Forgotten Folklore: Local History

A few years can bring a lot of changes, the number of houses on a street, the number of farms in a townland and the make up of a community or parish can become unrecognisable over as little as a decade. So what about 80 years? Has your parish changed much in almost a century? This week we look back at a few parishes in North Leitrim described by some school children over 80 years ago for the national Folklore project.

A few years can bring a lot of changes, the number of houses on a street, the number of farms in a townland and the make up of a community or parish can become unrecognisable over as little as a decade. So what about 80 years? Has your parish changed much in almost a century? This week we look back at a few parishes in North Leitrim described by some school children over 80 years ago for the national Folklore project.

My Home District

I live in the townland of Uragh. It is in the parish of Kinlough and the barony of Rosclogher. There are about 20 families living in the district. Feely is the most common name in my townland. Mostly all the houses in Uragh are low thatched houses with two rooms and a kitchen. There are only a few people over 70 in the district. There names are Mr and Mrs Feely, and Mrs Clancy, and Mrs Gallagher and Mr McGarrigle. Some of them can tell stories in English.

Houses were more numerous in olden times than they are now. There are many old houses in ruins in my district. Some of the people of these houses emigrated to America years ago.

The land of Uragh is mostly all bog. There are a few small woods and a little lake. The lake is said to be enchanted as no fish live in it.

The district was well wooded and it is believed that yew trees were very plentiful and on that account the district was called Iubpac.

Collected from Scoil Uragh by Mary O’Rourke, Uragh.

The ‘Little Height’

The county I live in is Leitrim, the barony is Rosclogher, the parish is Killasnett and the town land is Mullies. There are six families in my town land and 30 people in the town land. There are five slated houses and one thatched one. There is some old ruins in it also. The one nearest to me is the one beside the River Bonnet. The people that lived in it were Rooneys, but they went to Canada. There are four people over 70 in my town land. There is very hilly land and some boggy land in it also. The deviation of my town land is the “Little Height.” The parish church and Kilroosk school is in my town land. The most plentiful name in it is Rooney.

Collected from Scoil Cill Rúisc, author unknown

Drumlease Parish

The parish takes its name from the number of forts it contains and the ridges which appear in it. Its original name was the parish of Bo and I am inclined to think that Bo was a surname as near the old chapel of Bo is Bo’s fort and local tradition states that Bo lived in a wooden house on the north side of this church.

On the south side of the church is a mountain called Benbo which was supposed by authorities on place names to resemble a cow in shape – hence its name. But I am included to think it means’ Bo’s mountain as the adjacent townland is called Bohey (which might mean a hut) still it may have also a connection with the name Bo.

Another hill about a 1 mile north of this school is called Laogán. At the foot of the hill is a very great pile of stones called the Giant’s grave. Quite close is a hill called Croc na Laoigna and at the other end a town land called Faurnlion- perhaps Laogán was the giant buried there. The parish is famous on account of St Patrick’s visit here. He was very much impressed with the scenery around Carrick a Temple, where he built his church – so much so that had other circumstances not prevented it he would have selected a beautiful hill there called ‘Granam’ as the seat of his ecclesiastical see.

He spent some time in the locality. A well in Doonmorgan is called Tobar Bainis and it is said he married a couple at this well. Another well is the shape of a foot, it is said he left his foot on the solid rock and a string burst up. This well is in Leckaun. Another is found in Doonkelly and is called Tobar Padraig. All those wells have an unfailing supple of pure spring water.

From the graveyard to the shores of Lough Gill is a pass and on the edge of this pass a large stone is pointed out which bears the print of a foot. It is said to be the impression of St Patrick’s foot. The people of the parish feel proud that our locality was so nearly being selected as the ecclesiastical capital of Ireland.

Collected from Scoil Newtownmanor, Drumlease by James Flanagan, Faslowarth, Five Mile Bourne.

Leitrim School’s Folklore archive (1937-38) is available in Leitrim County Library and is the property of the National Folklore Collection UCD.