The circle of life

Posted on: 3rd November, 2014

Category: A West Cork Life

Contributor: Tina Pisco

It’s that time again. Allhallowstide (a word I only discovered recently) covers the days between October 31 and November 2, which in the Christian faiths, encompasses All Hallows, All Saints, and All Souls day. It wasn’t until the 9th century that the Church dedicated the end of Autumn as a holy time to pray for the departed (it became an obligation in the 12th century), but pre-Christian societies had already earmarked the occasion. Samhain was the most important feast day in ancient Ireland. It marked the end of the harvest and the beginning of the ‘darker half’ of the year. Halloween, as we know it, developed when Irish immigrants brought their mix of Christian and Celtic customs to the New World. In the last twenty years, I have watched it come back across the Atlantic. When my daughters were small, I found it near impossible, and exorbitant, to buy pumpkins at the end of October. Last week I saw a ‘Pumpkin carving kit’ for sale in Lidl, and cheap pumpkins line the aisles of every supermarket in the county.

Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays. Living in the countryside makes you more in tune with the seasons and it just feels right to mark the death of all that lush greenery we enjoyed last summer. Getting my dark side on at this time of year is as appropriate as gathering mint for mojitos in July (made with elderflower cordial!) The darkness lengthens, the cold sets in, and the land sleeps. Let’s face it — it’s a pretty creepy time. Lighting even spookier carved pumpkins and dressing up as the undead counters the dismay. Which is why I’m not a big fan of the ‘happy’ Halloween costume. Even the smallest child should get a chance to look as scary as possible. That’s what Halloween is for. We remember that life is short, by making fun of death.

I’m not being morbid. Death is something that we all need to get our heads around and mocking what we fear to make it less scary is a Universal human trait. Halloween allows us to find comfort in the fact that, though the world is a scary place at times, we are still capable of celebrating.

Urban modern living hides the messy realities of death. Raising children in the countryside makes it much easier for parents. Death becomes a part of life. I remember the first time that I confronted the subject of death with my girls. They were around five and eight years-old and they came running into the house yelling that they had saved a baby bird. We went out for a look and found a tiny fledgling trembling on the ground. As the girls excitedly made plans for building it a nest and feeding it by hand, I realised that the bird wasn’t going to make it. I was trying to formulate a way to tell the girls when the little creature gave a shuddering twitch and died. The girls were sad, but accepted the obvious: the little bird had fallen out of the nest and was too small to survive. They were soon as excited preparing the bird’s funeral arrangements, as they had been planning for its rescue. Over the years we have had many lovely pet and ‘saved animal’ funerals. Some have been sad and some have been rather jolly, but all have helped us to accept that life and death, love and loss don’t cancel each other out. They go hand in hand.

Speaking of life and death, love and loss; we have mourned the loss of our two beloved cats in the last year. They were the longest living cats we‘ve ever had (over ten years) and were both cruelly cut down in their prime by a passing car. This house needs cats if I don’t want to be running a rodent breeding programme over the winter, and so we now have a brand new crew. As I write, the big cat (who arrived last year) is juggling a dead bird under the table, trying to attract the two kittens who are rolling around in the feathers. Both were found on the road and we took them in. I know that the sound of their tiny paws stampeding across the floor like a miniature herd of rhinos will bring a smile to my face, even on the darkest day of ‘darker half’ of the year.

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This is the real spirit of Christmas at Caseys of Clonakilty. ... See MoreSee Less

Are you alone or do you know someone who will be alone this Christmas? If so, then we here at Casey’s would like to make your day the little bit easier. We are offering a full Christmas dinner on us! Christmas dinners can be collected Christmas Eve from 12:30pm - 8:30pm. Wishing everyone a very happy Christmas from everyone at Casey’s

15th December, 2017  ·  

RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta’s has just announced its Christmas schedule and it features several programmes of interest to listeners in West Cork.

On New Year’s Day at 12.08 pm we’ll hear highlights from the Éigse Dhiarmuidín Festival that took place in West Cork in early December, remembering musician and broadcaster Diarmuid Ó Súilleabháin. An Nollaig ar Oileán Chléire is an archive show presented by Mícheál Ó Sé on Wednesday 27 December at 5.30 pm about Christmas on Cape Clear and on Friday 29 December and 5 January at 7 pm, Peadar Ó Riada will bring us very special editions of his Cuireadh chun Ceoil programme from Múscraí. Keep an ear out!
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15th December, 2017  ·  

West Cork People - The Best Free Read in West Cork shared Garda Síochána - Cork, Kerry & Limerick - Southern Region's photo. ... See MoreSee Less

REMINDER: An Garda Siochana are hosting a Retail Crime Prevention Meeting, to be held at 7pm on Wednesday 29th November 2017. This meeting will be held in the Munster Arms Hotel in Bandon. This meeting is one of a series being held across the West Cork Garda Division, in association with Operation Thor, the Garda National Anti-Crime Strategy. The purpose of the meeting is to increase the cooperation between Gardai and the retail sector, ensuring that the current low levels of crime in the locality extends past the busy approaching Christmas season. The meeting will be addressed by the local Crime Prevention Officer, Sergeant Ian O’ Callaghan, who will discuss burglary prevention, shoplifting, fraud, and cybercrime. There will be a particular focus on cash handling and cash exposure of businesses in the run up to the Christmas shopping period. All aspects of commercial crime will be discussed, and we would strongly urge all businesses to make a special effort to attend on the evening.

28th November, 2017  ·  

TRADING THROUGH BREXIT - BREXIT BRIEFING SERIES LAUNCHED
Minister for Foreign Affairs & Trade Simon Coveney T.D. is hosting a number of Brexit Breakfast Briefings in Cork in the coming weeks. The first in the series takes place on Monday, 4 December at the Carrigaline Court Hotel at 7:30am until 9am. Business owners, retailers and those involved in tourism in the region are invited to attend the free briefing, which will see Minister Coveney providing an update on Brexit negotiations, his insights and also practical ways to begin preparing for Brexit.

The Brexit Breakfast information events are free of charge and all are welcome to attend, however registration is required by emailing simon.coveney@oir.ie or call 021 4374200
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27th November, 2017  ·  

Keep an eye out for Croíúil Trad group
from Rosscarbery and the Munster Champions U-12 Ceili Band from Bandon, both performing on next weekend's The Late Late Toy Show, airing on Friday, December 1 on RTÉ One at 9.35pm.
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27th November, 2017  ·  

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