Bonfires

St. John’s 24th June, on the vigil of St. John’s the fire was lighted in the evening at eight o’clock approx.. It was a custom from pagan time. It was lighted by school children, each school had its own fire. Here it used to be lighted in the centre of the village but about 5 years ago (around 1968) the guards moved it outside. It used to be lighted on the public road. Some village children light on an esker. This place is part of Esker Riada. Yes, the place was called Esker. Material used – old sticks, turf, old tyres if obtainable. The children attended the fire, but in the evening the old lads – men and women sallied forth in the evening bringing with them a flute, accordion, or, perhaps a fiddle. They danced and sang and up to 30, or, 40 years ago they used to drive nearby cattle through the fire with the sign of the cross, but faraoir géar that custom is lost now. They still take a coal home with them. They are still lighted. The people here light fires to celebrate football victories, general elections, ordinations, marriages.

Author: Paddy Crosby, Glenamaddy B.N.S.

Source: Folio No. 1856, Page 6. Irish Folklore Main Manuscript Collection