27. Mar, 2020

Snippets of Folklore

The Miracle Well


I have been made aware of a holy well at Knockgarron which, in the old times, was in a different place about three-quarters of a mile from its present site, and how this change came about. It used to be very famous for curing eye diseases and problems, and people came from all parts of the country to receive the cure. There was a wealthy farmer who was living near the place who had a blind horse and, one day, he ordered his stable-lad to lead the horse to the well and use the water to cure its blindness. The stable-boy refused, but the owner insisted that the curative affects of the well water should be tested on the blind animal. Although it was miraculous that the horse immediately recovered his sight, but next day the owner became blind. The well also sunk down into the ground and became dry, but later on it was discovered to be flowing where it is now to be found.

The Elder


The Elder tree is believed to be the tree from which Judas hanged himself. The proof of this is said to be that the leaves have an ugly smell and its fruit has degenerated from its original size and excellent flavour, and become worthless, both as to size and taste.

An Irish Bible Legend


In the interesting Cathedral of Lismore, in County Waterford, there is an altar tomb that has been preserved and often described, which is known as the 'Magrath Tomb'. I am not sure, however, if the old legend that explains one of the sculptures on the covering slab of the tomb has been properly explained. At the right-hand corner on the foot of the slab a tripod cooking pot is carved, and its lid is a cock in the act of crowing.

The story given in explanation is that of the Roman soldiers watching at Our Lord's Sepulchre were scoffing at the possibility of his resurrection, and one of them said that it was just as possible that the fowl they were cooking in the pot would return to life. As the word was said the lid was thrown off and the cock flew up alive, and crew.


The Worm Knot


Snaidhm na Peiste (pronounced - Snave na paystha)


My great - grandfather was once shown a special charm by a  cattle herder, which was said to cure cattle of the 'founder'. He took a piece of string or light rope and tied a rather intricate knot, but did not pull it tight until he had passed it three times under the cow and over its back; and if it had been properly made, by pulling the two ends the tangle was resolved, and the cord untied itself from the twists. It had also the virtue, I have been told, of curing an animal of any knot or contortion of the bowels which is supposed to be the cause of gripes of colic.