School: Baile na Mín (roll number 14925)

Ballinameen, Co. Roscommon
Tomás Ó Conchobhair

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Marriage Customs

Archival Reference

The Schools’ Collection, Volume 0238, Page 353

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Match-making. The custom called "forcing away" was practised about seventy or eighty years ago which was a cruel and barbarous custom, and was carried out in the following manner. If a young man took a fancy to any young girl, and especially a young girl of means, he would gather a band of vulgar young men from amongst his friends or neighbours, and well armed with guns and old pistols, would raid the girl's house at night and take her away against her will, and in spite of her parents or friends with whom she lived. He usually brought her to some friend's house of his own, and she was kept there by force till the following day.

Then the parish priest and her people would have to be communicated with, and some arrangement made for the marriage which usually took place, more often than not, against the girl's will as she had no other alternative, her good name being sullied. Such marriages generally proved unhappy ones. In some cases the girl got some money from her parents and left the country rather than marry the young man in question. This custom soon went down, as the law of the church and the law of the land

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Kathleen Tansey
Sheeane, Co. Roscommon
Mrs M.A. Tansey
Sheeane, Co. Roscommon