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There was a time when every house sported a may bush on May Eve and Mayday. The fresh green shone beside every doorway, where there always seemed to be a nail or a hook to hold it. It was a cheerful sight, a sign of summer and sunny days to come, we hoped.

Old Saying – “Shed ne’er a clout ’til May be out” meaning – Wait until the May bush is blooming before you cast off your winter clothes!

Another event on May Eve was the erection of an altar in honour of Our Lady. There was a wall beside Brady’s (in Church Street) about where the gate is now. It was decorated with may bushes and candles lighting around the statue, which was smoke blackened. The last person to make this altar was Ned Qualter who collected candles from houses and shops. It was Ned’s big moment, very exciting for him and a really beautiful custom. Could the tradition be revived in the future?

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Written by Kitty Lardner

Published here 09 Feb 2021 and originally published June 1995

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