May 1st. 1900

Motor cars were yet to come, and hens and ducks strayed around the streets and the children played there in safety. On the 1st. May every street had its May bush. These bushes were decorated with bunches of primroses, wallflowers and bluebells and of coarse candles. Hours were spent tying these on the tree and then it was propped up in an old bucket. Indeed, I remember once, some boys dug a hole in the road and the bush was placed in it.

When dusk came on, the thrilling moment arrived for the lighting of the candles. Then a ring was formed and we all danced around the bush singing the same old songs year after year e.g. Green Grorel, Open the Gates and Let the Bride in, Down in the Meadows, and Dig for Gold and Dig for Silver. In some of the old songs a boy’s name was coupled with a girl’s. When this part came along the girl usually looked very demure while the boy responded by dropping out of the ring and running away as fast as he could.

Mrs Branagan (SHS, 1949)