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Irish Myths and Legends | Our Ireland

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When Cuchulain was growing out of his boyhood at Emain Macha, all the women of Ulster loved him for his skill in feats, for the lightness of his leap, for the weight of his…

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The Book of Invasions or Leabhar Gabhala as it is known in the Irish Language is the book by medieval scholar monks which describes all the Legendary Invasions of Ireland throughout the ages. The…

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Queen Maeve’s Tomb sits high above the town of Sligo, Ireland on a low mountain named Knocknarea (“Mountain of the Moon”). Legend states that it is good luck to bring a stone up the…

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Halloween is a pre-Christian ancient Irish Celtic celebration called Samhain (pronounced sow-hen). Samhain celebrates the time of year between summer and winter when spirits pass through to the ‘next life’, and the living and dead can sometimes cross…

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Dublin | Our Ireland

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Tymon Park is a wonderful public amenity managed by South County Dublin Council that provides an infrastructure for many recreational actives; is home to a diverse range of flora, a valuable environment for wildlife,…

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Visitors should see Dublin accommodation By Ronan Menton Continuing on from my first article about the 10 things you must see while visiting in Dublin, I am going to cover the second half of…

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Folklore Legends and Fairytales | Our Ireland

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The Irish had may superstitions around the birth of babies: 1. Conception could be prevented if an enemy tied a knot in a handkerchief at the time of marriage; no child would be born…

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Henry Morris (1915) recounting from his Childhood beliefs in the Farney Barony ‘Nice ripe blackberries are sweet and palatable; but hungry boys and girls will eat blackberries that are neither sweet of palatable. However after ‘Oidhche…

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How The ‘Red Hand’ Became The Symbol of Ulster Ancient legend has it that at a time when Ulster had no King the tribes of the province decided the best way to settle the…

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The Fate Of The Children Of Lir This haunting story has inspired Celtic jewelry makers for many years now as the swan theme embodies traditional Celtic designs and Celtic symbols. A long time ago…

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Ballydavid Co. Kerry

The charming fishing village of Ballydavid (Baile na nGall) is located by the shores of Smerwick Harbour. This little village commands wonderful views of the Three Sisters, Dun an Oir and the impressive Mount Brandon. The site is popular with national and international visitors who wish to explore the history and archaeological sites of the area, including the famous Galluras Oratory and Galluras Castle.

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George Bernard Shaw

1. “If you’re going to tell people the truth, you better make them laugh; otherwise they’ll kill you.”

2. “I never thought much of the courage of a lion tamer. Inside the cage he is at least safe from people.”

3. “A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.”

4. “Democracy is a device that ensures we shall be governed no better than we deserve.”

5. “If all economists were laid end to end, they would not reach a conclusion.”

6. “Life does not cease to be funny when people die any more than it ceases to be serious when people laugh.”

7. “Martyrdom is the only way in which a man can become famous without ability.”

8. “Self-sacrifice enables us to sacrifice other people without blushing.”

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9. ”A lifetime of happiness! No man alive could bear it; it would be hell on earth.”

10. “Americans adore me and will go on adoring me until I say something nice about them.”

11. “I often quote myself. It adds spice to my conversation.”

12. “The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one.”

13. “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it’s taken place.”

Below, just some of the books written by Shaw

George Bernard Shaw’s Signature

Celebrated in Ontario Canada

Statue of GB Shaw in Niagara-on-the-Lake where there is an annual Shaw theatre festival.

“In 1962, in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, lawyer and playwright Brian Doherty parlayed his love for the work of Irish playwright Bernard Shaw into a summer theatre festival, producing eight performances of Don Juan in Hell and Candida in the Court House auditorium. In this singular act of passion for theatre and culture, the Shaw Festival was born.” (See http://www.shawfest.com/)

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Creative Quotations from George Bernard

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Samuel Beckett

  1. Dublin university contains the cream of Ireland: Rich and thick.
  2. I can’t go on. I’ll go on.
  3. What do I know of man’s destiny? I could tell you more about radishes.
  4. All I know is what the words know, and dead things, and that makes a handsome little sum, with a beginning and a middle and an end, as in the well-built phrase and the long sonata of the dead.
  5. Birth was the death of him.
  6. Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.
  7. Go on failing. Go on. Only next time, try to fail better.
  8. Let me go to hell, that’s all I ask, and go on cursing them there, and them look down and hear me, that might take some of the shine off their bliss.
  9. James Joyce was a synthesizer, trying to bring in as much as he could. I am an analyzer, trying to leave out as much as I can.
  10. I write about myself with the same pencil and in the same exercise book as about him. It is no longer I, but another whose life is just beginning.
  11. It is right that he too should have his little chronicle, his memories, his reason, and be able to recognize the good in the bad, the bad in the worst, and so grow gently old down all the unchanging days, and die one day like any other day, only shorter.
  12. Just under the surface I shall be, all together at first, then separate and drift, through all the earth and perhaps in the end through a cliff into the sea, something of me. A ton of worms in an acre, that is a wonderful thought, a ton of worms, I believe it.
  13. I shall state silences more competently than ever a better man spangled the butterflies of vertigo.
  14. Habit is a great deadener.
  15. The bastard! He doesn’t exist!
  16. Nothing matters but the writing. There has been nothing else worthwhile…a stain upon the silence.
  17. Nothing happens, nobody comes, nobody goes, it’s awful!
  18. Make sense who may. I switch off.
  19. Personally I have no bone to pick with graveyards, I take the air there willingly, perhaps more willingly than elsewhere, when take the air I must.
  20. Nothing is funnier than unhappiness, I grant you that. Yes, yes, it’s the most comical thing in the world.
  21. My characters have nothing. I’m working with impotence, ignorance… that whole zone of being that has always been set aside by artists as something unusable – something by definition incompatible with art.
  22. The tears of the world are a constant quality. For each one who begins to weep, somewhere else another stops. The same is true of the laugh.
  23. To find a form that accommodates the mess, that is the task of the artist now.
  24. We are all born mad. Some remain so.
  25. There’s man all over for you, blaming on his boots the fault of his feet.
  26. We are not saints, but we have kept our appointment. How many people can boast as much?
  27. Words are all we have.
  28. We lose our hair, our teeth! Our bloom, our ideals.

Samuel Beckett is one of Ireland’s Nobel Prizewinners.

Samuel Beckett: Watt

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Celtic Harps

The mythical lore and storied past of Celtic harps make them a very special emblem of Ireland’s pride.

Indeed, one of the most remarkable ways in which the Emerald Isle distinguishes itself is that, as a tribute to the importance of music in Irish culture, Ireland is the only country in the world with a musical instrument as a national symbol.

Otherwise known as the heraldic harp or Gaelic harp, Celtic harps have been part of the Irish landscape for centuries and have become the national symbols of Ireland.

In the 16th century King Henry VIII of England made the harp the official symbol of colonial Ireland by putting it on Ireland’s currency. The harps place in the Irish heart proceeded this action but it is at this time it became a recognized symbol of Ireland.

The Ancient Celtic Legends…
Celtic harps can be found on carvings dating as far back as the 12th century, with surviving examples of actual instruments dating back to the 15th.
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The harp legend tells us that Dagda, a chief among the Taatha De Danaan, owned the first Gaelic harp. However, the harp was stolen by the gods of cold and darkness and given to the Fomorians, a group at war with the Taatha. Seeing this, the gods of light and art, Lugh and Ogma, entered the Fomorian fortress, recovered the harp, and restored it to Dagda.

The gods then gave Dagda two secret names for the harp and called forth summer and winter. From then on Dagda could play Goltrai, Geantrai, and Suantrai…Music that could make men weep, music that brought joy, and music that lulled men to sleep. Thus, Celtic harps became known as the dispensers of sorrow, happiness, and rest.

The Glory Days…
In the days of the Celtic chieftains, the harpist was the most honored musician and ranked only behind chiefs and bards in social class. The harpists, often blind, would play as the bards recited poetry for their lords. And, when war came, the harpist would bring forth a golden instrument encrusted with fine jewels, resembling the Tungsten wedding bands of today, in order to lead men into battle and spur them to great deeds.

The Sad Decline…
In the 16th century, harpists would often join revolutionaries for much the same purpose. The British crown, in an effort to stifle the rebellion, banned Celtic harps and instructing their men to kill any harpist and destroy their instruments. They were infamously successful. By the beginning of the 19th century, thanks to British measures and the bankruptcy of the Irish aristocracy, traditional Celtic harp music had all but died out.

Bunting and O’Carolan…
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However, in 1792, there was a revival of traditional harp music. A festival was organized and harpists from all over Ireland were tempted with healthy cash prizes. Despite the allure this would seem to provide, only ten harpists showed up.

But the day was not entirely a loss. A 19-year-old English organist named Edward Bunting was hired to notate the music the harpists played. His paper transcription of notes survives today, but the notation does have one flaw: Bunting did not record the bass lines. This part of the music is lost forever.

Nevertheless, Bunting’s 1797, 1809, and 1840 collections of Irish harp music are a wealth of information for the serious student. By providing not only music, but lore and technical information, Bunting gives us all a chance to find out how these instruments were actually played. As well, Bunting’s books are the only records we have for the great Irish harpist, Turlough O’Carolan. Now, instead of the oral tradition being lost on us, we can all read everything in a book.

Official Symbol of Éire…
The Celtic harp symbol found on the presidential flag, state seals, uniforms, and even bottles of Guinness is inspired by an exquisite harp periodically on display at Trinity College, Dublin.

This extraordinary instrument is also known as the Brian Boru harp, named after the famed High King of Ireland. It is the oldest surviving wire-strung frame harp in existence.

Its uniquely straight, boxed base topped by a gracefully arcing curve is immediately recognizable to all who gaze upon it. This harp was also the inspiration of the gold emblem upon the green flag that the rebels flew in the ill-fated Easter Rising of 1916.

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The 20th century has seen a great resurgence of popularity for the Irish harp. Thanks to traditional musicians such as Derek Bell of the Chieftains, Celtic harps are returning to the fore. No longer only a stale symbol of Ireland, Celtic harps find their music rising heavenward once again, raising the spirit of Ireland once more.

And as technology advances, great strides are being made to recreate the tones of the long distant past. Now people everywhere can rejoice at the sounds that Celtic harps once brought only to the Irish kings of old.

Through mythic lore and a storied past, Celtic harps have been a beloved symbol of Ireland, both in fantasy and in fact, for centuries.

Stamped on the Irish euro of today as well as the Irish coin of old, you will see that the heraldic harp sings of the glorious Emerald Isle with all its countenance. And as they find their voices in the hands of new players, we can all hear the songs of gladness that only Celtic harps can play…today and for generations to come.

Also: Find out about the Irish Shamrock unofficial symbol of Ireland

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Pass The NCT Ireland

Driving in Ireland: The National Car Test

Pass The NCT First Time Round

Author: Peter McCormack

The National Car Test (NCT) was a European Union directive introduced to Ireland in January 2000. The NCT is compulsory and is carried out every two years on each vehicle in Ireland. The purpose of the NCT is to ensure higher levels of vehicle road safety and as and environmental protection measure. There are 43 custom built NCT centres in Ireland and the service is fast and efficient.

The NCT can be booked on-line at www.nct.ie or by telephone. Each car owner will be issued a date and time to bring their vehicle to the local NCT test centre. Bookings can be cancelled with advance warning without loss of booking payment if cancellation is within a fixed time frame (be sure to see the NCT website mentioned above to check circumstances for cancellation!).

Preparation for The NCT

Ensure your vehicle is clean, particularly the under body of the car as the mechanic needs to inspect this carefully and they must be able to see clearly.

Check your engine oil level making sure it is at the recommended level.

Clear any unnecessary belongings out of the vehicle including the boot.

Make sure your tyres are in good condition and at the correct pressure. Don’t forget the spare tyre as this will also be inspected. Items Tested during the NCT include:

  • Brakes
  • Exhaust emissions
  • Wheels and tyres
  • Lights
  • Steering and suspension
  • Chassis and under body
  • Electrical systems
  • Glass and mirrors
  • Interior
  • Fuel system
  • Miscellaneous

Service Car In Advance Of NCT?

Many vehicle owners have their car serviced in advance of the NCT. Although this does not guarantee that the vehicle will pass the NCT it may improve it’s chances.

Another train of thought is to not service the car specially for the NCT; if it fails you will have a specific list of faults with the vehicle that can then be presented to a mechanic to fix. When the vehicle is retested for the NCT only the faults on the original list will be inspected. If your mechanic has done his work properly the vehicle will be granted it’s two year NCT pass.

*Important Note: If you think your vehicle is not road worthy or my cause danger on the road you should have it serviced immediately, do not wait for your NCT appointment before having it serviced.

Vehicles that are serviced regularly will be safer to drive, kinder to the environment and have a better chance of passing the NCT first time round.

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Kiss Me I’m Irish – Legends Of The Blarney Stone

By John Parks

In the village of Blarney, Ireland, sits the legendary Blarney Stone, a bluestone block built into the Blarney Castle’s embattlements. Because of this stone, Blarney Castle is one of Ireland’s most popular tourist destinations. Millions of visitors from around the globe travel here annually to kiss the stone.

Legend holds that the kisser of the stone will be endowed with the gift of eloquence, the gift of gab, or skill at flattery. The term ‘blarney’ has become synonymous with flattering, clever or coaxing talk, though the village’s name was derived from the word ‘An blarna,’ the Irish term for ‘the plain.’

In times past, visitors needed to be grasped by the ankles and lowered over the battlements headfirst. After one pilgrim hurtled to his death, an iron railing was erected, and today, the kisser has a friend sit on his legs or hold his feet firmly while he leans back and down into the abyss, securely grasping the iron rails, and lowers himself until his head reaches the stone.

Many stories exist as to the origin of the Blarney Stone and from where it got its power. The most widely accepted story is that Robert the Bruce, grateful for the support of the Irish in the Battle of Bannockburn of 1314, gave a portion of this stone to the King of Munster, Cormac McCarthy. The stone then was installed at Blarney Castle, Cormac McCarthy’s stronghold, and thus it came to be called the Blarney Stone. One century later, King Dermot McCarthy installed the stone in 1446 in a large castle that he constructed.

In the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, King Dermot McCarthy was forced to surrender his castle to the Queen to prove his loyalty. He told her that he would be glad to do so, but things always came up at the last minute that prevented the surrender. His frequent excuses caused the official who had, in the Queen’s name, been demanding the surrender, to become somewhat of a joke at the Court. One time, when McCarthy’s eloquent excuses were relayed to Queen Elizabeth, she said, “Odds bodikins, more Blarney talk!” Through this, ‘blarney’ came to mean ‘the skill of influencing and coaxing with soft speech and fair words without offending.’

Though the actual origin of the kissing custom is not known, a local legend holds that the King of Munster rescued an old woman from drowning, and she rewarded him by giving him a spell, that upon kissing a stone atop the castle, he would be endowed with speech that would draw all people to him.

Another legend says that the stone was the rock Moses struck with his staff for water during the Israelites’ exodus. Another is that Jacob used the stone as a pillow, and the prophet Jeremiah brought it to Ireland. It also was rumored to be the Stone of Ezel, behind which Jonathan advised David to hide as he fled from Saul, and that it was possibly returned to Ireland in the Crusades. One more holds that it was St. Columba of Iona’s rock pillow on his deathbed.

For more information on Blarney, Ireland, visit http://blarney.co. Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=John_Parks

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Driving in Ireland

Whether you are buying your first car, looking for irish car insurance quotes or thinking of hiring a car for the duration of your trip to Ireland, the articles in this section will be helpful to you.

For first time Irish drivers the article about researching Irish car insurance will guide you towards finding the best value car insurance quotes and an insurance company that suits your requirements. For those facing the NCT (the National Car Test) for the first time our article Pass The NCT First Time will give you some pointers and actions you could take to increase your chances of passing the NCT first time.

Other articles will be added to this section shortly, and the full list will eventually cover all of the following:

Drive Safely!

Ireland is a beautiful country to travel by car. Remember to wear your seat belt at all times, never drink and drive, keep below the maximum speed limits and be considerate to other drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.

Happy and safe motoring in Ireland!