Weston St. John Joyce, Tallaght, 7 July; ‘St Maelruan’s patron or “pattern”, was every year celebrated here but in the later years the original Saint’s name was lost sight of altogether, and replaced by the corrupted form, “Moll Rooney”, under which title “the pattern” continued to be annually held, until it came to be such a nuisance, owing to drunkenness and debauchery, that it was suppressed in 1874.
The proceedings consisted of making a kind of effigy, supposed to represent the saint, and carrying it about from house to house in procession, headed by a fiddler or piper. The occupants of each house then came out as they were visited and danced to the music after which a collection was made to be spent on drink. Few went to bed that night; many slept in ditches on the way home, and drinking, dancing and fighting went on intermittently until morning.
Another item in the performance in recent times was to visit the grave of an old village piper named Burley O’Toole who had expressed a dying wish to that effect, and to dance and fight around his grave.’
The Neighbourhood of Dublin, 1921.
Photograph Saint Maelruain’s Church, Tallaght. Laurence Collection 1870-1914, National Library of Ireland.