Ardmore Pattern Festival in county Waterford, Ireland, is in full swing this week finishing on Sunday 30th July which is the feast day of St Declan.
(Photo from Ardmore Pattern festival website)
Ardmore is a world famous heritage village in West Waterford, a claim it shares with many other beautiful seaside villages along the fabulous Waterford coastline.
The word “Pattern” is derived from the Irish word “Patrún” meaning “Patron”. St. Declan is the patron saint of Ardmore and the festival is celebrated in his honour.
It is said that St. Declan converted the Waterford people long before St. Patrick arrived. St Declan’s ability to blend the new religion with the earthy celtic ways might account for the inclination of Waterford people to add jollity and a balanced view of life to their version of religion.
St. Patrick’s emphasis on penance and suffering would not have been too much to their liking.
The tradition of the ’Pattern’ of St. Declan, goes back hundreds of years. People from near and far have made the annual trip to the idyllic seaside village in West Waterford on the 24th July each year to venerate at the Holy Well and reputed grave of St. Declan.
This annual pilgrimage involves doing the ‘rounds’ at the Holy Well, as well as other forms of festivity and celebration.
The tradition of doing the ‘rounds’ and praying at the Holy Well is about recognising and tapping into the energy of the earth where it surfaces in specific places such as wells, water-fords and high places on ley lines crossing the landscape.
It looks like dipping in holy water existed long before Christianity arrived in Waterford and acknowledges the value of being in close harmony with nature and the power of the earth. Christianity adopted and gave the practice a religious look.
The experience of a religious event combined with a fun-filled festival for families is a good way to meet Waterford and its people.
My experience of living in Waterford has influenced three of my books. The people and the place are such wonderful elements to build into any story.
Experience Waterford for yourself - go there. You will fall in love with it.