• The Peculiar Case of the Burning of Bridget Cleary

    In 1895, Bridget Cleary was the last woman in Ireland to be burned as a witch. Although not officially declared or supported by the Catholic church, priests at the time told police they were aware of something untoward, but did not act upon it. Bridget died a violent and agonised death surrounded by friends and family who did nothing to help her.

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  • The #Halloween Legacy of Ireland’s Witches

    However, it seems more than likely that witches and witchcraft were a lie originally invented by Christianity to control powerful, knowledgeable women, and have people scurrying to the church for protection. The notion of the witch struck such fear into people’s hearts that they were willing to collude in accusing any woman of the crime. The punishment for women accused as witches was barbaric: burning, or drowning were common as anti-witchcraft fervour swept Europe, usually after torture and humiliation in order to extract a confession. In Ireland, however, common law dictated that women accused of witchcraft should be hanged.

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  • An #Irish Ghost Story for #Halloween | Sabina of Ross Castle

    The legend of Ross castle, said to be the most haunted castle in Ireland. Sabina tells her story.

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  • Samhain Legends Donn, Lord of the Dead

    Halloween is the Christian overlay of a celebration far more ancient, a pagan Celtic festival called Samhain. Halloween is thought to be when the dead and the undead walk the earth, bringing havoc  and fear to the living. This is how the good Christian people were encouraged to think of the ancient Gods, ancestors, and fairy-folk, or Sidhe, who were originally honoured at Samhain. As far as we can tell, the ancient Irish people never had a God of the Dead, so who was Donn?

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  • Tlachtga, Goddess of Earth and Fire

    My name is Tlachtga, daughter of Mog Ruith. This hill is my place, my heart’s home. Only a few bones remain of what once stood here, for mankind has wrought his destruction upon it, as he did also upon my flesh.

    In those days, I rode the skies with my father in the great wheel of light, a rare magic known only to few, and folk would watch and fall to their knees in fearful prayer, claiming we commanded the sun.

    For long years after my suffering, great fires were lit in my honour. But time eroded understanding, and the people forgot why.

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  • Samhain The Original Halloween

    The ancient Irish divided their year into four seasons punctuated by the festivals of Imbolc, Beltaine, Lughnasa and Samhain, according to the equinoxes and solstices. Samhain lies between the autumn equinox and the winter solstice. It was believed that at Samhain, the veil between the mortal world and the Otherworld was very thin, and that the spirits of the ancestors could cross over and walk amongst the living again.

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  • A Samhain Poem | The Princess on the Hill

    It being the season that it is, and the big event drawing ever nearer, my mind has been wandering over the tragic legend of Tlachtga, and so this circular poem is inspired by her, and dedicated to her.

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  • A Samhain Poem | A Witches Lament

    Women like me,
    we burn in the flames,
    we drown in the bog,
    held down by the weight
    of our skills, misunderstood.
    They hunt us, they hate us,
    women like me.

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  • A Samhain Story | Fionn mac Cumhall and the Sidhe-Prince of Flame

    This is the story of the how the boy-warrior, Fionn mac Cumhall, defeated the Fire-fairy, Ailen mac Midhna, who had been laying waste to the royal stronghold of Tara every Samhain for many years, and how he won his rightful place as the leader of the Fianna.

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