This section is from the book "Legendary Fictions Of The Irish Celts", by Patrick Kennedy. Also available from Amazon: Legendary Fictions of the Irish Celts.
A townland north of Mount Leinster is infested by the above-named evil spirit. Within a few years, sundry people returning from a cross-roads' dance, on a Sunday evening, just as night had set in, were greatly terrified. Their road lay along the side of a tolerably steep hill, and as they were coming on, and chatting, they heard the most dreadful cries above them, and a noise as of rocks tumbling down directly to crush them. They ran away at their best speed, and still heard the unearthly yells higher up, and the dreadful sounds, as if half the rocks and loose stones on the heights were sweeping down, crossing the road behind them, and plunging headlong into the stream at the bottom of the hill. Terror and dismay ruled the neighbourhood that night, and for a week longer, when the fright of the Sabbath-breakers was turned to anger and shame. The wag of the next village had carried an empty cask to the summit of the hill, supplied the inside with some stones, fastened the end securely, and just as the gossipers came below, he let slip the engine.
Droochan, the bugbear of the district, had been a man of evil life, and consequently entitled after his death, to annoy all peaceable subjects that had the ill-luck to live in his neighbourhood.
A small family in that blighted vicinity were taking their evening meal in their little parlour, when they were alarmed by their servant-girl rushing across the hall from the kitchen, and crying out, " Oh, masther, masther, Droochan's ghost! He's in the kitchen." After fifteen minutes spent in exclamations, hasty questions, confused answers, and researches, the following dialogue took place :-" What shape did he appear to you in ? " " Oh, I didn't see him at all!" "Who saw him?" "The cats." "How do you know?" "Ah, sure there wasn't a breath stirrin', when them two craythurs cocked their ears, stood up on their hind legs, wud their eyes stanin' in their heads, and sparred at one another writh their hands-I mean their fore paws. Then they let a yowl, as if heaven and earth was coming together, and run off into the coal shed. And what ghost could they be seeing only Droochan's ? "
About four miles east of Baltinglass stands the hill of Bally Carrigeen (rocky pass), and on its top a large ring of rounded flags about nine yards in diameter, and called Fan-a-Cools griddle stories. On the side of the neighbouring eminence are two long strips of turf, much greener than that by which they are surrounded. These are the marks of the resting-places of Fion Mac Cuil and his wife, who, when they rose early in the morning, descended the slope, washed their faces in the stream, and baked the cakes for their breakfast on a griddle supported by these flags. However, we have not much to say of them on this occasion. In their neighbourhood, on the crest of another hill, is the churchyard of Kil-ranelagh, where no corpse of Protestant man or woman has ever been allowed to rest. The boundary-wall is formed of loose stones, and the top is very narrow in comparison with its base. Every man attending a funeral brings a stone picked up on its way, and throws it on the circular fence, and so the mighty ring has grown. Outside this boundary is a deep, round well, and a tall curved recess in the wall just above it. This recess is furnished with ledges, which are plentifully provided with wooden cups-every one interring in the graveyard the corpse of a child under five years of age providing one of these vessels. The spirit of the latest interred is obliged to supply every one of its predecessors with a cup of water and to keep watch and ward over the sacred inclosure till the next funeral; and so, when two convoys are approaching at the same time, there sometimes occur unseemly races and struggles. Having sketched our scenery, we proceed with the legend of The Kilranelagh Spirit.
fiction, Irish, Celtic myths, sacred text, St. Patrick, stories