‘The feast of St Gregory the Great, 12th of March, was formerly observed as a holiday, and one of the festivity in all the rural schools in the baronies of Forth and Baigy (the Strongbonian Colony), in the county of Wexford.

The manner was this: the children, for some days previous, brought contributions, according to the means and liberality of their parents, consisting of money, bread, butter, cream, &c., and delivered them to the teacher.

On the morning of the joyous day, the children repaired to the school-house in holiday dress, where the teacher had everything prepared for the festivity, the simplest temple of learning decorated with the richest flowers within his means of obtaining, and the presence of two or more kind-hearted females to do the honours and duties of the tea-table to the happy juveniles. A “king” and a “queen” were nominated, who, of course, took the seat of honour,and the proud and busy teacher was everywhere all attention to his little pupils.

The day passed off in hilarity and innocent enjoyment, and the competitive system of free offerings left, generally, something pleasing to tell for some days in the pockets and closet of the teacher. This custom prevailed until after the commencement of the present century.’

Notes & Queries, 1857



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