I don't care what anybody says, May (Bealtaine in Irish, meaning bright fire) is the Irish summer. Year in, year out, we are guaranteed some sunshine (exam weather, of course), the summer clothes and sunscreen are hoked out and we hope that the good weather continues until September.
I never seem to get the transition to lighter clothes right. One minute roasted, foundered the next. Last week, I looked out, saw the sun shining, misjudged the temperature outside and broke out the sandals.
As a very body conscious younger woman I hated the idea of packing away the winter coat for a few months. Where would I hide from May until September?
The idea of summer dresses, never mind shorts, would fill me with dread, and I would just hide in baggy tops and leggings. Now, thankfully, I am more accepting of the wobbly bits, and don't mind not having anywhere to hide, for a few months anyway. My body made a person and that has made me love it more.
May is also the month of Communions and Confirmations. My friend reminded me this week that she has both this year. Having just got over the wedding, I think that she might have the rawer deal than a house full of exam candidates.
I saw a post on social media recently where an influencer mother and her daughter were pictured with a sign which said 'I said yes to the dress'. The dress in question was a communion dress. I was part enamoured, part horrified by this post.
Enamoured, because this is a big moment in a little girl's life, but horrified, because, in this fake world of social media that we live in, it is already so easy for children, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, to feel left out of things if they don't have the most up-to-date version of clothes, toys, tech.
Is this just another way to show off to the world what you have, or what you can afford?
First Communion particularly has been so commercialised beyond recognition that it can be treated like a mini wedding. Of course, the wee girls particularly love to get their white dress, their hair done, and all dolled up for the day, but it doesn't have to be outlandishly expensive. Nothing does. In a world where families are struggling with the basics, where does such commercialism sit on the moral compass?
May is the month of flowers – primroses, bluebells, the majestic hawthorn is in full bloom. That means that the fairies are around. As a child, I loved the May altar and the May procession we would have had when every girl in school filed around the convent grounds singing hymns. Even Sister Michael might have approved of that.
The Bealtaine fires and festivals still celebrated in many places herald the beginning of a time of growth and playfulness. I have had no choice but to embrace the playfulness through my radio work in the past few weeks.
May means getting out into the community, and I love that. There is nothing like getting out and about and meeting the people who hold each other up all year round; the people without whom, we would have nothing. It is a privilege for me that they give of their time freely to engage with my show. I come away from these conversations marvelling at how they get the time to do all this brilliant work.
Music festivals begin in earnest. Yet again, I missed out on one of my 'bucket list' festivals, Féile na Bealtaine in Dingle, west Kerry. I think that I might have to make that a Christmas present to myself in order for it to happen – just like I did with Bruce Springsteen tickets. May 5 came around quick as a flash, and there we were standing in the middle of the RDS, watching the 73-year-old Boss rock out with the world famous E Street Band. What a night.
Now it's time to jump aboard the music and sport rollercoaster for the next two months, many memories will be made. Destination: the end of July so I can catch my breath and finally relax in August.