Bawnboy and Templeport
History Heritage Folklore
by Chris Maguire




A Story told by Sean Dolan, Teeboy.

Robert Vincent Walker, antiquarian and place-names expert visited Sean Dolan, Teeboy, regularly from 1917 to the mid-twenties, and gathered a great store of local history some of which was printed in the Anglo-Celt. This is one of Sean’s stories which Walker calls Cunnoocenanare.

You would hardly think to look at it now that Ballymagauran was once a powerful big town, with great trade, and even a college of its own- you can see the ruins by the side of the lake. Indeed it was, though at the time, the Magaurans were big in the land, and I’ll tell you a story about it.

At the time I‘m going to tell you about it was Farrell Magauran that was living in Ballymagauran, and in addition to his own big house, he had a summer residence on Cherry Island in Garadice Lough. Farrell was the handsomest man in Ireland of his time, and he was married to a daughter of Philip O Reilly, father of ‘The Slasher’. O Reilly’s castle in Ballinacargy was a great place, and although the ceilings were twelve feet high, I heard that Myles could strike them with his heels at the least of his ease.

‘Now O Rourke of Breifne who was living in Cloncorick, had a tinker of a daughter, and she made up her mind that she would never marry any but the finest man in Ireland. She searched north and south, and who did her eye fall on but Farrell Magauran, and him only about two years married at the time, and him and his wife as happy with each other as the day was long, with one little baby boy.

O’ Rourke sent Magauran word that he would have to send away his lawful wife, and Farrell went over to Leitrim to try and reason with him, but it was no good. Then he went to his father-in-law,
‘What will I do’ says he
‘Send her home’ says Philip, ‘there’s been blood enough shed in this unfortunate country without another war. I’ll have welcome enough for her’
So Farrell sent her back, and for every hoof he got with her, he sent back two, and himself and O Rourke’s daughter was married, and his lawful wife went home to her father, leaving the baby after her.

It wasn’t long until Farrell was slipping out now and then to take a trip over to see his real wife, and it wasn’t long either until the new wife found out all about it. One night when he came home from the O’ Reillys he found the house all bolted up on him, and he found a ladder to get in one of the top windows. Just as he was getting in the window, O’ Rourke’s daughter hit him with an iron bar, and the poor fellow fell dead.

There was queer work in the morning and no mistake. The new wife went off to her own people at daybreak, and the nurse, who was one of the Dolans from ‘The Black’ took the baby out of the cradle and fled with him, lest his uncles should make away with him, to get the place. For seven years she hid with him in Derrymony on the shores of Brackley Lough, and then hearing that they were looking for him she went up to her own people in ‘The Black’, and kept him there until he was nineteen.

All this time his uncles knew that the heir was alive and in the County, and they were always looking for him. So they arranged to have a big hunt, for they knew that his father’s son would have ‘blood’ in him, and would come to the hunt. And so he did come to the hunt on a big horse with a great following of the Dolans. The hunt started in the morning at Derryragh and wound up at night at Owengallees. When the hunt was over, a fight took place between the Dolans and the Magaurans and the young heir and all the Dolans were killed. So great was the slaughter that the hounds were swimming in the blood. That is why Owengallees used to be called ‘Cunnoocenanare’ or ‘Cossaunnanare’ by the old people.”

R.V. Walker (An scolaire bocht ) who took down the story from Sean Dolan adds the following note:

Sean was very definite in his assertion that ‘Cunnoocenanare’ and ‘Cossaunnanare’ meant the ‘slaughter’ of the hounds, and he even gave me examples as to the local use of the word ‘cunnooce’ in that sense before the language was quite lost. With all deference to his store of Irish I am inclined to think that the correct interpretations are respectively ‘Cnuas-na-ngadhar’ the gathering of the hounds and ,‘Casan na ngadhar’, the path of the hounds.


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