herald

Wednesday 26 April 2017

Wren's relief as motley crew hunt for donations

Niamh Delaney (centre) and Latvians Klinta Pizica and Kristine Pizica
Niamh Delaney (centre) and Latvians Klinta Pizica and Kristine Pizica

In days gone by, a wren was killed in memory of St Stephen, but now it's a dress-up and sing-song tradition remembering a festival that pre-dates Christmas.

The famous Wren Boys arrived at Sandymount Green in their motley clothing and masks for the "hunting of the wren".

One of the organisers, Pat McEvoy, said traditions have changed over the years.

He said the event's origins came from when St Stephen - one of the first Christian martyrs - was caught by Roman centur- ions because of a wren, which had disturbed his hiding place.

Funeral

"We're burying him here today, we're having a funeral. We used to kill him years ago, we don't do that anymore," said Mr McEvoy.

"So what we do now is give him a good funeral. What we did years ago was we collected money and went drinking and yahooing, but this year we collect for charity."

Organisers of the event, in its 33rd year, hoped to raise €2,000 for a drug addiction centre in the Sandymount area.

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