A variety of customs from Cahir, Tipperary

Collected by Cahir Boys National School

My memory

Your letter was emailed to me by our local Heritage Officer in South Tipperary last week. It grabbed my attention, immediately, as I had raised this matter with 5th Class in Cahir Boys National School during the 2005/06 school year. My own dad had reminded me of our local tradition of farmers blessing the corners of fields and their livestock with Easter water (holy water blessed at Easter) on May Eve. His father used to do this annually up until the mid 1940s. When I shared this with the class, our SNA said her dad was still doing this. One of the students said his grandad also kept up this custom.

This experience convinced me that these traditions were still being kept observed in some families or areas but “under the radar”. I asked the boys in 5th and 6th Class last week to enquire about May Eve at home without giving them any clues and collected information on Monday and Tuesday last.

5th Class:

  • Kevin O’Connor talked about the blessing of fields and livestock with holy water. His parents still do it.
  • Jamie Armitage said his grandmother used to sprinkle holy water over the flowers and the garden and sing hymns!
  • Dean Sweeney said his grandad used to put up a new horseshoe on the chimney breast of the house for luck every May Eve.
  • Eoin Corbett said his grandmother’s family from County Monaghan used to sprinkle holy water on food before eating it on May Eve.
  • Eddie O’Leary said his grandmother used to sprinkly holy water in the car.
  • Jordan Lennon’s grandad’s wife said people in Rossadrehid (5 miles outside Cahir) used to bless their houses with Easter water.
  • Tommy MacDonagh said his parents would get a blessing at Knock.
  • Patrick Egan said that his grandad Egan used to put holy water in the sheds and fields of his homeplace on the hills above Clonmel.
  • A 5th Class SNA, Patricia Littleton, said that her mother(from Bansha) still puts Easter water in the 4 corners of each field, on the livestock and in the house too. Patricia blesses her own garden on May Eve at her mother’s insistence!

6th Class:

  • Tiernan McLoughlin said his grandmother in Belfast used to drink cooled cabbage water on May Eve.
  • Eoin Roe said blessed eggs were put in a field with crops. If the eggs were gone or cracked, the crops were sure to fail.
  • Conor McKenna said his father’s family in County Monaghan used to put May flowers out in the sheds and outhouses.
  • Eoin Butler said holy water was used to bless fields, the roads and the car.
  • Tommy Magner also spoke of holy water being sprinkled in a car on May Eve.

When did this happen?

c 1960’s

Where did this happen?

Cahir, Co. Tipperary

Comments about this page

  • We always put Holy Water in the fields on crops and cattle in wicklow on may day

    By EAMMON HEALY (01/05/2021)

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