Archive for the ‘folklore’ Category

Professor Fergus Kelly’s (Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies) presentation on Early Irish Charms for Animals came with an extensive reference handout.  Because the two keynote speakers had run over time, Prof. Kelly sped through his offering.  I would have enjoyed hearing more from this distinguished scholar, but I am thankful to have his list of sources.

The thrust of the presentation concerned the narrative of a hunter-gatherer people, transitioning and transitioned to a life dependent on agriculture and animal husbandry.  Where once the herd animals had been robust in size and number, with domestication, their physical size and numbers were reduced.  This necessarily increased concern over disease, which was directly linked to domestication.

This new concern can be seen in the highly significant burden placed upon local Kings, which tied the health of the land and animal population to the King’s justice, as well as the compensation an animal healer was entitled to, as outlined in the law tracts (1/4 of the wound price).  It is from this concern that the use of animal charms arises.

Language of the Literary Sources:

Seirthech, a disese of horses (seir ‘heel, hock’)

Sinech, a disease of cattle, perhaps ‘cow-pox’ (sine, ‘teat’)

Conach ‘rabies’ (disease affecting dogs, cattle, pigs, poultry, etc.), derivative of cú, con ‘dog’

Liaig ‘animal doctor’

gono míl, orgo míl, marbu míl  “I would the worm, I strike the worm, I kill the worm”

Milliud ‘destruction, bewitching’

mart leicter la sruth .i. ar g(l)einntlecht leicter ‘an animal which was swept away in a stream, i.e. it is swept away by sorcery with g(l)einntlecht being associated with paganism

mimir do cor do coin ‘giving a bad morsel to a dog’; froma uptha dus inbud amainsi: lethdiri ind, uair ni fo fath narbtha .i. fromad felmais .i. fromad na pisoc, anfot indethbiri he ‘trying out the spell to find out whether it is magic: half penalty-fine for that, because it is not with the intention of killing, i.e. trying out a magic spell i.e. testing the charms, and that is culpable inadvertence’

amainse ‘magic’

felmas ‘spell’

pisóc ‘charm’

Other Charms

There was mention of the use of charms, in general, with an interesting note concerning marriage.

bean dia tabair a ceile upta oca guide co mbeir for druis “a wife whose husband gives her love charms while wooing her so that he brings her to lust” is entitled to a divorce, and to keep her bride price!

Corrguine(ch) ‘crane / heron-slayer, sorcerer’ could be one who practices the crane stance, etc.

Herbs in Charms

An incredibly interesting portion of the talk skimmed over the different uses of herbs, specifically, that each class used a different herb for the same problem.  There is an indication that certain plants were only used for the noble class, etc.

Ar ni inun cosc sair [] dair [] leth[s]air: ‘for the prevention of [the evil eye from ?] the noble and base and half-noble is not the same’

Tri losa atheclthar and: righlus [] tarblus [] aitheclus: righlus do righaibh guna comhgradhaibh [] tarblus do gradhaibh flatha, aitheclus do gradaib deine “Three herbs are recognised here: royal herb and bull herb and plebeian herb: royal herb for kings and those of equal rank with them, bull herb for the grades of lord, and plebeian herb for the grades of commoner’

Time, and it’s connection with Charms

Another topic, which could have received its own treatment, was the notion that time mattered: that when you plucked or cut an herb was associated with status, of the herb and the person it was to be used on.

is ed dleghar a buain ‘maseach [] in lus resa[rai]ter is ed dleghar a buain cach nuairi do ‘it should be plucked in turn and the herb which is said [to correspond to his rank ?] is that which should be plucked every time for him’

[] is airi danither sen mada teccmadh a athair do gradhaibh flatha [] a mathair do gradhaibh feine ‘and it is for that reason that that is done, if his father should belong to the grades of lord, and his mother to the grades of commoner’

Agricultural Year ?

Prof. Kelly mentioned the lack of information present in early Irish MS regarding cereal crops.  He indicated that the climate here was never fit for them, and even the more hearty barley can be a struggle.  It is interesting to me that there should be a lack of literary reference to cereal crops in the early period, when they seem to overshadow the current practitioner (pagan) mindset of an agricultural (harvest based) year.  It puts me in mind of the theory espoused by Barry Cuncliffe of the university of Oxford and Social anthropologist Lionel Sims, that the transition to agriculture from a hunter-gather way of life was motivated by a reduction in large game after the last ice-age, and that turning to stationary lifestyles which required more intensive periods of work, and dependence on climate, was resisted.  This subject needs further practitioner (pagan) scholarship, if it has not already been done. 

A modern festival which I had read about previously was mentioned: Féil na nairemon ‘the festival of the ploughmen’  Prof Kelly indicated that this festival took place in mid June, when the crops had reached full growth, after 3 months of tending.

Additional Time related activities mentioned by audience members:

At Bealtaine – hawthorn was collected after sunset, placed on house before sunrise.

Vervaine is only collected when Sirius is rising, which is sometime in July.

Roots are collected after the November full moon.


The majority of Irish texts cited are from Corpus iuris hibernici  (Dublin 1978)  D.A. Binchy

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Barbara Hillers (Harvard University) gave a wonderful presentation, entitled “Joint to joint and sinew to sinew”: an international healing charm in medieval Irish literature and modern folklore.  She began the talk discussing the connection between mythology and folklore, reminding us of the use of the bone charm in Miach’s cure in the Irish mythological cycle — pointing out that this tale comes from a single 16th century MS that uses some 9th century language.  This charm is also found in Germanic and Vedic sources.

There was some time spent dissecting the structure of charms and folk prayers.  Namely, that in charms the speaker affects the cure, aided by supernatural powers, and in folk prayers the cure is accomplished by the supernatural power.  The bone to bone charm is an epic, or narrative, charm.  The event or story told around the charm, which includes its narrative structure, is actually part of the charm itself, and includes formula transference where the speaker – the charmer — impersonates a divine being.

Part of Professor Hillers focus was in connecting the bone charm to IndoEuropean roots.  She explained that within scholarship three cultural sources are needed to substantiate such a connection.  The charm is found in Germanic, Vedic, and Irish sources, though scholars do not view the Irish source as ‘distinct.’  There is an additional Hittite variant of the charm, but it is not similar enough to supply the needed third cultural connection because it combines parts from different bodies, while the other two share the same function – repairing a single body.

Looking at the charm from a modern ethnographic perspective, we see more of a fusion of the charm across Europe, which indicates a non-IndoEuropean root.  The Irish folkloric sources are underwhelming. It is found in clusters in the SW and North of the country, which links it to Viking settlement areas.  This is important, because Scandinavia has a predominance of the charm; indicating a Viking source with diffusion spreading the charm in Europe.

I.  Irish Source

Miach went to the hand which had been replaced by Diancecht, and he said, ‘Joint to joint of it and sinew to sinew,’ and he healed Nuada in thrice three days and nights.
 The Second Battle of Moytura

II. Germanic Source

Phol and Wodan rode into the woods,
There Balder’s foal sprained its foot.
It was charmed by Sinthgunt, her sister Sunna;
It was charmed by Frija, her sister Volla;
It was charmed by Wodan, as he well knew how:
Bone-sprain, like blood-sprain,
Like limb-sprain:
Bone to bone; blood to blood;
Limb to limb — like they were glued.
second Merseburg Incantation  (another source: wikipedia)

III.  Vedic Source

Let marrow be put together with marrow,
let bone grow over with bone;
we put together sinew with sinew,
let skin grow with skin
Atharva Veda 4.15.2=4.12.4


The identification of Scandinavia (and Vikings) as a source for this charm is significant when you consider the political discourse of the “stranger” and “foreigner” so prevalent in the narrative of the 2nd Battle of Moytura.  If you have not listened to the Story Archeology podcast which covers Lugh’s identity as a ‘shiny foreigner’ (i.e. non-Irish origin), I highly recommend it!! 

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This weekend I attended an excellent multi-disciplinary symposium on Charms and Magic in Medieval and Modern Ireland, organized by the Department of Early Irish at the National University of Ireland Maynooth.  Scholars from so diverse backgrounds as religious studies and archeology, linguistics and philology, and from applied disciplines likes herbal healing and veterinary medicine presented enlightening glimpses into their own work, as it related to the topic.  I hope to share what I took away from these talks.


Worm and Snake Charms

The first speaker of the morning was Jacqueline Borsje (University of Amsterdam and University of Ulster), who delved into Irish snake and worm charms as export products.  She outlined the importance of charms as words of power, and how important context is when seeking to understand them.  Cultural, textual, and situational context is everything; in other words, don’t necessarily take them at face value.

Professor Borsje has written extensively about the evil eye in Ireland, and she brought this connection with “supernatural theft” into her discussion of snake and ‘wyrm’ charms.    Her reference to Professor Kelly’s work on medieval Irish Law tracts dealing with the stealing away ‘through envy,” with such concerns of butter and milk, was the thrust of her argument here.  A Babylonian incantation from the 2nd millennium BCE, in which women, babies, storage rooms, the god of the house, were all mentioned in their need for protection against this ‘supernatural theft.’

An interesting point connected ‘evil eye cultures’ — those cultures expressing a concept such as the evil eye or supernatural theft — with unstable ecological environments dependent on crop or cattle economies, with a concern over scarcity of resource.

Another non-Irish source mentioning supernatural theft are the 12 Roman Tables.  These tables talk of bewitched crops, evil spells, and the removal of crops by incantation.  In medieval Ireland, a particular concern was ‘stealing through the evil eye on the corriguinech (on May Day) — which seemed connected to milk theft.

Anglo-Saxon MS have references to Irish snake and wyrm charms that focus on remedies for swallowing a ‘wyrm’ and for ‘penetrating wyrm.’  These charms normally entailed singing the charm in various ways, and using saliva.  For example:

Wyrm Charm (MS  remedies)

Sing the charm 9 times, in either the right or left ear

Penetrating Wyrm

Sing the charm directly on the wound, then anoint with saliva. 

The charms are ‘aggressive’ in imagery, using the language of battle.  During this time, worms were seen as the cause of ailments as diverse as toothache and migraine, to pregnancy and actual disease.  An example of some of this language can be found in Lady Wylde’s writing, which, though not scholarly, does offer a glimpse into modern usage:

 for the Great Worm

 I kill a hound….

I kill a worm…..

for Pains:

evil worm

venomous charm….

rub with butter, etc.

The tendency of these charms is to treat like with like, similar to homeopathy.  The idea of a ‘snake charm’ was to use something venomous (the word of power) to treat a venomous disease (caused by a worm).  Another very interesting thing was the use of singing.  These charms, by and large, were sung, and often over the wound or over the water / liquid which held the charm and was then drunk.  If the patient could not drink, then the incantation of the charm was sung into the patients mouth.

Snake charms were used against illnesses associated with poison.  The absence of snakes on the island of Ireland was seen as a special property of this island.  This is why most of the snake charms found in continental Europe contain a portion written in Old Irish.  The really interesting thing to note here, is that the Irish found written in these charms was so garbled, it’s almost unintelligible.  Why?  Because it had been told to an original scribe by an Irish speaker, but had been handed down to non-speakers who were simply trying to copy, from memory, a phonetic representation.  They didn’t understand the Irish they were saying, but it was a Word of Power that held the protection of the ‘land without snakes.’  A potent charm against poison diseases!

A fun side note mentioned the old Irish hex of placing 13 eggs in someone’s haystack on Bealtaine.

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[excerpt from Folklore Research list]
*Bonnag Recipes*


Whenever a recipe for some ‘Manx’ foodstuff is required, Bonnag is usually offered. Originally I think this was just a large flat unleavened loaf cooked on the griddle (rather like oatcake) but over the years it appears to have become a much richer cake-like fruit bread or in later recipes a fairly rich fruit cake. The word does not occur in Cregeen’s Max dictionary of 1835 – in Clague’s *Manx Reminiscences* (1911) it is given as the ‘English’ for *Soddag Verreen* (defined by Cregeen as a thick clapped cake ; generally understood as the last of a baking and left longer on the griddle to harden (ref to 1 Kings xvii. 13) which ties in with its colloquial use in Anglo Manx  – “He’s like barley bonnag =E2=80=94 hard in the cruss”). Though Kelly’s dictionary (Manx Soc vol 13) gives ‘bonnag’ as a translation of cake, the word is not included in the Manx-English section. Roeder quotes O’Reilly’s Irish Dictionary simply giving bonnag as “cake”; the Scotch ‘bannock’ is probably from the same root. Elizabeth David in her section on Bakestone Cakes or Breads indicates that the words ‘Bread’ and ‘Cake’ could be used interchangeably in this context and that cake did not have today’s meaning of something sweet – Marie Antoinette’s misquote ‘Let them eat cake’ likewise refers to the use of a different grain than wheat.

Barley Bonnag

Hall Caine describes his Manx Grandmother in the 1860’s, as laying out on the kitchen table “a crock of fresh water, with perhaps a bowl of new milk, and a plate of ‘bonnag,’ which was barley bread. – no mention of dried fruit etc. in the bonnag.

Bonnag made to a late 19th century recipe originating from an isolated farm, produces a breakfast plate sized, about an inch or slightly more tall, bonnag. It has some fruit in it, but it needs to be spread with butter.

Wheat was not the common grain on the Island – these were usually Oats and
Barley. Oats do not contain gluten which is needed to give bread,
especially leavened bread, its characteristic texture – oatcakes were long
noted as the staple diet of the Manx and probably differed little from the
surrounding lands where a wide variety of such cakes were also made.
Elizabeth David quotes a 1629 recipe for paper thin Kendal Oatcakes as well
as the more common Scots variety which add a little fat to what is
basically a flour and water mix. Skim (or whey) milk could be used instead
of water. Roeder who spent much time with the older families in the south of the Island in the 1890’s pines for the loss of “the crisp, thin-leaved, tasty bonnags=E2=80=94where are *they ? *Banished, too, from the Isle?”.

Barley contains gluten though not as much as wheat – it could be used in
place of the oats – as Elizabeth David says Oats and Barley produce the
tastiest cakes but because of the gluten it can produce breads with a
lighter aerated texture.

She dates the introduction of bicarbonate of soda and tartaric acid (cream
of tartar) to the late 1840’s and 1850’s though only reaching popularity in
the 1860’s. This mixture of an acid acting on a the alkali liberates carbon
dioxide, CO2 which aerates the bread during its baking – the gluten
allowing the trapped bubbles to expand and then, as baking alters the
gluten, to lock in the texture – a ratio of 3:2 soda:acid is recommended by
Ms. David (Self-raising flour already contains these ingredients – baking
power is also the same but with the addition of rice-flour to absorb
moisture during storage). Buttermilk (soured milk) can replace the tartaric
acid as well as adding extra taste. One key requirement is to evenly
distribute the soda throughout the mixture otherwise a bitter taste can

It is possible that buttermilk on its own can provide a wild yeast that can
effectively leaven the bread – when used as an acid to liberate the CO2 it
must be added immediately before baking – as a source of yeast it of course
needs considerable ‘proving’ time to allow the yeast to grow.

The ready availability of dried fruit again dates from the mid 19th
century, Kelly’s dictionary gives the ‘englished’ Manx for currant as
‘french berry’, the adjective French usually meaning exotic, unusual or
outlandish. Thus all the ‘classic’ Manx Bonnag’ recipes are probably no
more than 150 years old (and probably younger) though the use of flat
griddle cakes probably dates back millennia.

In all the modern Bonnag recipes white wheat flour is used.


Elizabeth David *English Bread and Yeast Cookery* London: Allen Lane 1977
(ISBN 0-7139-1026-7)


For all these recipes I am thankful to Suzanne Daugherty for extracting
them from her collection.

Measures or equivalents

– 1 tsp =3D 5g or 1/8 oz;
– 1 tbsp =3D 15g or =C2=BDoz
– 4oz =3D 100g =3D =C2=BDcup (flour)

*’Basic’ Bonnag*

– 1 lb flour
– 1 oz fat (or 2 oz)
– pinch salt
– 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
– fruit and sugar if liked
– 1 tsp cream of tartar rubbed in with flour and fat

Dissolve soda in sour milk Then mix and bake in moderate oven.

*’Fruit’ Bonnag*

– 2 1/2 cups flour
– 1 cup sugar
– 1 cup currants
– 1 tbsp margarine
– 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
– 1 large tsp mixed spice
– few drops vanilla essence
– cup or more buttermilk

Rub butter into flour. Add other dry ingredients. When will mixed, mix with

Bake about 1 hour in moderate oven.

A common recipe is

– 1 lb plain flour
– 4 oz margarine
– 1 tsp salt
– 1 tsp baking soda
– 1 tsp cream of tartar
– 4 oz sugar
– 4 oz currants

Bake in moderate oven 3/4 hour

A much richer cake-like recipe is ‘Mrs. Kerruish’s Manx Bunloaf’ – note the
addition of eggs which is not mentioned in any earlier recipe.

– 18 oz plain flour
– 2 oz margarine
– 2 oz lard
– 2 oz brown sugar
– 2 oz white sugar
– 2 eggs
– 18 oz currants
– 5 oz sultanas
– 2=C2=BD oz peel
– =C2=BD level tsp Cream of Tartar
– =C2=BD level tsp Carbonate of Soda
– 1 teaspoon spice
– Buttermilk to mix

No method given but judging from the ingredients rather like a rich fruit
cake :beat fats and sugar, add eggs; sift flour spice and raising
ingredients, then add with fruit and cook in a slow oven (150C – probably
around 2 hours but needs experimentation). Alternatively possibly rub fats
into sifted flour/spice mix and then add eggs, fruit and buttermilk to
produce the required dropping consistency


– 1 lb Plain Flour
– 8 oz lard
– 8 oz brown sugar
– 8 oz currants
– 8 oz sultanas
– 4 oz mixed peel
– 8 oz raisins
– 1 teaspoon mixed spice
– 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
– 2 cups of milk
– 2 tablespoons of black treacle

Method: Sieve dry ingredients, rub fat into flour, add fruit, mix treacle
with milk, mix to a soft consistency. Turn into greased tin, bake in
moderate oven.

Other variations are

*Bunloaf (Special)*

– 1 lb flour,
– 4 oz margarine
– 2 lb mixed fruit
– 8 oz sugar
– 2 tablespoons syrup
– 2 teaspoons spice
– candied peel or marmalade
– 1 dessert bicarbonate of soda

mix with sour milk or buttermilk (dissolve bicarbonate of soda in milk and
add to dry ingredients)

Bake 2 hours in slow oven

These last two have a different method, and are good and moist. They were
attributed to May Green, who used to demonstrate cookery, and s connected
to Creer and Creer Ltd.,the Grocers of Buck’s Road, Douglas.

*Bunloaf (I)*

– 4 oz margarine
– 4 cups fruit
– 2 cups sugar
– 2 cups water

Put in pan and boil for 3 minutes. Allow to go cold and add:

– 4 cups SR flour
– 2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
– 2 teaspoons vinegar

Dissolve bicarbonate in the vinegar . Stir together

Bake at 300 deg F for 10 minutes then reduce to 275 deg F for 50 minutes.

Variation: As I, but add 2 tsp treacle and 2 tsp mixed spice in flour

*BONAG (The Sunrise Way)*

– 12 oz Plain Flour
– 4 oz Sugar
– 4 oz Butter or Margarine
– 1 teaspoonful Bi-Carb. Of Soda
– About 4 oz Dried Fruit
– Sour Milk to mix to fairly soft dough (about a good teacupful)

Method. Rub fat into flour, add the sugar, then the fruit, add some of the
milk in which the Bi-Carbonate of Soda has been mixed. Then add the rest
until required consistency is obtained. Put in greased Baking tin and
sprinkle sugar on top. Bake in a moderate oven about 45 minutes.

* Rich bonnag*

Here is a recipe for Manx Bunloaf, which incidentally came from the 1971
Kathie Webber’s International Star Cook Book (TV Times Extra) 1971. It
measures up to the hand-down recipes which I have.

– 8 oz plain flour
– pinch of salt
– pinch of mixed spice
– pinch of nutmeg
– 3/4 level teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
– 4 oz butter
– 4 oz soft brown sugar
– 1/2 lb sultanas
– 1/2 lb currants
– 1/4 lb stoned raisins
– 1 oz chopped mixed peel
– 1/2 level tablespoon black treacle
– buttermilk or milk to mix

Method: Sift the flour, salt, mixed spice, nutmeg and bicarbonate of soda
into a bowl. Rub in the butter until mixture looks like fine bread crumbs.
Stir in the sugar, fruit and peel. Add the treacle and mix to a fairly
stiff dropping consistency with buttermilk or milk.

Turn mixture into a well greased 1 lb loaf tin and bake for 2 1/2 hours in
centre of oven, pre-heated to 325 deg.F or Mark 3. Test with a skewer to
see if cooked.

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Giorria skull peers out from the talamh 

under the Hedge;

the only part left by the sionnach.

An equinox gift of the gloamingImage

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I have been writing at the new Patheos Pagan Chanel blog: A Sense of Place. It has taken me into a deeper exploration and understanding of my own connection to the geography around me, what constitutes “home”, and what various places mean to my spirituality and to my practice as a witch.


the ring fort : Lissnabroc : Cork

Because it was such a sunny morning here in Cork, I went out for a run. As I passed the gate, leading into the pasture where the Ring Fort lives, I noticed a sigh. “blah, blah, Cork County Council…blah, blah…..planning permission for..blah, blah, ….a residential structure.”


The man who bought the pasture– from the family whose relations originally farmed it and lived in our stone house (that pasture had once been part of the farm belonging to the house we live in), a family whose relations had preserved the ring fort in tact (a fate not shared by two others on this ridge)–was now giving it to his daughter to build a new house. Right. Next. To. The. Ring.


the back pasture : my family farm : Wadsworth, Texas

Several things flooded my mind as I read the sign. First, that the new owners show an incredible lack of regard for folk tradition. In years past, no one in their right mind would have lived so near one of “their” dwellings (ring forts were seen as dwelling places of the Good Neighbors, and there were/are many prohibitions concerning them). This seeming lack of regard immediately had me concerned for the preservation and welfare of the ring. Secondly, I felt the trauma of losing my family farm all over again.

I am sure I have written here before about growing up on a farm in Texas. My experience of and deep connection with that Place forever shaped my present incarnation. Many times I have admitted that instead of human parents rearing me, it was actually the land. Nature herself, in all her forms, took a wild heathen thing, who used to run barefoot from sunup to sundown, and shaped her into the woman I am today. When my father got control of the farm, he sold it: bit by bit. While I know his actions were influenced by his Bi-Polar disorder, the loss devastated me.

So today, reading a simple white sign staked into the ground by the stone wall, I was struck once more with my own Solastalgia (Albrecht, 2010a): my own grief, pain, and trauma caused by the loss of Place. My post on Patheos this week was about snakes and sovereignty–specifically musing on the very local and immediate connection the ancient Irish kings had with Place. The right to rule, here in Ireland, was bestowed by a female agency and was intimately bound to the immediate environs of that tuath (The tuath was the basic unit of society and was based on kin grouping. At one time, there were up to 300 tuath in the country.). The king, then, was sovereign over his very specific Place–and nowhere else, as each tuath was independent (apart from occasional alliances, etc).

I no longer have a place. Uprooted and tossed on the wind, like many in western culture, I am a migrant. I am forced to carry my Place within me. This is both lonely and liberating. I learned, out of necessity and natural inclination, the tools to connect with my surroundings. These have served me well, as I have traveled–moving from place to place–the entirety of my adult life. And it occurred to me, reading the sign today and feeling the instant desire to flee so I don’t have to witness the infringement on the ring, that I’ve been running from deep connection my entire life.

Maybe we all do. In America, society has become disposable. Forces outside our immediate control have power and sway over our lives. So, whether due to economic or political forces, many are compelled into a migrant lifestyle, seeking work or fleeing destruction (another shopping mall or parking lot, anyone?). In ages past, we were subject to the power of a chieftain or tribal ruler. But at least that king was kin, and his domain–our domain–the same Place our ancestors had lived, perhaps for millennia.

a village by the sea : Ireland

a village by the sea : Ireland

Now market forces rule, and kingship is given to the profit margin.

I hurt…and because I can’t bear the loss of another Place, I will migrate once again. My face is turned toward the city. It seems my Fate is intimately bound with it. My academic interests include the psychological stress of urbanisation. It seems fitting, doesn’t it?


Albrecht, Glenn. (2010, May 22). ‪TEDxSydney 2010 was organised by General Thinking. Environment Change, Distress & Human Emotion Solastalgia. Retrieved from http://youtu.be/-GUGW8rOpLY

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Dear little birdeens of my heart, go to sleep in the thorn tree,
Nor loss nor danger to you tonight the yellow cat nor her kittens,
Nor danger from the water sprite who lurks by the fairy fort,
Nor from the voracious otter on the strand below.


Sleep, little birdeens, little thrushes, little blackbirds,
Sleep little birdeens in the hedge outside in peace,
Sleep, little birdeens, little thrushes, little blackbirds,
So sleep, sleep until it is day.

Dear little birdeens of my heart, go to sleep in the thorn tree,
No danger to you the people who are sleeping softly.
Nor any danger from evil spells while I am beside you.
So sleep, sleep until it is day.

ÉINÍNÍ is a beautiful lullaby from An Rinn (Ring), the small Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking district) near Dungarvan, County Waterford, Ireland. It is also an enchanting celebration of those little birds whose presence and singing lightens every heart…

Éiníní, a chroí ‘stigh, codlaígí fén droighneach,
Ní baol díbh aon díth ‘nocht, an cat buí ná a hál.
Ní baol ná an síofra cois leasa na luí dhó,
Ná an dobharchú thá cíocrach thíos ar an dtráigh.

Curfá / chorus

Codlaígí, éiníní, smóilíní, céirsíní,
Codlaígí éiníní sa chlaí ‘muigh go sámh,
Codlaígí éiníní, smóilíní, druidíní,
Codlaígí dá bhrí sin, codlaígí go lá.

Éiníní a chroí stigh, codlaígí fén droighneach,
Ní baol daoibh na daoine thá ‘na gcodladh go sámh.
Ní baol ná aon draoireacht agus mise bhur gcoimhdeacht.
Codlaígí dá bhrí sin, codlaígí go sámh.

Curfá / chorus

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