A mass of priests in Glencoshnabinnia

Thursday, 2 January, 2014

During the days when people travelled on horseback, there was a priest whose parish included a portion of the Galtee Mountains and it’s recalled that he decided to introduce a visiting cleric to his far-flung flock. At one point, they reached Glencoshnabinnia, which is an Anglicized form of the Gaelic for “the glen at the foot of the peaks”, and they stopped at a small home where they were made welcome and offered tea by a woman surrounded by a throng of small children.

“And how many children do you have?” asked the parish priest of the head of the household.
“21, Father,” replied the man, whose name was Brien or Ryan.
“Good heavens,” said the priest, “What do they all do?”

In response, the man began to recite a litany of names and related tasks: Jack minded the sheep; Mary was in charge of the hens; Peggy fed the cow; Billy took care of the pigs; Jim had the task of going to the well for water; Norah milked the goat; Nell baked; Tom cut turf… and before long he had listed 20 names and their occupations.

“And this little lad beside the fire,” said the parish priest. “You haven’t mentioned him. What does he do?”
“Ah, young Ned does nothing, Father. We’re thinking of making a priest out of him.”

The Galtees

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