Getting a good Rambling House going in your kitchen will take a bit of tweaking to get right, but iron out the glitches early on and ensure there’s enough preparation done so it runs smoothly with a light fun-filled atmosphere full of encouragement. See how with our handy checklist below.


  • Not everything has to be done every fortnight - below are just suggestions, you decide!
  • Good staples to have throughout: the opening poem, newspaper review, party pieces, some local lore, techie material and sing-song
  • Select a night that works for everyone in the house and for the grandparent/s
  • Ensure everyone knows what an old Rambling House was about - see here
  • Have fun and dress up - this should never feel like homework or a chore!
  • One party piece from each member is expected and encouraged
  • Ensure everyone gets a round of applause after completing their piece
  • Have all electrical devices and the landline off the hook during the evening with exceptions!
  • Record if you want - but ensure everyone, especially Facebook Live/Zoom folk, know and consent to it!
  • Get feedback – what worked, what didn’t and adjust for hopefully the next one!
  • If you enjoyed it, please spread the word on Social Media and tell them to 'Like' our pages


  • Master of Ceremonies - to change each fortnight
  • Fear/Bean and Tí/producer - to keep an eye on the running order
  • Baker in chief - someone to select and make cake/scones for the next evening
  • Grammarian - taking note of memorable words and turns of phrase
  • Newspaper reviewer - to review non-Covid quirky/funny stories
  • 'How well do you know me?' - ten multi-choice questions to be set by the subject
  • 'What does this do section?' - older members to show ancient artefacts and explain them
  • 'My favourites' section - someone to cover a favourite film/item of clothing /band etc

  • Preparation

  • MC to work with Bean/Fear an Tí on schedule, roles, party pieces and finalise them
  • MC to check with everyone about what they have in mind to present for the next evening
  • Factor in birthdays/feast days on calendar and anniversaries and salute them
  • Baking and food preparation to play a part - try making a sample food from yesteryear, but ensure plenty of treats are there to compensate
  • Get a revolving Ramblers Cup to be presented to the best entertainer of the evening
  • Have the event on the kitchen table with an an linen cloth, candles and a fire lit if possible
  • Get an old-fashioned microphone  to plug into the laptop, place at top of the table. All speakers to move to top of table to perform into this mic

  • Pt.1 - anything goes!

  • Start off with Éamon Kelly's invitation poem to be learned off by heart and recited together
  • Younger member to do a quick ‘what it says in the papers’ piece – strictly no Covid mentions!
  • Everyone to have a party piece ready to present when the producer says they're up!
  • ‘What does this do?’ section. Looking at forgotten artefacts or maybe a ‘Call My Bluff’ setup
  • 'My Favourites’ section – someone gets to talk about a favourite album, item of clothing etc.
  • How well do you know me? Quiz where everyone has to guess multi choice on a family member
  • Buy a Hiberno-English dictionary and have the Grammarian of the night select three new words
  • Pick and Mix - everyone picks a random object from a box and must talk about it for a minute

  • Invitation poem

    ”The ricket is thatched, the fields are bare,

    Long nights are here again,

    The year was fine, but now ‘tis time,

    To hear the balled men,

    Boul in, boul in and take a chair,

    Admission here is free,

    You’re welcome in the rambling house,

    To hear the Seanchaí”

    - Eamon Kelly's invitation poem to Rambling House on RTÉ

    Pt.2 - techie time

  • Going over (and explaining) some old photos on a screen – no more than say 10
  • Select a few YouTube clips to play from the Archive/Links page and start a discussion after it
  • Folklore Collection Reboot - Facebook Live/Zoom interview with grandchildren and grandparent
  • Video of a walk in the woods/beach/event in the past with narration from the video taker
  • Homemade video of the children's InShot/Stop Motion videos

  • Keep it local

  • Get a local history book and read short extracts from it or better still recall it without notes
  • Famous sons/daughters of the area - a mini presentation to be given on them
  • The town land where they live – what does it mean? Explaining local place names
  • Think of phrases/sayings that are vernacular to that locality and explain them - if clean!
  • Customs, cures, feast days and superstitions of the area
  • Ghost stories, strange events and mysteries of the area
  • Factor in the time of year and add in the lore of that event – Halloween 

  • Wrap it up!

  • Grammarian to give favourite turns of phrase and best words of the night
  • Everyone to mention favourite parts of the evening and why so - encourage, no slagging!
  • Prize awarded at the end for best piece of the night – a revolving Ramblers Cup
  • MC to thank everyone for their efforts and to check on the date for the next meeting
  • Sing-song medley of old Irish tunes - unless it is someone's birthday when new songs are allowed
  • Listen to The Parting Glass - a different version each evening with a big round of applause at the end