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Archive for the ‘Irish Saints’ Category

The Wren Boys in Dingle, Ireland, Celebrating St. Stephen’s Day

From Your Dedicated Authentic Ireland Writers, Meredith and Win Blevins:

In Ireland, St. Stephen’s Day, the day after Christmas, is one of nine official public holidays.

In Irish, it is called Lá Fhéile Stiofán or Lá an Dreoilín, meaning the Day of the Wren or Wren’s Day. When used in this context, “wren” is often pronounced “ran”.

This name alludes to several Irish legends, some linking episodes in the life of Jesus to the wren. Although not practiced often anymore,  in certain parts of Ireland people carry either an effigy of a wren or an actual caged wren through the streets.  They travel from house to house playing music, singing and dancing.

Depending on which region of the country, they are called wrenboys and mummers. A Mummer’s Festival is held at this time every year in the village of New Inn, County Galway and Dingle in County Kerry. St. Stephen’s Day is also a popular day for visiting family members.  (Good-bye Christmas dinner leftovers!)

A popular rhyme is known to many Irish children and sung at each house visited by the mummers.  Here’s a very nice version of the song for you to enjoy, complete with chords and words!:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZI_PzRIqU0

The wren, the wren, the king of all birds…

Happy December 26th, St. Stephen’s Day, from the Crew at Authentic Ireland Travel

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st. brigid of Ireland's loving heart
St. Brigid is a symbol of Ireland’s Loving Heart

IRELAND’S LADY

Couples in Ireland could legally marry on St. Brigid’s Day, February 1st, in County Meath. As recently as the 1920s, they just had to walk toward each other.  If the marriage didn’t work out, they could divorce by walking away from each other at the same spot on St. Bridid’s Day the following year.

St. Brigid lived in 6th century IrelandHer lavish generosity, with food and help as well as love, sometimes put her at odds with her family.  Later, her monastic community sometimes had to do without as she emptied their cupbaords for guests and strangers.

Miracles that run through tales of Brigid are usually about providing bounty. Most of her recorded miracles are feats where she  creates an abundance of food for daily living and for festivals. Examples? The bacon she slips to a dog miraculously reappears in the pot. A stone turns to salt. Water becomes milk, or beer, or an aphrodisiac. Brigid’s miracles also brought dignity to the daily tasks that women devoted so much of their lives to.

The fire in paintings of Brigid symbolize her ability to transcend her position. She is a strong influential woman of transcendent power who sees inside the heart.

And so, one day each year, she gives us a path to eternal love.  And, in an act of compassion, she creates a path out of the woods if love goes wrong.

A few days late, but we celebrate the magic that is St. Brigid!

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