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107 O/S Memoirs, Parishes of County Antrim I, vol. 2, Parish of Ballymartin, James Boyle and T. C. Hannyngton, 4 February 1837. (p. 11) ‘They are not quite so superstitious as the people of most of the neighbouring districts but still most of the old and many of the young people firmly believe in ghosts, fairies and enchantments. Many will swear to have seen the fairies, the devil (in the shape of a black dog or pig) and the wraiths of their friends before their death Respect is paid to old forts but not to the same extent as in most districts. Unfortunately for the fine old hawthorns which once flourished here, there was no respect for them and even the forts are now beginning to feel the sad effects of the march of knowledge.’ Banshees [Back to Contents] Belfast Newsletter, 12 December 1853. The banshee, or white fairy, ranks amongst the oldest and most widespread of the popular fancies of Ireland. The popular superstition is, or rather, was, that certain families of ancient and true Irish descent, have attaché to them a female spirit, which appears only to announce the death of some one of the members. At the breaking of the Irish rebellion of ’98, there lived in the neighbourhood of Glenarm, in the county of Antrim, a family named Carroll, whose ancestry for more than two centuries had owned the farm which they had occupied as tenants at the period we write of. The United Irish Societies, rapidly expanded and ranked amongst their members most of the young and even middle-aged, men of wealth or local influence in the country. Many, however, kept from sharing in any of the hostile and threatening displays made by individual societies. Amongst these were the family of the Carrolls, the male members of which had joined the system soon after it had taken root in Ulster. The father, however, was a man of quiet temperament, and wisely kept himself and his two sons, Murtough and Patrick, from rashly avowing their connexion with obnoxious societies; and whilst privately contributing both counsel and cash to “the cause” did or said nothing which could expose him to the fury of the Camden spies. So matters stood with the family about the middle of 1797. In the early part of that year. Murtough, the elder of the two sons, had been betrothed to the daughter of a neighbouring farmer, and it was arranged that their marriage would take place on the birthday of the bride – in August. Mary O’Neill possessed nearly all the graces of her countrywomen. Being an only

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