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do they celebrate halloween in ireland?

london
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do they celebrate halloween in ireland?

hi we were thinking of going to ireland at the end of oct and were wondering if they celebrate halloween there? do they decorate the house etc like in america. i've heard that halloween was originally from ireland....any feedback would be great - thanks

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1. Re: do they celebrate halloween in ireland?

Yes, Hallowe'en is celebrated in Ireland but not on the same scale as in the US. It seems to be more for children (trick and treating) and young people (going to discos in fancy dress). It is certainly a Celtic feast day but as far as I know the origins are not absolutely Irish. The Celtic people seem to have celebrated this one night of blurring of the borders between the living and the otherworld (hence the dressing up in "costume" so the spirits wouldn't recognise you) wherever they lived but the tradition survived longer in Ireland.

If you do a search for Halloween on this forum you'll get different feedback.

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2. Re: do they celebrate halloween in ireland?

I know you’re probably planning on going to the Republic of Ireland, but in the North, there are a lot of Hallowe’en events going on in Derry/Londonderry. Check out www.derrycity.gov.uk/halloween

It is a big festival in the city with almost everyone dressed up, fireworks, live bands, pubs are decorated etc.

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Derry
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3. Re: do they celebrate halloween in ireland?

The Derry halloween.festival is certainly the biggest attraction of it's kind in Ireland north or south. They have a colourful fancy dress parade through the city centre followed by quite a decent fireworks display. The streets are crowded and the pubs are filled with young people dressed as ghosts and witches etc. If I were going anywhere in Ireland for halloween that's where I would pick first. I don't think that there is anything else on the same scale anywhere else in Ireland. You can get direct flights to City of Derry airport daily from Stansted via Ryanair (though I hate giving that rubbish airline any plugs whatsoever).

Clauds is correct in stating that it is Celtic rather than exclusively Irish, as it also has been celebrated in Scotland, though I'm not aware whether it still is. It dates to pre-Christian times.

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Derry
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4. Re: do they celebrate halloween in ireland?

Nothing on the scale of America.

Clauds is correct on the halloween explanation. It is a far fetched idea that our elders had that spooks came back during the feast of samhain to destroy crops and priests could predict the future on this date.

Its really to mark the transfer of long bright days into the long dark winter.

Halloween like most place(cities really) is a way for the youth to get drunk, throw eggs at houses and cars and run amock and for fireworks and street drinking to be considered just fine in the eyes of the law.

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5. Re: do they celebrate halloween in ireland?

Bertie I have to say that I don't recognise any of the mayhem you describe as typical of halloween, certainly not in the northern part of the island. But then in Northern Ireland most councils have invoked local by-laws to make street-drinking illegal here. And eggs thrown at houses and cars - the mind boggles!

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Limerick, Ireland
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6. Re: do they celebrate halloween in ireland?

Kieran - I have to say - from personal experience - that Limerick is pretty bad at hallow'een, which is why we go away each year....

From the start of September this year we have had loud bangers and fireworks going off. At a shop near me (a few weeks ago) teenagers were throwing eggs at speed-walkers across the road. The shop assistants were having to call the Gardaí on a regular basis.

I haven't been here for Hallow'een night since 2004 (Hallow'een was on a Sunday and the kids had school next day - so we arrived home after our break on the Sunday night) - it was pretty bad where we live and where my Mum lives. Eggs, Flour Bombs, Stink Bombs and enough Fireworks to remind you of the height of Gulf War I. Not a pleasant experience. We went out for dinner to escape and there were several families in the restaurant with grumpy teenagers. Parents trying to keep the teens out of trouble.

And - to confirm - I'm living in a fairly affluent part of town (as is my Mum), not in a Ghetto

I will NOT let my kids out trick or treating at Hallow'een nor will I let my teenager out. Ask any sane adult in Limerick about Hallow'een and they will tell you they hate it - it has been hijacked by an anarchic minority.

But the rest of the year, things are beautifully quiet. Thank God.

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Limerick
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7. Re: do they celebrate halloween in ireland?

In some places you get huge bonfires also which can have a prty atmosphere. To get really smelly eggs, soak them in vinegar for a week beforehand!!!!!!!!!

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8. Re: do they celebrate halloween in ireland?

Beanalainn, I have to say I'm surprised that Halloween has turned into such a nightmare in the Republic. I hope it doesn't spread here. Fortunately fireworks are now sold here only to adults who hold a licence which costs £30, or thereabouts. So that has put a lot of people off the idea, and now kids find them a lot more difficult to get hold of. However they are still sold here illegally but probably not on the same scale as in the Republic. Ironically in the 60's, before the Troubles began, fireworks were sold legally in NI with little restriction in places like Woolworths. Many people from the Republic came here to buy them and of course had to smuggle them back across the border, where they were illegal.

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9. Re: do they celebrate halloween in ireland?

Kieran - I hope that it doesn't get as bad in the North, either.

Even this evening when we were having our tea - a huge amount of fireworks going off... And I saw the news about that 9 year old in Belfast.

It is a pity - it used to be a lovely time when we were kids. But unfortunately the descent into anarchy started - certainly around here - when the current generation of 20-25 year olds were about 10-12. In a lot of cases the parents didn't care. One particular individual bought up a lot of eggs, and when challenged by the local shop-keeper said his mother was having a dinner party. When the mother was questioned, her comment was "Well, he's spent all his pocket money now, what can I do?" Abdication of responsibility by parents - and the concept that kids can do what they like is part of the problem.

I could rant on and on - but prefer to concentrate on the fact that this time next week - Please God - I will be sitting drinking some nice white wine in Killarney :o)

Take care - I hope you and yours are safe over Hallow'een AND over Guy Fawkes.

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Killarney
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10. Re: do they celebrate halloween in ireland?

In my part of the world (for the most part) which is Clonakilty West Cork Halloween/All Hallow's Eve/Samhain is celebrated with a street parade with children and adults in 'scary' costumes, drumming, singing and fire of different kinds. We don't seem to have the mayhem that's so common in other parts of the country.

Samhain, the celtic new year was in pre christian times marked on the night of the 11th full moon of the year and was the pre christian new year in the celtic world. When christianity arrived, all hallows day or the day of the dead when the dead are remembered took over and turned the night before all hallows day into halloween (hallows eve - halloween - get it?!) . It was not a fixed day but ruled by the cycle of the moon until a good 600 or 700 ad if not later.

The dressing up is pre christian and comes from the idea that you want to scare the spirits away from you, if you look scary then maybe you're one of them. This ties in with stories of the fairy folk stealing children or 'changlings' particularly common at halloween time, hence the looking scary.

Traditionally one should stay indoors from dusk 'til dawn, hence the apple based parlour games to keep the children amused, as it wasn't safe out of doors. You offer food and drink outside your door for visiting spirits that you don't want to enter your house and protect your house's entrances and exits, including windows, with salt and water.

Hope that answers a question or three!

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Clonakilty
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The West Cork Hotel
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