People usually got married in the season between Xmas and Lent called Shrove or Syraft. Any person who did not succeed in getting married then, had salt shaken on them the first Sunday of Lent. A week or two before the wedding there was the match-making in the bride’s home. Here the bargain was made, the bride’s fortune fixed and there was a great night and any amount to eat, bacon and cabbage and a boiled goose and potatoes. Plenty of porter and very often a drop of Poteen. There was a piper or a fiddler playing in the corner and a dance until morning. the marriage as a rule took place in the home of the bride a relic of the penal days when they were afraid to go to Church. The priest came to the house married the couple and then stayed on to enjoy the fun. In later times when people went to the Church, the bridegroom came to the bride’s house with a married women and took the bride to the Church to be married. After the marriage there was the “Dragging Home.” Anything up to twenty carts or side-cars with two or people each side trying to pass each other out was a great sight.
Informant: John Raftery, Corofin, Co. Galway
Place: Ballinderry, Co. Galway
Footnote: Duchas, http://www.duchas.ie
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