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Folk Plays - Winter 2004/2005 - Co. Sligo "Sidhe Gaoithe" Mummers & Strawboys

Joe Mc Gowan (joemcgowan@sligoheritage.com)


"Sidhe Gaoithe" Mummers practicing at Mullaghmore, Co. Sligo, Ireland, Christmas 2004, and the Strawboys at a wedding, Aug.2004

Co. Sligo "Sidhe Gaoithe", Brian Boru on left and Fionn Mac Cumhaill engage in mortal combat
Brian Boru on left and Fionn Mac Cumhaill engage in mortal combat
Left to Right: Dr.Brown (Noel Mullaney), Brian Boru (John Harrison), Fionn Mac Cumhaill (Seamus Mc Gowan), accordeon player Marty Toher, Background: St. Patrick (Seamus Moore) plus various onlookers and other characters.
Co. Sligo "Sidhe Gaoithe", Dr.Brown performs his magic on the fallen Brian Boru.
Dr.Brown performs his magic on the fallen Brian Boru.
Co. Sligo "Sidhe Gaoithe", Strawboys at a wedding, with the bride and groom seated in the middle.
Strawboys at a wedding, with the bride and groom seated in the middle.

Mummers are strictly a Christmas tradition. Formerly they went out before Christmas Day, now we go out any time during the Christmas season. The rhymes are recent, about 15 years old. Keeping the essence of the meaning, and taking advantage of the fact that characters have been added to the mummer play over the years, we decided Irish characters from mythology and history would have more relevance to an Irish audience. I might add that the entertainment element of the show: song, music, dance, etc., which comes after the play, forms a large part of the performance with our group.

Strawboys go out any time during the year only to weddings; it is strictly a wedding tradition. Some groups go to any function they are invited to. We don't as we believe we should keep the tradition as it was passed on to us. The purpose of the visit is to bring good luck to the bride and groom. There are no rhymes.


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