Lugo: Celtic city
Lugo is a city with prominent Roman remains, as evidenced by the restored Roman Walls encompassing the whole city. But its origins, according to its name, seem to be Celtic. It is named after the great Celtic God called Lugh, a name which occurs across the whole of the known Celtic world (the city of Lyons, in France, was originally known as Lugdunum).
Those of you who know a little Irish history, will be familiar with the harvest festival celebrated in Ireland on August 1st called The Festival of Lughnasa. This is a celebration that is variously connected with the harvest fruits and man’s ever-present battle against famine, the search for husbands and
wives, and the bearing of children. Given my own Irish ancestry, I should feel a warm welcome in Lugo!
The day we visited was a ‘fiesta’. Everybody was out on the streets, eating and drinking inside and outside bars. Drumming bands made their way along the streets, the insistent beating of the drums filling the acoustic well between buildings. Regional dances were staged, to the sound of bagpipes………this could have been Ireland.
Then, as we sat enjoying a drink on a street terrace, a commotion caught our attention. Photographers and TV cameras were sycophantically encircling a gentleman, who was making his way in our direction. I immediately recognised him as Alberto Núñez Feijóo, the current President of the Galician Regional Government (like an Alex Salmond, First Minister for Scotland) who was seeking re-election in the forthcoming elections. I jumped up immediately, presented
myself to him, shook his hand…..and he was intrigued to know what an Englishman was doing in Lugo, in Galicia……
I became aware of the insistent attention of dozens of cameras, I searched for my most ‘endearing smile’ and, rather than be a party-pooper and pretend to criticise his politics (“so what are you going to do for the expatriate Brit here in Galicia?”), I wished him well in the forthcoming elections. Did that encounter make the news the next day? We will never know.