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.

The Banshee

SCHOOL: Dún an Ochta (Buachaillí) | ADDRESS: Eyrecourt, Co. Galway

Proud Irish Heritage - Stories from Ireland- The Irish Banshee
The Irish Banshee

Joe Kelly is alive – not an old man and met with the Banshee. As stated Dooras is about a mile or so from Eyrecourt.

Joe Kelly told the following story – an experience of his some few years ago.

There was a poor woman living in Dooras by the name of Donnelly. She was very ill, and her death was expected at any time. Being a carpenter he, and a couple of other men, started making a coffin for her in a shed at a short distance away.

Late at night when the work was almost completed, and they were on their way to her house to inquire for her, Joe Kelly heard terrible wailing moans near by. He then saw a Banshee with a comb in her hand, and she was combing her long hair.

The man with him said that the woman must be dead, and on reaching the house a few minutes later found that it was true. It is true that the appearing and wailing of a Banshee foretell the death of certain families.

This story was told by Joe Kelly, Eyrecourt, who heard this story from his father.

The Eyre family lived in the Castle outside Eyrecourt from the time of Cromwell until about 10 years or so ago. When each member of the “Eyre” family died rings were not removed from their fingers, but were interred with them.

When the Eyre of Eyrecourt Castle died some valuable rings were buried with her. The butler of the house noticed this, and the night after she was placed in the vault near by (where the Eyre family were put), he went to the vault, opened it and set about cutting the rings off her fingers.

To his horror and amazement the blood immediately flowed from the cut finger and she sat upright and gave a cry. The butler ran for his life.

A few minutes later Mrs. Eyre knocked at the front door. Her husband knew the knock to be the same as his dead wife was want to give. However, believing she was dead he was astonished to find her at the door. She was really only in a trance he believed to be dead.

Pat Kelly, of Ballinakill, 2.1/2 miles from Eyrecourt, had the following experience:

1. One night he was coming home from Clonfert, (3 miles from Eyrecourt to the West of B.) by a short-cut through the fields. It was nearing the midnight hour, and quite suddenly he saw a big hunt with the usual arrany of huntsmen, hounds etc.

The first hunstman halted, and asked him if he’d care to follow the hunt. He said “he wouldn’t – that he was on his way home.

A second hunstman stopped near him, and asked him the same question to which he replied in the negative.

On being asked by the third hunstman he agreed, and immediately a calf sprung up as if from nowhere, and bore him away at a terrific pace. He was told by the third hunstman not to speak.

The hunt had been on for a good time, and the calf was still speeding along. When the calf jumped over two ditches and a “póirín”, and got ahead of the rest he forgot about the warning he had got about not speaking, and said – “the calf is the best of them all”.

Immediately the calf disappeared, and he was left alone in the field. All traces of the hunt was gone, so he proceeded on his homeward journey, and surprised his family by relating this story.

2. Pat Kelly (same man as in last story) saw a leipreacón one morning at 7.30, when passing thro’ same field, on his way to his work in Clonfert. He beheld this leipreacón at a (style) stile, as he was about to cross it.

He was only about a foot in height, and had a long beard. He took his eyes off him for a second, where he slipped in getting over the stile, and immediately he had vanished. He searched around for him in every place, but could find no trace of him.

3. Pat Kelly (same man) heard the Banshee crying one morning on his return from a dance in the neighbourhood.

Shortly afterwards, a man from that locality, called Lynch died.

The Banshee is supposed to follow certain families, and is heard crying shortly before their death.

4. Pat Kelly told this story. He heard it from his grandfather.A man (name unknown) from this same area, once caught a leipreacán, and fixed his gaze on him despite the efforts of the other to divert his attention.

On being questioned about the much famed “crock of gold” he refused to supply any information.

He captured him, and put him in under a pot.

Every morning he looked in to see if his captive were still there. This went on for six months, during which time many of his animals died. A

t last the Leipreacán revealed the supposed hiding place, and so he was released. The farmer made a big search for it, but in vain.


The Schools’ Collection, Volume 0056, Page 0111” by Dúchas © National Folklore Collection, UCD is licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0.

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