PUCA – It’s Back to Mischief in The Emerald Isle’s Ancient East this Halloween.

lighted jack o lantern decors
Photo by Toni Cuenca on Pexels.com

Did you ever consider that everyone’s favorite spooky holiday has its origins in Ireland? If you go back far enough in time to the origins of Halloween, you’ll find yourself in the mists of pagan Ireland more than 3,000 years ago, when the ancient holiday of Samhain was held in the heart of Ireland’s Ancient East to mark the start of winter.
The tradition of lighting bonfires, which began on hilltops in Ireland with clans and villages gathering to light enormous ceremonial Samhain fires, is firmly established in old pre-Christian Celtic practices, as is the modern practice of dressing up for Halloween.

Traditions are fundamental to Halloween in Ireland. Whether it’s in the food we eat or the games we play, it’s all about balance. As we celebrate with our relatives and congregate to bob for apples, traditional harvest fare such as barmbrack and colcannon are staples.

Puca’s spirit returns to Ireland’s Ancient East this Halloween, bringing more mischief and merriment than ever before.

Puca is a beautiful, entertaining, and surreal festival that honors Ireland as the cradle of Halloween. In 2021, local and international guests are invited to return for a week of music and mythology, sideshows and standup, cabaret and cocktails, and everything in between.

Puca festival will take place from October 23 to October 31, 2021, across County Meath and County Louth, and for the first time, the (in)famous Slane Castle will be added to the location lineup, alongside the existing festival hubs of Athboy, Trim, and Drogheda, each steeped in Samhain legend and tradition. re

Puca is a shape-shifting creature from Celtic folklore, a well-known figure in Ireland’s Halloween story, which can be traced back to the ancient Celtic holiday of Samhain.

Samhain, which means “summer’s end” in Irish, commemorated the conclusion of the harvest season and the beginning of the New Year with fires, feasting on the harvest products, music, gathering together, and storytelling, all of which may be enjoyed by guests from all over the world at Puca Festival this October.

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CASTLE OF SLANE

This year, the mischievous spirits of Puca, Boann, The Morrigan, and Fear Dearg – essential figures in Irish folklore and the ancient origins of Halloween – will roam the woodlands and stunning illuminations, while installations bring the landscape to life for the first time.

A one-kilometer trek across the grounds takes guests past Stephen James Smith’s ‘Our Darkest Night,’ surrounds them with Mark Anderson’s ‘Fireflies,’ spooks them with Matthew Nolan’s Samhain Whispers, and wows them with a special Halloween weekend performance by LUXE’s aerialists.

A whole array of local food and drink makers will be on hand to keep festival guests warm and satiated, including the crew from Slane Distillery, who will be serving up a specially crafted Puca Punch to help wash down all the wonderful goodies on sale.

ATHBOY

Old writings inform us that Tlachtga or The Hill of Ward was a site of huge Samhain gatherings, and the Puca Festival village of Athboy is a major hub of Halloween ritual. ‘The Tlachtga Experience,’ conducted by Dr. Ciara Ni Crábhagáin, a local historian and Irish mythology expert, will take tourists through the might and mythology of this historic location in 2021.

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TRIM

This year’s ‘Awaken the Spirits’ will see the mythical Trim Castle lighted in spectacular fashion, wowing everyone who pass, and this specially commissioned display will light up the dark hours leading up to Halloween. The Murder Hole Tours at Trim Castle with Cynthia Simonet are likely to open eyes and chill souls for those eager to walk inside and learn more about the castle’s history.

Trim Castle Hotel will feature the very popular Jerry Fish Electric Sideshow as part of the festival’s late-night program.

Jerry Fish is a shape-shifter, a showman, and a singer who will take over Trim Castle each night from the 29th to the 30th of October with his unique and diverse collection of artists.

DROGHEDA

Drogheda is one of Ireland’s oldest towns, situated on the banks of the Boyne River, and in 2021 it will serve as the backdrop for a variety of daytime and evening events to satisfy every whim. Drogheda is the perfect destination for friends or families this Puca festival, with storytelling sessions that bring mythology and imagination to life, music from award-winning singer-songwriter Aoife Scott and internet phenomenon Jiggy, and late-night comedy offerings.

Source : Tourism Ireland, pucafestival.com

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