Sidor som bilder

hang down above the window of her room, and yet all this time, the idea did not enter into her own mind or the minds of her friends that she was on the very eve of death.

The reader may understand the effect produced on Mrs. O'Brien and her visitors by that church-yard cough which we have mentioned as coming from the little room in the cottage, but it did not divert Ned Connell from the point which he had in view.

"I never knew any good to come of middlin' with them ould places,” he repeated, soliloquising.

Musha, am sure you didn't, nor any of us either;" coimed in the woman in the old blue cloak.

Mrs. O'Brien only responded with a heavy “Och on!' from her heart.

“I don't consider myself an ould man, thongh I was just seventy-two years last Candlemas," said Ned," and I seen many changes, in my time, follow the same sort of middlin'. You know the ould fort that's up

there in Monahibbeen ?"

“Musha an' sure we do well,” replied the two


• Do you

“Well," resumed Ned, “I remember the time when ould John Hayes—one of the Hayes's of Coulnagoppul, and strong farmers they were at the time-went to till that fort, and the very mornin' he turned it up, his best horse that was yoked to the plough, and there wasn't a fiuer horse in the parish, died on the floor with him without any raison in the earthly world ; and before the year was out, he lost two cows and a heifer. S) that sometimes, you see, it falls upon the bastes, and other times it falls upon the Christians. Lord betune us and harm !”

All this statement was frequently interrupted by ejaculations of surprise, or horror, or pity, from the woman in the old blue cloak, or from Mrs. O'Brien, and this accompaniment of ejaculations from some of the hearers always gives a thrilling effect to any tale of the supernatural when told among the peasantry by any of themselves.

“But sare, continued Ned Connell, “ould Frank Collins, who was an ould man at the time I am talkin' about, Lord be good to his soul, often tould me how he used to see the coach and four drive into the same fort just after night-fall." “Oh! Vo! Vo!” exclaimed the women.

Well, as you are talkin' of them forts,” said the woman in the old cloak, “the quarest thing that ever you heard in all your life, happened to a woman o' the Caseys down in the parish of Ballinvoher, and sure 'tis often and often she tould me of it. She was the wife of lame Billy Casey, that they used to call Lium-a-vatta, I

suppose you heard tell of him; and she was a likely young woman at the time, and was nursin' her first child. But behould you, she was goin' one mornin' with a couple of hanks of yarn to a weaver in Cragmore that was weavin' a piece for her, as he happened to run short of yarn; and she set out very early entirely in the mornin', as she wanted to be home in time to have the min's breakfast ready; but it was earlier than

she thought, all the while, for the moon was shinin bright, and she thonght it was the day-light was in it. Well, my dear, she was goin' until she came to the risin' in the road, about half a mile the other side of the forge, where there is an ould fort or Cahereen, as they call it, and there she geen a house, and she was just thinkin' within herself that she never seen a house in that place before, when she seen a man lookin' from the door of the house. He was stooped down a little, and was leanin' against the jamb of the door, lookin' out, and she heard the cry of a child inside the house. • Who knows, ma'am,' said the man, as she was passin',

but you'd be kind enough to step in a bit, and give the breast to a child that's cryin', as its mother is not at home ? Indeed I will, with all my heart,' says Mrs. Casey, although at the same time she felt a sort of dread come over her. And so she did go in, and there she saw a cradle and a fine child in it, and it crying for the bare life, and she took it up, and sat down with it, and gave it the breast, and it stopped cryin' in an instant. She then began to look round her, and she seen an ould man and woman sittin' each side of the fire. They were both as ould, and withered, and miserable lookin' as anything ever you seen, and they both seemed to be greatly throubled about somethin'. know where you are now ? ma'am,' says the man that asked her to come in. Not a know I do, then indeed,' says Mrs. Casey, ‘for I don't remember me that I ever seen this house afore.' Well, then, I'll tell you,' says the man, and you are now among the fairies.' 0 murther! murther !' says Mrs. Casey, 'will you let me out of this ?' 'Do you see that ould couple there near the fire ?' says the man; 'well they are goin' to die to night, and to be put in the place of a young man and a young woman in the next parish, and that is what's frettin' them,' says he; and sure enough, it was about that very time that Tom Stokes, the shoe-maker of Gurteenard, and a young woman of the Donovans near Ballintimple, were taken, and every one of the neighbours knew very well that it was struck they were, for you never saw such atomies as was left instead of them, Lord save us and purtect us! But behould you, the man then says to Mrs. Casey, 'I am very much obleeged to you entirely,' says he, 'for your kindness, says he,' and for your reward, any three wishes you like to make, you will get them.' • Oh, for God's sak, let me out of this,' says Mrs. Casey, ' and that is all I want from you. You had better think of yourself again, my good woman,' says the man, 'before you refuse my offer,' says he ; you will get any three things you wish for,' says he. I don't want any thing fronı you but only to let me out of this, I tell you again, says Mrs. Casey, and so she was taken at her word, and let away, and from that minnit she didn't see one sign of the house, but only the ould Cahereen in from the road in the moonlight."

“Oh! what a fool she was,” exclaimed Mrs. O'Brien,

“She lost her chance, any how,” observed Ned Connell,

“Musha, that's just what I said to her,” rejoined the

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


narrator. Musha, bad look go from you, Mrs. Casey, says I, why didn't you wish for somethin' good, when you got the offer ? why didn't you get the power of curin' the people, and get a purse of goold for yourself ?”

“ As for their goold,” interposed Ned Connell, “I believe it ginerally turns out to be somethin' not worth much."

Musha, I believe so," resumed the woman, “but howsomever, Mrs. Casey tould me, as I tell you, that she was frightened almost out of her life, and she thought she never would get her foot outside the threshold alive. So you see she didn't gain much by the fairies,”

Ned Connell all this time felt that they had strayed away from the more important subject. He wanted to show the danger of interfering with the old raths or Danish forts, as they are popularly called, and to this point he wished to bring back the conversation.

“ There was one Robert Fitzgerald lived on this townland a long time ago ; indeed, I think he was dead before you were born, Mrs. O'Brien."

“I often heard my mother speak of ould Robert Fitzgerald, and sure; but indeed I think, Ned, he was not livin', as you say, when I was born ;" observed Mrs. O'Brien.

“Well, you see that bush growin' on the side of the fort, yonder ?"

“ We do, and sure,” responded the woman in the old cloak; and so they might, for the old fort was scarcely twenty perches from the spot where they were sitting.

“ Well," resumed Ned Connell, “ould Robert Fitzgerald tould me, that he heard the finest music in the world comin' from that white-thorn bush. He couldn't say whether it was the fiddle, or the bagpipes, or what it was, but the music was the finest he ever heard in all his life. It was after that time that Rody Sheehan, that lived and died in this house, 'rest his soul, cut down the biggest half of the bush to stop a gap where the cattle used to be goin' in and out. He didn't think it was any harm to cut it, I suppose, but indeed, indeed, I don't think he was much the better for it ever after."

Just at this moment Mr. O'Brien and his son returned home from a meadow where they had been saving hay, and after saluting the visitors, the father's first word was an enquiry about his sick child. Mrs. O'Brien did not seem to heed the question, but said in rather a peevish tone, “Tom, I tell you, you must give over tillin' that ould fort."

“What puts that into your head, Peggy ?” said O'Brien ; " I suppose,” he continued, “ this is some of Ned Connell's talk, and I am afraid he says a great deal more than his prayers.”

“Whatever puts it into my head,” rejoined his wife, “I tell you I will not give you any rest in the matter ; and indeed you need not turn upon poor ould Ned Connell about it in that way.”

“Whatever I said, Mr. O'Brien," observed the old

man thus alluded to, “it was only for your good and the good of your family."

6 Indeed I am sure of that, Ned," said O'Brien, mollified, “but it's great nonsense for this woman to tell me what I must do, or must not do with the land."

6. Wait, mother,” said young O'Brien, laughing, “wait until you see what a heap of manure we will tura out of it when we level the ditch of the old fort altogether."

"Hold your tongue, sir," said his mother angrily, “ you will never level it while there is breath in my

"Why, mother, who knows but we might find a pot of gold in it,” said the young man, still laughing; " and,” he added, "you know very well that John Doran, over there, levelled an old mound that was opposite bis door, not many years ago, and nobody knows all he found in it, but at all events neither he nor his family has been a bit the worse for it ever since ; and," he continued, addressing himself to old Ned Connell, as his father and mother had both gone into the sick girl's room, “ I don't believe but they found more in the mound than they pretended. The great stones that were in the centre of it, were moved into the haggard, and put under the corn stacks, and as to the old bones, they were scattered to the winds, but surely there was something else in it that they did not acknowledge."

This elicited no remark from the old man, and we may take the opportunity of the pause which ensued for a few words of explanation on the subject of our tale.

We find that the old circular or polygonal enclosures so numerous throughout Ireland, and popularly known as “ Danish Forts,” were so called at least some two or three hundred years ago, 80 that the error respecting their origin must be tolerably ancient; although it is quite certain that they were never constructed by the Danes or used by that people at all, and that they were, on the contrary, the residences of the aboriginal inhabitants of Ireland, who erected their hurdle houses within them, and also penned their cattle in them in times of danger. It is fortunate for the preservation of our national antiquities, that some feeling even akin to superstition should interpose to save those venerable remains from destruction, but although such a feeling does exist, the instances are too numerous in which it has not bad that desirable effect. Wherever, in fact, the enclosures in question have been constructed of stone, it would appear that the materials have been unscrupulously employed in the formation of the neighbouring fences, nothing being left but the mere traces of the foundation, except in some very few cases, as in the Firbolgic duns of Aran; but where the enclosing mound was of earth, as it generally was where earth was at band, it has been respected by the husbandman in a number of cases absolutely countless. Still we know many instances in which even these earthen raths have been either entirely effaced, or partially destroyed by running farm roads through them, or employing the earth to increase the surface of the adjoining fields.

The destruction of the sepulchral mound or tumulus

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

mentioned above by young O'Brien has come under our family. The young plant went first, and the old was own knowledge, and it was a piece of vandalism the rapidly following it, the same fatal disease having eaten more to he lamented as the monument was particularly into the vitals of both. Mrs. O'Brien imagined that very interesting in connection with the traditions of the neigh- little was left to her in the world when her beloved bourhood, and as its contents were wholly dispersed or daughter was gone, but now that she saw her busband destroyed without examination. We may still further going also, she perceived that her foriner loss was nothobserve that the kind of education so generally diffused ing to the impending one, and she felt as a person on at present among the class of our population to which the very brink of despair. The necessity of performing O'Brien belonged, while it helps no doubt to remove her duties to the sick man alone sustained her energies. many silly errors and prejudices, is go utterly destitue One day early in spring, and long after her poor husof any national element as to weaken or obliterate in band had ceased to leave his bed except to be assisted many cases the veneration for the traditions and anti- to the kitchen fire-side, Mrs. O'Brien stood at her cot. quities of our country. Not only are the pupils of such tage-door breathing the fresh air, and looking around her a system left in profound ignorance of our history, but at objects, every one of which only made her heart sink they are very apt to be impressed with a notion either lower and lower. that their country has no history, or if it has, that it is “Lord bless me !" she mattered to herself, “ I wonnot worth knowing. Young O'Brien was precisely a der is it my eyes that is failin me, or what in the earthly person on whom this kind of half education had the

he hould fort.”

world is the matter with me! I can only see half of the effect which we deprecate. He entertained a thorough contempt, of course, for all the superstitious of his more She rubbed her eyes, and again gazed at the old fort, ignorant neighbours; but he also erroneously confound- and again muttered—“Lord save us! I wonder did ed with superstition many ancient traditions of the peo- the ground swallow it, or is it blind I'm gettin!” ple, of the origin of which he had no conception; he was “Harry, a coshla," she said, as her son approached, “I quite incapable of feeling those generous and poetic don't know in the world what's comin over me, for I can't emotions which even such a knowledge of the bistory of see only half of the ould fort." his race as oral tradition had until recently kept alive Faith, mother, that's all that I can see either,” reamong the peasantry, was capable of inspiring ; that plied her son. kuowledge might now be more easily and correctly ob- “And what happened it, Harry?" she said. tained from books, but it never entered as an element “Well indeed, nothing in the world," he replied, "nointo his education; and of course those venerable re- thing, only I removed it, because, you see, 'twas in the mains, called forts or raths, which were still ancient a way of the plough." thousand years ago, had no better claim to bis respect “Ah! Harry, Harry, is that the way you have obeythan any of the ordinary hedges or ditches about the ed me ?” said the mother, casting one upbraiding look country. Taking old Ned Connell as a representative at him, and the poor woman then retired into a corner man of our peasantry of the olden time, with all his of her room and wept bitterly. It was not a superstifaith in fairies, and all his primeval traditions, he was tious fear of injuring the old fort that now fretted her, much more intellectual to our mind than Master Henry but her son's disobedience that stung her to the heart. O'Brien, with his smattering of ill-digested and easily Reflecting how soon she would be following her husa quired knowledge, and his utterly common- place stock band's bones to the grave, she felt that all was now gone of ideas.

indeed, and that her last ties on earth were unhinged. To return to our story. Not many days elapsed until And so the time came round quietly enough for anothe keena was raised for poor Annie O'Brien, and the ther funeral from the Fort Farm. There was a large neighbours gathered together to accompany her remains gathering of the neighbours on this second sad occasion, to their last resting-place. She fell with the leaves in for Tom O'Brien was respected in all the country round; October, and her death left a sad void in the cottage at and as the people collected in small groups about the the Fort Farm. Her mother never after held up her yard and garden, and in the boreen leading to the cothead, and her father was quite sublued from his old tage, and up in the old fort, waiting for the corpse to stern ways.

be taken out, they all spoke most favourably of his “ Tom achree," said Mrs. O'Brien one day, character. “ He was a decent, honest man,” said one. you wont till that ould fort any more ? sure you wont ?”. “ He was an honest man, indeed, and a good neighbour,"

"Indeed I wont, Peggy, if it plases you," replied Tom; observed another. “Musha, he was, and a hard-workin' " and to be candid with you,” he added, “'tis little ad- poor man,” chimed in a third. “He hadn't a crooked vantage I got by tilling it at all, for the potatoes all ran turn in him," said another; and so on, every one hav. into stalks in it, and had no return worth talkin about.” ing some kind word to say of the deceased ; and all the

But poor Tom's own duys were numbered. It hap- while the wailing of the Irish cry issued loudly from the pened that at a fair he suffered more from cold and wet cottage. The widow poured out her grief ia agonizing ihan usnal, and the consequence was a fever, from which tones, several relatives also cried, and it was hard for he recovered, but only to find that his constitution was any heart to withstand the sound of lamentation withbroken down. Some relative of his then significantly out being affected. hinted to Mrs. O'Brien, that the consumption was in his "God help the poor family,” said one of a group of

[ocr errors]


• How


Long have I loved the beauty of thy streets,
Fair Dublin ! Long, with unavailing vows,
Sigh'd to all guardian deities, who rouse
The spirits of dead nations to new heats
Of life and triumph :vain the fond conceits,
Nestling like eaves-warmed doves ’neuth patriot brows;
Vain as the Hope, that from thy Custom House,
Looks o'er the vacant bay in vaiu for fleets.
Genius alone brings back the days of yore
Look! look what life is in these quaint old shops-
The loniest lanes are rattling with the roar
Of coach and chair; fans, feathers, flambeaus, fops,
Flutter and flicker thro' yon open door,
Where Handel's hand moves the great organ's stops.


10 say



Neighbo: rs waiting in the farm-yard. * Musha, what Signifies the family after all,” observed another, “ for Sure 'tis shortly the ould woman will last now, and I may say there's no one else depindin' on him.” soon they all melted away!" was the observation of another. “ He never did much good since the daughter died,” remarked one of the speakers, “and isn't it quare,” he added, " that 'twas twelve months nearly to the day between the death of the father and the daughter.” “You're just right,” remarked another. “ Faith and sure I am," was the rejoinder, “ for wasn't it the day after the fair of Ballintimpul that Annie O'Brien was buried, and sure the same fair day was last week ?"

“Does any of ye know how the daughter wint ?” asked one of the party, in a tone which was as much as

that he did.”
“ Faith, and sure we don't," was the reply.

“ Did ye never hear,” said the former speaker, who was none other than old Ned Connell, “how she fell asleep in the ould fort, and how when she awoke she found the pieces of silver money in her lap, and how she put up the money when she went into the house, and how the next day she found nothing in their place but as many withered leaves as there were pieces of silver ?”

Well, well,” ejaculated the listeners, not one of wiiom doubted the truth of the statement.

“And from that day to the day of her death,” continued Ned, “she never was well; and indeed I think it would be better for the family all through, if no one of them ever had a hand in the same ould fort."

All agreed that it was not safe to meddle with such old places, and that at all events, they would not touch them themselves; and each of them could relate several stories to enforce the point if necessary. And thus did they discuss the matter while they accompanied poor Tom O'Brien's coffin to the grave.

It is needless to add another death to the sad cata. logue here enumerated, by following the brief remainder of Mrs. O'Brien's career to its close. Harry O'Brien soon after finding that things did not go on very successfully with him, resolved to seek his fortune in a country better suited to his intellectual development, and so he emigrated to America ; and old Ned Connell, creeping slowly along the road of an evening, in conversation with a neighbour, could not help remarking how soon the O'Briens melted away like the Sheehans. His own back was considerably more stooped than formerly, and when he thought of all the old neighbours who had vanished from his sight, he began to feel, especially after his seventy-fifth summer, that he himself was growing old.

From the coincidence of some of the events mentioned in this simple tale, we would not draw any conclusion favourable to the peculiar superstition which it illustrates. Far be it from us; but we would ask our readers to treat with some respect such venerable remains of our national antiquity as the Old Fort.

M. H.


KENALEHEN, AND CREEVELEA. “ The Franciscan monastery of Galway,” resumed the Provincial, was founded by William de Burgh, surnamed Liagh (the gray), in the year 1296, outside the city wall, and in the fair little island called after the protomartyr-Insula S. Stephani. The illustrious founder spared po expense to render this monastery one of the finest in Ireland, and, indeed, the spacious dimensions of its church, the rich marble of which it was constructed, and the splendour of its altars, are so many irrefragable evidences of the piety and taste of the poble De Burgh. He lived to see it solemnly consecrated, and when dying ordered that his remains should be laid in the gorgeous monument which he caused to be bailt for himself and bis posterity, right under the shadow of the grand altar. When I visited Galway, the tomb of the founder, * like those of most of the chief families of the neighbourhood, was in good preservation, but particularly that of De Burgh, round whose recumbent effigy I read the following inscription : Memoriæ Illmi Domini Gul. de Burgo, Suae Nationis principis et hujus monasterii fundatoris qui obiit 1324.' The endowinents which De Burgh made to this monastery were very numerous, and coosisted of water-mills upon the river, and the tithes of some acres of arable land near the city ; and, that our friars should never lack fish, he ordained that on every Wednesday they should be supplied with one salmon out of the great weir, on every Saturday with three out of the high weir, and on the saine day with one out of the hawl-net, and with all the eels that might be taken one day in each week out of the many eel weirs on the river.

“ As an instance of the bigh esteem in which the Franciscans of Galway were held by the Court of Rome, I should not omit to tell you that, in 1381, Pope Urban VI. authorised the guardian of that venerable house to ex

[ocr errors]

communicate every one within the borders of Connaught who presumed to adopt the party of the antiPope Clement VII., whose abettors were very numerous in France, Naples, and Scotland. That, in sooth, was a disastrous era to the Church, when cardinals, kings, and laymen contested the legitimacy of the elec:ion of the two rival Pontiffs, the one in Avignon and the other in Rome; but, be it recorded to the honor of our Galway brethren, that they adhered with unalterable fidelity to Pope Urban, the rightful successor of Gregory XI., who, at the instance of St. Catherine of Siena, re-established the residence of the Popes in Rome, after an interval of seventy years, which the people of that city termed the seven decades of the Babylonish captivity.

I may say, unhesitatingly, that the Galway monastery had as many benefactors as any other house of our order in Ireland ; for, indeed, the inhabitants of that ancient city loved our habit, and never tired of ministering to the maintenance of our brethren. The largesses of the rich and noble helped to keep the buildings in good repair, and the poor man was ever ready with his mite, to promote the same object. Indeed, the Register which records the multitudinous bequests and legacies of the townspeople to that monastery is still in the possession of one of our brethren in Galway, and on turning over its pages I found ample evidence of the love and veneration which the citizens of every grade always cherished for our institute. How many instances could I adduce of their almost princely munificence ! but I must restrict myself to mentioning only a few of the many which, I trust, will never be forgotten. Thus, for example, as I learnt from the Register, Elward Philibyn, a wealthy merchant, rebuilt the dormitory for our friars in 1492; and in 1538, John French, then chief magistrate of the city, erected the beautiful chapel on the south side of the monastery, in honor of God and St. Francis, and for the good estate of his own soul and the souls of his posterity. As for the tombs of the distinguished denizens of Galway and its neighbourhood who selected our church for their last resting-place, let it suffice to say that they are very numerous, and splendid productions of the sculptor's chisel. De Burghs, Lynches, Fitz-Stephens, and O'Flaherties, moulder there beneath marble monuments, exquisitely wrought, rich in heraldry and pompous epitaphs, recording many a high achievement on the battle-field, in the senate, and in the mart. Apart from those gorgeous monuments-last efforts of human vanity if you will—there is, in the south side of the choir, an humble cenotaph, sacred to the memory of a truly great man, whose ex. tensive and profound erudition reflects honor on the Franciscan order of which he was, in south, a most distinguished ornament. I speak of Maurice O'Fihiley, or Maurice de Portu, whom Julius II. advanced to the archiepiscopal see of Tuam, in 1506. From what I have been able to learn of this wonderful scholar, it appears that he was a native of Baltimore, in the county of Cork, and took the surname De Portu,' from the celebrated haven on which that town is situated. Having completed his studies in Padua, he for a long time


taught philosophy in that learned city, and earned a world-wide reputation by the variety of his writings, some of which were not published till after his death. His principal works are ‘Commentaries on Scotus,' a * Dictionary to the Scriptures,' the Enchiridion Fidei, or a Manual of the Faith,' which he dedicated to the Earl of Kildare; The Compendium of Truths,' in Leonine meter, and many others which it would be superflu. ous to enumerate. This truly learned man was corrector of the press for that far-famed printer Benedict Locatelli, and filled the same place in the printing establishment of Octavian Schott, at Venice. Having assisted at the early sessions of the Council of Lateran, (1512,) and returned to Ireland in the following year, he landed at Galway, where he fell sick and died in our convent there. Few indeed have won greater renown in the republic of letters, and well did he deserve the epithet bestowed upon him by the learned men of his day, who justly styled him “ Flos Mundi.'t Two of his successors in the see of Tuam, Thomas O'Mullaghy and Christopher Bodkin,gawait the resurrection in the same humble tomb.

This venerable monastery, however, was doomed to share the fate of most of our other houses in Connaught, and accordingly, in the year 1570, the greater part of its possessions was wrested from the friars, and granted to the corporation of Galway, and their successors. As for the convent and church they were both assigned to an individual who, pretending to have adopted the doctrines of the Anglican religion, in order to accommodate himself to the times,|| contrived withal to do great services to our brotherhood when they were banished from their ancient precincts. Nothing indeed could have been more strange than the conduct of this anonymous grantee, for he possessed himself of the old conventual register, in which all legacies bequeathed to our friars were entered, and nut only did he vigorously enforce the payment

the amounts, but he actually handed them over to the community (then residing in a house which they rented in the city), in order that all such pious donations might be expended on the repairs and preservation of the ancient edifice. Furthermore, as the island on which the monastery stands belonged to him, he could not be induced to part with a single perch of it at any price, no matter how tempting, and instea] of letting it to others, he built there sundry handsome houses wbich accommodate upwards of fifty persons, together with three water-mills for grinding corn. It was during the construction of the latter that the weir which formerly belonged to the Franciscans was deməlished. Froin the earliest times, too, it was customary for all vessels coming up the river with wood and other sorts of fuel, to give a little of it by way of alms to our friars, and strange as it may seem this anonymous benefactor still insists on the observance of the usage,

* In the early ages of printing the office of “corrector," was conferred on none but the most learned.

† The World's Flower, | Obiit 1536.

$ 1572. li Father Mooney does not give this individual's name, but simply mentions him thus _“ Simulat se hæreticum esse ut tempori serviat.”


« FöregåendeFortsätt »