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  1. May Day

    Language
    English
    Collector
    Mary Clancy

    People put up May Pole on May Day on May Day for fear the fairies would come in. They put it over the doors and

  2. May Day

    Language
    English
    Collector
    John Reilly
    Informant
    Thomas Burke
    Age
    58

    Long ago the people used to have a large number of pisreogs on May day. If it was said, a woman that came into the house first the people would not like it. They would say she was bringing in the bad luck.
    They would not give away anything to anybody on May day, only to a beggar man. When he would come in they would give him great welcome. They would say he was bringing in the good luck.
    The old people would not allow anybody to bring fire outside the door. Everybody would have matches on May day. The old people would not allow any fire outside the door.
    Long ago the people used to keep May day as a great feast day of the Blessed Virgin. They used to go to Confession and Communion on May day morning. The old people would not let anyone milk the cows on that day that did not milk them before.

  3. May Day Superstitions

    Language
    English
    Collector
    Martin Mc Govern
    Informant
    Mary Mc Govern

    Long ago people used to say if you throw out the ashes or dust of the house on May Day you throw out your luck for the year. Others say if you sweep the chimney on May Day you will have smoke every day in the year. Long ago old women used to get up before sunrise, and wash their faces in the dew. They would not get sunburnt for the year. Women used to go out in a neighbour's field and take the clay of the cow's hoofs, bring it in make a cake of it, and when they would be churning, put it under the churn, and they would have their neighbour's butter. It is said that long ago on May Day old women

  4. May Day - Old Customs

    Language
    English
    Collector
    William Hans
    Occupation
    teacher
    Informant
    Patrick Lally
    Age
    40
    Occupation
    farmer
    Occupation
    shopkeeper

    May Day.
    Old Customs.
    The old people think that it is unlucky to throw dust out on May day. If you go out before sunrise on May morning and wash yourself in the dew you will not get sun-burnt. Long ago the people went out on May morning and blessed the cow with a lighting candle.
    It is unlucky to get married on May day because it is one of the odd or unlucky days of the year. It was the custom long ago if you did that the bride would have to walk from the altar with a white sheet on her head.
    Another custom long ago was to eat rotten potatoes on May day. The people never borrowed or gave away milk on May day because they thought the cows would lose their milk before the year was out.
    The people used to strew the threshold on May morning with flaggers to keep out the fairies. If the people

  5. May Day

    Language
    English
    Collector
    Mary Naughton
    Informant
    Michael Quinn
    Age
    48

    May day falls every year on the first of May. The month of May is kept in honour of the Blessed Virgin. Every-one should say the rosary every night during the month of May.
    There is a lot of stories told about May day. Long ago the people did not believe in giving away any milk on that day as they thought it was not right and they also thought it would take the butter from the cows. Some people now at the present time do not believe in giving away milk on May day.
    The people around this place make May-bushes on the first of May. They pull a bush and gather flowers and tie them on to the bush with strings and stick it on the ground and after that they say their prayers around it to honour our Blessed Mother and they make a little Altar and put flowers every day on it during May. The people long ago used to make May-bushes and they also used to make a little Altar.
    The people had another old custom on May day. They thought that the butter could be taken out of the churn before sunrise and that the third generation of a black-smith could tell who took it and why it was taken. It was is said that the third generation of a black-smith

  6. May Day Superstitions

    Language
    English
    Collector
    Martin Mc Govern
    Informant
    Mary Mc Govern

    would rub the stuff that they would have after the twelve candles on the cow's horns and udder for luck. If you put a horse nail in your pocket on May Day you will lose no money out of it for the year. It is not lucky to give away milk or anything on that day. Do not throw out the cow's bed on May Day. It is not right to change a threepenny bit on that day.

  7. May Day Customs

    Language
    English
    Collector
    Bina Whyte
    Informant
    Mr James Whyte

    The people used to have a great many customs long ago, on May-day. They used not put down a fire until they would see smoke out of another ones chimney and they would not put out the ashes on that day either. Another custom they used to have on May-day also, is that they would not give out milk to anyone. The people have not any of those customs now.

  8. Old Customs

    Language
    English
    Informant
    Michael Dolan
    Age
    81

    The people had a great many customs for certain days such as "May Day", 24th June, or St. John's Day and November's night. On May Day they would not put out the ashes that day or they would be putting good luck out of the house for the year. In the morning they would not put out the fire until they saw smoke coming out of the chimney of another's house.

  9. The Feasts of the Year

    Language
    English
    Collector
    Gretta St George

    May Day.
    Some people tie a red string around the cows tail on May Day for fear the milk would be taking from her.
    Some people would not give away milk on may day for fear you would be taking away the luck of the milk and butter from their cow.
    It is not right to leave your cow out on May night for fear the fairies would bring her.
    If you are churning on May Day and a person to come in it is not right for them to go out again until you have the churning finished.

  10. Pisreoga

    Language
    English
    Collector
    Josie Mullooly

    1) If you get up in the morning and see smoke coming out of another ones chimney and if you come in and put down your own fire you will take that persons butter.

    2) If a person goes out early on May morning with a red shirt on her to milk a cow she puts bad luck on that cow, then that cow has no butter on her milk the whole year round.
    3) If a person comes in on May day and you are churning and if he does not take the handle of the churn he brings out your butter.
    4) On May day some people throw empty spools into your field where the cows are so that the cows will not have milk for the year.
    5) If you clean out the cow house on May day some beast is sure to die before the year is out.
    6) Children strew flowers the night before the 1st May at the hall door and they say that the Blessed Virgin comes in and blesses the house.
    7) If you give away milk on May day you will be giving it away all the year.
    8) If you clean out the house on May day you will sweep out your luck.

  11. Feasts

    Language
    English
    Collector
    Mary Comber
    Informant
    John Walshe
    Age
    37

    [?] May-day-Long ago the people carried out strange customs on May-day. They would get a hawthorn bush and stick it in the mud outside the door and cover it with a bouquet of different flowers. This was supposed to be in honour of the Blessed Virgin. The people believed that on May-day the butter could be taken away out of the churn before sunrise and that the third generation of a black-smith could then tell who took it. The people would not give away milk on that day also.
    St. John's Day - On St John's Day long ago everyone would light a fire on the roadside and dance around it but this was a pagan custom. The young lads would go around that night and milk the neighbours' cows and then they would buy loaves and boil the milk and itself together and eat it.
    St Martins Day - Long ago the people would kill fowl on St Martin and put three crosses on the door of the fowl. This was a very old custom and it was carried out till the late years.

  12. May Day

    Language
    English
    Collector
    Joe Roche
    Informant
    John Moran
    Age
    76

    Long ago the people had a lot of superstitions about May day. They believed that May day was the best day for catching the liopracaun. The liopracaún is a small man about a foot in height. He has a purse of gold and if any one could get it he would be rich for ever.
    The people also believed that if they gave away milk on May day, that the one who would get it would bring all the butter with him. Every May morning people used to travel the fields stealing the milk from the cows so that they would have plenty of butter for their own use and to sell at the markets and country shops and their neighbours used to buy it from them also.

  13. May Day

    Language
    English
    Collector
    Kathleen Mc Evelly

    The night before May day they put May pole up on the houses. It is said that if they do not put up the May pole the fairies will take one out of the house. If a lamb was born on May day the people say it would be dizzy all the year. On May day the people take away the milk from the cows so the fairies will not take it away.
    The kind of May pole the people have now is a bush and put it over the doors and windows and on the thatch. When the fairies see it up they run away.

  14. A number of ancient traditions circle especially around May day or May Eve called in Irish (La - Bel - Taine) the day of the sacred Beal[Baal?] fires because in olden on May Eve the Druids lit the great sacred fire at Tara and as the signal flames rose up high in the air and then a fire is to kindled on every hill in Erin; till the whole Island is on fire with fires. Its also a custom among the Irish people that fire Salt and milk are the three most precious things that a man could have. If any man gave away these three things on may day or May Eve he would give away luck? Another custom is: - not to carry a lighted sod out to a man to light his pipe or to borrow fire in any way for that would be giving away fire

  15. (no title)

    Some years ago the people were very superstitious , but now these superstitions are dying away, and the people know little about them.

    Language
    English
    Collector
    Mary Kenny
    Informant
    Edward Kenny
    Age
    60

    Some years ago the people were very supersticious, but now these superstitions are dying away, and the people know little about them.
    Long ago, on New Year's Day the people would not throw out any water. If they did they said that they would have no luck for the year. They would give nothing away on that day either for fear they would be giving away for the whole year.
    if they had any special work on hands they always did their best to start it on a Friday. If they were going to live in a new house they would be sure to go on that day. Friday was said to be a lucky day
    On May day nobody would give any milk away on May Day for fear he would be left without butter until May Day would come again. Up to the present some still continue to do that. On May morning the butter used to be "brought". Nobody knows how that was done. Crops were often "brought" too but perhaps it might have been imagination. Sometimes crops are bad.

  16. Laethanta Áirithe

    Language
    English
    Collector
    Áine Seóighe

    The people do not like to work on St. Brigid's on the 25th of March or on May day. People do not think it lucky to stir the clay on May day.
    Its not right to dig a grave on Monday. It is not considered lucky to work late on a

  17. May Day

    Language
    English
    Collector
    Nora Darcy

    On May Day people get May Pole - that is branches of the mountain ash and they put it up over the doors and windows and the barn and they

  18. May Day

    Language
    English
    Collector
    Máire Ní Fhathaigh

    Many people all over the country have different customs on May Day. In Oughterard the people get a branch of May Pole and stick it in a hole over the door. May Pole grows like any common tree except it has very small leaves. The tree itself is called May Pole.

    If a cow calves on May Day the people usually tie a red rad around her tail in case the fairies should harm her.
    If the people churn on May Day they put four coals under the churn in case the fairies should steal the butter.
    No fire is lit in any house until they see smoke coming out of some other chimney in the village so that the fairies will pass their house.
    Most of them customs are gone now but some people still practice them.

  19. May Day

    Language
    English
    Collector
    Póilin Seoighe

    The old people say that if you don't put up the May Pole the fairies would take the milk from the cows. It is not right to give away milk on May day
    Some people tie a May Pole or a red rag on to a cows tail, for fear the fairies would take the milk from them. If a child is born on May Day it is supposed to be gone with the fairies.

  20. May Day

    Language
    English
    Collector
    Pauline Molloy

    In Oughterard the people gather May Poll and they put it over the doors and over the windows over the cows barn on the churn and on the cans they milk the cows in. It is put up in order not to let the fairies bring the milk, from the cows. They leave it up until the end of May. It is a great plant.

    Another custom the people have is not to light the fire May morning until they see smoke in some other house first.
    The old people say that if a lamb was born on May Day that it would be dizzy all the year.
    On May Day the people put the nicest flowers they have to Our Lady because May is Our Lady's month.
    The people say that if a girl washes her face in dew May Morning that she will be beautiful all the year.
    If a man washed his face on May Day he would grow whiskers.