St. Stephen’s Night

On St. Stephen’s night it is an old custom for the men and boys of Skerries to go rinking. They dress themselves up with old dresses and hats and big boots. They also put false- faces on their faces to make themselves unknown. Here are a few of the rhymes they say to amuse people:-

“Here comes I, Rume, Rhyme,
Grave gallent boys, give me room to rhyme,
I show my tippety act at Christmas times.
I tippety in, I tippety out,
The sound of a horn the roll of a drum,
We are the jolly mummers that are to come,
We are the jolly mummers that can’t be beat,
And if you don’t believe in what I say
Here comes big Joe, the Butcher,
That will clear the way.”

“Here comes I, Joe, the Butcher
With my big knife and steel,
I’d cut a fat cow from the head to the heel,
I’d cut her in slices and do all I could
To make poor Jane the prince of the tram.”

Here is another Rhyme:-

“The wren, the wren the king of all birds,
Last St. Stephen’s Day he caught in the furze,
He dipped his wing in a bunk or barrel of beer.
I wish you all a happy Christmas and a merry New Year.
Although the wren is little, his honour is great,
Now, ladies and gentlemen give him a treat.
Now, ladies and gentlemen sitting round the fire,
Put your hand to your hat and give Tom his desire.”

When they are finished rhyming they collect the money and go to the next house. When they are tired rinking they share the money.

George Pratt, Rush Road. (BNS, 1937-38)