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The Tinnaberna Fishermen

Folklore

The Tinnaberna Fishermen

The tragedy of the Tinnaberna Fishermen took place in the 1810s. Tinnaberna was a small fishing village on the north Wexford coast near Kilmuckridge. Two fishing cots set out to sea on the feast of St. Martin’s, November 11th. Both were blown out far into the Irish Sea by a storm. One was lost, but the second made land on the coast of Wales. The crew were given food and shelter by a farmer, but could not communicate with him as he only spoke Welsh. The men eventually made their way to Ballycotton, County Cork and walked back to Wexford to be greeted by relatives who thought they had been lost forever. The story of the tragedy became the subject of a ballad which is still sung locally.

Sources:
The Schools Collection, Vol. 0886, pp.24-5 

Available Online at: 
www.duchas.ie
Accessed November 21st 2019
Gaul, L. “Songs, Ships and High Seas” in The Past, No. 31, 2011-’12, pp.95-102

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Saint Aidan in Wales

Folklore

Saint Aidan in Wales

Aidan’s power and influence amongst the Britons of Wales appears to have been considerable. In one story, Aidan was encouraged by David and others to use his miraculous powers to cure the son of the King of the Britons, who was blind, deaf and lame. The boy was sent to Aidan, who prayed earnestly for his recovery and in due course the boy was miraculously cured. Following this miracle, we are told that Aidan’s name became known throughout the kingdom. 

Stories like these illustrate that holy men such as Aidan were relied upon by the most powerful family in the kingdom. The ecclesiastics who wrote these stories, who would have been the successors of Aidan, undoubtedly wanted to impress this point on their own rulers.

St. Mogue's (St. Aidan's) holy well in Ferns, Co. Wexford

Another story from Aidan’s period in Wales shows how events of the eleventh and twelfth centuries had an impact upon how Aidan’s story was communicated. It tells how the native Britons of Wales were confronted by the prospect of an invasion by a large Saxon army. Aidan was sent by David to the battlefield and prayed for the Britons, who were outnumbered by their Saxon foes. Following Aidan’s intercession, the Saxons turned and fled and were pursued and slaughtered by the Britons over the following seven days. 

“Not one man of the Britons fell by the hands of the Saxons all that time through the favour of God and the miracles of Maedoc. And no Saxon invaded Britain while Maedoc was there after the manifestation of these miracles”. It is possible that this story was composed at a time when Wales was under threat of invasion by the Normans and can be interpreted as an attempt by the Welsh to warn off potential invaders.

Other Stories

Many other stories are told of Aidan’s time in Wales. He healed a man who had a facial deformity, “whose face was all as flat as a board, without eyes or nose”. Once when carrying ale back to the monastery, the container was damaged and the ale was spilt. But Aidan made the sign of the cross, repaired the damage and carried the ale back to his fellow monks.

Source:
“Life of Máedóc of Ferns” in C. Plummer (ed). Bethada Náem nÉrenn: Lives of the Irish Saints, Edited from the Original MSS. with Introduction, Translations, Notes, Glossary and Indexes, Vol. 2, The Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1922.