Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 4 August 2015

Gorseland blessing recalls old tradition

By Patrice Dougan

Published 08/04/2011 | 00:03

It wasn't the most likely setting for a religious blessing, and probably very different from how our ancestors did it.

Among the small group were a priest, a reverend, some firefighters and a couple of local women hoping the ceremony would help protect Belfast’s mountains from gorse fires during the spring and summer months.

Apparently an old Celtic tradition, the blessing of the gorse to protect it from fire was news to all those looking on.

The blessing took place at the foot of the Divis and Black mountains.

Jim Bradley from the Belfast Hills Partnership said: “Burning in the hills and gorseland is extremely anti-social and we are hoping to show that, morally, it’s indefensible.”

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