Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Mick Dowling, Slieve Bloom Association chairman milks the Imbolc goat

Mick Dowling, Slieve Bloom Association chairman milks the Imbolc goat

 

THE age-old tradition of milking a goat to bring prosperity may be the way forward for the ailing Irish economy.

If there’s any truth to the old fable that milking a goat on Spink Hill for the Festival of Imbolc brings richness, then Ireland and the people of Laois can look forward to a future of plenty, prosperity and good harvest.

Members of the Slieve Bloom Association gathered at the Bracket Stones above Cadamstown to revive the old Celtic tradition of milking a goat on Spink Hill for the Festival of Imbolc on Sunday 3 February.

Imbolc is one of the four Gaelic seasonal festivals, along with Bealtaine, Lughnasadh and Samhain.

Johnny Rigney led his nanny goat to the elected spot on the hill and patiently waited for local man and goat milker Michael Dowling to perform the necessary deed. A number of children who attended the festival got the opportunity to continue the tradition at hand milking as well.

The gathering then retired afterwards to the new coffee shop in Cadamstown in high spirits to replenish their energy levels.

One of the organisers, Michael Dowling from Camross, said that there were many pagan festivals once celebrated in the mountains and by reviving them it has the potential of bringing people together.

Kathleen Culliton said that the association has revived two of the four main festivals to date – the Ardeireann/Lunasa Festival (last Sunday in July) and the Festival of Imbolc. On 25 May as part of the ***Gathering,*** the association also intends reviving the Bealtaine Festival in the mountains with a walk.

To build on the Imbolc festival’s success, the association will hold its next meeting in the Green School, Rosenallis on Thursday 28 February to look at reviving other traditions and festivals that were once held in the mountains. Those with an interest in promoting the Slieve Bloom mountain amenity area, while preserving its unique environment, are welcome to the meeting.

For more information on the association, contact Kathleen on 085 7376745 or Michael on 087 4106494.

 

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