Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 22, 1911.djvu/486

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4 5 o Collectanea.

enchanted human beings,^ It gets more definite above Galway Bay, where the Kinealeys are of reputed seal descent. Some such belief may underlie the name Cumarra (or sea-hound) in the MacNamara family. I found more difficulty in getting fisher beliefs in recent years than in getting folklore from the country people. Much of what I heard in 1906 was probably of tourist origin, and, like the merrow at Killard,^ not to be trusted as genuine belief.

Otter. — Beyond vague belief in an enormous "durracow"* (the king of the otters), which I heard of as a child on the Shannon Bank about some unnamed lake in east Clare, I am not aware of any folklore about this creature in the county. There was said to be a " remarkable " otter at Glenomera.

Cat. — The cat was much regarded by the early Irish, and holds honourable place in their ancient code of laws. It even appears in the illuminations of the Book of Kells. Numerous places in Clare bear its name, but local belief tends to consider the " cat " in these names as a weird monster. The " Cata " and " Faracat " of legend "^ were probably " dragons." The cat has supernatural knowledge. If a cat looks fixedly at a person without apparent reason it forebodes sickness or death, but if it does so to an unmarried person, after making its toilet, it foretells marriage.

  • So in Aed Baclamp from the Book of Lis?nore, [Silva Gadelica, vol. ii.,

p. 72), St. Brendan changes 50 seals into horses, which carry into the sea their riders, who, on reaching it, are, like their steeds, changed into seals.

®Vol. xxi., p. 342. Mrs. Dorothea Townshend of Oxford calls my attention to the probability that this story was made up by Dr. Keightley (v. App. to his Fairy Mythology). In my original Ms. I expressed great doubt as to this story, having found no equivalent to it near Dunbeg or Kilkee, but this was unfortunately omitted in publication. The Miltown mermaid was prob- ably one of the white seals occasionally seen on the coast.

^ I.e. Dobharchu, water-hound. The Irish called the vio\i fael-chu (wild hound) and cu allaid, and the marten crann chu (branch hound). The more common name for the wolf in Clare is breagh, as in Breaghva and Breffy, the name of several townlands. The other wolf name Mac Tire (son of the coun- try), is attached to Knockaunvicteera hill near Lisdoonvarna (where it refers to the animal), and to Cahermactire, a fort near Inchiquin Hill ; at the latter place it may refer to a person, as the name Mac Tire is found in various annals.

'Vol. xxi., pp. 477-9.