So… on Sunday, the last day of our Christmas Holidays, which was also Nollaig na mBan, as a treat primarily for me I think, we went to Collin’s Barracks, part of the National Museum of Ireland to see The Armagh Rhymers perform a Mummer’s Play.
Mumming is a traditional part of the winter holidays which, it is believed, dates back thousands of years in Ireland. There’s music and story telling, and people in masks. Amazing basketwork masks in this case.
Continue reading Off with the Mummers
I’ve a guestpost up on The Book Pushers today, as part of their Fantasy Appreciation Week, on fairytales in modern fantasy — Fairytales in a modern dress. And if that’s not lure enough… oh all right, you can enter to win an author review copy of The Treachery of Beautiful Things!
The giveaway ends on 13th April, and it’s open internationally.
The May Tree, or Hawthorn, or the Fairy Tree features in my novel THE TREACHERY OF BEAUTIFUL THINGS. The tradition is to tie a rag or ribbon to the tree and make a wish. It’s a gnarled, thorny little tree, with the most beautiful white flowers in springtime and bright red berries in autumn. It is the Thorn in the saying Oak, Ash and Thorn, and grows in the most exposed areas, clinging to the sides of hills and the rocky earth.
We’ve been away for a couple of days, back to Ashford Castle in Mayo. I’ll have more photos and a post about it soon.
On the way back, we stopped off at Loughcrew, or Slieve na Cailleach (your spelling may vary). Slieve na Cailleach means Mountain of the Witch and is topped by a stone cairn called The Hag’s Cairn, which is about 6000 years old. It’s a fantastic place, really atmospheric and not a little creepy. I’ll have more on that too, including some compass related weirdness. But for this morning, here’s a photo I took on the way up there.
It’s a May Tree in November, with it’s rags and ribbons clearly displayed to the world as offerings to the fairies and the wishes of mankind. We added our own. I sort of felt I had to. 🙂