On the tenth of April 1917, my father was sowing corn and he saw Sarah Hession’s house on fire. At about eleven o’clock he took out the horse and he went to the house. The old woman wasn’t at home since the previous day. There was another man living with her.
My father wasn’t long up there when another man named Patrick Kavanagh came along. They said they should see if there was anybody asleep inside. They went in and called at the door of the room. The fire was quite large by that time. They called Patrick Nolan and they didn’t get any answer. They went out again because the smoke was was choking them. They waited a few minutes outside talking and they said they should go in again to be certain that there was nobody there. When they went inside for the third time they brought a big stick in to break the door, and when they had hit it a few times, they heard somebody moving and it was then that he awoke. He didn’t have any time to put on his clothes, he brought the sheet with him and he put it around himself. There were a lot of people gathered around looking at the fire. There were a lot of young people there and when they saw the man coming out with the sheet on him, they ran. The younger people were thinking that it was a ghost that was in it. Patrick Nolan fell with weakness when he saw the fire, and when sense returned to him he said he should have taken his clothes out with him. When they went inside the fire was coming out against them. They had no water to stop the fire and the whole house and all of the furniture were burned. He made another new house in its place but that house is gone now, too. I got the above from my father.
Written by Eibhlín Ní Ghráinne / Eileen Greaney of Kilgill, from her father Seán Ó Gráinne/John Greaney (61).
Corr an Droma, Book 2, pages 493-495. Link: https://www.duchas.ie/en/cbes/4566057/4562958/
Translated by Paul Greaney.
Notes: Sarah Hession’s house was in the townland of Slievefin. Patrick Kavanagh lived in Ardgaineen and was next-door neighbour to John Greaney.