This is a story I heard as a child about a gate at Willie Cartys in Aughagreagh. My own father often could not open the gate, and indeed my sister could not either, though she never saw the spectre. The story behind it was recorded in the Irish Folklore Commission collection of 1934, although who or what the spectre was we do not know, it was one of many haunting’s at Willie Carty’s.
The nights dancing was finished
Willie Carty to his home his way made
He heard near his gate a rattling of chains
That filled his heart with dread
A tall man stood there with sombre eyes
With neither a frown nor smile
His hand held fast the gate closed
He stayed looking at this spectre a while.
Willie stepped forward to grab the gate:
Placed his hand on that of the man –
Only for it to pass through like he wasn’t there
As only with a ghost one can.
With difficulty the gate he opened
The man moved not, Willie walked straight through him
Not looking back or shutting the gate
Walked brisk to the house looking not behind him.
As to the door he made his way
His heart thumping with fear
A thumping noise came from the gate as it closed
With the sound of a crashing pier!
Long after that time is was said
– I was told by my own father –
Who inherited the farm when Willie had died
Sometime round the fifties I gather
That gate to open often would be hard
Though the hinges were often oiled well
The workings inspected till working perfect
The story often my father did tell.
My sister too when she was young
– Who in such tales has little belief at all –
Remembers the gate like someone was holding it
Only for to let go and let it swing wild against the wall!
Who was the tall man who stood at the gate?
The story behind it we will never know
Was it the Devil himself or Hanging Jack?
This spectre from long ago?