Tomás Gabha

Tomás Gabha (Tom Mannion) was a man of six feet and eight inches. He was a famous storyteller. He lived in Ardeevin, convenient to where Ardeevin School now stands. He was a famous old blacksmith for making spades, slanes and shoeing horses and donkeys. He would pull a tooth for anyone for a half-ounce of tobacco and without using a pinchers.

There was a man going to a doctor one day, so he called in at the forge to see Tomás, as the man had a very bad toothache. Tomás told him that he would draw the tooth for him for an ounce of tobacco which was 3d worth at the time (possibly a clue to the date). The man agreed to give him the tobacco. Then Tomás took the coulter of an old plough and placed it in the fire until it was red. Then he tied a string to the man’s tooth and tied the other end of the string to the horn of the anvil. Then he took the old coulter out of the fire and struck it suddenly against the anvil sending fire and sparks in all directions. The patient jumped away unconsciously with the fright, forgetting that he had been tied to the anvil, leaving his tooth behind him.

All generations before him were blacksmiths, as were his two sons. Every night the neighbours would gather into his shop and tell stories all night long. He lived to quite big age.

He worked very hard all his life and is buried in Templetogher (near Williamstown). His son (Seán Gabha) had a forge near Ballygar School. He was not as famous as his father.

Collector: Dónal de Grás, Ardeevin N.S.

Informant: L. Ó Ciaráin, Cnocán

Source: Folio No. 880, Pages 251-255. Irish Folklore Main Manuscript Collection