Tuesday 18 June 2019

Tradition of hunting the wren is alive and well in Curragraigue!

Pádraig Byrne

With a recent resurgence in interest in old local customs and traditions across Wexford, one of the local families driving this interest is Aileen Lambert, Michael Fortune and their kids.

In the rural townsland of Curragraigue, they have brought neighbours and family together year in, year out to mark old traditions such as erecting a May Bush, hunting for Easter eggs and even organising a small St Patrick's Day parade for the townsland.

On St Stephen's Day, the family continued their good work and joined with other local families and friends to go out Christmas Mumming or 'Hunting the Wren' as it is more commonly known in other counties.

Last year Michael worked on a feature for RTÉ on this tradition which saw a spike in interest in counties long associated with it such as Wexford. Likewise, the power of social media has helped them reach directly onto the phones and tablets of rural people, sparking memories and interests into the things they rural people once did in their youth.

The social aspect was pivotal to the tradition, where Michael explains: 'people dressed up and called from house to house looking for alms where they sang, danced and generally acted the eegit'. This disguising and house-calling even made its way to Newfoundland with the South Eastern Irish and survives to this day where these 'Mummers' call to people's homes.

Michael, Aileen, their girls and some friends had a great time embracing the tradition this year and received a warm welcome on the doorsteps locally where they sang and recited in return for sweets.

Gorey Guardian