The Vikings and the Cows

Op-Ed: Halloween’s Celtic roots are a lot spookier than witches and candy bars


Halloween is all about the kids, but it’s also an awesome time to reflect on our Celtic roots.

When I was a kid, when my grandma and mum would come over for the weekend, we would make up stories about what we wanted to be when we grew up. For us, my grandma would be a fairy. My mum would be a cow. I would be a Viking.

There was a bit of a competition about whether the Viking who I wanted to be was stronger than the cow who I wanted to be. In my defence, I was just a small kid and the competition was fierce.

I’ll admit, when I was a kid I couldn’t have cared less about what I would grow up to be. My favourite stories of old were about the Vikings and the Cows.

For our family, the idea of a Viking warrior with a horned helmet and a huge sword was the stuff of fantasy (and some very weird nightmares) but this idea of an idealised past where I could do no wrong was not something on my radar.

I wasn’t thinking about my future, or dreaming of a better version of the boy I was now. For me, it was about what my grandparents went through growing up, and how we could emulate that.

Fast-forward to my twenties, and this is when I thought about becoming a professional athlete and going to the Olympics. I had dreams of breaking a world record and lifting a world record. They weren’t in my wheelhouse when I was a kid.

I wanted to dream big and I did. I did it, and that dream never died.

By the time I was 28 I was running marathons under the Ironman banner. I had taken on a lot of pressure, I’d been told over and over again by the coaches, and I believed I could do it.

I believed that I could take on the challenge of a marathon and get there. All the doubters, or any critics, were quiet. They saw the signs, and maybe I

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