The May Bush

Mary McCabe, late of Garra, Ballyglunin. (Out and About magazine 2003)

Garra School 1948

Front row l-r: Breege Burke, Maureen Monaghan, Mary Kilkelly, Bridie Hession, Patricia O’Donnell, Noreen Delaney, Bridgie Hession, Mona McGrath, Peggy Hession, Chrissie O’Donnell, Bridie Coen, Chrissie McGrath, Bridgie Flaherty, Nora Hession RIP, Pauline Hession, John Folan, Philomena Howley, Paddy Staunton, RIP, Gerard Kilkelly, Patrick Kilkelly, Sean Tierney, Eddie Flaherty, Stephen Flaherty.
Second row l-r: Michael Conroy, Kevin Conroy, ? , John Flaherty, Michael Mannion, Michael Howley, Al Conroy, Jarlath Conroy, Phil McGrath, Phil Hughes, Nellie Hughes, Ann Coen, Virginia Coen, Bridie Coleman, Bridie Monaghan, Paddy Joe Flaherty, Jimmy Nalty RIP, Paddy Monaghan, Peter King.
Third row l-r: Ann McGrath, Mary Howley, ? , James Delaney, Michael Gilmore, Michael Costello, Paddy Howley, Billy Hughes, Mary Costello, Evelyn Howley, ? , Peggy Burke,

May customs

There was a lovely custom in Garra school of having a parade every year on May 1st. A girl from sixth class would be chosen as the ‘Queen’ and the girls from Infant class would be the ‘Angels’.

May flowers

For days before the event, the children would gather primroses, also known as the “May Flower”. In those days, the primroses could be found growing wild on the roadside and in the fields. Big bunches of primroses would be collected and then be placed on the heads of the ‘Queen’ and little ‘Angels’. The remaining bunches were then tied in bunches onto branches of the May bush which were to be carried by the other children.

Parade in the village

The children would then parade the roads of the village singing hymns for May day.  Needless to say, there was little or no traffic in those days.


This page was added on 16/05/2016.

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