Ash Wednesday & “drawing the log”

Waterford-

19th-century-Waterford-city
A View of Waterford City, William Henry Bartlett, 1830s

Samuel Carter Hall & Anna Maria Hall, 1842;

‘In Waterford, some years ago, the lower classes had a species of amusement, we believe peculiar to them; it was practiced on Ash-Wednesday, and was called “drawing the log.”

It was instituted as a penitential exercise to the bachelors and maidens who permitted Lent to arrive without “joining in the holy bands.” The log was a large piece of timber, to which a long rope was attached; it was drawn through the streets of the city, followed by a crowd of men and boys of the lowest grade armed with bludgeons, shouting and hollowing “Come draw the log, come draw the log; bachelors and maidens come draw the log.” The party had generally a piper, who squeezed from his bags the most noted of the nationalist airs; and it was no small part of the frolic to see the poor minstrel upset in the mire by the jolting of the unwieldy piece of timber over the rugged stones with which the streets were paved. The most scandalous scenes of cruelty often occurred; young men and young women often being forced from their homes, tied to “the log,” and dragged through the city.

The custom has, of late years, been, very properly, discontinued.’

Hall’s Ireland

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