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.
Filter resultsRemove filters
- All counties
- Cork (203)
- Galway (200)
- Mayo (199)
- Roscommon (183)
- Clare (141)
- Kerry (140)
- Cavan (137)
- Leitrim (112)
- Sligo (103)
- Meath (81)
- Westmeath (80)
- Tipperary (76)
- Limerick (66)
- Wexford (62)
- Donegal (61)
- Longford (60)
- Kilkenny (57)
- Monaghan (46)
- Laois (34)
- Louth (33)
- Offaly (32)
- Carlow (29)
- Dublin (28)
- Wicklow (18)
- Kildare (12)
- Waterford (11)
“Here is an old saying about Michaelmas Day...”
Here is an old saying about Michaelmas day,- it is sure to be wet.The 11th June is the longest day in the year. May day.
Here is a story about May day. Some people would'nt give milk or anything to a person on May day
No. 56 May Day was observed in this locality up till about thirty years ago. They chose a "queen of the May" first. Boys and girls marched in procession after her round the village of Hacketstown. They got a May bush and decorated it with white ribbons. They tied flowers on it and put cards on it. The bigger girls held the May bush over the May Queen's head. They sang songs and carried branches of flowers in their hands as they marched along.
The people in this locality have a good many superstitions connected with May Day. They say it is most unlucky to give away lighted coals or to give anyone a match that day.
The farmers will not lend anything belonging to a churn as they say they would give away the profit if they lent anything on May Day. This
On May-day the people long ago had certain customs. Some of their customs are carried out at the present time.
One of these customs is the May bush. On the evening before May Day the bush was got and planted in a field. The bush was decorated with coloured papers, primroses and May-flowers. They coloured egg-shells and put them on the May bush also. It was decorated on May day. Sometimes they had lighted candles decorating it. The children caught hands and danced around the bush. They played games and had tea.
One game they played was "Nuts in May". This is played by two rows of children opposite each other, with an equal number on each side. The children on one side sing, "Here we go gathering nuts in May, nuts in May this cold and frosty morning". The children on the other side sing, "Who will we have for nuts in May, nuts in May on this cold and frosty morning"? The children on the first row name a child. Then the girls on the second side sing "Who will we have to take her away, to take her away on this cold and frosty morning"? The first row name another child. They then draw a line between and the two chosen would pull. The child who
candle in each, and hung them on the bush. When the day was over the people played games. There was a page put on the wall and all the letters were put on it and a person was blind-folded. He would point out some letter and the letters pointed out were put together. The people would not take the May-bush up, they always leave it in honor of May-day. Another game was played on May - day. A turnip was boiled and when it was taken out, the person that would put his finger into it for half a minute would get six pence.
May Day was kept up to thirty years ago in this locality on the first of May. They got a May bush, and decorated it with white ribbons, they tied flowers on it, put cards on it, and candles lighted on it.Boys and girls marched round the town of Hacketstown, and one of the bigger girls walked in front, and some of the other girls held the May bush over her head, like a kind of a canopy. They sang songs, and carried bunches of flowers in their hands.They have a lot of superstitions connected with May Day around here. They say that you should not carry a lighted coal out of a house, or a lighted match on that day.
or butter for if they did they would have none for the rest of the year, they would not give away the seed of their fire either.
All the young girls got up early on May day morning to wash their faces in the dew for it would give them a good complexion. If you bathed your lips with the dew it was supposed to keep you from getting sick during the year.
On May day children have a May bush. They get a sceach and decorate it with flowers and eggshells and other things. They made one child the May queen. She was dressed up different to anyone else, with a crown. They all danced round the bush. They got tea. Then they played all sorts of games.
If anybody got sick in May they say they will surely die. An old saying is, "March will search, April will try and May will tell you whether you live or die.
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
themselves, it was the only time they ever got money of their own. The fair was a great day for fun, there were sports and games of all kinds and fortune - telling.
On May day some women had the power of "taking the butter." They went to a well near a house and skimmed the top of the water with a cup and said "All to me, all to me." No matter how the people of that house churned they could not get any butter, it would all go to the woman. This woman must have a cow of her own. The butter in the month of May is the best butter of the year, that is why it is taken. The woman sometimes asks for the loan of your churn but no one would give it for they would be giving away their butter. If you put your finger in the milk to test it a string of milk would stick on to your finger and you could not break it, that is the milk from which the butter is taken, or you would have no butter till the priest came and got that woman and made her put her hand to the churn, then you would have more butter than ever. Some people used to drive their cows through fire so that the butter could not be taken. If anybody went into a house on May Day when the churning was in progress, they would put their hand on the churn.
The old people would not give away butter
“Here is an old saying about Michaelmas Day...”
day, because they say whatever you would give them, them=selves would not have enough for the year.
I know a little boy who went to a house for flour, on May day, and he got it in a bucket, when he was crossing the haggard, the flour disappeared.
to be able to eat the most. On the 31st of October, November eve, the people make a colcannon in which they put a ring a half-crown and a button and all get some. Whoever gets the half-crown will never be without money, whoever gets the ring will be married during the year but whoever gets the button will never be married. A tub of water is got on that night also into which some apples are put. Then the people's hands are tied behind their backs and they dive for them with their mouths. On May day a bush is cut and egg shells that are collected from Easter Sunday are put on it with ribbons and paper.
There are certain days lucky in the week. Sunday is a lucky day when fine as the week will then be fine. Tuesday is a lucky day for a birth as the child born on that day will enter religion. Wednesday is a lucky day for a marriage. Friday is a lucky day to enter a new house. Saturday is a unlucky day to enter a house or a new job. The month of June is the luckiest month to get married in. In olden times the people used to churn on a May day and put a piece of the butter in the next cream so that they would have May butter the whole year as it was supposed to be lucky.
In olden times the people put the May bush on a heap of manure. On the night before May day the one that would be going to be queen, went and brought the May-bush home. She brought with her a furze bush in bloom. The person that would be able to know how many seeds would be in one box would dress the May-bush. The people used hang eggshells on the May-bush. On the night before the day the fathers got five or six turnips and scooped them out and put a
are expected and do give a hand at churning. If not it is considered that they might "take the butter."
The family Mannering was supposed to take butter and another, White, have the same reputation.
It is said that on May Day morning, these butter takers put "fairy butter" on a pump stick or pillar post near the house of the victim. If it is not seen and removed the profit for the year is gone. This fairy butter is a yellow resinous substance that exudes from a certain kind of "deal" timber.
Certain families are believed to be able to take a great lot of the profit from a field of corn by planting eggs in each corner of the cornfield on May Day.
The people suspected of butter taking are suspected of working magic with the eggs.
times until the milk is all taken out of it then it is salted. No one churns on May day or washes the butter with the water drawn from the well on that day. If they did so the fairies are supposed to take the butter off the milk for the rest of that year.Long ago, by some means or other the butter was often stolen from the milk, and no matter how long the churning went on no butter would come on milk. To find the person who stole the butter, then, people used put a coulter on the cream and the guilty person would rush into the yard screaming. We use the buttermilk for making bread.
When a calf is born a blessed candle is used to burn the hair of the cow's udder and the sign of the cross is made three times on her back with the grease of the candle.
Some people believe if they gave you milk on May day that you would take their butter for the rest of the year.
When a young animal is born the first person to see it should say "God bless it" or the fairies would take it.
When a person would be setting a hen they would put a horse-shoe under her to bring them luck.
On May Day people make a May bush before they bring in the cows in the evening, to bring them luck for the year.
On the eleventh of November. St. Martin's day people kill a chicken and sprinkle the blood outside the door to prevent accidents.
Mills dont work that day because St. Martin was ground up in a mill.
Folk tale No. VI
"An old witch in - Kildrenagh
The following folk story was told to our school of Newtown by a 5th standard pupil whose name and address is Patrick Smyth, Boherduff, Newtown, Bagenalstown, Co. Carlow. Our school of Newtown is situated about a mile from the townsland of Kildrenagh. In this townsland many years ago there lived an old witch, who took up her residence in the corner of a big field, still known as Bawnmore field. In the townsland of Kildrenagh there are a large number of wells, one almost on every farm. This old witch used to fight and fall out with her neighbours from time to time. She would then go to the well on their farm, and shim the top of it, and by this means after shiming and churning it would make a pile of fairy butter. She would keep this butter until May day morning. When May morning came she would go around to the houses of those whom she believed to have offended her, and rub some of the