In days gone by there was no county home. Any old people that got sick, ‘twas into Ballyvaughan they had to go, to the workhouse.
But this old man was dying. There was no hope of him an’ there was no one to look after him, so he went to Ballyvaughan workhouse.
But this honest man from Kinvara, he went to visit him, an’ the old man said to him, “don’t let me be buried in a pauper’s grave”, he said.
If you didn’t claim a corpse in the workhouse they had a burying-ground there. ‘Twas a pauper’s graveyard.
“If you’re dead before me”, he said, “you’ll never be buried only in your own graveyard in Glann”. That’s Glancolumbkille, you know.
So he went, anyway, an’ time passed on.
Well, there was no such thing as telegram or anything, an’ Ballyvaughan was eight or nine miles from ‘em.
He died, an’ ‘twas late, o’ course, when the account came. An’ this poor man started out with a horse an’ saddle, up Glann road. ‘Twas a place covered with trees an’ ‘twas as dark as could be.
“May God help me”, he said. “Will I ever be able to make Ballyvaughan?”
An’ when he said it there did a candle light on the front of the saddle, one lit between the horse’s two ears an’ a third one lit in the middle o’ the horse’s neck. An’ he had plenty light after that, a rough, wild night, to get to Ballyvaughan. An’ they never quenched, any one of ‘em.
He made the arrangements for the funeral. The corpse was brought from Ballyvaughan to Glann where it was buried. An’ he told the story about the lights. But o’ course some weren’t inclined to believe because they said they were out at all hours an’ saw nothing.
But that was all right, anyway. Like I said, the corpse was brought in to the grave. An’ when they came the whole graveyard was full o’ light. An’ three candles lit at the grave.
How could you explain a thing like that? Was it the saint looking after him, d’you think?
Eddie has been collecting folklore in Co. Clare and further afield for nearly 40 years. Here, Eddie shares some of the stories he has collected on his travels. Print copies of each story appear in his long-running "Folklore Corner" in the Clare County Express.