Hopefully by now many of you will already have started to unwrap the wonderful essence of Lúnasa which has been delivered to your doorstep this month. If it’s not quite there yet then be sure to save this blog until it does, as we’re going to delve into the story behind each piece - and the part that it plays in telling the Lúnasa story.
Lúnasa, as I have mentioned before, refers not only to the feast day which falls on August 1st, but rather the month as a whole – giving us plenty of time to reflect upon the meaning behind this Celtic festival. It is a time for appreciating the subtle shifts of season, wondering at the ever-changing world around you, and being thankful for the gifts you receive – whether this be a plentiful harvest, or simply an Irish at Heart box full of treasures from the Emerald Isle!
If you haven’t yet subscribed and are growing a little wistful upon what you’ve missed – never fear. We still have a few extra Lúnasa boxes in stock, which you can still pick up from our Irish at Heart store for a special price of $55.
I’m going to start with this gorgeous symbol of ancient Celtic heritage that has been handwoven in Ciaran Hogan's workshop, ready to adorn the homes of the Irish at Heart community.
Ciaran is one of Ireland’s finest weavers, and learned this ancient Irish craft from his father before him. The way he moulds the branches of willow into beautiful baskets, and treasured gifts is a true art form, and I’m so thrilled that you all now have a piece to call your own.
A new willow plant starts to sprout in the early days of August, making it a wonderful material with which to mark the abundance of Lúnasa - especially when weaved into this gorgeous symbol of Harvest thanksgiving. These crosses come with a little hanging hook at the back, so you can easily adorn your wall, door or mantlepieces with a truly excellent expression of one of Ireland’s oldest traditions.
While willow starts to sprout in August, it isn’t generally ready to harvest until the winter months – but there’s plenty of other crops to keep Irish farmers busy until then! Such as the delicious root vegetables that have been sown, grown, cooked and packaged by Joe and Sandra on their Killeagh farm in Co. Cork, to produce these scrumptiously colourful crisps.
As much as I love a Tayto potato crisp (and believe me, I do) there’s plenty of room in my store cupboard for these luxuriously artisan snacks with a welcome rustic twist. Lightly sprinkled with Achill Island sea salt, Joe's Farm Crisps have achieved the perfect wholesome crunch to their crisps – that will always leave you coming back for more.
The generously portioned bag is resealable, so you can spread out your enjoyment over several days – although I must admit when I get started on these delightfully moreish morsels, I find it very hard to stop…
Next up, the autumnally coloured Lúnasa compact mirror that you will find tucked up its own little jute pouch is an Irish at Heart original, and one that I am particularly proud of.
You can carry a little bit of harvest thanksgiving wherever you go with this gorgeous looking glass, and when you see yourself reflected there – remember to be thankful for the wonders in your own life.
I love the detail of the goddess, as she blesses the earth around her with fruitful harvest, while she bears her own bounty as a joyful and expectant mother. It is a wonderful symbol of the cyclic nature of giving and receiving, and how – no matter who we are – we all have something to be grateful for.
Each month we choose a wonderful theme to base our product curation around.
Whether it's Dublin, The Wild Atlantic Way or St Patrick's Day, we strive for every box to have something wonderful to wear, a gift to share, a treat to eat and a treasure to live in your home.
Every month we work with fantastic small Irish businesses; so no matter where you are in the world, you're helping Ireland!
Amongst all this gratitude – which of course is important – we are all still allowed those occasional days that we just want to pack it all in and move to the Irish countryside. While that’s not a tangible option for most of us, the pages of the lusciously tinted book in your green box can certainly do a good job of transporting you there.
‘In Sight of Yellow Mountain’ details the adventures of Philip Judge and his family, as he explores and adjusts to his new life in Ireland’s more rural terrain. The tale begins and ends on the ancient feast of Lúnasa (but spans across several years), as Judge discovers the seasonal enchantments and frustrations of his new life with his wife on the Emerald Isle.
It’s a touching narrative, full of the happiness, sadness, humour and love that makes our world go round, and a beautifully witty interpretation of life in Ireland that I’m sure will have you all craving her green grasses and admittedly unpredictable weather…
As I mentioned in our Lúnasa Feast blog, the oat is by far the most abundant crop of the Irish harvest, and so I simply had to feature in this month’s offering of Irish treasures.
Graham’s Bakery in County Down has been a family affair for three generations, starting with grandmother May in 1956, whose mouth-watering baked goods were in such high demand with the locals – that they demanded their very own shop!
Her passion for baking flowed through the veins of her children and grandchildren, who not only keep the buttery-warm-baking scents wafting in County Down, but also supply stores in Ireland, Great Britain, France United Arab Emirates and North America.
The oat biscuits that you have found in your Lúnasa box are the amongst the most delicious, crumbly, melt in your mouth cookies that will ever grace your tastebuds. I’m truly delighted to offer you such a delectable taste of Lúnasa, crafted with love, tradition and real Irish butter!
I hope you’ve enjoyed discovering your Lúnasa items as much as I did choosing them for you, and that they help you to capture just a little piece of Ireland’s history with this wonderful time of year. If you have already put your treasures to good use – please do head on over to our Facebook group and show me the pictures. I love to see the different ways that you display your Irish heritage – whether it’s a Celtic Cross above the door or simply a scrumptious oat biscuit beside a strong cup of tea!
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