School: Carne (roll number 8941)

Carna, Co. Wexford
Máiréad L. de Búrca

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Wake and Funeral Customs in Carne

Archival Reference

The Schools’ Collection, Volume 0879, Page 006

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When a person died in neighbourhood of Carne long ago, a neighbour usually came (an old person) and laid out corpse. The face, hands and feet were washed, the hair combed and brushed. If a man was wearing a moustache or side whiskers it was shaved off.
A band of black cloth was tied around chin to top of head, to keep the mouth in closed position. (Sometimes a prayer book was placed under chin and neck in a slanting position if cloth was not at hand).
The habit was then put on, the hands joined as in prayer.
A Rosary beads or Cross was placed in hands.
The corpse was laid out to be waked.
Sometimes the corpse was waked in kitchen (houses being very small long ago).
Neighbours came and danced and sang in Barn.
They also played Games and tricks.
They sung carols also.
The men got clay pipes and tobacco and plenty of whiskey.
The women got snuff.
The corpse was waked two nights. Two men went to dig grave. The coffin was carried on a "bier" to grave. Three crosses were ordered, one was placed on a tree, another one was left at a Cross Road, and the third Cross was left at head of grave.