Category Archives: Celtic

Temperate rainforest…

I had to reblog this as Pucks Glen, Argyll, Scotland is where part of my novel, Protect Her takes place. These are gorgeous pictures.

this fragile tent

water falling, pucks glen

It stopped raining so we went off into the forest, getting some air before the arrival of guests who will be with us for New Year.

It is only a slight exageration to suggest that the forests of Argyll are part of the fragments of temperate rainforest left in northern Europe. Huge old trees in a sponge of moss and leaf mulch, well watered by the western Scottish climate.

As ever, my camera came along. I think I have a million photos of some of these places- searching for the play of light and the movement of water. I never quite manage it but some come close.

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A Slice of Scottish Streetlife

In honor of Tartan Day…today April 6th

The Beauty Along the Road

A parade of bag pipe bands is an essential part of the Highland Games held in Nairn, Scotland, each summer. The bands gather in a park and then march down the streets to the fairgrounds. We stopped this group of fellows to ask them about their band and their outfits.

The boys from the band The boys from the band

They proudly showed off the essential components of their band attire, correcting our playful usage of the word “skirt” by stating firmly: “It’s not a skirt, it’s a kilt!”

Then they hurried back to the rest of their band to line up for the big parade. Tartan patterns of different colors, long scarves, kilts and knee socks gathered in a colorful melee, then finally found their place in line.

gathering the troops gathering the troops

final touch-up final touch-up

Did you see that leopard print?

Drummer in leopard print Drummer in leopard print

Spectators of the two- and four-legged kind lined the sides of…

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March Magic

Before all the magic drains out of March, I thought I’d share the little story I wrote to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. (With a name like “Ireland” I think I was destined to spin stories and sing songs.)
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A Leprechaun’s Love

“Will you be choosing the gold or the Leprechaun?” The Irish glen fairly rang with a voice that didn’t quite sound human.

Maddy stared at the tiny man who could have walked off of the pages of any of the Celtic Myth volumes that she used to teach her class. She’d been piecing clues together for the last five years, but now that she had the Leprechaun and gold in her sight, she realized she’d never really believed.

The creature’s bored voice. and raised bushy eyebrows caused her to study him. He either didn’t care about the outcome, or he wanted to hurry her along for another reason. Leprechauns…

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Blessed Ostara

Happy Spring everyone.

Kate Wood

Fáilte! Welcome!

Today, at exactly 9:57 am PDT (the exact moment of this posting, in fact), marks the beginning of Spring. This is a wonderful time of celebration. In Celtic traditions, this is known as Ostara.

Courtesy of Navanna Courtesy of Navanna

Not to be confused with Ēostre, a Germanic goddess, Ostara is the pagan name for the vernal or spring equinox (for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere). Ostara marks the awakening of the Great Goddess from her winter’s sleep. She has been preparing for this awakening since Imbolc.

This time marks the end of the dreary days of winter, and welcomes the fresh days of spring. It’s a time for embracing the new beginnings, new loves, new lives wished for during yule.

As with all Celtic festivals, there are many traditions associated with Ostara having to do with food. Interestingly, many of these same traditions echo those of…

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Guinness and Onion Soup

Blog O'The Irish

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Ingredients
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
5 cloves minced garlic
8 cups thinly sliced onions
Gray salt
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
1 1/2 cups dark beer (recommended: Guinness)
6 cups beef stock
6 slices country bread cut 1/2-inch thick, toasted
1/2 pound Irish Cheddar, sliced thin
Directions
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add garlic and cook briefly to release aroma. Add onions, season with salt and cook for about 5 minutes stirring often. Reduce heat to low and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until the onions are golden brown.
Add the thyme, vinegar, and beer. Reduce beer by half and add the beef stock. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 more minutes.
Preheat the broiler. Transfer soup to an ovenproof serving dish or individual ovenproof soup bowls. Top with toasted bread slices and sliced…

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The Cult of the Banshee, a supernatural tale for St Patrick’s Day

freaky folk tales

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Do you believe in the supernatural? Do you accept that there is something unseen in ourselves, in our thoughts, in our inner consciousness, which Nature will not allow us to entirely ignore?

With some the supernatural takes the form of luck, of a blind belief in Fate, while the particular brand of others is ghosts pure and simple. Between those two, luck and ghosts, there is a wide range of speculation and assertion.

Without doubt, the supernatural exists to a large extent in the imagination. I do not say that it exists only or entirely in the imagination, but I do consider that the imagination has a great influence upon the existence of the supernatural. A highly strung, nervous, imaginative temperament is more susceptible to, and receptive of the supernatural; it is what I may term a good medium; it catches and retains a sensation without attempting or wishing to…

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Happy St. Paddy’s Day!