The Avondhu - By The Fireside



Under the supervisio­n of teacher Mary Butler, pupils at Ballyheafy School, just over the border from Araglen, were tasked with collecting folklore and local history stories from their parents and local elders, as part of the Schools’ Folklore Scheme back in 1937-1938.

The following ‘Weather Signs’ was compiled at that time by Teresa Hyland, Barnahown and May Drislane, Ballyheafy from their parents and others in their townlands. While many to this day still predict the weather by looking at the sky, some local folklore also comes into the equation. So what do you believe?

‘There are many local sayings about the weather. Here are some of them:

- To hear crickets sing sharply ‘tis the sign of rain. When the Fermoy-Ballyduff train is plainly heard we expect rainy weather. A rainbow in the morning a shepherd’s warning – a rainbow in the night a shepherd’s delight.

- When the Araglen river flows along noisily we may expect rain. When the sky is bright red at sunset we are sure to have frosty or fine weather. When the fire burns with a blue light rain is coming. When white fog appears along by the river side fine weather is sure to come.

- Another sign of rain is to hear the wind whistling. When the cat turns his back to the fire we are sure to have a storm. If you see sheep or goats high on the hills you are sure of a fine spell of weather.

- It is said that when you hear the curlew screeching it is the sign of rain. If you are a crane passing from the right hand side of the river to the left you may expect rain. When the crows are flying low and wildly around the air it is the sign of a storm.

- When swallows are seen flying very low we are sure to have wet weather. When ants are seen very plentiful on the road it is a sign of rain. When you see fog on the top of the doon hills it is the sign of rain. When the soot looks wet in the chimney and falls, it is a sign of rain.

- While the wind is from the north the fine weather will last. A fog on the river in the morning is the sign of a fine day.

- When the dust rises off the road it is a sign of rain coming. When we see the seagulls, we know that there is a storm at sea. If the white birds are flying low it is a sign of broken weather.

- When the plover comes down from the mountain and the robin comes in to the house in winter, these are a sign of snow.

- When the ducks quack loudly it is said they are calling for rain. When the seagulls are following the plough we may expect rain.’

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