Bonfire Night – Cork City

I know very little about Bonfire Night here in Cork. People seem to be a bit closed lipped about it. I’ll ask; “So, what’s this bonfire night?” There would be a moment of silence and the suspicious look of; ‘…Are you kidding me?’ Then a realization that I being NOT of Cork origin &/or decent am not privy to, along with a sly smile and a giggle. Often times it’s accompanied with a bit of head scratching, a nodding of the head and the muttered words of; “Ooooh yeah, yeah sooo …”

I have found out that it’s something that only happens in County Cork. I also found out through observation that it happens twice a year on the Summer and Winter Solstice. … or is it the Equinox? People, mostly kids will start dragging branches, broken furniture, and anything else that’s dry and will burn, into a pile in the middle of some courtyard a couple days before. There are some communities that will advertise and have BBQs, games and whatnots. I did have one kind silver haired gentleman say that bonfire night was celebrating the “coming and going of the  Summer sun”. … OOOoooOOOooo, careful now, we’re tip toeing on the edge of talking about the “old ways”, rather the “ancient ways”. Ask any Irish not from Cork and they would more and likely tell you that it’s and excuse for Corkonians to burn all their old stuff!

With each bonfire night I learn a little more. Eventually I’ll get the whole story. I even tried going down to the library and inquiring there. Their answer? Read the first paragraph. What I find interesting about it all is that it seems like this very old tradition that goes back long before Ireland was Ireland, long before Catholicism, long before civilization as we know it. Something that has survived through time, though it’s significance has faded. …

This year I managed to get a photo. A bit blurry, but I didn’t have to steal it from the web.

Nothing says pagan like bonfire night in Cork!

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