The Wren Boys are back to take over this Cork town on St Stephen’s day
The wren, the wren, the king of all birds…
On St Stephen’s Day you will find him down in Carrigaline; this year, the town will once again host the annual Wrenboys Festival for a morning of music, dress-up, and street dancing.
The ancient annual festival has roots that go back long before Christmas when locals would set out on the hunt for the treacherous wren, collecting donations from neighbours as they went.
Traditionally, the Wren Boys would wear odd costumes and accessories like masks and straw hats, and they often brought along musicians to help set the mood for the party following the hunt, leading to dancing, merriment, and much disapproval from the local priest.
Thankfully, the wren is only hunted in song these days but the festival endures thanks to some committed organisers in Carrigaline and around the country.
Organisers are encouraging everyone to dress up in their craziest outfit for the day to get into the spirit of this ancient tradition.
Just make sure you brush up on the first verse of the Wren Song before you go:
“The wren, the wren, the king of all birds,
St. Stephen’s Day was caught in the furze,
Although he was little his honour was great,
Jump up me lads and give him a treat.
Up with the kettle and down with the pan,
And give us a penny to bury the wren.”
This St Stephen’s Day the Carrigaline Wren Boys Street Festival takes place from 11am to 1.30pm on Main Street.