Births & Children

Births Pre-natal Precautions:

The pregnant woman was not allowed to go out alone after
She was not allowed to enter the graveyard at anytime.
She was not allowed to go to a corpse house or put the dead
person “over board” or attend the funeral.
It was counted unlucky for a hare to cross the path of a
pregnant woman in case the child would be born with a hare’s lip.
When the child was nearly due the expectant mother selected
some person to make or buy the clothes for the new arrival. The
mother paid the cost.

Child Birth:

There were no hospitals or midwifes and it was a handy woman in the area who delivered the baby in the home.

The mother was kept in bed after the birth for nine days and was only allowed tea and toast.

The Baptism:

If the child was born early in the day it was christened that day. The sponsors were picked and the name or names were chosen. The first child was usually named after the fathers parents and the second child after the mother’s parents. The other children were named after their uncles and aunts on both sides.

The sponsors brought salt and a white cloth with them to thee church. If the child cried during the baptism it was a good sign of the child’s future health. After the christening ceremony the child was allowed to sleep in its robe.

The mother was not allowed to do the cooking until she was “churched” which usually took place on the First Sunday she at­tended Mass after the birth. She brought a blessed candle with her and the priest performed the ceremony after Mass. This rite is an act of thanksgiving but the old people regarded it as a “cleansing”.

Care of the Child:

A cradle was used as a crib for the baby. This was handed down from generation to generation. A handy man made it from timber and he put two “rockers” under it.

If a woman had to go outside the house leaving the baby unattended she would put the tongs across the cradle in case the fairies would come and swop the child for “changling”. A “changling” meant a very cross and contrary child. The fairies dreaded iron and they would not touch the cradle with the tongs across it.

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