Ireland: Her Wit, Peculiarities and Popular Superstitions
With Anecdotes, Legendary and Characteristic
Distinguished Irish Writers
(Irish Popular Superstitions by Sir William Wilde)
Originally published in the Dublin University Magazine
TABLE OF CONTENTS
IRISH POPULAR SUPERSTITIONS
Revolution in Irish Peasant's Life: its Causes and Effects—Obliteration of Superstitions—Introduction of Darby Doolin—Loss of the Gentry—the Irish Pantheon—Tenant's Rights and taxes—Demolition of the Popular and Rural Pastimes—The Ordnance Survey—Effect of the Potato Failure on the Popular Mind—Emigration and Patriotism—Who is to be the Buyer?—What we are, What we may be, and What we ought to be—The Way to Learn English—How to Prove a Man Mad—Quacks—The Last of the Superstitions.
THE MAY-DAY FESTIVAL IN IRELAND
Remembrances of Old May Day; a Dream of the Past—The Floralia and La Beal-Teine—The Ancient Irish Year—Bael Worship—Ancient Irish Authorities thereon—Bonfires—The May Day Fire in Dublin; a Scene in the Coombe—Bonfire Ceremonial—May Eve Festivities—The Snail Charm and the Yarrow—The Well Ceremonies upon May Morning—Cattle Charms—Nettling—The Hare Witch—Churning—The Butter Witchcraft—May Dew—The May Bush and May Pole—Finglas Sports and Dublin Revels—May Boys and Morris-Dancers—May Rhymes—Saura-Linn—Sonnoughing Sunday—May Day Legends.
REMINISCENCES OF THE WEST—THE WELSHES—THE THIVISH OR FETCH
Hell or Connaught—The West—Its present and former condition; Hopes for its future—Poor-houses and Depopulation—The Right Honourable and Tim Muldoon—Secret Societies—The Ribbonmen—Peelers and Barony Constables—A Militia Major—Paddy Welsh the Fisherman, his Life, Doings, and Death—The blood of the Welshes—The Third Dream—Treasure-seeking—Ballintober Castle, its capture in 1786—The History of Cathel Crove-derg—Sandy O'Conor—The Widow's Son and the Fetches—Roscommon in 1825—A Gladiatorial Exhibition—The Gallows—Lady Betty, a Female Executioner—The last recorded Gibbeting—The civilizing effects of whipcord and lead.
FAIRY ARCHAEOLOGY AND MEDICO-RELIGIOUS CEREMONIES
The Blast—Story of John Fitzjames—Cleena and the Fairy-Woman—The Dedication—The Meal Cure—The Fallen Angels—Mac Coise's Swan—Mary Kelly's Abduction—The Grave Watchers, a Legend of Fin Varrah, and Knockmah—The Fairy Nurse: a Tale of Innis-Shark.