School: Ballinahinch (roll number 11191)

Ballynahinch, Co. Tipperary
Miss E. Merrick

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May Eve Customs

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The Schools’ Collection, Volume 0577, Page 081

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Great care must be taken on May-Eve for it is said the fairies have fatal power over the human race upon that night and steal the children and bewitch the cattle if they can find an opportunity, therefore no door should be left open after sunset, and young people should not go out alone on the hills nor listen to the singing of young girls in the night for they are fairies and will work harm.

Above all fire should not be given away for fire is the life of man, and if any food boiled roasted or baked is left over from May-Eve to May-day it should not be eaten, but buried in the garden or thrown over the boundary of the townland to the dogs. The belief is that the fairies stole away the real food and left in its place only lumps of turf made to look like food, and to touch them would be fatal.
On May morning the peasant girls delight in gathering May dew before sunrise to beautify their faces and they believe that the sun will then have no power over their complexions to spoil them by the Summer heat also on that day no fires are lighted, in any house, till smoke is seen rising from the chimney of the priest's house.
Mary Dwyer

Mary Dwyer
Ballynahinch, Co. Tipperary