An Unusual Skibbereen Advertisement



We do not know if Eoghan Rua O’Sáilleabháin, the eighteenth century Munster poet, who wrote the following sale-bill, observed the maxim, "Truth in Advertising", but he certainly produced and unique composition.


"Saturday, the sixteenth of September, seventeen and sixty nine, will be sold or set up for sale at Skibbereen, the robust horse Spanker, the property of Thomas O’Donnell Esquire".

"A strong, staunch, steady, sound, stout, sinewy, safe, serviceable, strapping, supple, swift, smart, slightly, sprightly, spirited, sturdy, shining, sure-footed, sleek, smooth, spunky, well-skinned, sized and shaped."


"A sorrel steed of superlative symmetry, styled spanker, square sided, slender-shouldered, smart-sighted, with a small star, and steps singularly stately; free from strain, sprain, spasms, string-halt, stranguary, sciatica, staggers, scaling, sollander, surfeit, seams, scouring, strangle, strenuous swelling, soreness, scratches, splint, squint, squirt, scruff, scales, scurf, scars, scabs, scarred sores, scattering, shuffling, shambling-gait, or symptoms of sickness or any sore".


"He is neither stiff-mouthed, shabby-coated, sinew-shrunk, spur-galled nor saddle-backed, stell-toothed, slim-gutted, surbated, skin-scabbed, short-winded, splay-footed, or shoulder-slipped and is sound in the sword-point and stiffle-joint, has neither sick-spleen, sleeping-evel, set-fast, nor snaggle-tooth, sand-cracks, swelling-sheath, subcutaneous sores nor shattered hoofs, is not slow, sulky, sour, surly, stubborn, nor sullen in temper, neither sly, shy, nor skittish, slow, sluggish nor stupid".


" He never slips, stripes, strays, stalks, strats, slops, shakes, swells, snivels, snibbles, snuffles, snorts, stumbles nor stooks in his stall or stable, and scarcely or seldom sweats, has a showy, skittish switchtail or stern, and a sage set of shoes to stride on. He can feed on stubbles, sheaf-oats, straw, sedges and scotch-grass, carries sixteen stone on his stoke with surpassing speed over a six foot sod or stone wall".


"His sire was the sly, sober Sydus on a sister of Spindleshanks by Samson and Sporter, son of Sparkler, who won the Sweepstake Subscription Plate at Sligo last season. His selling price is Sixty-six Pounds, sixteen shillings and six pence".


Unfortunately, so far as I can ascertain, there is nothing to show if O’Súilleabháin’s sale-bill induced anybody to buy this wonderful horse.


(Originally a newspaper article by Trealach S. Doorly)