With Halloween just around the corner, the people of Limerick began their celebrations early at the Samhain Festival, which took place between October 25-27.
The three-day festival staged free events celebrating local folklore and traditions, including workshops, public talks, and a night swim.
On Friday October 26, parents and children were taught how to make bio-degradable lanterns, to be used in the twilight procession at the culmination of the festival, the Parade of Light.
The lantern making workshop was led by Martin Shannon, Kate Hodmon, and Giordana Giache of Lumen.
Families spent the evening constructing a more basic version of the lanterns produced by the members of Lumen for the parade.
Participants at the workshop were encouraged to make wishes as they released their lanterns, and to remember those people who have passed away.
Kate Hodmon explained the significance of the lanterns, saying: “The whole point of Old Souls Day and Samhain is remembering the underworld, so to think about people who have passed on, or you can just make a wish and set it off down the river.”
All materials used to create the lanterns were all bio-degradable, made from only willow for the frame, and wet strength tissue paper.
The following evening, Samhain Festival culminated with the Parade of Light, a long lantern procession through the streets of Limerick.
“We thought it would be beautiful in an unbelievable quarter of Limerick because very suited streets are here and you can see all the parts of the city. It could bring back the traditions which is that the original Halloween is from Ireland,” Kate added.
After night fall, the lanterns were eventually set adrift along the River Shannon, and lit up the river as they floated away.
Speaking about the light parade, a mother of three said: “There is great fun tonight. We like the creations, they are really creative.”
The lanterns were later collected by the Abbey Fishermen, so the kids who created them could have them back, and also to avoid harming any wildlife.
Samhain Festival, which is in its first year, was presented by Lumen Street Theatre and funded by Limerick City and County Council.