According to the Celtic calendar Imbolc or February 1st is the first day of Spring. A day of reawakening that encompasses the period of young growth in nature. The time when we emerge from the introspection of Winter to the fresh hope of each new Spring. The day is also associated with the Irish Celtic Goddess Brighid also as St. Brighid of Kildare. Lá Fhéile Bhríde is celebrated in Ireland on February 1st every year.
Brighid's mantle is invoked as a protection against all dangers and people to this day leave a brat Bríde , a small square of material or ribbon, outdoors the evening of Imbolc 1st February to gain this protection.
Around this date for Lá Fhéile Bhríde every year the branch holds a grand seisiún of music, song and dance for young and old in the Naval Base at Haulbowline.
The event was well attended by members and friends of all age groups. It is always a wonderful event. While musicians played and sang for the afternoon, branch member Noel Crowley held a workshop in the making of the traditional St. Brighid’s cross. This is a skill most of the older generation acquired as children in primary school and is still taught in some schools.
Artistically the design is quite beautiful and very Celtic in origin. It is made with interwoven rushes and when completed is hung near the door of the house and outhouses. An extra protection if you have forgotten to lay out the brat Bríde!
The branch Fhéile afternoon affords an opportunity for the younger generation to play music alongside adults in an informal and relaxed setting. Performances on the day of singing and musicianship by the young people present can only be described as inspirational. The music is in safe hands for the future. Mol an óige agus tiocfaidh siad!
The previous week the branch invited Sliabh Luachra musician Eoin Stan O'Sullivan to give a workshop in the style of Sliabh Luachra music. Eoin has been employed by Cork and Kerry County Councils as an ambassador for the music of the area. He has been touring the schools of North Kerry and Cork to highlight the rich heritage of Sliabh Luachra. The area values and has managed successfully to preserve and maintain its unique style of traditional music. That is not an easy task in this era of mass communication. The potential problem is that the tunes are at risk of becoming homogenised and interesting local styles can be lost in that process. The workshop was excellent and Eoin not only shared a number of tunes but shared his extensive knowledge of the Sliabh Luachra style of playing and tune ornamentation. An added bonus was all his extra tales of the various musicians of times past in the area. It is always nice to be able to place a tune in context and to feel that you are carrying on the tradition.
The beautiful notes of Sliabh Luachra will waft through the airways of Carrigaline too as a result.
Beir Bua gach éinne