Skip to content

Fintown, Co. Donegal

Ghost turnip


In Ireland, at Halloween, we carved turnips to create scary-faced lanterns. The term, Jack o’ Lanterns, takes its name from the folktale about Jack, who was welcome neither in Heaven or Hell and was destined to wander the countryside forever, with just a lantern to light the way.

In 1943 the National Museum of Ireland received a turnip lantern from a schoolteacher, Rois Ní Braonáin who was teaching near Fintown, Co. Donegal. She stated that it was the type that was always made in that locality around 1900. This plaster-cast model was created and painted by the museum artist, Eileen Barnes.

Candles were placed inside the turnips and they were used to frighten people on the night of 31 October. The pumpkin that is prevalent today is an American development of this Irish tradition.

  • See here for more information on turnip lanterns and Samhain traditions.
  • For more stories about Jack see


Ghost turnip is located at:
On Display

Previous artefact:

Red Aran cardigan

Next artefact:

Post box

Sign up to our newsletter

Keep up to date

Receive updates on the latest exhibitions