School: Sruthar (C.)

Location:
Shrule, Co. Mayo
Teacher:
Bríd, Bean Uí Éanacháin

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Weddings and Matchmaking

Archival Reference

The Schools’ Collection, Volume 0102, Page 151

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About sixty years ago there were a lot more runaway marriages than matches. If the boy and girl liked each other, they appointed a night to meet and the boy took the girl to a friend’s house. This was called the “runaway.” There was great excitement when the girl’s parents heard that their daughter had gone with a man. They took her home again, and arranged a match between them. But they never do that now. In Annaghadown, runaway marriages were so prevalent that the parish priest, Father Lawrence Hansbrough, announced a penalty for every man who stole a girl. This was the penalty. He had a sheet, and he made the couple walk from the church door to the altar rails, with the sheet around them before the whole congregation. This put a stop to the runaway matches, as they were ashamed and afraid of the parish priest.
There was also the custom of match-making and it is practised to the present day. If a man wanted a wife, he gave a bottle of whiskey to a friend and sent him to ask the girl he wanted. He asked her father, and if he consented, they made the match. They invited a lot of friends to the girl’s house on the night of the receiving of the fortune.

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Collector
Máirín de Búrca
Gender
female
Address
Tonacooleen, Co. Galway
Informant
Mrs Burke
Relation
parent
Gender
female
Age
40
Address
Tonacooleen, Co. Galway
Language
English