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Preserving our unique traditions important

I just wanted to express my thanks and joy on reading Dónal Hickey’s article on the Scairbhín (May 14).

Growing up on the Dingle Peninsula, I remember my uncle John Joe warning us of the temperamental weather of the last two weeks of April and first two weeks of May.

Excited at the imminent arrival of summer and the first rays of heat, we were promptly put in our place by a sudden lashing of hailstones and a quick gust or two of wind. He laughed at our resultant sniffles. A man of the land, he passed away out feeding his sheep one fine spring morning.

My mother has warned of the Scairbhín each year since.

A Galway woman, she has adopted this Corca Dhuibhne tradition and in return our home adopted her custom of the 12 candles burning on Small Christmas Eve and Small Christmas Night.

Pisheogs, traditions and superstitions feature strongly in the psyche of country people.

They link us in a particular way to where and whom we’re from.

They remind us of times and people past and prompt us to preserve the unique social history of our béaloideas traditions.

Over the years I have explained the Scairbhín and 12 candles traditions to many people, but few outside of the respective areas have heard of them.

I was delighted to read Mr Hickey’s article and hope that it will prompt others to rediscover customs unique to their own home place and ensure they live on.

Dolores Martin


Co Kerry


Last week, I wrote about 'small is beautiful' as a key to an improved environment for all living things after this Covid crisis is finally over. As I wrote, I saw, in the mind's eye, the village where I live in west Cork and from which my wife and I are temporarily exiled.Damien Enright: Community spirit can ensure we pull through - together

Fifty years ago, a fox was spotted in Dublin’s St. Stephen’s Green. The unfortunate animal was chased by local ‘gurriers’. It took refuge in a tree but was promptly stoned to death.Richard Collins: Wildlife taking back the streets of our cities

The north pier on Cape Clear has been eerily quiet these last few months as no visitors disembark. The ferry is not unloading boatloads of tourists from Baltimore, 45 minutes away, or from Schull, as it would normally.The Islands of Ireland: Cape Clear tells its side of the story

If the Donegal postman and amateur weather forecaster has it right, we could be in for water shortages in the coming months. Michael Gallagher, who predicted the scorching summer of 2018 and the 2010 freeze-up, says we’ll have a ‘lovely’ summer.Donal Hickey: Demand for water to soar

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