Thursday, 30 October 2014


As the year deepens into winter I recalled a Samhain night seven years ago when I decided to
journey into the darkness of the countryside, where the sky was lit only by stars.
The scent of turf smoke and frost was in the air as I left the warmth of the hearth and travelled
down the small country roads hereabouts. All was silence with the headlights illuminating dark hedgerows and occasional wisps of grey mist in the hollows.

I passed through villages adorned with lit pumpkins, plastic skeletons and windows decorated
for Hallowe'en. Once or twice there was a glimpse of small witches, ghouls and vampires moving from house to house looking to trick or treat.
It was just as I had expected it to be until we finally came to a village with no decorations.
None at all.
Not a pumpkin, a ghost or a skull anywhere.
In fact there were only one or two lights on behind the curtained windows giving the impression
that almost everyone was asleep in their beds.

My first thought was how sad it appeared.
It seemed that in this place the children and adults did not take part in the celebration of Hallowe'en
and I felt sorry for them missing out on the fun and colour we'd seen elsewhere.

As I slowly approached the last houses however I could see an orange glow in the distance.
On the outskirts, at a deserted cross roads, I discovered this bonfire.

Samhain bonfire © Jane Brideson. 
Nothing remained to show that anyone had been there, though the fire was well banked up to
continue burning late into the night.
I stood as close as the heat would allow hearing the crackle of the fire whilst I watched pictures form in the smoke and the dancing flames.
I understood then that the people of the village had rejected the commercialism of their ancient festival
and marked Samhain as a community in the old way.

Returning home I realised that I had stumbled upon a continuation of an ancient Samhain tradition which has taken place on this island for thousands of years.

It was truly a magical experience.

As we approach the darkest time of the year I wish you food, rest, warmth and
the blessings of your ancestors.

Sunday, 19 October 2014


1 She offers a gateway into darkness and the entrance to her cave,
Uaigh na gCat, Owenygat, in Co. Roscommon.

Owenygat : photo ©

2 Two mounds near Brú na Bóinne known collectively in mythology as Mur na Morrigna,
‘The Wall of the Mór-Ríoghain or Great Queen’ and later as Da Cich na Mórrigna,
'Two Paps of the Mórrigan'.
One text names these mounds individually as cirr & cuirrel,  comb and brush of
the Dagdha’s wife. Today they are referred to as satellite mounds K and L, passage graves
which contain decorated stones. 
Below them stands the stone known as the Lia Fáil on the Hill of  Tara, Co. Meath
where the Mórrigan resided for a time.
The stone now commemorates the graves of the Croppy Boys of 1798.

Paps of Anu, Co. Kerry.

3 Da Chích Anann, the Paps of the Goddess Anu, who was associated with the Mórrigan.
Between the mountains lie Gleannfreagham, 'The Glen of the Ravens'.

4 Below the Paps is Gort-na-Morrigna, Mórrigan’s field, Co. Louth, which in Irish mythology
was the gift given to the Mórrigan by her husband, the Dagdha.

Drombeg: photo © Megalithic
5 Several fulacht or ancient cooking places within the landscape are known as Fulacht na Morrigna,
Mórrigans' hearth. When the Goddess resided at Tara her cooking spit was famous for its' size
and ability to hold and cook three sorts of food at one time.

6 Within the hearth sits a cauldron from the Late Bronze Age found in a bog in Castlederg,
Co. Tyrone and believed to have been made for ritual purposes.
The bronze cauldron is on display in the National Museum of Ireland, Dublin.

Bronze cauldron: ©
7 Within the rising steam curls a wolf, a raven & an eel each of which the Mórrigan,
as shape-shifter, transformed into.

8 The final element of the painting shows the River Barrow.
The Goddess is associated with Samhain and with various rivers also appearing in mythology as
the 'Washer at the Ford', an aspect of the Mórrigan who prophecies the death of warriors in
forthcoming battle by standing in a stream washing their bloody armour.

We are also told that The Mórrigan had a son, Mechi, who had three hearts each containing
the shapes of three serpents within them.
Mac Cecht killed Mechi so that the serpents would not grow to consume or blight the island.
He removed the hearts, burnt them and threw the ashes into a river which boiled up.
The 'boiling'  river, the berba, is thought to be the River Barrow, one of the three sister rivers.

The model for the painting was Carmel Ní Dhuibheanaigh.


Please also visit:

If anyone is interested in cards or posters of the Mórrigan please email me at - 

Thursday, 16 October 2014

The Ever-Living Ones on Facebook

Never thought I'd manage to do this.

I have finally found the time and the energy to set up a Facebook page for The Ever-Living Ones.
If you are on Facebook and would like to drop by and like / follow you can find me in the
column on the right or HERE
Look forward to seeing you!

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Interview with Dr Jenny Butler

Dr Jenny Butler

I have just listened to an interesting research interview which my friend, Jenny Butler recorded for
RTÉ radio to feature in a programme - "Fantastic Beasts and the People who Love Them."
In it she talks about Irish mythology, folklore and spirituality.

'Selkie Blues'  by Andrea Sgorbissa

The full interview with Jenny lasts for 26 minutes and is well worth a listen & you can find it HERE

The fascinating "Fantastic Beasts and the People who Love Them" RTÉ radio programme here
features Shane Dunphy who travels Ireland in search of mythological animals.
It is worth listening to this programme until the very end :)