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Protect your property and yourself - make a Parshell!
Caution: For your Parshell to be effective, it must be made on October 31st - you can' make it ahead of time, nor can you use Irish procrastination as an excuse and make it after Halloween.
Beyond making Parshells, here are some other things you can do to protect yourself on Hallowe'en:
If there are children in the house, they should be sprinkled with holy water; in the old days, a dead ember from the fire was put in the cradle.
To protect against being carried off by the fairies, it was the custom to carry a black handled knife or have a steel needle stuck in a coat collar or sleeve. If by chance, the fairies did lead a person a stray, he or she could confuse them by turning the coat inside out. The fairies would no longer recognize their victim and their attentions would be diverted elsewhere.
Wild fruit, such as blackberries, must never be eaten on Hallowe'en night or after that date because it was believed that the dreaded evil spirit, the Púca, had spat on it.
Should you meet up with the fairies, it is said that if you throw the dust taken from under your feet at them, they will be obliged to release any captive human in their company.
When throwing out water, one must always shout seachain! (beware!) or chughaibh an t-usce! (water towards you!). This warning enables the ghosts and fairies to step aside so they won't be splashed - something that must be avoided at all costs, lest you bring down their wrath upon you and your loved ones.
Finally, before retiring, you must be certain to place a portion of the evening meal outside for the fairy folk. Your hospitality will be duly noted (as will the lack of it!)
So there you have it , a fair flahoolagh of cautionary measures to keep in mind - or drive you out of it - this Hallow's Eve and Samhain. Shona dhuit Samhain - Happy Halloween to you!
Founded in 545 AD by St Ciaran, Clonmacnoise monastery became between the 7th and 12th centuries a religious, literature and arts center for monks all over Europe. They came to study and pray in the Island of saints and scholars when the rest of Europe was still in the Dark Ages. Clonmacnoise was totally devastated by fire as well as successive raids but the site retains its stunning features. The view captured in this image has remained relatively unchanged for 1500 years. Clonmacnoise lay in decay until the Office of Public Works began the arduous task of turning this sacred place into one of Ireland's most famous visitors' centres. Interestingly - and we have yet to find out why - for centuries, courting couples have stood on each side of the arch whispering their words of love to each other.
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March 4, 2011
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