Page:The Folk-Lore Journal Volume 7 1889.djvu/47

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39
WEXFORD FOLK-LORE

Forth and Bargy, or south-east Wexford; the inhabitants of which have many of their customs and language at the present day similar to those in East Anglia. The first magpies that came to Ireland, a flock of twelve, landed here, from whence they spread over Ireland. An old saying, but now nearly obsolete, is "Ireland will never be rid of the English while the magpie remains." That is, the English and the magpies both, when they first came, landed in the same part of Ireland, and one cannot be got rid of except both go.

Burials near Enniscorthy.—Three families—Traceys, Doyles, and Daly—until recent years buried their dead peculiarly. The graves were dug six feet deep, and long enough to suit the corpse. At each end was built a stone wall, about two feet high, this space being lined with sods over seven feet long, procured from the meadows of the Slany. The body was brought in a coffin, out of which it was taken and lowered into its green receptacle; after which, from wall to wall, were placed planks, the latter being covered by another long sod, the green side downwards; the grave was then filled up, the coffin being left in the graveyard. The last interment of this kind was of the body of John Doyle of Craan; since which the members of these different families have been buried in coffins. "No tradition of the origin of the custom now survives."

[It may here be mentioned, that in graveyards on the coast of Kerry, the corpse seem to have been enveloped in sea-shells. At Ballinskelligs there is an ancient burial-ground now being gradually removed by the sea; and from what can be seen, it would appear as if the corpse never had a coffin, but had been laid in a bed of shells and then covered by the same. In an ancient graveyard at Mr. Kilbee's, co. Kildare, the corpse seems to have been enveloped in teeth, seemingly of sheep, goats, and cattle.]

Sacred Wells.—Of the innumerable sacred wells, among the most famous are the pool of Siloah in Jerusalem, the fountains of Aganippe and Castalia, and of the Maya country in Yucatan. In the deserts of the orient, almost every well or fountain is considered a special gift of God to deliver humanity and the animal creation I the Greeks and Romans thought that nymphs and male