Crowns for Our Lady

By Averil Staunton

Averil Staunton at the launch of the Irish Community Archive Network 2011

My memory

Gold paper or silver paper as it was called in my youth (no matter what colour it was) was lovingly collected and saved for the month of May. Saving the ‘silver paper’ If one was lucky enough to get a small Easter egg the ‘silver paper’ was smoothed out by either the finger pads or one’s nail. Great care had to be taken not to tear the paper.


A small May altar was created on a shelf or mantle piece and usually two small vases of fresh flowers added for colour. These were frequently replenished.

Golden crowns

Taking this a step further at boarding school, one had great scope with the large statues available at the Convent and in our dorm, gold and silver crowns were made to adorn the large statue on the mantle piece. One for every day Creativity was displayed with a variety of crowns which could be changed as often as one had enough ‘silver paper’. Some designs had tall points and others were embellished with other coloured ‘paper’. Some others had tiny roses, with others having diamond shaped cut outs. A small box was somewhere close by to store these treasures. No doubt these very fragile crowns were dumped when May was finished but I had forgotten all about this little annual event and I now wonder if anybody else carried on with the practice.

When did this happen?


Where did this happen?

St. Louis Convent, Kiltimagh, Co. Mayo The statue was a large one in St. Phil’s dorm. A lot of the boarders had small altars in their cubicles and a pair of small glass vases were very popular at that time.

Averil Staunton is editor of

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