There is an old Irish saying Is train de’n obair tus a chur – Making a beginning is one-third of the work. It does acknowledge that it is difficult to make a start but it also quantifies the reward and sets out the secret to success – the sacred three steps.
So there is a version of this seanfhocail (oldwords /proverb) that states Tús maith leath na hoibre; often translated as “a good start is half the battle” or closer to it as “a good start is half the work”. Sure enough, a good start is half the battle but you don’t want it to be half the job. The proverb of the thirds reminds us that the division of labour on the path to success is to start the job, do the job, and finish the job. Making a beginning is not enough – you must see it through.
So as motivations go, I like the power for the course of the thirds proverb. Plus it’s an invocation of the sacred three fold way that echoes through the origin myths of Ireland from the triumvirate of patron goddesses of Fóldha, Banba and Ériu, to the guises of the Mórrígan, to the trefoil spirals carved at sacred sites, the shamrock, and the ancestral genius of the entertainment, edification and elucidation of the triads (Trecheng Breth Féne).
The three aims of this blog will be similar to entertainment, edification and elucidation as I celebrate, explore and decodify some of the uniqueness of Irish culture and psyche. To fan the flame of the head afire, to pass on the secrets of the salmon, to bring the victory. Now there’s a job that’s a battle and a half. But by taking it in three steps, it will get done.
To that end, this blog will be laid out under three major categories
- customs and traditions – the how and the why of what we do or have done
- saying something – wordplay, seanfhocail, triads and glorious utterances
- historic insights – events that shaped and things to be learned.