If proof was ever needed to verify the countless, hearsay stories of 'the good and bad' of masked customs involving Mummers, Strawboys, Wrenboys and Hogmanay men, then look no further than the Mummers Foundation’s exhibition next week of newspapers extracts on Friday evening, September 23 (Culture Night) at Fermanagh House, running from 2-8pm.

As part of its education remit, the Mummers Foundation has commissioned researchers to scour local newspapers on both sides of the Border to unearth stories of mumming disturbances throughout all of Fermanagh, Leitrim, Cavan, Sligo and Donegal.

The most notable commotion was an outbreak of violence up at the infamous mummers spree (barn dance) on Doon Mountain, above Derrylin, where rival mummers ended up in court over broken legs and arms.

The exhibition funded by the Council highlights mummers being shot at, mummers being chased by bulls, being condemned by bishops, and being physically ambushed by police.

According to Jim Ledwith, mumming social historian, local newspaper reports of court proceedings reveal an in-depth insight into every aspect of masked traditions, such as musical instruments, disguise, rhymes and house visitations.

Jim said: “The choice of language and descriptions used to describe masked performers and their nighttime antics is so rich that its merits a standalone exhibition.

"Years of painstaking collecting can be compared to intelligence gathering, and in one piece of detective work, we have also unearthed an Royal Irish Constabulary report from Dublin Castle on a Strawboy incursion."

This year’s exhibition follows on from last year’s hugely successful photographic display of mumming held in Fermanagh House which attracted scores of people across two hours on Culture Night.

This year’s newpapers exhibition will provide a much wider range of material for journalists, historians and culture vultures to delve into.

Tribute is paid to researchers, Seamus Mac Annaidh and Frankie Roofe, and also to Fermanagh and Omagh District Council in keeping mumming history alive.