School: Gráinseach, Cill Mocheallóg (roll number 9970)

Grange, Co. Limerick
Tomás Ó Loínsigh

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Festival Customs - St Stephen's Day

Archival Reference

The Schools’ Collection, Volume 0516, Page 404

Image and data © National Folklore Collection, UCD. See copyright details »

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Festival Customs
1. St. Stephen's Day

St. Stephen's Day is to the young folk of this locality the most important festival of the year.
The boys and sometimes the girls go around the locality in groups "to bury the wren" on that day.
One of the party carries a holly bush in which is a dead wren, or feathers resembling a dead wren, together with ribbons and other decorations.
They divide the spoils in the evening, and each gets his share.
Big boys sometimes rob them of their hard-earned money in the evening. Hence the young boys when starting in the morning arm themselves with a few good strong wattles - more for intimidation than for use) -
When they came to a house they sing the following song.
The wren, the wren, the king of all birds,
St. Stephen's Day she was caught in the furze,
Although she was little her family's great,
Rise up land-lady and give us this trait.

(continues on next page)
Mr Thomas Bulfin
Grange, Co. Limerick