In 1915 Joseph Mary Plunkett joined the Irish Republican Brotherhood and quickly rose in rank to become a leader of the Easter Rising of 1916. Joseph had contracted Tuberculosis at an early age and struggled with poor health all of his life. Joseph was well educated and even wrote a book of poetry. One of his poems was incorporated into a song about his relationship with his wife, Grace. In 1916 shortly before the Rising, Joseph was taken to the hospital to undergo surgery to the glands in his neck. He practically crawled from his hospital bed with bandages still on his neck to join the other leaders in the General Post Office. Several days later after heavy shelling and running low on ammunition the GPO was surrendered. Joseph was taken and held at the Kilmainham Gaol in Dublin to be court martial. His poor health was never an issue to the British who quickly sentenced him to execution by firing squad. Seven days before the execution was to be carried out he was allowed to marry his long time sweetheart Grace Gifford. They were allowed one kiss and 10 minutes to talk with guards all around them in a small room. On May 04, 1916 Joseph Mary Plunkett was shot in the court yard of the Kilmainham Gaol. So ended the life of one of Ireland's bravest patriots. Grace Gifford Plunkett died in Dublin on December 13, 1955. Grace had never remarried. Please listen to this moving story in song by Wolftones:Click here to hear - Wolf Tones - Grace
Lambswool was the name of a popular drink during the dark days leading up to Imbolc. It was often enjoyed during Wassailing or “Apple Howling” as it was called in orchard country.
Brighid (BREE’yid) or Brigit is also the patron saint of Ireland, second only to Saint Patrick. She represents a powerful presence in the land and Celtic lore. As goddess, she was Brid (or Bride – the inspiration of our word for a woman in a marriage ceremony) daughter of the Dagda (the Good God) of the sacred Tuatha de Dannan. Her influence shines through time and has not been dimmed with the coming of Christianity. The new faith embraced her as the nursemaid and foster mother of Christ himself, sometimes calling her “Mary of the Gael.”
St Dwynwen’s feast day is January 25, and in Wales, a day devoted to lovers. Get a jump on St Valentine’s Day and let your beloved know how much they mean to you. Whether romance, deep friendship, or kith and kin, you can find a little Celtic something to warm the heart of your dear ones.