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Easter Monday Mirth & Merriment at the Market
by Bridget Haggerty
Long ago, the day after Easter was one that Irish people eagerly looked forward to. Not only was it a favorite day for buying and selling livestock and merchandise at fairs and markets, it was also a time for enjoying sports, games, sideshows, dancing, eating, drinking, gambling, and perhaps, even some fisticuffs!
For many years, Easter Monday was also a holy day of obligation in the Roman Catholic Church. That meant one had to go to Mass and abstain from work. All well and good, except that the riotous behavior which often followed during the day and well into the evening didnt sit well with the clergy. in 1828, the Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, Dr. John Doyle, prevailed upon other bishops to petition the Pope to make Easter Monday an ordinary working day. The intention was to disassociate the Church from what was perceived as unseemly fun at the fair! The Pope granted the petition, so that from 1829, Easter Monday was no longer a holy day.
If the clergy had hoped that by making it an ordinary working day, the Irish would simply go back to their jobs, they were very much mistaken. For a long time, people kept what they called the old holiday and honored the tradition of taking the time off to enjoy themselves.
From tugs of war to hurling matches and card games to reels and jigs, Easter Monday was always filled with fun and festivities. Eventually, however, the fairs began losing their joyful character and evolved into just another day of trade. Which is why some Easter customs that used to take place on this day either died out or were transferred to Sunday the childrens egg feast, for example. In Co. Wexford, it had always taken place on Easter Monday.
Would that dear old Ireland could go back to the Easter Mondays of long ago. Today, while its a national holiday, its expected that there will be huge traffic jams and gridlock as thousands head home to the cities after a long weekend away. No doubt, therell be many a frustrated driver whod give anything to be at an old-fashioned country fair instead.
Image Credit: The Ould Irish Jig/David Radcliffe - Pinterest
"The OULD IRISH JIG"
"Then a fig for the new fashioned waltzes
Imported from Spain and from France,
And a fig for the thing called a polka,
Our own Irish jig we will dance."
Lawrence Publisher, Dublin, Ireland. Printed in Saxony. Postmarked 1904.
Thu, Apr 20, 2017
Fungie, the Dolphin of Dingle Bay
The dolphin is one of Ireland’s most fascinating mammals and Fungie is the most famous. He is a fully- grown bottlenose who is 13 feet (4 meteres) long and weighs about 500 lbs or around one-quarter tonne.
Fungie was first noticed in 1984 when Paddy Ferriter, the Dingle Harbour lighthouse keeper, began watching a lone wild dolphin escort the town's fishing boats to and from port.
Later that year, it became officially recorded that Fungie was a permanent resident of the entrance channel to Dingle and the self-appointed “pilot” of the fleet.
Over the years Fungie has developed from a timid but inquisitive observer of the human visitors into a playful, though mischievous, companion. From observation of marks on his body, it seems that he does 'interact' with other whales, dolphins or porpoises, proving perhaps he is neither hermit nor outcast from his own kind, but rather that he is simply content to spend most of his time in and around Dingle Bay.
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