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On May Eve the last day of April people go around the fields shaking holy water on the gaps and on the cows and on all the animals and on the hens and ducks. It is said that any person shouldnt sit on the grass May Day. If a woman comes looking for eggs on May Day that shows that she is going to do harm on you. If a person washes his hands on the dew on May Day it is said that can rip many knots for that year. When a person pulls grass he would get alot of falls and that the faires would carry you away
May Day.May day falls on the first of May and it is said to be the first day of summer.The day before May day is called May eve and on that day in Adare no Roman Catholic would dare to pick flowers because they say it is unlucky and that the fairies would come that night and revenge it on anybody that picked flowers on that day.On May eve the priest has always a large amount of holy water put in the chapel and each household brings a bottle of it home and sprinkles it all around the house so that no harms will come to them. This water is known as the May water.There are some Roman Catholics in Adare who would not stay out late on May eve night afraid the fairies would catch them.May day is not kept as a special day in Irleand at present but long ago people kept that day as a great day of enjoyment, because it is supposed to be the first day of summer and not so
It is said that it is wrong to sit on the grass May Eve and May Day. It is said that if you wash your hands in the dew May Day you would be able to rip any kind of an knot. On May Eve the people shake holy water in the garden and on the cattle. It is said that on May Eve the horses can talk. One night a man stayed in hide to wash his horse. At twelve oclock the horse went down on his knees and said, "May God help me what ever journey I have to go with my master" and the man fell sick immediately. It is that if you set on (on) the grass May Eve the faries would come that night and carry you away
There is a lot of customs connected with May Day and May Eve. In many parts of the country there is a May Day procession when all the children go around the villages with flowers. While in other parts of the country no child is allowed to pluck anything green on that day. In Co Limerick there is a custom of going around with holy water blessing the crops and cattle on May Eve. While in Co Cork there is a custom of going to the nearest spring well early to be first to take the water so that everything would be lucky for the year.
Holy water, or the May-water as it is called, is sprinkled by people, on May-eve and May-day on their homes, their cattle, gardens and pasture fields to invoke a blessing from God on themselves and their stock and crops. People shake salt in new milk as a preventive of any pisheogs being worked and having effect by the evil-minded on those two days. Salt is also shaken in wells at the same time for the same reason, as salt is believed to act as a safeguard against charms.
Farmers remain up and keep vigil over their stock on those nights fearing that their enemies might come and milk their cows, and by the agency of the devil take the produce of the milk.
Children are told not to lie on the grass and not to pick flowers on May-day or May-eve, fearing that the fairies might gain power over them.
May day games were held in the green in Hospital Co Limerick. They used have a pole dressed and they used be dancing round the pole at about twelve o'clock noon a cloud hung over the green. The sky was clear everywhere but in that one spot and after a short time one of the girls was drawn away out of the centre of the crowd and they shouted for Ned Real he being the tallest man there to drawn her back. She was gone too far and they remained standing for about an hour looking up at the spot where she was taken to in the hope that she would be let down again. She wasnt let down but a white pettitcoat that she was wearing was dropped down and a burned hole in it about the size of a crown piece. She was never seen or heard of. An old woman that lived in the place said that if they had the courage of taking the petticoat and burning it that she would be let down again but no one had and the petticoat remained there. She was never seen or heard of after. She was a servant that was in the village. There were never May Day games held there afterwards.
“If you take three meals of nettles between Old May Day and New May Day...”
- Dáithí Ó Ceanntabhail
New May Day you wont be sick for the year. You must not use nettle from under trees, they are bad and you must not use them when they are in flower. The flowering nettle is bad also. You must give them two (separate) boilings before you may use them with meat. They are not then "strong"(Denis Lyons, Croom)(Query? When is Old May Day? Is it the 20th of April? D.O.C.)
People said that it was unlucky to do any thing on May Day. Some people would not leave out their cows because they said that the Fairies were out and they would take the milk from the cows.
Some people used to pick green weeds called slanders and beat one another with them to keep away the fairies. There is a story told about a leprachaun he would come out of a wood and meet a man and hand him a purse, there would be a pound note in the purse, when the man would get the purse he should keep looking at the leprachaun and if he did not he would disappear. On May Eve the people shake May water on their cattle to keep away the fairies.
The touch from the hand of the seventh son cures a bite from a mad dog.
If the palm of the hand itches, you will get money, and if the ear itches and it is read and hot some one is talking bad of you.
It is said that if a man has not his cattle out on grass before the 1st May, he will not be able to make any butter during the coming year.
If a person goes to a house on May day for milk, the person who gives him the milk puts a pitch of salt in it. This has the effect of preventing the person who gets the milk from practising any superstition.
If a person breaks a mirror on May day, it is said that they will have no luck for seven years.
There is an old saying, that people should not pull grass on May Eve, or on May Day, and many farmers would not plough their ground on that day, and boys and girls should not be out late. On that night, if people wash their hands in the dew of the grass, they would be able to rip any knot for that year. Farmers shake holy water on their land, to keep out pishogues.
People give away some salt May Day to their neighbours. Other people give away fuel. The water that washed the corpse should be thrown out in direction the corpse should go to the church. You should wash the sheet where the dead person was if you didn't want to go you could dip the corner of the sheet in the water. People say it is not right to dig a grave on a Monday.
The days on which customs are observed locally are Saint Stephens day, Saint Patrick's Day, Shrove Tuesday, Ash Wednesday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Saturday, Easter Sunday, May Day, New Year's Eve and New Years Day.
It isn't right to sit on the grass May day. If you sleep on the grass on May you'll get the sleeping sickness.If you went out on May morning before the rising of the sun and if you washed your hands with the due, you would be able to rip any knot. The fairies to be out on May eve.
It isn't right to pick flowers on May day.
If you heard the Cuckoo with your right ear you would have luck and prosperity for the year. And if you heard her with your left ear you would be unlucky for the year.
The old people say that you should never throw out water that you would wash your feet in.
If you went out may morning into your neighbours
(III)"Long ago the people would have to put in their cows and mind threw for the night. Some people used to take butter. Some people could take the butter by being first at the well on May morning and others by going to the house and lighting their pipe.
If your butter was taken you could get it back by putting a part of the plough into the fire to redden it and the person who had taken the butter would come back quickly with it."
Told by Mr John Normogh
(IV) "On May morning people are very much afraid because people go out on May Eve and put things into other people's land. They put dead beasts and other things into the felid and they say they have the other people luck because their beasts died and those who did the deed have all the luck."
Told by Mrs. O'Brien.
(V) They say that a young baby does something new on May Day like learning to talk or walk."
Told by Mr. John MacNamara.
(VI) They say you should not go to a fair on May day because the Fairies are out"
Told by Mr. P. Fitzgerald.
“It was told to me that in olden times...”
- Tom Conway
- (name not given)
it was told to me that in olden times that people used to say that it was unlucky to start work on Monday. May Day is also called a Pishogues Day. People milk cows belonging to other people. On that night people say that the cows does be milked. When the people get up in the morning their cows have no milk and for the rest of the year they have no produce. People also put eggs in to other peoples land so as to bring them misfortune. People also shake holy water in the cattle and especially in young calves to keep away all diseases and holy water is also shook in wells.
It is said, that tis not right to remove from one house to another on Monday. It is also said, that tis unlucky to make a grave on that day. The three first days of March are known as the Peak Days. These days are supposed to be very hard and windy. The 15th of July is known as St. Swedens Day. It is said that if it rains on that day, that it would stay raining for forty days, because it was on that day the Deluge started. It is said that tis not right to interfere with green plants on May Day, and that holly should be set on no month only in May, or if it was, it would not grow.
There are a great many tales told that occured on May eve or May day. They used carry the neighbours milk and butter. The first to the water at the meeting of three streams was supposed to have the power to carry milk or butter. On a May morning a neighbour met a girl at the stream taking the water. He hunted her that time, but afterwards she became his wife. Later on when a baby was born to them a neighbouring woman came into help to make the butter. When they were making the churn they used put