The stories told on these pages are from  a collection of folklore compiled by schoolchildren in Ireland in the 1930s. 
The children recorded (over&nbsp740,000 handwritten pages) of this material from their parents, grandparents and neighbours.

These are their stories in their own words.

St Brigid. Funeral and wedding customs.

SCHOOL: Scoil na mBráthar, Tuaim | ADDRESS:Tuam, Co. Galway

Proud Irish Heritage - St. Brigid of Ireland. Wedding and wake customs of Ireland .
Saint Brigid. Wedding Customs.

The feast of Saint Brigid is celebrated on the first of Febuary. It is one of the biggest feasts held during the year in Ireland. There is a feast in every Catholic house on that night.

When the table is laid and everything ready they make a play in honour of Saint Brigid. One person is Brigid most likely the mother or a girl of the house, she puts on a cloak and goes outside the door and knocks, she tells them to say their prayers, they tell Saint Brigid to come in then Brigid caomes in and sits at the head of the table. Then they celebrate the feast. When the feast is finished they all join in the rosary. Each person makes a cross and hangs it on the door.

Another custom the children have is to go from house dressed in old clothes carrying sods of turf or turnips scooped into faces which they name the ” Brideog” and every one gives them some money. The reason we make the cross is because St Brigid was passing a house and she saw a poor man dying. She asked them a few questions and found out that he and his family were pegans. She began then ans explained the coming of god into this World, and how he died on the cross for love of us. She then made a cross to show them. After that the sick man was converted by Saint Brigid.

Marriage Customs

In some places before the bride gets married it is the custom for her to make a wedding garment for the intended husband to show it to his mother.
After the wedding the oldest person in the house brakes an oaten-cake over the bride at the door-step as she enters into the house.
At the wedding breakfast a fortune song is sung for the bride.

A hundred years ago marriages were carried out with great ceremony. The man would go to the brides house and ask her father for leave to marry her. The day was arranged for them to meet in some house in the town to make the match. On the day of the wedding the man used to call for the bride and they used to go to church on horse-back.

The used not take the same route going home as they did coming to the church. When they went to the landladys house she would break an oat-meal cake on their heads for good luck. There are a good many things said about the best day for getting married. Long ago the bride would not visit her parents for a month and would not go to Mass.

Old Customs at a Funeral and wake

In the country in the West of Ireland it is the custom to stop the clock and to turn the chairs upside down. Four chairs are put on the ground and the coffin is placed on the chairs for a few moments. The coffin is then put into the hearse. When the coffin is put into the hearse the chairs are turned upside until the corpse is buried.

Another custom is a place of tobacco is left beside the dead person and there is a plate of clay pipes placed there also. Then the people smoke the pipes. On a chair near the bed is a plate of snuff and the sympathizers take a pinch of it.

In Ireland long ago the Irish had a larger number of old customs at wakes. When a person died it was not right for the people of the house to wash or lay the person out. Five candles used to be put on a table at the head of the corpse.

Snuff used to be put on the persons chest and everybody that came in used to take a pinch of it. The neighbours used to stay all night in the house and tea and tobacco was given around to them. Long ago the colour of the coffins was black. When a person died the people used to stop the clock and then they would know what time the person would die.


The Schools’ Collection, Volume 0027, Page 0210” by Dúchas © National Folklore Collection, UCD is licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0.

The Schools’ Collection, Volume 0027, Page 0213” by Dúchas © National Folklore Collection, UCD is licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0.

The Schools’ Collection, Volume 0027, Page 0219” by Dúchas © National Folklore Collection, UCD is licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0.

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