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Irish Customs

On what day of the week was it regarded as being unlucky to cut your fingernails?


What does the term 'luck penny' or 'luck money' mean?

This means returning a small portion of the sale price to the seller when a deal is made

What feastday is celebrated on February 1st?

Saint Brigid's Day

On St Brigid's Day people went from house to house carrying a straw doll. What was the doll called?

A Brideog

What is St Brigid's cross made from?


What was put up into the rafters of a house, on St Brigid's Day, to protect against evil spirits?

A straw from the Christmas nativity scene

If a person drank nettle soup on May 1st, it was believed they would be free of what for a year?


What day was condsidered lucky to sow potatoes?

Good Friday

What birds flying directly over a house were considered an omen of death?


When and what was 'Nollaig na mBan'?

January 6th - 'Little Women’s Christmas' when men would take over the housework for the day!

In the west of Ireland what was a 'Foidin Mara'?

A 'stray sod' or 'enchanted' piece of grass whereby a person stepping on it would become disorientated and lost

It was believed unlucky to knit at night until you were certain who were asleep?

The sheep

A stocking filled with hot potatoes and applied to the throat was a cure for what ailment?


What was a besom and what was it used for?

A roughly fashioned short-handled sweeping brush made from a clump of birch cuttings, normally used to clean the hearth area of the kitchen

What was a ciseán ('cish-awn')?

A household basket crafted from reeds

What is meant by the term 'keening'?

When women family members would cry and wail over a relative who had died

What was a 'Banshee'?

A fairy woman reputed to wail and cry at the impending death of members of certain families

Why did unmarried girls place slice of wedding cake under their pillows?

In the hope that they dream of their future husband

What is a Seanachaí?

A traditional Irish storyteller/historian

Allegedly what will happen if you kiss the Blarney Stone?

You will get 'the gift of the gab (talk)'

What was the most popular way of finding a husband or wife in Ireland long ago?


A famous annual matchmaking festival takes place in what county?

Lisdoonvarna, County Clare

Who or what were the 'Straw-boys'?

Groups of uninvited revellers dressed in top hats, masks and skirts of straw who arrived at weddings where they sang and danced

What day are you likely to see 'Wrenboys'?

St Stephen's Day

What is another name for 'Wrenboys'?

The Mummers

What was the significance of a horse or donkey shoe nailed above the door in an Irish house?

To bring good luck

Who would be the preferred first visitor to a house on New Year's Day and why?

A tall dark handsome man would bring good luck

What New Year's Day visitor was believed to bring hardship and grief to a house?

A red haired girl

What benefit was associated with May morning dew?

It was believed to be good for the complexion