The Celtic Fragment team brought an ancient Irish tradition to the heart of Zurich on June 23rd last.
In sweltering temperatures, Elizabeth Zollinger’s Irish culture group Friends of Celtic Spirit hosted a night of Celtic midsummer magic. The theme was fire, with a fine sprinkling of fact and tradition, lots of summer stories and lots of music to complement them. Presentation was in English with the stories in German.
Details of the next events can be found on the site under ‘ Upcoming Events/ Uberblick.
June 21st – Midsummer solstice
The Albert Anker House, Ins Bern, remains as the painter lived there 120 years ago, and guests can wander around the old house as it was then…
This event took place in the beautiful garden of the the Albert Anker Museum House in Ins, near Bern. Good weather meant the the guests could gather in the garden amidst blooms and birdsong.
Matthias Brefin, whose Grandmother was Albert Anker’s mother, explained that the area was rich in Celtic remains which had vastly interested his famous ancestor, and that Albert Anker had contributed to a publication on the Celtic tribes in the area around the turn of the century. On the picture you can find Matthias Brefin with a first edition version of a book on the La Tene Celts with special illustrations by the famous 19th century painter Albert Anker. Songs and stories of the summertime followed. After an interval, and an apero, the performance continued as the light in the summer garden faded. The Albert Anker House remains pretty much as the painter had lived in it over 100 years ago, and is worth a visit any time of the year.
For a short video of the evening please click the following link: Facebook – Midsummer in Ins
May 20th – Celebrating the Month of Bealtaine
Some days later than expected the Celtic Fragment Event for Bealtaine, or the arrival of Summer, took place in the Gemeindsaal in Aesch, Zh. On a wooden platform against the backdrop of hills and a colourful sunset, the audience listened to a collection of tales, tunes and songs based on the arrival of warmer weather. Tales of fisher folk and fairies, songs of hope and gladness, and tunes from long ago summers swirled into the room and across the audience, reminding us that the turning of the year had a much more profound effect on our ancestors than it has on us today. Not surprisingly, the audience heard that years ago, both Swiss and Irish folk took the cattle to higher ground at the beginning of the summer, resulting in an entire set of traditions evolving with this practice.
During the interval members of the Cultural Committee served an apero, and the encore request included a request for another story…Catherine Rhatigan harp, Isabelle Hauser stories, Brendan Wade pipes, flute, voice. A big thanks to Frau Fulvia Hoffann of KUKO-Aesch for hosting this event.
March 21st – The Spring Equinox
This event took place in the Maison de la Musique in the French speaking town of Martigny on March 21st and celebrated the coming of Spring and one of the points in the year when day and night are of equal length. Maintaining the idea of balance, stories and music from four Celtic countries formed the core of the evening; representing Ireland, Switzerland, Wales and Scotland.
Laurine Moulin delighted the audience with her renditions of Danny Boy, The Minstral Boy and especially Caledonia, while Isabelle Hauser delivered an equally impressive surprise by recounting her charming stories in French. Dr. Francois Wiblé, a local historian put the evening into context by giving a brief and interesting account of Celtic traces in the locality.
Cora Margurettez, a native of Sligo, Ireland and her husband Xavier were the driving force behind the evening, and recruited the auspices of the town committee for the wonderful venue, and several local sponsors to ensure the evening was publicised and could unfold as planned. The event was presented free of charge, and followed by a lively apéro where wines from the region were served.
February 1st – Imbolg
The Celtic Fragment launched in Cafe du Cerf, Irish Bar in Neuchatel on St. Brigid’s Day, February 1st. The event was held in English.
Among the insular Celts, this is the first day of Spring, and a natural start date for the Celtic fragment cycle of events.
In the cosy wooden upstairs room of the Cafe du Cerf, events commenced around 6.30 as the Irish Ambassador to Switzerland Mr. Brefine O Reilly officially launched the programme.
The first half revolved around time as a theme, and cast a thought to the ways in which the ancient peoples devoted much effort and energy into measuring it.
Stephen Mc Gonnigle from Mc Gonnigle Watches gives a fascinating presentation on time and watchmaking, neatly linking the idea of Swiss expertise and Irish creativity and a shared ancestry.
Isabelle Hauser tells the audience of the two Brigids, pagan and Christian, followed by stories from lake Zug and other Celtic tales. This was followed by tunes old and new from Catherine Rhatigan on harp, Dave Aebli on Bass and local fiddle player Vanessa Loerkans.
After an interval where the audience enjoyed supper and a drink, courtesy of Cafe du Cerf, there were more stories and music.
This was followed by a lesson for all on how to make the celebrated St. Brigid’s Cross from rushes brought over especially from Co. Antrim by Irish artist Raymond Watson. Tradition tells us that when this cross is dispalyed near the hearth in your home, the house will never burn down, and the occupants will always remain safe from fire.
Stephen Mc Gonnigle, Breifne O Reilly Irish Ambassador and Catriona Mc Intyre of Cafe du Cerf who sponsored the evening.