February begins with a celebration – Spring has arrived! The early Irish church dedicated the day to ‘Muire na nGael’, bestowing the honour of that feast on St Bridget. It was the day that the proverb advised ‘you could put away the candlestick and half the candle’ in anticipation of the lengthening
In 1878 for Joseph and Mary MacDonagh February 1 st marked the birth of their son, Thomas, the fifth of their nine children. Born in Spring Thomas grew up fully aware of the changing seasons through his love of nature which found expression in his poetry. ‘When the first blossoms break the
bud and Golden Joy begins anew’ he wrote, ‘For all our Winters pass and all rains go, And all the flowers of Joy appear again’.
His thoughts returned to Springtime when reflecting on his death; ‘If in my life I shall have sang or done something for which mankind shall praise me when I’m gone, Then bring a rose tree to my grave and plant it in the Spring’.
And so, while not on his grave, a red rose has its place at the Thomas MacDonagh Museum in Cloughjordan. Visitors will be welcome to come in and learn more of the MacDonagh family story when the present restrictions are lifted. Meanwhile you can keep in touch through
www.macdonaghheritage.ie or on facebook