Do you know what a Brideóg is? What could you cure if you licked a lizard nine times? Why is Whit Sunday the unluckiest day of the year?
From the author of The Irish Cottage comes a new book, exploring old Irish customs and beliefs. Chapters focus on the quarter-day festivities that marked the commencement of each season: ‘Spring: Imbolc’; ‘Summer: Bealtaine’; ‘Autumn: Lughnasa’ and ‘Winter: Samhain’, and also major life events – ‘Births, Marriages and Death Customs’ – and general beliefs in ‘Spirituality and Well-Being’ and ‘The Supernatural’.
Focusing on the period from the mid-nineteenth to the mid-twentieth centuries, Irish Customs and Rituals discusses a time during which many of the practices and beliefs in question went into decline. Many of these customs were rooted in residual pre-Christian beliefs that ran parallel to, and in spite of, conventional religion practised in the country. Some customs were so deep-rooted that despite continued disapproval from the Roman Catholic Church they remain with us today. It is wonderful to see so many traditions still with us, as many are worthwhile remembering, commemorating, or even reviving today.
Irish Customs and Rituals will appeal to all those with an interest in Irish history, folklore, culture and social history.
Marion McGarry is the author of The Irish Cottage: History, Culture and Design (2017). She has a PhD in Architectural History and an MA in History of Art and Design and is currently a lecturer at Galway–Mayo Institute of Technology. She frequently writes articles about Irish social history and customs.