Sometimes the randomly made plans are the ones that always turn out the best.

Being one of those folk that has accumulated a lot of good friends over the years it can always be tricky to keep a constant stream of contact with them all. Seeing them on a regular basis can sadly be bumped to a semi-regular basis. But the beauty of those friendships is that even the semi-regularness (its a word...sorta) is bound to be a great time. More so if something gets planned on relatively short notice, just as an excuse to hang out.

So it was this May Day bank holiday where myself and the lady friend met up with a good mate of mine from college at The Festival of Fire in Uisneach.

Me, I'm not a huge festival person. Not that I don't enjoy them when I go to them, but I just don't go to a lot of them. I'm weird like that. That being said when the college mate suggested we meet up this weekend and attend Uisneach I figured why the hell not. So off myself and the ladyfriend went, into the middle of the country, for a meet up and long overdue drinking session with the lad from college.

It was, as usual, a great time. Shite was talked, craic was had, migraines avoided for a short time. Overall the perfect way to spend a sunny-ish Saturday in Ireland.

The festival itself was brilliant. In its infancy, this being only the second year it has been a music festival, it is definitely something to experience.

The story goes that this location, the exact centre (as mathematically as you can get to a blob shaped landmass) of Ireland was where a pagan ritual was held way back in Celtic times. A fire was little on the top of the Hill of Uisneach, a beacon that was visible by two-thirds of the country. Once lit other beacon fires would be lit, signaling to the people that the dark times were over and the summer (or light) times had come.

This modern day version of the event has become a mixture of music festival for folks wanting to listen to tunes and drink in a field and pagan/hippie pilgrimage. For those into music there are two stages with bands playing songs to suit all tastes. For those hippies there are tents with crystals that heal.

That's right, healing crystals. Honestly. Not into that? How about the sound tent? You get healed by chanting?

Anyway, there is enough stuff there to have a comedy routine lasting ten years.

Suffice to say it was something to experience, the mix of two very different but interesting festivals. But the music and madness was not the main event, that came a little after sunset with the Parade of Fire.

A huge bonfire had been constructed at the top of the hill. With the crowds gathered round in a semi-safe state. The parade people lit the fire, causing the beacon to erupt in flame.

Fire is cool, there is no denying it. This was a bonfire to make all other bonfires look like tea-light candles. But the really nice touch that the festival organisers had done was to have other beacon fires come into life once the main one had been lit. So as the crowd watched the main fire burning you could see into the other counties as small bonfires were lit.

Of course there was the hilarious/dangerous moment were the main bonfire caused a nearby tree to burst into flames. Some slightly drunk folk started to repent there sins at the sign of the 'burning bush'. While my college mate noticed that a hippie behind us was actually crying as the tree burned. After the fire brigade doused the flaming tree the hippie went over and hugged it, reassuring the wooden plant that it was alright. Being the bastards that we are myself and the college buddy broke our hearts laughing.

I challenge anyone to not have done the same thing. Bloody hippies :)


pip | Mon, 02 May 11 17:53:38 +0100

sounds like fun! didn't know they had all that stuff going on around it, saw pics from a few years ago, looked lame. muraroomboom!

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