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Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 4, 1893.djvu/184

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FOLK-LORE GLEANINGS FROM COUNTY LEITRIM.




THE district from whence these notes are derived lies to the south-east of the lower end of Lough Allen, and comprises part of the parishes of Kiltubrid and Fenagh, in County Leitrim, the latter better known on account of the Book of Fenagh and the remains of St. Caillin's Abbey. This part of the county is fairly hilly, with wide stretches of bog, and many lakes; while towards the north of Kiltubrid lies the wild mountain district of Slieve-an-iarain. At the present time it is devoid of timber, except such as has been planted round the houses of the gentry, and this absence of trees and hedges gives the whole district a rather desolate appearance. Until the Cavan, Leitrim, and Roscommon Light Railway was constructed, a few years ago, Kiltubrid was quite cut off from outside influence. Carrick-on-Shannon is ten miles off; and Drumshanbo and Ballinamore, five and seven miles away respectively, are only small country towns. The people, therefore, have not yet lost the old traditions of the place, in spite of the fact that the native tongue has almost died out; but they are fast disappearing, and it is to be feared will ere long be extinct, as they have become under similar circumstances elsewhere.

The stories in English which I have heard told by the peasantry in co. Leitrim are, of course, not to be compared with those collected in Irish by Dr. Hyde in the next county (Roscommon), but they are interesting, I think, as showing the form that the tales have taken at the present day. As regards the general superstitions, etc., current in the district, my informants were as a rule people of over