The wren, the wren, the king of all birds,
On St. Stephen’s Day was caught in the furze,
Although he is little, his family is great,
I pray you, good landlord, give us a treat.
My box would speak, if it had but a tongue,
And two or three shillings, would do it not wrong,
Sing holly, sing ivy–sing ivy, sing holly,
A drop just to drink, it would drown melancholy.
And if you draw it of the best,
I hope in heaven your soul will rest;
But if you draw it of the small,
It won’t agree with these wren boys at all.
So goes the song of the Wran [Wren] Boys.
The Wran Boys tour the neighbourhood on St Stephen’s Day in Ireland, bearing the body of a wren and bringing luck. It is a tradition as old as the mountains themselves.
The wren represents the old year and must be killed to make way for the new. Nowadays, of course the sacrifice is symbolic but the music, the costume and the singing remain the same.
They called around today.