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  1. St John's Eve

    Language
    English

    St John's Eve
    The usual Irish custom on St John's Eve in this locality is to light bonfires. There fires are chiefly lit near potato gardens as the Irish think that it prevents blight from coming on their potatoes. It is a beautiful sight to witness the hill sides ablaze on St John's eve but on the following day the black hillside look dreary.

  2. Abbey Well

    Language
    English
    Collector
    Sean Kelly
    Informant
    Miss W. Bonar

    During the lifetime of Lady Hayes she had in her employment a maid named O Reilly from Cork. A neighbouring woman named Kate McGrath did the laundry for her.
    On St. John's eve Miss O Reilly went to the house of Kate McGrath and stayed to a late hour of the night. On her way home she came upon the Abbey Field. There was a torchlight procession of men dressed in white. She stood for a while looking at the scene and then continued on her way unperturbed by what she had seen for she thought that the people of Donegal still kept to the old custom of having a procession on St. John's eve.
    When she arrived at the Castle she asked the maids did they still hold a procession on St. John's eve

  3. Saint John's Eve

    Language
    English
    Collector
    Liam Ó Gaordha

    St. John's day comes on the 22nd of June and it is a custom for the boys of this district to light bon-fires on St. John's eve. For two or three days before St John's eve all the young boys go gathering furzes and sticks for the fire. The furzes and sticks are put in a dry place so the they would wider. On St. John's eve they are put in one great heap at the cross roads, and then one of the boys light the fire.
    Then the boys and girls of the district gather around the fire and wait there until it is quenched. Then they watch the fires of the other districts and see which fire remains lighting the longest. Long ago the people used bring home a burned stick and rub it to their cattle. Others used drive their cattle around the fire. It is said that this would keep away ill-luck for the next year.

  4. Folklore of Certain Days and Feasts

    Language
    English
    Collector
    Alice Mullan
    Informant
    Mrs Maher
    Age
    87

    St. John's Eve

    Bonfires used to be lighted on every farmer's land on St. John's Eve (eve of 24th June), in this district. When the fires were nearly burnt out burning sticks were taken from them and placed in each field "to protect the crops" (against evil charms).

  5. St John's Eve

    Language
    English
    Collector
    Maureen Marsh
    Informant
    Mr Marsh

    St. John's Eve
    On St. John's Eve it is an old custom for young men to light bonfires at the cross roads.

  6. 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.

  7. Bonfires

    Language
    English
    Informant
    Mrs Fitzpatrick
    Age
    65

    Bonfires were lighted on St John's Eve and on the Eve. of the 29th June.

  8. St John's Eve

    Language
    English
    Collector
    Donie O Keeffe

    St John's Eve
    About sixty or seventy years St John's Eve was observed by young and old but nowadays this custom has died except that a furze bush is lighted in a remote place. Long ago a few days before Bonfire Night all the young men and boys were busily engaged gathering sticks,turf and other kinds of fuel. When they had enough gathered they made them all up into one big heap so as to have a blaze fire. When the sun went down all the neighbours gathered around. The fire was lighted and the flames could be seen for miles. Then all at once there was wild applause

  9. St John's Eve

    Language
    English

    St. John's Eve

    It was a local custom some years ago, for the young people of this neighbourhood to collect a quantity of turf and wood and light a huge bonfire on a high hill, on St. John's Eve.
    They passed the night in singing and dancing round the fire, and cheering their loudest. When leaving for home, they always carried away with them a lighted sod which they threw into a corner of the nearest field to avert sickness from cattle during the year.

  10. St John's Eve

    Language
    English

    St John's Eve

    In this district fires are lit in the potato fields on St John's Eve. Withered bushes are gathered together, and they are so placed that when lit, the wind blows the smoke over the crop.The people say that the lighting of these fires brings a blessing on the crops.
    This custom has been carried out in this district as long as the people can remember.

  11. Feast Customs

    Language
    English
    Collector
    Maisie Reilly

    to be a kind of wicked day. It is said that the water runs mad three times on that day. Any person or animal born on Whit Sunday is supposed to be sore.
    St John's Eve.
    On St John's eve all the boys in this village of Prizon, parish of Balla, barony of Carra, Co. Mayo get a horse and cart and a lot of bags and go to everybody's bog and bring a bag of turf out of it. They also get a few big blocks and they bring them to the crossroads. There

  12. Halloween and other Feast-Days

    Language
    English
    Collector
    Annie Fallon
    Informant
    Mr John Harley

    St John's Eve.
    St. John's Eve occurs on the 23rd June. On that night "bon-fires" blaze all over Ireland. These are generally built at a cross-roads or in the middle of a village on a height. The turf is procured in the neighbouring bogs or each neighbour fives a bagful. A huge bone is placed in the middle of the fire and as the flames ascend the shouts and laughter of the people can be heard for miles around.

    The villagers sit around the fire for a couple of hours and tell stories and sometimes sing songs and amuse themselves for a couple of hours. Often too they have a little feast consisting of fresh milk, milked from the cows in the neighbouring fields and loaf bread bought in the nearby shops.
    When the feast is over the people go in procession around the fire and recite the rosary. When time to go home each one takes a "live" sod and throws it into his own fields so that his crops may be successful during the year. Others carry the sod or live coal to the byre and pass it under and over the cattle's bodies. This action they believe protects the cattle from sickness.

  13. Saint John's Eve

    Language
    English
    Informant
    Mrs O' Neill
    Age
    58

    On the 24th of June St. John's Eve occurs. Before bon fires used to be lit in honour of the Feast, but now that custom is dying away in most places. People used to sing and dance and jump over the fire. It is an old custom to drive the cows over the fire so no harm could come to them during the coming year.

  14. Feast Days

    Language
    English

    all diseases. This custom is still kept in a great number of houses.

    Long ago St. John's Eve was kept a very happy feast, but at present, there are not many customs kept. On St. John's Eve they got furze and turf, and put them up on the highest hill they could find, or at a cross roads. The people from around the place gathered, and put it on fire. They had different kinds of music, and when the fire was kindling properly, they danced around it. That fire was called a bon-fire. It was lit in honour of St. John, because it was said when St. John came unhurt from the cauldron of boiling oil, it was but right to show respect to him some way.
    May Eve was also kept as a great feast day. On May Eve the 30th April a bush was put in the ground and decorated with egg shells and primroses. This bush was called a "May Pole". All during Lent and on Easter Sunday, the shells of the eggs that were eaten during that time, were put on the bush in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
    On Saint Stephen's day, all the boys and young

  15. St John's Eve - 23rd June

    Language
    English

    On St John's eve a bone-fire is lit on every hill. Some say it is in honour of St John. Others say that a while before the battle of Clontarf the Danes were scattered and they fled to neighbouring houses for safety. Brian sent out a secret message to tell all the people to kill the Dane and to light a bone-fire on a high-hill as a warning to him when the Dane was killed This the people did and in memory of this it is said people light bone fires.

  16. Wether's Well - Tobar na Molt

    Language
    English
    Informant
    Thomas Healy
    Age
    85

    supposed also that one of the priests that was saying holy mass there was caught and killed by the Danes and that a blessed well sprang up where he was slain. It is also supposed that the water used to boil there at certain periods.
    One day a neighbour took home a bucket of this water to boil it, but if the water was down (on the fire) since it would not boil, because this silver trout that used to be seen was in the pail of water.There are three days on which rounds are performed there namely the Saturday before May Day, St John's Eve, and Michaelmas Eve.
    Disabled or crippled people or the blind must bathe in the waters of the well. A long time ago a great miracle happened here one St John's Eve. Three disabled boys came to the well with three pairs of crutches. After paying their three rounds they went into the well and bathed in it and they were immediately cured they left their crutches after them. This is how they perform the rounds there (ie) They say two rosaries around a bunch(clump) of trees (b) they say three rosaries around the well and after each rosary they kneel down and ask their request (c) they finish up praying at the altar stone.
    There are three stones there shaped like a heart and they are supposed to be seating (perspiring) at certain periods and when people rub their fingers to them

  17. Festival Customs

    Language
    English
    Collector
    Nancy Boland
    Informant
    Mrs Boland

    also have great feast on Easter Sunday.

    Whit Sunday
    It is unlucky to go near water on Whit Sunday because it has been noticed that a great number of people get drowned at that particular time.
    St. John's Eve
    St John's Eve is on the 23rd of June. It is an old pagan custom for the people to light a bon-fire on that night. This bon-fire consisted of bones and sticks.