Amhrán Na Craoibhe

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Amhrán Na Craoibhe (in englishThe Garland Song)  is the processional song in Irish Gaelic of the women who carry the May branch (May garland) in the ritual celebrations for the festival of Beltane, still widespread at the beginning of the twentieth century in Northern Ireland (Oriel region).

The song comes from Mrs. Sarah Humphreys who lived in the county of Armagh and was collected in the early twentieth century, erroneously called ‘Lá Fhéile Blinne‘ (The Feast of St Blinne) because it was singed in Killeavy for the Feast of St Moninne, affectionately called “Blinne“, a clear graft of pre-Christian traditions in the Catholic rituals.
The song is unique to the south-east Ulster area and was collected from Sarah Humphreys who lived in Lislea in the vacinity of Mullaghban in Co. Armagh. The air of the song from Cooley in Co. Louth survived in the oral tradition from my father Pádraig. It was mistakenly called ‘Lá Fhéile Blinne’ (The Feast of St Blinne) by one collector. Though it was sung as part of the celebrations of Killeavy Pattern it had no connection with Blinne or Moninne, a native saint of South Armagh, but rather the old surviving pre-Christian traditions had been incorporated into Christian celebrations. The district of ‘Bealtaine’ is to be found within a few miles of Killeavy where this song was traditionally sung, though the placename has been forgotten since Irish ceased to be the vernacular of the community within this last century. Other place names nearby associated with May festivities are: Gróbh na Carraibhe; The Grove of the Branch/Garland (now Carrive Grove) Cnoc a’ Damhsa; The Hill of Dancing (now Crockadownsa).” (Pádraigín Ní Uallacháin, 2002, A Hidden Ulster)
St Moninna of Killeavy died in 517-518, follower of St Brigid of Kildare, her names “Blinne” or “Moblinne” mean “little” or “sister” (“Mo-ninne” could be a version of Niniane, the “Lady of the Lake” of the Arthurian cycle); according to scholars her name was Darerca and her (alleged) tomb is located in the cemetery of Killeavy on the slopes of Slieve Gullion where it was originally located her monastery of nuns, become a place of pilgrimage throughout the Middle Ages along with her sacred well, St Bline’s Well.

ST DARERCA (MONENNA) OF KILLEAVY

It seems that the name of Baptism of this virgin, commemorated in the Irish martyrologists on July 6th, was Darerca, and that Moninna is instead a term of endearment of obscure origin. We have her Acta, but her life was confused with the English saint Modwenna, venerated at Burton-on-Trent. Darerca was the foundress and first abbess of one of Ireland’s oldest and most important female monasteries, built in Killeavy (county of Armagh), where the ruins of a church dedicated to her are still visible. He died in 517. Killeavy remained an important center of religious life, until it was destroyed by the Scandinavian marauders in 923; Darerca continued to be widely revered especially in the northern region of Ireland (translated from  here)

AN ANCIENT GODDESS

The Slieve Gullion Cairns

Slieve Gullion ( Sliabh gCuillinn ) is a place of worship in prehistoric times on the top of which a chamber tomb was built with the sunlit entrance at the winter solstice. (see).
According to legend, the “Old Witch” lives on its top, the Cailleach Biorar (‘Old woman of the waters’) and the ‘South Cairn’ is her home also called ‘Cailleach Beara’s House‘.
the site with virtual reality
On the top of the mountain a small lake and the second smaller burial mound built in the Bronze Age. In the lake, according to local evidence, lives a kelpie or a sea monster and it’s hid the passage to the King’s Stables. (Navan, Co. Armagh)

Cailleach Beara by Cheryl Rose-Hall

The Hunt of Slieve Cuilinn

The goddess, a Great Mother of Ireland, Cailleach Biorar (Bhearra) -the Veiled is called Milucradh / Miluchradh, described as the sister of the goddess Aine in the story of “Fionn mac Cumhaill and the Old Witch“, we discover that the nickname of Fionn (Finn MacColl) “the blond”, “the white” comes from a tale of the cycle of the Fianna: everything begins with a bet between two sisters Aine (the goddess of love) and Moninne (the old goddess), Aine boasted that he would never have slept with a gray-haired man, so the first sister brought Fionn to the Slieve Gullion (in the form of a gray fawn she made Fionn pursue her in the heat of hunting by separating himself from the rest of his warriors), then turned into a beautiful girl in tears sitting by the lake to convince Fionn to dive and retrieve her ring. But the waters of the lake had been enchanted by the goddess to bring old age to those who immersed themselves (working in reverse of the sacred wells), so Fionn came out of the lake old and decrepit,and obviously with white hair. His companions, after having reached and recognized him, succeed in getting Cailleach to give him a magic potion that restores vigor to Fionn but leaves him with white hair! (see)

The Cailleach and Bride are probably the same goddess or the different manifestations of the same goddess, the old woman of the Winter and the Spring Maid in the cycle of death-rebirth-life of the ancient religion.

The ancient path to St Bline’s Well.

On the occasion of the patronal feast (pattern celebrations) of the Holy Moninna (July 6) a procession was held in Killeavy that started from St Blinne grave, headed to the sacred well along an ancient path, and then returned to the cemetery. A competition was held between teams of young people from various villages to make the most beautiful effigy of the Goddess, a faded memory of Beltane’s festivities to elect their own May Queen. During the procession the young people sang Amhrán Na Craoibhe accompanied by a dance, whose choreography was lost, each sentence is sung by the soloist to whom the choir responds. The melody is a variant of Cuacha Lán de Bhuí on the structure of an ancient carola (see)

One of the most spectacular high-level views in Ireland.
On a clear day, it’s possible to see from the peak (573 mt) as far as Lough Neagh, west of Belfast, and the Wicklow Mountains, south of Dublin.

Páidraigín Ní Uallacháin from“An Dealg  Óir” 2010

Pádraigín Ní Uallacháin & Sylvia Crawford live 2016 

AMHRÁN NA CRAOIBHE

English translation P.Ní Uallacháin*
My branch is the branch
of the fairy women,
Hey to him who takes her home,
hey to her;

The branch of the lasses
and the branch of the lads;
Hey to him who takes her home,
hey to her;

The branch of the maidens
made with pride;
Hey, young girls,
where will we get her a spouse?
We will get a lad
in the town for the bride (1),
A dauntless, swift, strong lad,
Who will bring this branch (2)
through the three nations,
From town to town
and back home to this place?
Two hundred horses
with gold bridles on their foreheads,
And two hundred cattle
on the side of each mountain,
And an equal amount
of sheep and of herds (3),
O, young girls, silver
and dowry for her,
We will carry her with us,
up to the roadway,
Where we will meet
two hundred young men,
They will meet us with their
caps in their fists,
Where we will have pleasure,
drink and sport (4),
Your branch is like
a pig in her sack (5),
Or like an old broken ship
would come into Carlingford (6),
We can return now
and the branch with us,
We can return since
we have joyfully won the day,
We won it last year
and we won it this year,
And as far as I hear
we have always won it.
Irish gaelic
‘S í mo chraobhsa
craobh na mban uasal
(Haigh dó a bheir i’ bhaile í
‘s a haigh di)

Craobh na gcailín is
craobh na mbuachaill;
(Haigh dó a bheir i’ bhaile í
‘s a haigh di).

Craobh na ngirseach
a rinneadh le huabhar,
Maise hóigh, a chaillíní,
cá bhfaigh’ muinn di nuachar?
Gheobh’ muinn buachaill
sa mbaile don bhanóig;
Buachaill urrúnta , lúdasach, láidir
A bhéarfas a ‘ghéag
seo di na trí náisiún,
Ó bhaile go baile è ar
ais go dtí an áit seo
Dhá chéad eachaí
è sriantaí óir ‘na n-éadan,
Is dhá chéad eallaigh
ar thaobh gach sléibhe,
È un oiread sin eile
de mholtaí de thréadtaí,
Óró, a chailíní, airgead
is spré di,
Tógfa ‘muinn linn í suas’
un a ‘bhóthair,
An áit a gcasfaidh
dúinn dhá chéad ógfhear,
Casfa ‘siad orainn’ sa gcuid
hataí ‘na ndorn leo,
An áit a mbeidh aiteas,
ól is spóirse,
È cosúil mbur gcraobh-na
le muc ina mála,
Nó le seanlong bhriste thiocfadh ‘steach i mBaile Chairlinn,
Féada ‘muinn tilleadh anois
è un’ chraobh linn,
Féada ‘muinn tilleadh,
tá an lá bainte go haoibhinn,
Bhain muinn anuraidh é
è bhain muinn i mbliana é,
è mar chluinimse bhain
muinn ariamh é.
May Garland

Notes
1) it is the May doll, but also the Queen of May personification of the female principle of fertility
2) the may garland made by women
3) heads of cattle in dowry that is the animals of the village that will be smashed by the fires of Beltane
4) after the procession the feast ended with a dance
5) derogatory sentences against other garlands carried by rival teams “a pig in a poke” is a careless purchase, instead of a pig in the bag could be a cat!
6) Lough Carlingford The name is derived from the Old Norse and in irsih is “Lough Cailleach”

7005638-albero-di-biancospino-sulla-strada-rurale-contro-il-cielo-bluThe hawthorn is the tree of Beltane, beloved to Belisama, grows as a shrub or as a tree of small size (only reaches 7 meters in height) widening the branches in all the directions, in search of the light upwards.
The branch of hawthorn and its flowers were used in the Celtic wedding rituals and in the ancient Greece and also for the ancient Romans it was the flower of marriage, a wish for happiness and prosperity.
The healing virtues of hawthorn were known since the Middle Ages: it is called the “valerian of the heart” because it acts on the blood flow improving its circulation and it is also used to counteract insomnia and states of anguish. see

HAWTHORN OR BLACKTHORN?

The flowers are small, white and with delicate pinkish hues, sweetly scented. In areas with late blooms for Beltane the “mayers” use the branch of blackthorn,same family as the Rosaceae but with flowering already in March-April.

 

Amhrad Na Beltaine

LINK
https://www.catholicireland.net/saintoftheday/st-moninne-of-killeavy-d-c-518-virgin-and-foundress/
http://www.killeavy.com/stmon.htm
http://www.megalithicireland.com/St%20Moninna’s%20Holy%20Well.html
http://www.megalithic.co.uk/article.php?sid=28400
http://irishantiquities.bravehost.com/armagh/killevy/killevy.html
http://www.nicsramblers.co.uk/p240213.html
http://irelandsholywells.blogspot.it/2012/06/saint-monninas-well-killeavy-county.html
http://www.megalithicireland.com/Killeavy%20Churches.html
http://omniumsanctorumhiberniae.blogspot.it/2015/07/saint-moninne-july-6.html
https://atlanticreligion.com/tag/moninne/
http://www.newgrange.com/slieve-gullion.htm
https://voicesfromthedawn.com/slieve-gullion/

https://www.independent.ie/life/travel/ireland/walk-of-the-week-slieve-gullion-co-armagh-26543944.html
http://geographical.co.uk/uk/aonb/item/559-the-ring-of-gullion

http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=59221
https://www.orielarts.com/songs/amhran-na-craoibhe/
http://journalofmusic.com/focus/breathing-embers

Amhrán Na Bealtaine

Leggi in italiano

TITLES: Amhran Na Bealtaine, Samhradh, Summertime, Thugamur Fein An Samhradh Linn (We Brought The Summer With Us, We Have Brought The Summer In) or Beltane Song
It is a traditional Irish tune sung on May Day (Lá Bealtaine).

Charles Daniel Ward: Processing of Spring -1905
Charles Daniel Ward: Processing of Spring -1905

AMHRAN NA BEALTAINE

A Gaelic Summer song that could date back to the late Middle Ages played in the feast for the landing of James Butler Duke of Ormonde in 1662, the new Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. It is a traditional song in the southeastern part of Ulster (Northern Ireland) and it was sung by young men and women on May Eve, while they carried around the Garland of May.
Most likely this was a begging song to get food or drink in exchange for the May branch, tabranch of hawthorn or blackthorn to be left in front of the door. With this auspicious gesture, the inhabitants are protected from fairies because fairies could not overcome these flowered barriers (see more).

The song is still very popular in Ireland, Oriel area (t included parts of Louth, Monaghan and Armagh) and is performed both in instrumental version and sung.
Edward Bunting states that the song had been played in the Dublin area since 1633.
 TUNE noted by EDWARD BUNTING
The Chieftains (a instrumental version that is a hymn to joy, a song of birds awakening to the call of spring: the Irish flute starts imitating a lark followed in musical canon by some
wind instruments (the Irish flute, the whistle and the uillean pipes) and the violin, great!)

Gloaming  live Samhradh Samhradh (Martin Hayes fiddle)

Pádraigín Ní Uallacháin from A Stór Is A Stóirín 1994 

English translation*
I
Mayday doll(1),
maiden of Summer
Up every hill
and down every glen,
Beautiful girls,
radiant and shining,
We have brought the Summer in.
CHORUS
Summer, Summer,
milk of the calves(2),
We have brought the Summer in.
Yellow(3) summer
of clear bright daisies,
We have brought the Summer in.
II
We brought it in
from the leafy woods(4),
We have brought the Summer in.
Yellow(3) Summer
from the time of the sunset(5),
We have brought the Summer in.
III
The lark(6) is singing
and swinging around in the skies,
Joy for the day
and the flower on the trees.
The cuckoo and the lark
are singing with pleasure,
We have brought the Summer in.
Irish gaelic
I
Bábóg na Bealtaine,
maighdean an tSamhraidh,
Suas gach cnoc
is síos gach gleann,
Cailíní maiseacha
bán-gheala gléasta,
Thugamar féin an samhradh linn
Sèist
Samhradh, samhradh,
bainne na ngamhna,
Thugamar féin an samhradh linn.
Samhradh buí
na nóinín glégeal,
Thugamar féin an samhradh linn.

II
Thugamar linn
é ón gcoill chraobhaigh,
Thugamar féin an samhradh linn.
Samhradh buí
ó luí na gréine,
Thugamar féin an samhradh linn
III
Tá an fhuiseog ag seinm
‘sag luascadh sna spéartha,
Áthas do lá
is bláth ar chrann.
Tá an chuach is an fhuiseog
ag seinm le pléisiúr,
Thugamar féin an samhradh linn.

NOTES
* from here
garlan-may-day1) the Bábóg is the spring doll, Brídeóg, the “little Bride”, (Brigit, or Brigantia in Britannia, a trine goddess -Virgin, Mother, Crona) among the most important of the Celtic pantheon, the maiden of wheat made by women in Imbolc (February 1) with the last sheaf of harvest; the young Goddess of Spring, a strong symbol of rebirth in the cycle of death-life in which Nature is perpetuated: in the doll still lives the spirit of the wheat. Brigid’s dolls were also dressed in a white dress, decorated with stones, ribbons and flowers and carried in procession throughout the village.
The doll will reappear in the Victorian celebrations of May in her white-robed, placed between a wreath of flowers and ribbons hanging on a rod and carryed by mayers (see more)
2) milk from cows for calves. The May Day is called na Beal tina or the day of the fire of Beal, then consecrated to the god Bel or Belenos. On the eve large fires were lit and the cattle were passed among them, this celtic custom is still remained in the Irish countryside with the belief that this prevented the Wee Folk to make bad jokes like braiding the tails of the cows or stealing the milk
3) the May flowers were mostly yellow to recall the color and the warmth of the sun. Flowers and green branches were placed on the threshold of the house and window sills to protect the inhabitants from the fairies and as a sign of good fortune. Fairies could not overcome these flowered barriers. This tradition was typical of Northern Ireland. The children mostly went to pick wild flowers to make garlands, especially with yellow flowers.4) the greenwood, the most inviolate and sacred forest of the ancient Celtic rituals

Bringing Home the May, 1862, Henry Peach Robinson
Bringing Home the May, 1862, Henry Peach Robinson

5) the youth go into the woods at night of the eve till the morn  (see more)
6) the lark is a sacred bird with solar symbolism (see more)
7) the song of the cuckoo is a harbinger of Spring, also because once the season of love is over (end of May), the cuckoo (male) no longer sings  (see more)

Extra verses 

English translation (*)
Holly and hazel
and elder and rowan,(1)
We have brought the Summer in.
And brightly shining ash
from Bhéal an Átha,(2)
We have brought the Summer in
Irish Gaelic
Cuileann is coll
is trom is cárthain,
Thugamar féin
an samhradh linn
Is fuinseog ghléigeal Bhéal an Átha,
Thugamar féin an samhradh linn.

NOTES
1) The hawthorn is a fairy plant like holly, hazel, elderberry and rowan, protective and auspicious (probably due to the very sharp thorns). The May tradition places the branch of hawthorn outside the house (hanging on the windows and next to the entrance) because if it is brought into home, especially when it is flowered, brings bad luck. This negative meaning dates back to the Middle Ages when the branches of hawthorn were used as amulets against the evil eye, witches and demons; it might be traced back to the vague rotting smell of the branches, but it is certainly linked to the Church’s attempt to assimilate pre-Christian rites to satanic practices.
2) Bhéal an Átha literally the mouth of the ford is also a place known today as Ballina a city on the river Moy in the Mayo counts. However, the settlement is relatively recent (late 15th century). Na Bealtaine is more likely to refer to a toponym Beulteine as it was called the place of the Beltane festival on the border between the county of Armagh and that of Louth, in Kilcurry, today there are only a small mound with the ruins of an old church. All versions collected in the area describe a radius around this location of about twenty miles

Bábóg na Bealtaine, Other Tunes

La Lugh (Eithne Ní Uallacháin & Gerry O’Connor) from Brighid’s Kiss 1995. Tune composed by Eithne Ní Uallacháin (I, III,IV, V, VI)

Pádraigín Ní Uallacháin has reinterpreted the song, previously published on the tune transcribed by Edward Bunting, on the tune and text as transcribed by Séamus Ennis from the testimony of Mick McKeown, Lough Ross recorded on a wax cylinder (I, II, III, IV, V , VII)

English translation*
I (CHORUS)
Golden Summer of the white daisies,
we bring the Summer with us,
from village to village
and home again,
and we bring the Summer with us.
I Mick McKeown version
Golden summer, lying in the meadows,
we brought the summer with us;
Golden summer, spring and winter,
and we brought the summer with us.

II
Young maidens, gentle and lovely,
we brought the summer with us;
Lads who are clever, sturdy and agile,
and we brought the summer with us.
III
Beltaine dolls,
Summer maidens
Up hill and down glens
Girls adorned
in pure white,
and we bring the Summer with us.
IV
The lark making music
and sky dancing
the blossomed trees laden with bees
the cuckoo and the birds
singing with joy
and we bring the Summer with us.
V
The hare nests on the edge of the cliff
the heron nests
in the branches
the doves are cooing,
honey on stems
and we bring the Summer with us.
VI
The shining sun is lighting the darkness
the silvery sea shines like a mirror
the dogs are barking,
the cattle lowing
and we bring the Summer with us.
VII
Golden summer, lying in the meadow,
we brought the summer with us;
From home to home and to Lisdoonan of pleasure,
and we brought the summer with us.
Irish Gaelic
I
Samhradh buí na nóiníní gléigeal,
thugamar fhéin an samhradh linn,
Ó bhaile go baile is chun ár mbaile ’na dhiaidh sin,/’s thugamar fhéin an samhradh linn
(Mick McKeown version
Samhradh buí ’na luí ins na léanaí,
thugamar féin a’ samhradh linn;
Samhradh buí, earrach is geimhreadh
is thugamar féin a’ samhradh linn.)
II
Cailíní óga, mómhar sciamhach,
thugamar féin a’ samhradh linn;
Buachaillí glice, teann is lúfar,
is thugamar féin a’ samhradh linn.
III
Bábóg na Bealtaine,
maighdean an tsamhraidh
suas gach cnoc is síos gach gleann
cailíní maiseacha, bángheala gléasta,/’s thugamar fhéin an samhradh linn
IV
Tá an fhuiseog ag seinm is ag luasadh sna spéartha,
beacha is cuileoga is bláth ar na crainn,
tá’n chuach’s na héanlaith ag seinm le pléisiúr,/’s thugamar fhéin an samhradh linn
V
Tá nead ag an ghiorria ar imeall na haille,
is nead ag an chorr éisc i ngéaga an chrainn,
tá mil ar na cuiseoga is na coilm ag béiceadh,/’s thugamar fhéin an samhradh linn.
VI
Tá an ghrian ag loinnriú`s ag lasadh na dtabhartas,
tá an fharraige mar scathán ag gháirí don ghlinn,
tá na madaí ag peithreadh is an t-eallach ag géimni
’s thugamar fhéin an samhradh linn
VII
Samhradh buí ’na luí ins a’ léana,
thugamar féin a’ samhradh linn;
Ó bhaile go baile is go Lios Dúnáin a’ phléisiúir,
is thugamar féin a’ samhradh linn.

* from here and here

 

Amhrán na Craoibhe (The Garland Song)

LINK
http://ontanomagico.altervista.org/beltane-la-festa-celtica-del-maggio.html
http://songsinirish.com/samhradh-samhradh-lyrics/
http://www.celticartscenter.com/Songs/Irish/ThugamarFeinAnSamhradhLinn.html

https://thesession.org/tunes/10447

https://www.orielarts.com/songs/thugamar-fein-an-samhradh-linn/

Amhrán Na Craoibhe la ghirlanda di Beltane

Read the post in English

Amhrán Na Craoibhe (in inglese The Garland Song)  è il canto processionale  in gaelico irlandese delle donne che portano il ramo del Maggio (May garland) nelle celebrazioni rituali per la  festa di Beltane, diffuso ancora agli inizi del Novecento nell’Irlanda del Nord (regione di Oriel).

La canzone proviene dalla signora Sarah Humphreys  che viveva nella contea di Armagh ed è stata raccolta agli inizi del Novecento, erroneamente chiamata  ‘Lá Fhéile Blinne‘ (The Feast of St Blinne) perchè era cantanta nella festa della santa locale di Killeavy  Moninne, detta affettuosamente  “Blinne“, un evidente innesto delle tradizioni pre-cristiane nel solco dei rituali cattolici.
Santa Moninna di Killeavy morì nel 517-518, seguace di Santa Brigida di Kildare  i suoi nomi  “Blinne” o “Moblinne” sono più che altro vezzeggiativi per “piccola” o “sorella” (“Mo-ninne”  potrebbe essere una versione di Niniane, la “Signora del lago” del ciclo arturiano) secondo gli studiosi il suo nome era Darerca e la sua (presunta) tomba si trova nel cimitero di Killeavy sulle pendici del Slieve Gullion dove era originariamente situato il suo monastero, diventato luogo di pellegrinaggio per tutto il  Medioevo insieme al suo pozzo sacro, St Bline’s Well.

SANTA DARERCA (MONENNA) DI KILLEAVY

Sembra che il nome di Battesimo di questa vergine, commemorata nei martirologi irlandesi al 6 luglio, sia stato Darerca, e che Moninna sia invece un vezzeggiativo di origine oscura. A noi sono pervenuti i suoi Acta, ma essi presentano notevoli difficoltà dal momento che la santa è stata confusa con l’inglese santa Modwenna, venerata a Burton-on-Trent. Darerca fu la fondatrice e la prima badessa di uno dei più antichi e importanti monasteri femminili di Irlanda, sorto a Killeavy (contea di Armagh), ove sono ancora visibili le rovine di una chiesa a lei dedicata. Morì nel 517. Killeavy rimase un importante centro di vita religiosa, finché fu distrutto dai predoni scandinavi nel 923; Darerca continuò ad essere largamente venerata specialmente nella regione settentrionale dell’Irlanda. (tratto da qui)

UN’ANTICA DEA

The Slieve Gullion Cairns

Slieve Gullion ( Sliabh gCuillinn ) è in realtà un luogo di culto in epoca preistorica sulla sulla cui cima è stata costruita una tomba a camera con l’ingresso orientato  con il sorgere del sole al solstizio d’inverno. (vedi fenomeno).
Secondo la leggenda sulla sua cima vive la Vecchia Strega, la Cailleach Biorar (‘Old woman of the waters’) e il ‘South Cairn’ è la sua casa detto anche ‘Cailleach Beara‘s House’.
Per eslporare il sito con la reatà virtuale!
Sulla cima un piccolo lago e il secondo tumulo sepolcrare più piccolo costruito nell’età del bronzo. Nel lago vive, stando alle testimonianze locali, un kelpie o un mostro marino e si cela il passaggio per le Stalle del Re (the King’s Stables) Navan, Co. Armagh
Tutt’intorno alla montagna un anello di basse colline (il Ring of Gullion)

Cailleach Beara dipinto di Cheryl Rose-Hall

The Hunt of Slieve Cuilinn

La dea, una dea madre dell’Irlanda, Cailleach Biorar (Bhearra) -la Velata è chiamata  Milucradh / Miluchradh, descritta come sorella della dea Aine nel racconto di “Fionn mac Cumhaill e la  Vecchia Strega”, scopriamo così che il soprannone di Fionn (Finn MacColl) “il biondo”, “il bianco” viene da un racconto del ciclo dei Fianna: tutto ha inizio con una scommessa tra due sorelle Aine (la dea dell’amore) e Moninne (la vecchia dea), Aine si vantava che non avrebbe mai giaciuto con un uomo dai capelli grigi, così la sorella prima portò  Fionn sullo Slieve Gullion (sotto forma di grigio cerbiatto fece in modo che Fionn la inseguisse nella foga della caccia separandosi dal resto dei suoi guerrieri) poi si trasformò in una bellissima fanciulla in lacrime seduta accanto al lago per convinvere Fionn a tuffarsi e ripescare il suo anello. Ma le acque del lago erano state incantate dalla dea per portare la vecchiaia a coloro che vi si immergevano (operando all’inverso dei pozzi sacri), così Fionn uscì dal lago vecchio e decrepito e ovviamente con i capelli bianchi. I suoi compagni dopo averlo raggiunto e riconosciuto riescono a farsi dare dalla Cailleach una pozione magica che ridà il vigore a Fionn ma lo lascia con i capelli bianchi! (vedi)

La Cailleach e Bride sono probabilmente la stessa dea ossia le diverse manifestazioni della stessa dea , la vecchia dell’Inverno e la Fanciulla della Primavera nel ciclo di morte-rinascita-vita dell’antica religione.

il sentiero che porta al pozzo sacro

In occasione della festa patronale della Santa Moninna  (il 6 luglio) si svolgeva a Killeavy una processione che partiva dalla sua tomba, si dirigeva fino al pozzo sacro percorrendo un antico sentiero, e poi ritornava al cimitero. Si svolgeva una gara tra squadre di giovani dei vari villaggi nel confezionare l’effigie più bella della Dea, uno sbiadito ricordo dei festeggiamenti di Beltane per eleggere la propria Regina del Maggio. Durante la processione i giovani cantavano Amhrán Na Craoibhe accompagnandosi ad una  danza, la cui coreografia è andata perduta, ogni frase è intonata dal solista a cui risponde il coro benaugurale. La melodia è una variante di Cuacha Lán de Bhuí sulla struttura di un’antica carola (vedi)

Uno dei panorami più spettacolrari d’Irlanda
In una giornata limpida, è possibile vedere dalla vetta (573 metri) fino a Lough Neagh, a ovest di Belfast, e le montagne di Wicklow, a sud di Dublino

Páidraigín Ní Uallacháin in “An Dealg  Óir” 2010

Pádraigín Ní Uallacháin & Sylvia Crawford live 2016 in questa seconda versione è aggiunto un coro

Gaelico irlandese
AMHRÁN NA CRAOIBHE ‘S í mo chraobhsa craobh na mban uasal
(Haigh dó a bheir i’ bhaile í ‘s a haigh di)
Craobh na gcailín is craobh na mbuachaill;
(Haigh dó a bheir i’ bhaile í ‘s a haigh di).
Craobh na ngirseach a rinneadh le huabhar,
Maise hóigh, a chaillíní, cá bhfaigh’ muinn di nuachar?
Gheobh’ muinn buachaill sa mbaile don bhanóig;
Buachaill urrúnta , lúdasach, láidir
A bhéarfas a ‘ghéag seo di na trí náisiún,
Ó bhaile go baile è ar ais go dtí an áit seo
Dhá chéad eachaí è sriantaí óir ‘na n-éadan,
Is dhá chéad eallaigh ar thaobh gach sléibhe,
È un oiread sin eile de mholtaí de thréadtaí,
Óró, a chailíní, airgead is spré di,
Tógfa ‘muinn linn í suas’ un a ‘bhóthair,
An áit a gcasfaidh dúinn dhá chéad ógfhear,
Casfa ‘siad orainn’ sa gcuid hataí ‘na ndorn leo,
An áit a mbeidh aiteas, ól is spóirse,
È cosúil mbur gcraobh-na le muc ina mála,
Nó le seanlong bhriste thiocfadh ‘steach i mBaile Chairlinn,
Féada ‘muinn tilleadh anois è un’ chraobh linn,
Féada ‘muinn tilleadh, tá an lá bainte go haoibhinn,
Bhain muinn anuraidh é è bhain muinn i mbliana é,
è mar chluinimse bhain muinn ariamh é.
traduzione inglese di P.Ní Uallacháin*
My branch is the branch
of the fairy women,
Hey to him who takes her home,
hey to her;

The branch of the lasses
and the branch of the lads;
Hey to him who takes her home,
hey to her;

The branch of the maidens
made with pride;
Hey, young girls,
where will we get her a spouse?
We will get a lad
in the town for the bride (1),
A dauntless, swift, strong lad,
Who will bring this branch (2)
through the three nations,
From town to town
and back home to this place?
Two hundred horses
with gold bridles on their foreheads,
And two hundred cattle
on the side of each mountain,
And an equal amount
of sheep and of herds (3),
O, young girls, silver
and dowry for her,
We will carry her with us,
up to the roadway,
Where we will meet
two hundred young men,
They will meet us with their
caps in their fists,
Where we will have pleasure,
drink and sport (4),
Your branch is like
a pig in her sack (5),
Or like an old broken ship
would come into Carlingford (6),
We can return now
and the branch with us,
We can return since
we have joyfully won the day,
We won it last year
and we won it this year,
And as far as I hear
we have always won it.
Traduzione italiana Cattia Salto
Il mio ramo è il ramo
delle nobildonne.
Salute a colui che la sposa,
salute a lei;

il ramo delle ragazze
e  il ramo dei ragazzi;
Salute a colui che la sposa,
salute a lei;

il ramo delle fanciulle
fatto con orgoglio.
Salute, giovanette,
dove le prenderemo uno sposo? Prenderemo un ragazzo
di città per la sposa,
un ragazzo intrepido,  svelto e forte.
Chi porterà la ghirlanda
per le tre nazioni
di paese in pese
e ritornerà in questo luogo?
200 cavalli
con briglie dorate sulla fronte
e 200 bovini
sul lato di ogni montagna
e una pari quantità
di pecore e agnelli.
O giovani fanciulle, argento
e dote per lei.
La porteremo con noi
fino alla carreggiata
dove incontreremo
200 giovanotti
Li incontreremo con i loro
berretti in testa
dove ci divertiremo
con bevute e danze.
La vostra ghirlanda è come
un maiale nel sacco
o come una vecchia nave sfasciata
che arriva a Carlingford
Possiamo tornare ora
con la nostra ghirlanda
possiamo tornare
perchè abbiamo vinto
abbiamo vinto lo scorso anno
e abbiamo vinto quest’anno,
da quanto ho sentito
abbiamo sempre vinto noi

Note
1) è la May doll, ma anche la Regina del Maggio personificazione del principio femminile della fertilità
2) è la ghirlanda del maggio confezionata dalle donne
3) sono i capi di bestiame in dote ossia gli animali del villaggio che saranno pufificati dai fuochi di Beltane
4) dopo la processione la festa si concludeva con un ballo
5) sono le frasi denigratorie nei confronti delle altre ghirlande portate dalle squadre rivali: “a pig in a poke” è un incauto acquisto, invece di un maialino nel sacco potrebbe esserci un gatto!
6) Lough Carlingford  deriva dal vecchio norvegese e si traduce in irlandese come “Lough Cailleach”

7005638-albero-di-biancospino-sulla-strada-rurale-contro-il-cielo-bluIl biancospino è l’albero della festa di Beltane caro a Belisama, la splendente, cresce come arbusto o come albero di dimensioni ridotte (arriva solo ai 7 mt di altezza) allargando la chioma in tutte le direzioni possibili, per i molti rametti che si formano intrecciandosi sulle strutture più vecchie, alla ricerca della luce verso l’alto.
Il ramo di biancospino e i suoi fiori si utilizzavano nei rituali nunziali celtici e dell’antica Grecia e anche per gli antichi Romani era il fiore del matrimonio, augurio di felicità e prosperità.
Le virtù curative del biancospino erano conosciute fin dal Medioevo: è chiamato la “valeriana del cuore” perché agisce sul flusso sanguineo migliorandone la circolazione ed è inoltre utilizzato per contrastare l’insonnia e gli stati di angoscia. continua

BIANCOSPINO O PRUGNOLO?

fiori sono piccoli, bianchi e con delle delicate sfumature rosacee, dolcemente profumati. In zone dalle fioriture tardive per la festa di Beltane o per le questue rituali dei maggianti (i “mayers”),  si utilizza però il ramo di prugnolo (stessa famiglia delle Rosaceae  ma con fioritura già a marzo-aprile)

 

Il Maggio in Irlanda: il canto di Beltane

FONTI
https://www.catholicireland.net/saintoftheday/st-moninne-of-killeavy-d-c-518-virgin-and-foundress/
http://www.killeavy.com/stmon.htm
http://www.megalithicireland.com/St%20Moninna’s%20Holy%20Well.html
http://www.megalithic.co.uk/article.php?sid=28400
http://irishantiquities.bravehost.com/armagh/killevy/killevy.html
http://www.nicsramblers.co.uk/p240213.html
http://irelandsholywells.blogspot.it/2012/06/saint-monninas-well-killeavy-county.html
http://www.megalithicireland.com/Killeavy%20Churches.html
http://omniumsanctorumhiberniae.blogspot.it/2015/07/saint-moninne-july-6.html
https://atlanticreligion.com/tag/moninne/
http://www.newgrange.com/slieve-gullion.htm
https://voicesfromthedawn.com/slieve-gullion/

https://www.independent.ie/life/travel/ireland/walk-of-the-week-slieve-gullion-co-armagh-26543944.html
http://geographical.co.uk/uk/aonb/item/559-the-ring-of-gullion

http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=59221
https://www.orielarts.com/songs/amhran-na-craoibhe/
http://journalofmusic.com/focus/breathing-embers