Superstitions in Co. Mayo

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In bygone days Irish people were very religious but also very superstitious.

Since the pagan and early Christian times, superstitions and beliefs were handed down from a generation to another. Called "Pisreogs" they were a sort of spells or warnings to foretell good and bad luck or keep off evil and misfortune.

In Aughagower and along the West Coast of Ireland some of them are still alive and some people observe them unconsciously in daily life.

Here are some of the most popular ones :

Luck was a significant matter, and many superstitions arose around it.

Churning milk was an essential chore done on a regular basis in farmhouses.

No man could light his pipe from the fire while churning and visitors to the house had to take a turn on the churn otherwise the butter will be spoiled or "taken".

It was believed that sneezing stopped the heart’s beats, but saying “God Bless You” it restarted again.

On Achill Island, there also were many superstitions.

A cock crowing and a dog barking at the same time meant sudden death.

It was believed that a bird, entering a house, brought in the death, but plucking three feathers from its tail and burned them could counteract this sign.

According to local lore the “fetch”, or ghost, of the drowned people would haunt the place where their bodies washed ashore. Because of this superstition, the body of a person drowned at sea was placed in specific locations.

Throwing at sea the clothes belonging to a drowned person would help to find his body more easily.

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