The Fairy Tree and the Pass House

Near Portlaoighise, on the Borris Road there is a cottage which has been built on a pass. Opposite to this cottage there grew a fir tree. This tree was of a queer shape with distorted branches some of which covering the road. The late Colonel Kemmis of Shaen used to be annoyed by one of these branches, which struck the roof of his carriage when he was driving in to church in Portlaoighise.

He employed a carpenter, who lived on the New Road, to saw off the bough. To do this, the carpenter climbed into the tree and knelt on the branches. Afterwards his knee "rotted" and his leg had to be amputated from the hip. In spite of this, he lived to be an old man, and only died within the last two years. Some years after, the tree was struck by lightning and died. Although it was very much in the way in the farmyard adjoining, no one ventured to cut down the dead trunk.

A man who set snares in the field nearby used to go out early in the mornings to see what had been caught. On three successive mornings, while he was lifting his snares, a large, coal black hare ran rapidly past him, and disappeared beneath this dead tree.

The first morning, she went so fast he had not time to do anything about it. The second morning, he attempted to course her with the dog, and was surprised to find that the dog turned and fled in the opposite direction from which the hare had gone. On the third morning, he took out a shot gun, but when the hare appeared he was entirely unable to discharge the gun.

The house on the pass has always been regarded as unlucky, and only the extreme difficulty of finding other accommodation causes it to be taken. Those who use it are careful to leave either doors or windows open to prevent any inconvenience to "those who wish to use the pass".

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