Tradition of the May Bush discussed at Bunclody library
YOU may have noticed some brightly decorated bushes and trees springing up around the county over the past couple of weeks. This is part of an old tradition that stretches back years and years and has recently come to the fore once again courtesy of Michael Fortune and Aileen Lambert of www.folklore.ie.
Michael was present in Bunclody library to give one of several talks going on in libraries across the county on the history of the tradition and how people can decorate their very own May bush.
The tradition was once common in every village in the county and traditionally sees a ‘May bush’ erected on the eve of May Day, decorated with ribbons, seasonal flowers and painted egg shells. The bush used in Wexford was traditionally a whitethorn, or a ‘skeagh’ as it is known locally, which was cut down and stuck up in a prominent place; a cross roads, outside your home or in many cases the dung heap on the farm.
This particular tradition also travelled with migrants from the South East of Ireland and is still found in parts of Newfoundland to this day.
Michael and Aileen have helped to generate great interest in the ancient tradition in many villages and Michael was delighted to explain its origins to those present in Bunclody on the night. For anyone who may have missed the talks around the county, you can find out more at www.folklore.ie.
Seamus Kelly, Dorothy Warren, Sr Madeline Ryan, Sean Kelly, Michael Fortune, Ned Nolan (librarian) and Dinny Hanlon at the May Bush Festival talk by Michael Fortune in Bunclody Library.