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Folklore, Customs & superstitions

In the days before electricity, radio & television it was the habit of the people of the parish to visit each others homes and create their own entertainment in the form of music, dancing and storytelling.

Though many of these stories and songs are now lost, we are fortunate to have access to the Schools Folklore Collection of 1937-1938 which includes material collected from Schools in the Parish. Under guidelines laid down by the Irish Folklore Commission and under the direction of teachers, children collected the material, mainly from parents and grandparents and other older members of the local community.

Mayo County Library holds the Mayo archive on microfilm. A full introduction to the Collection can be viewed or downloaded here.

The following are transcriptions of the originals collected in the Parish of Attymass in Acrobat PDF format. Click the red link to read the file [about Acrobat]:

Ancient Burial-Ground in Currower [A factual account]

" ... he discovered a little cell, about twelve inches high covered on top by two feet of clay."

The Hedge Schoolmaster

"He came into the house for milk and on being told what was wrong with him he said he would cure him."

A Station Long Ago

"In preparation for a station, a house was first freshly thatched with clean, good straw. It was then white-washed inside and outside..."

Halloween’s Eve Customs

"People played many tricks on that night many of which now are only folk-lore.

The Graveyard

"There is a graveyard in Bonnifinglass which is supposed to be there over a hundred years."

The Widows Son

"... the beggar told Jack that he would turn him into a salmon, with one side silver and the other side gold for a day and a year."

Hidden Treasure

"About thirty yards from where it flows into the larger one there is supposed to be hidden treasure."

Customs of Martins Mass Day

"They make the sign of the cross on the door with some blood which they let flow."

Comharthai Aimsir [Weather signs]

"When the Ballina bell sounds loudly
When the wind comes from the north"

The Bolstra

" The Lord then gave that man power to change himself into any form he wished... "

Story about a Dragon

"...his wife was brought by a dragon in the form of a man. His name was Crochar na tháirne."

An Old Song

"He courted a country girl
And a comely girl was she"


"Long ago there was a Giant buried in that place ...."

The Bull

"The women started screaming to put down the bull."

A man who had a lot of servants

"After the priest bought the devil out in the shape of a dog ..."

The woman at Mass

"I am coming here fifty years and I would be coming fifty more only for you. I was paid for a Mass and I didn't’t say it."

A True Story

"And sure he is a ghost” said the priest"


We would like to encourage contributions for inclusion on the site so if you have any tales, reminiscences, photographs or other suitable material please contact our web-administrator or see the contact details section.

Reading Acrobat PDF files:

Get Acrobat ReaderThe files listed above are in Acrobat PDF format. The free Acrobat reader is available for all major computer operating systems and many mobile platforms. Please click on the "Get Acrobat" icon to download the software.