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St Joseph's, Béal Átha Seanaigh

Abstract: A collection of folklore and local history stories from St Joseph's, Béal Átha Seanaigh (school) (Ballyshannon, Co. Donegal), collected as part of the Schools' Folklore Scheme, 1937-1938 under the supervision of teacher An Br. S. Ó Murchadha.

Original reference: 1027/1

In collection The Schools’ Collection : County Donegal schools

  1. Local History (p. 001)
  2. St. Colmcille was travelling round the district of Coolcolly. He went into a farmer's house for a drink. (p. 002)
  3. One day St. Colmcille was travelling near a farmer's house beside Lough Melvin. He got hungry. He went into the farmer's house and asked for food... (p. 002-003)
  4. Once upon a time there was a holy man travelling around the district of Ballyshannon. There is a Lough about three miles from Ballyshannon called Tullshurk (Tullyhurk) Lough. (p. 004)
  5. Tullyhurk is a townland about three miles from Ballyshannon. There is a lake in it called Tullyhurk Lake. There is a crock of gold hidden in it and a serpent guarding it. (p. 005)
  6. About a hundred years ago a man named Goan lived in Creevy. Three nights in succession he dreamt of a pot of gold that was hidden near Kilbarron Castle... (p. 005)
  7. For three nights a man dreamt of a crock of gold hidden in a field in the townland of Cowpark. On the third day he went with his shovel and dug until he came to a large flag. (p. 006)
  8. About three miles from Ballyshannon beside Wardtown castle, there is a lake called, Loch na nBan Finn, in which a chest of gold of supposed to be hidden. (p. 006)
  9. About two miles from Bundoran there is a big field about two hundred yards long and one hundred yards wide. In this field there is a big stone sunk six feet in the earth. (p. 007)
  10. Near Ballyshannon there is a group of rocks. Long ago a priest was hanged there. (p. 008)
  11. There is a holy well near Ballyshannon called Saint Patrick's well. Once when St. Patrick was preaching there, some women came to get their children blessed. Some of the people told the children to go home. (p. 008-009)
  12. About a mile outside Ballyshannon there are the ruins of an old church. It was built about three hundred years ago. It was called Domhnach Mór which means the big Sunday. (p. 010)
  13. In the townland of Dunmuckrim there is an old limestoen quarry. It is very rugged and there are great big holes in the rock... (p. 010-011)
  14. When the Partholonians came to Ireland they landed at Ballyshannon and settled down in that district. Their prince's name was Partholon. (p. 012)
  15. Lough Melvin is about five miles to the south of Ballyshannon. About a hundred years ago a woman was going for water to the lake. She was very long away and the man of the house went out to look for her. (p. 012-013)
  16. About the year 1883 there came a terrible wind storm. It was on a Sunday it came. (p. 014)
  17. In olden times a disease came on cattle which was called elf-shooting. The elf was supposed to be a fairy which stayed in every glen and field, and had a stone which he fired at the beast... (p. 014)
  18. There is a disease amongst cattle known as elf-shot. The symptoms are loss of milk, and feeling very cold. In olden times it was believed the fairies did it. (p. 015)
  19. There was a disease known as mumps. It was a swelling in the throat and jaws and was very painful. The old people had a very peculiar cure for it. (p. 015-016)
  20. Mountain sage which is got on the mountain is a good cure for consumption. For a sore throat roast salt and put it in a stocking and tie it round your throat. To cure a wart get a potato... (p. 017)
  21. The old people had many cures for the whooping-cough. This is one of them. The milk which a ferret left over after a meal was taken home to the patient and it had to be taken three times in the name of the Father... (p. 017-018)
  22. There lived in Bonahill a man who was very fond of hunting. One day as he was out hunting he saw a hare. He put the dog on him. The dog chased him until he came to a hedge... (p. 018-019)
  23. In olden times the people lived on very strong food. Most of these were grown on the land. Some of these were very nice, for example boxty. Boxty was made from grated potatoes and flour... (p. 019-020)
  24. Once there were visitors at the cave in Catsby. They had a little dog with them. It ran up the cave, and returned with a bundle in its mouth... (p. 020-021)
  25. About half a mile from Ballyshannon stand the ruins of the old monastery (Abbey Assaroe). It was wrecked in Cromwell's Time and the bells of the monastery were thrown into the river nearby... (p. 021)
  26. It is said that long ago the monks buried the bell of the monastery in the little stream that runs by the graveyard. When the sun shines it casts the shadow of the monastery (at twelve o'clock) where the bell is supposed to be hidden... (p. 021-022)
  27. It was a custom on the first of May to gather Mayflowers and spread them at the door or window of the house on the evening before May Day... (p. 022-023)
  28. There are three forts in Rathmore. One of them is much bigger than the rest... (p. 023)
  29. The townland of Dunmuckrim is situated about a mile to the south of Ballyshannon St Colmcille said that a black pig would run through Dunmuckrim... (p. 023-024)
  30. Brachin Lane is a small lane about a mile to the south of Ballyshannon. Long ago the people used work on this lane for a pot of stirabout a day... (p. 024-025)
  31. There is a big field in Dunmuckrim called the Rampark about a mile to the south of Ballyshannon... (p. 025)
  32. There is an old school about a mile to the south of Ballyshannon on the land of Mr P. Laughlin (Dunmuckrim)... (p. 025)
  33. About two miles from Ballyshannon there is a big stone called "the two mile stone". It is said that Finn Mc Cumhall threw it from a mountain seven miles away... (p. 026)
  34. St Barron was the first Saint to live in the district. He had no place to build a church and he went to the king and asked him for some land on which to build a church... (p. 026-027)
  35. In the locality of Ballyshannon are the "Kathleen Falls". The following is a short account of how they got their name... (p. 027-028)
  36. Long ago people did not believe in doctors or vets. They used cures of their own. The man or woman who had the cure of the mumps, his or her father and mother had to be of the same name... (p. 028)
  37. Near Camlin Castle there is a chest of gold supposed to be hidden. One day a man named Gallagher tried to secure it... (p. 029)
  38. In the abbey there lived a man named Black. One night he went to the shore for a cart of wrack... (p. 029)
  39. About a quarter of a mile from Ballyshannon there is a spot on the Erne known as the "Cathleen Falls." It is said that a girl names Kathleen lived there with her father. They owned a horse... (p. 030)
  40. Some years ago there lived in Ballyshannon a local poet called Francy Daly. He was great friends with William Allingham... (p. 030-031)
  41. There are two flax mills in the Abbey. In olden times these were owned and worked by the Mc Keown and Mc Nulty families... (p. 032)
  42. In olden times Hallow Eve was a great-time for parties, singing and dancing, burning nuts and playing tricks... (p. 032)
  43. At one time there were a number of tanneries in this town. At Portnason there were some and others were in Market Street... (p. 033)
  44. In Catesby there us a cave and it is said if anyone goes into it he will never come out again... (p. 033)
  45. The people of Ireland have many old customs One of them is this. At Easter the people used go out the country looking for eggs... (p. 034)
  46. Leading a child to a running stream with a donkey's halter is said to be a cure for the mumps. Giving a child the milk that a ferret leaves after it, is a cure for whooping-cough... (p. 034-035)
  47. On the summit of the hill overlooking Finner graveyard is a large mound locally called Fliencter. Tradition tells us that a boy named Kerrigan was taken away by the fairies... (p. 036)
  48. In the Ross about 1 3/4 miles from Bundoran there is a fort with a bush growing on it. One day a man named Dan Loughlin was cutting it when an old woman appeared and told him to go home... (p. 036-037)
  49. A man was coming home one night from playing cards. When he was crossing a field he walked on a stray sod and he couldn't get out of the field... (p. 037-038)
  50. In the Rock of Bundoran in a field (William Travers's) there is a large Mass stone with a holy-water font carved in it... (p. 038-039)
  51. There is a well above Tullaghan called St Patrick's Well. People go there on St Patrick's day and they leave money and other things at it... (p. 039-040)
  52. In the town of Bundoran there is a little stream called "Sruth na Folla" (The stream of Blood" It is supposed to have got its name from a battle that was fought beside it... (p. 040)
  53. About two miles from Bundoran there is a well in a place called Ashbrook. Long ago there was a monastery beside it... (p. 041)
  54. In the Ross, Bundoran there was a man named Patrick Daly. One day he disappeared and the people said he was taken away by the fairies... (p. 041)
  55. Some Old Customs (p. 042)
  56. Long ago people wouldn't sweep the floor from the hearth to the door... (p. 042)
  57. Long ago people wouldn't leave their children in the house by themselves for the fear fairies would take them away or bewitch them, so that they would not grow any bigger... (p. 043)
  58. There are many fields around Bundoran with stray sods in them. (A stray sod is supposed to be a patch of ground on which a coffin containing a dead body was placed, while those who were carrying it rested.)... (p. 043-044)
  59. There is a field in the Ross near Bundoran names Pairc Liam (William's field) which is supposed to contain a crock of gold... (p. 044-045)
  60. Once upon a time there was a man living in a little house in Donegal. He had no wife or children and he thought it would be a good idea for him to look for a wife.. (p. 045-047)
  61. There is a strand in Bundoran known as Single Street strand or Trá na dTréanfhear (The strand of the strong men) Fionn Mc Cumhall is said to have killed his own son on this strand... (p. 047-048)
  62. There is a strand near Bundoran called Finner Strand. Near this strand a fairy king called Fliarteac had his palace... (p. 048-049)
  63. One day a man was walking through the sandhills and he met a fairy king called Fliarteac... (p. 050)
  64. Long ago people had many cures. A cure fro a wart was to cut nine slices of potato and to rub them on the wart saying :- In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen... (p. 051)
  65. On most houses in Ireland there grows a little green plant called house-leek. This is supposed to be a cure for a corn... (p. 051)
  66. Long ago the people thought that if you had a "Death Nip" on your leg you would hear about the death of somebody you knew very well... (p. 052)
  67. Long ago people had many old cures. A cure for the whooping-cough was to go to the house of a man and woman of the same name before they were married and get bread from them... (p. 052)
  68. Out past Camlin Castle there is an old barn. It is called by some "An t-Aiffrean". It is so called because an old priest once said Mass there during the Penal days in Ireland... (p. 053)
  69. In Camlin there is a large stone the shape of a tomb-stone. It is said that a giant was buried there... (p. 053)
  70. Long ago a man lived on a hill about a mile to the south of Ballyshannon. One day he was going to town and a flash of lightning struck the horse on which he was riding... (p. 053-054)
  71. When the Danes were in Ireland long ago they used to make beer out of heather... (p. 054-055)
  72. A tribe of people called the Madoles used live in Aileach. They were strong and always creating trouble. It happened that one of them died... (p. 055)
  73. Long ago a man was living in Ballyshannon district. His name was "Méar Fhada". He was called this because he had a long finger. He was always complaining about people call him names... (p. 056)
  74. If any person wants to get rid of a birth mark let him or her touch a dead person's body... (p. 056)
  75. The building known as the Barracks is situated in the Main Street beside the bridge... (p. 056-057)
  76. After the demolition of the Abbey Monastery the people of Kilbarron parish had no church to go to. After a number of years a church to meet the needs of the parish was built in the townland of Coolcolly... (p. 058)
  77. During the years of the famine 1846-'47-'48 there was great poverty in the country. The majority of the people existed largely on coarse fish and Indian meal and many were not able to buy any kind of food... (p. 058-059)
  78. Long ago people had different kinds of lights. Some people used the candle made from the fat of wild pigs... (p. 059-060)
  79. Long ago people ate oaten bread. The oatmeal was got and mixed with salt and water Then it was placed on a bread-iron in front of the fire... (p. 060)
  80. In a field on a mountain near John Kelm's house (Coolcolly) there are the ruins of a place where Mass was said in olden times... (p. 061)
  81. There once lived in the Knather a man who used to make the cure of the burn. A boy had a burn on his hand... (p. 061)
  82. A few miles from Ballyshannon in a townland called Cashelard, there is a bare spot of ground surrounded by grass. There has been no vegetation on the spot referred to for centuries... (p. 062)
  83. The people in olden times used to play many tricks on Hallow-eve. One of their tricks was this. They used to get a ball of wool and throw it into some lime-kiln... (p. 063)
  84. There was a fair held in Bundoran long ago. This fair was held in a place called "Carraig na gCac", overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. It was then changed to Chapel Road, but it was never a success... (p. 064)
  85. Out the Knather road in a field behind Pattons' there is a graveyard where in the Penal times people were buried... (p. 064)
  86. Cure for Warts (p. 065)
  87. In Ardfarna there is a field, and in this field there are supposed to be sods known as "stray sods"... (p. 065-066)
  88. Ringworm (p. 067)
  89. Out of Belleek road about a mile from Ballyshannon there is an old castle. There is a tower at the gate and a long passage or avenue down to the castle... (p. 067)
  90. Custom (p. 068)
  91. Butter (p. 068-069)
  92. Custom (p. 070)
  93. Cure (p. 070-071)
  94. Cure (p. 072)
  95. Belief (p. 072)
  96. Cure (p. 073)
  97. Old Church (p. 073-074)
  98. Sheegus Hill (p. 075)
  99. Knather Lough (p. 076)
  100. Lough Bracken (p. 076)
  101. Cure (p. 077)
  102. This is a cure for the rash... (p. 077)
  103. Cures (p. 078)
  104. The curer of the toothache must be the seventh son or seventh daughter. He rubs his hands to the affected part saying some prayers while doing so... (p. 078)
  105. The country people and the old people are great believers in old cures... (p. 079)
  106. Mullen-a-Shee (Mullagh-na-Shee) (p. 079-080)
  107. Wardtown Castle (p. 081)
  108. Gatsby Cave (p. 082)
  109. Distillery (p. 082)
  110. Rope Walk (p. 082-083)
  111. Port na Marbh (p. 084)
  112. Bones Discovered (p. 084-085)
Origin information
Ballyshannon, Co. Donegal
Date created:
Type of Resource
Physical description
1 chapter (vol. 1027, p. 1a-85)
Folklore--Ireland--Donegal (County)
Columba, Saint, 521-597   linked data (viaf)
Manners and customs   linked data (lcsh)
Treasure troves--Folklore
Patrick, Saint, 373?-463?  
Historic sites   linked data (lcsh)
local legends   linked data (afset)
Ireland--History--Famine, 1845-1852
Agriculture   linked data (lcsh)
Mumps   linked data (lcsh)
Tuberculosis   linked data (lcsh)
Whooping cough   linked data (lcsh)
May (Month)--Folklore
Ringforts   linked data (lcsh)
Geographical myths   linked data (lcsh)
Schools   linked data (lcsh)
Traditional medicine   linked data (lcsh)
Occupations   linked data (lcsh)
Halloween   linked data (lcsh)
Tanning   linked data (lcsh)
belief   linked data (afset)
Folk beliefs   linked data (afset)
Geographical myths   linked data (lcsh)
Warts   linked data (lcsh)
Candlemaking   linked data (lcsh)
Commerce   linked data (lcsh)
Ringworm   linked data (lcsh)
Butter   linked data (lcsh)
legendary creatures   linked data (afset)
Toothache   linked data (lcsh)
Folk poetry   linked data (lcsh)
School location
BallyshannonBéal Átha SeanaidhBallyshannonInishmacsaintTirhughDonegal
University College Dublin. National Folklore Collection UCD .

Original reference: 1027/1

Suggested credit
"The Schools' Manuscript Collection: County Donegal schools," held by the National Folklore Collection UCD. © Digital content by University College Dublin, published by UCD Library, University College Dublin <>
Supported by funding from the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (Ireland), University College Dublin, and the National Folklore Foundation (Fondúireacht Bhéaloideas Éireann), 2014-2016.
Record source
Metadata creation date: 2014/2016 — Metadata created by Fiontar, Dublin City University, in collaboration with the National Folklore Collection UCD and UCD Library. Original Fiontar metadata converted into MODS by UCD Library.

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