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The Ancient Custom of Wassailing in Armagh

Wassailling is the ancient custom of visiting orchards, reciting incantations and singing to the trees to promote a good harvest for the coming year. The purpose of wassailing is to awake the cider apple trees and to scare away evil spirits, to ensure a good harvest of fruit in the autumn.

The Wassailing tradition is kept alive by the world-famous Armagh Rhymers who through music, storytelling and drama, provide an experience that is entertaining, educational and cultural. Their colourful costumes evoke a sense of tradition and history and encapsulate the ancient house visiting traditions of Ireland, where the kitchen floor became the stage.

The beautiful north Armagh landscape is home to 4,000 acres of apple orchard and is famed for the Armagh Bramley Apple which has protected Geographical Indication Status (PGI), a mark of the apples quality and reputation.

January and the tradition of wassailing bring with it the promise of a colourful pink blossom season in May and a bountiful harvest in September. Armagh’s award winning juices and ciders together with Heartland produce are showcased every year in the Orchard County of Ireland’s annual Food & Cider Festival September 2024 or from March at Long Meadow Cider Farm and Armagh Cider Company.