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  1. Saint John's Eve

    Language
    Mixed
    Collector
    Mary Gavin

    We will soon have the bonfire night back again. It is a great custom in this part of the country to light a bonfire on St John's night. Young and old help to gather turf and sticks for the bonfire and they love that night to arrive. It is said that people are allowed to steal any amount of turf for the bonfire on that night. The men of the villages stay out under the stacks of turf in order that when the little boys and the little girls would come along with bags

  2. Festival Customs

    Language
    English
    Collector
    P. Guckian
    Informant
    John Irwin
    Age
    80

    the 2nd February known in this district as "Miss Biddy's night" the boys dress up the as St. Stephens day. On St John's night the eve of the 23rd June, a bonfire is built in each street of the town then the boys of the streets take sods by force from each streets bonfire. The old-people pray around the bonfire and put coals from the bonfire into their gardens to keep the blight away from the potatoes.
    On May day the people put primroses of may-flowers outside their doors. Some of

  3. The Bonfire Night

    Language
    English

    The bonfire night is kept in honour of Saint John. It falls on the 23rd of June. About eight o’clock the bonfire is lighted and they gather sticks and whins for it. They generally light the bonfire on the sides of roads and mountains.

    The people wait at the bonfire until about twelve o clock. When some people are leaving the bonfire they go round the fire three times and say their prayers.
    Some of them bring a coal with them and throw it into their stalks. It is the custom to put a bone in the fire.

  4. The Bonfire Night

    Language
    English
    Collector
    John Mac Donnell
    Informant
    Patrick Mac Donnell
    Age
    40

    There is a lot of customs about the bonfire night. Most people look forward to the bonfire night. It is an old custom with the people to leap over the fire before they go home. It is another custom with the people to get a snail and throw him in the potatoes so they would grow. They also get a coal of fire and throw it in the crops so that none of them would fail. They also dance around the fire and play music. It is not right for the to have a bonfire if they have no bone in it.

    Some people say that it is not right to come to the bonfire unless you bring a sod of turf. It is an old custom with the people not to quinch the fire when they are going home. Nearly all the people try to have their turf dry for the bonfire.

  5. Bonfire Customs

    Language
    English
    Collector
    Rita Mahon

    369
    Bonfire Customs

    The Bonfire is held in this district on the 23rd and 29th of June. Long ago all the people of the town-land contributed to the Bonfire with either sticks, turf, or hay and on the night it was held both young and old gathered to it. There they danced and sung around it until midnight. It was also a custom to say the rosary at the Bonfire, When the Bonfire was burned out the people gathered they ashes and scattered it through their crops. This was supposed to bring good luck to their crops. for the next twelve months. Others drove the cattle through the ashes.

  6. Customs on Bonfire Night

    Language
    English
    Collector
    Mary Hackett
    Informant
    Mrs C. Hackett
    Age
    40
    Occupation
    farmer's wife

    Long ago, there would be a bonfire at a crossroads or at some place that the people would gather to. Every one would give some money before the bonfire to buy a musical instrument. Then at the bonfire there would be music, singing and dancing until three or four o'clock in the morning. Then they would leave and bring a lighted coal with them and sometimes they would bring it home to their own fire and other times they would throw it into a field along the way. The children try to keep the bonfire lit as long as they can after that night.

  7. St John's Eve

    Language
    English
    Informant
    Mrs H. Duffy
    Age
    86

    After supper the old people came out to the bonfire. Some leaning on sticks. All remained around the pile till it was nearly burned out. Then the woman of the house got a shovel, put the cinders on it and brought it to her own house for luck. If more than one family attended the same bonfire a coal was brought home from the bonfire to each house.

  8. Bonfire Night

    Language
    English
    Collector
    Patricia Egan
    Age
    12

    order to buy sticks, coal and turf for their bonfire. Each street has its own fire and people go round all the streets to see which is the best bonfire. When the morning comes and the women want to light their fires for breakfast they take a live coal from the bonfire and place it in their own grates. Whatever money is left over after buying the fuel is spent on sweets and fruit and cakes.

  9. Bonfire Night

    Language
    English
    Informant
    Miss Annie Costello
    Age
    82

    Bonfire night: On St. John's eve 24th June fiddlers came and there was Irish dancing round the bonfire.

  10. The Bonfire Night

    Language
    English

    Last night was bonfire night. Bonfire night is celebrated each year on the 23rd June, There is an old custom which the people keep up.
    At seven o'clock each person goes to the bog and gets a load of turf and some sticks. They get a good load and a bonfire is bade in each village.
    Then all the neighbours gather together and have a great night. They have tea and bread and butter and when tea is over they have music and dancing.
    They dance and play till near morning and they have a great time until the bonfire burns out.
    All the young children love to hear of bonfire night, as they have a great sport playing around the bonfire.
    This custom is observed by the old people and they always like to keep it up.
    It is a custom which is strictly observed that when the people are going from from the bonfire, they take a coal and bring it home, to put it into the potato

  11. Bonfire Night

    Language
    English
    Collector
    Sadie Doherty
    Informant
    Neil Mc Laughlin
    Age
    68

    Bonfire night
    On the bonfire night the custom is to light a fire, and to pray at it, and jump over it three times. When people would be driving home the cows, someone would hit each cow with a coal. This is an old Pagan custom and this is supposed to bring goof luck on the cows. It is done sometimes yet, but it used to be always the custom, and another custom was to throw a coal into each field. This was to bring good luck on the crops, and it is done sometimes yet.
    And as well as having one big bonfire for every townland, each house as well as that has its own bonfire. At dusk a wee pile of turf is made in the garden or field and hot coals are brought from the kitchen fire to light them. This fire is always lit near where the cows will pass at milking time and a blazing turf is pitched after each cows as she goes by. After that the fire is scattered and let die.
    The people used meet at the big bonfire in Desertegney till about 25 years ago. They danced and sang and tried to jump over the fire for luck. They don't do that now.

  12. A Bonfire

    Language
    English

    Some years ago the people used to have a bonfire in honour of a Saint. This custom has died out in this part of the country. The fire was lighted on the twenty-fourth of June.
    For a few days before bonfire night the young people gathered bushes and some brought turf for the fire. The bonfire was put on a hill and there was one in every townland. A hundred or two went to the fire and some one brought oil. When the fire was lighted the people flocked round it and stayed there all night.
    The young people went for sport and the old people went for a religious purpose. Some of the people brought home a burned stick because they thought a blessing was attached to it. The stick was kept in the house until the next bonfire night.
    The protestants had a bonfire in a week or two after that in honour of King William. The farmers did not like this because the protestants pulled down gaps. Some of them did not do this

  13. Bonfires

    Language
    English

    All got away before dark as the "pooka" was supposed "to be out' that night.

    On one occasion, a party who had visited their friends after the bonfire, were frightened almost to death, on the way home . Their path led past the remains of the bonfire . A mighty wind tore across the place throughout the neighbouring rushes, and left a road in its trail. The bonfire ceased to be held there afterwards. It was held about a quarter of a mile nearer to the houses.
    Now , the bonfire is held near a cross roads as the young people are fewer in number and it requires more than one townsland to make up a number sufficient for the dance.
    The fire from the remains of the bonfire is no longer taken away for the gardens and 'pookas' are regarded as things of a foolish age

  14. Bonfire Night

    Language
    English
    Collector
    Francis Harkin

    Bonfire Night is an Annual Festival held by all the young people. In olden times this was an outstanding festival when all the young people gathered around at the crossroads or some other place, where a bonfire was lit and a dance was held and all made merry. But now there customs have fell through except some small boys who gather together and set all the whin hedges on fire, and if one looks out on May Eve or Bonfire Night one, will see the country side all ablaze and also see the boys running with pieces of lighted sticks from one place to another until in the end you would think the whole country is burning as the smoke and sparks fly skywards while the children cheer until they are hoarse, and try their best to keep all the fires burning at the same time.

    Some people say that May Eve bonfire is a protestant celebration in connection with

  15. The people used to gather sticks, fir blooks and turf so as to have a big Bonfire in every townland. All the people both young and old would gather out to the Bonfire and they would sing and dance until the morning. When putting in the cows it was the custom to throw a "coal" from the Bonfire after them to bring good luck.

    Some people would throw a "coal" into a field of their corn to bring a good harvest. There used to be a Bonfire in every townland. Some of the boys from the townland would go to the neighbouring townlands and would try to steal a burning.....

    ( In some townlands a dozen men with big sticks guarded the.....)

  16. The Bonfire Night

    Language
    English
    Collector
    Peter Brennan
    Occupation
    teacher

    The Bonfire Night.
    The custom of holding bonfires on St John's Eve, was a red-letter event here long ago. Early on that evening, children went round to the various houses collecting turf. More often, they had to go to the bog as the new turf is not drawn home by that date, and people are inclined to conserve the old turf lest wet weather comes. The bonfire was usually built at cross-roads. The turf was heaped up and live coals and a bone placed in the middle. When it was well alight, Young and old gathered roung it. The old people indulged in a seanachas. The young people indulged in dancing, generally to the music of a melodeon. As the bonfire decreased in size, the young men indulged in a jumping competition - who could first jump over the fire? Sometimes a competitor scattered coals and sparks in all directions. On leaving the bonfire, each person brought a live coal which he threw into his potato field. This was supposed to bring good luck during the year. The bonfires are still numerous, but it is left to the children to carry on this ancient custom.

  17. Bonfire Night in Ballinahea

    Language
    English

    Bonfire Night in Ballinahea.
    Up to about 10 years ago there were great gatherings at Ballinahea on bonfire night.
    Long ago the thought of the bonfire brought joy to young and old. About six o clock the fire was lit. Early in the day a few lads went round begging a cart, they usually got one, and pushed it down to the bog themselves. They took twenty sods out of each clamp of turf. My father's father played the flute at the bonfire, and Tom Kelly from the bog played the Melodon. A half barrel of porter which was brought by Pat Gaffney was distributed among the players and dancers. The custom has almost died out now. About three years ago there was a fight over breaking and pulling bushes out of Dargans and Bliths ditches.

  18. St John's Eve

    Language
    English

    called locally "bonfire night". The custom of lighting bonfires is dying out.
    The old people used to send the younger members with burning brands from the bonfire to each field in which a crop was planted — the blazing branch was flung into the fields and the crops were not supposed to 'do any good' unless and until this was done. If any crop were doing badly the old people were wont to say "Wait till after bonfire night — you will see a change for the better after it."