Wear a Mask: Joining the Wren Boys

The day after Christmas, on St. Stephen’s Day, the Wren Boys come out onto the streets, full of mischief, music, and dance. In Dingle, there are four Wren groups – the Green and Gold, Sráid Eoin, Goat Street, and the Marina.

On Wren’s day, people gather wearing the traditional straw hats and dresses, and home-made costumes bearing the colours of their Wren group.

Armed with tin whistle, fifes and drums, they take on the town’s streets and collect money for a chosen charity.

People are welcome to join them for the day and immerse themselves in this beautiful tradition.

 

While in the olden times a little wren used to be hunted for the day as per tradition, nowadays the celebration focuses on the music and the dance.

In Dingle, the Wren is a ritual more associated to drama, incorporating ceremonial group combat.

Every group is led by a captain carrying a makeshift sword, and a wooden frame in the shape of a horse, which has echoes of the Mummers.

 

While many people are happy to watch the Wren Boys attire, music and dance from the side of the street, the best way to fully enjoy this unique tradition is to team up with one of the groups; and the Dingle Wrens are happy to have newcomers and visitors joining their group for the day.

Wear a mask, and a colourful dress to disguise your identity, and join in the music, dance and mischief, adults and children alike, and help keep this interesting tradition alive.

Manuela dei Grandi

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