Ivor and I took the dogs over to the Ladies’ Meadows this afternoon. We were there only a short time when Padraig’s familiar truck arrived, driven by his son, Chris. His brother, Seán, greeted us: “We’ve to get rushes for the school.” Unfortunately there is no shortage of rushes in the Ladies Meadows. Armed with an enviably efficient, long-handled, petrol-tanked, hedge-trimmer, we all went over to gather rushes into big black refuse sacks to be left into Edmondstown School for making St. Brigid’s Crosses. “Did you make them when you were there?” I asked Chris, but he couldn’t remember. I told them how it used to be the logo for RTE and just as it seemed incredible that the state broadcaster had once adopted this religious icon for its own brand, Chris pointed to the clump of rushes at his feet. “These have been cut already”, he said. Indeed, several clumps had been briskly cut in recent days. The children of Edmondstown will have enough rushes to thatch a small shelter after they’ve made their crosses, and should any other primary schools in Dublin 16, want to expand into cottage industries, I think there are enough rushes in that field to satisfy everybody. But I felt curiously pleased to think that at the end of a cold January, someone had bothered to go out with hedge-trimmer or scythe, and found a clump to cut and take home to weave the spongy stems over and over in preparation for Lá Fhéile Bhríde.
Published by Selina Guinness
I am a writer and lecturer in English literature at IADT, Dun Laoghaire. I conduct writing workshops on a freelance basis. The Crocodile by the Door, my memoir about life on a family sheep farm in the Dublin mountains, was shortlisted for the UK Costa Book Awards and the BGE Irish Book Awards. It is published by Penguin. View all posts by Selina Guinness