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Tag: Ireland (Page 1 of 10)

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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Whitsuntide Legend of the Fairy Horses

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There was a widow woman with one son, who had a nice farm of her own close to a lake, and she took great pains in the cultivation of the land, and her corn was the best in the whole country. But when nearly ripe, and just fit for cutting, she found to her dismay that every night it was trampled down and cruelly damaged; yet no one could tell by what means it was done.

So she set her son to watch. And at midnight he heard a great noise and a rushing of waves on the beach, and up out of the lake came a great troop of horses, who began to graze the corn and trample it down madly with their hoofs.

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Early Celtic Women of Ireland

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It is not known when or how the Irish language came to Ireland. It belongs to a group of languages called Celtic, once widely spoken in parts of the Continent and in Britain. Those areas also shared certain cultural characteristics in the centuries before and after the time of Christ.

The concept of Celticism is quite vague however and some modern archaeologists and historians argue heatedly about the means by which Ireland came to have a Celtic language and some aspects of Celtic culture. They have not yet been able to agree on how to interpret the sources available.

Greek and Roman writers describe early Celtic women as courageous and aggressive

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Irish Heritage Survey results

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The Irish people have just undertaken a survey whose results were released to coincide with National Heritage week. The results are somewhat surprising. Chief among the Irish heritage locations and landmarks respondents were most embarrassed at not having yet visited was the Hill of Tara. Listeners to our stories know how central and important the Hill of Tara is to the Heritage of the Irish Celts. The three most important sites voted for were Newgrange, the Burren and Glendalough in Co. Wicklow.

The Irish Times Heritage Survey

The Irish Times – Friday, August 26, 2011, reported:

The three most popular heritage sites are Newgrange Co Meath, the Burren in Co Clare and Glendalough in Co Wicklow.

That is according to a new survey released to coincide with National Heritage week.
However, while 450 of the 600 people interviewed claimed heritage was important for tourism, many respondents expressed some shame at not having visited popular sites.

Irish People embarrassed

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Whiskey, Poteen and Faeries

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The distilled spirit Whiskey has been associated with Scotland and Ireland for Hundreds of years. Whiskey is brewed in both countries and regularly drunk in homes and Pubs. In Ireland Whiskey is often drunk as a “chaser” to Irish Stout, and an Irish Coffee made with Irish Whiskey and fresh cream is a drink not to be missed.The earliest record of distilling Whiskey in Scotland appeared in the Exchequer Rolls as long ago as 1494.

“Eight bolls of malt to Friar John Cor wherewith to make “aqua vitae”-water of Life (Latin)

This was sufficient to produce almost 1500 bottles. By this time distilling was almost certainly an established practise among the Scottish peoples.

According to Legend St Patrick introduced distilling to Ireland in the fifth century AD.

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Proleek Dolmen Summer Solstice alignment

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Proleek Dolmen

Proleek Dolmen

Ancient dolmen in Louth points towards Slieve Gullion for Summer Solstice Sunset. It is known as the ‘Giant’s Load’ and, when you stand under the great capstone of Proleek Dolmen, it’s not difficult to see why. This huge boulder is reputed to weigh around 40 tonnes, yet it sits comfortably on top of three upright stones as if it was a sheet of paper and not a giant rock.

Proleek Dolmen built by Scottish Giant

Legend says the stone was carried there by a Scottish giant called Parrah Boug McShagean, who is reputed to be buried nearby. Another tale says it was brought by a giant from a nearby mountain.

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