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Transcripts count: 80
  1. May Day Customs

    Language
    English
    Collector
    Mary A. Callan

    May-day is kept on the first of May. It is customary in this locality for the children to put up a May-bush on May-day and to decorate it with flowers. There is an old custom to go out before sunrise and wash your face in the dew and say the rosary and it will keep away any sore on your face for the year. There is another custom which forbids the giving away of any milk on May-day because you give away the luck of the milk and butter.

  2. May Day Customs

    Language
    English

    Customs for welcoming in the month of May are very common in Ireland. On the 30th of April if a person happened to go out the country one would see people cutting and bringing home furze bushes to hang up outside the house on the first of May. This is said to keep away the evil spirits for rest of the year.

    Another custom is to erect a big pole and decorate it with flowers. Then all the children dance around it. This custom is called the Maypole Custom. It is very seldom that this custom is carried on at present. On May-day children also sing songs in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Farmers also carry out customs in the country. One of them is: no strange hand is to milk the cows on May-day; otherwise the farmers say that the cows would have bad milk for the rest of the year.
    Another custom the farmers have on May-day is: that people who own land or who are working on it should never disturb the soil on the first of May. Another custom is for a girl to get up early on May morning and wash her face with the dew of the grass. This is said to make her beautiful. The people round my place always light a bon-fire on May night. It is said that all the May bushes wither after May-day. It is a custom for all children on the eve of May-day to go

  3. May Day Customs

    Language
    English
    Informant
    Christopher Farrelly
    Age
    47

    On the eve of May day a May bush is made. It is erected in Honour of the Blessed Virgin. A white thorn bush is got and (with) wild flowers are tied to it in small bunches with coloured ribbons. Sometimes a picture of the Blessed Virgin is hung on it. This is a very old custom. On May day morning the person who is up first places it in front of the door or over it. Long ago people believed that no thunder nor lightning nor evil spirits would interfere with the house that had a May bush placed before it. Long ago the May bush was set on fire and the people would dance round it and pass the young children through the smoke to protect them from the power of witch-craft.
    (First m) Fire milk or butter were not given away on May day because they thought this would be giving away luck. Strange hands would not be allowed to milk a cow on May day because the fairies might take away her milk. People believe that if

  4. unable to turn the hand of the churn. She was very annoyed and she went to the priest. He instructed her to give a pound of butter to each of her neighbours. She did so and from that on her churnings were normal.
    It is a local May Day Custom to start children schooling in May Day. Most children commence their school career on May Day.

  5. The Lore of Certain Days

    Language
    English

    Sprinkle the crops with Holy Water on May Day & you will have good crops that year. If you churn on May Day you will have butter all the year round.

  6. Superstitions of May

    Language
    English
    Collector
    Anthony Mac Cormack
    Age
    13
    Informant
    Patrick Mc Cormack

    Superstitions of May
    People tie a red cloth around the cow’s tail on a May day to keep the fairies from taking the milk.
    A horse shoe is placed over the door as people say it will bring good luck.
    People do not give milk on a May day as they say it is unlucky.
    If certain people in parish meet a white horse on the road on a May day they will turn back as they say it is unlucky.
    People say it is unlucky to meet a lone magpie on the road on a May day.
    It you go into a house when there is churning in progress you should give a hand as it is said you bring away all the butter.

  7. May Day Superstitions

    Language
    English
    Collector
    Vera Smith

    May day superstitions did not quite die away yet. Many of the old people carry the old superstitions yet. May day is one of the most important days throughout the whole year.
    A turnip is placed at the entrance of the gate and a piece of may bush pierced into it to welcome everyone that visits the house and to bid welcome to the bright golden summer.
    The whole family wash their face, hands, and feet in the dew upon the dew on the grass, the face and hands are washed to prevent freckles and the feet is washed to keep away chilblanes.
    If a cow calves on May day it denotes good luck. A churning is always done on that day to have plenty of butter for the whole year, and if a person comes in to the house while the churning is going on they turn the handle to help to churn the cream so that they would not take the luck of the butter away with them.
    If a child is born in a house on a May day, it is supposed to see ‘the hundred’. Eggs are hatched to have plenty of luck ever after. Vera Smith. 5th May 1938

  8. The Lore of Certain Days

    Language
    English
    Collector
    P.T. Jordan

    People dont like meeting red-haired women on May day. In some places you would not get a drink of milk or a "Light for your pipe" on May Day.

    In parts of Roscommon people take steps to prevent bad luck with cattle & stock on that day. Before sunrise the farmer walks round all his farm & shakes salt & Holy water in each of the corners of the farm. This is supposed to prevent bad luck caused by the death of farm stock.

  9. Churning Folklore

    Language
    English
    Collector
    Paul Donegan,
    alternative name
     Paul Dunican
    Informant
    Mrs Caffrey

    In this way "May day" butter is there at every butter making term. On May day too people watch to find out if the begruding neighbours are trying their best to rob them of their profit from their herd. So by placing a plough share in the fire whilst churning and watching their wells for fear of them being skimmed is a keen superstition. Not far from here two old bachelors lived with two old sisters. They had a notion that a widow their was at her tricks taking their butter. Well one day they both churned for hours, the result beign froth say one to the other, "That old faggot must have the butter gone but we will see what the coulter of the plough will do, They put it in the fire and after a while up comes the widow screaming. "Take out the coulter and I'll bring back the butter which she did. They never had any more truble afterwards. It happened about twenty or thirty years ago. Daly was the wowans name and the batchelors name was Brazil

  10. Festival Customs

    Language
    English

    May Day. The May bush is put up at every house here. The bush is cut the day before and bunches of flowers are tied on it - primroses cowslips and daisies. The bush is put opposite the front door and is left there all May Day. It is taken down in the evening.
    In the houses a May alter is erected in honour of Our Lady and every day the children gather fresh flowers to decorate it.

  11. Cures

    Language
    English
    Informant
    Mr Shannon

    Mr Shannon, Streete, Co. Westmeath says that if you churn butter on a May day and keep a portion of it over unsalted for twelve months it will remove a thorn.

  12. May Day Superstitions

    Language
    English
    Collector
    Mary Jordan

    In olden times the Irish people were very superstitious and on May day especially. They practised many things that appear very foolish nowadays. For instance all who had cows wished to have a churning to make on May day, and if any neighbour chanced to come in during that operation they were expected to take a hand at the churn for fear of taking away the butter. They also disliked lending anything to a neighbour. Another practice was going out early while the dew was on the grass and bathing their faces with it, with the idea of preventing head-aches during the coming year.

  13. The Lore of Certain Days

    Language
    English
    Collector
    P.T. Jordan
    Informant
    Mrs Elizabeth Mannery

    The Lore of Certain Days
    May Day: (i) Early May Day morning people put May flowers, cowslips & Primroses on their doorsteps to keep out the fairies who are supposed to be very active on that morning. ii) A Maypole is made at Lisminey on the Clara Road and people dance & sing there during the evening & well into the night.
    (iii) An altar is built in honour of the Blessed Virgin & flowers are offered to the altar.
    (iv) Whoever puts down the flowers on the doorsteps will have good luck the whole year through.
    In some places you could not get milk to buy for fear they would take the butter off the family by certain charms. To prevent this salt is sprinkled on the churn before it is started & some old ladies put a half-burned coal under the churn.
    "If you take a cows track out of another farmers land on May Day you will get the butter of that farm as well as your own."

  14. May Day Customs

    Language
    English
    Collector
    Rose Farrelly

    May day customs at the present day.
    On the first of May a May bush is put near the house. A branch of a white thorn is got and planted in a pot. Then small bunches of primroses, cowslips and daisies are tied to the bush with ribbons. A picture of the Blessed Virgin is hung on it. It is not put outside until May day, morning and it is sometimes left outside and covered during the night. It is erected in honour of the Blessed Virgin. An alter is decorated with flowers on the first of May

  15. Festival Customs

    Language
    English
    Collector
    Rose Marshall
    Age
    14
    Informant
    Andrew Marshall

    Shrove Tuesday & Easter.
    On Shrove Tuesday pancakes are eaten on Easter Sunday we eat eggs for breakfast, and on the day before it, it is customary fo children to go about gathering 'clúdógs', which are eggs people give to children for Easter.
    May Day
    On May Day a white-thorn bush is got, and primroses, cowslips, and daisies, are gathered and tied on this bush. It is then placed in front of the house. This is called the "May Bush."

  16. Churning Folklore

    Language
    English
    Collector
    Paul Donegan,
    alternative name
     Paul Dunican
    Informant
    Mrs Caffrey

    When the butter comes, it is first noticed on the dash, then cold water is added to wash it off. The dash is removed, the churn tilted a little on its side, a sod of turf or a brick placed underneath and it is then 'rocked'. All is ready now, the wooden dish and patties scrubbed and thoroughly clean are taken to the churn. The butter is lifted with the patties into the dish. All the milk is beaten out, the butter washed free of all milk. Next salt is added and carefully worked into the butter to prevent streaks called 'pin rolls' It is washed again and a clean knife put through to remove hairs if any and finally it is shaped into rools.
    On May day the people around here make it a rule to churn. It is done to ensure luck all the year round. A piece of May day butter is put aside and some added to the next churning yet more taken off at every churning

  17. Festival Customs

    Language
    English
    Collector
    Imelda Dunican
    Informant
    Mrs Caffrey
    Age
    40 till 50

    are unlucky. A kick given by them in anger is supposed to have ill effects in fact any blow they give is dangerous. A farmer seldom keeps a "Lunekinkishaun" foal around his place.


    It is considered unlucky to bring the (May) whitethorn into the house. It denotes sickness. On Mayday it is considered a cure for sun-burn to wash the face with the dew. Churning is done on that morning too, to keep the butter at home. A lighted coal should not be taken from the house on May day is not offered for sale a piece of it is saved and to add to the next churning and so another piece kept in this way a bit of May day butter is kept all the year round.
    In this locality a

  18. Composition - Churning

    Language
    English
    Informant
    Patrick Geraghty
    Age
    43

    When the butter gathers in large lumps on the top of the milk the churning is said to be finished. The butter is then lifted out and washed many times with good spring water until all the milk is entirely removed. It is then salted and made into rolls.
    The buttermilk is used for making cakes and when it is plentiful it is given to calves.
    There are many saying connected with buttermaking. Some people say that it is not right to give away milk or butter on a May day or to give away milk while churning is in process. If this is done the receiver of the milk will have power to take away your butter. If churning is done on a May day nobody

  19. Festival Customs - May Day

    Language
    English
    Collector
    Desmond Smyth
    Informant
    Mr G. Smyth

    It was an old custom for children to make a May-bush and dance around it. This bush was covered with wild flowers and the prettiest girl in the district was crowned as May Queen.
    People who charmed away their neighbour's butter long ago would have to be out early on the first of May carrying the hand of a dead child.
    They would have to walk through the meadow belonging to the person whose butter they were about to take, saying "All the butter in this land gather around this dead hand."
    Long ago the people would give up buying candles on May Day because you were supposed to do all your work in the day light. It was an old saying "May day throw the candle away".

  20. Festival Customs

    Language
    English
    Collector
    Rose Neill

    Shrove Tuesday.
    Long ago the people used to go about singing and dancing on Shrove Tuesday but lthat custom has died out. Nowadays the people make pancakes they also make sweet-cakes and put rings in them. They say that who ever gets the ring will be married first.

    May Day.
    On May day people wash their face with the dew of the grass. They say the dew keeps them from getting sun burned for the rest of the Summer.
    The sweet young maid on the first of May
    Who goes to the fields at break of day.
    And washes in the dew by the hawthorn tree
    Shall always gay, and happy be.
    The people decorate the Blessed Birgin on May day and she remains so for the rest of the month. The month of May is also counted an