Customs, L. Couser, May Day, Port Omna, Portumna, Shrove, St. Brigid, Storie, Thomas Couser
Emblems and Objects of Value 14/12/1938
Notes taken by Thomas Couser from Mrs. L. Couser
In the country the people have a great deal of old customs in honour of the different saints. On St. Brigid’s night the people get a piece of brown ribbon and make it into the shape of a cross. Then they leave it out on a line that night and they say that St. Brigid comes and touches it. One piece of this ribbon is kept in the kitchen while the other part is hung in the outhouses as St. Brigid is the patron saint of stock. This ribbon is often known to have cured diseases which were incurable.
Another custom is that the old people when they are thatching, wear a cross inside the a roof over the door in honour of St. Brigid. About six miles from Portumna there is a place called Killimore. The people here on St. Brigid’s night, get a doll and dress here in white the they go from door to door saying “This is St. Brigid dressed in white, give her something for the night, she is deaf, she is dumb, give her money if you have some” . Then with the money they get, they hold a big feast that night and put the doll in the middle of the table.
The people practice another old custom on the first of May. They call the day May Day. On this day the people cut a bush and stick it in the ground. Then they decorate it with rags, eggshells, old shoes and boots etc and then they leave the bush there for about a month. But long ago when May night would come, the boys out of the town would go round the country and would burn all the May bushes on the people.
On Christmas Eve, the people decorate their houses with holly and it would be taken down on Shrove Tuesday and it is used to to cook the pancakes.
Collected by Thomas Couser, Killimore Road, Portumna 14/12/1938 Collected from Mrs. L. Couser, Killimore Road, Portumna, Co. Galway aged 45