“Anois teacht an Earraigh
Beidh an lá ag dul chun síneadh
Is tar éis na Féile Bhríde
Ardeoidh mé mo sheoil
Ó Chuir mé i mo chean é
Is ní stopfaidh mé coíche
Go seasa mé síos
I lár chontdae Mhaigh Eó”
We’ve had New Year’s Day on January 1st, as ordained by the Gregorian Calendar. January 23rd ushered in the Chinese New Year, the Year of the Dragon and now, tomorrow is the day of Imbolc, the first day of spring in the Celtic New Year, known in the Catholic tradition as the feast day of Saint Brigid. Such a lot of opportunities to start again!
Raftery, the blind poet, wrote the above lines to celebrate the coming of spring. Being a travelling man, he loved the arrival of milder weather and longer days, when he could take to the roads again.
It translates like this, and is a clarion-call of optimism for anyone who ever learned these lines in Irish
” Now at the start of Spring
There will be a stretch in the days
and after the feast day of St.Brigid
I’ll hoist my sail
O I’ve got it in my head
And nothing will stop me
Until I’m standing
In the middle of County Mayo”
I have no recipe to post to honour this occasion.
Instead we’ll have an all Irish Cheeseboard when family are over at the weekend. Some Glebe Brethan, if they have any at honest2goodness.ie market in Glasnevin on Saturday next (it’s late in the season, I know) ; Cashel or Crozier blue, Ardrahan, Cooleeney and some of Sheridan’s crackers.
After all, St.Brigid was a legendary carer for and healer of cows.
I can’t think of a better tribute to her, nor to our Celtic New Year.