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Castlelyons group in last-gasp bid to track down elusive jennett

Castlelyons Community Council plans to retell the infamous story of the St Ledger?s, the former owners of Ballyvolane House, who according to legend were bumped off in 1751 by a butler and a maid who were eager to get their hands on the family jewels.

The story goes that the couple were travelling from Peafield to Ballyvolane, in a carriage being pulled by a piebald jennett when the murderers struck.

The re-enactment of the ?Ballyvolane Murders? is scheduled to take place as part of a fundraising day for the council taking place in the grounds of Ballyvolane House on Sunday, July 6.

For those of you not in the know, a piebald jennett is a cross between a horse and a donkey and according to community council spokeswoman Ann Hegarty, it has proven to be surprisingly difficult to get their hands on one.Every neighbouring parish has been searched for one but with no success. We enlisted the help of the great John Arnold in the search, but even he has drawn a blank,? said Ann.Last weekend members of the council even travelled to Kerry in search of a jennet, but all they came back with was an empty horse box. At this stage it would be easier to find a unicorn to pull the carriage,? laughed Ann.

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She said that the part of Mr St Leger is being played by a direct decendant of the family, and he has insisted that a jennett pull the carriage in the interests of historical accuracy.At this stage we are getting fairly desperate as the date of the re-enactment is getting too close for comfort. This appeal is a last desperate throw of the dice; otherwise we might have to get a couple of the local lads to put on a horse costume for the day.?

Anyone who might be able to help is asked to contact Ann on 087-7403616.

The fundraising day will get underway at 2pm and will include musical performances by the Castlelyons Gospel Choir, the Bandon-based Spiro all-male choir and a host of local musicians, including Sarah Barry and Jimmy Morrison.

The highlight of the day will be the acting out of the Ballyvolane Murders by the Barrymore Players theatre group.