As you read this we have celebrated or ‘got over’ another Christmas Day and recouped our energies in these subsequent festive days. Traditionally in Ireland, but further afield as well, there are those who have equally looked forward to St. Stephen’s Day, or the Day of the Wren as it is more commonly known in some places.

In the UK they call this day Boxing Day as it used to be a traditional practice to give out the ‘Christmas Box’ on that date. I also learned that St. Stephen is the patron saint of horses and that’s why, they say, that this day developed as one of the great days for horse racing. But let’s take time out today to reflect on the origins and customs associated with St. Stephen’s Day in Ireland, be it here, Dingle or Dublin. I have fond memories of the Wren in Cork City – in all probability it was celebrated with equal mirth and merriment in Waterford. It’s good too to see the strong revival in recent times in various places. Maybe some groups may use this traditional activity as a fund raiser for their cause. Anyway, here’s our seasonal look-back.