Ever heard of a Strawboy??
I recently attended a wedding in Co. Clare. A first cousin of mine married a local girl, I must add a beautiful, inside and out, local girl! We celebrated in true Irish fashion from day into night and more! We were wined, dined and photographed until we could handle no more and then away with us to bed – exhausted. The following afternoon, in unusually nice weather, the wedding party left the picturesque town of Ennistymon and took a bus, organised by the newly married couple, to Kilfenora, Co. Clare, home to the infamous Kilfenora Ceili Band. There, a scrumptious barbecue was laid on followed again by more music and dancing.
After a while the “Strawboys” arrived. Being born and reared in Tipperary I thought I knew all the Irish Traditions and Customs but this was a new one on me. One could only describe the Strawboys as party crashers who burst onto the scene unannounced. They then whisked the Bride and Groom onto the dance floor for an enthusiastic round of dancing and then exited the venue as swiftly as then arrived. Most bazar of all was their appearance, old clothes stuffed with straw and brandishing very strange conical shaped hats of straw which concealed their identities.
So whats it all about? Apparently their presence is believed to bring luck, wealth and health to the Newlyweds. Heres hoping it does, in abundance!
Images by Grainne Quinlan & Don Murphy