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Traditional Irish Music and Instruments

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Traditional Irish Music and Instruments

Traditional Irish Music and InstrumentsPaul Murphy from Murphy of Ireland has given us a superb infographic about the development of Irish Music from the earliest times up until today’s modern mainstream Celtic music. This fantastic information can either be found as a single graphic for printing onto poster-sized classroom paper or section by section in the article below.

The Celts 500 BC to the Ruling Chieftains 10th to 17th Centuries

Traditional Irish music is an oral tradition whose origins can be traced back to almost 2,000 years ago when the Celts last arrived in Ireland. The Celts were established in Eastern Europe since 500 BC and were heavily influenced by the music of the East. It is speculated that the Irish Harp originated in Egypt.

The Celts 500 BC to the Ruling Chieftains 10th to 17th Centuries
During the later period, the harp was the dominant Irish instrument. All harpists were professional musicians employed by the ruling Chieftains under a patronage system to create and perform music for them.

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Irish Colony in North America Nearly 500 Years Ago

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A long overlooked report made to the King of Spain in 1521 provides an eyewitness account of an Irish province on the coast of South Carolina. The description of its culture seemed so absurd to scholars, not familiar with Irish history that it was ignored during the following five centuries . . . until now, reported the examiner in 2011.

First Spanish attempt to colonize North America

The year 1521 AD was one of the most important in the history of Spain. In 1519 Hernán Cortés had led a band of 550 conquistadors and sailors into the heart of the Aztec Empire, in violation of orders from the Governor of Cuba, Diego Veláquez, In January 1521 he began a siege of the three Aztec capital cities of Texcoco, Tlatalolco and Tenochtitlan. The Aztecs had been greatly weakened by European plagues. Cut off from food supplies and potable water for weeks, Tenochtitlan, one of the largest cities in the world, fell. The incalculable amount of gold and silver in Mexico soon made Spain a super-power.

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Two Iron Age Trumpets played for the first time in 2,000 years!

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John Kenny and Simon O’Dwyer play two reproduction Loughnashade trumpets for the first time in over 2,000 years at the Organological Congress in Pourtugal 2013.

The Loughnashade Iron Age Trumpets are similar to the Celtic Carnyx

The Celtic carnyx was also made of bronze, and was used as an instrument of war during the Iron Age (c. 300 BCE – 200 CE). It consisted of a cylindrical tube about 2 metres long; the bell was elaborately carved to resemble a wild boar’s head, with a movable tongue and jaw; the mouthpiece was curved.

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The Island of Hy Brasil

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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 film, Curse of the Banshee, screened in Galway

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Galway’s Menlo Park Hotel will host the first screening of the joint Irish & UK production of Curse of the Banshee before it heads to the US. The film was seen on Halloween Night (31st October) from 8:30pm with special guests that include stars from RTE’s Love/Hate and former world boxing champion Steve “Celtic Warrior” Collins.

Curse of the Banshee starts out in 1963 when a group of Irish witch hunters try track down the local banshee after it was brought back thru the Ouija board that was used by one the five families can resurrect her.

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Ancient Irish King sacrificed to the Land for his people

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Eamonn Kelly, Keeper of Irish Antiquities at the National Museum of Ireland, who has worked on all the major bog body finds, theorizes that the oldest Bog Body – Cashel Man, about 4,000 years old – met his end in a form of sacrifice reports Irish Central.

Early Bronze Age death means Cashel Man is the oldest Bog Body

Found in a bog in County Laois in 2011, the Cashel Man is the oldest found bog body. From the early Bronze Age, about 4,000 years ago, he is believed to be the oldest bog body anywhere in the world. He was found between territories and within sight of a hill where he may have been crowned king.

Cashel Man suffered violent injuries to his back and a sword or axe wound on his arm, but this level of violence is not unusual for bog bodies. Keeper of Irish Antiquities, Eamonn Kelly, who has worked on all the major bog body finds, theorizes that the bog bodies died violent deaths as a form of sacrifice. He explained to the BBC:

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The Tuatha de Danann, the people of the Goddess Danu

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The Tuatha de Danann, the people of the Goddess Danu, were one of the great ancient tribes of Ireland. The important manuscript ‘The Annals of the Four Masters’, records that they ruled Ireland from 1897 B.C. to 1700 B.C.

The arrival of the tribe in Ireland is the stuff of legend. They landed at the Connaught coastline and emerged from a great mist. It is speculated that they burned their boats to ensure that they settled down in their new land. The rulers of Ireland at the time were the Fir Bolg, led by Eochid son of Erc, who was, needless to say, unhappy about the new arrivals.

The Tuatha de Danann won the inevitable battle with the Fir Bolg but, out of respect for the manner in which they had fought, they allowed the Fir Bolg to remain in Connaught while the victors ruled the rest of Ireland.

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The Irish Shee or Fairies and their Dwellings

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Shee or Fairies and their Dwellings.—The pagan Irish worshipped the side [shee], i.e. the earth-gods, or fairies, or elves. These side are closely mixed up with the mythical race called Dedannans, to whom the great majority of the fairy gods belonged.

According to our bardic chroniclers the Dedannans were the fourth of the prehistoric colonies that arrived in Ireland many centuries before the Christian era.

They were great magicians, and were highly skilled in science and metal-working. After inhabiting Ireland for about two hundred years, they were conquered by the people of the fifth and last colony—the Milesians.

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Hurling, Love and Fairies

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With Betaine around the corner here is a little history about love and Hurling. Hurling is an outdoor team game of ancient Gaelic and Irish origin. The game has prehistoric origins, has been played for over 3,000 years, and is considered to be the world’s fastest field sport.

The Hurling Match

THE fairies, with their true artistic love of all the gentle graces of life, greatly dislike coarse and violent gestures, and all athletic sports, such as hurling and wrestling; and they often try to put an end to them by some evil turn.

One day a great cloud of dust came along the road during a hurling match and stopped the game. On this the people grew alarmed, for they said the fairies are out hunting and will do us harm by blinding us; and thousands of the Sidhe swept by, raising a terrific dust, though no mortal eye could them.

Then one man, a good player and musician, ran for his fiddle and began to play some vigorous dance tunes, “for now,” said “the fairies will begin to dance and forget us, and they will be off in no time to hold a revel on the rath to the music of their own fairy pipes.”

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The Bardic Race

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THE magi, the Sephoe, the gymnosophists, and the Irish adepts, held much the same creed and the same dogmas with regard to the conduct of life necessary to heighten the spiritual power. They all abstained from animal food at such times as the rush of inspiration was on them and the madness of prophetic rage; and at all times they favoured solitude, living apart in the House of Learning or Bardic College, where they admitted no obtrusive intimacies with lower intellects to disturb their lofty and exalted moods of thought.

The means, also, by which they obtained mastery over diseases and the minds of men, with the strange and subtle use they made of herbs, were all kept secret amongst themselves; for they held that the prying eyes of shallow unbelievers should never be suffered to intrude upon the sacred mysteries. And it is certain that the bards possessed strange and mystic powers of wisdom beyond and above all other men. It was therefore very dangerous to offend a poet. If any one refused him a request he would take the lobe of the person’s ear and grind it between his fingers, and the man would die. Yet the bards were capable of much human emotion, and were the sweet singers of sympathy when sorrow touched a household.

The 200 Year-Old Elegy of the Ard-Filé

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