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Lughnasa

Each of the Celtic festivals, equinoxes and solstices has its own character and its own season. Nevertheless, Lughnasa, has a certain richness, which sets it apart.

It has associations with the 'Tailteann' fair, Co. Meath and 'Knowth', near Newgrange. It was celebrated at about 200 sites throughout Ireland, but four provincial mountain sites in particular; Croagh Patrick, Co. Mayo, for Connacht; Slieve Donard, Co. Down, for Ulster; Church Mountain, Co. Wicklow, for Leinster, and Mount Brandon, Co. Kerry, for Munster.

There were Lughnasa assemblies at many holy wells as well as fairs, including the Lammas Fair, Bally-Castle, Co. Antrim, Aonach na Ceardchan, Connemara, Co. Galway, the Fair of the Furze, Curragh, Co. Kildare, and Aonach Chrom Dubh, Ennistymon, Co. Clare. The Tailteann, Carman and Lough Gur were the most important Lughnasa assemblies.

Lughnasa was celebrated at the end of July the beginning of the harvest to stimulate the forces of nature to produce an abundant crop and included; climbing the hill, eating the 'fraocháin', bringing gifts to the sacred site, games, feasting, bonfires.(ref. Ó Duinn, Séan, OSB, 'Where Three Streams Meet' 2000 )


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