'Magical' clay found on Tory Island


About this Item

Cur síos le WIllie Ó Dubhgáin ar mar a dhíbríonn úir Thoraí luchóga móra agus mar a chosnaíonn sí iascairí ar an fharraige de réir mhuintir an oileáin.

A description from WIllie Ó Dubhgáin of how the special clay found on Tory Island banishes rats and protects fishermen at sea according to the islanders.  

  • Title
    Oileán Thoraí
  • Production Year
  • Contributor
    Proinsias Ó Conluain
  • Clip Duration
  • Material Type
  • Clip title
    'Magical' clay found on Tory Island
  • Extended description

    Creideann muintir Thoraí go bhfuil cosaint in úir Thoraí d'iascairí ar an fharraige agus go ndíbríonn sí luchóga móra as tithe cónaithe má scaipeann tú thart í. Déanann Willie Ó Dubhgáin cur síos ar chúpla eachtra a bhain dó féin leis an scéal a mhíniú.

    Tory islanders believe that the special clay on the island protects fishermen at sea and that the same clay banishes rats from houses or dwellings. Willie Ó Dubhgáin illustrates the belief with personal stories. 

    Baineann an chéad scéal le turas farraige agus nuair a d'ionsaigh pésist mhór an bád, agus iad i ndainséar a dhul go tóin poill, shabháil úir Thoraí iad nuair a chaith duine de na fir an úir isteach i mbéal na péiste agus chúlaigh sí.

    The first story concerns a fishing trip which he was on when a whale (probably a pilot whale) attacked the boat and they were in danger of sinking until some of the special clay was thrust into the mouth of the whale and it retreated.

    Baineann an darna scéal le Willie agus cara leis a bhí ag obair in Albain agus bhí an lóistín a bhí acu lán luchóga móra go dtí gur scaip WIllie an úir thart agus ní raibh luchóg mhór ar bith le feiceáil as sin amach. Tosaíonn an slua atá ag éisteacht le Willie ag gáire mar go n-insíonn Willie go greannmhar gur theith siad go gasta ón lóistín ar scor ar bith in aineoinn na lúchóga móra bheith díbrithe.  

    The second story relates to Willie and a friend who were working in Scotland and the house they were staying in was full of rats until Willie scattered some of the clay about and that banished the rats. However, in spite of the rats being banished, Willie relates in amusing fashion that he and his friend fled from the house anyhow and the audience listening have a good laugh. 

  • Information

    The special clay or soil on Tory comes from one spot on the island, where it is claimed a body is buried, and the eldest of the Ó Dubhgáin clan must dig it out. It must be asked for in person and the request must be made "mar gheall ar Dhia"- on account of God - and if this isn't done the clay is useless. This is not mentioned in the audio included here.

    "Úir" generally refers to graveyard soil or earth and the word "úirchill" was used at one time to describe a graveyard. Sometimes the more general word 'créafóg' is used to describe the soil. 'Francach' is the general Irish word to describe a rat but 'luchóg mhór' is used in the Donegal Gaeltacht.

    Folklore scholar and collector Dr Seán Ó hEochaidh assisted Proinsias Ó Conluain on his visit to Tory in 1956. The Sound Engineer was Ned Nugent who worked regularly with the Mobile Recording Unit from 1947.

    The priest on the island at the time, Fr. Eoghan Ó Colm,  assisted with the recordings. He also composed a comical song about Proinsias Ó Conluain and Ned Nugent recording folklore and song from the islanders. The programme transmitted by Radio Éireann no longer exists. However, all of the field recordings made on this trip are now held at RTÉ Archives. 

    The accompanying photograph shows Ned Nugent recording bird effects at cliffs on Tory Island, 1956. The photograph was taken by Proinsias Ó Conluain.

  • Local keywords
    Proinsias Ó Conluain, Willie Ó Dubhgáin, Tory Island, Clay,
  • Geographical coverage
  • Topic
    The Media
  • Publisher Broadcaster
  • Country of production
  • Original identifier
  • IPR restrictions
    Rights Reserved - Free Access
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  • Item type
  • Item sound
  • Original language
    Irish (gle)