- Sleaty House and Church, Co. Laois
Historical information gleaned from Pat Whelan, Shrule, and Miss Lizzie Dunny, Sletty -
Fields, Roads and Rivers. Local Geography and Industrial History - A
Hedge Schoolmaster and two Hedge Schools.
From Knockbeg College Annual,
1935 p. 77.
- Shrule District
- (Arles Parish)
Names of Fields
Clooneens - opposite Wynne’s
“sweep-gate” about seven acres (Irish). “Sweep-gate” was the name always
used by Pat Walker, probably on account of the sweep around to the
hall-door, to distinguish it from the back gate. Pat Whelan never heard
it applied to any other gate.
Whistler’s Boy - A field adjoining
Clooneens on the south side.
Crannock - Ten acres, goes up to Shrule
Cross on the other side of the gate, adjoining Clooneens.
Piper’s Hall - Sloping ground down by
the Barrow within one field of Shrule Castle on the north side. There
was a beech and oak wood there in Pat Whelan’s remembrance. A piper
plays, or at least used to play, his bagpipes up and down that slope at
night time. Between Piper’s Hall and the road was Mr. Bailey’s gravel
pit. When Pat Whelan was opening this gravel pit he came upon the
foundations of a house. There are two big piers in the gate leading to
the gravel pit.
Tobar na fŕinneog - Another field
between the gravel pit and the Barrow. There is a well there. Fainneog,
says John Julian, means little hill.
Lyons’ Field - about six acres, next
field to Piper’s Hall adjoining the River Douglas at the Barrow side.
Loughy’s Bridge - is the bridge over the
Douglas as you go to Mageney. Adjoins Lyons’ field. People named
Loughy’s lived in Rathduff where Mrs. Moore lived later.
Rappa - Two fields of this name, Little
Rappa. 3 acres, and Big Rappa, I7 acres, at the back of Gawk Street -
Pat Whelan never heard it called by any other name. John Julian thinks
the old name was Borenaseere (Bothar na saor). There is also Rappa
Speerin’s field - South side of
Garrawees (Gardha Buidhe) -
Eleven acres, third field from the Ballacaniska road as you go towards
Garrybrittain - Eight or nine acres
adjoining that veldt as you go to the Hollymount Carlow road.
Brick-field - ten acres on the right of
Ballacaniska road opposite Hollymount House. There are holes and ponds
in the field.
Whelan’s Field - Opposite Pat Whelan’s
on the other side of the road, formerly owned by Patrick Whelan, who
went to England. He sold the place to Mr. Walker, who in turn sold it to
Mr Moran. Ruins of Whelan’s house are there still.
Forge-field - in Clonagh now belongs to
Hollymount. Pat Whelan remembers the forge which was owned by John
MacMahon, whose people now live at Coolnock Cross.
Cloagh Windmill - at the back of
Forge-field. The round tower, about sixty feet high, is still there.
Beside the windmill there is a disused quarry, full of water. At the
edge of the quarry there are two limekilns. It is said that stones were
being quarried to burn lime and the water springing up one night,
drowned all the tools, and work had to be abandoned.
Ward’s Tree - A sycamore tree in the
lawn at Hollymount overhanging the road. A man named Ward is said to
have hanged himself on that tree. Pat Whelan’s father did not remember
the occurrence. People are still afraid to pass it at night.
- (Arles Parish)
Grange Churchyard - The Dempsey’s of
Jerusalem, the Simmons of Arles, the Harpoles of Shrule are buried
there. Also the Murphy’s and MacDarby’s of Carlow.
Bamber’s Hill - at the back of the
churchyard. There is a pond at the bottom of the hill.
Paircalark - Eight acres at the north of
Loughrue (Loch Ruadh) - Eight acres,
north of the Castle, on the left on the road to Mageney.
Loughollister - A twelve-acre field,
formerly two fields, left of Loughrue.
Seare’s Field - Ten acres, owned by Mr.
Tunstead, on the left-hand side as you go to Mageney, adjoining
Julian’s; it is three fields from Grange road.
Gonger’s Garden - Three acres, owned by
Mr. Julian, two fields from the Grange road as you go to Mageney on your
left. Gongar, Mr. J. Julian says, was a robber.
Sheep-walk - on Mr. Julian’s farm. A dry
pasture suitable for sheep.
Lough-diamond - belonging to Fennell’s
of Grange, two and a half acres. There is a pond in the field, which is
flooded in winter.
Lucduc - A field and a townsland, Joseph
Warren’s is the only family in Lucduc.
- Quarter acre -
belonging to Mr. E. Dempsey. The road cut it into that shape.
- (Arles Parish)
Bawnogues - 7 acres, belongs to
Graughs -1O acres adjoining it, belongs
to Louis Walsh.
Lough Sheebal - 6 acres, belonging to L.
Walsh. Both pond and field are called by that name.
Bow-killane - 12 or 14 acres, belongs to
Mr. John Connolly.
Church Field - At Killabban School on J.
Connolly’s land. The Church ruin is still there.
Drymsalach (Druim Saileach) - In
Farnans, above Arles, on the road to Castletown. There is a flag-quarry
and a well in Drymsalach.
Rivers and Mills turned by them
The Shruleen - between Mageney and Athy.
Rises in Lucduc, flows through Ballyfoyle and empties into the Barrow.
There is a Shruleen Lane in Athy.
The Guilach - Rises at Clonpierce, flows
through Killabban and Grange, and empties into the Barrow at Fennell’s
The Crompawn - Rises at Wolfhill, comes
through Castletown, Killeen and Killabban, and empties into the Douglas
- Rises in Maide-Be, comes
through Wolfhill, Castletown, Coolnock, Clonagh, Grange, and empties
into the Barrow adjoining MacWey’s and Annville. It turns a mill at
Slocock’s, Castletown; it did turn MacWey’s oatmeal mill at Grange.
The Fishogue - comes through Ashfield,
Ballickmoyler, Cooper Hill, Curragh, Kylenahorn (a fox covert there),
Everton, and empties into the Barrow at Clongrenan Castle. Turned
Walsh’s saw-mill in Acoyne.
Durach (Dubh Shruth) - Comes through
Herondale, Harristown, Sleaty and empties into the Barrow. It is the
boundary between Miss Dunny’s and Knockbeg. It turned a mill at MacWey’s,
Sletty, where oatmeal and brown flour were made in Miss Dunny’s time.
The Fishogue floods the Durach in the winter.
The Lerr - comes through Castledermot,
Blackcastle, Jerusalem, and empties into the Barrow. Moone flourmill on
the Lerr is probably still being worked by Mr. Shackleton. Braithwaite’s
oatmeal mill, now derelict in Levitstown. Also Lalor’s reaping-hook mill
in Levitstown, also idle. Hannon’s flour mill, now owned by Mr. Cope,
still grinds oatmeal and cattle-meal. Also an oatmeal mill at New
Garden, formerly owned by Thompson’s, Carlow, now idle.
The Griese - Comes by Kilkea Castle,
Levitstown, Crooked (the straight road to Crooked is an old saying),
Dunmanogue, empties into the Barrow beside Jerusalem. It turned a mill
in Belan, formerly owned by Mr. Shackleton, but now derelict. There was
also probably a mill at Green’s of Millbrook.
Old Dublin - Cork Road
The main road from Dublin to Cork crossed the
Barrow at Shrule, on through the Clooneens, and then through the
Whistler’s Bog, through Whelan’s field and across by Moore’s to
Killeshin. Traces of the road can still be seen in Clooneens. The road
from Shrule Castle to Pat Whelan’s is a new road. Pat Whelan’s father
remembered when there was no bridge at Mageney, only stepping stones; he
often crossed over the stepping-stones leading a horse.
John Farrell, an uncle of Mrs. Whelan’s father,
Michael Hade, who lived in Pat Whelan’s present house, had a horse and
cart and used to go to Dublin, and bring groceries for the shops in
Carlow and Mageney. Will Moore, grandfather of Moore’s, Rathduff, lived
at Mageney. John Farrell had a log-wheeled cart; a log-wheel is one made
from the round of a tree. He used to take a fortnight to go and a
fortnight to come back.
Father Mathew - The three Farrell’s, John,
Michael and Andrew, took the Father Mathew Pledge. The three
Pledge-cards, in homemade frames, are still hanging on the walls at Pat
Tommy Naughton from Carlow (related to the
present Naughton’s of Brown St.) used to play the flute for set dances
at Mageney Cross. Hundreds and hundreds of people used to be there on
Sunday evenings in Pat Whelan’s remembrance.
Kelly of Grange was a flute-player and a
fiddler as well. When Pat Whelan was going to school he often used stand
on the road listening to the music.
Bob Dowdal was a great singer. He used to sing
“Dan O’Connell and the two Irish Tinkers,” and “The Blackbird of
Thower Feeg (Tobar Fiach) - St. Fiacc’s
well. When Miss Dunny was a child she used wonder where was the Tower.
She showed many an old woman from the hill the way to Tower Feegh.
- where Tobar Fiach is.
People named Haughey lived on the brow of the field and owned the land
adjoining. The Haugheys died out. Dan Fenlon, N.T., was married to a
Miss Haughey. or Hoey. Opposite Miss Dunny’s gate there lived a Malt
Haughey. or Hoey, of whom there is a fuller account later on.
White Field - adjoining Miss Dunny’s on
the north side. McWey’s field opposite is also called the White Field.
Probably they were one field formerly. Miss Dunny never saw either field
Sletty Church yard - was probably much
larger in extent than at present. When Miss Dunny’s father came to
Sletty over 100 years ago, he found the field between the house and the
graveyard under wheat; the furrows between the ridges were full of human
bones. At the first opportunity he levelled the ridges, and the field
has not been ploughed since. Ned Gaskin, who sold the place to the late
Tom Dunny, is buried within the ruins of the Church.
- was an old woman who,
before Miss Dunny’s time, had lived in a hut opposite Dunny’s door in
McWey’s field. The hut was built for her there by Fr. Nolan, Rector at
Knockbeg, and Heron Cooper of Shrule, a humane magistrate of the period,
in order that the Dunny family could see to her wants. After her death
she was buried in Sletty in a coffin which Fr. Nolan, who had carpentry
as a hobby, had made for himself. A hollow in the corner of the field
marks the site of the hut.
- Between Sletty and
Foy’s Cross. A butcher was killed there, but this was before Tom Dunny’s
time. Pat Whelan says there was a battle fought there.
Aughnahylia (Achadhnacoille) - is the
field owned by the College on Butcher’s Hill.
- A small marshy
field owned by Mr. James McWey. Dr. Tierney, PP., Edenderry, formerly a
Professor at the College, explained the word as a “field at the foot of
a hill.” The Mowlcawn is surrounded by high fields, including McWey’s
Burn’s Gate - On the right-hand side
between Miss Dunny’s and Butcher’s Hill, led to Gerald Burn’s of Sletty
House, who owned the Sletty farm now occupied by the College. Gerald
Burns was not industrious, and sold the land to Kelly’s,’ who occupied
the premises now owned by Corcoran’s, Carlow. The farm was afterwards
acquired by Mathias McWey, who sold it to the College. The Burns were
probably from Co. Wicklow. There are Burns of Sletty buried in Killinure
Rathkillinure - a graveyard still in
use, near Herondale, in which the Burns, Neills, Penders, Currans,
Moores and Morans are buried.
- between Burns’ gate and
McWeys the remains of an old road which led from Harristown and
Herondale to Carlow. The old road came via McWeys and Nut Hollow, and
met the Sletty-Knockbeg road near the ruins of Ned Lennon’s house. The
road from Foy’s Cross to McWey’s is called the New Road.
Bealach Waddha - Means black water. The
name is applied to the rock and pool of water at Mr. Bolger’s, Sleaty.
The rock bears the mark of a human foot. In the Rebellion, a soldier
took a child and broke its skull against the Rock.
Pat Whelan adds: Bealach a vaddha. as he
pronounces it (bealach an mhaide) a rock having in it the track of a
human foot, said to be St. Patrick’s foot. When St. Patrick was crossing
the Barrow from Bestfield to Killeshin, he turned aside and would not
pass through Graig, as it was cursed so said Fr. Mahar, PP., Graig. St.
Patrick used to cross over to Bestfield for meditation. Killeshin is the
name of the parish. The Protestant Church in Graig is called Killeshin
Derrymoyle Lane - About a mile long,
leads from Sletty to Ballickmoyler road. It was probably part of the old
road from Sletty to Killeshin. Derrymoyle Lane is also called Sheehans
(i.e., Sheehan’s) Lane. On the lane there is an old house formerly
Sheehan’s where bricks were baked in former times. Sand was got from
Haughey’s field and the clay from the bog between that and the Barrow.
More suitable clay, however, was got nearer to Sheehan’s.
Harristown Hedge School - The first
school Miss Dunny went to was in Harristown. It was a vacant farmhouse
owned by Andy Rooney, who was a first cousin of the late Most Rev. Dr.
Comerford. Andy Rooney’s Sons and daughters attended the school. Andy,
who was not industrious, was married to a Miss McWey. His farm came into
the possession of Matthias McWey. Andy’s children went to U.S.A.; he
himself drifted around and eventually came to live at Bourke’s of
Baronstown, where he died. He is buried in Grange Churchyard.
Margaret Cummins, called by the children Miss
Cummins, taught the school: There were over twenty pupils, boys and
girls. They sat on planks laid on big stones around the walls. There was
a table and chair for the mistress. School lasted from about 10 till 3.
They were allowed out to eat their lunch about mid-day; Miss Dunny had
not much conception of time in those days, but their lunch time was
dinner hour for the farm workers, as she used to see the men bringing
the horses in from the fields.
They were taught reading, writing, arithmetic
and catechism; they were taught geography also, as she remembers the
maps; she cannot place grammar. There were no books that Miss Dunny
remembers, only “Reading Made Easy,” used by her sister, and she herself
had a Primer with paper cover. She remembers learning how to write - she
remembers making m’s and n’s. Quill pens were used. She has some quill
pens still. Miss Dunny went to this school for about a year. Miss
Cummins, who was about twenty or thirty years of age, went to U.S.A.,
and the school was broken up.
After that she went to school to an old woman
named Mrs. Delaney in Graigue. The house, which was thatched, is still
standing at the top of Henry Street on the left-hand side. It was a
one-roomed house, and the scholars, of whom there were about twenty, sat
around the fire. When Miss Dunny was about eight or eight and a half she
left this school and went to the Presentation Convent School in Carlow.
When the National Schools were built in Carlow-Graigue, she came to
them. The greater number of the children in Sletty and Graigue in Miss
Dunny’s time did not go to school at all.