‘There are some days in the week considered unpropitious by the people for certain work or projects. Thus, no one should undertake any business of importance on Wednesdays or Fridays, nor set out on a journey, nor get married; and should the ancient superstition be disregarded, evil will fall on the sinner, and whether it comes from heaven or hell, come it will, so the peasants believe, for the fairies are out on those nights, and have their revels and dances, and no mortal should trouble them. But the fairies never have three parties in the week, for that is the number of the Trinity, and is sacred and holy; so they leave the other days free to men.’
Rev. R. S. Patterson, Chaplain to Her Majesty’s Forces, Cork, 1889;
‘Although marriage was forbidden from Ash Wednesday to Low Sunday* in Ireland, at one time, the priest of the parish in which the rocky islets, called the Skelligs are situated, used to go out, and perform the ceremony on the Great Skellig after Shrove Tuesday. Accordingly, any couple who wished to get married during Lent started for Valentia, off the coast of which the Skelligs are situated.
This fact gave rise in Cork to the custom of publishing rhyming catalogues of unmarried women and bachelors which were called ” Skellig Lists.” These were printed and sold in immense numbers on Shrove Tuesday. Many of them were rather witty productions, the poetasters endeavouring in the most absurd manner to join the most incongruous pairs together.
The printers’ names were never appended to these lists, and of course an opportunity was sometimes taken of venting personal spite, so that advertisements in the local papers are occasionally to be met with, threatening to indict persons who may be discovered to have taken liberties with the names of the advertiser or his lady friend. The lists of the “Pilgrims to the Skelligs” were called by all manner of names, such as “The Paul Pry Skellig List,” “The Corkscrew Skellig List,” “The Simple Paddy Skellig List,” “The virgins of the Sun Skellig List,” ” The Shrove Tuesday on Spiflicator List,” &c.
The custom reached its height about 1840, but has since gradually died away.’