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By Glaux

[Snip] The earliest recorded instance of Imbolc comes from the Irish epic poem “Tochmare Emire”, a part of the Ulster Cycle, where Cu Chulainn is attempting to woo Emer. Challenging the hound of Chulain to go without sleep for a year, Emer names the major calendar days, including:

“Imbolc, when the ewes are milked at spring’s beginning.”

The origins of Imbolc appear to be much older than the Ulster Cycle, however, as ancient inhabitants of Ireland built a number of Megalithic and Neolithic sites aligned with the sun on this day. Loughcrew burial mounds and the Mound of the Hostages in Tara, Ireland are two examples of these monuments. Here, the inner chamber of the passage tombs are perfectly aligned with the rising sun of both Imbolc and Samhain, so that the rising Imbolc sun shines down the long passageway and illuminates the inner chamber of the tomb.

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