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Category: Celtic Christianity (Page 1 of 10)

How King Arthur gate his Sword Excalibur

King Arthur at Parliament No. 18 – How King Arthur gate his Sword Excalibur

King Arthur lost his sword in battle with King Pellinore. He was severely wounded and so Merlin took him into the forest to a hermit who nursed him. In this forest they came upon a lake. Arthur told Merlin that he needed another sword, and Merlin told him that he should look into the lake. This is the 18th part in our series of animated/audio stories of King Arthur based on artwork found around the Houses of Parliament, courtesy of a wonderful Virtual Tour found at explore-parliament.net. We highly recommend you go to the Explore Parliament site to watch/hear the presentation about this artwork.

More details about the King Arthur at Parliament wood-carvings

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The Island of Hy Brasil

Ireland lay on the edge of the world until Columbus proved otherwise in 1492. The mysterious Atlantic was explored by sailors such as Saint. Brendan (†577) and one of islands he came across on his voyages was Hy Brasil, the Irish Atlantis, which he referred to as The Promised Land.).

The Island of Hy Brasil by Rónán Gearóid Ó Domhnaill

It got its name from the Irish Uí, meaning descendant of Bresal, meaning beauty. Bresal was of the Fir Bolg and it was after one of his daughters, Galvia, that Galway got its name. It was suggested that the country of Brazil was named after the island, but it actually got its name after the red coloured Brazil wood. Other names for the island included Tir fo-Thuin (Land Under the Wave), Mag Mell (Land of Truth), Hy na-Beatha(Isle of Life), and Tir na-m-Buadha (Land of Virtue).

There is a description of the island the 9th century biography of Saint Brendan Navigatio Sancti Brendani which was a medieval bestseller. The island was described as being shrouded in mist, visible for one day only every seven years, circular in shape with a river running across its diameter. Though visible it could not always be reached.

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New Mabinogion Show, Episode 40, ‘Betrayal in the Nursery’!

The latest episode in the First Branch of the Mabinogi – Betrayal in the Nursery – is now out and available for you to download or listen to. This is part 11 of the First Branch of the Mabinogion. Doubt begins to enter the minds of the people of Dyfed as their Lord and his Lady show no signs of producing an heir. The High Council of Druids put pressure on Pwyll to divorce his Fairy Bride and take a more ‘fruitful’ woman to his bed! Sadly, in an unexpected twist they are overtaken be events of unspeakable horror!

Damh the Bard’s new album, Sabbat!

Damh the Bard and his new album, Sabbat

Damh the Bard and his new album, ‘Sabbat’

We’re proud to announce the release of Damh the Bard’s fabulous new  studio album, Sabbat. After 18 months in the making, this album is launched today and we’re lucky enough to bring you two fantastic songs from it to celebrate its launch. As you can see, Damh is just as chuffed as we are with this album (if not more!). A superb collection of mythic music that shows his talent and style are really developing. This album has to rank among his very best! Well done, Damh!

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St. David’s Day and the Symbols of Wales

St David of Wales or Dewi Sant, was a saint of the Celtic Church. He was the son of Sandde, Prince of Powys, and Non, daughter of a Chieftain of Menevia whose lands included the peninsula on which the little cathedral town of St David’s now stands. St David is thought to have been born near the present town of St David’s. The ruins of a small chapel dedicated to his mother, Non,  may be seen near St. David’s Cathedral.David became the Abbot of  St David’s and died on 1st March 589. A.D. An account of his life was written towards the end of the 11th century by Rhygyfarch, a monk at Llanbadarn Fawr near Aberystwyth.

Many miracles were attributed to him. One miracle often recounted is that once when Dewi was preaching to a crowd at Llandewi Brefi those on the outer edges could not hear, so he spread a handkerchief on the ground, and stood on it to preach, whereupon the ground rose  up beneath him, and all could hear.
March 1st , St David’s Day, is now the traditional day of the Welsh.  March 1 is the date given by Rhygyfarch for the death of Dewi Sant, was celebrated as a religious festival up until the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century. In the 18th century it became a national festival among the Welsh, and continues as such to this day.

The Harp

The harp is regarded as the national instrument of Wales. By the end of the 18th century, the triple harp – so called because it had three rows of strings – was widely known as the Welsh harp on account of its popularity in Wales. The harp has been used through the ages as an accompaniment to folk-singing and dancing and as a solo instrument.

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Update on Saving Newgrange: A New Hope?

Proposed Slane Bypass

Vincent Salafia of Save Newgrange tells us that the Irish Times has reported that new consultations are being ordered to discuss the Slane Bypass that is threatening the ancient home of Angus Og, the Brugh na Boyne – the monument that is now called Newgrange.

Click on the image above to see the detail.

The Irish Times reports:

A NEW round of public consultations on controversial plans for a dual-carriageway bypass of Slane, Co Meath, has been ordered by An Bord Pleanála, with October 15th set as the closing date. A public notice advertising the new round of consultations was published recently in national newspapers. The original consultation period closed on February 25th 2014.

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King Arthur at Parliament No.12 – King Arthur carried in a barge to Avillon attended by Queens

As King Arthur lay dying he commanded his knight Sir Bedivere to take his sword Excalibur and throw it into the nearby lake.

More details about the King Arthur at Parliament wood-carvings

This is the 12th part in our series of animated/audio stories of King Arthur based on artwork found around the Houses of Parliament, courtesy of a wonderful Virtual Tour found at explore-parliament.net. We highly recommend you go to the Explore Parliament site to watch/hear the presentation about this artwork.

King Arthur in the Barge to Avillon

As King Arthur lay dying he commanded his knight Sir Bedivere to take his sword Excalibur and throw it into the nearby lake. As he did so, an arm rose up out of the water and caught the sword, then vanished back under the water once more. King Arthur then commanded Sir Bedivere to take him down to the lakeside

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Wales History Month Starts Today

Today, WalesOnline, in association with Cadw, launches Welsh History Month. Every day for the next four weeks, leading academics and historians from History Research Wales will ask, what is the most significant object in our past? Here, David Anderson, Director General of Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales, wonders if it’s the meaning we attach to objects that gives them their importance. Go to the Wales Online site to read the full article. David says:
If you had to select one object of particular significance to you, what would it be? The photograph of a loved one? The book that changed your thinking? The four-leaved clover you found and preserved when you were a child? The sampler your grandmother sewed?

If you had to choose one object of significance from Wales’s past, what would it be? A miner’s lamp? A Welsh Bible? A painting of a Welsh landscape? A suffragette banner? A Celtic cross? A photograph of a village choir? An early manuscript of the Mabinogion?

It is the meaning we attach to objects that gives them their significance. A few years ago, one museum invited members of the public to contribute images of their favourite objects to its website. Some wonderful stories emerged.

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The Story ”Cath Almaine” as a Window on Early Christian Ireland

Early Irish Man

Thanks to the Irish Tribes website, specialists in Irish Genealogy, for this article exploring the story of the ‘Cath Almaine’  or ‘The Battle of Allen’ and what it shows us about early Ireland. the story of this battle is fascinating and reveals much about the early Christian celtic traditions. They begin with:-

The Story


Cath Almaine” or ”The Battle of Allen” is a story written in Middle Irish which was composed some time after 950 A.D. based on a battle which was fought in 722 A.D.  In that year, the High-King Fergal mac Máele Dúin demanded the bóramha or ”cattle-tribute” from the Laighin.  The Laighin and their king Murchad mac Brain refused.

The High-King called on Conn’s Half (i.e., on the Uí Néill, the Airghialla, and the Connachta) to come together to invade Leinster.  But, according to the story, the warriors of the North were reluctant.  They said that they should wait to see what Donn Bó would do, the young man who was best in Ireland for the composition of lays, the telling of stories, the harnessing of horses, the riveting of spears, and the plaiting of hair.  But Donn Bó didn’t get permission from his mother to go on this hosting until she got a promise from Máel mac Failbe, coarb of St. Colm Cille, that Donn Bó would return to her safe and sound.

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The Lorica or the Breastplate of Saint Patrick

Saint Patrick’s Breastplate is a Christian hymn whose original Old Irish lyrics were traditionally attributed to Saint Patrick during his Irish ministry in the 5th century; however, it was probably actually written later, in the 8th century. It is written in the style of a druidic incantation for protection on a journey. It is part of the Liber Hymnorum, a collection of hymns found in two manuscripts kept in Dublin. This beautiful prayer of St. Patrick, popularly known as “St. Patrick’s Breast-Plate”, is supposed to have been composed by him in preparation for this victory over Paganism. It’s fascinating to compare the structure of this prayer with many of the incantations found in the Carmina Gadelica as well as many of the meditations and rituals seen in Druidry, Wicca and Ceremonial Magic today.

The words were translated into English verse by Cecil Frances Alexander in 1889 and set to two traditional Irish tunes, St. Patrick and Deirdre. The hymn, also known by its opening line “I bind unto myself today”, is currently included in the Lutheran Service Book [Lutheran Church- Missouri Synod], English Hymnal, the Irish Church Hymnal and The Hymnal (1982) of the U.S. Episcopal Church. It is often sung during the celebration of the Feast of Saint Patrick on or near March 17, as well as on Trinity Sunday. In many churches it is unique among standard hymns because the variations in length and metre of verses mean that at least three different tunes must be used – different in the melody sung by the congregation.

The prayer known as “Faeth Fiada“, or the “Lorica of St. Patrick” (St. Patrick’s Breast-Plate) was first edited by Petrie in his “History of Tara”. Scripture references may include Ephesians 6:10-17 (“God’s shield to protect me … from snares of devils”).

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Watch Chicago go Green on St. Patrick’s Day 2014

It’s nearly St. Patrick’s Day. Starting today. here’s a rundown from the Courier News of events this weekend to help everyone feel a little bit Irish. For those who don’t know about St. Patrick’s Day, it’s a holiday which celebrates Irish heritage and culture and the arrival of Christianity to the Emerald Isle. In Chicago, it’s an excuse to drink green beer, go to a pub, and pretend you’re Irish even if you aren’t.

Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Noon, March 15


Come at 10 a.m. to watch the Chicago River get dyed green, stay for the city’s official St. Patrick’s Day parade. The best place to watch the river getting dyed is at the intersection of Michigan Avenue, Wacker Drive and the river. This year’s grand marshal John McDonough, president and CEO of the Chicago Blackhawks. The parade starts at Balbo and Columbus and proceeds north on Columbus to Monroe. The viewing stand will be located in front of Buckingham Fountain.

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