Hearth and Home
The HEARTH in the old style IRISH HOME
In the old-style Irish home, the hearth was the center of the evening’s activities: Meals, storytelling, singing, and craftmaking were all done in front of the fire. Each home had a woven Brigid’s Cross or a Celtic blessing plaque over the door to bless those who came to visit. Because it took a very long time to travel to another person’s home, having visitors was an important event. After crossing the threshold and entering the home, the visitor would say a blessing for the household.
The position of the sun was important in the placement of a house. The houses were oriented according to where the sun came up, and the front door would be placed in the east, or sometimes on the opposite side, the south, where the sun was the strongest. And at the center of the home was the hearth, where the hearth-fire would be kindled to provide warmth when the sun could not.