School: Stackallen (roll number 1309)

Stackallan, Co. Meath
P.T. Mac Gabhann

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Festival Customs

Archival Reference

The Schools’ Collection, Volume 0714, Page 053

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

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On St. Stephen's Day boys and grown-up men gather together and go in procession from house to house singing the wren-song. The people round here call the wren "the wran and also the scut." Long ago people used to go "round with the wran" on St Stephen's Day. They go round yet but they do not have the wran with them. They used to kill the wran and put him in a bundle of straw and bring him from house to house on their backs. If the people would not give them a penny or twopence they would throw some of the wran's feathers at the door and say that they would have the wran's curse on them the whole year. Then the people would not let them in until they would stop killing the wran because it was cruel. This is the poem that they used to sing when they ere going "round with the wran."
"The wran the wran the king of the all birds,
Saint Stephen's Day he was caught in the furze,
Although he is small his family is great,
Rise up gentle lady and give us a trate,
Up with the kettle and down with the pan and
give us some money to bury the wran,
My shoes are worn my coat is torn following the
wran for three days and more,

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Philomena Tighe
Rochestown, Co. Meath