Celebrating Samhain – What This Time Of Year Means to Me.

Celebrating the celtic festival of Samhain has always been an important part of the Irish year. In this letter, Carina shares what this time of year means to her.

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Celebrating Samhain – What This Time Of Year Means to Me.

For me, this is a special time as we transition into the winter here in Ireland – a time when I am aware of our connections to the past and those who have gone before us. In bygone days, it was a time when people felt closer to their ancestors – and many traditions have grown up around those feelings of closeness, traditions that may have changed down through the years but we still have with us in Ireland today.

My mother passed away on the last day of June – and this week I was thinking of two events that celebrate the closeness we feel to those who pass before us. A closeness that we feel very strongly as we come into this time of year.

Firstly, I was very surprised and touched by the amount of “mass cards” that I received from friends and extended family following my mother’s death. These cards indicated that my mother would be spoken of and remembered in masses around the country. It represented a really powerful feeling of support from family and community. She would not be forgotten.

Secondly, I recently received a letter from one of our readers. They spoke of their first trip to their ancestral county of origin and how strongly they felt connected and drawn to the land where their ancestors once lived. This strength of feeling completely took them by surprise and moved them to tears. They felt that they had “come home”. It turned out that their ancestral place of origin was always remembered somewhere in their consciousness and hearts.

So, as we come into this season of darker days here in Ireland approaching the Celtic festival of Samhain – it seems to me that the feeling of being “in time” starts to recede into the background. I feel closer than ever to my mother, her parents and the many who went generations before. This is our traditional time for connecting to a universal spirit of all that binds us together. We have felt this connection in Ireland for many thousands of years as we celebrate the proximity of our ancestors and the fact that we owe our presence to their hard work, persistence and generosity.

That is what this time of year means to me.

How about you? Is there a special person or ancestor that you would like to feel closer to at this time of year? According to Irish tradition, Samhain is a time of year when the veil of separation lifts and the ties that bind us to those who passed before become stronger. Not a time to feel afraid – but a time to connect with the strength and wisdom of our ancestors and loved ones who have recently passed.

We do look forward to you joining us again next week,
Slán for now, Mike & Carina.

  • Danny Dullea says:

    Samhain has great meaning for my wife and I… We wish that we could be in Ireland again this year but 2020 has left us cocooning at home in the USA. Until this year, we have spent Samhain in Athboy as often as possible.

    Tlachtga Fire Festival on the Hill of Ward is the place where Halloween Began. The Celtic ceremony at Tlachtga has been revived, mixing the ancient past and the twenty-first century with a re-enactment of the Celtic celebration starting with a torch lit procession from the Fair Green in Athboy, Co. Meath to the top of the Hill of Tlachtga, Celebration of Samhain marks the end of the Irish Pagan Druidic Year.

    The number of participants has grown each year. Special thank you to Gemma McGowan. facilitator of the ritual and Seanachai (storyteller) of the Festival every year.Thanks also to all the priestesses, all the helpers and participants

    With lockdown this year there will not be such a gathering. So we offer a faint substitute. We have recorded this event for three years and the videos can be found on Youtube. The one from 2019 is here:


    We hope you enjoy
    Danny & Marianne Dullea

  • David says:

    Sorry for the loss of your mother….

  • Thelma says:

    Kia ora from New Zealand. My parents were born in Dublin in 1921 and went to England for work after WW2. My brother and I were born there but we went back to the family in Ireland for our summer holidays.
    The first time I went back as an adult and stood in front of my maternal grandparents and great grandparents graves, I felt an overwhelming sense of belonging and being home. The older I get the stronger the pull feels. In researching my family I discovered my mother’s maternal grandparents (Olliffe and Collins) came from Brinny in Cork.
    I’m now loving learning the history and stories and trying to capture family stories to keep them alive in the younger generations. SO glad I found this site!