School: Béal Dearg (roll number 11582)

Belderg More, Co. Mayo
Pádraig Mac Conghamhna

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Archival Reference

The Schools’ Collection, Volume 0139, Page 416

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Whenever a person dies the jaws are tied up with a bandage. This is called the "Marbh Fáisg" and one of the curses in use is "Marbh Fáisg Ort" All timepieces in the house are stopped and cat and dog are put outside. Milk is also removed from the house. If a person is dying on a tick containing wild birds feathers the dying person is taken out on the floor for it is an old belief that a person cannot die on wild birds feathers.

(In olden times it was customary for the men to raid the nesting islands yearly for wild birds, to get the feathers for ticks.)
A couple of hours after death the body is washed : if a man, a neighbour shaves the corpse with the dead man's own razor, and generally keeps the razor for his trouble. The women engaged on the business of laying out a corpse get a glass or two of whiskey before beginning their task, This is a ritual observed

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