The Schools’ Collection

This is a collection of folklore compiled by schoolchildren in Ireland in the 1930s. More information

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  1. Feasts of the Year

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    from a neighbour's fire ill luck would fall on the neighbour
    Dont put out ashed or clothes on May Day. If you brought out a coal on May Day something in the haggard would light before the next May Day. The foal that is born on May Day has the killing of a man in him. Anyone who dies on May Day is holy. Dont throw out the sweeping on May Day. If a cow calved on May Day the calf would be dead. It is not right to give away money on May Day. You should twist a clock around the churn on May Day so that the people wont steal the butter. If you kill a pig on May Day the meat will be bad. If a child who was born on May Day threw stones he would kill somebody.
  2. Festival Customs - May Day

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    May Day.
    May day falls on the first of May and it is said to be the first day of summer.
    The day before May day is called May eve and on that day in Adare no Roman Catholic would dare to pick flowers because they say it is unlucky and that the fairies would come that night and revenge it on anybody that picked flowers on that day.
    On May eve the priest has always a large amount of holy water put in the chapel and each household brings a bottle of it home and sprinkles it all around the house so that no harms will come to them. This water is known as the May water.
    There are some Roman Catholics in Adare who would not stay out late on May eve night afraid the fairies would catch them.
    May day is not kept as a special day in Irleand at present but long ago people kept that day as a great day of enjoyment, because it is supposed to be the first day of summer and not so
  3. May Day

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    In olden times May day was a very holy day in Ireland. The people used to scattre flowers around their doors to welcome the month. They also used to put up a little alter to welcome the Blessed Virgin. Nowadays May day is kept like any other ordinary day. It is an old saying what ever day May day will fall on Christmas day will fall on the same day. The people pray very much to the Blessed Virgin because this is the month she died in and she will give any gift you ask for. In the month of May all the flowers begin to grow and everything begins to it seems to start a new life.
  4. Superstitions

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    The old people believe that it is not right to put out the ashes on May Day - which is the first day in May. They say that if you give away anything of May Day that we will be throwing away the whole year. - especially they are very careful about wheck they go with milk on that day. If any one took anything from you on that day you would have no luck the whole year after. If you see a frog on May Day you will cry as much water that day. And that day lifetime
  5. The Lore of Certain Days

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    The people of my district say that the luckiest day to start to plough is on a Friday. They say that you should not turn up the clay on May Day. A person should not throw out ashes or dirt on May Day. If a person met a red haired woman or girl on the road on that day they should turn and go home again. Also nobody should give away milk on May Day.
  6. May Eve

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    May Eve falls on the last day of April and the next day is called May day.
  7. May Day

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    it is said that May day brings Summer. If May day is a wet day the following year will be wet but if it is a dry day the year will be dry.
    If you wash your face in the May morning dew. your face will be the same in another year. On May day a bunch of May Flowers is placed in the thatch or sometimes they are tied to the slates. The children have great fun celebrating May Day.
  8. Béaloideas or Folklore on Pisreoga or Pishrogues

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    unnecessary work on that day.
    On May-day there are a lot of Pishrogues carried out by the old people. The old people would not give away milk on May day because they say your cows wont have muck milk for the coming year and there won't be much cream on their milk for that year. Another custom on May-Day, the old people say is if you wash your face in the dew on May Day before sunrise you will not have any pimples or boils or any sort of rashes on your face or skin for the coming year. The old people would not send out a coal of the fire on May day and if they sent out a coal on any other day during the
  9. May Day Customs

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    There are lots of pishogues about May day. In the morning before the sun rises, green branches are brought in to the house to show the beginning of the Summer. To put out a white handerchief before day and bring it in afterwards and if anybody is sick to rub it to them it will cure them. If a cow will calf on May Day, they say the cow and calf will die. On May day some people light a blessed candle under the cows to bless them. If you spill a drop of milk on May day they say you will be spilling it for the year. They say you should not give away any milk on May day or May Eve because you would not have luck, but if you make it on May Eve you will have luck on your butter. To put a churn outside the door on May day and turn it to the nieghbours door you will take away their butter. It is also a practice not to put outside the door any red ashes or a man to put out his pipe lighting. No body ever get married on May.
  10. May Day

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    Do not give away milk nor butter on May Day. Do not "redden" any ground on May Day. Be slow to give a coal of fire out of a house at any time, but on no account give one on May Day. It is not a good omen for a child's welfare to be born on May Day. As a matter of fact young animals are not welcome either on May Day.
    If milk must be given away on May Day always put a pinch of salt in it, if a drop of holy water is not convenient. If three or four families get water from a well, get the first of the water on May Morning. Make care that nobody takes a spancel out of the farm on this particular day.
  11. Local Festival Customs

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    of flowers outside their doors to ward off the evil influence of the fairies. To wash the face with May day dew is a cure for sunburn. Churning is always done around here on that day. The Maypole commences on the first Sunday evening in May. To marry in May is considered unlucky. "Who sows in May gets little that way." "May wet and windy leaves the barn full and tidy." "A wet and windy May fills the haggard with corn and hay. "If a cat has kittens in May they will never catch mice." "A hot May makes a fat churchyard" "Never change a clout until May day is out." are some proverbs.
    St Johns day is called bonefire day but locally it is on the feast of St Peter & Paul they are lit here.
    If it rains on St Swithens day it will rain for forty day after. If it is fine, it will be fine for forty days after. Up to thirty years ago there was only one fair annually in Kilbeggan. Now we have twelve. One on the first Friday of each month. Lady day the
  12. Festivals of the Year - May Day

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    May day is also called Lady Day. In olden times the first fair in May was called Ladies' Fair. It was generally on May 1st. All the young women looking for husbands dressed up in their best clothes. They generally got new clothes for that day. They all went to the fair and walked up and down the street looking for their future husbands. On that day their mothers gave them money for
  13. Lore of Certain Days

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    It is supposed to be unlucky to give away milk on May Day. There are many superstitions in regards to this day. Long ago butter was taken on May Day. A priest having heard about a certain woman who took the butter followed her on May Day. The district through which they passed was thickly hedged. The woman always kept on one side of the hedge and the priest on the other. As she went through each man's land she said "Half for you and half for me." The priest repeated this after her and when the woman churned the next day the churn was full of butter.
  14. Hallow Eve Customs

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    Hallow Eve
    On November day the old people observed similar customs to those observed on the New Years day or May day. The don't throw out dirty water, ashes or any refuse on this day as they consider it very unlucky to do so. As on May Eve they make provision for the following day by emptying all ashes, refuse etc on the Hallow-Eve so that the necessity may not arise to throw out (anything on) any of the luck on November Day. The old people said that those who treated this custom with contempt were very unlucky in their
  15. The Lore of Certain Days

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    is buried in it will come back again. It is said if a person changes from one house to another during the month of May that their house will be haunted. Saturday is thought to be the luckiest day of the week to change from one to another. The first day of may is the cross day of the year. It is on the first day of May that most of the piseogs are worked as people doing harm to their neighbours. It is said that if you give away eggs on the first of May you give away all your luck. From the 17th of March to the 30th of March is thought to be the luckiest days for setting potatoes. Most of the crops are planted in march as it is considered the luckiest month for planting crops. The 30th and the 31st of march and the 1st of April are the days of the old cows or the Ratine Rine days. Everybody minds their cows on that day.
  16. May Day Customs

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    There are a great many customs connected with May Day. Some of the customs are religious and some of them are superstitious placed on May Day the children of Mary place flowers on her altar and the flowers are called may flowers. The people shake holy water on the cows on that day and it is said it increases their milk. The people do not let fire out of the house on May Day. If a man comes in to light his pipe he is made smoke it inside. If a person gets up early on May Day he should not kindle a fire unless he sees smoke out of the priest's house. On May morning the man of the house goes to the nearest stream separating his land from his neighbour's and he takes a jar of water home with him, and he also picks a branch off the whitethorn tree. The water is left in a safe place and the branch is hung on the rafters and it is left there until the following year. People do not give away milk on
  17. Festivals of the Year - May Day

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    In the olden times in Ireland, people were more superstitious than they are at the present day, for instance: They would not let anyone outside their own family into their dairy for fear they would take the butter, or into their cowhouse, fowlhouse or barn on May Day. If anyone did happen to get in they would have to shake the dust off their boots lest they might take the luck. Also if you were entering a dwelling - house you would have to put your right foot inside the door first. No one ever gets married on May Day because it is counted very unlucky. If a robin flew into the house on May Day it is supposed to be a sign of a death about to take place. Up to the present time it is usual for people to put up a May bush and adorn it with flowers and toys and candles, and the people would sing and dance all round it. It was supposed to be unlucky to give fire or matches or milk or lend anything in the way of tools on May Day.
  18. Emblems and Objects of Value

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    St. Brigid's cross is made on the first of February on the eve of St. Brigid's Day. It is made of wood. The cross is placed in the inside of the roof of the dwelling house. It is done by the woman of the house who in silent prayer used consecrate her family and home to St. Brigid. On St. Patrick's day all the young people used wear green ribbon beneath the shamrock. It was often known that when the landlord used come to the houses they used hide those things. May Eve was thought a very dangerous day on the farmers. They used make all preparations to keep their butter from wicked neighbours that were in the district. The hair in the cows udder is burned by a blessed candle on May Day. On May Day a man used stand at a gate or gap where the cows used come out and give each of them a crack of a lighted furze bush. The dairy used be also consecrated to the Blessed Virgin and St. Brigid. A Hymn used be sung while the cows used be milking on May Day.
  19. Béaloideas - Special Days

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    My Folklore this week is about certain days. Some people say that it is not lucky to do work on special days such as May Day. The people would not give milk on May Day to any person. The old people long ago on May Day put a cross on the rafters of the house. They also put whitethorn over the door.
    When May Day would come again they would therow out that whitethorn and bring in fresh thing. Half those things are not done at all now such as to bring in the whitethorn. The people thought Friday a very lucky day to do certain work such as to cut hay, to remove furniture.
    The people say that Monday is unlucky day to start any work. The old women long ago had certain days for spining. The old people used to start their spining on the evening. This is my Bealodeas about Special Days.
  20. May Day

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    There are certain days which are supposed to be unlucky such as May Day. There is a lot of superstitions about that day. It is considered unlucky to put down the first fire early on that morning. When the good people saw the smoke it would hunt them from their play. It is said that if you got up early on a May Morning before the dew is gone off the grass and to wash your face in it you would have no boils on your face throughout that year.
    People say that you should never sweep out the floor on May Day or give away any butter or lend anything that day. If you had anything lent before May Day you should get it back before that day. People never put out ashes on May Morning because they are throwing away their luck for all the year. Saturday is also an