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A Fairy Fort: Folklore from Co. Sligo

A Ringfort (source)

A Ringfort (source)

This Irish folklore account relates to a ringfort in Co. Sligo and is based on information supplied by Mary Brennan in 1938. Ringforts are the classic early medieval settlement type and were long abandoned by the early 20th century when they had become associated with the fairy folk.

One night many years ago a man named John Hart who lived in the townland of Mount Edward in the parish of Ahamlish in the county of Sligo was passing by a fort in the same townland. The time was between twelve and one o’clock.

Suddenly he heard behind him the noise of a horse and car coming quickly. He stepped aside but when the car passed the driver drew rein and requested him to mount. John did but not very willingly. The horse galloped off at speed and it was not till the cock began to crow between five and six in the morning that the driver again drew rein and said “it is now time for you to be getting home.” The car then stopped. Hart dismounted and the driver having warned him not to be out so late any other night turned his horse and in the twinkling of an eye had disappeared.

To Hart’s astonishment, he found himself tho’ he had been driving all night, in the very place from whence he had set out beside the fairt fort in Mount EdwardAfter that he never went out late at night.’

This story forms part of the Schools’ Folklore Collection, a large and important corpus of material, whose compilation occurred between 1937 and 1939.  This far-sighted scheme, run by the Irish Folklore Commission, saw over 100,000 schoolchildren collecting local folklore from their parents, grandparents and older members of the community.

Notes

The Schools’ Collection, Volume 0155, Page 046

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