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Wren Boys’ Song

26 December 2009

St. Stephen’s Day is also known as the Wren’s Day in Ireland, where traditionally a group of boys in strawman’s outfits would find and kill a wren, then parade it about town, singing a song asking for money to bury the wren. The money raised would be used to put on a céilí, a large traditional dance event, with the wren decorated and placed atop a pole.

The wren, the wren, the king of all birds,
St. Stephen’s Day was caught in the furze,
Although he was little his honour was great,
Jump up me lads and give us a treat.

As I was going to Killenaule,
I met a wren upon the wall.
Up with me wattle and knocked him down,
And brought him in to Carrick Town.

Dreoilin, Dreoilin, where’s your nest?
Tis in the bush that I love best
In the tree, the holly tree,
Where all the boys do follow me.

Up with the kettle and down with the pan,
And give us a penny to bury the wren.

I followed the wren three miles or more,
Three miles or more three miles or more.
I followed the wren three miles or more,
At six o’clock in the morning.

I have a little box under me arm,
Under me arm, under me arm.
I have a little box under me arm,
A penny or tuppence would do it no harm.

Mr. ______ is a very good man,
a very good man, a very good man,
Mr. ______ is a very good man,
He give us a penny to bury the wren.

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