head afire

author of wellness books and books about Irish culture.

Bealtaine and braces

Bealtaine is both the month of May (Mí Bhealtaine) and a very specific day – the 1st of May – the day of protection. ‘Bealtaine’ translates as the bright fire; a festival of light, when the fires of purification were lit. An agricultural festival marking the start of summer and a return to farmable weather. […]

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A tale in the sting.

There was an old custom, particularly in county Cork and one or two other places around Ireland that May Eve (April 30th) was celebrated as “Nettlemas Night”; nettles may be gathered for making soup and the children would play stinging games with a wand of nettles – stinging their friends and passers-by. To that I […]

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sow and reap

There is an Irish version of an universal proverb – An te chuireas, ‘se baineas – He that sows will reap. That’s often thought of as ‘put the effort in and you will gain, don’t and you wont’ – a sort of timely reminder to pull the finger out. In a mindful context, this seanfhocail could […]

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Luck of the Irish

“The luck of the Irish” is a phrase that came out of the American and Canadian gold and silver rushes of  the 19th century, were quite a large number of the most successful strikes were by prospectors/miners of Irish or Irish-American birth. There was a bit of racism in it – as if we were just lucky to make […]

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