Today in Irish History – 21 December:

Stair na hÉireann/History of Ireland

Today is the Winter Solstice, the shortest day and longest night of the year. While the Solstices were not as important to the ancient Irish as the major fire festivals, they were nonetheless celebrated. Of the Solstices and Equinoxes, the Winter Solstice was the most important, since it marked the rebirth of the sun after the shortest day. Many cultures celebrated this time to commemorate the birth of various gods. The Winter Solstice falls between two major fire festivals Samhain / Halloween and Imbolc. It also marked the shortest day or the darkest midnight and was cause for celebration, since, once the shortest day has passed, it meant the journey toward Spring could begin.

1796 – Wolfe Tone writes in near despair of efforts to land French invasion forces at Bantry Bay. High winds and storms would mean the planned landing would be aborted some days later. ‘We are now…

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