Pic of a Wren Boy or "Straw Boy" in costume...
Wow - it looks so...pagan. Frodo would love this. He could wear this getup whilst torching every church he could find in the neighbourhood!
I've read up on the wren boys tradition online and apparently it was frowned upon and denounced by the Catholic church. Go the wren boys!
Someone said :
It's strange really.
I can remember it today as clearly as if it were yesterday!
We had only arrived in Ireland in August..
I started school in September.
I had to repeat a year.
I had finished 6th grade in California... but, my dad wanted me to learn Irish.
(as an alien, by law, I didn't have to. But my dad being the Irish patriot that he was, I HAD to!)
So, September started going to an all boys school (a first for me! Oh! how I enjoyed it!)
I had to learn Irish in the old script, bultas etc..
Then came the first xmas.
When we first moved to Limerick, we had rented a house.
We bought a house and moved into it, a week before xmas.
We were still unpacking, getting used to our surroundings, when we were taken, early on Dec 26th to Ardfert, in north Kerry,to my aunt Bridgie's house.
There were over 20 people for dinner, and it was all prepared on an open turf fire.
To this day, I remember it as one of the best meals I've ever had in my life!
(and, without shame, I am an amazing cook!)
We had roast goose. In fact there were roast geese, as there were so many people.
A thatched cottage, no bathroom, not even a toilet.
Uncles Aunts and Cousins I had never met in my life.
The most amazing food I had ever tasted! All cooked over an open fire.
A seeminly endless parade of "Wren Boys"
My first real introduction to Irish music and culture.
It is probably my most powerful childhood memory.
That sounds poignant and amazing Kev. I never realised goose was cooked in Ireland at Christmas. And to think that there were houses in rural Ireland with no electricity or running water in relatively recent times!
The wren boys tradition seems to be strongest in the South and West of the country. I had never even heard of it until I went to university.