May Day in Ireland

My Donegal grandmother Annie told me as a child if on 1st May I put the first dew on the grass on my face it would mean I would be beautiful when I grew up! I wonder how far back this Irish folk tradition goes and if it is indeed of scientific merit See below my grandmother was indeed right and on searching for this custom, I found it on The National Museum of Ireland’s Our Heritage site –

“This water and May morning dew was believed to be good for the complexion. Traditional riddle: I wash my face in water that has never rained nor run and dry it in a towel that was never wove on spun. [A face washed in May dew and dried in the open air]

May was always in my childhood the month of processions, flowers in windows, statues and the white veils from Communion girls. It’s an important month in the agricultural calendar too but that didn’t really figure in my city childhood.

Traditional May Day Customs in Ireland
Grass with bluebells on 1st May at Botanic Gardens Dublin

The 1st of May or May Day in Ireland traditionally marks the beginning of Summer. It was always in my youth a sunny day and this year in 2021 it didn’t disappoint. It heralded for me the beginning of our recovery out of lockdown, we can now travel within our county and a trip was in order.

For my May 1st this year we headed to The National Botanic Gardens in Dublin, the riot of colour from the rhododendrons, azaleas, magnolias is worth the trip. I have a submission to make for this years Sculpture in Context exhibition so I like to remind myself of the landscape and beauty of the place and to be inspired as an artist.

Rhododendron in bloom Botanic Gardens, Dublin

I will take quite a number of photographs for a project like this and then go through them and do a few drawings. I already have an idea or two of what I would like to create, now I need to get that on paper. Unfortunately this year the glasshouses are fully closed so any work submitted must be outdoors or in the online gallery space.

I am at the final stages of working on my Metamorphosis piece for artnetdlr and this particular piece has challenged me enormously but it’s good to be challenged and to grow. it looks like we have a venue in DunLaoghaire, Dublin for the exhibition and it’s going to be quite exciting seeing the work exhibited.

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