Pumpkins, Pierogies, Megalithic Tombs & The Tale of Diarmuid agus Gráinne

Happy Halloween! Our pumpkin patch has been bare for a couple weeks already and seaweed has already been laid atop the soil in preparation for next spring’s planting.

Just as our gardens continue to grow and enrich our lives, so too do the students who visit us three times a year to sow, plant out, and harvest their pumpkins.

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At each of these visits, we try to share something new and wonderful with them about growing and cooking their own food. Many times we’re sharing experiences and discoveries we’ve only just made ourselves.

Using what’s in season, we always prepare and eat something together. Pumpkin and cheese pierogies with vegetable soup were on the menu this day. They were hugely enjoyed and it wasn’t long before a large pot of soup and several platters of pierogies disappeared; we wouldn’t have it any other way.

The soup was a mixture of courgettes, green beans, broccoli, onion, and garlic–no measuring, just inspired by a glut of courgettes and beans. Another post will follow this one with the recipe for pierogies. 

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This recent visit had an additional activity planned by the teachers for which I followed along– a walk starting at just across the street from our house, climbing up to the top of the island, ending at a megalithic tomb that’s also the subject of a Celtic tale, the story of Diarmuid and Gráinne.

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Let me tell you about the mythological story first, the tale of a geis induced love triangle between the young princess Gráinne, Diarmuid the soldier, and Fionn, the greatest warrior in all of Ireland.  A geis is similar to a magic spell, prohibiting or obligating someone to do something with the knowing that not complying to the geis would result in seriously undesirable consequences.

Based on his reputation and without having ever met him, Gráinne agrees to marry Fionn even though she’s in love with Diarmuid whom she hasn’t seen since her childhood. On the night of their official engagement where they would first meet, Gráinne realizes her mistake after seeing that Fionn is over twice her age. When she recognizes someone seated in Fionn’s company as Diarmuid, Gráinne gives everyone a sleeping potion in hopes to elope with Diarmuid. He, being a devoted and valued member of Fionn’s army, refuses to betray him but she puts a geis on him leaving him no choice. They flee together and, though he tries to resist her and to remain loyal to Fionn, they eventually become lovers.

Being constantly pursued by Fionn and his army, they could spend one night only in each place before moving on. Leaba Dhiarmada agus Gráinnethe bed of Diarmuid and Gráinne, is one of the places they stayed and it’s where we hiked that day. There are more spellbound moments and many other riveting facets to this Irish legend which you can read here if interested.

Hundreds of these stone monuments are throughout Ireland, mostly in the west, and it’s not surprising that others are also named for the couple as the legend has them travelling from place to place for many years. They’re understood to be traditional burial sites dating back some 4000 years to the Neolithic and Bronze Ages, about 2500 to 2000BC, used for one important or several less significant people. What a wonderful discovery for me, and practically in my front yard!

I’ll end here with a few photographs of my children carving their pumpkins. Have a great day and a safe night of trick-or-treating! Melissa Xx

 

39 Comments

  1. Eddy Winko says:

    Pierogi in Ireland! They are always a favourite and a perfect freezer meal if you don’t have tie to cook. Looking forward to your recipe, if only to see how it has changed from the Polish original.
    Great pics 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • The recipe was taught to me by a Ukraine friend so we shall see. I bought them frozen from the grocery store in the States but homemade is the best and yes, the way they freeze is great and a real time saver.

      Like

  2. sailimo says:

    Looking forward to the pierogie recipe. Beautiful pumkins! Love the RIP, very original. Just seeing now that it’s MM carved that intricate one, almost Celtic pattern (thought it was you) She is a very talented artist! Looking forward to see what she will ‘grow up to be’.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. sailimo says:

    Looking forward to the pierogie recipe. Beautiful pumkins! Love the RIP, very original. Just seeing now that it’s MM carved that intricate one, almost Celtic pattern (thought it was you) She is a very talented artist! Looking forward to see what she will ‘grow up to be’.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. CurlsnSkirls says:

    What lovely and creative days you’ve had! So glad those little ‘uns gobbled up their soup and pierogies. What a marvellous time for a visit! Thanks for the wee tale, too, and for the pumpkin carving at the end. Inspiring!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh I just adore this post! These are times that will travel along in life with all who took part in the festivities, and bring a ready smile in remembrance. Also you are sewing seeds that will have those in attendance creating there own big extravagant celebrations.
    Thank you. 🎄

    Like

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