School: An t-Éadan Mór

Edenmore, Co. Monaghan
S. Mac Philib

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Local Customs

Archival Reference

The Schools’ Collection, Volume 0960, Page 286

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Local Customs
On New Year's Day nothing is thrown out of the house e.g. ashes, dirty water etc. They are stored in vessels + are not emptied until the next day. Somebody in the upper houses - the buyers + stables are not cleaned The cattle + horses are given something they do not usually get e.g. a handful of sheaf-corn(unthreshed). They get this first thing in the morning.
On May Eve little sprigs of rowan-tree are got and warps in the shape of a cricle about 2" Diameter. An old horse-stamp (horse-nail that has been used) is then got and tied in a stripe of cloth usually a piece of red flannel. This with the rowan hoop is then tied on the tail of every cow giving milk to protect it from witchcraft. It is allowed to remain on until it falls off.
In Hallow'eve, before the festive supper begins, and when all are seated, the woman of the house pinces a little oat-meal + salt on a plat or saucer + puts a little on the crown of each person's head saying, "In the name of the Father, and of the son, etc"
On the evening of 1st Nov. (all souls eve.) before going to bed the hearth is swept, a good fire is put on, and bread (oat-meal bread when it used to be made) and water is left on a table for the souls in Purgatory. The door is left on the latch on this night also.
Before a newly calved cow is milked, a horse-stump is reddened in the fire; some burning coals or turf are put in an old tin porringer + red-hot horse stump is put into it. (The hot coals are to keep the stump warm). The porringer is then taken out to the byre + three "straws" of milk of milk are drawn from each teat into the tin. When this is done the coals are emptied in the group behind the cow.
The people were very superstitious as regards the first person they meet when on their way to the fair or market, particularly if they had anything to sell. To insure that they would not meet unlucky people + that they would have good luck they used to send a member of the family off in front of them + this person turned + came back to meet them just as they came out on the road and wished them luck.

Stephen Mc Philips