Ballymore Lough is a freshwater lough in the parish of Attymass Co. Mayo; the parish is nestled by the Ox Mountains to the east and the River Moy to the west with Nephin in the background, surrounded by rugged scenery and steeped in local folklore and myths. The lough is overlooked by Old Killeen graveyard on one side and to the opposite side by the ruins of Kildermot Abbey founded by the Norbertine Monks in the 13th century. Both sites are protected structures. In the centre of the lough sits a crannog. The Owenrevagh River flows into Ballymore from nearby Whinny Lough and Cartron Lough. According to local folklore the monks from Kildermot Abbey haunt the lough at night. Originally the Order had a smaller abbey situated at Old Killeen graveyard but decided to build a new and grander abbey on the opposite side of the lough. However, the stone they wished to build their abbey with was on the Old Killeen side and they began the arduous task of transporting the stones to the new site by boat. On nearing completion of the abbey tragedy struck and on one such crossing the boat capsized and some of the monks were drowned, but the remaining monks finished building their abbey. It is said that on a calm night the monks’ cries for help can be heard across the stillness of the water and on a moonlit night a boat can be seen on the lough heading towards Kildermot Abbey and then disappears in a thick veil of mist. In Old Killeen graveyard facing towards the lough there are two stones, one on top of the other which marks a monk’s burial site, the story goes that if the top stone is taken down in the evening the stone is found back in its’ rightful position the following morning; the stones are still there to this day. In more recent years two holy water fonts from the abbey were recovered from Ballymore Lough by a local man, one was returned to the Abbey and the other is in the National Museum, Dublin. The island in the centre of the lough is a Crannog and was a defensive settlement in medieval times. It was used by the local landlord in the area for fishing parties in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It was also used as a hideout for local men on the run in The War of Independence. The Crannog location posed an ideal setting for a poteen still and this was taken advantage of by many a local man or woman from the area down through the years! Up until the late 1800s Brogan’s tuck and corn mill was in operation, this mill was situated adjacent to the lough and its’ wheel was powered by the Owenrevagh river that flows into Ballymore. Local folklore tells the story of a young woman who visited the mill one day and as she was chatting to a young man at the side of the river an eel lunged towards her tearing a silk purse from her hand and swam off towards the lake. The young man ran towards the lough and jumped in and swam towards the direction the eel went but it got away. The young woman was so distraught at the loss of her purse that the man ran two miles to a corn and tuck mill owned by Gallagher adjacent to Ballycong River in the hope that the eel swam up there…lo and behold the eel was caught at Ballycong mill, the poor eel was cut open and the silk purse fell out! The young woman was so overjoyed she fell in love with the young man and they were married!
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