I’ve just returned from a fun trip to the Dublin area where I was given such welcome that my belt buckle is significantly tighter than it was when I left. It’s true what they say about Irish hospitality! I also sampled a drink or 2 despite the very early drive back to the airport the next morning. Just glad that I started on lighter beer and not the usual Stella! Eight pints of that would have killed me!
While in County Meath, I visited the hill of Ward which is also knows as Tlachtga. It is believed to be the Home of Halloween as ancient celts believed that this sacred hill was the closest portal between this world and the otherworld. During medieval times it was the site of great festivals, including one at which winter fires were lit at Samhain, which is the precursor of our modern Halloween.
The Samhain celebrations have survived in several guises as a festival dedicated to the harvest and the dead. In Ireland and Scotland the 'festival of the dead' always took place on Samhain.
The night of Samhain, in Irish and Scots Gaelic, is one of the principal festivals of the Celtic calendar, and falls on October 31. The Gaelic custom of wearing costumes and masks, was an attempt to copy the evil spirits or placate them. In Scotland the dead were impersonated by young men with masked, veiled or blackened faces, dressed in white. Candle lanterns, carved from turnips were part of the traditional festival. Large turnips were hollowed out, carved with faces, placed in windows to ward off evil spirits.
As the Samhain celebrations spread , Guisers - men in disguise, were prevalent in the 16th century. Children going door to door "guising" in costumes and masks carrying turnip lanterns, offering entertainment of various sorts in return for food or coins, was traditional in 19th century, and continued well into 20th century. At this time, the mass transatlantic Irish and Scottish immigration popularized Halloween in North America, introducing the more modern concepts such as trick or treating, dressing up and of course scaring people.
Now it would seem that everything’s gone full circle and halloween has come back to County Meath. In such a small area, there all manner of halloween attractions for people of all ages including Farmaphobia at Causey Farm, Haunted Spooktacular at Grove Open Farm and Phantom Funtasia at Funtasia water park. Add in themed events all across the area and County Meath is definitely the place to go for the full halloween experience.
Many of you will know me already. My name is Michael Bolton and I am passionate about Scare Attractions and being scared. I have been visiting and reviewing attractions since 2002. Why not come along on one of our trips and have a scream?