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Tag: Namirs

Cows in Knockanure, Hay and Tae in Bromore and a Look Back at some old Systems

Blue Tit, Just Fledged

Photo: Chris Grayson


Holy Cow!

At Knockanure


Meanwhile in Bromore

Danny Houlihan piped them into the meadow at Michael Flahive annual Hay and Tae festival.


Old Feast Day Customs

from the Dúchas folklore collection

Festival Customs
St. Brigid’s Day (1st of February). People make a rush cross and put it outside the door and say special prayers. This rush cross is made in memory of Brigid. When teaching the pagans she made a rush cross to represent the cross Our Lord was crucified on. On St. Brigid’s eve people hang a piece of cloth in the air outside the window. This Brat Bride is supposed to contain a cure by touching the sick or sore.

St. Patrick’s Day (17th March). People wear shamrocks and harps. Little girls wear green ribbons and harps and as much green as possible.

Shrove Tuesday (variable date) being the last day of shrove many marriages take place also match marriages. Shrove Tuesday night is often called Pancake night. A ring is put in the pancakes and it is said who ever gets the ring is the soonest to be married. Eggs are put in the pancakes, because at that time long ago they were forbidden during Lent, the first day of which comes after Shrove Tuesday. The bride who marries on Shrove Tuesday does not go to her husband’s house until after Lent.

On Ash Wednesday (variable date) men are reminded as of old that unto dust they shall return, and the ashes is placed on their brows in the shape of a cross.

Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Saturday and Sunday, Whit Sunday and Whit Monday are either religious or bank holidays, and are observed in much the same way all over Ireland. On Easter Sunday morning children get up early to see the sun dancing. An old custom is to eat a good many eggs, as Lent (forbidden time) is now over.

Chalk Sunday (first Sunday of Lent) was often a cross day long ago, because all the young boys and girls used to chalk the backs of the men of marriageable age, who did not get married during Shrove.

May Day (1st May). People hang a branch of Summer tree in the house to keep away the fairies.
The house, family, outhouses, cattle and fields are sprinkled with holy water to keep away the fairies also.

St. John’s Day (24th June). On the eve of this feast bonfires are lit.
On feast of Assumption (15th August) most people from this neighbourhood go to Ballybunion for the day. No one ventures on the sea that day because the drowning of ’93 took place on August 15th.

For Michaelmas dinner people usually have a “green” goose.

On St. Martin’s Eve it is an ancient custom to kill a fowl and sprinkle the blood around the house. This is supposed to be an unlucky day, so few fishers go fishing.

Hallowe’en (30th October) is the last night of Autumn. Nuts and apples are eaten. Many games are played with nuts and apples, and beans etc. (1) Two beans are put roasting on coals near the fire. One bean gets a man’s name, the other a woman’s name. If both beans jump together, the pair are supposed to be married. (2) An apple is made to hang by a cord from the ceiling. Hands are tied behind the back, and the person tries to bite the apple without putting a hand to it. (3) Three saucers are put on a table, one containing water, one containing earth, and one containing a ring. The players are blindfolded, the saucers are shuffled around,
and if a person puts his hand in saucer containing earth, they say he will be dead before that day twelvemonth. If he touches the ring they say he will be married, and if he touches the water, he will cross the sea. A cake containing many charms is cut for the tea, and much fun is enjoyed.

The Twelve Days of Christmas between Christmas and Little Christmas are supposed to be the twelve months of the year. If these are fine, the year will be fine, and if these are wet, we will have a wet year. The twelve days were fine last Xmas, and every month so far was wet.
St. Stephen’s Day (26th Dec.) On this particular day crowds of boys dress up in fancy conspicuous looking costumes, and go around to the neighbouring districts collecting money “to bury the wren”. Each boy plays a musical instrument and the procession marches in time. One boy leads the procession, he carries a branch of holly with a little dead wren fastened to it, and according as he stops outside the door of each house he says
“The wren, the wren, the king of all birds
St. Stephen’s Day he was caught in the furze
Up with the kettle, and down with the pan
Give us some money “to bury the wren”.
Meanwhile, the champion dancer of the crowd gives a dreas rinnce
on the doorstep. One of the wrenboys marches at the side. He carries a bladder attached to the end of a long stick, and he runs after any little boys who interrupt the procession. When the joyful day rambling is ended, the money is evenly divided between the boys who were in one crowd. Some times they hold a wren dance.

Handsel Monday (the first Monday of the New Year) is a day on which people like to get a present of money, no matter how small. It is an omen that he will receive plenty money during the year.

The Epiphany (6th Jan.). On the vigil of this feast everybody likes to be in bed before 12 midnight, at which hour they say water changes into wine. It was the day of the wedding feast of Cana.

All these old fashioned customs are still observed because, as the proverb says, I suppose – “It is not right to make a new custom, or to break an old one”.

Collector- Kitty Lynch- Address, Tarbert, Co. Kerry- Informant Mrs Lynch- Age 78, Address, Tarbert, Co. Kerry


In Namir’s

I met Namir with Kay and Rosa in Ballybunion on Sunday. Lovely to catch up with old friends.

Greenville Rd. and Irish Servant Girls in Australia in the 19th century

Convent Cross

 This is the corner beside Toirbheart and the convent.

 The path behind the locked gate is covered in moss and lichen.


Irish Servant Girls in Australia in 1874

from the archive of Harp and Southern Cross Adelaide,
SA : Fri 6 Mar 1874


Servant girls, to the ordinary
observer, form an humble, though necessary element in our social economy, but
according to the late utterances of one of our Protestant contemporaries, many

of them are no less than Jesuits in

Whereas the whole tendency of the
age is to cast discredit on honest toil, and to scorn the simple faith and
earnest trust that sweetens the hardest face and brightens the poorest home.
But let us not lose sight of the point we wish to insist upon. Irish
servant-girls, as a class, deserve in no way the sneers and accusations
frequently directed against them. They are good workers, notably honest, and
above all, deeply imbued with a religious feeling, affording the surest
guarantee of the purity and character. Indeed, in this latter respect they put
to shame many a Catholic favoured by Fortune and education, who has come to
adopt the fashionable theories of religious indifference. And in this very
tenacity with which they cling to their faith, may be found, to some extent,
the secret of the hostility to Irish Catholic servants which now and then ,
makes itself heard in the public prints. Mrs. Shoddy and Mrs. Knickerbocker
having no religion themselves cannot endure it in their inferiors. They go to
their fine meeting-house and listen to their fine preacher, and some Sunday
when new sensations are lacking, that well-paid functionary has recourse to an
old one.

He dilates upon the folly of popish
superstitions, and the danger there is that Romanism may insidiously enter the
household of his hearers. Perhaps he is fortunate enough to attract the

attention of the audience from the
bonnets and dresses displayed by the congregation, and to send them home with
no very amiable feelings towards Catholics in general and their honest
servant-girls in particular, who insist upon going to Mass regularly on Sundays
and holy days.

The mistress’s tongue is sharpened
with the acid of bigotry, and her temper becomes more and more trying. The
servant is not a paragon of perfection, and there is a limit to her endurance.

The result is a domestic revolution
which sooner or later we hear of in the shape of an indignant complaint against
the ignorance and impudence of Irish help. But after all, these expressions of

petty malice reflect the feeling of
a very small and insignificant minority. As a rule employers repose a trust — a
confidence in their Catholic servant-girls which is seldom betrayed, and these
pure, simple-minded women go through life displaying virtues which adorn their
station, and might well be imitated by those higher in the social scale.


What’s Another Year?

In 2016 one young Moyvane man saw his dancing career reach a new high point. 

Seán Slemon danced in 25 championships. He won 22 of them and was 2nd in the other 3. He is the Scottish, British and Irish champion. 

I think we have our own Michael Flately here among us in North Kerry.

Photo collage posted on Facebook by his very proud mother, Annette.


A New Year’s Ball in Boston in 1907

Boston Mayor John “Honey Fitz” Fitzgerald started a new tradition of ringing in the New Year by holding a reception at Boston City Hall on Tuesday, January 1, 1907.

The Boston Globe wrote on January 2, “When the mayor announced the he would hold a reception among the lines of those held in the national capitol and other cities of the union, few regarded it seriously.  It had never been attempted before, and of course, to be attempted now in sedate old Boston was regarded as nothing short of a desperate plunge with no reward in sight to warrant it.”

Between the hours of noon and 2:00 p.m., over 4500 people attended, and it was deemed a success, noted the report.

Among the Bostonians who turned out to greet Mayor Ftizgerald: President Toland of the Charitable Irish Society, Herbert Carruth, deputy commissioner of the Penal Institution, Colonel Roger F. Scannell, “late defeated candidate of the Board of Alderman,” Henri Flammond, the French consul, Jeremiah McCarthy, surveyor of the port, and Patrick F. McDonald, superintendent of bridges. 

Also attending were “Tim Murnane and Hugh McBreen, representing the baseball interests.” 

Not everyone made it on time, reported The Globe.  “For an hour or more after the mayor had retired from the chamber, as many as 500 persons, women in the main, hurried to the corridor on the seond floor, only to learn that they were too late.” 

Mayor Fitzgerald “said that he was highly pleased with the reception for a beginning.”

Fitzgerald was the third Boston mayor of Irish heritage, following Hugh O’Brien and Patrick Collins. Here is a full list of Boston mayors with Irish ancestry

Source; Boston Irish blog


Great Initiative by the Extraordinary Namir Karim

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