The ancient Celtic festival of Imbolc is celebrated each February and, along with marking the beginning of spring, is associated with honouring the influence of women within the community.  You may read about the holiday's evolution from ancient to modern times in this recent article in The Irish Times 

Canada Ireland Talks

Thursday, February 17, at 5pm EST (free; online) Register

As a highlight of our month-long celebration, we are pleased to invite you to join us for a free online talk with Judge Síofra O’Leary, Vice-President of the European Court of Human Rights, in conversation with Dr. Susan Storey.   Register
In addition, Canada Ireland Foundation has invited a few of the incredible women who serve on our Board of Directors to discuss their personal connections to Ireland and the women they admire.  Below, we invite you to meet the first of these extraordinary women.
Eileen P.K. Costello Eileen P.K. Costello
Partner, Aird and Berlis LLP 
What is your personal link to Ireland?
I am the youngest of 5 children born to Patricia and Sean Costello.
My parents migrated here from Ireland in the 1950s, coming from Dublin and Galway respectively. They were integral to the Irish community in Toronto, helping establish the Irish Canadian Centre and heavily involved in Irish sport, language, music and other aspects of Irish immigrant life.
My siblings and I grew up surrounded by our Irish culture and with the understanding that our parents were equally proud of being Canadian citizens and all the opportunity that being in Canada afforded them and their children.  I was particularly lucky that trips back to Ireland were frequent and connections with our parents’ families very strong. 
In 2000, my older sister and her family moved “back” to Ireland which afforded me the perfect excuse to visit even more often, and to host my nieces and nephews on their summer visits to Canada.  For my children, Ireland and their Irish culture is very much an active and immediate element in their lives and the distance between those countries feels very small indeed.
Is there a particular place or spot in Ireland that you cherish? Why is it special?
Walking Grafton Street with my mum is particularly fond memory.  Visiting the renovated National Gallery on a rainy day with one of my nieces and being enveloped in the jewel tones of the restored galleries and the glorious works of art.  A glass of wine in the cellar at the Merrion Hotel after a night of theatre at the Abbey.
My children love the Park Hotel in Kenmare, the sense of history and amazing twisting turning staircases and hallways, the glorious grounds and pond, and the walk down the hill into the town of Kenmare.
A few years ago we were able to take my boys back to my father’s family farm in Galway; they were amazed at Papa’s stories about just how many people (and some animals) that actually lived in the cottage. 
Is there an Irish or Irish-Canadian woman – contemporary or historical – that you particularly admire, and who deserves to be more widely celebrated?  
Without a doubt, the Irish woman who has had the greatest impact on my life, and who remains my North star, is my mother, Patricia Costello.
It was no small act of bravery for my mother to support my father’s decision to emigrate to Canada and to join him with a young child while leaving her family and support system behind. My mother was tireless in her support of my father, our family and eventually the broader Irish emigrant community that she was so involved with over time. An incredibly intelligent, creative and tireless woman, my mum instilled in me as an absolute truth that women, and Irish women in particular, could literally accomplish anything they set their mind to. She made much out of little, particularly in the early years, and never forgot that experience as she and my father went on to be generous supporters and volunteers in the Irish Canadian community.  
Although the early on-set of dementia has meant that her light has dimmed in recent years, she remains relentlessly generous, kind and forgiving and loyal beyond belief.   My mother’s commitment and contributions to the Irish Canadian community is a key reason for my involvement in the Canada Ireland Foundation today.
 Be sure to follow Canada Ireland Foundation on social media - Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn - to discover more profiles as they are added to this series.