Folklore observations concerning the Carrickaboy area
As a young anthropology student I started visiting the Carrickaboy area in 1980 for folklore surveys, and made occasional visits in 1988, 2004, 2009, and 2012. I was attracted to the area by the "Worm Ditch" I had spotted on my map, and thereafter by the hospitality of the local people in my inquiries as to local legends of archaeological sites. Among other things, I was introduced to the Black Pig's Race/Worm Ditch, a mass rock just below the Dyke, the Denn Flagstone, and in later visits discovered the holy wells/cattle troughs behind Denn. Having an interest and an affection for this locale over the years, I was saddened and astonished to arrive after a long absence in 2004 to see Ardkillmore eaten away by the quarry. My old friends in the area were just as saddened; Mrs. R. and I sat in her darkened kitchen as she scratched at the stone dust gathered on her table and informed me that the mass rock had fallen into the quarry and the north end of the Black Pig's Race had been eaten away. This was especially shocking because I had always admired how Ireland had taken care of their many monuments as best as its economy would allow. Over the years I found the Denn Flagstone slowly sinking into the mud and becoming forgotten -- the stone, as tradition said, that was once used in contests of strength by local men on a Sunday after church. I would clear the weeds from it and leave it be until some other visit a few years later, until in 2012 I was glad to see a man with time on his hands had cleared the weeds from the chapel yard and used a tractor to lift the Denn Flag on top of a low foundation, there not to be used in feats of strength, perhaps, but at least protected. During that trip I also found the holy wells nearby, mashed into un-recognition by the cattle, but some of the walling behind one still visible. Local men told me one was a curing well and the other was a sacred well (I am still not sure about the difference). I hope to visit again soon to continue my little project of recording other lore, with a focus on the lore on landlords (I published an essay about Fleming's Folly in Bellville some years ago). Carry on!