The great Celtic Spirituality writer, Fr. John J. O" Riordain, writes of All Saints/All Souls in his book Irish Catholic Spirituality, Celtic and Roman:
Irish hospitality extended no less to the dead than to the living. It is still with us and has always been characteristic of our religioius expression. There was a widespread belief, for instance, that the dead members of the family visited their old home at the beginning of November, the ancient pagan Irish feast of Samhain from which the Christian celebrations of All Saints and All Souls seem to have derived. Leaving the door unlocked, having a good fire in the hearth, and the placing of a bowl of water on the table was a common mode of preparing the house for a visit from the dead at Samhain. So too was the custom of lighting a candle for each deceased family member--a ritual performed during evening prayer in the home. Kevin Danaher, the folklorist, once asked an old man if he was in dreaed of entering a haunted house. 'In dread of it?' replied the old man. 'What would I be in dread of, and the souls of my own dead as thick as bees around me?' Having offered Mass at home on Samhain Night (our Halloween) I said to my aged father: 'They were all there tonight.' 'They were,' he replied with a perfect undersanding, as if I had been referring to a congregation of the living, but at that Mass the only visible persons present were himself and one of my sisters. Whether people were 'alive' or 'dead'made little difference to him, for he was of a tradition that drew no hard and fast lines between life in gleann na ndeor, the vale of tears, or Tir na nog, the Land of the Young--i.e., heaven. (Dublin: The Columba Press, 1998, p. 122).