Oct 26 2009

Published by at 4:03 pm under News



Halloween was always a great time for us as young children.  In school the Nuns or the Master would always tell us about Saint Patrick lighting the fire on Croagh Patrick and how the High King of Ireland got annoyed  because he wanted to be the one to light the first fire for the pagan celebrations. So from the word ‘go’ it was all excitement on Halloween.  We had Colcannon for our dinner and Barn Brack for our tea. The Ma’ would wrap a threepenny bit or a couple of pennies in grease proof paper and throw them into the big pot of Colcannon. The lovely smell of Colcannon wafted throughout the house and all the way up the stairs. It was always so exciting sitting down to your Halloween dinner because everyone was anxious to see who got money in their dinner. The Colcannon wouldn’t last long on the table in our house. You’d have to keep an eye on your plate in case one of the older brothers swiped a lump of Colcannon on you. After dinner we had to do our ‘ecker’ and when we had the ‘ecker’ done a basin of water was placed in the middle of the kitchen floor and a half dozen apples were placed in it for a game of  ‘duck the apple’.  Sometimes we’d throw in a handful of monkey nuts into the basin and as they floated we’d try and scoop them up with our mouths. We’d also play ‘snap the apple’ by hanging an apple from a piece of string hung from the kitchen ceiling. I would stand on one side and m,y sister on the other with our hands kept behind our backs. We’d reach up to the apple and try and take the biggest bite out of it. The Ma’ and our Granny would sit by the fire enjoying the heat and the craic.  The Barn Brack was great with all the fruit in it and the ring wrapped up in paper. Who ever got the ring would be the next one in the family to get married. The Ma’ wouldn’t let us go knocking on doors ‘trick & treatin’ until we had our tea. The Da’ would rub soot from the fireplace on our faces and put some of his old shirts on us. What a sight! We’d all head off with paper bags in our hands to try our luck at getting fruit and sweets from our neighbours.  In one particular house they always had loads of stuff for the Halloween children. Other houses would keep their lights off and refuse to answer the door no matter how many times you’d bang on it. We would rarely venture any further than our own road because after a while your paper bag would be bursting with stuff and you’d have to go home to unload it all. But once we went back to the house we’d never be allowed out again. I especially loved Halloween because it is the day I was born on. So every year I was sure to have a birthday party, even if it was only a candle stuck in a Barn Brack. We always went to bed exhausted but hppy.

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