Irish OctoberFest 2014


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ClanDonnell’s Deireadh Fómhair
ClanDonnell will embark upon another geographically challenged book tour in the month of October. The tour will take us to New Mexico and Washington, and perhaps multiple stops in between.

The highlights will be the Aztec Highland Games & Celtic Festival in Aztec, New Mexico, and the Irish Music Festival in Ocean Shores, Washington. I think that means we will see the desert and the Pacific Oceans in the same trip.

We’re calling this our Irish Octoberfest tour, even though we are not going to either Ireland or Munich. We assumed you’d be more familiar with the word “Octoberfest” than with “Deireadh Fómhair”.

The old Gaelic time system is still in use by some Irish. The system seems strange to us, because we are so used to our system.

In the old Gaelic system, the day ended and began with sunset. I’m not sure where or why “midnight” became the transition time. Ancient Celts didn’t count weeks at all, but the seven-day Roman week was adopted. The year began and ended around our November 1st, marking the end of the autumn harvest and preparation for winter.

The seasons didn’t mark the equinoxes and solstices, but those events fall within the middle of each season. So winter (with solstice December 21) is November, December and January; spring (with March 20 equinox) is February, March and April; etc.

Autumn is August, September, and October, and is named after the harvest (Fómhar). August is Lúnasa, named after an ancient festival marking the beginning of the harvest season.
September is Meán Fómhair, meaning “middle of harvest”. October is Deireadh Fómhair, meaning “end of harvest”.

Actually, the Gaelic system makes considerable sense. At least to me.

ClanDonnell won’t be wrapping up harvest in Deireadh Fómhair. Instead, we’ll be traversing the western half of the United States, telling stories and, hopefully, selling books.

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