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Tomás Ó Cárthaigh

(22-12-1976 / Beal Atha na Slua, Chontae an Gaillimh, Eire)

The Ballad of Old Clonbroney

The Ballad of Old Clonbroney

One night dark walking along
A lane onto its end,
A neighbour walked up to a house
To call upon a friend.
The neighbour was new, his friends wife too
Had arrived not long ago,
And friendship new as neighbours do
They called on one another each other to know.

And as he approached the house,
He wondered at how strange shadows moves,
It looked as if it were a hearse,
And all of a sudden a sound of hooves,
And a wall through at terrific speed,
Driven by a horseman with no head,
A hearse up through the feilds fleed
To Old Clonbroney with its dead.

Our hero stood there shaking,
Wondered if he imaged was what he had seen,
When the woman opened the door to the house,
Asked where the horses had been?
He raced into the house so fast,
Slammed behind him the door,
Told how the hearse before him passed,
And where it came from before...

That it went up to Old Clonbroney,
After driving through a wall,
But it was not real: twas but a ghost,
For the wall was not damaged at all.
And drinking whiskey strong his nerves setlled down,
Though still great in him was fear,
Though you may mock and you may frown,
You too would shake if the headless horseman did appear...

And in time the husband returned,
A miller he was by trade,
He came to see his wife terrified,
And his neighbour, a man strong, afraid,
They told him of the horseman,
Of the hearse, that the man had no head,
He srugged his shoulder with a sigh,
Declared one of the neighbours dead.

It was like the banshee,
The miller said of the apparition,
When these neighbours died, the spectre youd see,
So was local superstition,
And so all a prayer they said,
For their own and the deceased sake,
Its not told the name of who was dead,
Or if the miller and his neighbour slept or stayed that night awake!


The story of a man who met a headless horseman when calling on a neighbour after moving into the area.
Apperantly this is actually true, the miller he was calling on was an uncle of mine who lived in Clonbroney, where an old road led up to a disused cemetry, and a new road now led to the village. The old road partly made the lane to his house and mill that used to be on the side of the old road, but the road was blocked of at the rear, where both sides had grown in to form one hedgegrow that went up the fiends to the old cemetry.
The poem is to be edited later to make sure the information is correct, but this is the first draft.

Submitted: Sunday, April 13, 2008

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