Irish Fairies – Do you believe?
When I was a young child, my parents purchased the land that Rostrevor Holidays now sits upon. At the time, the farm was bought as a second option for grazing cattle and sheep. We grew up on the Newtown Road, the road that runs parallel to the Kilbroney Road, and tracks the same path of the Yellow Water River and The Ulster Way. Is this the land of the Irish Fairies?
Every chance I got, I would jump into my Dad’s jeep and head off to help him with his work. One of my favourite things to do was head over to the farm and walk the fields with him, checking on the animals. Always a Daddy’s girl, I wanted to be involved. But there was something else. The fields were divided by traditional Irish stone walls. These were built from the stones that were gathered out of the fields, and stacked (without concrete), to create boundaries. Anyway, I digress. Every visit, I would search along these walls, and I would find a rock that looked very out of place. A white shiny rock. Underneath that rock, I would find a 20p coin.
Funny enough, my Dad always had to walk down the field before me. Clearly I wasn’t the brightest of children. Nevermind the logic, I found my 20p, and that went a long way back then! Of course, I believed it was left in place by the fairies. In fact, part of me still believed (or believes) that. Until my Dad confirmed the other day, that it was, in fact, him who placed the 20p coin under the white shiny stone that was easy to find amongst a wall of grey rocks.
Why do I mention this story? When I clean a house after guests have vacated, about 70% of the time, I will find a 20p coin. Usually under a bed, or behind a door. Those little places that are easy to miss! Or else I’ll be checking a house over before guests arrive. Upon opening a bedroom door I’ll be greeted by a shiny 20p sitting on the floor in the middle of the room.
I’ve usually kept this information to myself, however, over the past year, certain events have occurred that have led to me discussing this with guests staying at Rostrevor Holidays.
The tradition of telling the stories of the Irish Fairies
Most recently I had provided an upgrade to one of the bookings. An ex-pat family on a trip home to visit the Grandparents. Due to circumstances outside of my control, the family received an upgrade as a result. Whilst visiting with this family on the second day, we got chatting about the folklore of the local area. The fairy ring on the Newtown Road, The Brooneys, St. Bronagh’s Bell. Some lovely tales of “The Good People” were shared, and their children excitedly told me of the stories they had learned from Ireland.
On the last afternoon of the guests’ stay, a shiny pound coin mysteriously fell from the high wooden ceiling above the kitchen. When informed of this by text, I replied with “Lucky you, I never get that much money sent to me!”. The response? “Yes, but there are 5 of us. 5 x 20p = £1”. The honest folks left this pound coin for me with a warning note not to spend it. So I returned it to a gap in the stone wall in front of the wildflower garden.
This got me chatting to a few locals. Liam, my Dad, born and raised in Rostrevor nodded his head and said “sure you know that this place is special!”
After we had opened for business around 30 years ago now, one of the first customers was an elderly lady who had once lived on this farm. Her family were “Dunlop”. They had lived in the old cottage were Leckan Beg and Leckan Mor (the pink cottages) now stand. She had told my Dad of “The Fairy Field”. Apparently, as young girls, herself and her sisters would go to the well to draw up water for the house. Whilst walking back across the fields they would feel the fairies tugging at the bottom of their long skirts. We hadn’t known about the well, but it was uncovered and secured off. The fairy field has been left to wildflowers. In Spring and Summer evenings, the dandelions turn to seeds, and the setting sun shines through in a magical light.
Over the years, I have heard plenty of stories, and I’m wary of who I share them with. Especially on a written blog! However, I’ve heard some lovely stories and I feel it might be nice to share them. Perhaps, if there is enough interest, I’ll gather some of the stories to share.