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Folklore & School Manuscripts
of 1938

A Death Long Ago

The old customs that they had at a wake long ago. The first thing they would do is they would get in a good supply of wiskey and beer. Then the friends and neighbours would gather to the wake and there were certain old woman in each district they would attend every wake called caoeniers. When the corp was dressed they would sit beside the bed and lament all the time. Of course they would get a liberal supply of punch made and every time they would take a drink. They would say

"God rest the man we are drinking this over, may his soul go to heaven"

They would cry the more then. Some of these caoenies would stay in the house all the time on their turn. These walk in front of the funeral and lament all the time. Drink was so plentiful suplied to all comers that it unusual no unusual to hear a person singing a song, and some times a fight. The young people would gather from far and near at night to the wake. They would play all sorts of tricks. There was one trick called pucking the hen. There was some men excellent at this trick. This consisted of one ridiculing one and other. If it was a poor person that died and drink scarce someone would propose we might as well bury him decent. So they would lift a collection and send for more wiskey. I heard my father say that he remembered an old man to die and the day he was buried there was men lying about the town drunk not able to go home. Then another custom they had, the people that was at the funeral, after the funeral would be over, all the people would go over to the village and drink their fill. It went that far that the church had to put a ban on drinking at a wake. Now when a person dies all the neighbours gather in and help them to do everything. Some of the neighbours go for the dead clothes and they make a bed in the side of the house. In the evening people gather in and sit up with the wake to the morning. They get a lot of tobacco pipes and snuff, all the men smoke and the woman snuff. Four people carry the dead person in a coffin to the church and there is a lot of weeping over the dead person. They have the washing the next day. The day that the person is dead in the town they do not work.

Liam Grant, Maghermore 22/2/1938

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