by Peg Prendeville

We are into the month of May or Bealtaine. It is believed that the name is derived from the Irish Gaelic word “Bealtine”, meaning Bel fire. That is, a fire lit to honour the Celtic god Bel. “Bel” fires were lit at sundown on April 30th on the tallest hill in the area. The reason for lighting these fires comes from a belief that the Tuatha De Danann would light great bonfires at this time of year to bring in a summer filled with good harvest, prosperity and hope. It is also believed that Druids lit these fires, and village people drove their cattle between them to purify them and bring good luck. The feast is celebrated in different ways in almost all European countries. It seems that tales of burning witches and pishogues etc are common to all the countries. It used to be a ritual, in “our father’s time” to walk the farm on May Eve with a bottle of Easter Holy Water. This was sprinkled with a palm branch, which had been blessed on Palm Sunday, in the farm and on the animals to keep them safe for the coming year. Even though it was a pagan custom I still do it, just to be sure, to be sure! Today, Bealtaine has been selected to celebrate ‘renewal, creativity and growth’ – thus the Bealtaine Festival celebrating creativity in the older generation. To join in these festivities, which go on for the month, Glin Library is having a poetry evening on May 15th to which anyone who likes hearing or reading poetry is invited to come along. Gabriel Fitzmaurice and Mary Kennelly will be the main guests but it will be an open floor. Fáilte roimh chách. Starting at 8pm on Tuesday 15th.

All parishioners, and there are many, who have arts or crafts or photos to display, should bring them to the Loughill Resource Centre on Friday night at 7pm for the exhibition on Saturday from 12  to 4pm. This is an opportunity to celebrate our creativity and help lift the spirits in these trying times. This exhibition is part of the White River Fest’s efforts to bring life and joy into our parish. The event is FREE. Just come along and enjoy.

Don’t forget to support the White River Fest activities this coming weekend. Yes, I know there are other attractions too but charity begins at home.