Very few things change ever change in Ireland because most is simply rearranged; and so it is with special days older than recorded time.
Before we set the incorrect assumption that visiting Ireland should only take place on certain days, let’s be clear: any day is a great day to visit Ireland! Yet if you happen to be in Ireland during one of the eight special days of the year, then it is worthwhile to look for special meaning and places associated with those commemorations of sacred time.
August 1st is the feast of Lughnasa, midway between the summer solstice and the fall equinox. Lughnasa celebrates the start of the harvest season and abundance. When you join a tour with Ancient Ireland Tourism, the magic and significance of Lughnasa, as well as all of the other significant days from a time we have long forgotten spring to life and you can actually visit many of the sacred places associated with these special days to be in Ireland.
All tours with Ancient Ireland Tourism begin with a visit to Uisneach, in County Westmeath. Besides being the sacred center of Ireland, Uisneach is famous for the ancient Beltaine festivals celebrated on the 1st of May commemorating the start of the summer season. Incidentally, Beltaine and Lughnasa are related as the sunrise on Beltaine is identical to the sunrise on Lughnasa when viewed from Uisneach Hill; 64 degrees to the northeast aligned with the Hill of Tailte, death place of the goddess as she submits to the sickle of the harvest, and Dunany point.
Two other ancient places we visit on out tours of Ireland have significance to Lughnasa; Lough Gur and Croagh Patrick. Visit both with Ancient Ireland Tourism.
Remember we started out stating that things in Ireland are simply rearranged? Croagh Patrick is such a case in point. Long before the association with the patron saint of Ireland, this mountain bore spiritual significance. Croagh Patrick, the white tipped mountain, before the Christian times, was associated with the peak of the year. Long before pilgrims would climb Crough Patrick barefoot in penance, barren women would climb and spend the night at the top, seeking fertility.
At Lough Gur, the legends of Fionn mac Cumhaill follow us from the famous Giant’s Causeway, (visited on our Five Provinces Tour), as the name Fionn means “bright” in ancient Irish and thus he chases the sun goddess Áine as she follows her seasonal journey southward. It is at Knockadoon, the hill of the Fairy King beside Lough Gur that Fionn brings his horses to race at Lughnasa. A short distance from Knockadoon, we also find the Great Stone Circle, the largest found in all of Ireland, which in times long past saw many a Lughnasa celebration.
Are you planning a trip to Ireland? Why not join us as Ancient Ireland Tourism where you learn about Lughnasa, sacred Uisneach, and much more associated with all of the special days to be in Ireland?