Number six of seven from the Kerry County side near the top of Healy Pass, R574. Coolcreen townland is in the foreground of this photograph, I moved the tripod-mounted camera a few feet beyond the reef of rock in the foreground of View Number Five in fact you can see that outcropping of boulders in several of the previous views.
You are probably wondering about the conical shaped hill in the distance. It is named Knockatee from the Irish Chnoc an Tí, the English name is a rendering of the Irish which means “Hill of the School.” In fact there is a school there, named for the townland, Lehid. Back in the day (early 1900’s), the schoolmaster, Diarmuid Ó Súilleabháin, collected folklore. I will share here a story from that collection, titled. “Tim Crowley, The Widow’s Son.” “The Schools’ Collection, Volume 0621, Page 413” by Dúchas © National Folklore Collection, UCD is licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0.
Long ago there lived a widow who was very poor who had only one whose was Tim Crowley who was her only support. He was very fond of night walking and cardplaying. One night as he was coming home he met a dog in his way home. The dog held him up and asked him where he had been all night. He told him where he was cardplaying the dog told him that he should come with himself now. So Crowley asked and begged of him to leave him go home to his old mother who was in delicate health and very sick so he granted hs request and left him go home but he had to promise him faithfully that he would meet him again at the same place when the twelve months would be up for certain. He was up to his promise and met the dog at the same place again that night. He told the dog that his mother was very bad and she had no other one else to take care of her and he requested him to leave him home to her that she was going to die any minute he left home again for twelve months more. When next Sunday came Crowley went to mass as usual he used not go into the Church but stay outside the sacristy door and when mass was going on a small man came into Crowley and said to him Crowley you are a good man if your courage don’t fail on you tonight. He told Crowley to be in such a place tonight at twelve o’clock that there was a hurling match going to be on between North Kerry and south Kerry by the people of the other world. So Crowley did as he was told and he arrived at a long hall he sat down inside the door of the hall and he was not long there when six men came in each one having a hurley. They left their hurleys down sideways in the hall while themselves went into the dining room. The six men never noticed Crowley sitting in the hall.. After a little while they came back again for their hurleys and one of the hurleys was missed by the men. Who did they see standing in the hall but Crowley on he having one Hurley. The asked him to give them their hurley he said he would not give it that he was able to use it himself. They told him to come along with and to use it so he wwnt away with them to the field where they were going to be playing the hurling game. They started the match and they were not long playing when Crowley put out a goal against north Kerry. The south Kerry took him up in their shoulders ten times around the field he gained the field that night. They told him to go home that he would be alright that he was safe. Next Sunday came and he attended mass again as usual and the same man came to him again at the same place and he said to him again the second time that he was a good man if his courage don’t fail in him tonight and hold him to be in such a place again tonight at the same hour as he went before that. Crowley went home an waited until the night came and did as he was told. So he started away to the same place at the same place hour until he came to this long hall as before. He was not long inside when six men came in and they carrying a coffin on their shoulders and left it down in the hall and went into the dining room. While they were inside in the dining room what did Crowley do but take the coffin away home with him. When the six men returned back the coffin was gone and they searched all over for it but could not find it for Crowley had it taken away with him. Crowley went again to mass on the third Sunday and this small little man came again to him at the same place and said to him that he was a good man if his courage don’t fail in him tonight. He told him to go the same place as he was before. He was not long inside when a big party came in and went into the dining room/ The party that came in were talking about the coffin that was stole. Where was Crowley but listening to what they were saying. One of them said that it was a pity to leave the young girl go with him that was inside in the coffin. Another one of them said that the girl was no good to Crowley except she would get three drinks of that bottle there in the table. He said to the other one the first drink she would get of the bottle she would breath and the second drink she would get she would open her eyes and the third drink she would get she would rise up in her body. Crowley being a hide inside the door made a dash for the bottle and made off home with it. When Crowley went home he did as he heard them saying. He gave her three sups of the bottle and as soon as he did she got quite all right in the very minute. She looked around her and spoke to Crowley and told him that it would be no good except he go on. Get the best white horse in the village. So Crowley went on got the best while horse there. When he came back with the white horse she told him now to put her sitting up in the horse before himself and to get two swords to place one sword in each hand and to cut them down at each side as fast as the horse would go for they would be in swarms at each side trying to sweep her off the horse. This Crowley did as she told him and he cut them down and kept on cutting them down until he had the last one cut down. Then he had the young lady saved. She told him now to drive on as far as three miles and to stop at such a house and this he did. She told him to take her down off the horse and to place her on the ground. She told him mow that was her father’s house that there was a sick girl inside in the room and to go to her father and to ask the key of the room door. She told him to tell her father that he was a Doctor that he would go to see his daughter and that he would cure her for him. So the father agreed and gave him the key and told him that if he would cure her that he would give him all the gold he wanted. Crowley went into the room and locked the door behind him leaving the father standing outside the door waiting for the glad news of his daughter recovering. So Crowley set to work inside the room and went over to the girl’s sick bed and took her out of the bed in his arms with out no delay and placed her on the grate over a blazing fire. She started to scream as loud as she could when he was placing her on the grate. When her father heard the screaming he ran for his gun and tried to burst in the door to shoot Crowley. In one minute when the young lady that was outside the door jumped inside the door and ran to her father and put her arms around him saying O father father I am your daughter whom crowley has saved. Don’t shoot him. She was only a spirit that was put there int he bed instead of me when the swept me away. I could not come in beyond the door when he put her out the chimney. So the father ran to crowley and caught him by the hand and told him that he would give him all his gold and houses all belong to him and to marry his daughter. So Crowley got married to the young lady and they all lived happily together after. Written by Mary Sullivan, heard of this story being recited by my mothe rnamed Mrs. Hannah Mansfield aged 39 years of age.
Beara Peninsula, Coolcreen townland, County Kerry, Republic of Ireland.
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