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Irish Folklore

Animal ‘Sacrifice’ and Blood Letting, Saint Martin’s Feast in Ireland

Today, the 11th of November, is the feast of St. Martin of Tours. He was a particularly popular saint in Ireland and up until quite recently his feast (Martinmas) was surrounded by a number of superstitions and customs.  These included a rather gruesome tradition, at least to modern eyes, which involved animal ‘sacrifice’ and blood […]

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Halloween in Irish Folklore

These folklore accounts detail some of superstitions and festivities which once surrounded Halloween in Ireland. They are based on information supplied by schoolchildren to the Irish Folklore Commission in the late 1930s.   Dressing up ‘On Hallowe’en night the boys dress up like old men. Some of them dress up like old hags. They put on […]

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Churching the Cow: Folklore from Co. Galway

These two fascinating folklore accounts from Co. Galway detail a practice known as ‘churching the cow’. It was carried out immediately after calving and was believed to protect the cow from harm or evil. The name of the ritual, ‘churching‘, is taking from a contemporary religious rite that was carried out after childbirth. Churching a […]

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A Fairy Fort: Folklore from Co. Sligo

This Irish folklore account relates to a ringfort in Co. Sligo and is based on information supplied by Mary Brennan in 1938. Ringforts are the classic early medieval settlement type and were long abandoned by the early 20th century when they had become associated with the fairy folk. ‘One night many years ago a man named […]

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