Sligo Dark Tales – The perils of travelling alone in the 18th-Century

Sligo Walking Tours

From the newspaper archives comes the late eighteenth-century story of two young boys herding cattle on Doomore mountain near Coolaney, County Sligo.

Booleying farming was an agriculture practice carried out in Ireland. This is where younger members of the farming community usually a teenage girl or boy, would go uphill with cattle to higher pastures to allow the cattle to graze and give the fields in the lowlands time to replenish. Temporary accommodation was built for them, known as booley huts. This is likely what took the younger boys to the more remote part of the mountain and lead to the discovery.

Shepherd boy - booley farming Shepherd-boy by Thomas Barker (1769-1847)

In March of 1783, two young boys are on the mountain near Hungry Rock, when they come across the remains of a well-dressed man. Typical of newspaper accounts from the eighteenth-century, it gives a lurid account of the body.

Eyes picked out ravens

It stated ‘his eyes…

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