‘The Midnight Mass’ by William Carleton

William Carleton is a fascinating figure. He was born into a Catholic farming family in County Tyrone and spent a couple of years training to be a priest, but dropped out and ended up converting to Protestantism. His stories, written for readers in England, offer scenes of rural Irish life with a certain amount of anthropological gloss. This story, set over Christmas, takes place in a village in the shadow of a mountain, and follows love rivals Frank McKenna and Mike Reillaghan, both interested in Peggy Gartland (Peggy loves Mike, and wants Frank to leave her alone). Also featured: a blind fiddler, and a holy man of sorts, and a climax that takes place during a blizzard on the mountain. 

First published in 1834 in Traits and Stories of the Irish Peasantry, second series. Here collected in The Party Fight and Funeral, Mercier Irish Classics vol. 4. Available to read online on Project Gutenberg

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