Did you get to go to a parade today? Were you at the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Greystones? If so, you might see yourself and people you know. Last year’s parade (2018) had an Arctic theme and lasted twenty minutes ( the paraders ran) because a storm came in, but this year we had a magnificent sunny day and it was the largest parade I have ever witnessed in Greystones. Watch and enjoy:
This year easterly weather brought us a very cold and snowy March, and the same prevailing weather trend is now bringing us a very warm and dry summer. In fact, here in Wicklow we are now suffering a drought as we have had so little rainfall. In Ireland, but especially in Wicklow, weather from the east always causes extreme events, but occurs only occasionally. However, many trees are blossoming longer than usual, including the once sacred Elder tree (Sambucus nigra ), and contributing to hay fever conditions. Elder has a very beautiful scent:
Also, one of our most beautiful shrubs is now blooming, the Fuchsia (Fuchsia magellanica). This species is not native to Ireland at all, being introduced from Tierra Del Fuego in southern Argentina, and from Chile. Ironically Ireland is considered the best place in the world to see Fuchsias now:
In these extremely hot weather conditions you will more than likely find yourself at the seaside, and here you might well see large numbers of a strange kind of bee flying just an inch or so (or centimetres, if you prefer) above the sandy ground. If you are lucky enough to see one of these creatures land for a moment you might actually manage to pick out the details of its unusual appearance, and you might also realise that it’s not a bee at all, but a fly – the Bee Fly (Villa modesta):
A lot of people wonder what the word ‘Easter’ means, and if you don’t already know the answer then you’re in for a surprise. Easter is actually Eostre, an ancient German fertility goddess associated with the springtime. Eostre is almost certainly a version of the ancient Babylonian goddess, Ishtar, and therefore the same as the Phoenician goddess Astarte, who was also known (in different time periods and places) as Ashtarot. According to one very reliable ancient source (preserved by the early Christian bishop, Eusebius of Caesaria):
“… Astarte set the head of a bull upon her own head as the mark of royalty, and in travelling about the world she found a star that had fallen from the sky, which she took up and consecrated in the holy island Tyre [modern day Lebanon]. And the Phoenicians say that Astarte is Aphrodite.”
This is very interesting because Aphrodite was known to the Romans as Venus and identified with the planet of the same name, which is Earth’s nearest neighbour, and which is also the brightest star in the night sky.
So, I hope you all had a happy Ishtar!
Anyhow, it is the perfect time to acknowledge both fertility and birds, and here is a little video about birds which you will see pairing off and building nests right now all around Wicklow, and further afield.