Summer Solstice & The Druid

America Village Druid Cocktail

One of my favourite days of the year - The longest one! I thought that it is only appropriate to have a drink in honour of the solstice. I had also been looking to develop a drink to celebrate the wonderful Druid Theatre Company, who are based here in Galway. 

On a recent tour of the USA they had proclaimed that a bar in Charleston had named a cocktail after them and that they weren't coming home until there was a drink in their name here in Galway.

Taking into account Druid's links with the USA, we decided to use a spirit base that is a collaboration between Ireland and America. Prizefight Whiskey is distilled here in Ireland and aged in Rye Barrels from Tamworth Distilling in New Hampshire. The ageing process gives the whiskey a lovely smooth mouthfeel, with the familiarity of an Irish whiskey but there are also lovely sweet rye notes from barrel char. You can find the recipe here.

The whiskey is mixed with a Red Clover Lemonade that we made and finished with fresh mint. The overall finish has a simple yet pleasurable deep herbaceous earthy note, conjuring images and memories of solstice days filled with summer grass, honey, heat, bees and sweet tobacco. 

HAPPY SUMMER SOLSTICE

America Village Prizefight Whiskey Cocktail
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Leaf & Root Farm Visit

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Fergal and Emmanuela at Leaf and Root Farm have been feeding our family, from June - December, with delicious tasty vegetables for the past two years. Yesterday we went out to the farm to see the origin and seeds (literally) of all that which will nourish us over the next seven months. 

It is also important to point out, that much of the delicious produce cultivated on this farm often winds up in a glass!  

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This Week

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Things of interest that have grabbed my attention recently:

I am beginning to awaken, I feel the energy and sensations of Spring within my grasp and in my sights - The sap is rising. 

Being aware of the seasonal and lunar cycles which govern us has become very profound to me in more recent years (there are less distractions now than in my wilder days of living).

It is comparable to being in the presence of someone or something that has an effect on you, it can be slightly alarming and very distracting. However there is nothing that you can do to contain that natural force and energy, It is going to occur - 

Present and profound. Be grateful.

This Week

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Things of interest that have grabbed my attention. 

There is truly something magical about this time of the year. I'm not sure if it is the familiar rituals and sharing of customs within the community or the rest and deep inhale that nature takes and in turn urges us to take. 

Of course Yule time can also offer up its fair share of stresses and strains, we often think that we need to get EVERYTHING done before that one day. 

This week we will celebrate mid-winter and the continuing cycle and rhythm of the seasons, a little extra light will slowly seep into each day - An intimate impression on us.

The bond that we have with these natural rythms is engrained deep within ourselves. It is better not to work against them. In fact, In my experience doing this only results in internal and external conflict and stress on the body, which usually manifests in illness of some form.

Yule and mid-winter is the festival that we still have the strongest connection with, the one which still manages to infuse itself into our modern rituals and lives. Symbols and images can have a profound effect on people - Enjoy the lights, the candles, conifers, feasting, spices and herbs, the loving, the gifting and of course the fun, messing and playing!

So roll with the season, 'winter' and rest, sleep and hibernate. Eat winter foods, don't bother with strawberries imported from the other side of the world - Strawberries are for summer! Bake some apples instead. 

Embrace the slow pace of winter and re-connect with its natural rhythms.

Newgrange - Source Unknown

Newgrange - Source Unknown

Newgrange 

Newgrange 

Lens and Larder

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About two weeks ago now, I once again had the pleasure of working with the dynamic duo Imen and Cliodhna on their most recent Lens and Larder workshop retreat. 

The theme for the workshop was Smoke / Fire / Feast - All very exciting!

What was nearly even more exciting was that it was to be facilitated by the super talented photography team Gentl and Hyers.

I had met Andrea and Martin (Gentl & Hyers) on the last Lens and Larder workshop, so was really looking forward to re-kindling and building upon the short, yet significant friendship that had originated nearly a year ago. 

My contribution to the photography and storytelling workshop was to prepare two cocktails, The Chrysalis (pictured above) and a warm fireside spicy Wassail. 

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Day One - I arrived at lunch time on day one, where we spent the afternoon at Riot Rye Bake House and Bread School  in Cloughjordan Eco Village - And what a pleasure it was. 

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Day Two - Lots of food was prepared and photographed, all of which ended up being devoured and relished in a late outdoor feast.

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Autumn Equinox

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Autumn Equinox 

We are at the halfway point between the Summer and Winter Solstice - The beginning of Autumn here in the northern hemisphere. Today we have 12 hours of daylight and 12 of darkness - A perfect celestial balance.

The harvest is winding down and the fields are becoming bare. The light is growing dimmer at the end of each day and those familiar evocative autumnal colours are taking over the landscape once again - The cycle continues.

Autumn seems to have appeared overnight, today there is crispness in the air, signifying that it is that time once again to withdraw with the final harvest, to burrow, hibernate and take stock. Nourishing ourselves with all that is wholesome - Resting and preparing for the dark months to come.

Lughnasa

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Lughnasa is a time for intentions and reflection - Harvesting and processing ALL which nourishes us.

Lughnasa represents a time for us to re-connect with our past community, to those that tended and prepared the earth for us. A day to reflect upon that which we have cultivated, grown and nurtured over the prosperous growing season.

It is also a useful time to forget about and relinquish the things that no longer feed us and allow us to flourish.

A time to re-choose what it is that we truly want to harvest.

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Midsummer's Eve

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Today is the eve of Midsummer - Summer Solstice, one of my favourite times of the year. This year the summer solstice occurs on Monday 20th June - The very same day as the June full moon.

The full moon occurring on the same day as summer solstice hasn't happened since 1948. This is something to celebrate!

The celestial magic of the solstice always stirs something within me, that sense of closeness and connection with the universe. It reminds me yet again of how we are all part of an interconnected weave - For me, it signifies a time to shift, change direction and re-new. The sun appearing to stand still seems like a good time to reflect and refresh.

'Strawberry Moon' is the name that native Americans gave to the June moon - What better moon to sit under whilst opening your heart to a new cycle. This moon is going to be dramatic, large and orange as it will sit low in the sky (due to the sun sitting at its highest).

The Strawberry moon moment of fullness is on Monday morning, so it will be as dramatic tonight on Midsummer's eve as tomorrow on the Solstice itself - It is like getting two full moons for one!

Midsummer's eve is a time to gather and celebrate light. It's a magical time of faeries and folklore. The aperture between our embodied conscious self and wider consciousness is opening, listen to that inner voice, your instinct, let the light in and bathe in its energy - Tomorrow heralds a new day. 

Source:http://oneeyeoneheart.tumblr.com/?og=1

Source:http://oneeyeoneheart.tumblr.com/?og=1