First County Wexford May Bush Featival announced
Michael Fortune and Aileen Lambert (from folklore.ie) are delighted to announce the first County Wexford May Bush Festival.
This community-driven festival is inviting individuals and communities across the County to participate by simply erecting a May Bush in your village, community, townsland or home.
This is not a centralised festival with programmed events, instead it is voluntary, ground up initiative designed to reinvigorate the once common practice of erecting and decorating a May Bush on May Eve.
For the past 15 years, Aileen and Michael have helped generate interest in this ancient tradition in many villages in Wexford through their folklore and heritage based work. Now, in 2017 they have teamed up with the Community Department of Wexford County Council to invite you to bring this tradition back into common practice.
For those of you who who don't know, The May Bush is traditionally erected on the Eve of May Day and decorated with ribbons, seasonal flowers and painted egg shells. The bush used in Wexford was a whitethorn or a 'skeagh' as it known locally. It was cut down and stuck up in a prominent place, a cross roads, outside your home or in many cases the dung heap on the farm.
The month of May was a turning point in the old Celtic calendar in Ireland and the month has more folklore and customs associated with it than any other month. The erection of The May Bush continued to be practiced publicly and privately in communities and homes throughout the county from New Ross to Taghmon and Ballygarrett to Bunclody, although it went into steep decline in the 1960's and 70's.
Aileen and Michael organised The Backroads to the Rising walking/cycling event in March 2016, where over 1,000 people took to the roads and walked to Enniscorthy for the 1916 Commemoration event. Similar in ways, the duo are asking you the people of Wexford to respond by erecting a May Bush and posting your photos and experiences on the dedicated Facebook page. A video demonstrating what you need to erect a May Bush will be posted in the coming weeks. If you can't wait that long, talk to older people in your community and find out what they did.