Saturday, July 25, 2015

Blessings of Lughnasa and the Well at Liscannor

Blessings of (almost) Lughnasa!

Saint Brigit's Well at Liscannor in Co. Clare is a traditional site for Lughnasa celebrations, as described in Máire MacNeill's The Festival of Lughnasa. That festival, held there on the last Sunday in July (Garland Sunday, called by some Garlic Sunday), and her own feast day at Imbolc were the two major days of pilgrimage to the site. At one time the Aran Islanders paddled over in their curraghs and walked the five miles inland to her well, where they spent the night singing to the spellbound locals.

Blessings of Lugh and Brigit on the harvest.

Sitting in drought-kissed British Columbia, where the fires have been raging for weeks and now the air is sweet with one day's rain, I am very aware of the delicate balance of plenty and famine. I pray for rain in healthful quantities in all our countries, for food and nourishment of every kind for all, for the wisdom to steward this planet challenged by our numbers and our ways of life.

Blessings of Lughnasa on you and your families.

 George Petrie (1790-1866), Pilgrims at Saint Brigid's Well, Liscannor, Co. Clare, c.1829-1830, NGI.2381

George Petrie (1790-1866)
Watercolour on paper, 18.5 x 26 cm.
Bequeathed, Miss M. Stokes, 1900.
St Brigid’s Well at Liscannor, Co. Clare is one of a number of Irish holy wells associated with St Brigid of Kildare, one of Ireland’s patron saints.
The well is a popular site of pilgrimage with great numbers travelling from across Clare and the Aran Islands to participate in the traditional Lughnasa festival on the last Sunday of July (or first Sunday in August).
Petrie shows the well from across a narrow stream. A number of pilgrims perform the various stages of the Rites associated with the well; some kneel in prayer while others circle the well, which is marked by a standing stone inscribed with a cross. The well is depicted in its original location before being moved to a more convenient site in 1853, where it remains today.
Petrie was one of a circle of scholars, antiquarians and artists who, fascinated by Irish history and folklore, toured the country studying and documenting its scenery and antiquities. This is one of his many watercolours depicting locations of Irish cultural significance and is a typical example of his approach to painting. Although romantic and sentimental in style, his work was accurate in its representation of the subject matter. 


No comments: