School: Rosaí (roll number 13332)

Location:
Rossy, Co. Leitrim
Teacher:
Pádhraic Ó Baoighill

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Archival Reference

The Schools’ Collection, Volume 0211, Page 384

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In the townland of Druney on the shore of Lough Scur there stands the ruins of an old jail. This jail in the autumn and winter when floods occur is really on an island called the "Jail Island." In the dry weather however a person can walk out to it from the mainland. On the opposite side of the lake not far from this jail is the ruins of an old castle.
Seán o Gleann lived in this castle and had it seems unlimited power in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. Some say Seán o Gleann means "John of the heads" and pronounce it Seán Na Gleann on account of all the men he beheaded. Others say it means John the head or chief. His real name was John Reynolds and at the time of the Religious persecutions of Queen Elizabeth he used to arrest men and confine them in this jail.
He had an army of about two hundred men and it appears he was the terror of the district for miles around. If a man failed to pay rent he had him arrested and put in jail and sometimes beheaded. At this time people were put to death for small offences.
I visited this jail a few years ago and it is very difficult to reach it on account of the softness of the ground around it even in Summer and the wild growth of briars, plants and grass around its walls. There is no roof on it and no windows can be seen

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Informant
Thomas Whelan
Gender
male
Age
82
Address
Driny, Co. Leitrim
Language
English