History of the name

Born Bridget Ellen Connors in lower Faha in 1778, the daughter of John Thomas Connors and Ellen Early. She married four times but always known by her mother’s maiden name, because it was believed that her gifts were inherited through the female line.

She gained a wide reputation as a herb- healer with an ability to remotely control animals and to see the future. Many sought her advice. She then moved to Dromore Hil, overlooking a lake which became lnown as Biddy Early’s Lake. This home in Kilbarron is identified with Biddy “ The Healer”, “The Wise Woman”, “The Witch”.

She was known to possess a 'magic' bottle, and many stories relate how she came by it. Her son Paddy won it playing hurley for a team of strangers who then disappeared; she was given it by a strange child, the best known is of her cousin taken to a dance by strangers met at a crossroads who had entranced and held a beautiful girl in a deserted house. He got the bottle to cure her, took her home to her father (a rich Limerick merchant), then married her and gave Biddy the bottle. Biddy kept it wrapped in a red shawl.

There are many stories of the opposition of the clergy, and in 1865 she was in Ennis charged with witchcraft under the 1586 statute. The case was dismissed 'due to lack of sufficient evidence against the accused'; those who were to give evidence remained strangely silent!

Her husband Tom died in 1868 but Biddy, now over seventy, 'looked only about fifty or less' and married her fourth husband, Thomas Meaney. He got sick and died within the year in 1870. She slowly deteriorated, and died in April 1874 with her rosary around her neck and her bottle in its red shawl beside her. The priest took the bottle and hurled it into Kilbarron Lake.

Before she died at Kilbarron side
She warned the neighbours firmly
That they must throw in the lough below
The Bottle o' Biddy Early

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