The Wren (An Dreoilín) 30p
The tiny brown wren, which is one of the smallest of European song birds is also found in much of Asia and North America, where it is known as the Winter Wren. In Ireland it is probably the most widespread and numerous bird with an estimated population of over 3,000,000 pairs. Its habitat varies from dense woodland to rugged marine islands and it seems to be able to survive very severe winters. It is usual for two broods of young to be reared each summer.
In certain parts of the country the bird has associations in folk traditions.
Hunting the wren is celebrated on "St Stephens Day" in Ireland (Boxing Day, Dec 26th.) ,especially in rural areas, where the Wrenboys gather,dress up and tour the local area with music, song and story.
The merry group usually end up in a local pub for a celebration in traditional Irish fashion. Sometimes they would go from pub to pub in the local area, entertaining the customers and inviting them to join them in the hunt. Like many traditions in Ireland, this old custom on Stephens Day is dying out in many areas, but has been revived in certain parts of Dublin in recent years.The bring with them a holly bush and they usually can be heard singing the following song --:
"The wren, the wren , the king of all birds. On Stephen's Day got caught in the furze. Up with the kettle and down with the pan, give us our money and lets us be gone".
Many people think that the wren is the smallest bird in Ireland but in fact the smallest bird in Ireland is the goldcrest.
This stamp was issued on a special sheetlet in early 1999 to mark the completion of the Birds definitive series. All the stamps on the sheetlet were of 30p each.
Written by --: Shane Walsh