A Story About a Man Living in Calla

Murvey, Co. Galway

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There was once a man he was living in Calla his name was Willie Malea. When he was a young man he helped his father with the fishing and he used to go out as far as Aran lobster-fishing. A few years later he went to England and he could not get work and he did not like to give it to say to his neighbours at home that he would come home again for the want of work. So at last he went on a merchant ship and he became a sailor he travelled all over Europe and Russia and China and other foreign Countries.
Some years after he came home and he got married to a woman from Horn named Conneely. His father then came to him and told him that he would give him a little garden near his own house and that he would divide his own holding of land as well with him. When he had the garden settled and some of the manure out the father said to him that he wanted the garden himself. He had the spade left in the garden and the father threw out the spade and the son went out for it and put it in the garden again. The father threw it out a second time. The son caught the spade and brought it in he kept a hold of it. The father came up to him to take the spade from him and in the struggle they had with the spade between the two of them the son swung the spade and split the father’s head. He caught him and carried him in to the house and said to his step-mother

He was up in the hills

“Anois a Caílleac na bhfuil sé sinthe agat.”He then ran to the mountains and the step-mother went up to the barrack and reported to the police him. The despatch was sent all over and all guards were on search of him. Willie was in the mountains and it was cold frosty weather and he hid himself out in a lake named “Loch Beitheanach” he was under furze and the guards walked right over him and never saw a sight of him nor which were on his track the dogs never smelled him. He was up in the hills and he used to go to some houses up in the hills and he got food but where he was to night he would be miles away farther the night after. One night he was up in Errisbeg hill and the snow and frost made him come down to the shore in Murvey for refuge and he went to a shore called “Fó na Gollín” in a place called “Poll na Caitheoga” and when the night came he crawled up half dead with the hunger and nearly dead with the cold to a house and he rapped at the door of the house and the man of the house was named Michael Joyce asked who was there and Willie said some sort of talk but Joyce could not catch on to it so he opened the door and let him in and the man of the house was ready to go to bed and his mother was already gone. The man of the house got food for him and put him sitting by the fire and Joyce put him in his own bed and watched the night for him.

On board a French boat

Before the dawn he left the house and went to the shore in the same place and he passed three or four nights that way. At last he went to the mountains again and he made his way through the mountains until he came to Caroownoe and there he went on board a boat and sailed to Aran.
Before anyone scarcely knew he was in it he got the chance to go again. He was stopping in his friend’s house in Aran and he got food and drink from them. Then three men in a canvas boat and six oars brought him to Kerry Head and put him on board a French boat and he sailed away to France. After a while he went to America and now his wife was at home in Calla and he wrote a letter to a neighbouring man and this man gave the letter to Willie’s wife. It was not long until she went to Cóbh and sailed for America. When she was on board the ship and she noticed a strange man keeping company with her and he kept her in sight all the way until she came out on the docks in America. Then she went on a train and all the time this strange man was side by side with her.
When the train stopped at the station she took another train and so did the man. Then at last she thought of herself and thought that this man was a detective so she came off the train and took lodging in a hotel. This strange man always kept sight of her and after a few days she went out working as a servant girl and so she got rid of the stranger. After a time she went to where her husband was living in America and told him all about the man who kept company with her. This man really was a detective and he thought she would go straight to her husband house and that he would be able to catch him and bring him back for trial. She spent about a year trying to avoid this man. This is the story which gave rise to a Synge’s famous play which is called the “Playboy of the Western World.” It is said that this writer was living in Aran when Willie was there on “the run.”

Collector: Martin Mannion, Murvey, Co. Galway

Informant: Unknown

Place: Murvey, Co. Galway

Footnote: Duchas, http://www.duchas.ie

 

 

This page was added on 13/05/2017.

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