The information used in this page was Compiled by Jim Walsh and Martin Gahan for
(Sliabh Rua A History of its People and Places)

Local Folklore submitted to the Irish Folklore Commission in 1937/38
by pupils from Ringville and Slieverue National Schools.

The Legend of the Yellow Hound (Coin Bhuidhe)      
The Legend of Holly Lake (called in Irish, Loch Cuileann

The Penal Times 
The Ferry of Ballinlaw

The White Horse
Why the roads wind
Local Fairs
Hidden Treasure
Ringville School
The Mummers
Travelling Tailors
A Prayer
Midi's' Fright
Stories of the Holy Family
The care of the Feet
Food in Olden Time
Potato Cake
Boxty Bread
Ainmneaca Aiteann
Clothes Made Locally
Weather Lore
Lady Esmond
Old Houses
Hurling and Football Matches
Irish words used in English speech



FOLKLORE is composed of traditional popular beliefs, tales, sayings and customs. Folklore stories are related by peoples of all countries. Most have passed from generation to generation by word of mouth and have never been written down.   The better tales, however, have been recorded by scholars and in some cases have been the basis of further literary developments.
Some of our own classical folk stories relate to the Irish pagan gods, such as Mannan Mac Lir, the sea god, or Goibniu, the smith god. Most, however, are about men and women, - stories of human activities, battles, sieges, tragedies, and so on. Some are founded on historical events, - history embellished with some fiction, some are entirely fictitious but woven around historical personages. Many are great stories of the Children of Lir, the sons of Usna, or the pursuit of Diamuid and Grainne.
Every part of the country has its own lore, its own story to tell, though some stories tend to be repeated in different locations with only the details changed. We are fortunate in Ireland to have a very vibrant Department of Irish Folklore, in University College, Dublin, with a very large library of folk treasure. The systematic collecting of folk-tales started in the 1930's, and was approached in a dual manner. There was throughout the country a core of collectors for the Irish Folklore Commission as it was then, added to that the National School Teachers were asked to encourage the pupils to collect local lore. Most schools co-operated with the result that there is available to us a vast collection from across the country.
Our local schools contributed some interesting stories, of ghosts, or fairies, of life in times past as remembered by their parents and grandparents in 1937/38. Recipes for cures, for cooking, for baking are included, reports of trades and skills long since gone, stories of feats of bravery, of strength, of endurance. Also stories indicative of the reli­gious fervour of the time and much more. We also have some very old folk-tales, some passed on to us by oral history, some were put in print by John O'Donovan and others. We record here some of those and also some from the schools collection in which case the name of the collector and school is given.

John O Donovan

John O Donovan

The Legend of Holly Lake (called in Irish, Loch Cuileann)
The first of these legends (writes John O'Donovan) is connected with the traditional history of Holly Lake, called in Irish Loch Cuileann. It is an article of popular belief that Tory Hill which rises over Loch Cuileann, was formerly the theatre of pagan worship for the people of the surrounding country.
On one of these occasions, the worship being ended, athletic games and feats of activi­ty commenced. The people were assembled on the Faiche, or plain, now the townland of Fahee, which extended up to the border of the thick wood, still called Bigwood (Coillmhor in the language of the day).
Hurling was the favourite amusement; the opposing teams - sixty a side - being on this occasion distinguished by their camans: Tri fithghid caman cuillin agus caman coll (three score hurls of holy and hazel).

When I was very young there existed a considerable lake, called Loch Cuillenn or Holly Lake, in the townland of Nicholastown in the civil parish of Dunkitt, and close to Gaulstown, in the barony of Igrine. It was formed by a number of streams and brooks issuing from Tory Hill, Carraig-a-chait and the neighbouring high-grounds. But though this was evident to anyone at all acquainted with hydraulics and the theory of rain and springs, superstition attributed its original formation to a wicked witch who wished to destroy a number of young men who were hurling on the plain over which the waters spread themselves.
One of the hurlers turned off the hurling green (faithche) to quench his thirst; but not finding any water, he wandered about in search of a well. He was met by the witch in dis­guise, who told him that there was no well near at hand; but that if he went over to a tuft of rushes which she pointed out to him, and pulled one rush therefrom, a well would issue from the earth in which he might slake his thirst. He did so; and forthwith a deluge of water issued from the earth, which overflowed the plain, and drowned the thirsty youth and all his companions on the hurling green.
Tri fithchid caman cuillinn agus caman coll A bathadh an Loch Cuillinn aidhmheall.'
It is further narrated that for many succeeding ages it frequently happened that when the full moon had silvered over the calm bosom of the lake, the caman players were again seen hurling on its surface, the shouts of the victorious were heard and the lake became unusually agitated; the hurlers seemed to sink beneath the waters, and all was stillness save the voice the enchantress exultingly calling, 'An luachair! An luachair!'.


The Legend of the Yellow Hound (Coin Bhuidhe) -Schools Collection
IFC 845/68
When St. Patrick was travelling Ossory for the purpose of building churches,cathedrals and cities, he came to this beautiful elevation called Conna-bhuide (Davidstown, Parish of Kilcolumb, Glenmore, Co. Kilkenny) and being struck by the beauty of the prospect and the amenity of the place he came to the resolution of building there a Cathedral and City which he afterwards, for reasons which will presently appear, placed at Waterford. He employed labouring men to dig the foundations of the Cathedral and houses, and masons to build them and continued the work with cheerfulness and vigour for some days. At last a pagan woman out of Ballinchrea, (it is supposed that she was the ancestress of Nicholas Bacach, the Garsun Balbh and Swaney Rigby) came to him with an offering of a dish of roasted meat for his dinner, which St. Patrick received with many 'grazagams'. On uncov­ering the dish he did not like the look of the meat and thought he saw the paw of an unclean animal. He was immediately struck with nausea and, kneeling upon the next stone to him, he laid his two hands over the roasted animal in the dish in the form of a cross and prayed to God to restore whatever animal it was to its original life and shape. And lo! He had no sooner finished his prayer than a yellow hound (Cuin bhuide) started into life and leaping out of the dish ran in the direction of Waterford. St. Patrick was struck with disgust and horror at the sight, and turning to the workmen, he said in a solemn voice 'Pursue and kill that hound for she will kill every man and beast which she will meet in her course'. The men pursued her with their spades and pick axes and over­taking her on the lands of Treanaree about a mile to the east of the place whence she start­ed, succeeded in killing her there. There they buried her and over her grave a small stunt­ed whitethorn bush is now to be seen, called Sgcithin na con i.e. the little thorn of the hound. The stones near the bush are impressed with the marks of the greyhounds feet and one of them exhibits the figure of the greyhound in miniature.
In consequence of this omnious occurence St. Patrick abandoned the project, but erect­ed a heap of stones as a memorial of his intentions placing on the top of it the stone on which he knelt while he prayed and which was stamped with the impression of his two knees. He called the place Connawee in memorial of the resuscitation of the hound and pronounced an awful malediction on the woman who has thus profanely insulted him and on her descendants and place of abode.
Translation of Curse:         

Accursed be Ballincrea's people,
From whom the hound was sent to me
As long as bell shall ring in steeple
As long as man and time shall be.
Accursed the black breed of the woman
Who served to me this filthy hound.
From their wry mouths thence forward, no man
Shall hear bar foul, impious sound.
Accursed the place! Behold I strike it
With my read bolt and seal its doom.
May all good men for e'er dislike it
May it be cursed with deaf and dumb.




It is believed that the malediction of the great Patrick still remains in focus as the
inhabitants of Ballincrea are remarkable for blaspheming, and it has not been since the
memory of tradition without a lame, dumb or wry-mouthed man.
Story told by John Knox, Ballinlaw (age 76 years)
                                 Ringville N.S.

John O'Donovan wrote the following about some members of his family:

The three principal men of the Kavanaghs of Ballyleigh, who were related to my grandfather and who were all in James ll's service (mighty men at the sword) were Philip, Brian na Stoake, and Morgan Mor, the last of whom lurked with my grandfather after he had killed some English horseman who attempted to take him prisoner. This Morgan was six feet seven inches in height and nineteen stone in weight. No man in the three counties attempted to cope with him in feats of strength but Oliver son of Matthew Walsh of the Walsh mountains; but Oliver was soon defeated, for he was not able to remove Morgan's foot from the spot where he had stamped it, and Morgan held a wild colt by the tail to one spot while Oliver lashed it with a whip - a feat of strength which would do honour to Fingal himself! On another occason he killed six horsemen with the shaft of a car!

The Penal Times       IFC 845/65

Where the Nore joins the Barrow there is a district called Kearney bay. A certain place in that district is called Athnarelaun. A priest named Father Richard Cody lived in a place called Ballinamona in the Glenmore district. He was the parish priest of Ida (Glenmore and Slieverue). He used to say Mass at Athnarelaun in Kearney Bay out in the open air in a knock of furze to avoid the priest-hunters. A priest hunter, named Bishop of Bishopshall, employed a man named Kearney from Kearneybay to capture the priest. Kearney was a Protestant. Father Cody used to sleep in a different house each night. One night he was in Aylwardstown House. Bishop heard of it. He ordered Kearney to sur­round the house, have the priest arrested and cast into prison. Kearney though a protes-tant, sent word to Fr. Cody. Fr. Cody fled in time. When Bishop's men arrived in Aylwardstown House they were disappointed. It is said that Kearney died a Catholic. Dr. Cody was never captured by the priest hunters. He died a natural death.

Sean Lower was a great ploughman and whistler. He was the landlord of Treanaree
and Ballyrouragh. He was a Protestant. The lane leading up to his house is still called
Boitrin na Sasanac. His son was reared a Protestant but he became a Catholic. He was
the parish priest of Ida after Fr. Cody. He lived in Slieverue. One time during the '98
Rising he saved Slieverue from burning and destruction at the hands of the cavalry who
were coming from Wexford to Waterford plundering and destroying. Fr. Lower went out
to meet them, faced the officer, took his horse by the bridle and led him far away from the
place. The officer saw an angel with flaming sword at each side of Fr. Lower guarding
him. Slieverue was saved. Dr. Lower is buried in Kilivory. The people began to take
away the clay from his grave as a cure for headache. It is still taken and used as a cure for
Peggy Walsh got this from John Knox, Ballinlaw (age 76 years)            Ringville N.S.



The Ferry of Ballinlaw     IFC 845/21

The Ferry of Ballinlaw is in the district of Ballinlaw about three miles from Slieverue. It is quite close to the school.

While St. Patrick was on his missions in Ireland, he came to the district of Ballinlaw. He wanted to get across from the Co. Kilkenny side to the Co. Wexford side. As there was no ferry in the place at the time no one could take him across. He blessed the water and walked across. Since St. Patrick blessed the water there was never anyone drowned going across.

This story was got from Margaret Walsh, Ballinlaw, Slieverue, who got it from her grand­
father Walter Hennebry of the same address. He is over 80.                    Ringville N.S.

The White Horse IFC 845/19

About two miles from where I live, there is a rock called the White Horse. It is situated in the district of Drumdowney about three miles from Slieverue.

It is said that Crotty, the robber, while he was in the district jumped from the rock on his white steed, and on account of he being a robber there is supposed to be money hidden in the rock. It is from this white steed the rock derived its name. When he was trying to decoy his pursuers, he turned his horses shoes backwards.

This story was got from Maureen Dillon, Rochestown, Slieverue, Waterford, who got it
from her father.                                                                                       Ringville N.S.

There is also another story which says that a man, who was very fond of hounds, jumped from the rock in pursuit of a fox and was killed. The burrow of the fox is to be seen there.

This story is got from James Cashin, Barrow View, Slieverue who got it from his uncle Pat
Cashin same address.                                                                             Ringville N.S.




Front Row; Seamus Fitzgerald-Eileen Grant--Peggy Alyward - Mary Joe Grant-Biddy Walsh- Cath Grant-Alice Walsh-- Cath Phelan- Thomas Phelan -Mona Murphy-Alice Doolan 2nd Row Peggy Grant-May O Shea-Paddy O Dwyer-Mary Alyward -Peggy O Shea-- Bridie Walsh-Betty Alyward -Nancy Phelan- Gertie Murphy-Mary O DwyerTesssie Walsh- Stasia Grant-Mary Grant 3rd Row James Roche-John Byrne-James Grant-May Fitzpatrick-Kitty Connelly-Eileen Connelly-Eileen Byrne-Tom O Shea John Dillon-Phyllis Power-Nellie Alyward -Anglia Kearney-Peggy Gaule 4th Row Alice Mc Grath -Josie Keogh-Frankie Purcell-Jackie O Dwyer-Mick Macdonald-James Alyward-Neddie Mc Donald-Eileen Power-Peggy Walsh- Back Row Michael Haberlin -James Cashin --Denis O Dwyer-Eddie O Dwyer-Katie Kearney-Kathleen O Dwyer-Cathy Walsh- Hannie Connelly.

Why The Roads Wind     IFC 845/73

Long ago in Ireland there were very few houses. Cattle were grazing in the fields. Every evening the cows came home to be milked. The first of the cows wound her way across the grass. The others followed in her track. In this way a beaten track was made.

When men went out to work they went by the path which the animals had made, and so it grew wide. Stones were thrown to make it dry and clean.

The cow path grew into a road. By and by the fields were divided up and the twisting road was made the boundary. Houses were built beside it on both sides. The houses grew into a village and the village into a town. Sometimes people wanted to straighten out the road, but this would mean that houses would have to be knocked down. When the town grew into a city, the main street still twisted along the line that was marked by the cow hundreds of years before.

Where the old cow led, we all follow.

This story came from Margaret Walsh, Ballinlaw, Slieverue, Waterford who got it from her
grandfather Walter Hennebry, Ballinlaw (age about 76).                        Ringville N.S.




Local Fairs    IFC 845/473

There used to be fairs held in Mullinavat long ago. Some buyers used to go around to farmers houses. The fairs were held on roads. They had not to pay any money to get on to the fair green.

When they would have the cattle sold they used to get their ash plants and fight one faction against another. One day an old woman came down to the fair and she said 'Oh my God, its eleven o'clock and no stroke struck yet'. When they would be making a bar­gain, they would strike hands together.

When a person does be selling an animal he gets some back so that he would have luck
in the beast. If he sold a horse over thirty pounds he usually gets about thirty shillings for
luck. Some of the animals does be marked with tar and more of them are clipped with a
scissors. The names of the old great fairs in Waterford are the Onion Fair and St. John's
Story told by John O'Neill, Fahee to Neillie O'Neill, Fahee, Kilmacow.   Bigwood N.S.




Ballincrea    IFC 845/451

My home district is Ballincrea in the parish of Slieverue and Barony of Ida.

There are sixteen families. There are about seventy people living there. Nolans and Verekers are the most common names in Ballincrea.

There are farmhouses and cottages there. It got its name from the remains of the clay that was left after the great flood.

There are three people over seventy years. There are less people now than before St. Patrick. There are old ruins of a school to be seen there today. The land is mixed, being boggy, sandy and hilly.

There is a story told about a lake that's in the district. Loch Cullen is the lakes name.
Men were hurling on a plain (where the lake is today). One day hundreds of years ago
one of them got thirsty and he did not know where water was to be had. He left the peo­
ple and went searching for water. While he was searching he met a witch. He asked the
witch where he would get water. She pointed to him a holly bush and she said 'rise the
bush and you will get water in plenty, but when you are finished be careful to replace the
bush again'. The man went, got the water, but forgot to put back the bush. The water kept
running until it formed a lake. The man, the witch and the hurlers were drowned.
Story told by Patrick Byrne, Ballincrea, Slieverue.   Bigwood N.S.

Landlords    IFC 845/

Milford was the landlord of Coolnaleen and Ballincrea districts. He was a native of Tullogher. A man named Sanders was his agent.

Millford was a bad landlord. He evicted many of his tenants in Ballincrea. He evicted a tenant in Ballincrea from the farm where Currans are now residing. The landlord gave the tenant 'a week's notice'. The tenant had one field of corn cut. The tenant planned to draw away the corn by night and sell it. The neighbours and the tenant set working on a moonlit night. They had nearly all the carts full of corn when the landlord came. He told them to leave the corn where it was and to go away. They had to do so.

Every third drill of turnips or potatoes or every third rank of corn was given to the Protestant Minister. Story told by Richard Doherty, Ardbeg to Josie Doherty, Ardbeg, Slieverue. Bigwood N.S

Hidden Treasure    IFC 845/14

In the second field from my house there is a deep hole in which there is a large stone. Long ago a man named John had a castle near that field. The castle is called Castle John. It is said that he buried his money in a box in that hole. The box is still under the stone. It is down so deep that it cannot be reached.

Story told by Patrick Purcell, Drumdowney, Slieverue, who got it from his mother, who
got it from her own mother (now dead) aged about 79 years.   Ringville N.S.

Carriganurra    IFC 185/18

Carriganurra is situated near the main road from Ross to Waterford. It i-s about four and a
half miles from Waterford, in the parish of Slieverue, and in the County of Kilkenny. It is
said that there was a woman living in it and her name was Nurra. She had a lot of money
and in the time of the trouble, she hid it in the ground. She was afraid it would be robbed
because there were no banks in Ireland at the time. Several tried to get to it but none of
them succeeded. Richard Kneefe, Ringville, Slieverue was one of those who tried.
Margaret Kearney got this information from her grandmother Mrs. Kearney (same
address) aged about 86.   Ringville N.S.

The Story of Ringville School    IFC 845/20

The ruins of the old Ringville Schoolhouse is in the Castle Lane built on the Ringville Estate then inhabited by Lady Esmonde.

It was built about 200 years ago. It had a thatched roof. There was a nice long garden in the front with a wall in the lower end. Part of the wall is still standing and the stones from the old school house are still strewn about.

It was closed sixty years ago, and new school where I am going now was built. And the new school was also endowed by Lady Esmonde. It is built at the same lines as the old school.

This story was got from Michael Murphy, Ballinlaw, Slieverue, Waterford who got it from his mother Mrs. Murphy of the same address. She got it from her mother long ago.

Ringville N.S.

The Mummers    IFC 845/123

Mumming was an ancient custom in England. It was probably brought into Ireland by
Strongbow's followers. It started in Co. Wexford, Strongbow's stronghold, and from there
it spread into Co. Kilkenny. Mummers consist of about twelve men, including the cap­
tain, and they are always accompanied by musicians. They practice for months before
they perform. They perform between Halloween and Shrove Tuesday. They end with a
Mummers Ball on St. Patrick's Night. They have certain customs, dress, language and
rites which they must keep. They are dressed to represent some outstanding personage in
history as St. Patrick, Brian Boru, Admiral Nelson, the Great Napoleon and other men.
Story told by Edward Murphy, Glasshouse (aged between 50 and 60).   Ringville N.S.

Travelling Tailors    IFC 845/79

There are no tailors in my district. Long ago there were many travelling tailors. One tai­lor's name was Martin Roche, Haggard. He used to stay with the family and made every­ thing that the farmer wanted for himself and his family. The farmer supported him and he gave him some money. Then he went to another farmer's house and worked in the same way. He didn't bring any material with him. The farmer had to supply his own.

There is no cloth spun locally. Walsh's of Rochestown rear sheep and they send the wool to Hickey's in Ross where it is spun into woollen thread. They get back the woollen thread. They make their own stockings and other woollen garments.

Walsh's of Rochestown have a grating stone. It is in family for years. They don't use it now. Long ago they used it to grind oats into oaten meal.

Roches of Scart had a spinning wheel long ago, but they haven't got it now.
Story told by John Connolly, Scartnamore, Glenmore, Waterford.   Ringville N.S.








A Prayer

Here I lay me down to sleep

To God I give my soul to keep.

And if I die before I wake

I pray to God 'tis into Heaven my soul he'll take.

There are four corners on my bed, There are four angels overhead, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, God bless this bed I lay on. Brigid Adrais, Nicholastown



'Midi's' Fright    IFC 844/150

At the time of the body snatchers there lived in Ferrybank a man named 'Midi' Twomey. 'Micil' guarded Slieverue graveyard every night. He often boasted that though he was a small man he did not fear ghosts.

One night at about 12 o'clock, he heard a rattle of chains. All the courage left him. He
ran 'till he reached the lamp which was at the top of Ferrybank. The noise followed him.
So great was 'Midi's' terror that he leant against the lamp post for support. Then a jennett
came into the light. A neighbour named Mrs. Kelly owned the jennet. She had a piece of
a chain around her hoof. So it happened that a poor jennet gave 'Midi' the greatest fright
of his life.
Story told by Patrick Fleming   Ferrybank N.S.

Stories of the Holy Family    IFC 845/47

When the Blessed Virgin and Saint Joseph were fleeing to Egypt they rested under a
sphinx. A gypsy woman passing by noticed them. Her child was very ill and she was
worried about it. She told the Blessed Virgin about her trouble. The Blessed Virgin pitied
her. She thought the child had not sufficient clothes. She took a wrap from her own
divine child and gave it to the gypsy woman. Immediately she wrapped it round the sick
child he got well. The fever left him and he cried for a drink. Afterwards this child
turned out to be the good thief who was nailed to the cross beside Our Lord on Good
Story told by Ellen Walsh, Rochestown (aged 86) now dead.   Ringville N.S.

The care of the Feet    IFC 845/45

In former times people wore boots going to Mass on Sundays and going to market only. Children at present go to school in summer barefoot.

The water used for washing the feet is never let inside overnight. It has the power of letting in the evil spirits.

Almost every man in the district does the repairs of his own boots and those of his family. There is one cobbler in the district, James Norris of Snowhill. There are very few shoemakers now compared with those of olden times. The shoemakers are never asked to make shoes now only to mend them. The shoes are all made in the factories. The shoes that the shoemaker made were dearer, more durable, but not so neatly finished as those made in the factory. Up to 15 years ago clogs were worn occasionally in the district. They are not worn now. There was a thick band of iron right around the edge of the wooden sole. They were fastened by means of a buckle.

Maureen Dillon got this from her grandfather Patrick Hawe, Rochestown (72 years) now
dead.   Ringville N.S.


Food in Olden Times    IFC 845/42

Long ago people ate two meals a day. Their food consisted of potatoes and thick milk. They boiled a big pot of potatoes and put them in the middle of the table. They were eaten with salt and thick milk. Later they had oaten bread. It was baked in a griddle and was very hard. The better off people killed their own pig and cured the meat themselves. Californian fish was eaten always on Christmas Eve it was called 'Ling'. On Easter Sunday people ate all the eggs they possibly could, often 6 or 8. Large mugs were used before cups. The tea was made in tea drawers - kinds of tin cans with a spout, not in teapots. About 100 years ago tea was only drunk at Christmas and Easter.

Oaten meal stirabout was eaten at night.

Maureen Dillon got this information from her father John Dillon who got it from his
father-in-law Patrick Hawe, Rochestown (age 72 years) now dead.   Ringville N.S.

Food in the Olden Times    IFC 845/477

Three meals were eaten per day in the olden times. The names of the meals were the breakfast, the dinner and the supper. The breakfast consisted of yellow meal porridge and thick milk. The dinner consisted of potatoes and mashed turnips with a burst lard bladder over them to flavour them. How it was done was a bladder was hung up on the roof of the house and burst by the means of a poker and some of the fat dropped on the turnips and the bladder is again hung up until the next day.

The people used to sit around a three-legged table on the middle of the floor. They also eat on a table which is hung on the wall. They had no cups but they used a pint and a jar instead. They had two kinds of porridge, yellow and oaten meal and yellow meal.

When tea first came into use, the people did not know how to use it. They used to put the tea leaves into the teapot and then put the boiling water over them. They then threw out the water and ate the leaves with sugar over them.

Told by Mrs. William Vereker, Ballincrea, Slieverue to Liam Byrne, Ballincrea, Slieverue.

Bigwood N.S.

Food       IFC 844/210

As far as I can gather from the pupils of Slieverue School, the following seems to have been the position as regards food in this district up to about fifty years ago.

Oaten bread griddle baked (some of these griddles are still kept in the houses although not in use) was in fairly general use as well as barley bread and a bread made of a mixture of wheat and rye flour. A field in Kilmurry is yet known as the 'rye field'. Potato cake and a cake made of a mixture of flour and Indian meal is also used.

Cold Indian meal stirabout was made into pancakes with flour and fried in fat.

Indian meal stirabout was general and it was eaten with buttermilk frequently out of the pot with wooden spoons.

Tea was practically unknown and was used as a luxury especially at Christmas and Easter.
The usual dinner of the poorer classes was potatoes, salt and buttermilk and a high din­ ner consisted of cabbage and pigs head or corned beef.

Some seem to have heard of Boxty Bread and Flummery being used. The Lenten fast was made more rigorous and 'black' tea and dry bread was the meal. In later days the tea was often coloured with flour or oatmeal.

A fasting meal was often made by making a light oatmeal gruel, flavoured with pepper
and salt and sometimes the green tops of onions
Story told by John Carey   Slieverue N.S.


Food    IFC 844/212

They boiled small cakes made of flour, salt, soda and mixed with skim milk or butter milk. Sometimes a little butter was used in the mixing of the cakes.

Another common dinner was a pot of potatoes boiled in their skins and when the water would be boiling a large piece of salt-fish (steeped since the night before) would be placed on top of the potatoes and cooked with them. Over the fish then cooked milk would be poured.

Flummery    IFC 844/214

Steep whole oatmeal for five or six days. Stir often with a paddle. When the water thick­
ens pour it off and cook it like porridge and eat with milk.
BrigidAdrais   Mrs. Irish

Nicholastown   Nicholastown   Slieverue N.S.

Potato Cake    IFC 844/214

Potato cakes are made by mixing cold boiled potatoes ('weak' potatoes that are not of
much use) through flour adding some lard or butter. Roll out then and cut into squares or
shapes. Cook quickly on a pan with lard. Caraway seeds are sometimes added.
Mrs. Irish Nicholastown   Slieverue N.S.

Boxty Bread    IFC 844/215

Wash scrape and clean raw potatoes (new potatoes of no use). Scrape fine into a long
cloth. Place in cloth as if filling a cigarette paper and let two people wring out potatoes
by twisting cloth in opposite directions. Mix with a slightly smaller quantity of flour with
skim milk and salt to taste (no soda) and bake on a griddle. Eaten with butter.
BrigidAdrais, Nicholastown   Slieverue N.S.

Sousheen    IFC 844/215

Cook cut turnips and onions in a 'weak' oatmeal gruel. Add pepper and salt and eat as a

'stew' with potatoes. Sometimes gruel made on milk and not on water

BrigidAdrais, Bails Nicole, Sliab Ruad   Slieverue N.S.

Gold is believed to be buried in Carriganurra Rock - local legend.

One night about 11 o'clock in the winter 1937-38 a ball of fire, reddish in colour, was seen by Michael Cashin, Rathpatrick, Slieverue to travel along the ridge of Drumdowney in a south east direction. Something similar was seen on a few occasions by two schoolboys on Connolly's Rock, Kilmurry.


Ainmneaca Aiteann

Maw-cha-peters   (Maire Peters)

Bawnknick   (Ban cnuic)

Gortha-bawn   (Gort Ban)

Shan-talures   (Sean Tailiur's)

Shan-a-three   (Sean Aitreib)

Ailis Ni Caisin, Sliabh Rua   Slieverue N.S.


Clothes Made Locally    IFC 845/472

Long ago the people in the district of Rahard used to make linen out of flax. They used to make woollen clothes also.

My father's great grandfather was a tailor. He used to go from house to house making
clothes. His name was James Ryan. Every place he used to go he stopped a week or so
there. He used to make sheeps wool into woollen clothes with a spinning wheel. John
Grace, Rathluiceen has an old spinning wheel. My father's great grandfather was called a
weaver long ago. He was about seventy years of age.
Told by Michael Ryan,   Margaret Ryan,

Rahard,   Rahard

Mullinavat.   Mullinavat.   Bigwood N.S.


•  Wet the head of an ordinary match and rub it to a wart and it will fade.

•  Put a dressing of soot, sugar and black boot polish mixed together to a ringworm and it
will disappear in a short time.

•  Goose grease is also a cure for ringworm.

•  Rubbed with a blue rag the pain of a bee or wasp string will disappear.

•  Some dock-roots boiled in milk are a good spring tonic.

•  A poultice of roasted onion is good to draw a boil.

•   A very hot poultice of bread (bakers white) and water will draw a boil.
Ailis Ni Caisin, Sliabh Rua

Told by Gretta Walsh, Ballinamona,

Statia Moore, Rathpatrick   Slieverue N.S.


•  Put a little yeast into some water and drink it for nettle rash

•  Bathing them in cold tea will cure sore syes

•  To cure a corn rub it with a "pennyleaf"


•  Place a dog leaf on a nettle sting and it will be cured

•  To cure chilblains cut an onion in two and rub it to the chilblains

•  Ink or washing soda applied to a ringworm will cure it

•  Cut a raw potato into halves and rub it on a wart and the wart will disappear

•  To cure an earache let the juice from a fresh burning ash stick fall into it.

•  For a headache get a silk stocking and wet a small part of it. Tie it round the head
putting the wet part to the forehead.

•  Bread soda applied to an aching tooth will relieve the pain.

Gretta Breathnach, Ballinamona   Slieverue N.S.

Herb Cures IFC 844/190

•  Dandelion is a cure for bad blood

•  Celery is cure for rheumatism

•  Ground Ivy is a cure for kidney disease

•  Boiled nettles are good for curing a rash

•  Water cress is good for the blood

•  Dwarf elder and mountain broom. Boil the two of them together and drink the water
for dropsy.

•  Marshmallows are used for a swelling.

•  Garlic is used for spine disease in cattle.

•  The crane's bill is a wild flower used for a murrain in cattle

•   Slan lus is a cure for a cut
Gretta Breatnac, Baile na Mono

Charms    IFC 844/187-188

•  Bury three straws and while the straws wither a wart will wither off.

•  If a cow has a sore leg dig a sod in the field and the leg will cure.


•  If you had a wart on your leg get two bits of straw cross them and make the sign of the
Cross and bury the straws and the wart will fall off.

•  If you had a sore get a piece of hay and put it on it and then bury it and the sore will

•  If you cut your hair and a bird to get a rib of it you would never have a pain in your
head again.

•  Bury a rabbit foot and it will cure a toothache.

•  If you have a wart, go out while the new moon is shining and rub mud on it and it will
be cured.
•  A wart can also be cured by putting a snail on it.

•  If you have a wart, get a bag of stones and hang them on a tree by the roadside. The
wart will leave you and attach itself to the first person who comes along.

Stas Ni Morda, Rai Padraig

Slieverue N.S.


Nicknames in the Parish of Slieverue IFC84






Solid God








The Merchant








Ninety eight





Benny Man



The Weaver




The Hopper




The Rouser



Tom Follan

The Rabbit




Larry the Ban







Maire Ni Suileabain,

Cill Muire, Sliabh Rua S

IFC 844/173


The Bagger











The Bat


The Farmer


Big Jim




Next to Nothing








Cake Bread



Knock Hard



Frosty Nose

Matty the Jock


















The Russian




















Aine Ni Dubgaill, Cill Muire, Sliab Rua

Slieverue N.S.


Weather Lore    IFC 844/207-

•  To hear a cock crowing is a sign of fine weather

•  Wild geese herald bad weather

•  If you see birds flocking together it's a sign of bad weather

•  Evening and morning grey, sets the traveller on his way

•  A rainbow in the morning is a shepherds warning

•  A rainbow in the night is a shepherds delight.

•  A train screeching is a sign of rain

•  When the smoke goes straight it is the sign of good weather

•  When you see seagulls inland it's the sign of rain

•  It shows that rain is coming to see soot falling

•  If a cock crows out of doors it's a sign of bad weather

•  A cat at the fire is a sign of rain

•  When a dog eats grass it's a sign of rain

•  A sign of rain is to see swallows flying low

•  Another sign of rain is extra painful corns

Irish words used in English speech in Slieverue Parish











Mo croidhe



Mar dhea


















Go lear


A gradh

A leanbh














Maise (Maire)

Lan a mhala




Boinn leach (pronounced boun loch)

Brosna (pronounced bresna)



IFC 844/181


Dilis Caisin, Sliabh Ruadh


Pishrogues C 844/ 197

If you get a stroke of an elder stick you will grow no more

If you met a foxy haired woman when you were going on a journey you would have

bad luck

If you let your glove fall you were going to have a row with someone

If you crossed over a person under twenty one years it would be unlucky because the

person would not grow and you should cross them back again


•  One magpie for bad luck
Two for good luck
Three for a wedding and
Four for a wake.

•  If you saw hens fighting it is a sign of a visitor

•  If you see a raven it is a sign of bad luck

•  If you pick up a sharp instrument it means a surprise

•  If you dream of a coffin someone is dead

•  If you let a pin fall it is a sign of bad luck

•  If you let a spoon fall, it means a surprise

•  If your tooth fell out and you fired it over your right shoulder you would have good

•  If there is a tea leaf on your tooth it is a sign you are telling a lie

•  If you let your money fall while giving it to somebody there is luck between you.

•  It's bad to sweep the floor on a Monday morning or you will sweep out all the gold.

•  If you found a button its for luck

•  Hang a horse shoe over the door and it will bring good luck

Brigid Adrais, Baile Nicole, Sliabh Ruadh   Slieverue N.S.

IFC 844/218

A hedge-layer named Peter Doyle died suddenly at his work in Co. Carlow about 25 years
ago. In life he was noted for his tremendous appetite. He was known to eat 6 one Ib.
loaves, 15 eggs at one meal and he often consumed 21- worth of bread in a 3 meal day.
This is roughly equivalent to 16 Ibs. of bread.
Brigid Adrais, Nicholastown   Slieverue N.S.

Lady Esmonde

Lady Esmonde adopted a beautiful child from Waterford City. This little girl used to come with her grandmother, who was a 'washerwoman', one who came to Ringville one day each week to launder heavy clothes, like blankets, for the house. Lady Esmonde was said to have been so fond of this sparkling child that she adolpted her, sent her to school and generally prepared her to take over the estate when she passed on. One evening in the summer time when this girl was about eighteen years of age, Lady Esmonde accompanied her to a ball held in Tramore. They travelled by the Ringville coach. Towards the end of the party, Brigid (that was her name) with Lady Esmonde began the return journey in their Ringville coach. During the journey, Brigid became seriously ill. Lady Esmonde tapped on the glass window to attract the attention of the driver, but to no avail, He seemed not to hear. When they arrrived back in the manor house of Ringville, Lady Esmonde sent the coach back at once for Dr. Mackassey in Waterford. Sadly, when the doctor came it was too late. If there was an inquest, the results were not published. The local people told me this story as a child. Jamsis Quann narrated it many times. He interpreted it as a murder by jealous relatives who came across the sea from Wales to get rid of Brigid and escaped by boat the very night of the foul deed. Had Brigid lived and married, the whole history of the area around Ringville might have been different.

The above information from notes for a lecture given by Sr. Mary Halligan to Eigse Sliabh Rua on November 14th, 1992.

Old Houses    IFC 845/479

There was an old house in Ait and Tige Moer about the year 1800. The name of the man who lived in it was Mr Corcoran who was a hero. The house was built under a big cliff of clay. The earth fell in on the house during the famine period and he died.

The house was found again. It had a flat roof and was made of clay and iron. The door was a large one and semi-circular in shape at the top and long at the sides. The door was closed by the means of a hasp. When they opened the door they saw that the floor was made of mud.

They went into the bedroom where a bed made of timber was seen. It could not be removed. When they were going through the hall they saw the dead marts bones.

They reached the kitchen where there was a table made of stone. The fireplace was a circular shape. There was no chimney and the smoke went out through a hole in the wall. There was a pot of water over the fireplace. The pot was made of tin. The cups were also made of tin. Told by

William Vereker   Liam Byrne

Ballincrea,   Ballincrea

Slieverue.   Slieverue.

Hurling and Football Matches    IFC 845478

About a hundred years ago a cross-country football match was played in "Ranny-Nig-6g" which is between Kilmacow and Vanrog. The latter two teams played. The number of men on each was thirty. The referees name was Fred Vanning. Kilmacow won the match by going into Vanrog first and if Vanrog wanted to win they should reach Kilmacow first. They played on Sunday and the match lasted two hours. The boots wore were cobblers boots. The ball they used was a long narrow ball. A tall fat man who played with Kilmacow won every match for them. His name was Angus. Told by

Patrick Byrne   Patrick Byrne,

Ballincrea   Ballincrea,

Slieverue.   Slieverue.

IFC 845/62

There is an ancient cross in Luffany; the next townsland to Rathpatrick. It was erected by Darby O'Brien to the deceased members of his family in 1756. It is on the roadside.

There is the ruins of an old church in Rathpatrick in the parish of Slieverue. It is sur­ rounded by a graveyard. In the graveyard there are several granite headstones with crosses carved out of them. They were carved by Darby O'Brien the sculptor. His relatives were all buried in Rathpatrick.


There is the ruins of an old church in Ballygorm in the townland of Ballygorm in the parish of Glenmore. It is completely in ruins except the south gable in which there is a small window. Not far from it is Tobar an tSagart - the Priests Well. Edward Murphy, Glasshouse, (between 50 and 60).

Much of the foregoing material is from: School Manuscript Collection from the collec­ tions of the Department of Irish Folklore, University College, Dublin. In such cases the appropriate reference from the Collection is quoted.

The editor wishes to express thanks to the Head of the Department for permission received to publish these extracts from the collection.


Irish Folklore

Commission - the

Slieverue Connection

Sean O Suilleabhdin

BAN O Suilleabhain was archivist for the Commission from its foun­ dation in 1935 until his retirement in 1974. He had been trained as a primary teacher in the De La Salle Training College, 1921-23. He taught in Grange for a short while and then in Slieverue in 1925 and 1926. He later taught in Mount Sion at which time he did further studies and com­ peted for the post of archivist in the new Commission.

Mick Walsh (Ballinamona and Croom) who was a pupil of his in Slieverue National School remembers him well. He recalls that Sean 6 Suilleabhain was a most energetic and enthusiastic teacher who introduced new-methods and a different approach to teach­ ing in Slieverue school. He also recalls his interest in sport and the fact that he brought a football and a sliothar for the boys.

Three of the class of 1926 went on to wear the Black and Amber of Kilkenny on the hurling fields, namely, Bobby Hincks, Paddy O'Donovan and Jimmy Cashin. See also picture of school group, p. 567.



Sean O Suilleabhdin


Much of the foregoing material is from: School Manuscript Collection from the collections of the Department of Irish Folklore,
University College, Dublin. In such cases the appropriate reference from the Collection is quoted.

The editor wishes to express thanks to the Head of the Department for permission received to publish these extracts from the collection.




From the book' Sliabh Rua A History of its People and Places' compiled by Jim Walsh