School: Cromadh (B.)

Location:
Croom, Co. Limerick
Teacher:
Dáithí Ó Ceanntabhail

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The Wran Boys

Archival Reference

The Schools’ Collection, Volume 0507, Page 163

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The "Wran Boys".

There was nothing like that when I was a young fellow; there was no collecting at all, but I'll tell you what used be. The men, the big men, would go out on Christmas day with stick hunting the wran. You'd think 'twas to a fair or a faction fight they'd be going, they'd have so much preparations. (Harry Costelloe, 77, referring to the wran boys who go about from house to house on St. Stephen's day, disguised some more, some less, collecting money.
The custom was in my native place thirty five years ago, and is here (in Croom) from what I learn, for a longer period. It has now however, passed from being an entertainment to a nuisance, and is exploited far too much. The rhyme which is used here is as follows.
"The wran, the wran, the King of all birds.
Saint Stephen's day, he was caught in the furze.
Although he was little, his family was great.
Be good (come on) Mr. _____ and give us a trate.
We followed him up thro' Islanmore.
We followed him up three miles and more.
We broke his back and we bent his knee.
And we brought him home on a holly tree.

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Informant
Harry Costelloe
Gender
male
Age
77
Language
English