The stories were found by Eugene Daly in his research for the book “Leap and Glandore – Fact and Folklore”
The stories were found by Eugene Daly in his research for the book “Leap and Glandore – Fact and Folklore”
One dark black night, a labourer was coming from Leap to Skibbereen. It happened that when he came to the top of the hill known as The Pike that he saw a ghost in the form of a woman. She was dressed all in black. She stretched out her hand said to the man: “Give me your hand”. The man was shivering with fear and he refused to give her his hand. Several times she asked him the question but he would not yield. The ghost was edging the man towards the fence. Sensing it is devil’s work, he drew the spade on her and she went in flames from the steel, leaping into the sky.
Many people said that they saw the same ghost in that place and it is said there was a fight between two men there many years ago.
About seventy years ago there lived in Clounties in the house once occupied by the saintly Father John Power, an old gentleman named Baldwin. He was an old bachelor and was very eccentric in his habits. He kept nothing on his land but beautiful horses and he spend greater part of his time watching these sporting around the fields. An old sister lived with him. He was ill only for a short time previous to his death. The protestant clergyman was then in Glandore. He was a newcomer named Reeves. Word was sent to him that Baldwin was ill so he visited him to prepare him for death. He spent that night at Baldwin’s side. Baldwin died early next morning. When his will was read it was found that nearly all his property was left to Mr. Reeves. There was a very valuable log of pitch pine which the newcomer knoew nothing about. It was stored away in a barn and the caretaker sol it to a carpenter. This carpenter got some men to help him to take it away in the night. When they tried to move it Baldwin was sitting on it and they failed to stir it. They tried and tried but failed and failed. They waited until day-break. The cock crew and Baldwin disappeared. They then moved the log without the least of trouble.
There was a man in Myross parish; he went fishing with a rod one morning and when he went down the cliff there was a red-haired woman at the edge of the sea combing her hair on a rock. There was a cloak behind her, and as any young man would do with a young woman, playacting with her, he caught the cloak. He went up the path again, followed by the woman, and he headed home as fast as he could. A bad storm followed his steps like a premonition. He had a thatcher putting a roof on the house. He threw the cloak up to him and said, “put that ahide in the straw”, which he did. She stayed there trying to find the cloak. He was courting her and she was courting him and they got married. They were married for fifteen years and they had two little girls and a boy. Then it was time to thatch the house again.
They had two or three cows. When she was going out to milk the cows she saw the little cloak amongst the straw and the purloins. She snatched it and put it ahide. The man took no notice of her. She milked the cows and prepared the breakfast. After breakfast she washed herself and the two little girls. Then she departed, herself, and the two girls. Whenever they were seen, a storm was coming, hiding their traces.
She was a mermaid. Her son married and it is from him the O’Dwyers are descended.
In the deep night, on the Killinga road, the traveller may see in the distance a cart enveloped in a flame of fire. It travels slowly, by its own, its shafts prortruding. It makes a strange unearthly noise which sounds like a great number of chains rattling together. It travels very slowly as if it would be bearing a great load. One night a man was coming home and he traveled the Killinga road. There was a house by the wayside and the man went in. As he entered he heard a clanging of chains and he saw from afar an object which he perceived to be a cart and was horror stricken when he saw no animal pulling it. As it passed the house the man saw sparks of fire trailing behind it. It stopped on the road near Kilmacabea Graveyard and immediately a pack of hounds alighted from it and raced up across towards the Graveyard. The cart then ran furiously as if the hounds had taken a great load off it until it reached the graveyard and in an instant all was silent. An hour later the cart started again and when it came to the place the hounds alighted it stopped and the hounds raced down again. The cart moved as slowly as before until it reached the bridge from which the Headless Voach starts and there it vanished in a flame of fire.
Among the many ghost stories told in Keelinga during the long winter nights when the families are gathered around the turf fires is the story of the Headless Coach. About the hour of midnight this coach is beginning its nightly journey. In the townland next to Keelinga, known as Knockskeagh, there is an old bridge where a big black coach first appears from darkness. It starts into motion at midnight and goes along the lonely road, vanishing back at four o’clock. It passes from Knockskeagh into Keelinga and its rattling can be heard for miles around.
One night a man was going along the road when he heard a rattling, faint at first but getting louder and louder. At last he saw the coach appearing so he moved aside to let it pass, but to his astonishment, he next saw it almost three hundred yards behind him speeding rapidly on its way.
Be careful traveller while passing there.
More than a century ago there was an old woman living in Cullane. Her neighbours believed that she had communication with the fairies. Daily she was to be seen sitting alone on a sunny bank. High grass and ferns surrounded this bank. One day a man named John Donovan Stukley decided to watch her movements. He watched her carefully from early morning until four o’clock in the evening. He then saw her rise like a piece of paper before a gust of wind. She continued across fileds and climbed fences like a whirl. Occasionally she touched the ground. She continued in this manner through the townlands of Madranna and Cooladreen and went direclty for the Mall School. Here she increased her speed and finally he lost sight of her. He lay down exhausted and rested for some time. He returned home feeling very tired. Next morning, to his surpirse, the woman was sitting in the usual sunny spot as if nothing had happened. he convinced the neighbours that she was with the fairies.
In the townland of Reavouler there lived in a cottage a family named Grace and the woman of the house kept no fowl. One night as a man was passing by the house he heard a cock crow and next he saw a cock walking beside him on the road. When next he looked he saw a dog and next it was a cat. The three creatures were walking beside him, and their eyes looked void.
He jumped on his bike and cycled as fast as he could, but the cock, the cat and the dog were still there, walking beside him. He got home, three the bike and closed the door, leaning agains it while trying to calm his heart.
In the morning he carried the bicycle back to the place where he met the creatures, and there he saw a dead cock.
There are old ruins of a house directly opposite Knockseagh school and overlooking Ballinlough Lake. The house was built on a very unlucky site and the family who lived in it was very unlucky in it also. One night the woman of the house thought she heard some unusual noise among the cows. She got up to see what is wrong. She found the cows alright and she went to bed. As she passed through the kitchen she saw a corpse on the settle. She tried to scream but was too weak to do so. She struggled to her room. Next morning she arose trembling and entered the kitchen but the corpse had disappeared. She lived only a month after that.
In the centre of the townland of Keelinga, Leap, there is a little hill known as Cnocan na Dremire. This hill is one of the hills frequented by the leprechauns, a little fairy cobbler who makes and mends shoes for the fairy people. One evening after dark, a man was walking over the hill, and as he was alone, he indulged in his thoughts. Suddenly, he was interrupted by a little noise which he knew to be close by, yet it sounded very faint. Mystified he stood listening and he came to the conclusion that it was a leprechaun. He stole on tiptoe to where he thought the noise came from. In the midst of a bunch of tall foxgloves or fairy-thimbles he saw a little red light and sitting on a mushroom was a little man dressed in a green coat, brown breeches and a scarlet cap, cobbling away at a pair of shoes. The man reached out his hand and seized the little fellow by the waist asking at the same time for a pot of gold.
The little man seemed very polite in his answer: “”Only put me down and I’ll give you the gold.”
The man put him down but he kept his eyes steadily fixed on him. The leprechaun said many things whcih he thought would cause surprise but the man remained calm intently gazing on him.
He then took him to a little place under a wide ledge of rock and turning round said: “Here is your gold”. There indeed in a little hole was a can overflowing with gold. The man gazed on the gold but turning round he found the little man had vanished. He went to get his gold but to his disappointment he only found a can of dried leaves.
There is a lake in County Cork called Lough Ine. It is six miles south Skibbereen and three miles east Baltimore. There was a king living in the middle of it and he had a castle built; there is a small island in the centre. The king was called Lavar Ó Luínse.
Every barber that went to him, he used to put them to death after they had cut his hair. One of the barbers, before he was executed, got a wisp of straw or something similar; he made a hole in the ground and he whispered into the hole that Lavar Ó Luínse had two donkey’s ears.
But the plant grew, and somebody who passed that way cut the plant and made a musical pipe out of it and the tune the pipe played was that Lavar Ó Luínse had two donkey’s ears.
There was a wood north of the lake and when the wind blew and the trees whispered and the furze on the ditches whispered and every other plant in the area, they all had the same tune, that Lavar Ó Luínse had two donkey’s ears.
When he discovered that everybody knew about his ears he fled away. I can’t tell you anymore about it. That’s my story, be it true or false.
Note: the story is based on the mythical king, Labraidh, ancestor of the Leinster people (who were called Laighin). His name is usually accompanied by the sobriquet Loinseach (exiled one). In legend he is said to have horse’s ears, to preserve the secret, he had every barber who cut his hair put to death. When a widow’s son was given the task, the frightened mother beseeched Labraidh to spare him and promised that he would not reveal whatever he discovered. This was agreed, but the yound man grew sick and pined for three years with the burden of the secret. A druid advised him to go to a crossroad, to turn his right, and to tell his secret to the first tree he met. He did this, and soon recovered his health. The tree was a weeping willow and Craiftine, the famous harpist, afterwards used the timber of that very tree to make a new harp. When the harp was played, the sound came from it as words: “Labhraid Loinseach has the two ears of a horse”. Hearing this, Labhraid was overcome with remorse for having put his barbers to detah and he uncovered his ears for all to see the blemish.
In Greek mythology, Midas was a king whose touch turned all to gold and Apollo gave him donkey’s ears.
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