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Transcripts count: 119
  1. Festival Customs - May Day

    Language
    English
    Collector
    Gretta Mc Cann
    Informant
    Mr Terence Mc Cann

    May Day is the name given to the first day in May. One of the superstitious customs connected with May Day is on May eve anyone who carries out this custom goes and gets the bark off a "rowan-berry tree" and early on May day they tie a piece of this to each of the cow's tails with a piece of a red rag. They believe if they don't do this both the cows and their milk will be "over-looked". Some people say if you give away milk on May day you give away the luck of your cows. People who did not believe in this in order to prevent the milk from being stolen went to the priest and got a "sup" of milk blessed and put a drop of blessed milk in each of the milking vessels.

    Long ago the children used to go out on May day and gather "prim-roses" or May flowers and strew them round the cows in the byre. They did this in order to prevent the cows from dying. Anyone who washes his face in the dew before sun-rise on May morn will be "good-looking" the whole year round.

  2. Festival Customs

    Language
    English

    On May Day it is a custom to refuse the loan of anything to a neighbour or to put the ashes out on that day, for it is believed that this would take away the luck for the rest of year. Another custom of "May day" is the making of the May "tree". This was done by cutting the branch of a lone bush and by putting a primrose on every thorn of the branch.
    On May day it is a custom to rise very early a tie red ribbons on the cow's tails least anybody should "overlook" them

  3. The Lore of Certain Days

    Language
    English
    Collector
    Rose Ann Mc Govern
    Informant
    John Dolan

    better of it. The people would not give a loan of anything to anyone on May Day, and especially any weapons, such as spades or grapes. They would not let out milk either, or put out the ashes or the dirt of the floor. They say that you should take in all on May Day but to put out nothing. There were old women long ago who used to be seen busy all May Day bringing in armfulls of flowers, and brambles of bushes, and hanging them up on the ceiling, and over the door.
    People say that if anyone rises on May Day before sunrise and washes his face and eyes with the dew of the grass, that he will rise early every morning early during the whole year rounds. They say that you should not mix the milk the cows had in April with the milk they had May Day, or if so it would be very churned.

    Received from, John Dolan.
    Tullnacross.
    Rose Ann Mc Govern.
    Tullymacross.

  4. The Lore of Certain Days

    Language
    English
    Collector
    Maura Dolan
    Informant
    Thomas Mc Govern

    The old people believe that there were certain days which it is unlucky to do certain things, and other days which it is lucky to do these things. The old people would not start any work on Saturday because they think it would not be done properly if it was started on Saturday. If they had anything to buy or sell they would not buy or sell it on ''May Day''. They say that if anyone bought anything on ''May Day'' there would be no luck in it.
    They also believed that if a person sold anything on ''May Day'' that the fairies would come and bring things out of the house. People believe that ''Spy Wednesday'' is a very unlucky day. They would not work at their crops on this day. They say that any crop that would be worked at on that day would be afterwards.

    Received from, Thomas McGovern,
    Ardvaugh.
    Maura Dolan, Tullytiernan

  5. Festival Customs

    Language
    English
    Collector
    Andrew Smith
    Informant
    Mr Patrick Smith
    Age
    60

    money they spend it on drink, and when the boys get money they spend it on sweets.
    On May Day a common practice is to tie bits of a rowan tree and bits of red rags on the cows' tails to have good luck during the year. Some people consider it unlucky to give a drink of milk to a stranger on May Day.

  6. May Day Customs

    Language
    English
    Collector
    Rosetta Reilly
    Informant
    Mrs Reilly
    Age
    45

    May Day or La-Bel-Taine (the day of the Sacred Baal Fire) was a period of great rejoicing in Ireland. On May morning before sunrise all the youth went out to the garden and the first snail they saw they took it up put it on a plate sprinkled lightly with flour placed a cabbage leave over it and so left it there until after sunrise when they would find the initial letters of their lover's name traced on the flour. Should the snail be quite within his house when you take him up your lover will be rich but should the snail be almost out of his shell then your future husband will be poor and probably will have no house or home to take you to when you wed him. Great precautions was taken on May Eve as it was believed that the fairies had fatal power over the human race upon that night as they stole children and bewiched the cattle if they could find an opportunity therefore no door was left upen after sunset. There are three things which was never given away on May Day, fire, milk and butter for they would be giving away luck. No one was permitted

  7. May Day Customs

    Language
    English
    Collector
    Muriel Moorhead

    May Day is the first day of Summer. On May Day people strew flowers in front of their doors. They put them there to keep off evil spirits.
    The night before May Day people go out at twelve o'clock and gather a flower called Yarrow, they gather ten stalks of Yarrow. While they are picking it they say a rhyme to themselves. This is the rhyme they say:-
    Good morrow, good morrow fare Yarrow
    Thrice go morrow to thee,
    I hope before this time to morrow,
    Thou wilt show my true love to me.
    When they go home they don't speak, they throw one of the stalks away. Then they go to bed and dream of their future wife or husband.

  8. Most of the old customs are after drying out. But they are still remembered by the old people. No regards these old customs it was considered unlucky to throw out anything on New Years day. On May eve primroses would be gathered and scattered round the house. On May day a branch would be cut off a neuron tree and tied round the churn dash for fear the butter would be taken. May eve the door of the cow house would be locked for fear anyone would go in. As it was supposed if anyone went in and milked a cow that they could take the butter. It was also thought if anyone if anyone went into a house where they were churning would have to help, to churn, otherwise he could bring the butter. A coal would not be let out on May day as it was thought if a coal was brought out the luck would be brought out.
    It was a custom that who ever would have the first smoke up May morning would have no luck during the rest of the year. Whoever would be first to bring a bucket of water

  9. Festival Customs

    Language
    English
    Collector
    Andrew Brady
    Informant
    Mr Andrew Brady
    Age
    60

    with the pan.
    A penny or two or we'll bury the wren.
    The young boys buy sweets with the money they collect, while the grown-up men go to a public house and buy drink with the money they get.
    On May Day some people tie red rags on the cows tails to ward off bad luck during the year. Some people would not give away milk on May Day as they think they would give away their luck for that year.

  10. Festival Customs

    Language
    English
    Collector
    James Gilcreest
    Informant
    Mr Patrick Gilcreest
    Age
    50

    so as not to be recognised.
    Some of the old customs connected with May Day still linger in this district. The following are some of them. The ashes are not put out on May morning. Red rags are tied to the cows' tails and to the horses winkers. These red rags are called "gads". They are tied on before twelve oclock on May Eve to keep away the witch-woman. Milk and butter would not be given as a present on May Day. It is believed that these customs came down from pagan times.

  11. May Day Superstitions

    Language
    English

    The old people would not throw out ashes on May Day, as they believed they would be throwing away their luck.
    Neither would they throw out vessel water on May Day.
    Even to this day many people of the district will not throw out dirty water after night-fall.

  12. The Care of our Farm Animals

    Language
    English
    Collector
    Elaine Whyte

    The cows are usually distinguished from one another by their colour. Thus we hear of "the Red cow, the big Roanie, the blue dexter etc. but they often have special names such as "Polly", "Twinnie", "May Day," "Spottie," "White Head" or "Snow-ball".
    "Twinne" probably got her name through being born a twin and "May Day" got her title from her birthday but there are rather uncommon terms.
    Common names for horses are:- Kitty, Daisy, Dolly, Molly and Garry. "Therish" is a common word for quiting a cow. "Pruggie" is another word also used locally for this purpose. It is believed that cows "let down" the milk better of the milker is singing.

  13. Festival Progress

    Language
    English
    Collector
    Brigid Mc Donald
    Informant
    Mr Michael Mc Donald
    Age
    61

    All festival days are observed in Ireland. Among the most notable of these Irish feasts are St. Patrick's and St. Brigids days. On St. Patrick's Day the shamrock and green colours are worn, and shamrocks are sent to our Irish exiles in other lands. On St. Brigids day, the 1st February rush - crosses were made, and distributed among the people, and were left - by, until the return of the feast again.
    May - day, is the first day of Summer, and is called "Labour - Day", yet it is kept as a general holiday in other countries. On the eve of May the children erect many bushes in the farmyard. The farmer endeavours to have the manure removed, before "May - day", as he considers it lucky to have the farmyard cleared of manure.

  14. Festival Customs

    Language
    English

    a Rowan-tree was hung in the byre on May Day. It was also on May Day that crowing hens were brought to the mearning of three townlands. It was considered very unlucky to give a loan of anything on May Day.

    Feast of St. Peter & Paul - a general holiday and great Fair in Swanlinbar.
    The Twelve Days of Xmas are kept as holidays by the country folk.
    St Stephen's Day. The young boys dress in peculiar styles and go around to the houses collecting money. They say a rhyme beginning:-
    "The wren, the wren, the King of the Birds
    Although she's small, her family is big
    So give us the price of a "Treat"
    Domnac Sunday - the last Sunday in July was for years the great Festival in this area. Hundreds assembled at Maguire's Chair and games of all kinds were played.
    (See "Football, Hurling" Page 144)

  15. Festival Customs

    Language
    English
    Informant
    Teresa Mc Manus

    Old customs love long. Some of the old Pagan customs live on in Ireland still.
    Hollow Een
    The children put apples in a basin of water and try to take them out of the water with their mouth. They also put money in a basin of water and try to take it up in their mouth. The person who takes up the money first has it to keep. The people eat nuts on that night also. They also eat boxty for their supper.
    May Day
    The people scatter primroses around the door on May day. The people do not give away milk on May day for they say the cows would have no milk for the rest of the year. Some people stick a bush in the ground and covers it with primroses. This is called a May bush. On the first of May it was an old custom to come in and bring out a coal to bring away the good luck.
    St Stephens day
    On St Stephens day the boys go out to gather money. They say some rhymes

  16. Festival Customs

    Language
    English
    Collector
    Tony Martin
    Informant
    Mrs Martin

    On May day morning some children get a small haw-thorn bush and dress it up like a Christmas tree. Then they take it and carry it around their village singing rhymes such as:-
    Here we go gathering nuts of May,
    nuts of May,
    On a cold and frosty morning.
    The old people are so glad with the children that they give them pennies and when the day is over they buy sweets and fruit and a lot of other things with which they have a feast that evening.

    On May day people used to tie a red ribbon on horse's or cow's tails for fear that the "Good people" would "over look" them.
    On the first of May people would not lend money or give a drink, for they said you would give their luck away.
    On May day people used to clean out their wells and white-wash the inside

  17. was there a smoke anywhere and if there was not, she would not put down a fire. People would wash their faces in in the dew so as to escape sun-burn during the summer. They would not put out the ashes or get the loan of anything on that day. They used to bring home any iron weapon that was lent before May day as it was considered unlucky to have anything lent on that day especially iron. They used to watch any woman they had a suspicion of witch-craft for fear she would bring water out of the well before the sun would shine on it. If she would she could take the butter off all that was going to the well.

    I heard of a woman that went to the well before sun rise on a May morning. She used to lift a bucket of water and spill it. While spilling it she would say three times "All for me". A certain man was listening to her and he said "a half for me". In a few days after this man churned. The churn was not near able to hold the butter. He went to the priest and the priest read an office. From that on the butter was right. On May eve girls used to put primroses under (their) heads to dream of whom they would marry. It was also considered unlucky for a cow to calve or a hen to hatch chickens on May day. On Whit Sunday it was unlucky to go near water. It was either drowning on that day or death before the next Whit Sunday.

    On Bonfire night fires are lit on every hill. Crowds dance round it. It was a custom long ago to leap the fire and who ever came safe without any burns was lucky. When the fire would be burned

  18. Local Festivals

    Language
    English
    Informant
    Dermot Mulligan

    St John's night falls on the 23rd September. All the boy's gather and burn them on a hill or at the crossroads. On May day the girls gather flowers and tie them on a Maypole. On Shrive Tuesday every one has pancakes for their tea and the men get their hair cut.

  19. Festival Customs

    Language
    English
    Collector
    Padraigh Mac Gabhann
    Informant
    Mr Smith
    Age
    49

    In my district many old people hold May-day as an important festival, because it is the first of summer, and they think that it is it is very lucky to celebrate that day.