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  • Accidental Hanky Panky in Late Nineteenth-Century Ireland August 31, 2012

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval, Modern , trackback

    This was a cute little story that turns up in a late nineteenth-century folklore collection from Ireland. A visitor is out and about looking for the ‘bed’ of ‘Dermot and Grania’, the mossy bower where a mythical couple from Irish legend escape to love and live away from society. Dermot for those who have never had the pleasure of reading Irish legends late into the night had had ‘the love spot’ placed on his forehead while he slept. This love spot was a kind of curse whereby any woman who saw him fell hopelessly in love. Unfortunately this included his boss’ wife, the darling Graina. The ‘boss’ in question was Fionn, the most famous psychopath in Irish mythology and Fionn was not about to have his wife spirited away by a junior.

    In any case, one ‘scholar’ foolishly went out to look for the bed in the countryside of County Clare near Ballycasheen. The following might stand as a lesson in how to get bedded or killed in nineteenth-century Ireland. He eventually came to a crowd of girls and asked then where this bed might be. They laughed and then began to talk among themselves.

    After a long consultation with one  somewhat older than herself  sometimes with very serious  countenances, often with smiling ones and the elder using a  good deal of persuasion – she agreed to go with me, if she  was certain I was a stranger, and she knew my name. As  the conversation between them was in Irish, which I did not  understand, and the evening was growing late, I became impatient, and very ungallantly rode away. When I had ridden a  mile further I made the same inquiry from a herd’s wife, and  at the same time told her how I had been laughed at by the  girls. She said, ‘No wonder for them, for it was the custom  that if she went with a stranger to Darby and Granes bed she was certainly to grant him everything he asked.’

    The scholar in question might have been under the impression that he was undertaking important antiquarian research but the country girls thought he was propositioning them. Interestingly, one accepted… before he spurred his horse away.

    Some have speculated that the beds of Dermot and Grania were locally reputed to be places of fertility. Barren couples would go and have intercourse in these love-hallowed places with happy results.

    Any other erotic misunderstandings between cultures: drbeachcombing AT yahoo DOT com