Christmas as remembered by school children in Clarecastle and Ballyea in the 1930s
Christmas “Bloc na Nodlag” is put behind the fire to burn. The door is left unlocked for fear Mary would be seeking refuge.
James Casey of Ballyea
Every little boy and girl finds great pleasure in making toys. In this district some children have a fancy for making toy aeroplanes and making toy houses out of wood. This is called fret work and it is sometimes done as pastime by grown-up people. In making toys they used wood such as the wood that tea chests are made of. Then they cut out the various parts and put them together with a sticky stuff called sauder.
Boys generally make timber articles such as boats and little horses and carts. Some boys take more care than others and the boats when rigged up float in the water. Boys also make pop-guns from the branches of an elder tree. Tops were made from empty spools with an iron spear or nail made by the local blacksmith. Kites were made from paper and twine. Bows and arrows and slings were made for casting stones.
The usual toy for the young girl is the pram and doll and they find equally as much pleasure to make dresses for their dolls, putting together their clothes and making blankets for their pram.