Stories about sightings of The Black Dog at the Rectory Gates and around Hell Lane were told to me by various older men in the village. In fact I was told the names of some particular men who had apparently seen it but I’ll keep the names to myself. 
For those who don’t know, accounts of the appearance of a ghostly Black Dog with fiery eyes and tail is common in Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales. It is particularly common in Wexford, with the Distillery Road in nearby Wexford Town having a plethora of sightings of this ghostly creature. Whether you believe it or not is a different story, but the Black Dog or The Cú Sídhe as its also called in Ireland is strongly anchored in our folklore tradition. The jury is out as to whether it was Celtic or Germanic in origin with versions of it found throughout Europe. In the Isle of Man, it’s know as the “Moddey Dhoo” which is a variation of the Manx Gaelic “Madra Dubh”, while there are many versions of the same story found through Scotland, Wales and England. Arthur Conan Doyle based The Hound of the Baskervilles on accounts of the Black Dog’s activity in Devon in England.
The story also travelled to the new world with versions of it being found in the United States as well as in Latin America, including Mexico, Costa Rica and Argentina among others. Here it is known as the “Cadejo” and is often described as being the size of a cow. Back in Castlebridge, Pax Shortall told me that the black dog was described to him by someone who had seen it as being “the size of a calf”.
From my recording work around the country, many people believe that the dog was a manifestation of the devil himself and it was generally believed to be bad luck to see him. What is surprising here is that he was seen at the gates of the rectory, and in the vicinity of Hell Lane; the lane that leads to the rectory. Maybe the story is possibly cloaked in some fear of the Protestant community, innocently or deliberately contrived. Maybe I’m reading into this too much and he just happened to like hanging around that neck of the village.  

The Black Dog

Rectory Hall/Hell Lane, Castlebridge, Co. Wexford