Rags and Tatters


The remains of Ardclinis church, County Antrim, believed to have been founded in the early Christian period by St MacNissi, or perhaps St MacKenna: the present ruins are from the later Middle Ages. A crozier, called the Bachil McKenna, used to be set into the building and was used by local people for the taking of oaths and detection of false statements. However, it was subsequently acquired by a local farmer called Galvin. He and his successors, when not employing the crozier as a hook in the family home, would dip it into water being given to sick cows: in the early 1960s it was acquired by the National Museum of Ireland. In front of the ruins is a blackthorn ‘Rag Tree.’ Traditionally rags, belonging to someone sick or with a particular problem, are tied to a tree in the belief that this will resolve the issue.

3 comments on “Rags and Tatters

  1. Gareth McMahon says:

    Interesting have seen them in Kilkenny and Tipperary but not in my home county Louth, I stand to be corrected.

  2. Michael says:

    There is a rag tree at Faughart, Co. Louth

  3. Gareth McMahon says:

    Ok thanks Michael.

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