It was a Celtic, rather than a specifically Irish, festival -
originally Samhain, a pagan festival among the Celts of Ireland
and Great Britain. Irish and Scottish immigrants carried versions
of the tradition to North America in the nineteenth century.  The
ancient Irish called the festival "Samhain" (pronounced Sa-Wain),
which is now the Gaelic word for the month of November,
although in recent times the Hallowe'en is celebrated on October

The word Hallowe'en is of Scottish origin, and comes from
"Hallows Evening".  It was believed at this time, souls could
wander freely across the earth.   Hallowe'en was also viewed as a
time when evil spirits, the devil and witches were at their most

The best, concise account of Halloween in Ireland is in
'Celebrating Irish Festivals. Calendar of seasonal celebrations' by
Ruth Marshall, Hawthorn Press, Stroud, Gloucestershire, ISBN 1-
903458-23-4, pp 14-27.

A brilliant comprehensive description of Traditional Irish/Celtic
Halloween can be found at
Irish in Schools.  It is a PDF
document.  All resources in that spectacular website are free.  

Ruth Kelly’s The Book of Hallowe'en (1919) has a chapter on
Ireland at

Today, some claim that Hallowe'en in Ireland appeals more to
adults than to children, with fancy dress parties de rigueur for
some and considerable sums of money being spent on costumes.

Halloween is certainly a significant enough celebration that

BBC Northern Ireland has an excellent site

2. it forms part of Northern Ireland's tourist strategy, as you will
see at
ArticleID=1613   &

My sincere thanks to Professor Patrick Buckland &
Irish in Schools for his valuable guidance.
246 pages absolutely
jam-packed with Family
Fun Activities &
Teaching Resources.
This book includes
lesson plans, crafts,
recipes, Jokes & Riddles,
Vocabulary 7 counting  
exercises, Handwriting &
memory, numbers,
phonics, colouring,
Halloween Safety,
Superstitions, History,
Sight word cards,
fingerplays, scrapbooking
pages, tags, bags and
labels, incitations and
this link to preview
Celtic Halloween
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