A man listens in on a conversation that is none of his business, but does well out of it nonetheless.
Eddie Lenihan tells the story of 'Oíche Shamhna’. Oíche Shamhna also known as November Eve takes place on 31 October.
Brian O’Brien originally from the village of Castleconnell in County Limerick is a resident of Quin, County Clare in the townland of Corbally. His home is situated near Corbally ringfort. Every November Eve he is greatly disturbed by loud music emanating from the fort.
At his wits end, Brian O'Brien insists that his neighbour John Gorman joins him to find out who is responsible for the music. John Gorman is reluctant.
Nobody should interfere on this night of above all other nights of the year, you’ll come to no good.
Brian O’Brien takes it upon himself to investigate what is going on inside the ringfort. He follows a light down a tunnel and when he reaches a door he eavesdrops on a conversation between two old women.
They are looking forward to visitors coming for a dance and sure enough a number of beautifully dressed ladies and gentlemen arrive on horseback. Brian O’Brien pulls one of the ladies off her horse and brings her to his home. He then discovers,
Never a word from her, she was dumb.
The following November Eve Brian O’Brien returns to the ringfort to find out why the lady cannot speak. Once more he overhears the old women conversing. They reveal how the lady can regain her voice.
Three sups from that bowl there on the table she’d be alright and she’d talk enough.
Brian O’Brien steals the bowl and when the lady has taken her third sip she cries,
Brian O’Brien you’re my saviour and I know you, you’re from Castleconnel, amn’t I from the same place myself, and my father is still below in Castleconnel.
The lady reveals her family in Castleconnel believe she is dead, but it is actually the changeling who replaced her that is deceased. The lady tells Brian O’Brien how she can be reunited with her father. When the plan comes to fruition her overjoyed father makes Brian O’Brien an offer,
If she’ll marry you Brian you’re welcome to marry her.
Brian O’Brien and the lady were married shortly afterwards.
‘Storyteller’ broadcast on 11 August 1986. The storyteller is Eddie Lenihan.
'Storyteller' was a 12-part series of Irish folktales and stories with each episode lasting ten minutes. This programme, part eight in the series, was produced by Jeremy Johnston with design by Fidelma De Paor.
Commenting on the programme in the RTÉ Guide (20 June 1986), producer Jeremy Johnston says
Eddie’s stories are not for the faint-hearted but then good stories never are. Think of the brothers Grimm, Bluebeard, Beauty and the Beast...
Eddie explains that he came across most of the stories in the programme while studying for a thesis in linguistics at University College Galway (UCG). He became interested in folklore and continued to collect stories from across the West of Ireland.