Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 22, 1911.djvu/374

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338 Collectanea.

XVIII. Animal and Plant Superstitions.

I have had occasion to search, in Irish works of pre-Tudor date, for sidelights on the early fauna of Ireland, and the results, so far, are meagre. There is constant reference to dogs, cattle, horses, deer, and wolves, but rarely do any but the hound put on any definite shape. Even the bull plays little more part in the Tain bo Cualgne than Briseis does in the Iliad, and generally the animal is a mere appendage to an incident.

Cattle. — Place-names give us little information save as to the custom of driving the animals up to the hills in the summer time. Mount Callan being girt by a series of " BooHes " {i.e. milking places),^*^ usually qualified by some phrase such as " of the sun " or " of the sea-gulls." The cow was the practical unit of value in olden times, three cows being worth a woman-slave, and a single one the " ounce," which seems to have been an imaginary standard. Legendary cows, such as the Glasgeivnagh and Glas gamhnach, play a large part in the traditions, the hoofmarks of the latter pitting all the rocks of eastern Burren and its borders. Another supernatural cow predominates in the extreme west of the barony, near Crumlin. The Seven Streams of Teeskagh were said to originate from the exuberant milk of a " Glas." Super- natural bulls and water cattle have already been dealt with.-^

The most remarkable customs relating to cattle centre round Lough Fergus. Along its north shore stand twelve cairns in an irregular line. On the eighth from the east end are two natural stones resembling a small chair and a cross, named after St. Forgas, (who appears in none of the calendars and is perhaps a river-spirit). Along with these are put a china image, bits of iron,

-^ Boulavaun (white milking ground), Boulinrudda (red place), Boolinduflf (black), Boulynamiscaun (of the dish), and Boul3'nagreana (sunny) at Callan ; Booltiagh, Boolybrien, Boolynagleeragh (of the clergy), Boolyknockaun, Boolyneaska (of the eels), and Cloonbooley in Kilmaley ; Boultiaghdine in Kilnaboy, (but the inhabitants say that Booltiagh means "mired by cattle" not " milking place ") ; Boulynamwella (of sea-gulls) in Kilmihil ; Boolty- doolan in Killadysert ; and Booleevin (pleasant) in Kilkeedy. In east Clare the name is rare, Boolynacausk (of the Easter sports), in Slieve Bernagh, being the only one known to me.

"Vol. xxi., pp. 480-1.