It’s a nice relaxed St. Patrick’s Day I’m having today. It’s been pissing down most of the day, but we’ve had friends over just hanging out (those who live near the city centre wanted to be away from the insanity). I’m sitting here not watching the women’s rugby match on TV with a friend who is watching (Ireland v. England), while other friends are drawing up character sheets for an RPG. So, I figured I’d share a few Patrick’s Day related links and a classic Irish poem translated into English by Seamus Heaney.
The day after St. Patrick’s day was traditionally know as Sheelah’s day. It hasn’t been celebrated for a while in modern Ireland, but the tradition was carried on in Newfoundland and Labrador. In your traditional syncretistic manner, it could be celebrating St. Patrick’s wife, and also the ancient fertility goddess who still protects many old churches as the Sheela Na Gig.
“Pre Famine, pre 1845, if you go back to the newspapers in Ireland they talk not just about Patrick’s Day but also Sheelah’s Day. So I wondered where this came from? You have Paddy’s day on the 17th and it continues on to Sheelah’s day. I came across numerous references that Sheelah was thought to be Patrick’s wife. She was his other half. The folk tradition has no problem with such detail. The fact that we have Patrick and Sheelah together should be no surprise. Because that duality, that union of the male and female together, is one of the strongest images that we have in our mythology.”