Arts

Date with death: The Ring a toned-down version of decadent Irish wake tradition

Irish wakes are simultaneously sad and social, occasions for drinking and singing. But courting? Kevin Toolis, author of a new book on Ireland's attitude to death, recalls participating in a modern version of wake tradition that, though ancient in origin, isn't nearly as decadent as in centuries gone by

"Seamus, being dead, made no objection to our revelry. Nor did the old men who sat all around us. As if this teenage renewal was part too of Seamus's departing"
Kevin Toolis
"SHALL we go back to the wake for the craic?" It was some opening line for a teenage date. I was 15 and standing on the floor of the Wavecrest Ballroom on an island off the Mayo coast. It wa[...]

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