Dark Horse and Carriage
My Aunt Mary told me this story when I was younger and I’ve heard it retold at dinner and other family get togethers since. Aunty Mary is not the type of person to make up stories and enhance them for entertainment purposes.
This story took place in the late 1950s to early 1960s in a rural West Clare village called Carrigaholt. The small village, only a crossroad really, sits directly on the mouth of the River Shannon where the fresh water meets the saltwater of the Atlantic. There is an abandoned Castle (McMahon Castle dating back to around 1480 AD), a church, a handful of pubs and old cottage-like residences.
Aunty Mary lived above one of the pubs/shops that her father ran. Her bedroom window overlooked the estuary and the village crossroads.
Late one night, around 2 am, she claims to have been awoken to the sound of horse trots out on the road. She woke her twin sister to ask if she heard them too. They both got out of bed to take a look. As they peered through the window, with only moonlight to illuminate the road as there was no electricity in the village at the time, they saw two black horses pulling a black funeral carriage manned by a person also cloaked in black wearing a top hat. A carriage like this would only be spotted in “the big city” and would never be seen in the village let alone at 2 o’clock in the morning.
The carriage stopped in the road just outside their window and the driver of the carriage sat and stared straight ahead. Aunty Mary and her sister were frozen in fear but couldn’t look away. She says as they stared down at the horse and carriage she noticed the horses had red coloured eyes. Suddenly the carriage driver turned his head and looked up at the window. Mary and her sister bolted back into bed and hid under the covers.
The next morning, news broke that the local priest had died that night. To this day, there is no concrete explanation for the sighting.
Cover image: By vectorpouch on Freepik