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Tag Archives: Folklore

Fairy stories and lore of the ‘sídhe’ in Michael’s new book

ABDUCTIONS by fairies, and other nefarious activities of Ireland’s ‘sídhe’, are detailed in a new book by Quin’s Michael Houlihan. The Kerry man, who is a founder of the Quin Heritage Group, has not been sitting on his laurels for long and Irish Fairies – A Short History of the Sídhe is now available in local bookshops.  The recent Púca controversy proves the persistence of superstitions around fairy folk, and Michael outlines where this mischievous character sits in the pantheon of the sídhe, alongside creatures like the banshee, the fairy queens Clíodhna and Medb, the nobles Aengus Óg and the Dagda. “For thousands of years, the Irish have believed in ‘the fairies’,” Michael said. “In present-day Ireland, however, as in so many modern societies, fairies have been retreating, almost to the point of extinction. Nevertheless, the question might still be asked, what if the fairies were not created or imagined, but remembered?” As well as considering that key question, the …

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Lenihan pitches for Púca after Ennistymon says no

THE hunt is on for a new location for the controversial Púca statue, after it was rejected in a public poll by the people of Ennistymon.  Interest has already been expressed by leading folklorist Eddie Lenihan who has been a long-time champion of the half-man, half-horse sculpture. The Crusheen man said his own village would make the ideal location, given its legendary links to the mercurial character reputed to lure people into all kinds of nocturnal adventures. “We have a place named Cathair an Phúca and there is a roundabout there,” the story-teller said. “What could be more appropriate? It’s an amazing coincidence really and maybe this is where the Púca was meant to be all along.” It remains to be see if Crusheen will fit the bill for the new location for the 2-metre high bronze figure, as Clare County Council announced its intention to find it an alternative home, somewhere in North Clare. Following a survey, which attracted …

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Oral history projects sparks Christmas memories for nursing home residents

AFTER what has been a incredibly tough year for nursing home staff, residents and their families, a unique oral history project is hoping to spark reminiscences about times long before the threat of Covid-19. Cuimhneamh an Chláir has dipped into its extensive archive to compile an album of Christmas stories which it is distributing to every nursing home in the county. “We celebrated our tenth anniversary last year and were delighted that we got to mark it,” said Leonard McDonagh, Chairperson of Cuimhneamh. “Some people who attended our celebrations, including the late Chris Droney, are no longer with us and that’s a huge loss. We’re also conscious that many people in nursing homes have contributed their stories and memories to our archive. We wanted to give something back to them and that’s why we created the CD.” The album contains voices from all over Clare and many colourful memories of Christmases past. Among the traditions described are preparing the house, …

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Details emerge of rare ‘plague stone’ outside Quin

HOLY wells have long been a source of comfort in times of trouble, and in East Clare a monastic site, sacred to sixth century saint, has not only a well, but also a rare ‘plague stone,’ believed to cure disease. “Luchtigern, a sixth century local saint was said to be able to cure any type of pestilence,” explained Quin historian and writer, Michael Houlihan. “His church and holy well stand on the northern shore of Fenloe Lake, a few miles southeast of Quin village. Keeping in mind that vaccines did not become commonplace until the mid to late nineteenth century, any type of contagion or airborne sickness took a huge toll on the local population. People did what they could to seek some kind of intervention. Many reached out to the saint.” As a resident of the East Clare village, Michael has long been aware of the folklore of St Luchtigern. His current research on the holy wells of Clare …

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