The Feast of the Holy Innocent and Cross days

 Aran Islands, Galway –  28 December

Image of the Aran Islands between l898 and 1902 taken by the playwright John Millington Synge for Weekend Arts
Image of the Aran Islands, circa 1900, taken by the playwright John Millington Synge

 B. N. Hedderman, a nurse from County Clare, stationed on the Aran Islands in the first decades of the 20th Century;

‘The particular day of the week in each year is the one on which we keep the feast of the ‘Holy Innocents.’ If this feast happens to fall upon a Monday, for instance, then every Monday throughout that year will be a ‘Cross day.’ : On these days no person in the South or Middle Island would transact business, commercial or otherwise, have a marriage solemnized, or open a grave; neither would they start the spring planting or the harvest gathering. However, “Mother Nature’ dissents, and permits the arrival of births.’

Glimpses of My Life in Aran

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The War of the Cats

Galway – On a night in November

cat

Stephen O’Donnell, Connemara;

‘The village of Lisssavohalane* has a great name for such things (unnatural). And it’s certain that once, one night every year, in the month of November, all the cats of the whole country gather round together there and fight. My own two cats were nearly dead for days after it last year, and the neighbours told me the same of theirs.’

Lady Gregory Visions and Beliefs in the West of Ireland 1920

* I have been unable to discover a village of this name, perhaps it is an imaginative spelling.