Oíche agus Lá Fhéil’ tSin Seáin

In tense anticipation we are, every year anew. Will the weather be with us? Will it be possible to have the celebration of the Tine Chnámh , literarily the fire of the bone or bonfire at Saint Johns’ Eve, the way it is loved to be celebrated? Please let it be.


And of course it happened but differently. During the day a lot of movement is going on; back and forth islanders are dragging with big stumps of wood, pellets and anything bad enough for keeping and good enough for getting rid of. The heap on top of the existing pile of stones is growing and growing. But also more or less inside the hillock, food for the fire is brought to.

Saint John the Baptist(1)Saint John the Baptist

Although the wind strengthens during the course of the day it stays dry and the forecast is in favour of the festivity. Towards sunset many people are heading for Dún Chonchúir, to gather at the scene. It is just after this moment that a huge fire is realised which makes it possible to be watched from far below.


On the day of Saint John the Baptist, who is also the patron of Inis Meáin, it was hoped dearly that Mass could be read at the old graveyard at Cill Ceannanach, the old ruin from the ninth century but unfortunately, the wind had become very strong and due to the unsettled weather Mass was held in the church as so many years before.

Cill CeannanachCill Ceannanach

The bonfire can be considered as a means of getting rid of what is superfluous material on ones’ back. It gives the opportunity of recalibrating worn- out habits providing space for new ideas. The wind delivered his contribution the following day.

and off you start in lifeAnd off you go in life

Slán go fóill,
Elisabeth from Inis Meáin

The glory of summer on Inis Meáin

Heavy of the seeds which are fulfilled, the grasses bend for the refrigerant wind. Audible is the humming of insects.


Beyond measure I reckon the sky above me. Saturated of a deep blue colour without any trace of white she exposes herself.


The more I watch the sky the more I take interest and unite with her by letting myself go. After a while of observing the sky she becomes a kind of felted one with loosely spread wisps or tatters of clouds.

opposing flowsOpposing flows

When the wind is becoming stronger I even see opposing flows penetrating one another. A phenomenon I actually never saw before.
Weeks of sunshine we enjoy in one ongoing row. Every morning anew the sun awakes us with her comforting warmth. And the flowers on the side of the road and in the fields reach eagerly for any grasp of sun they can take in. They look vibrant with their intense colouring.

tears of GodTears of God

Not only the people though are taking in these glorious days of summer; there is the donkey of course too enjoying extra attention by placing itself in a strategic position, high on a terrace, being able to seduce everyone, if he likes to, passing by. Or the seagull tacking its way through the air while holding the balance.
The icing on the cake however took place only some days ago when I headed for the church to close. It was a clear and fine evening round about sunset that I saw a mavis sitting upright on a wire singing at the top of its voice. It did not seem to mind at all me standing there not far off from the wire. As the mavis uses to imitate the songs of other birds the concert took quite a while and even more as when it finished one tune a mate from further away was responding and this went on back and forth.

Glory of summer

Slán go fóill,
Elisabeth from Inis Meáin

Summer has come

I love the moments of day- and night break. Sunrise and sunset, both of them are dramatic events in which a status quo or a point of balance, an equilibrium is touched. Often these moments represent an atmosphere of peace in which the world seems to stand still.



At night the cattle have laid themselves down at ease in the little fields as the cats have taken in their places in niches of the stonewalls. So have the birds found their place of rest for the night on the wire. As it is similar in the early morning when most of the animals are still in a sleepy state.

isn't he cuteIsn’t he cute

These moments of breaking are vital in the ongoing process of daily life. It gives us the possibility of reflection on the worn day and focus on the new day to come.
Well, I suppose you can imagine the sort of impact the following incident had on me when I tell you that this all happened just before sunset. As I said before about the overall atmosphere of the moment it was quite unexpected that something happened at all at this time of day anyway. Anyhow, this time it was different all together as a tremendous spectacle took place on the spot. Not only I heard a cacophony of different callings all of a sudden, there was also a buzz of coming and going. Although some of them sat down on the wire this was only for a second or two. Up they flew again and off they went with their mates in a whirling formation and disappeared from site only to return a few instances later. Eventually the birds settled down again and the usual peace of time of night was restored. I could not stop thinking however of something important must be in the air.
The answer arrived only a few days later when I heard the unmistakable clear calling as an entrada in the early morning. The cuckoo is back: Summer has come.

hawthorn in bloomHawthorn in bloom

summer has comeSummer has come

Slán go fóill,
Elisabeth from Inis Meáin

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