Fairs took place every three months and always on "May Day". there was a saying "May Day the fair Day of Rush".Hucksters visited the town selling sweets and cakes. Dealers in feathers and rags came also. They still come and give toys and delph in exchange for rags.
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On EASTER SUNDAY it is lovely to see all the bands playing the marches in the cemetery, and they fire three shots over the Republicans' graves, and all the people wear Easter Lilies, and that morning all the children get Easter eggs, and the shops are nicely decorated with them.
On 1ST MAY all the village children get a May bush draped with rags and go from door to door to collect pennies. When evening comes they collect on the village green and dance and sing:-On May day, on May day,
A bird once sang to me,
The song I shall never forget,
Its notes, I often still repeat,
On May day, on May day.When they have collected the pennies they buy candles to put on the May bush.
The people go in crowds to the cemetery in Deansgrange, and they bring shamroch which they plant, and when it grows up it spreads all over the grave. This is performed on St Patrick's Day.
The May-Day Dance.
Dancing was the most important of the saced rites in all ancient religions; and the circular serpent-dance round a tree has been practiced from the remotest antiquity.
In Ireland it is still retained as the favourite pastime of the people on May-Day, when all the young men and maidens hold hands, and dance in a circle round a tree hung with ribbons and garlands, or round a bonfire, moving in curves from right to left, as if imitating the windings of a serpent.
Heart picture. Whenever holy water is being sprinkled it is sprinkled with the blessed Palm. On Ash Wednesday the blessed Palm which is left over is burned, and in this way the ashes are obtained which are used in the churches on that morning.On May day a spray with blossoms on it are brought in off the hawthorn bush. It is unlucky to bring it in to the house on any other day but May day. It is considered unlucky to bring the elder tree into the house and if a person is hit with an elder branch it is said he will not grow any more.
Easter, Whit and may day.
The Custom for St Patrick's day is the wearing of shamrock.
On may day boys or girls go round the place with a may bush collecting money and they sing this song.
a long life and a happy wife and something for the may bush.
Written by: Bernard Rourke
Told by: James Mc Grane
The green Swords
There are many old superstitions relating to fairies in the counties Meath and Westmeath. One of these was the old habit of putting rushes on another person's door step on May Day to keep the fairies away.
There are many people in Co. Meath who well remember having green rushes placed on their door steps in Kells many years ago. One never put rushes on one's own door step. It should be done by another person.
The May Bush.
The May bushes or burning trees, were first set up in honour of the Milesians who gave battle to the Tuatha de Danans on May-Day and defeated them. Then a powerful magician of the Tuatha caused innumerable darts to go forth against the Prince of the Milesians to kill him; but in passing they were all stopped by a bush that stood between the chief and the magician, so that a
A curious superstition is still prevalent among the Irish people, that on May Day the ancient kings of Ireland arise from their graves and gather together a great army of the dead, horse and foot, and they tell the troops that the hour has come to fight for Ireland, and they must be ready to march as commanded. Then the spectral warriors clash their sheilds and respond with wild cries to the kings and chies and the captains of the nation. The last time the kings arose from their graves was, it is said, in 1848, when the tramp and shouts of the marching men resounded distinctly through the hills; but when the people rushed to the spot where the shields clashed and the voices sounded, not a form was visible; the hosts of the dead warriors had vanished into air.
children used to visit their neighbours and get eggs from them which they ate for their breakfast. It was a custom on May Day for the labourers to leave their old jobs and go in search of new ones carrying with them a white stick which showed they had left their old jobs.
It is said that anyone who makes the nine Fridays and goes out on Good Friday and wishes for something they will get their wish. If you get nine pieces of pudding in different places at Christmas you will get anything you wish for.
There is a proverb 'A green Christmas makes a fat graveyard.' The meaning is that if it is raining at Christmas a lot of people will die and the graveyard will be full.
disperse to their homes.St Brigid's day which falls on the first of February is a great feast day in Ireland since St. Brigids was one of our great Saints. This day is a day of charity on which the rich people and the farmers, though not too rich themselves give butter eggs and milk to the poor and needy.The next great feast in the year is May Day this is a day for the young alone. They get a nice haw thorn bush and decorate it with flowers and ribbon, they also choose a girl to be the
St. Stephen's Day is kept in honour of St. Stephen's. On that night the boys dress themselves up in old clothes and falseface and goes from house to house collecting money to bury the wren, they also sing the wren song. The wren, the wren, the king of all bird's on St. Stephen's Day he was caught in the furze. Up with the kettle and down with the pan. A penny or twopence to bury the wren. On st. Patrick eve the boys and girls go out in the fields and gather shamrock and put it in water until the next morning to keep it fresh. The 15th August is kept in honour of the assumption of our Blessed Lady in to Heaven, and it is the pattern day of Balscadden and people of Balscadden go to the graveyard to dress the graves of their dead friends. On May Day every girl go from house to house collecting candles for the May bush. Then we cut a bush and we dig hole in the ground and put the bush down in it, then we decarate (sic) the bush with flowers and candles, and when it is ready we sing the May hymns around the May bush. Janie Larkin ST VI
Whit Monday:- If you cut yourself on Whit Monday it is supposed that the cut will never heal.
May Day:- On may morning the sun is supposed to dance, and if a person gets up early and washes his face with the dew he wont get a headache during the year. The twelve Days of Christmas :- On Christmas Day the usual customs are observed, that is decorating the house with holly and ivy and mistletoe. Everyone to be in his own home on Christmas night and Christmas Day, and get Holy Communion and three masses. It is usual to have a turkey for dinner on that day, and a plum-pudding for tea. Young children get presents on Christmas Day. It is also the custom to have a Christmas candle and it is left lighting on the window during Christmas night.
New Year's Day :- On New year's eve every one tries to be in his own home. It is believed
Shrove Tuesday we have pancakes on that night, for our tea, and we have great fun.On May Day all the children get little bunches of May, and lie them with coloured paper, and go around getting money to buy candles, and light them around the bush. They have great fun, and many people gather round them, and they enjoy themselves.St. Stephen's day . It is supposed to be a day that all the birds went together, and had a race, and whichever went the
On May Day all the children get little bunches of May, and tie them with coloured paper, and go around getting money to buy candles, and light them around the bush. They have great fun with many people watching them, and they enjoying themselves.St. Stephen's Day. It is supposed to be a day that all the birds went together, and had a race, and whichever went the farthest in the air would be king of all birds. So they did not like it, because the eagle won the race. But the little wren had got up on the eagle's back unseen, and so went up the
and they sing and dance and say rimes and they get money. The rhyme they sometimes say is :- "Here comes me, little devil out"The people of Ireland known St Brigid as patrol St of Ireland and sometimes she is called the daughter of Erin. And it was St Brigid that started the first convent in Ireland and she was the first num ever in Ireland. There is a custom on St Brigids eve the people in the North and West of Ireland make crosses out of straw and rushes the put holy water on them and the put one in the kitchen in the rooms and in the outside sheds because they are supposed ot keep away sickenss during the year. This custom is not observed here.May Day feast is kept in our locality on the first
"With the tail of my shirt hanging out, too big for one, too small for two, What the devil shall I do".
In every country of the world certain days are kept as great feast days. Thee are ordinary feasts and feasts of the Church.The principal feasts kept in every part of Ireland are Christmas Day, St. Stephens Day, St Brigids Day May Day and St. Patricks Day.Christmas Day is one of the most important feast in the year because that was the day on which Jesus Christ was born. The people clean there houses and put holly and ivy on the walls, and they make a plum pudding for Christmas Day and have a roast turkey or goose for dinner.On St Stephens Day the boys they dress themselves up with false-faceses and old clothes
People generally give them money. Sometimes they distribute the money among the crowd and sometimes they a party.
On St. Patrick's day, people wear a piece of Shamrock in honour of St. Patrick. On Shrove Tuesday people long ago used to fast during lent and the people ate pancakes on that day, as this was the last good meal they got until the seven weeks of lent were up. On ash-wednesday people go to Church for blessed ashes to remind us that were made from dust and that we would retun to dust. On Easter- Sunday people eat eggs in honour of the resurrection of Our Lord. On May-day
Festival CustomsIn this district every festival has a certain custom. For instance on Saint Patrick's Day, the children who have learned Irish dancing, and who have special green costumes, wear them.
3rd March '38
It is said that long ago in this district, the people took tea without milk on Ash Wednesday, and some old people call it "Black Wednesday." They did not eat home-made bread or drink milk, The use of butter, sugar, and milk were strictly forbidden. Even today the old people do not take milk or sugar in their tea on Ash Wednesday.
On May day the children go round from house to house with a bush decorated with bells and ribbons. One of them is the "May Queen", and she dresses in a long white frock, with
St Stephn's Day is a great feast day in Ireland. The children dress up in old clothes and put on false faces, they go around singing "The wren song." The wren, thee wren, the king of all birds. On Stephns Day she was caught in the furge, we dipped her wing in a ball of Beer, Wishing you all a merry Christmas and a Bright New Year. They do this for twelve nights, they divide the money among themselves. On Shrove Tuesday every Catholic home makes pancakes to keep up the old Irish custom. On Easter Saturday it is generally the custom for children to go from house to house collecting their Cludogs. On May Day it is the custom for children to go from house to house collecting candles for the may bush, we cut a nice may bush and we dig a hole and we put the bush in the hole. Then we decorate it, with flowers and when it is ready we sing the may hymms around the may bush. The Fifteenth of August is the Patron Day of Balscadden. The people come and dress the graves and pay respect to the dead. Hallow Eve is a very old feast day in Ireland. It is a time of joy and sport. We play many games on
On May Day the children go around and they get a branch off the hawthorn tree, and they decorated it with ribbons and coloured paper. Some people put them down in the ground as they did in days gone by. They put big stones around it, and leave it there until it withers away.
On the Feast of St Peter and St Paul the people make bonfires on the cross roads, and have a great dance in front of the fires, and when they are finished they throw the burned stumps into a potato plot. They also burn all the furzes.
On the 25th of July all the people of Co Carlow make up a féte for themselves, and they hold it in St Mullin's after doing the Stations at St Mullin's well.
On the 15th of August