The stories told on these pages are from  a collection of folklore compiled by schoolchildren in Ireland in the 1930s. 
The children recorded (over&nbsp740,000 handwritten pages) of this material from their parents, grandparents and neighbours.

These are their stories in their own words.

St Patrick and the tricky old woman

SCHOOL: Adare Convent | ADDRESS: Adare, Co. Limerick

Proud Irish Heritage- Story of St Patrick and the tricky old woman.
Saint Patrick and The Old Woman

St Patrick Visits Carrigogunnell

Carrigogunnell is about 7 miles from Adare. It is a lovely little hill with an old castle on top. An old road ran from Limerick to Tarbert. Some parts still remain and are in use here and there.

On that old road St. Patrick and his holy band travelled westward from Limerick. When they came near Carrigogunnell, St. Patrick went into a widow woman’s house where some refreshments or native drink was sold.

He called for a goblet of the drink and left it rest for some time. The goblet was not full and he said to the woman. “Why don’t you fill up your goblets and give the people their due?”. “I did”, said she, “but you drank it”. “I did not drink it”, said the Saint.

The woman begged his pardon.

Looking around the kitchen the Saint saw an awful, big black dog. “Why do you keep such a dog?”, said the Saint and as he spoke the dog ran into the room and under the bed.

“I keep that dog for the purpose of dragging out drunken men and he is of great use to me”.

“Do you know”, said St. Patrick, “that the dog you have is the devil. He has many a poor soul taken away and has very nearly taken your own”.

St. Patrick prayed and banished the dog in a blaze of fire out the door.

The Saint stayed that night in the house and when it was getting dark the woman commenced to darken all the windows and shut up every corner for fear any light would shine into the kitchen.

“Why are you doing all that?”, said St. Patrick.

“There is a light seen on Carrigogunnell every night”, said she, “and anyone that would see it would drop dead”.

“Take down all those shutters”, said St. Patrick, “and I’ll have a look at it”. When she did this the light shone in about the house. St. Patrick prayed and quenched it. It lit up again and again. The Saint quenched it and did the same three times.

There were two devils on the hill lighting these lights every night and by doing so killed and terrified the inhabitants.

When the lights were put out by St. Patrick one devil said to the other, “There is a man in Erin now that was never here before and I think our day is over. The only thing we can do is to poison him”.

Next day St. Patrick and his band went up on the hill. All the neighbours rejoiced at having the lights extinguished because they could let their windows open at night and live in happiness.

St Patrick met the two devils and one handed him a mug of poison. The Saint blessed it and drank some and gave it to all his followers and they all drank the finest wine they ever drank.

The Saint prayed and drove the two demons from the hill in a blaze of fire, then he and his holy band continued their journey on towards Foynes and Tarbert.


The Schools’ Collection, Volume 0505, Page 031” by Dúchas © National Folklore Collection, UCD is licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0.

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