[From Mona Miscellany second series Manx Soc vol 21]


There has ever been, from all time, persons who presume to foresee and tell of future events, and what was to happen before the end of the world, and whether true or false, as they may turn out, there will always be found people who believe in them. Such a person is said to have lived in the Isle of Man, and, like Mother Shipton of old, was held in great veneration in her day. Some of her sayings have come down and been cherished amongst the country people to the present day; but who the prophet was, and where she lived, appears to have been forgotten, unless some record of her doings is to be found in the ecclesiastical archives, where it was most likely she would appear.

Mr. John Quirk of Carn-ny-Greie, who is so well acquainted with the legends of his country, remarks on this old lady as follows :—"A small chapel, called ‘ Cahbal-cheeill-Vout," stood near the Foxdale river in Kirk-Patrick, between Balla-higg and Slieauwhallin, concerning which "Caillagh-ny-Gueshag" is said to have predicted as follows :—

"Tra vees Cabbal-cheeill-Vout ersooyll lesh y thooilley,
Cha bee cleIn Quirk Slieau-whallin veg sodjey."

Which may be rendered thus in English—

When the Chapel Kill-Vout is washed by the stream,
The Quirks in Slieau-whallin will no longer remain.

This prediction seems to have been very familiar with the people in the neighbourhood, perhaps for ages, and the last proprietor was often reminded of it, when he would say—" O there remains so much of it as I can cover with my big coat yet," but a heavy flood came down upon it and swept it all away. About sixty years ago the last of the Quirks of Slieauwhallin died without issue very soon after that event. Thus ended the race of the Quirks of that place, who, it is said, had occupied Slieauwhallin during twenty-five generations. These and a hundred such things are now almost lost, with all the sayings and doings about them, even in the very neighbourhood where they happened. Can any one tell who this "Caillaghny-Gueshag" was, whose name seems in former times to be on every one’s tongue?"

Other sayings are recorded of her, as—

Dy beagh chimlee chaardagh ayns dy chooilley hie roish jerrey yn theihll.

There shall be a smithy chimney in every house before the end of the world.

Dy nee ass claghyn ghlassey yioghe sleih nyn arran.

Out of grey stones people will get their bread.

She also predicted the time would come when the Manx would travel dry shod from the point of Ayre to Scotland. This is about sixteen miles to Burrow Head, the nearest portion from the island to any of the surrounding coasts. The lighthouse was originally erected on the extreme point ; it is now a considerable distance from it, so that the old lady’s prediction may yet come to pass; it is only a question of time.

Tradition states that Ragnvald I., a King of Man in the tenth century, attempted to build a bridge over this space. A saying in allusion to this place will be found in the first series of Mona Miscellany, p. 36, probably one of those of this Manx prophetess.


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Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received The Editor
HTML Transcription © F.Coakley , 2001