Superstitions on trial!

There really is an awful lot of material regarding superstitions and customs in the folklore of Ireland. Like a good pint of stout, layer upon layer has been added over time to produce a rich national treasure trove.
A while back, in an effort to try and bring the full range of material to the attention of the audience, we devised a method by which we could present as much information as possible in a short space of time that would be both fun and memorable.

The result was ‘The Twilight Court’, which is a mock court trial under which superstition itself is on trial to be decided by the audience at the ‘court’ on any given evening. The question being asked is “is there any room in a modern age for superstitions?”

It's an evening of divilment where the weird and wonderful customs of Ireland are both saluted and derided. Listen here to the hour-long show, conveniently broken down by the five themes. Written by John Ward for Headland New Media and first broadcast on Inishowen Community Radio in 2009.

Bring the play to life!

Feel free to perform it

The 24 page PDF script is available above to download. Feel free to perform it at home and give it welly with your own additions and improvisations!

Listen to the play below

We have remastered the original tapes to offer a fuller sounding series of recordings from the performance back in 2009. It has been broken down according to themes.

Heritage Week 2022

Mid August is Heritage Week. Why not try to have a performance ready for Friday 12th of August for others to enjoy, online or within the guidelines by then? Oh gwan...

The Twilight Court is in session!

A number of common topics associated with superstitions and customs are examined with an “expert witness” such a seventh son of a seventh son being cross-examined by counsel. The topics include good and bad omens, births and deaths, love and marriage, charms and cures as well as fairies and sprites. Each one is examined and counsel debates the pros and cons for Superstition for Common Sense respectively. Whilst counsel for superstition was showing how each area should be regarded as beneficial and helpful to us all, counsel for common sense emphasised some of the more unusual items and perhaps the ridiculous ritual that comes with them.

Audience participation was encouraged with any tales that they may have heard on the night. There was a delightful twist in the story to keep the “jury” on their toes and the tone of the night was one of good humour whilst delving into the deep treasure chest of strange and unusual lore out there. To the passing visitor or native, 'The Twilight Court' serves a helpful resource in knowing how generations dealt with issues from warts to weddings, piseogs to pookas! We hope you enjoy this innovative medium of telling you just some of the great lore of the north west of Ireland.

Team work

Friday 13th 2009 in Carndonagh Courthouse certainly gave value for the audience. The entertainment was free, but as well as getting the play performed with aplomb by such talented well-known thespians from Mary Murphy to Anna Connolly, the play included legendary musicians Dinny McLaughlin and Seoirse O'Dochartaigh. Not forgetting world-famous storyteller Eddie Lenihan heard telling a few of his spine-tingling fairy stories after the play. 

We also had a most original warm-up act with the late legal eagle Paudge Dorrian telling us some cracking court anecdotes including how he got 28,000 people off in one case - yup, that's not a typo. Hear how on our recordings and if you enjoyed it all, please share or tell us if you plan to perform a Twilight Court of your own!
Broadcasting authority of ireland

Credit and thanks

This play was sanctioned and paid for under the Sound and Vision scheme from the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland. We're delighted to have been a part of this scheme which allowed us to stage such a magical and innovative method of bringing the superstitions and customs of Ireland to life for all to enjoy. With the reboot and availability of the play under the Rambling House website, we hope your community will get to enjoy this raucous night's entertainment for itself. Let us know how you got on!

Want more lore?

If you enjoyed the many superstitions and customs referenced in this play, you might enjoy our parent site's guide to the lore of the seasons in Ireland, looking at the cross-quarter days of Imbolc, Bealtaine, Lughnasa and Samhain. Each playlist goes into detail on the many superstitions that have evolved from these special days. 

There are scores of stories from Ireland as well as four Spotify playlists to salute the various seasons in the for of the best songs for Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. If you enjoy what you hear, all we ask is that you share the page on your social media.