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


circa 1850




Chapter I.


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.

Chapter II.


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.

Chapter III.


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.

Chapter IV.


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.

Search Library Ireland


My Lady of the Chimney CornerMy Lady of the Chimney Corner

A memorable and moving story of the triumph of the human spirit in the face of adversity. In 1863 the author, Alexander Irvine, was born into dire poverty, the child of a 'mixed' marriage. His parents had survived the ravages of the famine years, but want and hunger were never to be too far away from their door. Irvine was ultimately destined to leave Ireland for America and to become a successful minister and author. He learned to read and write when he had left his home in Antrim far behind, but he came to realize that the greatest lessons he had received in life were at his mother's knee. My Lady of the Chimney Corner is the depiction of an existence that would be unthinkable in modern Ireland; but, more than that, it is the author's loving tribute to his mother, Anna, who taught him to look at the world through clean spectacles. ISBN 978-1-910375-32-7. USA orders. The book is also available as a Kindle download (UK) and Kindle download (US).

Popular Rhymes and Sayings of IrelandPopular Rhymes and Sayings of Ireland

In Popular Rhymes and Sayings of Ireland (first published in 1924) John J. Marshall examines the origin of a variety of rhymes and sayings that were at one time in vogue around different parts of the country, including those which he recalled from his own childhood in County Tyrone. Numerous riddles, games and charms are recounted, as well as the traditions of the ‘Wren Boys’ and Christmas Rhymers. Other chapters describe the war cries of prominent Irish septs and the names by which Ireland has been personified in literature over the centuries. The book is also available as a Kindle download.


Annals of the Famine in Ireland

Annals of the Famine in Ireland

Annals of the Famine in Ireland, by Asenath Nicholson, still has the power to shock and sadden even though the events described are ever-receding further into the past. When you read, for example, of the poor widowed mother who was caught trying to salvage a few potatoes from her landlord’s field, and what the magistrate discovered in the pot in her cabin, you cannot help but be appalled and distressed.

The ebook is available for download in .mobi (Kindle), .epub (iBooks, etc.) and .pdf formats. For further information on the book and author see details ».

Ireland's Welcome to the Stranger

Ireland’s Welcome to the Stranger

This book, the prequel to Annals of the Famine in Ireland cannot be recommended highly enough to those interested in Irish social history. The author, Mrs Asenath Nicholson, travelled from her native America to assess the condition of the poor in Ireland during the mid 1840s. Refusing the luxury of hotels and first class travel, she stayed at a variety of lodging-houses, and even in the crude cabins of the very poorest. Not to be missed!

The ebook is available for download in .mobi (Kindle), .epub (iBooks, etc.) and .pdf formats. For further information on the book and author see details ».

The Scotch-Irish in America

The Scotch-Irish in America

Henry Ford Jones' book, first published in 1915 by Princeton University, is a classic in its field. It covers the history of the Scotch-Irish from the first settlement in Ulster to the American Revolutionary period and the foundation of the country.

The ebook is available for download in .mobi (Kindle), .epub (iBooks, etc.) and .pdf formats. For further information on the book and author see details ».


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