Last year while percolating ideas about dinner events, the seasons and general takingaleaf notions I came upon the very old but rather patchy story of Tailtiu. A daughter of a king of Spain who at some stage moved over here to Ireland and married Eochaid Mac Eirc the last Fir Bolg high king of Ireland. She survived the invasion of the Tuath de Dannan and was made to foster Lugh one of the sons of the invaders. Most sources agree on these points but after that there are various interpretations of her story. The one that struck me most however is the one which tells of how she met her end. Made to clear the entire country of trees and vegetation to make way for agriculture. She eventually died of exhaustion from this mammoth task. This evocative and dramatic demise really got me thinking and inspired me to dedicate a series of dinners in her honour and to the honour of the remaining wild places of this country both rural and urban.
What better occasions to connect with this than at the ancient Celtic festivals of Samhain, Imbolc, Bealtaine and Lughnasa. I picked these occasions also to highlight the disappearing and already lost traditions associated with these important seasonal markers. As we herald in each new season its good to share food local and foraged from the immediate landscape and to remember the past and to look forward.