WRAN BOYS FESTIVAL

The old Irish tradition of Hunting the Wren (pronounced Wran) is shrouded in the mists of time and is still practised in many parts of the country, particularly in Kerry. In times past the Wran was actually hunted and killed, tied to a holly bush and paraded around the locality in celebration of the Winter Solstice Festival. Nowadays the Wran is represented by a symbolic bird in a holly bush and accompanied by much music-making and merriment. Twenty years ago the tradition was revived in Dublin by a group of aficionados of traditional events and has now become very much part of the Christmas festivities in the City.

Each year a charity is nominated to benefit from a collection made at the merrymaking on that morning. For the past two years the charity selected by the Wran Boys Committee has been Open Door Day Care Centre, a Bray based charity whose catchment area covers North Wicklow and South County Dublin providing facilities and activities for adult members with many forms of disability.

Poetry reading starts the proceedings on the day and musicians from far and wide playing bodhrans, bagpipes, tin whistles and even combs will be performing on the Gig Rig at Sandymount Green. Anyone wishing to take part in the event on St. Stephen's Day (26th December) at 12 noon in Sandymount Green, Dublin 4, should contact any of the following members of the Festival Committee:

THE WRAN BOYS

The Wran - The Wran - the king of all birds
On Saint Stephen's Day was caught in the furze
Although he is little his family is great
Come out your honour and give us a trate

Hurrah me boys hurrah

Droleen - Droleen - where is your nest?
'Tis in the tree that I love best
'Tis in the holly and ivy tree
Where all the birds come singing to me

As I was going up the Slippery Dock
I saw an old wren he was up on a rock
I up with me stick and I hit him a lick
And I knocked him into a brandy shop

I have a little box under me arm
A shilling or two will do it no harm
A shilling or two is a great relief
To the poor Wren Boys on a Christmas Eve

The Wren - The Wren as you may see
Is up for height on the holly tree
A bunch or ribbons by his side
And a little wren boy will be his guide

God bless the master of this house
A golden chain around his neck
And if he do be sick or whole
May the Lord have mercy on his soul

 



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