Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 22, 1911.djvu/240

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2o8 Collectanea.

fires have been more numerous. Formerly bones were saved up to crackle as they burnt in the fires, and even when this ceased the pronunciation " bone-fire " continued. Magical rites con- nected with milk and butter were, very recently, performed secretly at wells on May Eve (April 30th) as described later.

Other annual observances were sports which first included, and then lapsed into, mere races. The iraghis, or gatherings, at the mound and inauguration place of Moy Eir (Magh Adhair) lasted down to 1838, and were still very faintly remembered by old people in 1890 as having died out in the Famine years, with so much of the social brightness of the people. I may note that this place, — the reputed seat of Adhar, a Firbolg prince, about the beginning of our era, — became the place of inauguration of the native princes of Thomond from before 877, and continued so down, at least, to 1570. The name Magh Adhair (phonetically Moy Eir) at first covered the whole central plain of east Clare, but steadily shrank to that of a small tribal territory, and then, in 1584 and 1655, to the two townlands of Corbally and Toonagh (Tuanagh-moyree). By 1838 it was attached only to two fields, — " Moyross, or Moyree, parks," — in the former, and is now confined to a single field, " Moyars Park," and to the "rath" or mound in Toonagh, across the brook. Notices of the inaugurations are numerous from 1275 to 1311, and occur sporadically from 877 onwards. Other and less famous gatherings were at Creganenagh (" Fair or Assembly Crag ") ^ on the bare hill over Termon in the Burren, and at a field in Caherminaun near Kilfenora. The latter probably gave the name Ballykinvarga, (Baile-cinn-mharghaidh in 1380), i.e. "head of the market," to the adjacent townland, and may have been connected with the remarkable ring wall, girt with a wide abattis of pillar stones, not far distant. Some forgotten assembly is commemorated at Eanty ("Fairs" or "gatherings") in the east of Burren. Other assemblages will be dealt with later under XVI. Patterns.

XV. Wells and Well Customs. Hesitation in questioning poor people too closely about their religious feelings and rites has, I fear, rendered my notes on this

^Aenach was not merely a fair, but an assembly for merrymaking, con- sultation, etc.