Legends, Lore, and Literature
County Kerry

Legends, Lore & Literature ...
and Lyrics

A Dingle Tradition 2000:

In Ireland 100 years ago, public assemblies between dusk and dawn were banned. The creative people of the Dingle area gave their own answer to the authorities by assembling at dawn on St.Patrick's Day 1900, with their fife and drum band, striking up, and proceeding to parade through the town. They continued for each successive year; and when they met at dawn..0600 hours this year..they were celebrating 100 unbroken years. Paschal Sheehy reporter on an Irish radio news feature on St.Patrick's morning, was the southern correspondent for the national Radio and TV company, said the fife tradition in Dingle started with returning local soldiers from the South African war. He also said that the assembly and parade tradition was repeated on each December, 26th  - La an Dreoilin, Wren Day. (Thanks to Dec O'Connor)

An Irish Trek - The Irish Times April 18th, 1928:

"Yesterday a migration took place from Kerry to County Offaly which recalls some of the antique movements of the clans, as when the O'Byrnes and O'Tooles moved up to the highlands of Wicklow from the smoother pastures of the central plain. Thirty five men, women and children, with cattle and sheep to the number of 350, fowl, pigs and horses, journeyed from the rugged Dingle peninsula to holdings in fertile land near Edenderry. They travelled by railway in two passenger coaches, with 35 goods wagons,a distance of nearly 200 miles, and at the evening of a long day they settled in their pastures new. In the Dingle peninsula those folk dwelt in the typical congested district, with its little fields walled with the stones gathered from their hungry surface. Today they dwell amid spacious green expanses, in a country of comfortable dwellings and fruitful soil. Their farms will carry from 17 to 40 cows apiece." Some Kerry families who settled in this area were..Moriarty, Devane, Evans, Fitzgerald (Garret) O'Connor. (Thanks to Dec O'Connor)

"Duel at Rathnoonane" 1818:

This morning (Tuesday) a meeting took place at Rathnoonane in the vicinity of this town between Maurice Quill and William G Twiss Esqrs. when after firing a shot at each other without injury, friends interfered and business was amically adjusted." Nash Collection of Newspaper Clippings LDS Film # 0477616

'The Closur':

In County Kerry,and especially on the small farms of the Dingle Peninsula, the end of the harvest was known as... An Closur (from the Latin; clausura, closure, conclusion.) When the harvest work was completely finished, the oats stacks thatched and secured, and the potato pits properly made, the menfolk of the family brought their harvesting implements, spades and reaping hooks, into the kitchen and threatened to burn them in the fire unless the women provided them with a festive meal. Usually they went through the pantomime of laying one or more implements on the fire,whereon the women rushed to save these from being burned, and promised that the meal would be ready that evening or on another suitable evening....an excerpt from.."The Year in Ireland."..by Kevin Danaher..(1972) (Thanks to Dec O'Connor)

A West Kerry Famine Story:

The story is in the book "Peig"(Sayers). A possible source of the story is..Cait Ni Gearailt ( Kate Fitzgerald) originally from Ballyroe Townland, who moved to Kilvicadownig Townland, after her marriage. Cait was the source of many local stories, prayers, and songs, and some of the stories, which she told Peig Sayers, found their way into the book."Peig". I believe that Cait is 'The old woman from Ventry' (Chapter 2), who tells local stories in Peig Sayer's 'follow-up' book.."An old woman's reflections".

Brid (Bridget), whose surname is unknown, lived in Coumenole (Dunquin Parish). Her husband and 7 of her 8 children died of hunger or disease, and were interred in the family plot in Ballinahow cemetery. When her surviving child, her daughter, died. Brid had nobody to assist her carry the body to Ballinahow for burial. Brid strapped the body to her back with a straw rope (a 'soogawn'), placing the hands on Brid's shoulders, and set off on the mountain track. As Brid passed through Ballinglanna, Nora de Londra (Nora Landers) saw her from her house. When Brid eventually reached Ballinahow, four starving men saw her, assisted her, opened the grave, and interred the body, then placing sods of earth over it. Brid then delivered the following prayer or eulogy. Translating as best as I can from West Kerry Gaelic...."Sleep peacefully in eternal rest my beloved family and gentle husband. Have no fear that you will waken until the ocean pours in from the North, and the dark raven turns as white as the snow on Mount Eagle. Have no fear now, dear ones, that you will ever again experience hunger or thirst. You have plenty in the Stream of Glory to quench your thirst on this day. I am leaving you now to rest in the Grace of God until the Angel sounds his trumpet on the day of Judgement". Nora was standing on the roadway on Brid's return through Ballinglanna, and took her inside the house for a meal of roast potatoes (already prepared in the embers) and milk. When Nora had first sighted Brid, Nora took 6 seed potatoes from her tiny stock for the next planting literally her life assurance) for Brid's return. Later Brid's house was destroyed by fire. She was homeless, and people from the West Kerry area sheltered her in turn. She survived the Famine, and, as she was a skilled weaver of flax and wool, her skills were in local demand, and died at age 90. (Thanks to Dec O'Connor)

'Yellow Ribbons' in Dingle..another 'Peig' Story:

It's Dingle town in the latter half of the 19th.Cent. The Royal Irish Constabulary (R.I.C = the police), discover that one of their horses has been stolen at night from their barracks. The police are publicly ridiculed. Their informer network suggests that Brigdin (Gaelic for 'small Bridget') Kennedy ("a poor girl from the top of John Street") knows something. She is arrested and interrogated, but never breaks, despite the offer of a small fortune. Brigdin is successfully prosecuted for being a criminal accessory 'after the fact', and received a 6 months sentence in Tralee. Just then Seanin (John Junior) rushed in , in an excited state. Brigdin of John Street is coming home tonight, and there'll be bonfires at the Little Bridge and candles lighting in every window to make "illuminations"... We had just finished our tea when we heard the band in full flow at the top of the town. Everyone raced out. As soon as we were outside the door, the band came down the street towards us. There was a crowd of tall strong young men in the band at that time, and they played 'O'Donnell Abu' (a rousing martial tune). There were bonfires at the Little Bridge and also at other locations. The band marched twice through Dingle; every possible window was illuminated with lighting candles, except the windows of loyalists, and those windows were found in a thousand pieces next morning, despite the all-night vigilance of the police." (Thanks to Dec O'Connor)

Saints Road - Dingle

Ryan's Daughter Revisited

In the Penal Days - An East Kerry Pastor an article by T.M. Donovan

Sir Boyle Roche MP 1743 - 1807

An amusing newspaper article about a Kerry politician.

Stories as told by Riobard O'Dwyer (Author, Lecturer, Researcher)

Richard Hawyard; "In the Kingdom of Kerry": The Puck Fair

Kelley, et al., Blennerville, "The Gateway to Tralee's Past": The American Wake

T.M. Donovan, "A Popular History of East Kerry": Cock-Fighting

Kelly et al., Blennerville, "The Gateway to Tralee's Past": Education

Irish Roots, 1993 Number 3: Faction Fighting

Blacks Guide to Ireland dated 1872: Valentia Island

Excerpts Re: Muckross/Herbert

Excerpts from "Night of the Big Wind"

Excerpts from "Knocknagoshel Then and Now" Nov.11, 1994:

OISíN In the Land of Youth

Legend of Muckross Abbey(The Legend)

Legend of Muckross Abbe (The Poem)

Origin of Kilbrean Lake

The Enchanted Stag

The Legend of Torc Waterfall

Dance, Singing, Songs and Lyrics

Kerry Related Songs

Beatle lyrics on Ireland

Brief overview of Irish singing

If you have any stories or lyrics you'd like to contribute email me!


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