Michaelmas in Co. Mayo

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The Feast of St. Michael, on 29th September, is commonly known as Michaelmas. On that day, as for Martinmas, a goose or a lamb used to be killed and eaten for dinner. House doors used to be sprinkled with the blood of the animal saying a little prayer: “ In onóir do Dhia agus do Mhicil ” (In the Honour of God and St. Michael).

“Summer is Summer to Michaelmas Day” is an old saying related to St. Michael and, according tradition, all crops had to be gathered before this day. After that day blackberries were never picked and eaten.

In the bygone days, on Achill Island, people believed that whichever wind blew on the day it would blow for the rest of the year.

They used to have boxty as a special treat for Michaelmas. Cows were taken from the booleys and put out to pasture around the villages. Also on that day fishermen started their herring season with a special ceremony.

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