Burn the May Bush

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BURN THE MAY BUSH. Irish, Reel. D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. The following passage was written and described by Jim Cullen (Brownscastle, Taghmon, County Wexford) [Irish Folklore Commission IFC S 883:227-228].

It is a custom in the Taghmon district to hold celebrations on the first day of May with a May bush. A number of boys go out in the country armed with a saw or hatched. They cut a blackthorn bush or sceach. They then get an old bucket and fill it with clay. They stick the bush down in it and take it to a waste bit of land in the neighbour-hood of the village. Then they start to decorate the bush with coloured papers, candles, painted eggshells and pictures. Then they select a king and queen. The king and queen take it up and march around the streets with it. The people give them pennies. Then in the end they burn the May bush and spend their money. This custom has been carried on in Taghmon as long as the oldest resident can remember.


Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Clinton (Gems of Ireland: 200 Airs), 1841; No. 130, p. 65.

Recorded sources:




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