Wicklow is full of stories.
An army of stones
Pursuing Yeomen see an army of stone fighters and flee. Poachers see a man long dead standing above them in the mist. A mountain man with broken hip begins to crawl home.
A hand in the night
A man digging for gold sees a demon. A farmer has his wrist grabbed in his farm shed when darkness prevails. A girl sighs for her freshly departed lover.
The Resurrection of Sean
A man goes to market and returns to find his wife has buried him in his absence. She is at Sunday mass, so, he calls on his terrified neighbours to find out why he is dead.
The travels of Davy
A second son leaves home for work in Dublin. He sees what he is not supposed to see and says so and is paid to go home by a frightened employer in return for no work at all.
Not gone but not forgotten
The coffin of a murdering husband re-appears every time it is buried. A dead woman asks her husband to take her away out of the dead house and he carries her home piggy-back.
A shower of stones
A man is pursued by a dancing light. Then, he sees a moving coffin on the road before him. Elsewhere, two men shortcutting through a graveyard are assaulted by stones from on high.
A dead man comes back to ask why he wasn’t buried where he wanted to be buried? A running man passes a trotting horse and car. Elsewhere, a galloping rider is pursued by a strange form along an early morning road.
Wise man Paddy Stevens
A Wicklow Nasreddin drives his religious employer mad. He wonders if two boiled eggs might be better than one. And saddles a horse backwards for want of instruction.
A war of belief between two men goes beyond the grave with some startling results for the populace of a Wicklow glen.
Taken by the fairies
An old man decides to take a wife and outlives two brides and quite possibly a third. Another man misses the chance or retrieving a wife stolen by the fairies. A fairy breeze whips around the head of a man at a crossroads.
A fleeting bird
A 90-year-old voyager marries an 86-year-old woman and is gaoled on her complaint. He loses his long hair and even disposition as a result. Following the disappearance of a walking woman two boys see a fine-feathered bird by the roadside.
The long walk to Crois Úna
A group of pall bearers set out with a coffin to a distant graveyard but soon find they have said too many prayers along the way and the day has declined. Their temporary overnight resting place causes some heart-stopping moments for others.
Retrieving the lost milk profit from the fairy woman. A servant girl plucks a stick from a forbidden bush only to suffer the consequences.
A cure for baldness
A Murrough girl, descended from the Vikings, elopes with a travelling thatcher. Her husband offers a cure for baldness to all who gather in the evenings to hear his telling of stories.
Now you don’t see it
A drowned drover stands in the garden by a well before his death has been announced. A silent man sits by a field fire through the night; come morning man and fire have vanished. A man promises his wife he will return dead or alive. Body snatchers get the fright of their lives when a voice speaks to them in the night.
A man is charged with playing cards on a Sunday; another is charged with poaching rabbits. A man appears in court for driving a horse furiously through a market town. A cabbage-seller arouses the ire of a confessor; two other walking men meet peace and contentment in a fellow soul.
On one side of Wicklow at Poulaphouca a fox rises and leads the hunt to destruction. On the far side at Kilruddery a fellow fox is pursued by a hunt to the end.
Of water and stone
A valley is flooded and a city reservoir comes into being. A landowner feeds the Famine hungry. Stone workers build a village.
Standing on the Hungry Grass can be fatal to an unsuspecting walker. But what causes the sudden loss of ability to survive? And how can a quick thinking rescuer save a stricken soul?
A cow on Derrybawn Mountain gives more milk than others. A herd finds a long-concealed body. A son goes hunting rather than help his brothers, with devastating consequences.
Bedding St Kevin
St Kevin is pursued to his secret cave by a follower bent on more than piety. But are his reactions those to be expected of a future saint?
Two storytellers tell of the same event, with subtle shadings of detail. Nonetheless, two lovers leapt from a rock high above a ravine to their death and an annual haunting.
The Devil is in the Glen
The cloven hoof of the devil cuts out a Wicklow glen. A stranger tries to woo the lovely daughter of a chieftain away from a convent. A playwright pursues an apple stealer— all in a Wicklow glen separated only by time.
A mother and daughter smuggle fine wines and silks from France onto Bray Head. Smugglers shoot it out with Revenue men. Two sisters take action against a philandering husband who has overstepped the mark.
A schoolteachers takes early morning walks along a Wicklow river and travels to Dublin on a regular basis. Gold. The river fills with amateur prospectors who extract more gold than the government men who replace them.
A ghost priest says mass to an empty church and becomes angry when there are no responses to his prayers. Clerics hide from priest hunters in a mud cave by a riverside. A tinker pair bargain with a fugitive priest for the cost of a wedding.
The military road is built across Wicklow glens to catch the 1798 rebels. A militia man becomes a walking gallows when rebels are taken. Until a group of pikemen surround him in Aughavannagh.
Thawing snow deep in the glens cause floods and ice slides that take away dwellings and people alike. Moving snow in the night smothers an entire sleeping family in their beds.
Children sentenced to Glencree Reformatory must first spend time alone in an adult prison. Twelve-year-old Bernard Young freezes to death on the way across the mountain to detention, while his escort take warm drinks inside a roadside shebeen.
Surviving the snow storm
When winter snow grips Wicklow, life can become very hazardous. A man sets out to find his brother and sees a surprising sight in the snow. Blizzards isolate sheepmen in the remote hills.
Some fine liars live in Wicklow where the ability to spin a tall tale is a given. A man discovers a sleeping army ready to spring to the defence of Ireland upon awakening. A woman sees a cóiste bodhar, a death coach, and knows it has come for someone, not yet dead.
You may believe these stories or not; but when the lamp is quenched all manner of matters change and you are on your own.
To engage Brendan for storytelling and participation in writing, and literary and arts and story festivals and events see here.
Quickly now, dean deifir, or your dates might be gone.