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  1. May Day

    Language
    English
    Collector
    Nancy Davis
    Informant
    Peter Davis
    Age
    54

    it is said that May day brings Summer. If May day is a wet day the following year will be wet but if it is a dry day the year will be dry.
    If you wash your face in the May morning dew. your face will be the same in another year. On May day a bunch of May Flowers is placed in the thatch or sometimes they are tied to the slates. The children have great fun celebrating May Day.

  2. The Lore of Certain Days

    Language
    English

    The people of my district say that the luckiest day to start to plough is on a Friday. They say that you should not turn up the clay on May Day. A person should not throw out ashes or dirt on May Day. If a person met a red haired woman or girl on the road on that day they should turn and go home again. Also nobody should give away milk on May Day.

  3. Halloween Night

    Language
    English
    Informant
    Seán Mágh Oireachtaigh

    Long ago the Irish people celebrated two great days one the first of May and the other Hallow eve night. On May day the people put flowers on the threshold because the people of ancient Ireland believed in fairies and were afraid of them. On May day the people would not give away a drop of milk because they used to think they would be giving away the butter. If anyone came in to on May day they would take the churn and say "God bless the cows and the butter" I am not concerned any longer about May day. I am telling you the fun boy's have on Hallow Eve Night. For many days children are collecting nuts and apples and sweets.
    When Hallow Eve night comes a lot of boys and girls get to-gether in some house to have great fun. They hang an apple out of the ceiling and the children try to catch it in their mouths with their hands behind their backs. Then they get basin of water and put a shilling or a sixpence and try to catch it in their mouths and it below in the bottom of the water. Then the children eat nuts and sweets and monkey nuts which have to be bought because they do not

  4. Local Superstitions

    Language
    English
    Collector
    Pat Slein

    Food cooked before May Day and left over to May Day should not be used. The fairies have left lumps of clay instead of the real food. [-]
    If the face is washed with the dew of the grass before sunrise on May morning the skin will remain white and clear [-]
    No coal should be let out of the fire (given away) on May Day. [-]

  5. Festival Customs

    Language
    English
    Collector
    Eddie Carroll
    Informant
    Michael Noone

    Nearly all the people of this district gather May flowers on May Day Eve, and then they scatter them at all the doors of their dwelling houses, and also at the doors of their out-houses. None of the people ever throw out ashes on May Day. They think, that if they threw out

  6. May Eve Customs

    Language
    English
    Collector
    Peggy Gallagher

    There are any amount of customs observed on May Eve and on May Day. One for May Eve is to scatter primroses and May flowers on the streets and about the house. One custom which the children delight in is the crowning Queen of May the prettiest school girl in every school. This girl is taken out on May Day and set up on a high arm-chair, the other children then gather around her and dress her up with flowers. They then make a crown of flowers and place it on her head when this is done they all catch hands and dance around her singing the little song known as "Nuts and May."
    Some people do not like to give away milk on May Day lest they would give away their luck or the butter. It is said that if you wash your face in the dew before sunrise on May morning it will prevent you from getting tanned during the Summer.
    Tuathal king of Ireland in the first century instituted the

  7. Superstitious Sayings and Omens

    Language
    English
    Collector
    Bridie Holmes
    Informant
    Edward Holmes

    a stranger will come in. If a fork falls on the floor a man will come in, and if it is a spoon a woman will come in. If a coal falls out of the fire a stranger will come in.
    You should not give away milk on May day or you will not have luck. If you scatter mayflowers outside the door on May day you will have luck. If a swan fly across the house somebody will die. If you are going a journey and meet a red haired woman you will not have luck. If a rabbit ran across before you you should turn back. If you meet a black cat on the road you will have luck.
    To break a mirror meant you will have seven years bad luck. To get a horse shoe lost is good luck. You should not throw out water on May day

  8. Beliefs about May Day

    Language
    English
    Collector
    Josephine Kelly
    Informant
    Mr Dan Rattigan

    There are many old superstitious beliefs attached to May day. Of course many people nowadays do not believe these superstitions. But, in olden times the people were very exact as to what they did on May day. They were always sure to put their cows in a house on that night. For they believed that a covetous neighbour comes into the field and milks the cows. By doing so they mean to steal the butter away. Some people also would not let a sup of milk, a coat, money and such things out of the house as they believed that they would lose some of their stock. But, if it is necessary for them to give milk away, they often put a sup of holy water on it. So that they won't lose any stock. If a person is going on a journey on May day and if they meet a red haired woman on the road they should turn back in order to avoid bad luck. They should also turn back if they saw a magpie.

  9. Omans

    Language
    English

    Nobody yokes a horse on May day to work with him because it is unlucky to stir the clay on May Day.
    (Portrun)

    On May day the people used to get a stick and tie a bunch of primrosis on it and stick it up in the thatch.
    (Clooncagh)

  10. May Day Customs

    Language
    English
    Collector
    Nan Rutledge
    Informant
    Mrs Mc Loughlin

    In olden times many customs were practised on May-day, most of these are gone now-a-days, but some are yet continued and practised. The evening previous to May-day some member of each household goes out into the fields and gathers a hugh quantity of May-flowers. In the towns some poor children go about selling flowers for a little money. On that night, they are scattered on the door-steps and on the window-sills, to welcome the first day of Summer. As the month of May is dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, an altar is prepared in every Catholic home. It is decorated with flowers, and a small lighted lamp is placed before her statue.
    Long ago it was customary not to put out the ashes, or sweep the floor on May-day. The old people never gave away milk, as they believed they would have no butter on the next churning. Many girls went out into a field at break of day and washed their faces in the dew, under a hawthorn tree. It was said that such people did not get sun-burned during the following Summer. Other customs practised were, the placing of a branch of the mountain-ash in a manure heap in order to protect the cows, and the placing of a "griosach" under a churn so that the

  11. Churning

    Language
    English
    Collector
    Michael John Connolly

    Long ago there were various superstitions as regards Churning The women of ancient times never neglected to put a spark of fire under the churn for fear the fairies would bring the butter, and they would not let a spark of fire out of the house until the cream would be churned For instance if a man came in to light his pipe he would not be let go out until he did his share of the churning. The old folk were also of the opinion that if a strange hand was allowed to milk the cow on May Day and suppose the stranger milked the first can in the name of the Devil there would be no more milk for the Family it would be all secretly taken away by the fairies. There were three things that were never given away on May Day, Fire, Salt or milk because to give away any of these would mean bad luck for that year. It was also the custom when churning to put a pinch of [struck out: "cloth"] salt into the churn before the commenced to churn. All these superstitions are no longer

  12. Festival Customs

    Language
    English

    water or to be out late at night on Whit Sunday or Monday as an accident is sure to happen. It is also very unlucky to go near water on May Eve and May Day, or to be out late at night. It is said that if anyone picks any flowers on May Eve that the fairies will steal the person away, and if anyone goes near water there are supposed to be fairies in the water and they will pull them down in the lake. On May Day the young people have a merry pastime picking daisies and making daisy chains. They dress one of their companions in daisies and they march round with "may queen" leading them. On the Feast of the Assumption a great many people visit the shrine of the Blessed Virgin at Knock, others go on a pilgrimage to Lourdes and others go to Lock Derg, a little island in the midst of a big lake in Co. Donegal. On St. Martins Day a bird is

  13. Festival Customs

    Language
    English
    Informant
    M. J. Cunningham

    Whit Sunday and Whit Monday.
    Whit week is the second week of June. People never go out on water on Whit Sunday or Whit Monday. It is said that if a child is born on Whit Monday he or she will meet its death in an accident.
    May Day. May day is the first day of May. It is an old custom not to give away milk on May day or plough day.
    Saint John's Day Saint John's Day is celebrated on the 24th of June. There is always a Pattern held on that day in this district and people do stations round Saint John's well which is in this district.
    Generally known by all people here

  14. Lore of Certain Days

    Language
    English

    It is considered unlucky for a woman to come into your house first on New Years Day. It is an old custom not to throw out ashes on that day, or on May Day, or for a woman to come out on the road before you, or to give away anything out of the house on May Day. It is supposed if you pay out money on "Hansol Monday" that is the first Monday of the New Year, you will have ill luck on all your undertakings for the year. No one, only a member of the family, would be allowed to milk cows on the 1st May. It was the belief that if anybody else milked there would not be any butter got on the milk for the year.

  15. Lore of Certain Days

    Language
    English

    It is thought that no water should be thrown out on New Year's Day. Neither water nor ashes should be thrown out on May Day. People say you would throw out your luck with these things on the above mentioned days. No country person would give away Milk on May Day, or allow anybody outside the members of the household to milk the cows on that day.
    It is on May Morning that "the bad women of the district" perform their witch craft to "bring the butter" from their neighbours.

  16. A Charm

    Language
    English

    I heard people say that too if you got up on a May Day morning and washed your hands three times in the name of the Father Son and Holy Ghost that you'd be able to unfasten any knot that you'd meet.
    I heard an old woman boast once that she owed her skill in undoing the knots in the wool to this cure as she told me that she never missed a May Day

  17. (no title)

    Once there lived a woman in Carrowkeel named Biddy Elwood in the parish of Creeve in the Co Roscommon who had a lot of butter...

    Language
    English
    Collector
    James Gormley
    Informant
    James Gormley
    Age
    82

    her to throw it into the churn the next time that she would be churning. She did as she was bid and after that she had plenty of butter.

    People will not give away milk on May day because they are afraid that the cows will go dry and give them no more milk for the year.
    People will not clean out the cowhouse on May day because they are afraid that they would throw away the luck of the cows for the year.

  18. Festival Customs

    Language
    English
    Collector
    Tom Gallagher
    Informant
    Mrs Gallagher
    Age
    50

    watches from twelve o'clock to three o'clock on Good Friday.
    Little Christmas. This day falls on the 6th of January. It is also called the Twelfth Night and on that night twelve rush candles are lighted and all the family gather round them and say the Rosary to finish the Christmas.
    May Day.
    On May Day people get bunches of May flowers and scatter them round the front door.