This is a fantastic story that contains humour and mystery coupled with a general understanding of the natural environment. For those who don’t know, Loughnapeiste is a small lough between Screen and Ballinesker. It is surprisingly big in comparison to other local naturally formed loughs or man made marlholes in the area. The lough straddles the three townslands of Glenbough, Kilmacoe and Ballaghablake and its dark waters have many a story lurking beneath its depths. 
One of my favorite accounts makes reference to the belief that the lough is tidal. Maunie McClean, who passed away since telling me this, told me that when she was younger she was told “a fella lost his bill hook in it one day clearing briars and it ended up in The Raven”. While Nellie Roche told me of another incident where “years ago a man drowned in Curracloe and his body washed up in the lake”. Both stories refer to the connection, albeit in different directions, which adds further strength to the story. Maunie also told me that she “lived alongside of it and we used to use the water for our tea and to drink, but in the summer we couldn't use it as it would smell of fish”.
Loughnapeiste or Loch na Péiste in Irish, means Lake of the Eel/Eels. Pollpeasty near Clonroche contains similar elements in its name, translating as The Eel Hole or Eel Pool.
So here lies the question. It is the case that the lough got its name from the presence of an eel or eels? If the lake is tidal or contains a tunnel linking it to Curralcloe strand, which can be seen in the distance, well then did the eels travel this route? There are many references to eels being seen and fished in drinking water wells along the East Coast of Wexford, miles inland from the sea. Could they have travelled though underground water channels such as the one described to me? 
This fanciful in story doesn’t sit with me. As you may know Eels are known to travel up streams and rivers and are well known to travel on land, often traveling at night from one water source to another. My own grandmother often told me as a child “If you got up early enough, you’d see the eels out grazing”. The Macamore area, further up the coast, where she lives, is also dotted with small loughs or man made marlholes, as they are called there. So here too lies a plausible explanation; that eels travelled from the sea at Ballinesker/Curracloe to the lough along whatever water source they could find. It may be hard to imagine when you stand on this site and gauge the distance from the sea to the lough. However you must remember that this small snake like creature would have travelled thousands of miles from the Saragossa Sea in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean before it ever caught sight of the coast of Wexford. In fact, any eel you find in Ireland today or anywhere in the world for that matter, will have started its life in the spawning grounds of the Saragossa. Studies in England have revealed how they travel on land and event through hard wet sand. I suppose where there is a will, there is a way.


Glenbough, Kilmacoe

and Ballaghablake, Screen, Co. Wexford