May Day folklore From Bree Parish

The accounts below detail some of the superstitions which once surrounded May Day in Bree parish. They are based on information supplied to the Irish Folklore Commission by children studying at Galbally school in the late 1930s. Written in the children’s own hand, the folklore was gathered by interviewing older members of the community (often parents and grandparents). This amazing corpus of work has has now been published on-line and can be accessed here.

‘It is said that if anybody churned [milk] on May Day the butter would be taken by the faeries. On this account nobody ever churns on that day. It is said that May Day and May Night is a time of the big fairy feast’.

written by Peggy Murphy of Ballymorris, Ballyhogue, Co. Wexford and recounted by O. Murphy, Ballymorris. Source

‘It is very unlucky to throw out water or eggshells on a May morning’

written by Stasia Foley, Haystown (Foley’s Cross), Co. Wexford and recounted by Joe Foley, Haystown. Source

It is said that it is unlucky to go for milk on May Day. Long ago the old people usually got heath brooms to sweep the yards. It was regarded as bad sign to get one of those on a May Day.

written by Nellie Rashford, Ballybrennan, Bree and retold by Philip Rashford, Ballybrennan. Source 

‘There are people who have strong suspicion about May Eve.’

‘It is said that May is an unlucky month to get married in. There is a rhyme about getting married in May: ‘Marry in May, You will rue the day’

both of these accounts were written down by Margaret Walshe, Galbally, Co. Wexford and recounted by Mrs M.Brennan, Galbally. Source