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School: Dromiskin (B.), Dundalk (roll number 837)

Location:
Dromiskin, Co. Louth
Teacher:
James Morgan

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Christmas Mummers

Archival Reference

The Schools’ Collection, Volume 0665, Page 433

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

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Xmas, without its "Mummers", would be anything but the jolly season it is in this neighbourhood. Making their appearance about three weeks before the Great Day these merry-makers are looked forward to and welcomed by all.

Each townland in the district has its band of Mummers composed of some six to ten young lads aged from ten to twenty years. When the day's work is over they meet at some previously selected centre, all dressed up for the occasion, and set out on their rounds often accompanied by a dozen or more admirers who, however, take no part in the "performance" given by the Mummers but remain outside the houses while their heroes are inside disporting themselves. Old and discarded female attire is mostly worn by the Mummer, it being no unusual sight to see " King George " or " Oliver Cromwell " arrayed in his mother's or " big " sister's skirt and cloak that have seen their best days. Boot polish, soot, or more commonly a " false " face(?) hides the identity of the character while a head dress consisting of an old cap, caubeen, or immense cone-shaped hat of paper, completes the outfit.
Arrived in the vicinity of a house the Mummers approach the door as silently as possible lest they alarm the occupants or provoke the displeasure of an all too keen watchdog. A gentle knock and admission is gained. Once inside all restraint vanishes. With a " Room!, room! gallant boys " or a " Here comes I " the leader chants his rhyme gesticulating the while

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Language
English