This Halloween custom was explored by Eugene Daly while researching for his book:  “Leap and Glandore – Fact and Folklore”

The Mascalach

Mascalach was a Halloween custom in the Parish of Myross which includes the village of Union Hall. Young children and teenagers would go from house to house and sing a short song in exchange for money and sweets — a custom more recently replaced by Trick-or-Treat.The custom had its origins in the Famine times (1845-49).


Pre-famine, the farmers would open their potato pits and give potatoes to children of the less well-off. This custom ceased during the Famine, but when times improved, the custom of disguising oneself and going to people’s houses began once again.


It was customary for men, single and married, in Myross to go from house to house seeking potatoes or money. “An Mascalach” was the name they had for the custom as they had a song to go along with it of the same title. The men would dress up for the occasion calling “Something for the Mascalach”.


The potatoes would be sold on Lá Samhna (the first day of November) and it is believed that they used the money for drink

The Mascalach


Hoo Hung
This is Hallowe’en night.
Put the pig within,
Keep suck to the calves,
Make it easy to strip the flax.
Cuir lic ar lean
Put a lot of flax on the doorstep.
Wither the raithneach (fern);
Put hair on your head – that it may grow;
Keep a drop of poteen by the window;
Put a cover on the fairies.
Give to me, o woman of the house,
But don’t give me bread and butter.
Now, Mrs., search your pockets,
Give something to the lads
Or give them the road
Or I’ll strike myself between
The two eyes with a half-crown.


This verse was shortened by the children years later to:

A penny for the Mascal-oo”

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