May Day

As in much of northern Europe, May Day in Ireland, was a celebration and welcome of the summer.

The May Bush

The May Bush was a decorated bush, which in rural areas was left outside the house. In towns, it was erected in a communal place.

May Poles

Originally tall trees were used but later these were replaced by formal poles erected in the town centre.

May Flowers

May Flowers were picked on the evening before May Day and this was often done by children who went garlanding for flowers.

Bonfires & Dancing

Dancing was a feature of May bonfire celebrations. It also featured around the May Pole or where communal May Bushes were burnt.

Marian processions

Much of the traditions associated with May have been incorporated into the Marian processions found throughout the country.

Butter stealing

May Day was especially associated with butter stealing: the stealing of the butter profit of the home.

Divining & Forecasting

May was also a time to study the weather and weather in the month of May would forecast what was expected to follow in the summer.