The last match-maker died in Glangevlin over two decades ago and with him died the custom of match-making.
If Mr. X was ‘looking’ for a wife the match-maker would introduce a girl to him. If both of them agreed to marry the match maker would arrange a certain night when he and Mr. X would go to the girl’s house usually taking a bottle of whiskey with them. The marriage and the dowry were discussed and if there was no dowry there was no marriage.
The dowry consisted of money, animals or land given to the girl by her parents. It was often called a ‘fortune’.
-Elopements often took place long ago. A true story is told about a girl whose match was being made in her home. Another man whom she had previously planned to marry was outside her home listening. She knew he was there so she jumped out the bedroom window and both eloped to a neighbour’s house where they stayed that night and got married the following morning.
Another true story is told about a girl in this parish who on the eve of her departure to America married her sweetheart with the key of the chapel as there was no ring available at the time. Needless to say she never went to the States.
Before the marriage took place the couple went to a nearby town to ‘buy the dress’ and the ring. The man paid all the costs. When the marriage ceremony was over the couple and all the invited guests went to the bride’s home where there was feasting, singing and dancing. This lasted until the following morning. The ‘strawboys’ dressed in straw hats, straw waist bands and straw around their boots would arrive some time during the celebrations. They were invited inside and given drinks. They danced with the bride and guests. Then they left and burned their hats on a hill nearby. This custom is now extinct as all the receptions are held in hotels. Perhaps with the high cost of living, the shortage of cash and unemployment we might again witness the festivities in the bride’s home. After the reception the bride and groom left for their home and the groom carried her across the threshold.