Marriage Customs

Ballinasloe, Co. Galway

The old customs observed on marriage are fast dying out. Still some exist and stories of others are told. In olden days, sometimes the brides to be were stolen away by certain relatives who did not approve of the match. This was considered a great honour to the lady. Marriages were in nearly all cases arranged and usually turned out very lucky. The lady seldom knew her intended husband earlier than a few days before the marriage. A great feast was held and after a night’s revelry the couple got married. Rice and old shoes were thrown after them and after the ceremony they set out on horseback, the bride and bridegroom on one horse. They were followed by all the countryside. It was called the “Dray Home.” Numerous bonfires greeted them, the wedding cake – an oaten meal one was broken on the head of the bride and distributed. The feasting and dancing, and singing continued again. The Strawboy’s never failed to visit the scene, they were dressed in straw woven around them and disguised. The floor was usually cleared for them and they danced with the bride and drank her health. Often tricks were played on such a night. Gates and doors were frequently removed distances or tied up to cause confusion. Saturday was considered unlucky for marriage. Wednesday was supposed to be the luckiest day. Few marriages took place in July while they said:
“Marry in May,
Rue the day”

Collector: Unknown

Informant: Mrs Scanlon, Creagh, Ballinasloe

Place: Ballinasloe, Co. Galway

Footnote: Duchas, http://www.duchas.ie

This page was added on 16/05/2017.

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