries to starve the
  civil population of Germany, and in return Germany in a more
  scientific manner does the same thing to England by sinking
  great liners, thereby causing death on the ocean, of innocent
  people. =Hatred for the people of the nations at war with
  each other, will live in Europe for the next generation.= The
  slaughter of human beings, now going on, is shocking. It is
  clearly against the mandate of God, reason and common sense.
  Civilization is trampled on; barbarism is substituted; bands of
  legalized murderers sit in gilt chambers, drinking wine bought
  with the blood of their countrymen in the trenches. They fill
  their pockets with gold, make their homes comfortable, while
  their neighbours hearts are sad, their hearths cold, their
  pockets empty and their sons and relatives slaughtered in the
  battle fields. I honestly believe that it is much nobler to
  die in thousands in the cause of humanity and freedom than to
  draw a single sword in this disgraceful war. You leaders of
  destruction and legalized criminals in power, remember God's
  commandment--"Thou shalt not kill."

  Murder, no matter whether judicial, legalized or church
  sanctioned, will still remain murder, and will continue to cry
  to heaven for vengeance. "To-day thou art," great and mighty
  men; "to-morrow thou art not"--yes, a cold lump of clay with the
  skeletons of murdered men, the tears of widows and the crying
  orphans you caused, standing before you. You may be sure a just
  God will not be fooled by the arguments of cunning counselors,
  judges, ministers, priests, bishops or pious frauds, who may be
  hired or engaged to bring their country's youth to the slaughter

  God protect the children of Erin from being drawn in amongst
  those mad dogs. Those who do the fighting ought to ask themselves
  what are their interests in the war, and what is the price agreed
  upon to be paid before they are thrown to the wolf-dogs.


  Yours, etc.,

  P. M. FOLEY.

[10] When Jamison raided South Africa the Boers did not shoot
him, although his crime was the most serious one. Yet the English
Government under Premier Asquith had James Connelly, a wounded, dying
soldier, propped up against the wall because he was not able to stand
on his limbs and shot dead.

[11] Parnell and the Land League put a stop to landlords increasing
tenants' rents above the fair value of the land.

Curious Customs


This little hand book deals with the curious customs and traditions,
chiefly in West Kerry, in common with other parts of Ireland. It
is the fourth book issued by the author on Corkaguiny, of a series
designated to present to the reader all essential historical, curious
customs, and traditional information, relating to the County of Kerry.

In undertaking the toils of this particular volume, the principal
object the writer has in view is first and foremost to destroy the
hatcheries of all objectionable remains of foreign superstitions,
customs, fraudulent practices, and like diseases imposed upon us, and
which may still be found here and there lingering in the district. By
discriminating between truth and falsehood, giving reason and common
sense for what is nonsensical and discreditable, the author expects
to weed out of the minds of the future manhood of this locality the
superstitious poison of foreign countries, handed down to us through
"wise, sensible and truthful" old women, and instead thereof he is
endeavoring to kindle in the breast of every young man the spirit
of being reasonably fearless in supernatural affairs, self-reliant,
careful, truthful and just in other matters.

The second aim of the author is to record a few of the most important
curious customs and traditions of the people in the past. This
is done both for the amusement and the information of the coming
generation. However, it is well to remember that this is not a
complete list. The author left behind him sufficient materials for
others to follow on the trail which he is the first to "blaze" in
those parts.

Writers and tourists visiting West Kerry and reading this book,
might be inclined to go away under the impression that the people of
Corkaguiny are exceptionally superstitious and peculiar, as compared
with those of other portions of the United Kingdom and the world. If
we will but calmly examine the records and customs of the world, we
will at the first glance see that even in our darkest hour we were
far in advance of many of them in that respect. About the Thirteenth
or Fourteenth Century, superstitions began to creep in amongst
Christians. They increased in many forms immediately. In Ireland
slight traces of the old Pagan superstitions lingered amongst the
people, but between 1580 and 1736 in England, _no less than thirty
thousand persons were publicly hanged for being witches_, and most
of the poor innocent creatures were burned at the stake. The most
learned judges of the English courts declared from their benches that
witchcraft existed, and that persons in one league with the devil
could raise storms, destroy life and property, by no further act than
taking off their stockings and steeping them in soap and water. They
even went so far as to force their victims to believe and confess
that they were witches. Only that England was so much engaged in
hounding to death the Catholic priests, Heaven knows how many more
would have fallen.

In 1716 it appears one Mrs. Hicks and her little daughter were hanged
for selling their souls to the devil, and their accusers charged them
with raising a storm by soaking stockings in a lather of soap.

Scotland was buried in superstition. Calvin and Luther, both the
great heads of the Protestant Reformation, believed in witchcraft,
and the King of Scotland, when he ascended the throne of England, by
tongue, pen and fire, advocated the rack for the witches.

I believe Italy, Spain and France, three Catholic countries, were
the first to reject witchcraft. Germany, although at first very slow
to believe in witchcraft, burned them by the thousands, and that
in a most barbarous manner. The Puritan fathers of New England had
the hangman's rope pretty busy in Boston Common with the witches of
Salem, Massachusetts, and the Quakers of other parts of the State. If
a man did not believe in witches, he was classed worse than a heretic.

Public execution of witches in England was stopped by law, I believe
about the year 1736. During all that time Ireland was trampled under
the heels of superstitions. Anglo-Norman lords were a party to the
laws which caused so much innocent blood to flow as divine perfume
from 1600 to 1736, in cases of witchcraft and "Papists," both in
England and her colonies. Naturally, their castles in Ireland had the
foul air of superstition and adoration about them. In Ireland they
suppressed education, and tried to make themselves the only lords
which the people had to serve and adore on earth or in heaven. They
abused their powers, and the Irish people at last refused to have
those false Gods, and now they are almost driven out of the country.

Irishmen were not ever very much inclined to marry their daughters to
those degenerated "false gods," bearing a British or foreign title.
They usually left such honors to the ladies of other countries, many
of the latter unfortunate vain-minded creatures afterwards returning
to their native lands bringing, in addition to a costly bought title,
a decree of divorce. It ought to be remembered that even today,
notwithstanding England's proud boast of democracy, it is probably
the worst country in the world for rank, title and blue-blood
lords--one class looking down with contempt on the other. In the
House of Lords you have dukes, marquises, earls, viscounts, bishops
and barons. They cannot understand that "all men were created equal,"
only when they want the common people to fight their battles.

Notwithstanding the isolated and backward state of Ireland under
alien rule, yet as far as the author can ascertain the Irish people
never demanded a single life to be sacrificed in cases of witchcraft,
and if any individual fell, it was at the command of the foreigner
and to satisfy his craving for blood and sacrifice. Ireland appears
to be much cleaner from superstition than her neighbors in the
sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries of the Christian era.

The writer is not finding fault with the people of those countries
which honestly believed in the existence of witches, but he is
protesting against those who leave the very dens of superstition
and come to Ireland to magnify trifles, at the same time pretending
that they have none of their own. Every country has had people some
of whom are more or less superstitious. It is not even confined to
any one religion. In many houses in America for good luck you will
find the horseshoe nailed inside over the door. There are locomotive
engineers in the New England States who will not very willingly take
out a train engine bearing the number "thirteen." Persons traveling
with me refused to sleep in the next vacant room to me in Seattle,
Washington, because the number of it was "thirteen." Among the first
who followed the trail of the "forty-niners" to California, were
persons who would not start on any part of their journey on a Friday,
and through superstition carried the feet of rabbits with them in
their pockets.

A lady in one of the New England States in the East, who proudly
boasted of her forefathers crossing the Atlantic in the "Mayflower,"
objected in my presence to rocking an empty cradle because it would
bring misfortune to the house.

As late as December, 1910, I saw persons within Mount Auburn
Cemetery, Cambridge, Massachusetts, watching patiently for the
resurrection of Mrs. Baker Eddy, the head of Christian Science. These
and many of her followers firmly believed she would reappear and
deliver a message from the dead to the living. However, the learned
lady is still sleeping in silence. What would the English press say
if this happened in Ireland?

With regard to Irish kings, they were not inferior to the latter-day
kings of England. King John of England in 1204 imprisoned Jews,
plucked out their teeth and eyes and slaughtered them. He was
excommunicated by the Pope. King Henry VIII murdered four of his
wives and ripped one of them open on child's birth to have a son
succeed him to the throne. Englishmen ought to read the sad story of
the Tower of London before opening their lips on ancient Irish kings.

Then, as to morals, the author believes Ireland will be found as
clean from the scarlet plague of the "red-light district" as any
country in the world. Look at the British soldiers who boasted that
they were going to "defend the Catholic nuns in Belgium from the
Huns," destroying the women of their own land by the thousands before
leaving for the front!

Now, as to curious customs, you will find boys and girls "courting"
in Ireland, "bundling" in Wales, "spooning" until midnight in the
United States, and for three long years a young man with window bars
between him and his sweetheart is "playing the bear" in Mexico,
before he is admitted into her room, even in presence of members
of her family. In England, every third county has had a different
custom, and many of them are considered pretty objectionable.

The original intention of the author was to have his work printed
in Ireland, for Irish readers, but that horrible war in Europe,
which has caused the most widespread pain, misery and suffering ever
inflicted upon the human race, made him change his plans, and print
the book in the United States, but the cost will be much more and the
price of each copy proportionately higher.

By the campfires of California, and in the sandy desert of Nevada,
over five thousand miles away from his native land, this book has
been written by the author during his spare hours. Therefore, the
writer knows that faults will be found with the work, and errors
discovered therein. However, he is confident that it is free
from serious errors. Apart from the honest critic, of course,
there will appear the natural-born "fault-finder." To men of the
latter disposition the writer has no apology to offer, and it is
his intention to take no notice of anything said or written by
such persons, further than to express his regret that they did
not undertake the work themselves, and, whenever his rights shall
expire, they will have an opportunity to improve, alter, or amend his
plans--probably about forty-four years' time.

This work is not expected to satisfy all classes. The author has
no intention whatsoever of giving offense to any person, religion,
race or nationality, but it is to be feared that in his effort to
establish truth and equity passages may appear herein which will
displease some individuals. If so, the writer very much regrets it,
but at the same time the reader should remember that it is his duty
to record those regrettable events and set them in a true light for
the judges of the future world.

In style and arrangement of this book there is a slight departure
from the plans of his previous works, namely, that each subject set
forth herein will be found in alphabetical order. This he trusts will
prove satisfactory to the reader.


Dated in the State of Nevada, this 4th day of July, 1915.

  _Erin, though far from your mountains now, with me, you are still
  Achusla Geal Machree._

_All Fools' Day._--This falls on the first of April, when it is
customary to play tricks upon each other. The young people find great
diversion in sending persons on errands which end in disappointment
for the sendee and merriment for the sender, the laugh at all times
being in proportion to the trouble given.

Among some of the tricks played was at a very early hour in the
morning to knock at a window and call a farmer out of bed, telling
him that cattle had destroyed his potatoes and corn fields. He would
run with all his might, sometimes half undressed, to find no cattle
before him.

Pieces of paper would be pinned onto the tails of a coat and valuable
looking packages containing a stone or a piece of iron would be left
in the track of a passerby so that if he kicked it he would remember
it. Sometimes a stiff purse would be placed on the road or footpath
with a string attached to it, and it would be jerked away by those
hiding behind a fence, gate or doorway when the fool would be in the
act of grasping for it. Probably this custom originated in France and
was borrowed by England, to whom we are indebted for it.

_Ancient Crossroads and Burial Customs._--At funerals to the west
of Dingle, a custom prevails of lowering the coffin containing the
remains at certain ancient crossroads and praying for the dead. This
is not practiced on the Castle Gregory side of Brandon Mountain, but
there, on lowering the coffin into the grave, the nails are drawn
from the cover of the coffin.

The custom of lowering the coffin at crossroads is a very ancient
one, not alone in the Dingle district, but in other countries outside
of Ireland. The origin of it was due to persons who committed suicide
not allowed to be interred in consecrated ground, were buried upon
the nearest crossroad thereto, i. e., at the junction of four
roads.[12] Whenever a funeral passed by, the corpse was lowered,
people knelt and prayed for the soul of the persons buried at the

In the course of time the custom of burying dead bodies on the
crossroads went out of practice, and the names of the persons buried
there were forgotten, but the habit of lowering the dead body
continued and a prayer was offered to God for both those buried on
the crossroads and also for the soul of the person whose funeral then
took place. Then when the penal laws were enforced, with military in
Dingle, the religious rites which should be said at the graveside for
the deceased were recited at the old crossroads.[12] Praying for the
dead at ancient crossroads nearest the graveyards, therefore, is an
act of piety and charity of an old standing.

_Ancient National Dances._--The most common dances[13] in our
locality were jigs, reels, hornpipe and country dance, or
Reencafadah. These were followed by a form of dance called "sets,"
and the German "waltz" was transmitted to us by the English.
Movable platforms for dancing upon them were placed on the country
crossroads, and boys and girls danced in the open air in the
afternoons on Sundays. The clergy took a dislike to all dances, with
the result that open-air dancing was almost suppressed, but of recent
years it was revived by the Gaelic League.

_Ardnane._--Carding, spinning and story telling by night is now gone
out of fashion--newspapers are driving away the latter.

_Banshee._--This is supposed to be a fairy visitant in the shape of
an old woman whose wailing around the home of a sick person foretold
death. Of course, it is superstition to think that an old woman
dead and gone will return from the grave wailing or calling for her
victim, or carry off a member of any family.

Nevertheless, there must be something of an unknown nature existing
in the shape of a wireless telephone, electric feeling or otherwise
in the blood, flesh or nature of certain Celtic families whereby some
relative of a sudden feels, pictures and imagines death, trouble or
misfortune approaching without apparently any means of knowing it at
the time. I hope science will soon more clearly solve the cause of
this and thereby strip off all superstition and uncertainty.

_Begrudging._--Persons admiring beasts or individuals and praising
them without saying "God bless them," if they died or became sick
the blame would be laid onto them, and some would say such a person
possessed an "evil eye" and his visits thereafter would not be very
desirable. However, this superstition can be found as bad in other

_Bellman._--The bellman with his hand-bell still survives in Dingle.
He usually announces sales by public auction. Missing or impounded
cattle, also property lost or found, money lost about thirty-three
years ago and found by another, were nearly always recovered by
giving a shilling or one shilling and sixpence to the bellman. I
am sure this was due to the moral influence of the clergy over the

The most notable bellman at the end of the last century was Markim.
He was succeeded by Michael O'Sullivan.

_Blind Fiddlers and Flute Players._--The custom of blind fiddlers
and flute players, accompanied by members of their families, going
on a quarterly circuit among the villages has now fallen into
disuse. Formerly, when one of them entered the village he would be
entertained, given two or three nights' lodging and a collection
started for him. The boys and girls of the surrounding villages would
assemble and these would be dancing until cock-crow in the morning.

_Boats and Canoes Haunted and Made Useless._--A great trick to make
a boat or canoe useless was to pretend to see it on sea with some
mysterious persons in it, and that on approaching the boat or canoe
for the purpose of speaking to its occupants, they disappeared
suddenly as if the "earth, sky or sea swallowed them." If the crew
were at home and not fishing that night, and the tale was told by a
respectable person or corroborated by one who was not a notorious
liar no person would venture into the boat or canoe forever after.

One-third of these visions were imaginary; two-thirds were founded
by jealous neighbors and malicious persons who saw themselves
outstripped by the success of some local families or crew as
fishermen, consequently this superstition more rapidly died out.

_Bodach._--This is represented by parents to children as the figure
of an old beggar-man, at night looking through windows and making
horrible faces against panes of glass, carrying a big sack and
prepared to take with him children who he might find crying without
cause or wandering out into undesirable places in the dark.

Children ought to be told the truth, namely, that faces made against
the windows are done by members of the family in order to frighten
them. These false impressions created in the minds of innocent
children at such an early age make their lives so miserable to them
in after years that they imagine every bush that shakes after dark is
a ghost or a fairy.

_Bone Fires._--The custom of lighting bone fires on St. John's Eve is
very much on the decline in this peninsula. In Castle Gregory boys
and girls used to remain awake all night, dancing around them for
amusement. Bone fire is said to be derived from the Canduaoin "baun
fire," a beacon fire. A bone fire might mean a fire of bones, a fire
of corpse, a funeral pile or a fire for destroying heretics, but
whatever be the origin of it, one thing is certain, that bone fires
existed long before the dawn of Christianity.

_Bone Setters._--These were persons who made it a practice to set
broken bones, but the dispensary doctor quickly sent them out of

_Brack-an-Tobar._--All the holy wells in the country are supposed
to have enchanted fish which never grew larger or smaller, and some
believed that water containing the fish, if taken from the well,
would never heat nor boil until both water and fish were returned.
People of the present day treat this as a fish story.

_Brandon Mountain's Western Slope Held Sacred._--For a long time the
inhabitants treated the western slopes of Brandon Mountain so sacred
through reverence for St. Brandon and his monks as not to allow any
living animal to be killed thereon except fish caught in the rivulets
of Feoghanagh and Shaunakyle and given to the poor or taken by them
as charity. The fish taken from these streams had to be eaten at once
and could not be kept beyond the second night without eating. Birds
within that sacred ground were nearly tame and hares when pursued by
the hounds following in their tracks, as soon as the hares crossed
the River of Feoghanagh, the hounds were stopped by the hunters.
Cattle, wild deer, boars and all like animals therein were protected.
I believe "Park Garrive" was about the last place here wherein
hunting was strictly forbidden.

_Brendon (Saint) Feast._--This was held on the 22nd of March, but
from time immemorial is gone out of practice.

St. Brendon died on the 16th of May.

_Changelings._--Fairies at one time were supposed to steal or spirit
away a fine, rosy-cheeked, healthy-looking child or young person and
take him off to Teer-Na-Oge, leaving a very thin, pale-faced, silent
weakling instead of the person stolen behind them who in the dead of
night changed into a withered crone. Medical science has proved this
change to be done by consumption and other like causes, therefore the
fairy thief is disappearing here faster than in other countries.

_Charms._--Not very long since, "respectable" people went to "wise"
old women to seek foolish cures for sickness by means of charms. I
believe I heard about one hundred diseases mentioned, each of which
I was told could be cured by a charm--consumption and the "fallen"
sickness were amongst them. Men also pretended to heal horses and
cattle by charms.

One of the most pitiable cases to come under my notice was at
Cloushguire, Castle Gregory, where an old man at a very early hour
of the morning was carrying on his performance over an old horse.
It surprised me to find in such an enlightened place as Castle
Gregory any person guilty of such folly as to believe in curing
ailments by charms. Corkaguiny in general, I believe, stands as clean
from superstition and charms as any barony in the British Isles,
judging by the latter actions in foreign lands. The ignorance and
superstitions of the few now amongst us are all nearly melted away
before the bright rays of science and education.

_Contracts with the Devil._--Some time ago quite a few were to be
found who believed that noted card players had attained the art of
winning as a result of a contract made by them with the devil, which
contract was confirmed at a general meeting of the witches and ghosts
over which the devil himself presided and the persons signed the
articles of agreement with their own blood. To obtain possession of
the soul was the main object of the devil. For a wise spirit like
"Old Nick," he used to sometimes make very silly contracts. Then
they thought of sleight-of-hand and other tricks. When the country
became properly policed, the robbers and thieves, with the ghosts and
devils, disappeared.

In England persons were hanged for selling their souls to the devil,
and by virtue of the contract raised storms.

_Cross Thursday, or La croista na blianna._--In olden times people
would not like to start doing anything on Cross Thursday, especially
the grandmothers of the present age. Carding, spinning, etc., were
sure to be suspended. Ask them why suspend spinning, etc., on that
day, and they would only tell you that it was not for them to break
an old custom which was accompanied by an old saying that if anything
was started on Cross Thursday it would never be completed.

I believe that this day must have been observed at some time as a
holiday in Ireland. No doubt but it had a religious origin connecting
it with the order given by Herod the Great to murder the children of
Bethlehem and its coast in order to cut off Jesus, who was born about
the same time. Jesus escaped by being taken by His mother into Egypt.

This day is also known as Innocents' Day.

_Death Warning._--The following were considered as sure warnings of
impending death if any of them were seen or heard by a relative,
namely: Dogs barking at the moon or the ghosts of the living;
headless coach approaching; weeping of women; the Banshee's wail;
sounds of a carpenter's hammer making a coffin; funeral processions;
spots of blood on the floor, ground or roadway.

Of course, there were several others, but the above were most
commonly mentioned.

_Easter Sunday Sun Dance on Easter Sunday Morning._--That the sun
can be seen dancing in the heavens on Easter Sunday morning is a
widespread superstition, more or less all around the whole globe. It
is quite true that almost every Easter Sunday morning in our parts
we have fine, bright sunshine, but this is due to the fact that at
that season of the year everything in the ground is springing out
fresh and green, and the warm heat of summer is approaching. When I
was a little boy of about nine or ten years of age, I was often told
that if I got up very early on Easter Sunday morning, I would see the
sun dancing with a lamb, a cross, and a bird on its face. I did so,
but of course I was disappointed. I dare say that many of those who
were telling me then that I could see the sun dance on Easter Sunday
thought Lent so dreary and long that they wished to see the Easter
Sunday morning sun so that they could be at liberty to dance. Eggs
are eaten in no small quantities on this morning.

On Easter Sunday dancing on the old crossroads called "Coughlanes"
started. However, if one immoral case or any immodest transaction
occurred in a parish, it often happened that dances and dancing
schools in the entire district were wholly suppressed by the word of
the parish priest and the dancing master turned away.

Sun dancing on Easter Sunday may be traced back to a heathen custom
when the spectators themselves danced at a festival in honor of the
sun after the vernal equinox.

_Eastern, Protestant and Catholic Winds._--A member of the Protestant
Episcopal religion came under my notice who made it a practice to
remain out on the night of the 31st of December until New Year's
morning that he might see with his own eyes if the wind was favorable
to the Protestants. If at midnight it blew from the east, it would
indicate to him that the Protestants would be very prosperous that
year, but if it blew from any other direction he would become
restless and uneasy. Should it happen to blow from the west, he would
express such words as "God help us poor Protestants; everything is
going against us and in the way of the Roman Catholics this year." I
have no doubt but some Catholics might then be found possessed of a
like superstition.

_Fallen Angels._--These were supposed to be in the air, in the house,
and everywhere, and had the power "of good and evil." They could
use a bush for a horse and ride all over the country. As they were
considered pretty active gentlemen by night for hurling persons,
standing in their way was not always safe. If they gave you a blow
of their hurley on the head, you would not know what happened to
you. Physicians now have found a cure for nearly all diseases,
consequently such ignorance quickly disappeared.

_Funeral Bells._--The custom of tolling bells slowly and solemnly
three times for funerals is carried on in Dingle both in the Catholic
and Protestant churches.[14] The ringing of a hand bell through the
streets of Dingle to summon the people to mass is many years gone
out of practice.

_Gates of Glory._--These are Gallauns standing at Milltown, Dingle.
Probably they were first erected as landmarks. At a later period
they served another purpose. Persons amenable to the town court for
certain acts, such as debts and the like, were considered outside its
jurisdiction when beyond those stones or landmarks. I was told that
it often happened orders were obtained against deceased persons who
owed money and the body arrested and held without burial up to, but
not exceeding, nine days, unless some friend paid the debt. However,
if the corpse escaped beyond the "Gates of Glory" the court was
unable to follow it and those in the funeral could stone the bailiff.
Consequently those stones were designated the Gates of Glory.

_Ghosts' Spirits Cannot Cross Running Water._--The reasons for
persons believing that a ghost or a fairy will not follow them
through any river or stream which is not bridged over or has no
stepping stones is because when they with fear suddenly plunge into
a deep hole in a river the cold water gives the nerves such a shock
that it drives away all terror. If a man was hounded by an enemy and
believed his life was in danger, he would quickly forget the ghosts
and even hide in a graveyard if he thought that by so doing he would
escape from his pursuer.

_Glas-Guineach._--This cow was remarkable for giving a large quantity
of milk. She belonged to the monks then residing at Kilmalckedor, was
well fed and grazed upon the best patches of sweet pasture in the
district. A thief attempted to steal her, but was captured in the
act. To make an example of him, his finger prints and the impression
of the cow's hoofs for future reference and to warn the people of the
district to be aware of him were cut or set into the stones by some
natural art touching finger prints then known to those monks. The
stories of the Glas-Guinach are numerous and interesting. Children
inclined to steal were reminded of what happened to the thief who
stole the monk's cow.

_Gospels._--These are received from a priest, sewn into a piece of
cloth, worn on necks of some children.

_Haunted Houses._--Three houses in the whole barony of Corkaguiny
are all I can discover to have the reputation of being haunted now.
Thieves, robbers and persons of fraudulent and dishonest intentions
manufactured ghosts and imposed them on their innocent neighbors as
haunting certain places, while in other cases where an unnatural
death took place, such as murder, suicide or the like, a fear would
seize the person finding the corpse or one hearing about it. Children
seeing white boys assembled by night in open places and not knowing
who they were prolonged the belief in the ghosts and fairies.

_Headless Coach Stories._--These are wicked lies which were told
on winter nights at the firesides by old people and imposed upon
children as real truth. To make it more serious, the storyteller
would put on a long, solemn face and speak in whispers. He would
start and describe in detail the make, appearance and movements
of the headless coach, thereby terrorizing the very lives in us
children, so much so that we would not willingly come home after
dark unless accompanied by another. There never was such a thing as a
headless coach in our parts, and some old people there are guilty of
a very serious crime in poisoning and destroying the minds of young
children with such horrid tales.

_Hold Out the Hand and Split the Difference._--In selling or buying
horses, cattle, sheep and hogs at fairs and markets a peculiar custom
prevails. When the buyer and seller are within a few shillings of
a bargain a friendly neighbor asks them to "split the difference"
and places their hands together. Another habit is for a buyer, when
making an offer which he expects will be accepted by the seller, to
ask the seller to open his hand. This being done, he slaps the open
hand in token of an agreement as he makes what he pretends to be his
last bid.

_Holy Water Bottles in Canoes._--There is a custom among fishermen
to the west of Dingle of carrying very small bottles containing holy
water tightly corked and fastened by a strong string to their canoes
when going to sea.

_Holy Wells_ (See "His. Co. Kerry"--Corkaguiny).--Pilgrims to holy
wells leave rags, copper coins and other quite valueless tokens
behind them in paying rounds, at Brandon Mountain shrine and other
like places.

_Horn Dance._--This peculiar dance was introduced into these parts by
persons of foreign descent in gentlemen's houses, and it disappeared
with them. In dancing, they wore horns and had bells on their feet.

_Horseshoe Nailed Over the Door._--This class of superstition I find
more common in the United States of America than elsewhere. Of
course, it is brought by Europeans into the country, chiefly by Jews.

_Hurley._--In former times this was considered a very fine play in
those parts but now is altogether extinct. Two men courting the same
girl often challenged each other to a hurling match in front of the
girl, and the man successful claimed her affection.

_I Usga Bagha, i. e., the Water of Life._[15]--This was the name
applied to whisky. A custom of hanging a bush, a jug and a glass
in front of a house having spirits for sale, and such notices as
refreshments for man and beast, disappeared with the enforcement of
the license laws and were replaced by the show card.

_Judges Bringing Bad Weather to Kerry._--Many persons believe that
the judges of the assizes in their circuit bring with them bad
weather to the County of Kerry, due to so many false oaths being
sworn before them and therefore so much wrong done in the name of
justice. Consequently, apart from any other reason, their lordships
are considered very undesirable visitors to the county by most of
the people outside of the legal profession. It is quite true that
at nearly all times in the last century when the assizes were held
in Tralee it was either raining or the sky was dark and gloomy and
the weather bad. This probably was due to the season of the year in
which the assizes were usually held. However, more noticeable was the
weather on the mornings of the executions in Tralee Jail of persons
condemned to death by judges and packed juries, but innocent in the
minds of the people.

_Lady Day._--This was the patron day of Dingle. It was held on the
8th of September.

_Leprachawn._--This is the name given to a shoemaker appearing
in several fairy tales. He is supposed to be a very rich little
gentleman and a native of Teer-Na-Oge, who appears very often amongst
briers, bushes and boulders. He is not more than six inches in
height, is often dressed in a nice green coat ornamented with gold
and silver lace, wears knee breeches and a red cap. They tell me he
works very hard at mending shoes. His shelves are covered with stacks
of gold coin, and in addition he has many crocks of this precious
metal. While he is working it is very easy to steal upon him and
catch him. I am told that whenever you lay your hands upon him you
should seize him quickly and, although his shrill screams will be
heart-rending, do not loosen your hold, and at the same time you
must not take your eyes off the gold, for if you do he will surely
change it into brown leaves and pay you off with a half-sovereign.
I fear that most of those who saw the Leprachawn were paid off with
brown leaves. If a remarkably poor person became suddenly rich, and
was anxious to keep his neighbors in the dark as to the source of
his changed position, he was sure to tell them that he captured a

_Lycanthropy._--Here is another wicked superstition, viz., that
persons in league with the devil can assume other forms, such as a
dog, etc. I am very glad I cannot now find one person to credit such

_Marriages and Weddings._--Many of the peculiar customs attached to
marriages and wedding feasts are slowly but surely changing for the
better. Imitations of the false standards of "decency" set up by the
middlemen of the previous centuries are fast disappearing. However,
the people, both in town and country, are still too extravagant with
their marriages and weddings, and in some instances the marriage
fees are unreasonably excessive when compared with the offering made
for a like ceremony in other countries. Rare cases of this kind
unfortunately rob the marriage of its sacramental appearance and
bring it to the level of a civil contract. The practice of making a
collection amongst the parties attending a wedding feast and offering
it to the curate and clerk is now almost out of fashion.

_May Day._--The superstitions connected with May Day were numerous
and widespread. That day people watched their cattle. Bad women with
their wooden milk gallons placed under their aprons watched for an
opportunity to steal upon their neighbors' cows to milk them. Witches
were believed to go about as hares. These superstitions, I am glad to
say, are now very rare.

_Mistletoe._--Kissing under the mistletoe was a custom which is
now almost dead and gone, at least in West Kerry. In our part of
the county it was a very innocent amusement, and I never heard of
a single instance in which it was abused. The custom was this: At
Christmas a piece of mistletoe was hung up over the doorway leading
into the kitchen or some other favorable place, and whenever a
young girl stood under it a young man claimed--and nearly always
exercised--a right to kiss the girl and pluck off a berry for each
kiss. Sometimes in the town of Dingle two or three young men would
stand on a street corner having a piece of mistletoe with them and
would kiss every girl that happened to come their way. A girl who
would make persons believe that she was running away trying to avoid
being kissed by the boys was sure to be hunted until caught; then the
mistletoe would be held over her head until she was given at least a
half-dozen kisses by each of her captors.

Although it is the relic of pagan days, the mistletoe was hung up
in churches during Christmas, but because young people, instead of
praying and assisting properly at mass, were kissing, courting and
rehearsing the marriage ceremony over eligibles, thereby causing the
whole congregation to pass from one uproar of laughter into another,
both the mistletoe and the kisses were abolished, and the holly, with
its numerous thorns, substituted for the mistletoe, thereby warning
them of the fact that going through marriage was like drawing them
through a thicket of holly and briars, the thorns of which might
pierce them to the quick.

_Mother Carey's Chickens or Stormy Petrels._--This was the term
applied to flocks of small web-footed birds about the size of a
chicken or even smaller than blackbirds. Their appearance is neat
and they are always on the wing. They are found pretty numerous at
times in the Blasket Islands and Skellig Rocks, but their whole time
is spent on the ocean. The reason they are called "Mother Carey's
Chickens" is because fishermen and local sailors say they are the
first and most reliable birds to give sailors warning of the approach
of a storm by rushing in flocks towards them whistling "Wee, wee!"
But I do not know how correct that can be, for I find that their
greatest delight is in rough weather and storms. The meaning of
the expression, "Mother Carey," is said to be "Mother Dear," and is
intended for the Virgin Mary, due to the fact that she was considered
the patroness of sailors.

In the daytime these birds never seem to swim, but while on the wing
allow their feet to touch the water, and naturalists say from its
walking appearance upon the waves like the Apostle Peter, the name
"Petrel" was applied to them.

Whenever superstitious sailors of other countries see a flock of
these merry sea birds following their ship, they try to kill them,
owing to the birds' delight in storms. They believe bad luck follows
their trail, that they cause storms, and they call them the "devil's
birds," but the truth is that as they don't appear to dive like other
sea birds they more easily pick up their food from the surge than in
calm water. (See my "History of the Skellig and Blasket Islands" for
an account of these birds.)

_Mug._--The large wooden mug, cups and gallons are now out of use.
However, a few can still be found in country homes.

_Mugs._--A name given to a party of striplings who went around first
kissing the pretty girls and making mouths at the coarse and older
ones. In course of time, rough and ignorant characters joined in and
became such a nuisance that the girls protested against them and
called them "Mugs," no doubt after the Muns of England, who carried
on much the same practice with the breaking of windows, wrenching of
knockers added. The latter too was extended to those parts by the
rowdy element.

_Pagan Wells, Lises and Fairy Tales._--Lises are found everywhere in
the barony. They were erected within view of each other, so that in
event of an attack on one lis or a fort a fire kept burning would be
extinguished as an alarm signal. These forts are surrounded by the
best quality of land in their immediate vicinity. Fairy tales are
connected with every one of them. Some people frightened the lives in
little children with fairy tales and ghost stories. Those stories had
this much of a foundation in our locality: In the beginning of the
Eighteenth Century when the British law prohibited the exportation or
sale of wool to any other country but to themselves, farmers became
engaged in smuggling wool to France, where they received as high as
two shilling, sixpence (sixty cents) a pound from France. Cutters
brought wines and brandies with them, which were often hidden in
specially prepared chambers in forts, lises and cahirs, near the sea
coast. To keep children away so as not to give information, they
told them that the men seen in those forts and lises were fairies.
This helped to prolong the life of the old tales. Every cave to
the west of Dingle was filled with wool, trying to smuggle it to a
convenient place for loading it into ships. The French pretended
they were carrying from Ireland emigrants called the "Wild Geese,"
i. e., Catholics who were forbidden by law to live in Ireland. The
magistrates who were supposed to stop it were engaged in this illicit
trade. Amongst the most objectionable was their description of the
headless coach leaving a burial ground going in the direction of some
dying person and returning with its victim, the Banshee's lonely
wail, the appearance of a golden-haired woman courting with fairy
pleasure some fine young man trying to take him into fairyland.
However, worse still were their representations of dances at the
ancient crossroads by young men and maidens years in their graves,
long funeral processions of the dead at night through certain roads
in which a living companion of the dead would pretend to see and
recognize some of his dead neighbors and at the same time he would
order those in his company who could see nothing wrong to step aside
and let the dead pass.

The least objectionable fables are the mermaids and their enchanted
capes and the enchanted music of the dead, how St. Patrick tricked
the snakes and serpents, the appearance of strange and mysterious
ships at sea leading sailors and fishermen to their doom, the
Broack-an-rubber, Feon Macoal, Diamond and Grana, chieftains clad in
white armor riding on horses shod with gold shoes galloping through
the country every May morning and serpents in lake.

Pagan wells, too, were deemed sacred because old Druids washed and
dressed the wounds of soldiers and persons injured in them.

_Patron Days._--These are held where Christian churches were erected,
consecrated and dedicated to that particular saint whose festival
falls on or about the day on which the patron is held. It was so
very hard to overthrow pagan celebrations, which continued for a
long time after the dawn of Christianity in Ireland, the clergy, and
wise Christians, too, admonished the people to abandon the custom
of attending pagan meetings in mountains and other like places and
started sports on patron days close to their churches, and in this
manner completely exterminated the adoration of idols.

In the middle of the last century, excessive drinking and an
occasional street fight tended to degrade them. Long ago they served
their purpose and at present no objection could be held against them
if they were held completely dry.[16]

_Penitent Pilgrims of the Cat-Brack._--Catholics attending Protestant
Bible classes, reading their literature or listening to a funeral
service during the fearful religious quarrels of what is known as the
"Souper campaign," as a part of their penance had to go from Dingle
to Killarney, a distance of over forty miles. Some very old men did
the journey on foot. Amongst the reasons for taking exception to
a funeral service was that Protestant writers, in boasting of the
success of their mission, classed Roman Catholics standing around
the coffin while the funeral service was read at the graveside as
"converts" to Protestantism. The result was that Catholics attending
the funeral of a Protestant neighbor or relative would accompany the
corpse no further than the gate to the graveyard or burial ground or
keep a reasonable distance away until the religious services were

_Racing at Weddings._--The custom of men riding saddle horses, racing
with each other to see who would be the first to reach the newly
married girl to bring her home to the wedding, is now almost dead
and gone, but the spirit survives.

_Red Lighted Coals of Fire Given Out of the House._--Old women in
country villages prevented fire to be given out of their houses,
and insisted on all men smoking extinguishing all the fire in their
pipes before leaving the house was, I believe, the most ignorant
superstition I ever saw practiced. A farmer's wife feared that if you
should carry a lighted pipe from their house into another, it would
enable the person carrying same to transfer milk and butter from one
farmer to another, and he could do many other things.

_Rounds._--Paying rounds around holy wells and shrines are very much
on the decline.

_Shea-Hated by the Mermaids of the Sea._--It is almost impossible
for persons bearing the name of Shea or O'Shea to obtain partners to
join them fishing in any harbor in the barony, due to the fact that
people are afraid that if they had an O'Shea or Shea in their boats
or canoes they would be drowned. For this belief a thousand reasons
are sometimes given. However, after setting aside tales appertaining
to mermaids, spirits of the deep, legends and superstitions, the
striking fact remains that of the names of persons drowned in this
peninsula within the last century the surname of Shea or O'Shea
outstrip all others, and this is the more remarkable when taken into
consideration that through fear in storms very few of them will take
the risks of their fellow fishermen. Possibly when caught in sea
trouble the want of confidence arising from superstition may have
something to do with it.

_Snap Apple Nights, or All Hallow Eve._--This night falls on the 31st
of October. Up until near the end of the last century, it was a night
of sport by young people in those parts by trying to extract fun and
prophecy from fruit and beans. Amongst other things, they place beans
together in pairs in the ashes close to the heat of the fire for the
supposed lovers, one named for the boy and the other for the girl.
If the beans burn brightly and quietly together, it indicated that
the young man and the young girl so indicated would be married, but
if they cracked and jumped apart from each other they would never be
married. From the ashes many a strange tale would be foretold. After
one pair jumped apart, another pair of beans would be tried and some
other likely lovers named for each.

Young persons also would dip for apples in tubs of water and endeavor
to bring one up in the mouth by pressing it against the bottom of the
tub. Sometimes an apple would hang from a cord and they would try
to catch it with their mouths while in circular motion. In catching
apples, hands should not be used.

I knew of one girl who privately melted lead several times and each
time threw it into water, in hopes that she could foresee her future
husband to be a ploughman possessing horses, cattle and ploughs. I
know that she got married to a farmer, not because the lead and water
conveyed anything of the kind, but her heart and mind was set on
having a farmer as her husband.

This is a superstitious practice handed down to us from the Druids.
Formerly these things were a ceremony of belief, but with few
exceptions in our parts this superstitious belief has disappeared and
now they have become things of pure sport. Other nationalities in
Europe are still found quite superstitious about All Hallow Eve.

_Steel-Pen Coats._--These steel-pen frize woolen coats and
knee-breeches ornamented with brass buttons and commonly worn up
toward the last quarter of the last century are now nearly extinct in
those parts.

_St. Martin's Eve._--It appears that St. Martin was buried on the
11th of November. In some country homes amongst farmers I noticed
that on St. Martin's Eve some animal was killed, such as a goose, a
duck, a hen or a cock, and that the outside threshold of the door
was sprinkled with the blood of the animal killed for St. Martin.
Some went as far as to sprinkle the four corners of their dwelling
houses with blood. I believe this had a Christian charitable origin
and in the course of age lost its true meaning and character. Whether
Christian or pagan, it is a very curious custom, and I see no good in
it for the present age.

_St. Patrick and the Snakes._--Are there any snakes to be found in
Ireland? Did St. Patrick banish them? These are questions which
Americans ask me daily. My answer to the first question is that I
never saw nor heard of any snake living in Ireland since the days
of St. Patrick. Ireland does not produce any venomous reptile. The
following are _not_ to be found there, viz., snakes, tortoises,
scorpions or dragons. Leeches, lizards and frogs are numerous, but
these are harmless. I am told that snakes brought over to Ireland
will die or lose their venom before they land. Sailors who say they
have tried it tell me that as they were drawing near the land the
snakes died. Circuses will not attempt to cross the Irish Sea from
England with their snakes for fear of losing them. People living in
Ireland never saw a snake. The reasons given by some naturalists for
snakes not living in Ireland are not identical.

Now, with regard to St. Patrick banishing the snakes and all other
poisonous reptiles out of Ireland, both tradition and legend says he
did it but it is not supported by historical documents. According to
ancient writings, snakes were found in Ireland before the Christian
era. There is full and clear evidence that some of the people adored
idols made into the imitation of snakes, and also dead snakes,
and that these were collected and delivered up by newly converted
Christians to St. Patrick and with their full accord the idols were
destroyed by him and thrown into a lake. Beyond that I cannot go,
and I regret to say here I must leave the reader to draw his own

The very early Catholic Church historians in Ireland did not mention
a word about St. Patrick's connection with the snakes. St. Patrick
left behind him a written document called his "Confession," and in
this there is no mention of the snakes. However, many years after his
death--some centuries--Irish historians stated clearly that it was
St. Patrick who banished the snakes. English historians up to the
Twelfth and Thirteenth centuries agreed with the Irish historians of
that period, and, for the reason that snakes would live in the Isle
of Man, they (the English) classified that island as more properly
belonging to England.

If St. Patrick had nothing to do with the live snakes--and I suppose
he had not--there must be something very strange in the air or soil
of Ireland. It is more remarkable still when we consider that if
snakes which live in the British Isles will die on their arrival in
Ireland, and many of them, it is said, before they ever touch the
Irish soil, and that science so far has not discovered any means to
overcome it. It is also said that if pure Irish earth was scattered
in a garden snakes would become scarce.

_St. Stephen's Day._--As everybody knows, this day falls on the 26th
of December. A peculiar custom connected with this day still lingers
in those parts. Men dressed in straw or like women, wearing masks
with face blackened, carrying flags, a bush with a wren fastened to
it, and having a fife and drum band playing about them, parade the
streets. They dance and make merriment and are always followed by a
big crowd. One of the company carries a white hobbyhorse, which is
an imitation of a horse made of wood and covered with white calico.
Under the hobbyhorse the party are supposed to have one of their best
dancers. The under jaw of the hobbyhorse is to work with a string so
that it cracks in time with his step and also the steps of all the
dancers. This part of the program is not easily done and therefore is
often neglected. After dancing a little, they change the performance
and the hobbyhorse, carrying a ladle in its mouth, is sent around to
collect contributions while a purser enters the horse beating every
person with bladders tied onto the end of a stick.

It appears these sports originated at the Feast of Fools in the
Christian churches and monasteries of other countries from whom we
borrowed them. St. Stephen's Day was specially set aside for deacons
and other orders of the clergy who were not able to enjoy Christmas
owing to the extra religious labors cast upon them.

Coupled with this came the mistletoe, and, to act in the plays,
laymen, too, were admitted. Whenever it was necessary to raise
funds for the repair of some church, dances were performed in the
churchyard on Sundays. The surplus of the funds, after paying for
the repair of the church, went to the support of the poor. In the
course of ages abuses set in and now the performers have the proceeds

_Sunburst of Erin._--In pagan days most of the Irish people looked
towards the east for the rising sun and adored it. The most ancient
flag of our country known was, I believe, a sky-blue field with a
sunburst. In a field belonging to Mr. P. Lynch is a large stone
bearing an ancient sunburst emblem upon it. (For Ogham's inscribed
stones, see History County Kerry.)

_Toothache Cure._--The cure given by some old women for toothache
was to have the sufferer in person enter a churchyard burial ground,
find a dead man's finger or coffin nail and place it in his mouth,
pressing the tooth several times into it. This practice was long ago

_Witches (Witch Hare)._--When I was a little boy I found a few old
women possessed of a horrid superstitious belief to the effect that
an old witch (a woman) could change herself into a hare, and as such
would go about lises, forts and like haunted places and therefrom
enter fields and milk cows dry.[17]


[12] In old Mexico a large wooden cross marks the spot where murders
have taken place. On my way over the mountains and grand canyons
between Beristan (Carman) and Tepexico. In the State of Pueblo, I
saw houses very often having two and three crosses near them, and
also that the gable ends of their houses were crowned with one or
more crosses. Having heard a good deal of talk about the bandits and
murders of that part of the country through which I was passing, I
asked if all those crosses which I saw represented murders only. I
was informed by the Indians, and Mexicans themselves, that it was for
a long time the custom to erect crosses where sudden deaths occurred
from other causes, such as suicides, man or woman devoured by a wild
beast, or the like, as well as in cases of murder and manslaughter.
Furthermore, they told me (through an Italian as interpreter) that
the crosses upon so many Indian houses were an exhibition of their
attachment to the cross of Christ. I found Pueblo a strong Catholic
State, and the crosses are put standing, as near as circumstances
will permit, to where the murdered man expired, and if possible in
view of persons passing by as an appeal to the traveler to pray for
the soul of the person or persons who fell there.

Amongst other curious customs practiced by those queer people the
following were impressed on my memory: That Mexico City has funeral
street cars, which I have not seen in any other part of the world. To
understand my point more clearly, the electric street cars running
on rails with an electric car as a hearse, pick up the dead bodies
and carry them to the graveyard or cemetery. Here the coffin is
unlocked and the corpse must be examined and clearly identified to
the complete satisfaction of the caretaker, after which the coffin
is again locked and the corpse buried in a grave or tomb leased for
seven years. At the end of seven years or thereabouts, out of the
tomb or grave the remains must go unless the lease is renewed or the
grave bought forever at an enormous sum of about $400.

As I had not sufficient command of the Spanish language to enable me
to put the question direct to the natives and obtain information from
their lips without the assistance of an interpreter, the figures set
down for me as the prices of a grave are so much at variance, as well
as the form of procedure in evicting a dead man from his grave in
Mexico, that I leave that part of the matter to abler authorities.

In connection with the wakes of their dead, in our camps I noticed
that they did drink a milk-like liquid called "pulgue," extracted
from the mague or century plant. It has the taste, color and
appearance of milk, but it is so intoxicating that if a person should
drink any large quantity of it he would become so drunk and helpless
that a stranger would believe he was dead and would never wake again.
At the few wakes that came under my notice, the Mexicans were very
orderly and showed every mark of respect to the dead. I believe there
were no pipes or tobacco at those wakes, or if there were any they
escaped my notice. At San Francisco, California, the Chinese put food
on their burial plots for their dead, but the "hoboes" visiting that
city steal the food and eat it as often as they can get at it.

[13] Dancing masters between 1775 and 1780 were paid sixpence (twelve
cents) a quarter with meals for teaching dancing to a whole family.
However, a dancing master's quarter was much less than three months.

[14] The custom of hanging bells to horses, cattle, sheep and goats
is very common in the Republic of Old Mexico, also in the States
of Nevada and California in the United States. Without those bells
goats, sheep and cattle could not be located amongst the thick brush.

[15] Whisky is the water of death to every person. The saloonkeeper,
or publican, who gives drink to a child or young girl under the age
of 21 years is the devil's best agent on earth.

[16] It is strange that the whole of the great Northwestern States
of America, by the vote of the people, made their States completely
dry, and that without compensation to the saloonkeeper, yet our
people, amongst whom it has such a ruinous effect, cannot hold a
Christian patron day without traffic in intoxicating liquors. In the
United States a minor dare not enter a saloon, and a saloonkeeper
is debarred from entering almost all lodges--even many Christian
churches have refused to accept their money; yet in our parts a
publican will be elected a district and county councillor before most
other persons in the neighborhood.

[17] On one occasion on a very fine summer's morning in a lis about
a mile away from the village, I happened to see a hare eating grass,
and I tried to chase it, but as the hare was too swift for me and
I had nothing better than pebbles to throw at it, of course it
escaped at ease. In great haste I returned to the village and took
with me a young shepherd dog which belonged to one of the neighbors
and which was in the habit of following me. However, when I reached
the lis there was no trace of my hare to be found and I felt very
disappointed, especially when the dog would not go and find him for
me. I came home and there I asked them to assist me to hunt for the
hare, but they only laughed at me and told me that long ago the
hare was gone to the mountain, and to catch a hare I should have a
greyhound instead of a shepherd puppy. After nightfall I wandered
into one of the neighbor's houses and joined other boys who were
listening to some fairy tales. Here I was cross-examined as to the
cause of my excitement and had to account for the nature of the
mischief I was engaged in that I wanted the dog so early in the
morning. I told them about my experience with the hare in the lis,
but, while the whole house enjoyed my hunt, there was one in the
company who took a more serious view of it. I was told that in all
probability it was no hare but a witch, and if I escaped from injury
I ought to consider myself lucky.

Next a hot argument arose between two as to the location of a lis
where it was alleged an old witch changed herself into a hare and
while running from the hounds towards an old cabin, just in the act
of leaping through a very narrow window opening into the cabin, she
was bitten and disappeared. The cabin was surrounded by the hounds
and hunters and two went in to hunt her out, and although they
searched every corner of the cabin, from the thatch to the floor, all
they could find in the house was an old woman sitting on a mat of
straw. Believing that this old woman must have killed the hare, they
compelled her to stand up and found a lot of blood. The farmer called
upon the witch and warned her never again to milk his cows or her
life would be ended.

In England, thirty thousand persons were hanged for being witches and
the Puritan fathers of New England, amongst many other wicked deeds
of theirs connected with witchcraft, executed a woman for being a
fox. I fail to understand how any people guilty of shedding so much
innocent blood, which our Pilgrim fathers used as divine perfume in
witchcraft, cases of which Boston and Salem furnish such an example,
could be found to possess a pure religion.


  Italic text is denoted by _underscores_.

  Bold text is denoted by =equal signs=.

  Obvious typographical errors and punctuation errors have been
  corrected after careful comparison with other occurrences within
  the text and consultation of external sources.

  Except for those changes noted below, all misspellings in the text,
  and inconsistent or archaic usage, have been retained. For example;
  hand-bell, hand bell; Cat-Brack, Cat Brack; battons.

  TOC. 'Changlings' replaced by 'Changelings'.
  TOC. 'Sein Fein' replaced by 'Sinn Fein'.
  Pg 16. 'kidnaping' replaced by 'kidnapping'.
  Pg 19. Missing anchor for Footnote [2] inserted.
  Pg 19. 'Atholone' replaced by 'Athlone'.
  Pg 25. 'Lady Chattam' replaced by 'Lady Chatham'.
  Pg 32. 'Castlegregory' replaced by 'Castle Gregory' for consistency.
  (the current spelling today however is Castlegregory).
  Pg 33. 'bagles' replaced by 'beagles' (twice).
  Pg 36. 'left it fall' replaced by 'let it fall'.
  Pg 39. Missing anchor for Footnote [6] inserted.
  Pg 43. 'surpressing' replaced by 'suppressing'.
  Pg 46. 'Lord Baconsfield' replaced by 'Lord Beaconsfield'.
  Pg 49. 'Sein Fein' replaced by 'Sinn Fein' (twice).
  Pg 50. A Postscript note starting with 'P. S.' was in the original
  text on Pg 51 as a Footnote without an anchor.  This has been moved
  to the relevant paragraph on Pg 50 as a Sidenote.
  Pg 52. 'arrested the leaders' replaced by 'arrest the leaders'.
  Pg 54 Footnote [9]. 'Welch' replaced by 'Welsh'.
  Pg 54. 'Sir Rodger Casement' replaced by 'Sir Roger Casement'.
  Pg 55. 'Skellings,' replaced by 'Skelligs,'.
  Pg 56. 'Lional, Duke of Clearance' replaced by 'Lionel, Duke of
  Pg 57. 'Castle-Gregory' and 'Castlegregory' replaced by
  'Castle Gregory' for consistency.
  Pg 59. "Pehalm's Letters" replaced by "Pelham's Letters".
  Pg 60. 'Four verses' replaced by 'Three verses'.
  Pg 60. 'Spencer' replaced by 'Spenser'.
  Pg 60. 'as the met' replaced by 'as they met'.
  Pg 62. 'Atlone' replaced by 'Athlone'.
  Pg 64. The section on 'Fenianism' was inserted here by the printer.
  The section heading 'Fenianism' on Pg 29 refers the reader to this
  inserted section on Pg 64.
  Pg 73. 'Mrs. Eddy Baker' replaced by 'Mrs. Baker Eddy'.
  Pg 77. There are two anchors for the same Footnote [12] on this page.
  Pg 82. 'Changlings' replaced by 'Changelings'.
  Pg 82. 'Teer-naoge' replaced by 'Teer-Na-Oge'.
  Pg 89. ' Pilgrims' replaced by '--Pilgrims'.
  Pg 91. 'sieze him' replaced by 'seize him'.
  Pg 98. ' Old' replaced by '--Old'.
  Pg 99. 'execeptions' replaced by 'exceptions'.

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