Béal Beo

Recordings from the National Folklore Collection

An dúshlán / The Challenge

Speaker:
Seán Ó Raghallaigh (aged 62) of Oiligh [Elly], Iorras, Co. Mayo.
Collector:
Mícheál Mac Énrí, Irish Folklore Commission, 13 November 1954.
Duration:
6:00"
References:
Ediphone_192-3, NFC 1586: 452-7 (Cylinders 28-9), Béaloideas 4 (1934), 213.

Detailed account of a pistol duel between the landlord Major Bingham and a Catholic neighbour, Liam Elwood, from Erris, Co. Mayo. Recorded from Seán Ó Raghallaigh of Oiligh (Elly), Iorras, Co. Mayo, in 1954.

Transcription

Bhí tíoránach mór anseo fadó a dtugadh siad Artúr Nash air. Bhí sé ina chónaí i Léim, in Iorras. Ins an dtráth a raibh Major Bingham ins an gcaisleán in Oiligh, agus bhí dlí Shasana go han-láidir agus go mórmhór bhí sé ar thaobh an Phrotastúin. Agus rud ar bith a dhéanadh Nash ní raibh stopadh ar bith air, bhuaileadh Major Bingham leis. Bhí duine uasal amháin anseo de Chaitliceach, go dtugadh siad Liam Oileabhard air. Bhí sé ina chónaí ar an Droim, dhá mhíle taobh thíos den bhaile a raibh Nash ann. Agus sin é an fhear amháin a bhí in ann a dhul in aghaidh Nash. Bhí sé ní b'fhearr ná é.

Théadh Nash síos go dtí teach chuige agus d'iarradh sé amach é agus an bheirt ar chuingir capall, agus chuireadh Oileabhard as an diallait é. Dúirt Major Bingham ansin leofa fá dheireadh go raibh sé chomh maith dófa a dhul chun challenge, agus scríobh Artúr Nash challenge chuig an Oileabhardach. Agus bhí an tOileabhardach trí fichid bliain d'aois ins an tráth, agus bhí col ceathar dó thíos i Sligeach, fear eile de na hOileabhardaigh. Agus bhí gearrán dubh ag Liam Oileabhard agus dúirt sé leis an searbhóntaí a bhí aige go gcaitheadh sé a dhul go Sligeach agus d'imigh sé tráthnóna. Agus ní raibh an bóthar rómhaith ins an tráth agus síos le cladach a chuaigh sé.

Thug Liam Oileabhard litir dó agus dúirt sé leis a thabhairt go hOileabhardach Shligigh. Chonaic Oileabhardach Shligigh an gearrán dubh ag teacht agus bhí a fhios aige go raibh rud eicínt bunoscionn. Bhí sé amuigh roimhe ag an teach. Thug an tsearbhóntaí dó an litir agus dúirt an tOileabhardach leis an capall a chur ar stábla. Ansin chuir sé cuntas faoi dhéin dochtúir agus réitigh sé beithíoch eile agus chuir sé diallait air agus bhí an bheirt réidh le theacht ar feadh na hoíche, ach dúirt buachaill Liam Oileabhard go mba mhaith leis a bheith i láthair ag an challenge agus go n-imeodh sé leofa.

'Níl do bheithíoch in ann a dhéanamh,' arsa an tOileabhardach.

'Dá dtigeadh sé leath bealaigh,' a deir an searbhóntaí, 'beidh mé ag an challenge.' D'imigh an triúr agus nuair a bhí siad ag teacht aníos ag Béal an Dorcha dúirt buachaill Liam Oileabhard - ghlac sé pardún leis na daoiní uaisle a bhí leis - go raibh an beithíoch á fhuadach, agus d'fhágaigh sé ansin iad, agus bhí a chuid coirce ite ag beithíoch Liam Oileabhard agus [...]. Ar maidin lá arna mhárach i mbád aníos ó Bhanrach Ruairí a tháinig na hOileabhardaigh. Bhí Nash [...]

Is é an áit a raibh an challenge ag Oileán Bearnach, an áit a dtugann siad Scordach an Oileáin air. Bhí Nash roimhe uair an chloig, agus é ag glaoch ainmneacha ar an Oileabhardach. Chuaigh Nash suas ar an mbruach agus bhuail sé urchair le héanacha a bhí ann agus níor mharaigh sé aon cheann acu.

'Well,' a deir seanbhean a bhí ann, 'tá do lá caite inniu.'

Tháinig an tOileabhardach agus nuair a chuaigh siad ag lódáil na bpiostal níor chuir Oileabhardach Shligigh aon urchar isteach, mar níor mhian leis iad féin a mharú. Ach chuir an fear a bhí ag Nash, chuir sé an t-urchar isteach agus scaoil Nash an talamh ag barraigh bhróg an Oileabhardaigh. Phreab Oileabhardach Shligigh, dúirt sé leis go lódódh sé anois, agus loisc siad an dara huair, agus chuir Nash an t-urchar, chuir sé ina bholg é...chuir an tOileabhardach i mbolg Nash é, agus dúirt sé go dtabharfadh sé úsáid an dochtúir dó ach ní thóigfeadh Nash é.

Agus mhair sé dhá bhliain déag ina dhiaidh sin, agus... Fuair deirfiúr leis bás ar an Léim, agus tháinig an tOileabhardach chuig an tsochraid, agus nuair a d'airigh Nash go raibh sé ar an gcruinniú, chuir sé cuireadh isteach chun a pharlúis air, agus thug sé neart le n-ól dó agus dúirt sé go mba é féin ba chiontaí an méid a tharlaigh.

Translation: The Challenge

There was a big tyrant here a long time ago that they called Arthur Nash. He lived at Léim, in Iorras [Erris]. At the time Major Bingham lived in the castle in Oilí [Elly] and the law of England was very strong and it was mostly on the side of the Protestants. And anything that Nash did there was no stopping him, Major Bingham supported him. There was one Catholic gentleman here they called Liam Elwood. He lived at Drum, two miles below the town where Nash was. And this was the only man who was able to oppose Nash. He was better than him.

Nash would come down to his house and he would call him out and the two of them on a pair of yoked horses. And Elwood would put him out of the saddle. Major Bingham finally said to them that it was as well for them go to a challenge [fight a duel] and Arthur Nash wrote a challenge to Elwood. And Elwood was three score years of age at the time and he had a cousin down in Sligo, another man named Elwood. And Liam Elwood had a black gelding and he said to his servant to go to Sligo, and he went in the evening. And the road was not very good at that time and he went down by the shore. Liam Elwood gave him a letter and he said to him to give it to the Sligo Elwood.

The Sligo Elwood saw the black gelding coming and he knew there was something wrong. He was out before him at his house. The servant gave him the letter and Elwood said to him to put the horse in the stable. Then he sent for a doctor and he prepared another animal and put a saddle on him and the two of them were ready to come during the night. But Liam Elwood's boy said he would like to be at the challenge and he would go with them.

'Your beast is not able to do it!' said Elwood.

'If he reaches half-way,' said the servant, 'I'll make it to the challenge.'

The three of them set off, and when they were coming down Béal an Dorcha Liam Elwood's boy said - he begged the pardon of the gentlemen who were with him that the beast was running away with him. And he left them there, and Liam Elwood's beast had eaten his oats and [...]. The following morning the Elwoods came up in a boat from Banrach Ruairí.

The place where the challenge was held was Oileán Bearnach, at a place they call Scordach an Oileáin. And Nash was there an hour before him, and he was calling Elwood names. Nash went up on the bank and fired shots at some birds that were there. And he didn't kill a single one of them.

'Well,' said an old woman who was there, 'you won't succeed today.'

Elwood came and when they went to load the pistols the Sligo Elwood didn't put any bullet in, because he didn't want them to kill each other. But the man that Nash had, he put the bullet in. And Nash hit the ground at the tip of the toe of Elwood's shoe. The Sligo Elwood jumped up and said he would load now. And they fired a second time. Nash shot him in the stomach...Elwood shot Nash in the stomach. And he offered him the use of his doctor, but Nash wouldn't accept it.

And he lived for twelve years after that. And a sister of his died at Léim, and Elwood came to the funeral. And when Nash heard he was at the gathering he invited him into his parlour. And he gave him plenty to drink. And he said that he himself was responsible for what had happened to him.

Sruth Fada Con Bay, Iorras, Co. Mayo.

Sruth Fada Con Bay, Iorras, Co. Mayo.