A little bit of history in Dingle as Fife and Drum band marches on Nollaig na mBan

There was a small bit of history made in Dingle this evening as the town’s famous Fife and Drum band marched the streets in celebration of Nollaig na mBan for the first time – and it was well-received despite some less-than-ideal weather.

There was a small bit of history made in Dingle this evening as the town’s famous Fife and Drum band marched the streets in celebration of Nollaig na mBan for the first time – and it was well-received despite some less-than-ideal weather.

There were heavy showers throughout the day in Corca Dhuibhne, but the band set off from their starting point at O’Flaherty’s Bar at 6pm, and after marching through the streets, they reached their end point, the boatyard, welcomed by a gathering of about 50 people – all as planned.

Before the band completed their route, many onlookers followed the music around the town, while people who’d taken for shelter in some of Dingle’s many watering holes popped outside the door again to greet the band as they passed.

“People liked it,” band member Declan Malone told The Kerryman after the parade, and he praised the stewards and guards for their help. “And we had a few Ukrainians out around the town with us for Ukrainian Christmas, so it was nice to tie in with that as well.”


It’s little surprise the band was given a warm reception. New Year’s Eve celebrations were quieter in Dingle this year, and not just because of a (mercifully) smaller crowd gathering at the small bridge and the bottom of Main Street before midnight. The Fife and Drum, a staple of New Year’s Eve in Dingle, did not march this year, citing the massive crowd of revellers who go to the bridge each year – and the safety concerns associated with marching in that environment – as the factor driving their decision.

But Declan said tonight’s march should not necessarily be looked at as merely an alternative to the New Year’s Eve parade.

“It’s not one in exchange for the other,” said Declan. “I couldn’t say it’s being done in place of New Year’s Eve. But we decided to go out and celebrate Mná na hÉireann, and especially the women of west Kerry, at a time when it’s possible to march around the town.”

Local stakeholders took a number of measures – such as not having a countdown clock or street-side barriers – to calm the rush to the bridge before 12 on New Year’s Eve last week, and they appear to have been successful, with numbers at the bridge and lower Main Street well down on the norm of recent years. Declan did not say there are any concrete plans for the Fife and Drum to resume their New Year’s Eve tradition should the smaller numbers seen in 2022 hold in the years ahead, but he did say the band would love to be there to ring in the New Year again at some point in the future.

“The band would love to be out on New Year’s Eve if it was possible to do it…but you’d have to be able to get around the streets without needing an army of stewards,” he said. “It would be really nice to see New Year’s Eve calm down enough to go back to a tradition that is dearly valued by the band and the people of Dingle.”

Source: A little bit of history in Dingle as Fife and Drum band marches on Nollaig na mBan

Irish Talent and Film Recognised in BAFTA Longlists

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) today announced the full set of longlists of films and talent that have gone through to Round Two of voting for the 2023 EE BAFTA Film Awards. We are delighted to see that several Irish films and story makers were featured in the 24 categories, including three Screen Ireland-supported films.

An Cailín Ciúin (The Quiet Girl) has recently made history as the first Irish language film to be shortlisted for the Oscars, and continues to confirm its hit status with audiences and critics alike this awards season after an exceptional year rich in festival and cinema screenings. An intricate, deeply felt coming-of-age drama that delves into the meaning of family through the eyes of a neglected young girl, the film is longlisted in three categories, including Best Director (Colm Bairéad), Adapted Screenplay and Film Not In The English Language.

Two Screen Ireland-supported documentaries are also featured on today’s longlists. Nothing Compares, Kathryn Ferguson’s richly cinematic portrait of Sinéad OʼConnorʼs phenomenal rise to worldwide fame and exile from the pop mainstream, is shortlisted in the Oustanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer category. The documentary and An Cailín Ciúin are both currently screening in select cinemas across Ireland showcasing the best of 2022 Irish film, including the Irish Film Institute and Light House Cinema.

A fascinating look at the life and legend of an iconic Irish actor, Adrian Sibley’s The Ghost of Richard Harris is a feature documentary which recalls the life of the legendary actor, poet, and singer with the help of his sons, his friends and exclusive footage and interviews. The film is longlisted in the Documentary category. After a World Premiere at the Venice Film Festival this summer, the film was released in a limited theatrical run, followed by a streaming release on Sky Arts.

We are also delighted to see Irish talent recognised with the inclusion of multiple films featuring Irish cast, crew and locations, including The WonderGood Luck To You, Leo GrandeRoald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical and The Banshees of Inisherin. Congratulations to all longlisted films, and wishing them the best for the second round of voting.

Final nominations in all categories will be announced on Thursday 19th January, a month before the EE BAFTA Films Awards ceremony on 19th February at the Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall. The full list of longlisted films can be found here.


Source: Irish Talent and Film Recognised in BAFTA Longlists

Little Christmas or Nollaig na mBan: How the meaning of January 6 has changed over time

Marking the official end to Christmas festivities, January 6 sees Irish tradition celebrate the women of Ireland with Nollaig na mBan, translating to “Women’s Christmas”.

Also referred to as Little Christmas, Three Kings Day or Twelfth Night, universally, the day brings the Christmas period to a close.

How has the occasion changed over the years?

Unlike other European countries, Ireland traditionally celebrates January 6 differently, honouring the women of the household, those who historically held the main household duties such as cooking and cleaning.

The holiday allowed women to have a downtime from their household work and enjoy some well needed time off to spend with their female friends and relatives, resulting in the men taking over the cooking and chores.

With women taking on bigger roles in society, the need for a break from household chores has become a distant thought – rather, the day has welded into a working day, seeing households put away their Christmas decorations in place of the traditional “day off”.

The ever-changing landscape of women in the workplace has seen the holiday become an obsolete event. A smaller occasion and celebrated less throughout Ireland in modern society, a number of counties still pride themselves on the tradition, such as Kerry and Cork.

Today’s society sees the day celebrated differently from 100 years ago, with a number of women meeting for a special ladies’ afternoon tea, or seeing clubs packed with groups of female revellers celebrating. The day focuses on scheduling festivities with friends and gathering for brunch.

A century ago Irish women might have used the occasion to gather at one another’s homes for food, drinks and laughter while their husbands stayed home and watched the children.

Traditionally, goose was the chosen meat served on the day, while the women called to the homes of their friends and neighbours to enjoy tea and the last of the Christmas cake.

Today, many organisations have embraced the day to celebrate women’s contributions in society, with galas and charity fundraisers for women’s causes taking centre stage.

For example, The Irish Writers’ Centre run an annual event marking the occasion, celebrating women writers worldwide, with the theme of this year’s night marked as “Home”. The programme aims to ‘turn this quaint custom on its head with its 21st century interpretation of the meaning “home,” taking inspiration from the words of Meave Brennan: “Home is a place in the mind”’.

While Ireland remains different in their traditions, other European countries celebrate January 6 with gift giving.

Hispanic tradition sees Spain celebrate Christmas day as a solemn religious occasion, reserving Three Kings Day or Dia de los Reyes for celebrating and exchanging gifts.

This tradition originates from the Bible’s story of the three Kings following a bright star to Bethlehem on the night Christ was born, presenting him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

Meanwhile, in England, a Yule log was kept lit until the twelfth night in order to bring blessings and good fortune throughout the upcoming year.

While children in Germany tend to go from house to house on Epiphany Eve singing carols and chalking the year and initials of the three Kings near the entrance of each home.

Source: Little Christmas or Nollaig na mBan: How the meaning of January 6 has changed over time

Meet the cast of Netflix film The Wonder

The Wonder, which is now available on Netflix, features a mesmerising performance from the acting force that is Florence Pugh. But who else is in the cast?

From a middle-aged divorcee in 2013’s Gloria, a bereaved trans woman in 2017’s Oscar-winning A Fantastic Woman and two Orthodox Jewish women in love in 2018’s Disobedience, Chilean director Sebastian Lelio has long championed strong women in his films.

His latest film The Wonder, which is now available on Netflix, is no different, following English nurse Lib (Florence Pugh) as she’s hired to spend two weeks in an Irish village in 1862 and observe what many believe to be a religious miracle: an 11-year-old girl (Kíla Lord Cassidy) who claims not to have eaten for months but remains healthy.

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