Tuesday 14 August 2018

May Bush festival is alive once again in county Wexford

Angela Coghlan and Mary Byrne at the talk and workshop on the May customs
Angela Coghlan and Mary Byrne at the talk and workshop on the May customs

Sara Gahan

Folklorist Michael Fortune and his wife Aileen Lambert held a public talk in Gorey Library on Saturday in the lead up to the Wexford May Bush Festival.

The pair are encouraging families and communities around Wexford to erect and decorate their own May Bush, a custom which dates back hundreds of years ago.

This is the second year of this community-based festival, where the main objective is to get people talking about old local customs and try to bring them back into their lives again.

'The first day in May was one of the most important dates in the old calendar year in Ireland,' said Michael. 'It was officially the beginning of summer and Wexford like many counties had a wealth of folklore and customs related to it.'

It was the time of year that many people put up a May Bush in a bid to keep the 'fairies' or 'pisheogs' away in order to protect their milk, butter and the crops.

Michael and Aileen have helped bring these customs back into the lives of Wexford people, and Ireland for that matter, by hosting public talks, taking part in radio interviews, community meetings and social media.

'The May Bush is now back again into the lives of Wexford communities once again,' said Michael.

This year 'The Wexford May Bush Festival' received great support from the Arts Department of Wexford County Council under the Small Arts Festival Scheme.

Gorey Guardian