Bonfires = Ilegal dumping + Pollution

May Eve Madness  

May Eve has been celebrated for thousands of years in Ireland. It was one of the four points of the natural yearly cycle that was celebrated in Western Europe and beyond in one form or another – the others being Imbolg (early February), Bealtaine (Mayday) and Samhain early (November).  May Eve traditionally marked the beginning of the summer season.  Bonfires would mark a time of purification and transition, heralding in the summer in the hope of a good harvest later in the year.

May Eve is still celebrated by many in Limerick City  but unfortunately these celebrations happen in a way which pollutes the local environment and destroys greens and open spaces. The May Eve bonfire is often used to get rid of waste in the community. This is not the work of local youths lighting a bonfire for may eve fun. This is an organised collection of tyres, mattresses, garden furniture and anything else they can lay their hands on to burn waste and create air pollution and damage the local green.   The City also pays the price of cleaning up after the bonfire, disposing of leftover waste and chunks of metal and reseeding green areas.  

Mr Paul Foley, Senior Executive Officer, Environment Department of Limerick City Council,

"We need co-operation from the local community to put an end to the burning of waste in bonfires.  Limerick City Council do not wish to put an end to the tradition of celebrating Mid Summer, but let's keep the bonfires free of waste and other toxic material."


If you are householder this is a reminder not to give items of bulk waste or household waste to young people collecting for Bonfires for May Eve  and ensure your bin is secure .  Burning waste such as mattresses, three piece suites household waste etc produces toxic fumes and may have long term health implications. This is because most of these items are now partly made up of chemicals, plastics and solvents. The burning of such items at low temperatures is bad for the environment.  


Burning waste is also against the law and could lead to a prosecution.   People who store waste for a bonfire may be visited and required to produce receipts to prove that their waste was disposed of correctly and not burned on the local green.  If it is suspected that your waste was burned on a bonfire you will be prosecuted under the Waste Act.    


If you wish to get rid of bulk waste please :   use a permitted waste collector who will come directly to your home to remove bulky waste items on an appointment basis; hire a skip from a permitted waste collector or bring directly to a licenced landfill or waste transfer station.   Make sure that the waste collector you hire has a waste collection permit.  Take a note of the time, date and the licence number of the vehicle and Always, always get a receipt.

Last update:23/04/2012