Remember all those photos of us a kids? Standing on the beach freezing and shivering as we gingerly stuck our toes in the water? Water is always a big attraction on holiday, so if you’re going to be sailing, swimming, fishing or otherwise messing about in water on your holiday this year, be sure to stay safe. Irish Water Safety have a ton of information on staying safe around water and provide courses on everything from water safety to becoming a Junior Lifeguard for kids. Have fun this year by sea, river or lake and please, most of all, be safe! Why not visit the Irish Water Safety web site to find out more.
The May bank holiday in Ireland shares celebration with one of our most ancient traditions. The time of Bealtaine translates as ‘Bright Fire’ from Gaelic and is the traditional change from winter to spring in the ancient calendar. Really it was a celebration of the passing of time from winter to the new growing season. The tradition is indeed ancient and stretches back even to pagan times. The hill of Uisneach in county Westmeath is the centre of a wonderful festival. A rock stands at its centre and is said to be a doorway or portal into an ancient world filled with fairies and spirits. In olden times people would hang may flowers in their doorways, or on the horns of cattle to ward off mischievous spirits.
Each year a bonfire is lit on the hill, and on the surrounding hills other groups would take their cue to light fires of their own, radiating out from the spiritual centre of Ireland. The stone at its centre is said to be a type of ‘omphalus’ (navel in ancient Greek) and is at the meeting point of counties Meath, Ulster, Munster and Connacht. The ceremony lives on today and over the current bank holiday happens at the site on Saturday 5th of May. If you fancy a trip back to your spiritual roots then this could be the place for you this May bank holiday.
Photo courtesy of Abi Skipp, Flickr.