I hope you all have a very merry Christmas and a Happy, peaceful and prosperous New Year. Let u all pray, each to our own that 2021 will be a much better year than 2020. And at this time of year can we spare a thought for all those who have died because of this Pandemic and the families who will be without their family members this Christmas. God Bless. See you in 2021 with a new range of stories, poems, and tales,
“The very woman for Joe,” replied Mick. “Do you recall that, over in ‘Derryvore’ townland, there is a well matured lady by the name of Sara, who lives with her brother, John?”
“Aye! You mean Sara McCree?” smiled Kathy.
“That’s the girl!” said Mick. “Only last week I was having a pint with him in the ‘Pheasant Pub’ and John was telling me that he has took a notion for a woman and would like to marry her and have her move in. But Joe told me that his sister Sara had not the least notion of moving out of the house, and her just over forty. It’s his sister and he can’t just throw her out. Yet, I’ve heard it said that Sara McCree is not a woman who would turn her back on a man who could put a roof over her head and provide her with some degree of comfort.”
“Well matured is the right description, but that Sara has a bit of a history behind her some people say,” Kathy remarked. “It seems that a few years back she went off to England quite suddenly and left a little bundle with the ‘Good Shepherd Sisters’ in a convent. But the woman never married and that’s for certain.”
“Well, I bet you that Bud doesn’t know that and if they marry it won’t matter. Anyway, Bud never married, for he has never left the district except once or twice to go to Dublin for an All-Ireland final. He could hardly have gotten himself hitched in one night and, besides, have you ever seen another face as bad looking as ‘Bud’s’? He has hardly a bar in his grate and any teeth that have survived are as black as your boot,” laughed Mick.
“Aye,” laughed Kathy, “and the hair on his head, what’s left of it, standing uplike the quills of a porcupine!“
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There are many important bits of advice among the Irish that you need to remember if you need ‘Good Luck’ in your life, and God knows none of us want ‘Bad Luck.’ So listen now to what you are being told.
Never put a boot on your foot until you have two socks on. Now, not two sock on the one foot, but one on each. You will say goodbye to your luck if you neglect this bit of advice, for St. Columbcille once put a sock and a boot on one foot, with the intention of doing the same to the other. But his enemies who were pursuing him came upon him just as he was putting on the second sock. He was unable to run away and was caught. He then gave the curse to the person who should do as he had done.
If you are driving any animals to market and you meet a person who does not ‘bless’ them, remember that you should say before the person passes on. “God Bless your heart, your eye, and my share.” The evil eye of the person cannot then ‘blink’ the animals.
The ploughman, too, needs to guard his horses from the same dreadful evil of blinking. When he is approaching the end of the field, if he observes any person standing there to whom he must speak, let him on no account allow the horses to stand until he has turned their faces towards the other end, with their tails to the person. They will be quite safe in that position.
The foregoing are preventatives, and we are all pretty familiar with the adage “Prevention is better than cure.” But is there no ‘cure’ for ‘blinking’? Indeed, there is, why wouldn’t there?
Quick is a glance of the eye under any circumstance, but quicker far is the glance of the blinker’s eye. The harm may be accomplished before we can guard against it. To counteract the spell should then be our aim. There is an antidote. Remember it. Strike, first, the affected animal with any part of your apparel or, to be accurate, with, as we say in Gaelic, the “tail of your coat,” and next the ground. Repeat the operation three times and you have affected a complete cure.
When travelling along a lonely road at night take the centre and walk between the ruts so that you can keep in the tracks which horses have made. Nothing can harm you while you follow the horses’ tracks.
Don’t give anything away on New Year’s Day. If, however, it is unavoidable, make the person who gets it bring something to you first. For instance, if your neighbour’s fire happens to be dead in the morning, don’t give a coal until you receive a turf first. Never on any account allow a coal to be removed from your house if there is any person sick within; and do not under any circumstance allow a coal out on a Monday morning.
Give no milk from the first churning. The person to whom you give milk from your dairy should ‘bless’ the milk and the cow that gave it.
Do not, as it is said in the North, “dung the byre” after sunset. It is strictly forbidden to re the manure after that hour also to put out the house sweepings. Such things should be attended to during the day, “After the sun has risen, and before he has set.”
Put out no ashes or slops on New Year’s Day. Also have all the water required for domestic use in before dark on New Year’s Eve.JW
There are some people who doubt the existence demons and fairies, Hell, or Heaven. At a Christmas dinner last year, a woman told me that she did not believe in ghosts or fairies, in Hell or a Heavenly paradise. She was sure that Hell was an invention created by the priesthood as a means of frightening people into being good, while ghosts, she was certain, would not be allowed to go wandering all over the mortal to do whatever they willed. The woman did, however, express a strong belief in the Fairy Folk, Leprechauns, water-horses, and in fallen an angels. At the same party I also met a man whose arms were covered in tattoos, and he held exactly the same beliefs and doubts as the woman did. Isn’t it strange that, in Ireland, no matter what we doubt, we never seem to doubt the existence of the fairy folk. But why should this be so?
There was a little girl in service to a family that lived in a seaside village along the County Down coast, beneath the shadows of the Mourne Mountains, just before the land was partitioned. Her sudden disappearance caused immediate and great excitement in the district because the rumour spread that she had been taken by the fairies. There was a story doing the rounds that a local man had struggled to keep the girl from the fairies, but they prevailed and took her from him, leaving nothing in his hands but a broomstick. The local police reacted quickly by instituting a house-to house search and advising locals to burn all the ragweed in the field from which she had vanished, believing that this action would force the fairy folk to return the girls since ragweed (bucalauns) is sacred to them. The local people spent the entire night burning bucalauns, while the police constable acted like a fairy doctor, repeating spells all the time. The next morning the little girl was discovered, wandering alone in the field. She said that the fairies had taken her far away on a fairy horse until she came at last to big river. Here she saw the man, who had tried to keep her from being carried off by the fairies drifting down the great river in a cockleshell. On the way to the river her fairy companions told her the names of several people in the village who, they prophesied, would die soon.
The policeman was right when he said it was better to believe unproved claims that appear to have little truth about them, than to deny such a claim just for the sake proof, for anyone who does this no longer has an open mind that is willing to seek out the truth. Such people have to fumble their way in a great dark and empty world in which all kinds of demons. There is no evil that can touch us if we keep a fire in our hearth and in our souls, and welcome with an open hand whatever comes to seek warmth, whether it be a man or a demon. We should not be too keen to speak fiercely to those visitors and demand that they, “Be gone!” After all, who are we to judge that our scepticism is better and more worthy than someone’s true belief.