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My Spring Altar -

I don’t really celebrate Ostara, but I do sort of celebrate St.Patrick’s day. Here in the US, like Cinco de Mayo is more a celebration of Mexican heritage than a celebration of the defeat of the French by the people of Puebla, St, Patrick’s day has become a celebration of Irish heritage. During March, which is busy with birthdays and anniversaries, I like to do a low-key celebration of my Irish/Scottish roots around St. Patrick’s day. (My mothers maiden name is Connor and her paternal grandmother, my great-grandma Rose, who I knew as a child before she passed, was a Dewar). I cook and get a nice whiskey or scotch and just chill with my hubby! We eat and listen to Celtic music and game and chill out! We tell stories and laugh and dance in the kitchen while we clean or cook! I plan on inviting my bro and sis-in-law this year!

I set up my altar in three parts, and decorate with spring greens, spring flowers, Celtic knots, and other symbols of my heritage. This year I made a “crystal altar” of sorts and set my crystals and stone outs, to cleanse and charge at my leisure and by my salt lamp. In the middle I have my “heritage” altar. I need to get some Dewar scotch as an offering to my ancestors there. And the last third is my altar to the Good Neighbors, aka the Fae sidhe. I am still unpacking and looking for my fairy glass ball, aka seeing ball. She will go in the middle of that space. I just got a new offering bowl that looks like a leaf for that part of my altar. It’s so cute! I really like how it all came together!

A lot of my altar came from the Dollar tree over the years - the flowers, vase, oil warmer, altar clothes, Irish decor and a few candle holders came from there. There are a few things from thrift stores and yard sales. My crystals are from @bekkathyst’s shop, mostly. Other things were gifts or came from my work (on sale and at a discount) or I got for free (like the wands I collected on walks) or I made. I really love my altar and I love how I didn’t have to break the bank to get it how I want it!

Have you are all having a happy spring, no matter how you celebrate it!

The Ogham Tree Grove.

Ogham is an Early Medieval alphabet used to write the early Irish language (in the so-called “orthodox” inscriptions), and later the Old Irish language (scholastic ogham). According to the High Medieval Bríatharogam, names of various trees can be ascribed to individual letters. According to the Damian McManus, the “Tree Alphabet” idea dates to the Old Irish period. Its origin is probably due to the letters themselves being called feda “trees”, or nin “forking branches” due to their shape. 

The Ogham Trees have been objects of veneration, sources of wisdom, inspiration and medicine for unknown centuries. Each of the twenty British native trees and shrubs has particular powers of its own which may be useful in improving any magical rituals. Each has its own moon cycle span of twenty-eight days and an Ogham letter symbol. There is no definitive proof about the origin of this alphabet, but it can be certain that the Druids, in the late Iron Age and beyond - last century BC and the first and second centuries AD - used this system in the form of a calendar, based on the thirteen cycles of the Moon, and the celebration of the four Solstices. The word ‘Druid’ itself comes either from the Celtic name for the oak - 'duir’ - or from the Welsh - 'derwydd’  - meaning oak-seer.

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McDermott’s Castle on Castle Island, County Roscommon, Ireland

A castle has stood on Castle Island in Lough Key since the 12th century. The present castle is a folly that was built around 1800 by the King family. It was built as a summer house but it burned during the Second World War. Read more about McDermott’s Castle here.

Lisgriffin Castle, County Cork,Ireland

Lisgriffin Castle (Irish for “Griffin’s Fort) was built by General Garret Barry around 1605 to 1610. He served in the Eighty Years’ War and the Irish Confederate Wars. Garret’s nephew, Redmond Barry inherited the castle around 1631. The castle was seized before the Rebellion of 1641 and was in the care of Sir John Philip Percival but it was again in Redmond Berry’s possession by 1643. In 1657 Lisgriffin Castle became the property of the Grove family of Cahirduggan. It was taken, once again, from Redmond Barry due to his participation in the Rebellion. By 1814, the castle was reportedly in ruins.

In 1911, Colonel Grove-White got permission to remove a fine limestone mantelpiece from the top floor of Lisgriffin Castle and put it in his home. All that remains visible of this castle today is the west wall. The ruins stand about 3 ½ miles (5.6 km) west of the village of Buttevant.

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Mallow Castle, County Cork, Ireland

Mallow Castle is a 33-acre site composed of gardens and parkland on which three buildings sit: the remains of a 16th-century fortified house (pictured above), a 19th-century mansion to the north, and the ruins of a 13th-century castle to the east. The fortified house is a long rectangular three-storey building, with two polygonal towers on the north-west and south-west corners. It is early Jacobean in style, featuring high gables, stepped battlements, and mullioned windows. The wings of the house project from the center of the south and north walls, with the entrance in the north wing. The design of the house was to provide a field of fire around it entirely.

The 16th-century  fortified house is believed to have been built by Sir Thomas Norreys before his death in 1599. Following his death, his niece Elizabeth and her husband Sir John Jephson inherited the house, with their family remaining in Mallow for almost 400 years. It was placed under siege by Richard Butler, Lord Mountgarret, in 1642 during the Irish Confederate Wars and did not fall. It was captured in 1645 by James Tuchet, Lord Castlehaven. The house was badly damaged by fire during the Williamite War and subsequently abandoned by the Jephsons. The Jephsons built the new mansion house on the site of the older castle’s stable block.