Throughout May in Ireland we celebrate the traditional festival of Bealtaine.
This marks the start of the Celtic summer and a chance to reconnect with the land, people in the community and set positive intentions for the season ahead.
Bealtaine means ‘mouth of fire’ in Gaelic which relates to the significance of fire in celebrating the festival. In ancient times, large fires would be lit and people would drive their cattle and sheep between two huge fires and also do this themselves in order to get blessings, protection and good fortune for the harvests ahead. This fire festival practice is still observed with the largest taking place on the Hill of Uisneach in Westmeath, where each year the President of Ireland commences the festival celebrations by lighting the fire. The Hill of Uisneach is a well-known Irish landmark where Ériu, the patron Goddess of Ireland climbed and gave Ireland (Eire) its name. She is also reported to be buried there.
Fires like the one on the Hill of Uisneach would be observed as the most significant in the country. All household fires would be extinguished until this grand fire was lit, and then other fires would be lit in succession in particular points to create a grand spiral across the land. Locals to each fire would then take an ember home to their own hearth to bless their family, land and livestock for the summer ahead.
At Ériu we seek to take an ember from this powerful ancient heritage and use it to re-ignite the story of wool in Ireland. Through our sustainable Farm to Yarn process, we work in harmony with the land, animals and communities to make this happen. In alignment with the spirit of Bealtaine, we take the time to bless each stage of our process, to set positive intentions and energy into each item we produce so that these ancient Celtic blessings extend to the hands of our customers and their loved ones.