History

How Kiskeam Got Its Name
Extract taken from Where Araglen So Gently Flows 


The Folk Story

Once upon a time, there lived a mean and selfish man who was married to a fine gramhar flaithiúlach class of a woman 
It so happened that a great famine ravage the land and the generous woman couldn't bear to see gaunt faces and staring eyes 
as long as there was a meal in the bin. Unknown to her husband she fed the poor and the waif and the starveling. Throught her 
generosity, the light of life returned to the eyes of more than on sad unsmiling contenance. 

And then one day, horror of horrors! Her husband found out! There was an embarrassed moment of thought and quick decision 
before the good woman took to her heels and dashed throught the door of her bothán, racing for her life 'cross vale
and fen, pursued by her enraged consort. With her twenty-first birthday onlu a distant memory of the poor woman had grown 
tired and weak as she came to the verge of the cliffs that rose steep and heigh over the Araglen waters that raged below.

The cliffs were no widely seperated though the gorge between was fobidding. The panting woman hesitated. Looking over her sholder
at her pursurer she hesitated no longer. Jump she did, and gained the opposite side, but ere her lover-turned-enemy could follow,
the huge cliffs creaked and groaned and heaved and widened out to such an extent that even Finn MacCool might have been forced to 
take the long way round. 

It need be hardly added that the leap taken by the generous woman was a thing of no small wonder, even as was Dónall 'a Cásca's 
jump from Dromscarra wood centuries later. Nor is it surprising that the name of the spot where the caileach jumped had ever since
been known as Coiscéim na Caillí (The footstep of the opld woman), anglicised, Kiskeam. 

Due to extensive quarring of the part of the Cork County Council the cliff on the left bank no longer survives but fortunately that on the
right bank is intact. And it is here that the cailleach landed on her foot after that life-saving jump. The print of her footstep
is still to be seen on the rock over the grotto. I understand, however, that it would be indicative of bad breeding and the most vulgar 
curiosity to search of it. 

Fr. Denis J. Murphy (Shamrock) wrote a verse form of the folk tale for children. In it he has a further element that presents to the 
cailleach as mother of three local saints of the early Christian period, namely, Trinity, Latiaran and Iníon Bhuí. 


Kiskeam Versus The Empire
by John J O'Riordain

Originally published in 1972, this book tells the history of H Company,
6th Batallion, 2nd Cork Brigade. The members are half of the
parish of Kiskeam in Western Dunhallow where the author grew up.
This is the story of the part they played in the War of Independence and the Civil War.

You Can Buy This Book At 
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