Saturday, 4 April 2015

Otherworld shenanigans on the local Fairy Path.

I have written before about the Lough Field (here here) and the stories told to me by my late neighbour, Jim.
One particular tale, which he received from his mother, concerned the local Fairy Path.

Before the River Barrow was re-routed there was a lough near to our home, Lough Duff, ' dark lake' containing an island upon which stood a fairy thorn.
It was known that the local Sídhe had their home within the water and would gather at the tree to begin their travels across the country. Their route, the Fairy Path, crossed a small field, a road, a second field then continued eastwards towards another lough.

No one back then would build on a Fairy Path as it meant that the occupants would never have any rest from the Good People. The way to avoid this was to stand four posts at each corner of a new site and leave them overnight. If all the posts were standing the following morning it was safe to continue, if any had moved or fallen it was acknowledged that the Sídhe objected and it was better to build elsewhere.

1829 Map ©
The 1829 Ordanance Survey Map of the area depicts Lough Duff with the island &  tree. 
Our home is marked X,  the wooden cabin Y & the second field Z. 

Jim recounted that long ago a stranger came to the area and built a wooden cabin near to the roadside in the first field. Unfortunately it seems the man knew little of fairy lore as he built directly on the Fairy Path.
After he moved in to his new home he would carefully close the doors, front and back, each morning before he left for work and when he returned in the evening both doors would be standing wide open. He couldn't explain it but the locals knew what was happening.
It was the Sídhe. He had built his house on their path and would never have a moment's peace again.
Whatever the man tried the doors would be open when he came home and eventually tiring of the Otherworldly shenanigans, he left the cabin to live elsewhere, allowing the structure to fall and the Good People to travel their path unhindered again.

Photo taken from the road, through the blackthorn where the cabin once stood, 
you can see gaps in the hedge where the Fairy Path runs either side of some thorn trees.
The Lough Field is beyond.

Our home, along the road, was also originally a wooden structure.
In the corner of the oldest part of the cottage stands a post, preserved by danish oil and wood hardener, with stone walls on either side.
The previous owners maintained that it was the remains of another fairy thorn but that is unlikely given the beliefs of the time however, it may be one of the original posts erected to check that the site did 
not obstruct the Fairy Path.

The old wooden post marking a corner of the original dwelling?

Many years later, in 2009, a man from a nearby town bought the field across the road from the site
of the old cabin. His plan was to build a modern, two storey house, not to live in but to sell for a profit. When the architect came to look around we spoke with him and explained about the Fairy Path which cuts across part of the site.
He nodded politely but told us it would make no difference, the new house would be built regardless.

Sure enough building began a few months later and the ground floor walls were constructed.
Not long afterwards we heard sounds coming from the house in the evening after the builders had left and several people reported hearing doors slamming where there were no doors.
Shadowy shapes were seen passing the empty window frames at dusk.

Jim had the explanation for what was happening: the Sídhe were unhappy with the construction and making their presence felt. In the past none had built on the old Fairy Path and remained there and none would do so now.
Now, in 2015, the house is still unsold.

The end of the house where the Fairy Path runs & the overgrown For Sale sign.

The 'Otherworld Shenanigans' posts are based upon the tales and reminiscences of my elderly neighbour, Jim, who lived his life in the same house he was born in.
Jim died several years ago and is remembered as a real character by those who knew him.


  1. Excellent and interesting subject matter 'faerie law' much maligned by those who have never come into contact with them and those silly others who depict them as winged creatures, which they are most definitely not.

    The Faerie or Sídhe, use whichever name you prefer. They are the hidden part of nature standing between us humans and creation; their sensibility and sense of humour is different to ours.

    Just as we rightfully respect all animal and plant life so to we need to respect the Faerie.

  2. Absolutely agree Heron - you ignore the Sídhe at your peril!

  3. How absolutely fascinating, Jane!
    I remember when I was a Brownie (the first group in Girl Scounts) and I so wanted to see one!

  4. Fascinating, Jane. There is so much that we do not understand in our world and the risk of dismissing such faerie law is great. Lovely post! I'm so glad to be back in blogland again and to visit you here. I have a lot to catch up with! My blog address has changed now, but otherwise it is much the same. I'm at

  5. Thank you Carol - Maybe you could come to Ireland? x

  6. Valleypee - It's good to see you back! Glad you enjoyed the post & will visit you and catch up. x

  7. Glad you enjoyed it Davida - thank you for commenting.

  8. Thankyou so much for your writings Jane. Wonderful stuff.

  9. And thank you for your appreciation Lizzy.

  10. Has that house sold yet? I feel sorry for anyone who moves in there.

  11. No Jane - 7 years on and it's still empty.


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