John McCullagh March 16, 2004
BallaghMillstone.jpg

Alice McParland wus far too fond of hoardin’ [herding] the cows in the forth as long as iver there wus glimmer of light. 

Well once a white sheet riz in the ring an’ went roun’ an’ roun’ the hill, an’ mebbe she didn’t git a fright [i.e. did she ever!]. 

She knew then she wusn’t wanted there, and she niver stayed late no more.  An’ that’s as true as you like, for I heared it many a time.


Jimmy Hughes of The Brague caught a fairy once. 

An’ he kep’ it in a room be the aid of a spell. 

An’ it stayed until one day it bid to go, because of a war that wus near Armagh.  An’ it promised till come back if its side won. 

But the Hughes said, ‘How will we know how the battle goes?’ 

An’ the wee fella tuk them down till the well at the en’ of the house an’ said, said he,

‘If the water keeps clane, it’s back I’ll be: but if it trickles blud, it’s niver see me again, ye will, for we will have lost.’

Ay, sure they just had their wars like ourselves. 

An’ the Hughes then had hardly a horse or a cow aroun’ the place, an’ now they hardly know what they have. 

It wus a bad day for Ireland when the wee people left, an’ I always heared they gathered at Armagh, an’ it wus from there they did start.


A wake wus a wake in the oul’ times, an’ so wus a funeral. 

The corp wus drest in he’s best an’ kept open house for nearly a week afore he wus put till bed with a shovel.  Plenty of whiskey there wus an’ gran’ stuff at that. 

An’ on the day of the funeral there wus more an’ more, lashin’s an’ leavin’s, for iverybody. 

An’ all the dacent weemin’ of the whole townlan’, an’ more, turned out till cry for him.

Ye’d have heared them for miles.


Shure the only fairies that do be goin’ now are the sort that are about ye all the time.

  They’re in the shops in the Newry an’ everywhere else jist like you an’ me.  Fallen angels they are.  Some of them indeed are still atween heaven an’ earth, an’ will niver mebbe touch groun’. 

But it wusn’t always so.  Sure I mind oul’ Robert Stevenson of Corran beyant – as dacent a man as iver trod shoe leather – tellin’ how he an’ long John Williamson comin’ from a wake wur axed to dance in the fairy forth above.  An’ hell till sich a night’s sport they iver had.  But they wur afeared till stay till mornin’, though the fairies spoke them kindly.

There wus lashin’s an’ lavin’s of mate and drink, but the devil a bite crossed their jaws.  An’ rather than have the wee people think them cornaptious, an’ partly because of the craic they’d had, they agreed till accept a present of money.

An’ indeed an’ doubles, in the mornin’ it wus stones, and that’s as true as I tell it.

Leave a comment.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.