May Days Past

In days gone by the coming of summer was a time of celebration as people welcomed the better weather and looked forward with hope, to a bountiful harvest.

Children gathered wildflowers to make posies, to decorate themselves and altars dedicated to Mary. Flowers were strewn on doorsteps and  hung above the entrance to home, byre and well to bring luck and protection from the faeries. In some parts of the country dancers wove ribbons around May poles and effigies of Mary were carried through the streets for the May Day parade.

Here, you can read memories of May Days past and add your own, using our online form.

We are particularly interested to uncover photographs of May customs, so if you have any images you can share then please email them to ouririshheritage@gmail.com 

Page link:
"The Month of the Blessed Virgin"
By Mary B Davitt in conversation with Mary O'Malley
Page link: 'May Days Past' Online Form
'May Days Past' Online Form
Collecting and Sharing memories about May Day
Page link: A variety of customs from Cahir, Tipperary
A variety of customs from Cahir, Tipperary
Collected by Cahir Boys National School
Page link: Burning the May bush
Burning the May bush
By Kevin Loughran
Page link: Crowns for Our Lady
Crowns for Our Lady
By Averil Staunton
Page link: Decorating the May Bush
Decorating the May Bush
By Michael Heffernan
Page link: Eve of May Day and May Day
Eve of May Day and May Day
By Mary Lavelle
Page link: Happy Days
Happy Days
By Roisin Reddington
Page link: May Altar
May Altar
By Breege Walsh
Page link: May Altar
May Altar
By Eithne Campbell
Page link: May Altar
May Altar
By James Molloy
Page link: May Altar
May Altar
By Martina Walsh
Page link: May Altars
May Altars
By Eamonn Kelly
Page link: May Day in South Tyrone
May Day in South Tyrone
By Siobhán Mcdermott
Page link: May Day revival
May Day revival
By Stan O' Reilly
Page link: May Eve bonfires
May Eve bonfires
By Ted Heaslip
Page link: May fire and fairies
May fire and fairies
By Peggy Hickey
Page link: Nature Table
Nature Table
By Patricia Youell
Page link: Our Lady coming to visit
Our Lady coming to visit
By Anne Joyce
Page link: Our May Memories
Our May Memories
Residents of The Lawn, Claremorris
Page link: Picking buttercups
Picking buttercups
By Mary Hall
Page link: Queen of the May
Queen of the May
By Jean McCarthy
Page link: Remembering May Day
Remembering May Day
By Martina Leonard
Page link: The May Altar
The May Altar
By Rose McHugh
Page link: The May Bush and the Steam Engine!
The May Bush and the Steam Engine!
By Christina Cassidy
Page link: Two Dangerous Nights!
Two Dangerous Nights!
By Christina Cassidy