Sunday, 30 October 2011

Oíche Shamhna - Hallowe'en

Bairín Breac

Irish folk lore puts great emphasis on Oíche Shamhna - Hallowe'en - as a time when ghosts are about and the fairies are moving from their summer to their winter quarters. The traditional food at this time of the year is the Bairín Breac otherwise known as the Hallowe'en Brack, a white, bread fruit loaf with a brown glazing containing: wheat, sultanas, citrus peel, yeast, sugar, cinnamon, coriander, ginger and cloves. Traditionally the brack had a divination purpose as well as being something nice to eat for hidden within the dough were :-

A piece of wood: to signify a beating by a partner

A button: signified that you will remain a bachelor

A coin: for wealth

A rag or a bean: meaning poverty

A ring or small circle of withy: meaning an early marriage

A religious medal signified that you would join Holy Orders

A thimble: signifying spinsterhood

Unfortunately today's Hallowe'en Brack only contains a small silver or gold coloured ring.

Hallowe'en is an abbreviation of Hallowed Eve which is held at night on 31st October and is the first part of a three day Christian festival which was followed by All Souls Day and then by All Saints Day.

Hallowe'en is not Samhain, however there are people who believe that the Christian Church adopted the festival and made it their own and that may well have been the case. Over the last few hundred years Hallowed Eve has become secularised into Hallowe'en and dare I say it, has been commercialised in much the same way as has happened to Christmas.

My understanding of Samhain is that the word means 'summers end' and it is a fire festival.

The timing of fire festivals are exactly mid way between an equinox & a solstice or a solstice and an equinox.

This year the true date of Samhain is 7th November and is further confirmed by data from the U.S. Naval Observatory, Washington DC. who tell us - "Cross-Quarter moments are interpolated as the midway points between the Solstices and Equinoxes"

Historic confirmation also comes from our ancient ancestors who when building the tombs and mounds such as the Mound of the Hostages on the Hill of Tara which is aligned to Sun on the midway point.

Thus Halloween cannot be Samhain.

I would like to wish all of my readers a Fun Filled Celebration!

So that all may enjoy the delicacy of Hallowe'en Brack please visit

Wednesday, 26 October 2011



Ballytaspy: there are not too many songs about this place, that would make it popular or even familiar, though to the three dozen or so people who live within in it's boundaries Ballytaspy is unique. On weekend nights a rendition of 'There's no place like Ballytaspy' or 'It's a long way to Ballytaspy' can be heard echoing across the narrow street from both of it's two pubs as each drinking house tries to out sing or drown out the other.

Now it would be easy to believe that drinkers are well catered for with two establishments to choose from, without knowing the about the subtle inclinations of the proprietors. For example, the other night I decided to visit the Clancy's for a quiet drink and so to confuse my neighbours I parked my car outside of Burke's Bar and stepped across the street to drink in salubrious surroundings. Only to find the place locked, shuttered and in total darkness, now I knew that this was hours too early for a lock in; So I returned to my car and moved it further along the street and left it outside of the Priest's house and rapidly walked to Burke's Bar.

I chose the public bar rather than the lounge because the sound of clicking balls from the pool table disturbs my thoughts. Burke's is not known for wastage of any kind and the lighting inside the public bar is extremely dim, giving it a Dickensian appearance, not a place for doing deals unless of the nefarious kind. My eyes gradually accustomed to the shaded lights and there on the corner of the bar was the huddled shape and cut of a familiar figure, surrounded by several empty pint glasses complete with Guinness stains in various stages of drying. A slurred voice ordered two more pints loudly explaining: that one would keep the other one company because God had made everything in pairs.

Six customers stood at right angles to him, I joined them to make it seven and ordered my pint to stand quietly as I listened to their friendly banter. Eventually my nearest neighbour informed me that Clancy had been here for the last two days and was liable to be here for a week barring an accident or Burke's running short of stout. Such is the inclination of a Ballytapsy publican.

© MRL October 2011

Thursday, 20 October 2011


I could not possibly let this special day pass by without showing off a couple of photos of my grandson Oliver on this his 1st birthday

Just take one look at his eyes and imagine the wonderful mischief he is going to enjoy when he gets older :) ?

Oliver 1 year old today
20th October 2011

Oliver in his first car.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Unavoidable Quietness

I feel the need to explain to my Followers and Readers of this blog that my absence from the world of blogging, is due to my participation as canvasser for my favourite Irish presidential candidate in the forth coming election on the 27th October.

Until then take care of yourselves for I most definitely will return with renewed vigour.

Thursday, 6 October 2011


Steve Jobs 1955 - 2011

After struggling for years with pc’s I bought an Apple-Mac. What I did not know at that time that I was

buying into a family - that my chief relative was Steve Jobs, a man whose gentle humour and spirituality

steered my life and many millions of others by his creative drive, not just in design but also in selecting the

right quality of engineers to bring his dreams into fruition.

Steve Jobs you will not be forgotten.

You can email your thoughts and condolences to