Inse an t-Sagairt
The mass rock at Inse and t-Sagairt
in the townland of Innisfoyle (locally known as Slios) has for generations
been a place of pilgrimage and reverence for the people of Bonane.
There is a very strong folk belief that a priest was murdered while
celebrating mass there during penal times.
Folk belief has it that this event
occurred in 1829. At that time there was woman in Glengarriff, known
as Nell na Deataighe. Nell ran a Shibeen (Illegal pub) and a house
of ill repute! It was in her house that the murder was plotted!
There was still a price of £45
on the head of a priest and this provided an incentive, not to mention
immunity from prosecution. Five men with the name Conchabhar, (pronounced
"Kruhoor" meaning Con or Cornelius) plotted the murder
in Nell's shibeen. They were known by their nicknames of Cronchabhar
Randum, Conchabhar Raibheach, Conchabhar Clampar, Conchabhar Chuithig
and Conchabhar Mhiceire.
They became aware that mass was to
be celebrated at the mass rock at Inse an t-Sagairt. They crossed
the mountain from Glengarriff and made their way down a rocky ravine
in the mountain, clearly visible from the Baureragh road, known
as Eisc Caol. They came upon the priest while he was celebrating
mass and with no chance for escape they dragged him to a fallen
tree nearby where he was decapitated.
The priest's clerk was taken prisoner
and he together with the severed head were first taken to a house,
no longer in existence, near Killowen, Kenmare. Blood from the head
dripped on the flagstone of the door and legend has it that this
stain could not be removed; even when the stone was replaced the
The clerk was taken to Dromore castle,
where he was released on the strand and two mastiffs set loose on
him for the sport of his captors.
Being a strong swimmer he took to
the water where he outmaneuvered the dogs. Grabbing a dog by the
scruff of the neck with each hand he headed for the other side of
the bay, some three miles away.
Propelled by the powerful animals
he had little difficulty in reaching the far shore where he disposed
of the dogs before making good his escape.
A journey to Cork by the perpetrators
to claim the reward proved in vain. Catholic Emancipation had just
been won so the money was never paid and the head was dumped in
the River Lee!