Listowel Credit Union at the junction of Courthouse Road and Church Street

From Pres. Yearbook 1986

Was Macbeth a Kerryman?

An Spideog

First part of another great essay by David Kissane

A morning session in Ardfert Recreation Centre in September 2023

Now read the story of how this came about…

                              From The Wisla to the Spideog

 The concluding part of a first World Masters experience

                                                          By David Kissane

I lift my head. I realise it’s the first day of 2024. There is only 1K to go. I see the name of the river I am crossing. An Spideog. The end of the Beaufort 5K, expertly organised by Star of the Laune AC, brings me over the Spideog River. A nice wet Kerry event on the first day of the new year. Most of the other runners haven’t had time to notice the bridge, the name or the river. They are possibly having their shower now. An indoor shower. I am still experiencing the outdoor shower. 

The advantage of doing a personal seasonal worst (!) is that you get to notice things like that. It’s the philosophical way to run. I don’t care, man. I’m here for the stories and the folklore. Hoover up the hinterland. My St Brendan’s AC committee colleague Sheena comes from here in Beaufort and bade me farewell halfway through the race. She is catching up by now over tea with her Beaufortian relations. Club colleagues Artur and Tom are out in the Charles O’Shea 10K but will probably finish ahead of me. 

The river curiously named An Spideog (the robin) has a great story behind it. Once upon a time, a local chieftain owed some money and he got a loan from the devil to get him out of trouble. The loan had to be paid back before a certain date or the soul of the chieftain would belong to the devil. Of course the chieftain slipped up again and the devil came for his soul. But the chieftain had the gift of the geab (not unknown to Kerry people in this region!) and the devil gave him a glimmer of hope. He gave the chieftain a sieve and said that if he could fill the sieve with water from the nearby river, he would write off the debt.

The chieftain jumped for joy and set to work, scooping water from the river with the sieve, only to discover that many holes make for poor water-gathering. Many scoops, empty sieve.

Time running out until a robin appears. The robin, with his traditional spiritual and cognitive insights, suggested that the holes of the sieve could be filled with sticky mud. Ergo, the chieftain obeyed and was able to fill the sieve and escape his debt. So the chieftain named the river after the robin. An Spideog.

A Fact

Today’s fact comes to you from Vincent Doyle, formerly of this parish.