History of Pumpkin Carving and Samhain (Halloween)

Without a doubt the most recognisable symbol of Halloween is a pumpkin carved into a jack-o-lantern. To understand the origins of how pumpkin carving began and what it really means we must first take a look at Halloween itself. For most of the general population it is known as Halloween and is a night for […]

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The Celtic Journey

“Do not fall on a bed of sloth, Let not thy intoxication overcome thee; Begin a voyage across the clear sea, If perchance thou mayst reach the land of women.” –The Voyage of Bran There is a tradition in Celtic literature of immrama – stories of sea voyages in which the hero visits various enchanted […]

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Michaelmas Day

According to an old legend, blackberries should not be picked after this date. This is because, so folklore goes, Satan was banished from Heaven on this day, fell into a blackberry bush and cursed the brambles as he fell into them. Michaelmas, the Feast of St Michael the Archangel (also the Feast of SS Michael, […]

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Lughnasadh | Ancient Festival

In Irish mythology, the Lughnasadh festival is said to have been begun by the god Lugh (Lú) as a funeral feast and athletic competition in commemoration of his mother (or foster-mother) Tailtiu. She was said to have died of exhaustion after clearing the plains of Ireland for agriculture. Tailtiu may have been an earth goddess […]

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The Leabhar na hAiséirghe | Book of Resurrection

The Leabhar na hAiséirghe, or Book of Resurrection, is an unfinished Celtic Revival manuscript intended to be a memorial for those who died in the Irish struggle for independence, specifically the Easter Rising of 1916. It was the work of Irish artist Art O’Murnaghan (1875-1953). O’Murnaghan worked on the manuscript from the early 1920s until […]

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How the Irish Influenced Christmas Traditions

In much the same way that the modern interpretation of Halloween descended from the Celtic pagan celebration of Samhain, several important pre-Christian Irish traditions have been incorporated into the winter holiday season. Prior to the introduction of Christianity during the early 5th century, Ireland was home to the Celts, a pagan civilisation which worshipped many […]

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Celtic Mythology | The Three Noble Strains

Healer of each wounded warrior, Comforter of each fine woman, Guiding refrain over the blue water, Image-laden, sweet-sounding music! –Book of the O’Connor Don In Celtic mythology, we’re told about The Dagda (the Good god of the Gaelic gods) who was a king within the fairy race known as the Tuatha Dé Danann. The Dagda […]

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