We headed out for an evening filled with colour, rhythm, light & laughter. On to the Luas and across to Smithfield. Generator Hostel to be precise, for the celebrations of the Winter Solstice. In the bar of the hostel the Dublin Winter Solstice Festival 2015 was in full swing. Costumes, Sean Nos dancing, Face Painting, drinking, traditional music, Céilí, people made head dresses for themselves out of ivy and holly. There was storytelling and many rituals and traditions from the olden days were brought back to life. The atmosphere was amazing, there were people from all corners of the globe and it was truly refreshing to witness.
Outside the drummers beat music and rhythm into our ears and into our hearts. Dancers encouraged the crowd to join them in a good boogie and they did. The drums beat louder and faster the crowd loved it and made themselves heard, it was fantastic.
The proceedings moved to the spot where the ceremonial fire lighting was underway. A huge crowd circled the organisers and as the fire was lit the orange glow began to illuminate everyone around, smoke rose into the air and looking upwards into flags, banners, lanterns and smiling faces on parents shoulders all I could do was smile.
The procession began and was headed by two men blowing horns as they guided the fire bearers around the square. Ahead of all this was the multitudes of photographers and videographers both professional and amateur all trying to get their best footage and photos just like I was.
The Fire made it’s way back to the spot where it had all began and people were invited to step forward with their withy and toss them into the flames. Withy ware wishes written on cards and put on small sticks. It was a magical experience with the heartbeat of the drums in the dark, the ceremonial lighting of the fire, the lights, the costumes, the smiling faces all on a cold, dark and windy Winter Solstice Festival in Smithfield Square, Dublin in 2015. Bring on the light..
~ Prof Patrick McNally, DCU