Sunday, February 08, 2015

RTÉ: Biddy Boys, Then and Now

From the archives of RTÉ (Raidió Teilifís Éireann) comes this 1965 clip from Newsbeat on the Biddy Boys tradition, showing a judging of several groups, and featuring discussion of some of the Brídeógs on display. I don't see a way to embed this one so please click on the link below.

On Saint Brigid's Day we take a look back to the customs and traditions surrounding this day as it was celebrated 50 years ago.
In a custom similar to the Wren Boys, reporter Seamus McConville takes a look at the Biddy Boys. The report features a procession of Biddy Boys in South Kerry in honour of Saint Brigid. The Biddy Boys are grown men dressed in costumes, who carry Saint Brigid Dolls called 'Brideogs', traditionally made from their grandmother's hair. The best dressed Biddy Boy wins a prize. 
A local man Mr. O'Siochru outlines the traditions relating to the Biddy Boys, the dolls and the costumes. Saint Brigid's feast day is on 1 February each year, which is also traditionally the first day of Spring.  
The Biddy boys tradition is largely confined to South Kerry, parts of County Cork, County Kildare and County Fermanagh.
This episode of Newsbeat was broadcast on 1 February 1965.

This latest Biddy Boys story was shared on Facebook on 1 February 2015 and doesn't seem to have a presence elsewhere on the web. Here's hoping the link works!

Today marks the beginning of the St Brigid's festival to celebrate spring. Kerry has an ancient tradition known as the Biddy, with roots to an older pagan festival.

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