Herself and her dog
The well-known “Monument” to Fr. Prendergast and the dead of '98 has upon it a figure of a lady with a wolfhound and harp. She is often mistaken, much to her annoyance, for St. Brigid. The lady is in fact Hibernia or Erin, the personification of Ireland. In the hundred years she has stood on her plinth with her back to the cross and her face to the market square she has seen much of the history of Monasterevin happen before her eyes.
MHS knows from experience that tall stories, apocryphal sayings, embellishments and down right lies, hold the keys to much of our history. Therefore we have dedicated this page entitled “Herself and her dog” to recording some of these interesting but unverified pieces of oral heritage.
Please keep in mind that some of the things in this section never happened while in some only the names are changed.
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A Black and Tan was hanging around the Market Square during the War of Independence. To get a jibe at the locals he asked an old man who was passing, "Hey Paddy do you feed the dog often", meaning the dog at Erins side on the Monument.
"Ah" came the reply, "Only when he barks".
During the Siege at Monasterevin the worlds media descended on the town and the emigrant population looked on in pride at their little town, until one evening a BBC correspondent turned to a local onlooker and asked whether he was surprised that such violence could happen in his town.
“Ah!” Said the interviewee, “Shar they hanged the parish priest here once”.
That incident had taken place 175 years earlier but as far as the world was concerned Monasterevin was a very wild place indeed.
On the 3rd of December 1837 the gentleman surveyor Mr. John O’Donovan reported the following about Monasterevin to his masters in the Ordnance Survey:
"I visited Monasterevin yesterday but could find no feature or tradition there to throw any light on it’s history. The people are entirely Anglicised and have lost their ancient traditions. I long to return to Connaught again as those of my own province [Leinster] are (not only) exceedingly ignorant on the subject of my enquiry but also boorish and unobliging".
Plus ça change!
"If a mouse got out at the Chapel, it'd be an elephant by the time it got to the Nags"
Traditional Monasterevin saying that historian should bear in mind.