Amongst the people of this area there were a lot of famous people in years gone by, and it’s not so long ago since they were around. About 60 years ago, there was one – Mike Margot’s father. Mike is still alive and well and lives in Woodpark, in his 69th year and a lot of stories are told about his father John running and jumping. He lived in Woodpark and another man lived there too, in the place where Micil Fahy is now. Mike’s father met the family who were there, where Micil is now, and they started talking. During the conversation, Stanton said that the wall was too high for Mike Margot’s father. “Well”, said John Farragher, Mike’s father, I’ll bet you ten shillings that I’ll jump it. He stood out from it on the ditch on the other side of the road. He took off his shoes and took a run towards it. Up with him to the top of the wall and he only had to leave his hand on the top and in with him. Stanton had to keep his deal and pay John Farragher.
There was a man living in Corrandulla named Michael Kavanagh. He was a big, strong man. He was drawing water one day and he had big barrels of water – a hundredweight in a cart; he had a mule drawing it and there was frost on the road. When he was coming home with the water, the mule failed and he took it out from under the cart. He drew the cart and the water home himself. His father told him that he ought not have done it, but he said he was as strong himself as any horse that he ever had.”Wait and you’ll see that I’m strong”, he said. His father had ropes bought a week beforehand. He went out and he said to his father that the ropes were no good, but the father said they were. Then he tied the rope to the gate-pillar and broke it in two. Another time there was an old smith in the place and he had a horseshoe made. He caught the shoe and straightened it right back out. It’s a true story.
A terrible accident happened out on Lough Corrib in the year 1828. There were 31 people in the boat altogether. They were going to the Fair of Galway with sheep. The boat was old and there were rotten boards in it, and one of the sheep put her foot through the bottom of the boat. When Thomas Cahill saw this, he took off his coat and pressed it into the hole. He put the whole board out and the water started coming straight in. The boat went down then and the the sheep and people were scattered in the lake. Nineteen of the people were drowned and I heard that twelve of them came safe out of it. A man, one of the twelve who came in, he came back to Annaghdown and he brought the two sheep with him through Claregalway and he sold the two sheep in Galway the same day the other people were drowned. Wasn’t he the strange soldier that was able to go to Galway again that day and sell sheep. The same afternoon, those who were drowned were taken out.
Blake’s have an old gate to the right hand side of the road that’s called Peggy Barraig’s Gate. It was said that Peggy was living on a hill on the east side of that gate. She was a Catholic and her son was a Protestant. When she was on her death bed, she called for the priest. When the priest came, the son was before him at the door with a fork in his hand and he wouldn’t let the priest in. They started fighting, but the priest got the upper hand. He went back around the house and in he went through the closed door. He gave confession and communion to the old woman and she died. A type of nearmhail (? – probably an affliction, strangeness, or regret) came on him and it stayed with him until the day he died. It was said that a man was seen with an apron some years ago. He was cleaning a stream going into the lake. The apron came up from the ground and he went out of sight again. It is said too that it isn’t right to go past that place from 12 o’clock in the night until 3 in the morning. Something can be seen there. Inside that hill, there is an old grave and there is a big stone over it. John Woods is written there. He was a Protestant and that’s the reason he wasn’t let into the graveyard. Patrick Delaney
The Great Hunger affected this area badly. There were many more people living here than there are now. When the potatoes were growing the blackness came on them, and the ones that didn’t rot in the ridges, they rotted in the holes and in the houses. They had only a little seed for the next year. They grew very well for any man that succeeded in saving them. There was one man who had no potatoes at all, he collected the seed potatoes and he ate them. It was said that he took potatoes as fast as the man was sowing them. The men would be working for the big farmers for fourpence a day. They wouldn’t get but one meal and they’d only have turnips and “stirabout” to eat. A lot of people died at that time as a result of hunger and fever.
There is an old boreen behind my house which is called Boirín Aindriú. There was an old man living there long, long ago. Andrew Cosgrove was his name. He had one young son named Brendan. That man and a man named Michael Kavanagh were fighting. Didn’t Brendan kill him. The boys of the area drove him out then. He went down to Kiltimagh in County Mayo and he was going around like a tinker there. One evening he came to a place where there was a big meeting. He went as far as them and what was there but people throwing stones to find out which one of them was the best. He took the rock and he threw it further than any of the others. They all gathered around him and asked him “who was he”. He told them his story from start to end. They jumped on him then and they killed him. His mother heard about it and great sadness came upon her.
In the year 1839 there were a lot of people working in Corrandulla, and they were far from home. They went in under the shelter of a hill or a large rock because the wind was knocking the houses. There was one man named Thomas Hession and he said he’d go home, no matter what would happen. When he was going between the mill road and Thomas Kelly’s house, there was a large flood. The wind got so strong there that it took the water three feet high. The poor man spent from nine o’clock at night to morning on the bank there. When they went out in the morning they found Thomas Hession, and he was close to death. The other men who stayed in the shelter were safe.
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.