Ireland Rings in the New Year

Ireland’s traditions mirror that of it’s Celtic Neighbor, Scotland. Both were Viking settlements and get many traditions that are shared. Commonalities can be found between the two countries. It’s all about bringing in the good luck for the year, and preventing misfortune.

Hearth and Home

As with just about everything Irish, family and home are a big tradition. The Irish celebrate with family and neighbors. Many go to special parties at clubs and displays. But theres plenty to be found in favored pubs as the Irish check in with neighbors and friends.

Clean Out

Clean up to start the new year! Cleanliness is next to Godliness! Whatever you believe, the house needs clearing.   So clearing out from the holidays to create a fresh start for the year is the theme.

Loved Ones

The Irish honor their dead during the holiday, remembering family members that have passed as well as those that could not come. Place settings may represent family members at tables.

Stale Bread?

One of the fun traditions was banging walls with bread to scare off evil spirits. Great idea for stale bread use and maybe battering a bit before creating a pudding? This probably did not hold true during the many famines that plagued Ireland’s past as bread would not go to waste.

First Foot traditions followed here as well, with the same good luck for dark haired and bad for women entering first.

Mistletoe for Love

Mistletoe, holly or ivy was often placed under a pillow for wishing for a love to enter one’s life. It allowed the person to see their future in dreams, and hopefully a mate. Some prefer to hang the mistletoe at the front door.


Dubliners like to party and a lot is on for NYE. Concerts and fireworks displays abound. Dublin is a musical city and filled with arts. You can find many things to occupy your NYE. The same holds true for Galway. There is always somewhere to celebrate in any town in Ireland.


New Years Eve Dublin

Galway Festivities



Hogmanay 2017

Hogmanay 2017 in Edinburgh

Hogmanay is a Scottish tradition where the Scots reel in their new year in festival style. The time is used for reflection, cleaning out the old, as in maybe a winter cleaning, and a lot of celebration. Massive festivals with ticketed sales are held in major cities as well as the traditional Viking type festivals in the isles. Origins come from pagan practices, namely fire festivals for winter. Yule was celebrated by the Vikings on the shortest day of the year.

The Bells rings out at midnight, toasting and traditions that many countries celebrate.

The First Footing tradition is observed as the first person to enter the house on the New Year bringing a gift, and can bring good or bad luck for the house in the coming year. Often observed with an alcoholic beverage.  Traditionally it is believed a dark complected person is good luck, while fair hair or ginger can be bad luck.

Clean Yer Hoose Redding

Cleaning out the old hearth was traditional and laying a fresh fire. People often use this time to clear out. Sounds like a tradition that has grown here in the US as the after Xmas clear out of old to make way for new gifts that came in. Clearing of old things, like the fridge for holiday food or making room for party food.

Festivals in The Big Cities

Larger cities in Scotland have massive amounts of festivities going on you will need tickets for larger festivals. Like London and other major cities around the world, there are fireworks displays, concerts, food and more. One of the best celebrations is in Edinburgh and you have to book rooms fairly early if you are in from out of town.

If you are thinking about going and trying this great celebration, book early. Like Fringe Festival in summer, Edinburgh gets very full between the holidays. I hope to try this event for the ringing in of 2018. Let’s hope it’s a lucky and prosperous year so I can do this.

Glasgow is a Musical Town, so the George Square festivities center around music and bands of course. But there is a lot on that is for all ages and budgets. Check out this site New Years Eve Blog to see what may be in store for next years festivities.

George Square, Glasgow


Hogmanay Traditions Old and New

Hogmanay – The Scottish New Year

Edinburgh’s Hogmanay Website for Tickets

What’s On Glasgow Check for Holiday Events

Budget Friendly Hogmanay Venues in Glasgow



Only 8 Months

Ah, just eight months and I may be in another country again, on a short 3 week political asylum jaunt. The new regime coming in the White House has me not sleeping well at night and I confess that planning a trip to escape and talk to some sane people outside of the US is keeping me with my feet on the ground.

Dublin. Well, there was a big plan back in the Uni days to visit this amazing city. Back then life kept getting in the way. Now I feel it is life to get out into the world, away from the US for a bit. I wish it could be longer. The other bucket wish for doing a semester abroad keeps tickling my fancy. I always wanted to do that, but not being a trust fund baby there was never the money.

Why Ireland? Such an amazingly beautiful place I have wanted to see since high school. Roots mainly, wanting to see why drove my ancestors to leave such a beauty. Famine for some relations, the 16 for another. Living in the hugeness that is the US, being lucky enough to live on one of the coasts, being open minded about wanting to see how my fellow Irish live back at the root of all things. It’s an amazingly beautiful place, and yes it’s as green as they say. Flying over it twice, barely touching the ground at the airport was torture. I vowed I would go to it the next time. I have booked flight and secured rooms. I am going to do this. That is if life doesn’t explode again. I plan to walk and crawl all over whatever I find interesting. The excitement of getting to a new city to explore, how to best approach it. I will take the approach I did in Glasgow, walk the parks first day and see what’s in between, the bridges as well. Then I will go to the attractions I suppose. I guess I am weird, not typical American Tourist. I really don’t like doing the tours with groups of others. I would rather adventure about and discover as I go. I have rented a serviced apartment again, live amongst the natives and experience their city with them I hope. Hate hotel stays unless necessary. I feel they separate you from the people.

Only 8 more months to wait. Here’s to nothing really bad happening again this year, or the next.


Ireland ?

It was pure torture having to sit in Dublin airport twice and not being able to explore. Ireland had also been on the list and choosing between the two had been tourturous to say the least. When I climbed onto the plan to Scotland on the tarmack I inhaled the air and looked at the green. I become quite sad. Th incoming plane had swooped down over the famous emerald in a floating speed that just mesmerized you. Pictures never did justice to what little I saw. I vowed if I could get back, I would, and this time take at least a week in Dublin, Galway and Belfast. Then I came into a small inheritance upon return and started planning a trip that would do an amazing crazy 8. Staring in Glasgow for a few days, hop to Dublin and beyond.

Stay tuned as I plot and plan this amazing trip that I am determined to get to or die trying. The ticket is bought, it’s buying the Euros and Scottish pounds next we go.

Bucket List, Schmucket List

Yeah, it was on the list. The list of discovering the heritage. It’s the list many Americans make, many never get to. The places you will go, you fantasize about in the Uni years, never have the money to go. Then you have a chance, a slight chance that turns into reality. Next thing you know, you are actually on the plane.

Why do we have this drive to visit our heritage? Many people keep pouring into the US to call it home. Your ancestors certainly did. Why are we so fascinated with where we come from as people. I’m on the quarter system, so Irish/English/French/Scots. I recently did the DNA thang and found it was first hit Normans, second Vikings, the rest British Isles. It makes since when you think about migrator patterns for the years of the Vikings and Normans conquering about a thousand years back. I spent months trying to Mum’s family back to about 1812 and still couldn’t find when the main boat got hopped on that side. The Irish and the Scots kept inter-marrying with new blood coming by boat over about 160 years or so, but no particular main relative on that side. So after months of trying to track, I decided on sticking to the great grands and the name that kinda got a bit Mericanized.

Callum. McCallum, MacCallum. The name has stories on both the Irish and Scots side, with the history of the Irish pouring into Scotland and intermarrying and such, becomes a bit harder when you try to pinpoint a bit. The Clarks were definitely Scots on my Grans side, Jennet being my namesake. Wait, that spelling? Yeah, I think maybe a pronunciation in a brogue got that one changed up a bit. Perhaps it was Jeanette, since the Scots have a history with the French, or really Janet and the people at emigration or the registry office just didn’t get it. Who knows. I am seriously thinking I will get a name change back to this name this year since it got so lost.

So, last summer my declaration to finally get my erse to Scotland worked. When I got off the plan on return, I turned to my ride and said, I have to go back. I barely scratched the surface.