Matchmaking Festivals and Tidy Towns.

These were two events I was intrigued by when I was in Southern Ireland.

Starting with the Matchmaking Festival: Apparently if you want to find love, all you have to do is visit Ireland, in particular , Lisdoonvarna, a tiny, rural town in County Clare. Every fall, this little town is home to a huge matchmaking festival, where thousands of people flock to find “The One.” The festival mostly targets rural farmers who don’t have great access to singles bars or Tinder — but it’s been a local tradition for 150 years.

Then there is the Tidy Town competition: this national initiative was launched in 1958 by the Irish Tourist Board: Bord Fáilte (now Fáilte Ireland). It was originally part of ‘Tostal’, a nationwide festival celebrating all things Irish.

From the start, the primary focus of TidyTowns was to encourage communities to improve their local environment and make their area a better place to live, work and visit. The competition aspect was an important element in developing friendly rivalry that would help boost standards across the country. However, the emphasis was always on participating rather than winning as the very act of taking part brought benefits to the community- a focus on long-term results.

So this finishes my series of posts detailing my road trip across the West Coast and the Ring Of Kerry. The West of Ireland is all about the stunning, awe inspiring and breathtaking landscapes and it certainly didn’t disappoint. Apparently the East is all about the myths and legends, so that will be my next Irish trip.

https://www.newmarketholidays.co.uk/holidays/europe/ring-of-kerry-and-wonderful-western-ireland

Puck Fair.

Puck Fair is one of Ireland’s oldest fairs. It takes place annually 10–12 August in Killorglin, County Kerry.

Held in Killorgan, Co Kerry each year, a wild mountain goat is crowned king of the town by the Queen of Puck, who is traditionally a young local schoolgirl. There is a coronation parade and King Puck rules the town until his dethronement on the festival’s final day.

The first day of Puck is known as “the gathering”. On this day the Puck goat is enthroned on a stand in the town square and the horse fair is held. The second day of Puck is known as the “Fair day”. On this day a general cattle fair is held. The third and last day of Puck is known as the “scattering” day and on this day the goat is removed from his stand and his reign as king Puck ends and he is returned to the wild Kerry

Travelling around Ireland in October, we missed the Puck Fair, but I loved the legend.

https://www.theringofkerry.com/puck-fair

https://www.newmarketholidays.co.uk/holidays/europe/ring-of-kerry-and-wonderful-western-ireland

The Journey of the Magi by T.S. Elliot.

I love this poem. The nitty, gritty of the journey to see Mary and Joseph’s baby. The feeling of ‘I could be somewhere else other than on this damn journey’:

A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a long journey:
The ways deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter.’
And the camels galled, sorefooted, refractory,
Lying down in the melting snow.
There were times we regretted
The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,
And the silken girls bringing sherbet.
Then the camel men cursing and grumbling
and running away, and wanting their liquor and women,
And the night-fires going out, and the lack of shelters,
And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly
And the villages dirty and charging high prices:
A hard time we had of it.
At the end we preferred to travel all night,
Sleeping in snatches,
With the voices singing in our ears, saying
That this was all folly.

Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley,
Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation;
With a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness,
And three trees on the low sky,
And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow.
Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel,
Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver,
And feet kicking the empty wine-skins.
But there was no information, and so we continued
And arriving at evening, not a moment too soon
Finding the place; it was (you might say) satisfactory.

All this was a long time ago, I remember,
And I would do it again, but set down
This set down
This: were we led all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly
We had evidence and no doubt. I had seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different; this Birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving, which occurs on the fourth Thursday in November, is based on the colonial Pilgrims’ 1621 harvest meal. The holiday continues to be a day for Americans to gather for a day of feasting, football and family.

Unfortunately due to the 2020 Pandemic things might be a bit different this year. However there is the virtual option.

“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” – Oprah Winfrey

Diwali.

Diwali, “Festival of lights” is mainly a Hindu festival and is celebrated the world over, in all regions where the Hindu community has a presence. With fireworks, sweets, gifts, prayers it’s a festival that cuts across all boundaries – social, economic, cultural and racial.

It’s a beautiful festival and although not Hindu we still celebrated with homemade Nariyal Burfi, Indian coconut sweets.

Nariyal Burfi

Happy Diwali 🪔.

More Funky Blue…

“Music is the moonlight in the gloomy night of life”

John Paul Friedrich Richter.

There has been nothing roaring about 2020, but music has been a lot of people’s moonlight in these dark times.

And on that note here is a little bit more from the Funky Blue gig at the Grove Theatre, Eastbourne last month (October 2020).

Johnny b Goode
Relight my fire medley.
Take a little piece of my heart.