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It was a ritual in my father’s time to walk the farm on May Eve with a bottle of Easter Water – that is water that had been blessed during Easter to make it ‘holy’.  This was sprinkled in the four corners of the farm, in the gaps, and on the animals, using a palm branch, which had been blessed on Palm Sunday, to keep them safe for the coming year. It kept away the fairies who would steal the cream off the milk and therefore the profits for the year

Irish Superstitions

I really don’t know if my father actually believed these piseógí [Irish superstitions] but if he didn’t, he wasn’t taking any chances.  He performed this ritual each May eve

Evening Walk

This was a lovely evening to walk around my own place.  However, I didn’t carry or sprinkle ‘holy’ water as my father did, his actions were driven by his beliefs and although my beliefs are different, I still like to connect with the ancient wisdom of our ancestors in honouring Bealtaine [May Day]

May Eve Sunset

Tonight, the sun was an immense ball of glowing orange/red as it sank below the horizon, while the last few birds made their way home to roost for the night.

May Eve - Setting Sun

May Eve – Setting Sun

Irish Customs

Bealtaine is one of four cross quarter days [mid way between equinox and solstice], in sequence they are Imbloc – Feb, Bealtaine – May, Lughnasa – Aug and Samhain – Nov.  Bealtaine officially heralds the beginning of the summer based more on the Gáelic agricultural calendar which makes most sense in relation to growing seasons in Ireland. The name appears to have evolved from the old Irish words Bel taine meaning ‘bright fire’.  There are many folk beliefs, some quite ancient with possible pagan origins, associated with Bealtaine.  As the name suggests, bonfires played an important part in these rituals

Warding Off Evil

One tradition involved driving herds of cows between two bonfires in the belief that this would purify the herd and bring luck. Witches and the fairies were also believed to be active during this period and homes and livestock were protected by pouring milk across the threshold of the house or byre to prevent their entry

May flowers, such as primrose, gorse or hawthorn blossoms were placed in bundles by entrances, doorways, gateways etc. to ward off evil

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