Cong in County Mayo is better known for many reasons but how many of us knew that there was a cave known as the "Pigeons Hole" there that was so spectacular? Not an easy shot taking it from the bottom of the steps up towards the light. I wonder what it looks like now?
Photographer: Robert French
Collection: Lawrence Photograph Collection
Date: Circa 1865 - 1914
NLI Ref: L_IMP_3399
You can also view this image, and many thousands of others, on the NLI’s catalogue at catalogue.nli.ie
Owner: National Library of Ireland on The Commons
Source: Flickr Commons
Flickr is sometimes amazing! With handrails in 2012 via https://www.flickr.com/photos/fergalocallaghan/ https://www.flickr.com/photos/fergalocallaghan/7764385666/
"There is an Irish legend that states that the cave is home to a sacred trout, “the fairy trout,” which, according to legend, avoided bait and evaded capture. The story told is that a beautiful young woman was set to marry a king’s son, but the prince was murdered before they were wed. Heartbroken, the young lady went mad with despair and then disappeared unexpectedly. It was believed she was taken away by the fairies. After a while, a white trout appeared in the subterranean river of the cave. It was fable to be a fairy, and given the utmost respect. However a soldier came to put the rumours to the test and caught the trout to fry for his dinner. He placed it on the pan, but the fish would not cook. Although the fish would not cook, he decided to eat the fish anyway. As he put his knife to the fish, it screamed, leaped from the pan to the floor, and transformed into a beautiful young woman. The woman explained that she was waiting for her true love in the river. She demanded he renounce his evil courses and take her back to the river. In the blink of an eye, the woman disappeared and in her place laid a small, white trout. The soldier quickly put the trout on a plate and rushed to the cave to put her back into the river. When he did, the river turned blood red momentarily. To this day it is said that one can find a white trout, with a little scar where it was cut, swimming in the sunny part of the river." From - www.visitgalway.ie/explore/places-of-interest/unusual-att...
Yikes! SpookyView - goo.gl/maps/Nzb8j9NsfVRFpG3r8
Down we go - youtu.be/yEFdr6oLVYE - which imho confirms (at about 0:51) this reverse view Stereo Pair - catalogue.nli.ie/Record/vtls000564478
Visited it in Autumn 2022 but it is closed off, no access.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/beachcomberaustralia Alas there are very few seatrout (white trout) left in Ireland. There were plenty up the introduction of the first salmon farms in the estuaries around the west coast.
There are several caves named Poll na gColm in Ireland. One of them in the Burren is rumoured to be the source for the name of the Tolkien character Gollum. Tolkien set exams at UCG in the 50s and visited the West several times.
Paging back in the IMPs there is a long sequence of Ashford Castle pics I can't date, but paging forward, I see L_IMP_3403 which includes a memorial to John Cafferkey aged 68, which matches this death record from 1891, suggesting we are after that date. John Cafferkey listed as a Scripture Reader on that death record, and a faithful something of the scripture reading society for Ireland on the memorial. Better, in the background of that shot I see a signal box and railcars - the Achill line from Westport was finished in 1895.
Golly! ... via [https://www.flickr.com/photos/internetarchivebookimages/] [https://www.flickr.com/photos/internetarchivebookimages/14577059099/] The 1831 book Legends and stories of Ireland with the fishy tale of the white trout online - archive.org/details/legendsstories00love/page/n72/mode/1u...
The above story of the white trout was reprinted in Freeman's Journal in 1884. It's a wonderful yarn about Samuel Lover's visit to the cave and his encounter with a young great-grandmother. I wonder if Mr French / Lawrence was inspired to take the photo after reading it. Via Trove - trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/110065706?searchTerm=c...
In November 1864 The Irishman published a translation of Erinn; A Legendary Tour by the Abbe Emanuel Domenech. In the instalment in the edition of Saturday 12 November 1864 it contains this account of his visit to the cave: