Amulets. — These are very rarely found in Clare, although their religious equivalents are common. An amber bead, used as a charm in childbirth, was long preserved at Ennis (Plate VI). It bore in ogham characters " L.M.C.B.D.V.," which, as Prof. R. A. S. Macalister notes,^ closely corresponds to an ogham inscription on a stone near Fahan, County Kerry, viz. " L.M.C.B.T.M.," (as T is equivalent to D, and V partially to Mh), (Plate IV). The letters are probably the initials of a formula or prayer like those on religious medals. Dr. G. U. MacNamara appositely quotes from the Homilies of St. Eloi of Limoges, (born circa 588), "let no woman hang amber round her neck ... or have recourse either to enchanters ... or to engravers of amulets," and "do not tie strings round the necks of women."*
An unbreakable equivalent to the "Luck of Edenhall" has been kept, for time out of mind, by the head of the Westropp family in Munster. On it the preservation of the estates was said to depend, but, as they are now sold, the "luck" must find another field for the exercise of its benevolent tutelage. The legend existed in four distantly-related branches of the family. As told by John Westropp of Lismehane (Clare), before 1780, to the father of one of my informants,^ the legend ran much as follows : — " When the first of our family in Ireland went to see the Kilkerin property [on the Shannon in the south-west of Clare], he saw a black bird, [a raven, or crow, or cormorant, in the various versions], rise out of the river with a fish in its mouth, which it dropped and commenced to eat. When Westropp approached it flew away, and, as he saw something shining in the sun, he went to the fish and found a gold ring." The tale varied as to the bird between the Westropps of Fortanne (Clare) and those of Cork, and the latter located it only "on the Shannon." The ring, now held by Col. John Massy Westropp of Doonass (Clare), is of plain gold, and probably dates from the earlier part of the seventeenth century, with arms of ^v^fleiirs de lys forming a cross
' The Transactions of the Royal Irish Academy, vol. xxxi, pp. 318-9. ^Limerick Field Club Journal, vol. ii, pp. 219-220. ® George Westropp of Quinsborough.
•"Part of Kilkerin was mortgaged to Mountfort Westropp late in 1671, and he seems to have purchased it before the end of 1672, and owned it in 1674.