Hello and welcome to my April newsletter.
I hope that you had a lovely Easter, and I hope that spring has truly arrived wherever you live !
In Dublin, its was mild and sunny all weekend ; the last of the daffodils are still in bloom, and I can see the new buds breaking through on the trees and in the hedgerows.
In Ireland our clocks changed on March 29th so now there is a real stretch in the evening – as I say “ there’s life after dinner “ now and I can enjoy the evenings that little bit more.
For my friends that watch QVC – I do hope that you enjoyed watching the St Patricks day event that came from Ashford Castle . I have to send a huge thank you to Ashford Castle, Tourism Ireland and Enterprise Ireland for supporting the event. It was such fun to be able to share the day with you , bring you on an armchair tour to Ireland and celebrate our national Saint.
However, it was really a strange experience behind the scenes. With the time difference between Ireland and the USA , I had to switch to American time during the day, so I had gone fully nocturnal by the end of the event and it took days to get back to my routine !!
Out and about I can hear a huge amount of birdcall; its nest building season, and before long we will see the first of the migrating birds arrive back on our shores. Here is some bird folklore that I came across:
In April that the cuckoo, corncrake and swallow arrive, and it is the custom when one first hears the cuckoo or corncrake, or sees a swallow, to say “May we all be alive and in God’s grace next year. Amen,” or literally “May we all be alive this time again. Amen.”
If one hears the cuckoo from behind, and in the right ear, and also finds some hairs (at the same time) under his right foot, such a one will be lucky for that year. If the cuckoo is first heard in the left ear it is an unlucky sign. Should the sowing of oats be deferred from any cause until the coming of the cuckoo, such sowing is invariably known as “cuckoo oats,” and is thus designated to mark the laziness of that particular farmer.’
As you Know, we talk endlessly in Ireland about the weather . April’s weather can still be treacherous.. in fact there is a cold snap on the way, so for keen gardeners, better take care of any newly planted out seedlings.
And more form my folklore archive …Despite the promise of more settled weather from Saint Patrick’s Day, unsettled weather was often known to continue into April, with the first three days of that month often referred to as ‘Borrowing Days’, explained by the following legend, ‘an old cow on the 31st March began to curse and swear at March, tossing her tail in the air, and saying to the devil, I pitch you – you are gone and April has come, and now I will have grass. March, however, was too much for her, and he borrowed three days from April, during which time he made such bad weather the old cow died.’