The Pious Mill

Patrick Weston Joyce

In the old monastery of Kilkeasy in Kilkenny, from which a modern village and parish have their name, the monks had a little mill for the use of themselves and their neighbours. This mill had some extraordinary virtues. It would never grind on a Sunday except the meal or flour was wanted for the guests of the monastery; and when this happened, the moment it had turned out enough for the purpose it stopped of its own accord. But if there were no guests it would not grind at all on Sunday. Under no circumstances whatever would it grind corn that had been stolen. And lastly, it was in one respect like the island of Lough Cre (p. 21); for no woman could go into it.

Giraldus notices this wonder, but calls the mill by a different name—the Mill of St. Lucherinus. He tells a story of another mill—the Mill of St. Fechin at Fore in Westmeath—where also there was a prohibition against women entering. This was a very sacred mill and resented liberties. Two of Hugh de Lacy's soldiers one time plundered some corn out of its stores; but the two horses that ate some of it died at once; and as to the men themselves, one of them knocked out his own brains that night, and the other fell dead in sight of all.