Pagan times are not far below the surface in Dublin.
Not so long ago, in February, in Brittas, Co Dublin, the Bride Oge was celebrated in honour of St Bridget or, the pagan goddess Bridget, for she was the one person, changing only depending on who was telling the story.
A little figure was carried on a pole and this was the Bride Oge, or young Bridget.
Made of straw and bits of coloured cloth, it had hair made of sheep-wool like the men that carried it, so they all appeared to be from the same family of wooly-heads.
At a time when there were plenty of sheep about that caught their coats in briars as they passed there was plenty of free wool to be had on the roadside, for face decoration.
Men dressed up in long white shirts, and with wool plucked from the bushes, made beards and moustaches for their faces, and wooly wigs for their heads, to go in procession in disguise.
They went from door to door and householders gave them some money.
At neighbours’ houses they said a prayer, sang and danced to the music of fiddles and goatskin tambourines.
That night they partied.
Extract from The Little Book of Dublin by Brendan Nolan