Newly released 'Kerry Folk Tales' book full of quirky details

Kerry Folk Tales is full of quirky tales and interesting facts for readers to enjoy
Kerry Folk Tales is full of quirky tales and interesting facts for readers to enjoy

Fergus Dennehy

Kerry Folk Tales, a new book on Kerry folklore and history that is set to be released this month, is full to the brim with interesting and quirky snippets that should delight students of history here in Kerry.

Authored by Gary Branigan and Luke Eastwood, the book also covers as much of the history of Kerry that the authors could dig up - from pre-Norman times, the Geraldines, the famine, the civil war and right up to things such as Charlie Chaplin coming to Waterville.

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"It is historical, it is in places a factual book, but it's quite light in that it's done in a very accessible style, but it is all based on proper research and what we could find," said Luke, speaking to The Kerryman last week.

Gary Branigan, the author of another folklore and history book entitled 'Cavan Folk Tales' approached Luke to help him write this book.

Between the pair, they divided up time periods and subject matter between them, and kept each other updated on their progress throughout. The book features a sketch drawing of the King of Puck on its cover, and inside, many of the stories covered are accompanied by beautiful black-and-white sketches.

Although keen not to give away too many details, Luke said that he did come across a few quirky details during his research that he feels would be a good teaser for prospective readers.

"The thing that I found most interesting was actually quite recent and it was about Roger Casement. I researched that particular story and I found all the original arrest sheets, the statements from the arresting officers and from witnesses," he said.

"There are a few things that struck me as quite interesting. The RIC, they found three trench coats, obviously the other two guys had cleared off and weren't caught. They found the coats, and in the pockets of the coats, they found sausage sandwiches which they were obviously going to eat for breakfast or something," he laughed. 

"They also found a ticket from Berlin because they'd obviously come from Germany, and they then used this ticket as evidence against Casement in his trial. It was one of the things that they used against him to call him a traitor," said Luke.

Luke said that another fact about the arrest that he found during his research for the book was the little quirk of fate that he found really interesting.

"A milk-maid, she happened to get up early on that day, around 4.30am,  and saw them come up off the beach. I mean, if that hadn't happened, then possibly no-one would have known that they were there. She decided to go off and tell someone who went off and reported this to the RIC, and we know what happened next," he said.

The book will be officially launched on August 30.