The last few days of March have been wet and windy. My mother was telling me about the ‘Riabh-Bó’ days. Her story was that the the farmer had got his old cow through the cold days of the winter and she had survived. But then the cold, wet days of the end of March came and it was those cold days that killed her.
I did a bit of research (what would we do without the internet?) and found the following information. There appears to be quite a few regional variations of the story. But basically it goes that there was a ‘An tSean-Bhó Riabhach‘ translated from Irish as an old brindled cow (brindled refers to the coat markings). The cow started boasting that she had got through the cold, wets days of March. So March, decided to ‘borrow’ three days from April and it these last three days, which were particularly wet and cold, that ended up killing the boastful cow.
There are a number of terms for the days. In Irish, they are referred to as Laethanta na Bó Riabhaí, directly translated as the Days of the Brindled Cow, but they are also called the Borrowed or Borrowing Days .