Jul 18 2014

An Excerpt From True Irish Ghost Stories By St. John D. Seymour and Harry L. Neligan (1914)

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Pic: Brothersoft

Banshees, and other Death-Warnings

Of all Irish ghosts, fairies, or bogies, the Banshee (sometimes called locally the "Bohēēntha" or "Bankēēntha") is the best known to the general public: indeed, cross-Channel visitors would class her with pigs, potatoes, and other fauna and flora of Ireland, and would expect her to make manifest her presence to them as being one of the sights of the country.

She is a spirit with a lengthy pedigree—how lengthy no man can say, as its roots go back into the dim, mysterious past.

The most famous Banshee of ancient times was that attached to the kingly house of O’Brien, Aibhill, who haunted the rock of Craglea above Killaloe, near the old palace of Kincora. In A.D. 1014 was fought the battle of Clontarf, from which the aged king, Brian Boru, knew that he would never come away alive, for the previous night Aibhill had appeared to him to tell him of his impending fate.

 The Banshee’s method of foretelling death in olden times differed from that adopted by her at the present day: now she wails and wrings her hands, as a general rule, but in the old Irish tales she is to be found washing human heads and limbs, or bloodstained clothes, till the water is all dyed with human blood—this would take place before a battle. So it would seem that in the course of centuries her attributes and characteristics have changed somewhat.

Very different descriptions are given of her personal appearance. Sometimes she is young and beautiful, sometimes old and of a fearsome appearance. One writer describes her as "a tall, thin woman with uncovered head, and long hair that floated round her shoulders, attired in something which seemed either a loose white cloak, or a sheet thrown hastily around her, uttering piercing cries." Another person, a coachman, saw her one evening sitting on a stile in the yard; she seemed to be a very small woman, with blue eyes, long light hair, and wearing a red cloak. Other descriptions will be found in this chapter. By the way, it does not seem to be true that the Banshee exclusively follows families of Irish descent, for the last incident had reference to the death of a member of a Co. Galway family English by name and origin. Continue Reading »

Originally posted 2009-07-04 08:08:00. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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Jun 14 2014

The mystery of the Fulacht Fiadh or Burnt Mound

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Reconstruction of a burnt mound being used as a sweat house

Reconstruction of a burnt mound being used as a sweat house

Pic: Irish Archaeology

Excavation started on the burnt mounds at Rathmore, Co. Wicklow back in 2012 reports the Irish Archaeology websiteBurnt mounds are a type of archaeological site whose defining characteristic is large quantities of heat shattered stone. These sites commonly date to the Bronze Age, although examples from the Neolithic through to the medieval period are known. Burnt mounds are also known as fulacht fiadh and have been primarily interpreted as cooking places. The term fulacht fian is found in the early Irish literature from at least the 9th century AD (Waddell 1998, 174) and refers to open-air cooking places in which a water filled pit was made in which to cook meat.

The early Irish literature also shows that the word fulacht is not only applied to a water filled pit for boiling meat but also to an outdoor cooking pit where meat was roasted on a spit or over an open fire (Kelly 1998, 337).

In the field extant burnt mounds are noted as low grassy mounds which can be circular or crescent shaped. Size varies from sites which are only a few metres in diameter to those which can be upwards of thirty metres. The usual location of burnt mounds is close to a water source, such as a stream or lake, or simply in low-lying boggy ground. Due to the extensive agricultural activity which much of Ireland has seen, burnt mounds are often ploughed-out and leave no trace on the ground surface. In this case if the land is topsoil stripped the remains of the burnt mound will be seen as a shallow deposit of heat shattered stones which lie within a charcoal rich black soil.

Pit for holding Water into which Hot Stones were placed

The general sequence of events observable at these sites is the digging of a pit or pits into the subsoil, which functioned as troughs for holding water, followed by the build up of heat shattered stones and the residues of fires. Sometimes hut sites were located beside the sites. Excavated troughs are generally found to be rectangular or sub-rectangular in shape. Some excavated troughs contained a timber lining to keep the sides from collapsing, or a clay lining, to keep the water in. A fire was set near to the trough upon which stone was heated and the heated stones were subsequently dropped into the water. 
A timber lined trough, Rathmore, Co. Wicklow

A timber lined trough, Rathmore, Co. Wicklow

Pic: Irish Archaeology

The resultant boiling water was then used for a variety of purposes. Once the water heating process was complete the trough was cleaned out and the stones were cast aside giving rise to the characteristic shaped mounds present in today’s landscape. The stones did not always shatter in the process and could be re-used.

As well as the occurrence of troughs and deposits of burnt stone, burnt mounds have another common characteristic – the use of certain types of stone. In general sedimentary rocks such as sandstone are very common and experiments have shown that sandstone can be heated and cooled around five times before splitting into unusable fragments (Buckley 1990, 171).

Different Theories on how Burnt Mounds were used

The most common explanation for the function of burnt mound sites is as cooking sites, although a number of other theories have been postulated to explain the nature of these sites. It has been demonstrated that they could have been covered by light structures and used as saunas or sweathouses such as that at Rathpatrick, Co. Waterford (Eogan & Shee Twohig 2012, 179). Industrial uses such as the washing or dyeing of cloths and hides have been postulated (Waddell 1998, 177), and it has also been argued that they were used to brew beer (Quinn & Moore 2009). What is clear is that large quantities of hot or boiling water were produced and the sites often had long periods of use as attested by the large mounds of stone. The absence of animal bone does not preclude cooking activities as carcasses may have been prepared elsewhere and brought to the site and, once the meat was cooked it may have been taken elsewhere to be eaten. The damp soil conditions associated with burnt mounds do not generally favour the preservation of animal bone.

Burnt mounds appear to have a long period of use in Ireland. Excavations at Clowanstown, Co. Meath, revealed the presence of five upstanding Neolithic burnt mounds (Archaeology Ireland, winter 2007, p.12), and examples are known from this period through to the medieval period, giving a span of use of some five thousand years.

Along with Colm Moriarty, the original  host of this news article, we’d like to thank Catherine McLoughlin for this excellent article on burnt mounds/fulacht fiadh. Catherine is joint owner of the well-known Wexford based archaeological company Stafford McLoughlin Ltd and she has over ten years experience as a licenced archaeologist.

References

Archaeology Ireland. Wordwell, Dublin.

Buckley, V. 1990 Burnt Offerings. Wordwell, Dublin.

Hore, P.H. 1900-1911 History of the Town and County of Wexford. London.

Eogan, J., & Shee Twohig, E. 2012 Cois tSiuire – Nine Thousand years of Human Activity in the Lower Suir Valley. NRA Scheme Monographs 8, Dublin.

Kelly, F. 1998 Early Irish Farming. Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies.

Quinn, B., & Moore, D. 2009 ‘Fulacht fiadh’ and the beer experiment’ in Stanley et al (eds) Dining & Dwelling. NRA Monograph Series No. 6, 43-53, NRA, Dublin.

Waddell, J., 1998 The Prehistoric Archaeology of Ireland, Galway University Press.

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May 30 2014

Béal Beo: The Cylinder Project, Gobán Saor and the Fairy in the Sea

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Recording onto a Wax Cylinder

Recording onto a Wax Cylinder

Pic: Béal Beo

The audio archive of the National Folklore Collection, University College Dublin, houses some 1,100 wax cylinder recordings of folk narratives, folk song and folk music. The earliest of these date from the 1890s on the occasion of the first national Feis Ceoil competitions, which were held in Dublin and Belfast. This unique collection spans almost sixty years of folklore recording up to the mid 20th century. A selection is now available online at Béal Beo.

Among the amazing records and stories that have been captured – along with tgranscipts or English translations –  are some superb tales about Gobán Saor – the  highly skilled smith or architect in Irish history and legend. 

Gobán Saor

Gobban Saer (Gobban the Builder) is a figure regarded in Irish traditional lore as an architect of the seventh century, and popularly canonized as St. Gobban. The Catholic Encyclopedia considers him historical and born at Turvey, on the Donabate peninsula in North County Dublin, about 560.

In literary references, he was employed by many Irish saints to build churches, oratories, and bell towers, and he is alluded to in an eighth-century Irish poem, preserved in a monastery in Carinthia. In the “Life of St. Abban” it is said that “the fame of Gobban as a builder in wood as well as stone would exist in Ireland to the end of time.”

In Gobán Saor can be seen elements of Goibniu, the Old Irish god of smithcraft. His name can be compared with the Old Irish gobae ~ gobann ‘smith,’ Middle Welsh gof ~ gofein ‘smith,’ Gallic gobedbi ‘with the smiths,’ Latin faber ‘smith’ and with the Lithuanian gabija ‘sacred home fire’ and Lithuanian gabus ‘gifted, clever’. [Wiki]

A portable Ediphone recording machine used by folklore collectors until the 1950s.

A portable Ediphone recording machine used by folklore collectors until the 1950s.

Pic: Béal Beo

A variety of tales are recorded about the Gobán Saor, the mythical master builder of Irish tradition. This particular account was recorded from the 77 year-old Mícheál Mac an Mháistir, from Lettera, Kilcommon, Co. Mayo by Proinnsias de Búrca, Irish Folkore Commission, on the 29 November 1937. The story goes like this:

“Sixty five years ago this Christmas, my grandfather was telling me a story about Gobán Saor. Gobán Saor was in this country in Ireland and he was the best craftsman in the seven kingdoms. No castle could be built anywhere that was of high quality but that Gobán was the master and looking after it. He went up making Dublin castle and was long years on that castle.

” He came down to Sligo and married a respectable handsome woman. He had a large holding of land and he went up to Dublin again. And when he married this woman he stayed with her six months. He had to go up to Dublin castle again looking after his craftsmen and men. Well, the King of England sent him a letter asking him and pleading with him to go across to himself to make a big palace for himself in England. And he didn’t go as far as him at that time.”

There are many more tales of legend, folklore and history recorded on these fabulous wax cyulinders and you can listen to them all on this superb website. You can hear the story of the four-leaf clover, songs like the Vagabond Song and Seoirse Chonamara as well as stories of the fairies.

A Fairy in the Sea

Three men went out fishing one day. They weren’t long out when they saw fish swimming around the boat… They were out about an hour and they were looking at the net, and one of the men said to another to throw his knife at the net, and the man took his knife out of his pocket and he threw it out into the sea, and it wasn’t long after that before the water was full of blood.

That was all very well, but the three [of them] went home that night, and about eleven o’clock, or about then, the man who threw the knife heard a noise outside the house, and he got up and went to the door, and who was there but a man on the back of a white horse. The man spoke to him, and he said:

‘You were fishing today, and you threw a knife, and you must come with me now and pull out that knife.’

‘Very well!’ said the man, and he went up onto the horse behind him, and as they were going on their way, the man on the white horse said to him: ‘When you go to this house, do not eat anything that they give you.’ They were travelling on and they came to the sea, and the horse walked under the sea until she came to a big house, and they knocked on the door, and a woman opened the door. And when the man went in, there was a woman standing by the fire and there was a knife stuck in the top of her head. The man went in and he pulled out the knife. The people inside said to him to drink tea, or eat something, and he said he wouldn’t eat it.

He went out again, and he went up on the horse with the man of the white horse. When they were going home, the man said to him never to go out fishing again. The man went to America for a few years. He came home, ten years later, and he said one evening, he was at the house and he was looking out at the sea, and he said to himself he would go out fishing. He went out in a boat, and nobody saw or heard anything about him since.

[Source]

This website is a wonderful resource of early Irish lore and Story as told on the earliest recordings we have. Well worth checking out at http://www.bealbeo.ie/index.html

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Apr 23 2014

Grainne Uaile the Movie – The life of the 16th Century Irish Pirate Queen

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Grace O’ Malley – a prelude to a war’, trailer from the short prequel to the movie.

This summer “Grainne Uaile – The movie” will be released from its ship in Ireland and sailing the festival circuits. A 3 hour epic, written and directed by Ciaron Davies and starring Fionnuala Collins as the infamous pirate queen, the movie was shot on location all over Ireland, North and south.

A violent and gritty retelling of the life of Grainne Uaile, the 16th century Pirate Queen from Ireland. She was a fighter, a pirate and a tough woman, carving her mark in a man’s world. This exciting film is violent, dark, brutal, exciting and often darkly comic. The ultimate female action hero steeped in ancient Irish history.

“Grainne Uaile-The movie”, is an epic historical adventure based on the real life of 16th Century Irish Pirate queen, Grainne Uaile. It is a savage, brutal and gritty film exploring the life of this extraordinary women, who made a huge impact in the ‘16th century man’s world’ and also left a large imprint in Irish and world wide history, her name became infamous, and her life the stuff of legends. It follows her life from her early childhood, her youthful years as a clansman’s wife, her subsequent career in piracy, politics, intrigue, double dealings, her fight against the powers of the English state and her famous meeting with Queen Elizabeth.
Grainne Uaile on Ship

Grainne Uaile on Ship


Pic: Loose Gripp Films
The Villains of the Piece!

The Villains of the Piece!

Pic: Loose Gripp Films

Often violent, intense, with moments of dark comedy, Grainne Uaile has the look of a ‘moving Caravaggio painting’. The fighting is closer then any other film you will see, fast paced and fierce. We wanted to create battle sequences where the audience feels involved. Grainne, her self is presented as a very strong women, fiercer then the men around her, played beautifully by Fionnuala Collins, who exudes a mixture of charisma, style and intensity.

It also stars Peter Cosgrove, Robin Twist, Leonard G. Tone and Ciaron Davies.

Grainne Uaile

Grainne Uaile


Pic: Loose Gripp Films
We wanted to make a movie like the old epics of times gone by, brimming with story, life and characters. It was also important that all the actors performed their own stunts and sword fights. The battles them selves are often elaborate and full of tension. Filming was gruelling for the actors and daily shooting was tough and physically demanding.

Grainne Uaile – the movie is a roller coaster of a ride, set against the rich and complex tapestry of 16th century Ireland, and spanning 70 years of intrigue, drama and violence on both land and sea.

The pirate queen her self, is a tough, highly intelligent and hard woman, one of the toughest we have scene in cinema. Her enemies are equally as tough and her nemesis, Richard Bingham is a suitably twisted villain, somewhere between Genghis Khan and Hannibal Lector.

Thrown into the mix is an incredibly diverse and interesting set of characters who will make you laugh and cry in equal measures. Grainne and her crew of pirates will fight their way through hordes of English villains, whilst her keen wit and mind plots the demise of their foes and keeps their ship afloat in a sea treachery and skulduggery. Grainne Uaile – The Movie will be released this summer.
Riding into the History Books

Riding into the History Books


Pic: Loose Gripp Films

Find out more on their Facebook page and visit the Loose Gripp studios website to find out more about the Studio making the film or see the details on IMDB. Also keep your eyes peeled on the Grainne Uaile website where exciting things are soon to be revealed!

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Apr 19 2014

Largest Living History re-enactment ever in Ireland for the Battle of Clontarf

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Brian Boru of Clontarf Festival

Brian Boru of Clontarf Festival

Pic: Brian Boru Millenium

Dublin City Council proposes to stage the largest Viking village and living history battle re-enactment ever produced in Ireland. The Viking village will contain static and interactive displays of Viking life and include demonstrations of Viking Skills and Crafts such as weapons displays , storytelling, Blacksmith, Leather working, Pole Lathe, Coin Striking, Silversmith, Hnefatafl (Viking Chess), Archery Display and Viking Long Boat, Falconry Displays & Mounted Viking Displays.

For Event Details see below….

Brian Bóraime [Brian Boru] (c.941–1014)

Brian Boru is the most famous Irishman before the modern era who, from fairly modest beginnings, rose to be king of Ireland, dying a heroic death at the battle of Clontarf on 23 April 1014.He got his nickname Boru from the Old Irish bóruma, ‘of the cattle tribute’, or more likely ‘of Bél Bóraime’, a ringfort near Killaloe, Co. Clare where he had a royal residence. He was born about 941, at or near Killaloe, one of the twelve sons of Cennétig (d. 951), king of Dál Cais.The earlier history of Dál Cais is obscure but under Brian’s father and older brother Mathgamain the family grew rapidly in importance and by 967 Mathgamain was described as king of Cashel (i.e., Munster), the first member of Dál Cais to win the title, and perhaps the first king of the province in five centuries who didn’t belong to the great dynasty called the Eóganachta.

In 1011, Brian’s army marched north again and forced the one remaining independent power in the land, the king of Cenél Conaill in Donegal, to become his vassal. At this juncture Brian had reached the apogee of his power.

It wasn’t long, however, before the power structure which Brian had laboriously built up began to crumble. A rebellion broke out led by Sitric Silkenbeard of Dublin and the king of Leinster, Máelmórda mac Murchada, and Brian spent from 9 September until Christmas 1013 attacking them but without restoring the peace.

Vikings land in 'Dublin'

Vikings land in ‘Dublin’

Pic: Vikings land in ‘Dublin’

The inevitable consequence was Brian’s attempt to force Dublin and Leinster back into submission, and this culminated in the famous battle of Clontarf, on Good Friday, 23 April 1014. It was a bloody affair, the Dublin and Leinster armies being reinforced by troops from Man and the Western and Northern isles while Brian had only limited support from Munster, south Connacht, and perhaps Mide. Nevertheless, they won the day, although Brian himself was killed.

Later accounts portray the elderly and saintly King Brian, while praying in his tent, being brutally assassinated in the hour of victory by the fleeing Viking leader, Bródir. This is not mentioned in contemporary accounts, although they do report that after the battle the bodies of Brian and of his son Murchad were brought ceremoniously to Armagh by its clergy, and there waked for twelve nights, before being buried in a new tomb.

Something about the battle of Clontarf and its hero has never failed to hold the imagination of the Irish nation and it seems that Clontarf will remain an important landmark. As it was Brian Bóraime’s ultimate victory (however Pyrrhic) over his opponents, it can be said with justification that his career ended in glory, that he broke the Uí Néill monopoly of the high-kingship, and thereby shaped the course of Irish history for the next 150 years.

What is more, renewed Scandinavian attacks on England and Ireland in the run-up to Clontarf suggest that Brian’s victory may have averted a large-scale Scandinavian attack on Ireland, such as that which the Danish King Knut and his family successfully mounted against England at this time.

He was succeeded by his son Donnchad (d. 1064), then in turn by the latter’s more successful nephew, Tairdelbach (d. 1086) and by the latter’s son, Muirchertach (d. 1119), the family by then sporting with pride the surname Ua Briain (O’Brien).

Event Details

  • The Battle of Clontarf Festival is a Public Transport supported event.
  • Parking is available in the general area but is limited.
  • Dublin City Council would encourage anyone attending the event to use public transport.
  • Transport

    Visitors are strongly advised to utilise the public transport systems to access the festival.

    On Saturday Dublin Bus routes 29a, 31a, 31b, 32 and 130 will be running services from Abbey Street Lower, which will drop passengers off on Mount Prospect Avenue, a short walking distance to the entrance of St. Anne’s Park, at the Red Stables.On Sunday Dublin Bus routes 29, 31a, 31b, 32 and 130 will operate as usual with an additional Festival shuttle bus every 15 minutes on the 31 route from Eden Quay (between 10am-2pm) and from Abbey Street after 2pm. Normal fares will apply.Dart will be running services to Killester Dart Station which is the closest station to the event on Easter Saturday only. No DART service will run on Sunday April 20th.
    Map of Site Activities

    Map of Site Activities


    Pic: Map of Activity Sites

    See all of the activities in Ireland for the Brian Boru Millenium on the Heritage website.

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    Apr 18 2014

    Connla of the Fiery Hair and the Faerie Maiden

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    Connla of the Fiery Hair

    Connla of the Fiery Hair


    Pic: Marcel Borowiec
    Connla of the Fiery Hair was son of Conn of the Hundred Fights. One day as he stood by the side of his father on the height of Usna, he saw a maiden clad in strange attire coming towards him.

    “Whence comest thou, maiden?” said Connla.

    “I come from the Plains of the Ever Living,” she said, “there where there is neither death nor sin. There we keep holiday alway, nor need we help from any in our joy. And in all our pleasure we have no strife. And because we have our homes in the round green hills, men call us the Hill Folk.”

    The king and all with him wondered much to hear a voice when they saw no one. For save Connla alone, none saw the Fairy Maiden.

    “To whom art thou talking, my son? ” said Conn the king.

    Then the maiden answered,

    “Connla speaks to a young, fair maid, whom neither death nor old age awaits. I love Connla, and now I call him away to the Plain of Pleasure, Moy Mell, where Boadag is king for aye, nor has there been complaint or sorrow in that land since he has held the kingship.

    Oh, come with me, Connla of the Fiery Hair, ruddy as the dawn with thy tawny skin. A fairy crown awaits thee to grace thy comely face and royal form. Come, and never shall thy comeliness fade, nor thy youth, till the last awful day of judgment.”

    The king in fear at what the maiden said, which he heard though he could not see her, called aloud to his Druid, Coran by name.

    “Oh, Coran of the many spells,” he said, ” and of the cunning magic, I call upon thy aid. A task is upon me too great for all my skill and wit, greater than any laid upon me since I seized the kingship. A maiden unseen has met us, and by her power would take from me my dear, my comely son. If thou help not, he will be taken from thy king by woman’s wiles and witchery.”

    Then Coran the Druid stood forth and chanted his spells towards the spot where the maiden’s voice had been heard. And none heard her voice again, nor could Connla see her longer. Only as she vanished before the Druid’s mighty spell, she threw an apple to Connla.

    For a whole month from that day Connla would take nothing, either to eat or to drink, save only from that apple. But as he ate it grew again and always kept whole. And all the while there grew within him a mighty yearning and longing after the maiden he had seen.

    But when the last day of the month of waiting came, Connla stood by the side of the king his father on the Plain of Arcomin, and again he saw the maiden come towards him, and again she spoke to him.

    “’Tis a glorious place, forsooth, that Connla holds among short lived mortals awaiting the day of death. But now the folk of life, the ever-living ones, beg and bid thee come to Moy Mell, the Plain of Pleasure, for they have learnt to know thee, seeing thee in thy home among thy dear ones.

    When Conn the king heard the maiden’s voice he called to his men aloud and said:

    “Summon swift my Druid Coran, for I see she has again this day the power of speech.”

    Then the maiden said

    “Oh, mighty Conn, fighter of a hundred fights, the Druid’s power is little loved; it has little honour in the mighty land, peopled with so many of the upright. When the Law will come, it will do away with the Druid’s magic spells that come from the lips of the false black demon.”

    Then Conn the king observed that since the maiden came Connla his son spoke to none that spake to him. So Conn of the hundred fights said to him,

    “Is it to thy mind what the woman says, my son?”

    “’Tis hard upon me,”

    then said Connla;

    “I love my own folk above all things; but yet, but yet a longing seizes me for the maiden.”

    When the maiden heard this, she answered and said

    “The ocean is not so strong as the waves of thy longing. Come with me in my curragh, the gleaming, straight-gliding crystal canoe. Soon we can reach Boadag’s realm. I see the bright sun sink, yet far as it is, we can reach it before dark. There is, too, another land worthy of thy journey, a land joyous to all that seek it. Only wives and maidens dwell there. If thou wilt, we can seek it and live there alone together in joy.”

    When the maiden ceased to speak, Connla of the Fiery Hair rushed away from them and sprang into the curragh, the gleaming, straight-gliding crystal canoe. And then they all, king and court, saw it glide away over the bright sea towards the setting sun. Away and away, till eye could see it no longer, and Connla and the Fairy Maiden went their way on the sea, and were no more seen, nor did any know where they came.

    Celtic Fairy Tales, by Joseph Jacobs, [1892], at www.sacred-texts.com

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    Mar 27 2014

    Ancient Butter found 2,500 years later in a Bog at Shancloon in Ireland

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    Bog Butter in Wooden Urn

    Bog Butter in Wooden Urn

    Pic: Cork Butter Museum

    Experts from the National Museum of Ireland believe that the ‘Bog Butter’ found in the bog at Shancloon, north of Galway, could be 2,000 to 2,500-years-old. The butter was found when Ray Moylan from Headford was having his annual turf supply cut by contractor Declan McDonagh. Moylan, a bus driver, contacted the Office of Public Works, Headland Archaeology in Galway and the National Museum of Ireland when he made the discovery.

    The butter which was found in timber keg, made from the trunk of a tree, weighed almost 28 pounds. The keg was built using Iron Age implements. It was buried three to four-foot away.

    An assistant keeper with the National Museum of Ireland, Padraig Clancy, said that the butter could be up to 2,500 years old. Clancy along with Karena Morton conservator at the National Museum of Country Life, removed the butter from the bog. It will be brought to the National Museum’s facility in Lanesboro. Clancy said:

    The type of vessel it is in usually helps us to date the period the butter is from, and this one could date back to the Iron Age.

    Archaeologist Ross MacLeod commented on the quantity of butter discovered in Galway. Speaking to the Irish Times he said:

    It would have been a substantial loss to the family that buried the butter in the bog that they never recovered it. Perhaps the person who buried it died or forgot where it was left… That might have been stored up by a family during the summer and put into the bog for use during the cold winter months. Its loss could have been a tremendous one for some family a long, long time ago.

    Bogs were used as a primitive form of refrigeration by people in the past. The peat creates a vacuum around buried material.

    Read more: http://www.irishcentral.com/news/bog-butter-find-believed-to-be-2500-years-old-121769889-237387291.html#ixzz2x9uRgxF3

    Votive Offerings

    Another theory that is sometimes seen with the discovery of Bog Treasures like this, is that the object would have been a votive offering – an offering to the Gods. Butter, no doubt seen as a highly valuable and prized commodity, would have been ideally suited as an offering and 2,500 years ago the Butter would have been placed in watery marsh, and probably not buried. Bogs tend to develop as the marshland dries out. Rather than thinking that this Buttery treasure had been forgotten by its owner, it seems far more likely to me that the churn was gifted to the Gods in the hopes of gaining their favour, much as other votive offerings have been found throughout Celtic Europe. Jane McIntosh, Handbook to Life in Prehistoric Europe, p. 256 refers to…

    packages or pots of “bog butter” (that) have been found, probably placed in bogs or lakes in the Bronze or Iron Age. These may have been votive offerings or simply placed in water to keep cool in summer months and never retrieved.

    Rubicon Heritage continues. Theories about the origins of Bog Butter deposits are divided between two schools. The first suggests ritual `votive offerings´ – the deliberate deposition of the casks in honour of/supplication to a deity. The second school proposes `human error´ – accidental deposition either as a result of forgetfulness or the death of the owner. Bogs would have acted as a reliable form of refrigeration for a winter stock of butter surplus and the unfortunate owners of the butter failed to adequately mark the stockpile.

    The IPCC (Irish Peatland Conservation Council) lists a reference to a recipe for Bog Butter from an account of Irish food written by Dinely in 1681: ‘Butter, layed up in wicker baskets, mixed with a sort of garlic and buried for some time in a bog to make a provision of an high taste for Lent’.

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    Mar 25 2014

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


    Early Irish Man
    Pic: Irish Tribes
    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.

    The host of Conn’s Half entered Leinster.  The host insulted Áedán, a leper in Cluain Dubhail.  Áedán said that God would avenge him upon the Uí Néill forever.  Donn Bó became terribly discouraged.  He refused to sing or recite for Fergal that night, but he promised that he would sing a song for him the next night no matter where they might be.

    St. Brighid Appears

    The hosts came together on December 11, 722 at the Hill of Almhaine, Co. Kildare.  St. Brighid showed herself over the hosts for the sake of the Laighin and St. Colm Cille showed himself above the hosts for the sake of the Uí Néill.  Brighid won the day.  The battle was broken on the Uí Néill.  Fergal mac Máele Dúin was killed along with thousands of others on the Uí Néill side.  Many of them were beheaded, including Donn Bó.  That night while the Laighin were celebrating, the Laighin warrior Báethgalach went out to the field of slaughter.  There in the dark, he heard the head of Donn Bó singing sweetly for Fergal in fulfillment of his promise.  At last, through a miracle of Colm Cille, the head of Donn Bó was placed back on his neck and he came home safe and sound to his mother.

    A Window on Early Christian Ireland

    For a good part of the ancient beliefs, norms, relationships, and rituals found in the story called “Cath Almaine”, we can find corroboration in various fields such as archeology, DNA research, and European history. Let’s look at some of these cultural characteristics, particularly those which are corroborated by new research.

    A.  Donn Bó and his Hair

    …is uad bud ferr rann espa ocus ríg-scéla for doman. Is é bud ferr do glés ech ocus do innsma shleg ocus d’fhige fholt. (1)

    …is é ba fhearr ar an domhain do laoithe a chumadh agus rí-scéalta a insint.  Is é ba fhearr do chapaill a ghléasadh, sleánna a inseamú, agus folt a thrilseánú.

    … he was the best in the world in composing lays and telling royal stories.  He was the best at harnessing horses, rivetting spears, and plaiting hair.

    We can see from these lines that the Gaeil had significant interest in the appearance of their hair in the early Christian period. We now have definite evidence that such interest came down from the centuries before Christ.

    Specifically, a human sacrifice was found in 2003 in a bog in Clonycavan, Co. Meath. According to radiocarbon dating done on this “Clonycavan Man”, he was alive at some time between 392 BC and 201 B.C. During his lifetime, he gave much attention to his hair and he used a kind of hair-gel made from plant oil and resin imported from SE Europe.

    We know that the human head was important in the religion and ritual of the Celts as the seat of the soul.  It is easy to understand, therefore, that hair and its appearance were also important.

    There were others in Europe in the Iron Age who were interested in hair-plaiting and hair-styles. In 1948, “Osterby Man” was found in a bog near Osterby, Germany. He was a warrior of the Suebi, a warrior of the Germanic tribe mentioned by Tacitus and renowned for the ‘Swabian Knot’ in their hair. “Osterby Man” was alive about the first century after Christ.

    B.  Connachta, Uí Néill, Airghialla, and DNA

    Ba trom trá la Fergal sin .i. Laigin do nemchomall a n-gellta fris, co rofhuacrad sluaiged dírecra dímór uad for Leith Chuinn .i. for Eogan ocus for Conall ocus for Airgiallaib ocus Mide … do thobach na bórama.  (2)

    Ba throm le Fergal é sin, .i. nár chomhlíon Laighin a ngeall leis, agus d’fhógair sé slógadh ollmhór ar Leath Chuinn, .i. ar Chinéal Eoghain agus ar Chinéal Chonaill agus ar Airghialla agus Mhíde …  chun an Bhóramha a thobhach.

    That was onerous to Fergal, i.e., that the Laighin did not fulfill their promise to him, and he called on Conn’s Half for a great hosting, i.e., on the Cinéal eoghain and Cinéal Chonaill and the Airghialla and Míde… to levy the Bóramha.

    In this sentence, we can see reference to the “official genealogy” of the Dál Chuinn created by the seanchaidhthe of the Uí Néill which claims that the Connachta, Uí Néill In Tuaiscirt (with Cinéal Chonaill and Cinéal Eoghain among them), Clann Choirpre mhic Néill (which is not mentioned in this sentence), Mide (.i. Uí Néill in Deiscirt), and Airghialla, descend from Conn Chéadchathach.

    In 2006, geneticists at Trinity College, Dublin, suggested that most of the Uí Néill descend from someone who lived some 1700 years ago and that person was the “most fecund” man in the history of Ireland.  Many immediately assumed that this was Niall Naoighiallach.

    Between 2006 and 2009, it was confirmed that most of the Uí Néill and Connachta descend from one common ancestor.  In those studies, the geneticists had plenty of DNA samples from the Uí Bhriúin and the Uí Fhiachrach, but it was difficult to find DNA samples from the Uí Ailella and the Uí Fergusa.  In Fergus’ case, only the Síl Fergusa Cháecháin descend from him.

    In the genealogies, as we know, Eochu Mugmedón was the common ancestor of the Connachta and Uí Néill. But it is also possible that this common DNA comes down from an ancestor of Eochu, unknown or legendary (e.g. Muiredach Tírech, Fiachu Sraiptine, Cairbre Lifechair, 7rl.).

    The Uí Ruairc are an important exception. We expect from Seanchas that they would descend from the Uí Bhriúin, but they have a distinct DNA ‘haplogroup’; i.e., they do not descend from the Uí Bhriúin.  Also, despite the official genealogies of the Uí Néill (and as predicted by T.F. O’Rahilly and other scholars), there is no blood relationship between the Airghialla and the Connachta.  And as Byrne shows with the following verse (written in a text of Féineachas in the 8th Century), there was no consanguinity either between Dal Chuinn (i.e., the Féini) and the Ulaidh, or between the Dal Chuinn and the Laighin:

    Batar trí prímcheinéla i nHére, .i. Féini 7 Ulaith 7 Gáilni .i. Laigin.   (3)

    Bhí trí phríomhchinéal in Éirinn, .i. Féini agus Ulaidh agus Gáilni, .i. Laighin.

    There were three primary kinships in Ireland, i.e., the Féini and Ulaidh and Gáilióin, i.e., the Laighin.

    C.  The Human Head as a Trophy

    Is ann-sin roráid Murchad mac Brain: “Do-bérainn carpat ceithre cumala ocus mo ech ocus m’errad don láech noragad isin n-ármach ocus do-bérad comartha chucainn as.”   “Ragat-sa,” ar Báethgalach …  (4)

    Is ansin go ndúirt Murchad mac Brain:  “Do bhéarfainn carbad ceithre cumhal agus m’each agus mo chathéide don laoch a rachadh in áit an áir agus do bhéarfadh comhramh chugainn as.”  “Rachaidh mé,” ar Báethgalach…

    Then Murchad mac Brain said:  “I would give a chariot worth four cumhal and my steed and my battle dress to the warrior who would go into the place of slaughter and who would bear a trophy to us out of it.”  “I will go,” said Báethgalach…

    Perhaps it is not an exaggeration to say that we can find head-hunting or head-taking in virtually every early Irish story except in those of naomhsheanchas. (Even in the area of the Faith, we can see images of heads on churches as at Díseart Uí Dheághaidh.) There is corroboration for our head-taking among the Celts outside Ireland in accounts written by Poseidonius, Strabo, Livy, Ammianus, Diodorus Siculus, and others. Celts took the heads of famous commanders such as the Roman general Postumius and the Greek king Ptolemy Keraunos.

    But in the story “Cath Almaine”, when the warrior Báethgalach said he would go out to bring back a trophy from the field of slaughter, Murchad mac Brain said nothing about a human head.  Based on newly-discovered remains in a Celtic sanctuary at Ribemont-sur-Ancre, France, we can imagine that the word “comartha” was non-specific, just as is the word ‘comhramh’ in Modern Irish and the word ‘trophy’ in English. In this  sanctuary, built around 260 B.C. in honor of a Celtic god and in memory of a battle in which tribes of the Belgii won a victory over Armorican tribes, the enclosure is crowded with row on row of hundreds of warriors, decapitated but still in their battle-armor.

    D.  Pious Lepers

    I did an electronic search in the annals for “clamh”, “lobhar”, “leper” and their variations. There is no reference to any leper in the Annals of Tigenach or the Annals of Loch Cé, but I found the following references in other annals.

    1.  Annála Ríoghachta na hÉireann:

    551.2   S. Neasan Lobhar d’écc.
    551.2  Fuair Naomh Neasan an lobhar bás.
    551.2  St. Neasan the leper died.

    722. For this year, a summary of the story “Cath Almaine” was written in which we find reference to “the cow of the leper”, but Áedan the leper is not named.

    2.  Annála Uladh:

    A.D. 921.8  Indredh Aird Macha … o Gallaibh Atha Cliath, .i. o Gothbrith oa Imhair, cum suo exercitu, …  & na taigi aernaighi do anacal lais cona lucht de cheilibh De & di lobraibh…

    A.D. 921.8  Invasion of Ard Macha … by the Foreigners of Áth Cliath, .i. by Gothfrith grandson of Ímar, with his army, … and the houses of prayer were spared by him with their culdees and of lepers…

    A.D. 952.3  Cele clam & ancorita ..
    A.D. 952.3  Fuair Céile, lobhar agus ancairít, bás…
    A.D. 952.3  Céile, leper and anchorite, died…

    3.  Annála Inse Fáil:

    A.D. 556.1  Nistán leprosus obíit.
    A.D. 556.1  Fuair Nistán (.i. “San Neasan”) bás.
    A.D. 556.1  Nistán (St. Nessan) died.

    4.  Annála Chonnacht:

    A.D. 1232.9  Fachtna h. hAllgaith comarba Dromma Mucado & oificel h. Fiachrach, fer tigi aiged & lubra & leginn & lesaigti tiri & talman, in hoc anno quieuit.

    A.D. 1232.9  Fachtna Ó hAllgaith, coarb of Drumacoo and Official of the Uí Fiachrach, who kept a guest-house and a leper-house and was (a man) of learning and a benefactor of the countryside, rested this year.

    5.  Chronicon Scotorum:

    A.D. 557   Nessan leprosus quieuit.
    A.D. 557  Nessan (.i. San Neasan) rested.

    As we see above, there is a close link between lepers and Christianity in the Annals.

    E. Brigid and Colm Cille making war on each other

    The monasteries (and saints) made war on each other often enough in the early Christian period. For example, in the Annals of Ulster:

    A.D. 760.8  Bellum hitir muintir Clono 7 Biroir i mMoin Choisse Blae.  (5)

    A.D. 760.8 Cath idir manistir Chluain Mhic Nóis agus manistir Bhiorra i Móin Choise Blae

    A.D. 760.8 a battle between the monastery of Clonmacnoise and the monastery of Birr in Móin Choise Blae

    A.D. 764.6  Bellum Arggamain inter familiam Cluana Mocu Nois 7 Dearmaighe ubi ceciderunt Diarmait Dub m. Domnaill 7 Dighlach m. Duib Liss 7 .cc. uiri de familia Dermaige.  Bresal m. Murchada uictor exstetit com familia Cluana.  (6)

    A.D. 764.6  Cath Argamain idir familia Chluain Mhic Nóis agus (mainistir Choilm Cille ag) Darú inar thit Diarmait Dub mac Domnaill agus Dighlach mac Duib Liss agus 200 fear saor de familia Dharú.  Tháinig Bresal mac Murchada agus familia Chluain Mhic Nóis as an gcath mar bhuaiteoirí.

    A.D. 764.6  The Battle of Argamain between the family of Clonmacnoise and (the monastery of Colm Cille) at Durrow in which fell Diarmait Dub mac Domhnail and Dighlach mac Duib Liss and 200 free men of the family of Durrow.  Bresal mac Murchada and the family of Clonmacnoise came out of the battle as victors.

    And it was said that Colm Cille made war for the sake of Cinéal Chonaill through the ages each time the Uí Dhomhnaill brought his Cathach into battle with them.

    Summary

    “Cath Almaine” is a wonderfully rich story, filled with the world-view (. i. ‘weltanschauung’) of the Gaeil.  With improvement in areas like archaeology and DNA research almost every day, I expect we will learn more about this story and its ancient beliefs, practices, relationships, and rituals in the coming years.

    _____________

    1   Cath Almaine, edited by Pádraig Ó Riain,   Baile Átha Cliath: Institiúid Ard-Léinn Bhaile Átha Cliath, 1978.
    Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition (CELT), paragraph 3 on http://celt.ucc.ie/published/G302022/index.html .  I am
    grateful to Professor Tomás Ó Cathasaigh for his translation “The Battle of Allen”, Coursepack,   Celtic E-  114,
    Early Irish Historical Tales, Spring Term, 2011
    2   Cath Almaine, edited by Pádraig Ó Riain, CELT edition, paragraph 2
    3   Byrne, p. 106
    4   Cath Almaine, edited by Pádraig Ó Riain, CELT edition, paragraph 15
    5   Annals of Ulster, edited by Seán Mac Airt and Gearóid Mac Niocaill, Part 1.  Baile Átha Cliath:
    Institiúid Ard-Léinn Bhaile Átha Cliath, 1983.  p. 214
    6   Ibid., p. 216

     

    With thanks to Gerald Kelly for his research. We are a little confused as to the freedom to use this piece as it is listed here as a “Free Article” and here as written permission needed. We have chosen the route most obvious to spread the word of Mr. Kelly’s research, but if he should wish that this article be withdrawn we will most happily do so and apologise for any misunderstanding or inconvenience caused.

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    Originally posted 2011-09-22 08:31:36. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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    Mar 17 2014

    The Lorica of St. Patrick or St. Patrick’s Breastplate

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    St. Patrick's Breastplate

    St. Patrick’s Breastplate

    Pic: Faerie Factoid

    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”).

    The Most Commonly Heard Modern Version

    I arise today
    Through the strength of heaven;

    Light of the sun,
    Splendor of fire,
    Swiftness of wind,

    Depth of the sea,
    Stability of earth,
    Firmness of rock.

    I arise today
    Through God’s strength to pilot me;
    God’s might to uphold me,
    God’s wisdom to guide me,
    God’s hand to guard me.

    Afar and anear,
    Alone or in a multitude.

    Christ shield me today
    Against wounding:

    Christ with me,
    Christ before me,
    Christ behind me,

    Christ on my right,
    Christ on my left,

    Christ beneath me,
    Christ above me,
    Christ in me.

    I arise today
    Through the mighty strength
    Of the Lord of Creation.

    [source]

    The literal translation from the old Irish text

    I bind to myself today
    The strong virtue of the Invocation of the Trinity:
    I believe the Trinity in the Unity
    The Creator of the Universe.

    I bind to myself today
    The virtue of the Incarnation of Christ with His Baptism,
    The virtue of His crucifixion with His burial,
    The virtue of His Resurrection with His Ascension,
    The virtue of His coming on the Judgement Day.

    I bind to myself today
    The virtue of the love of seraphim,
    In the obedience of angels,
    In the hope of resurrection unto reward,
    In prayers of Patriarchs,
    In predictions of Prophets,
    In preaching of Apostles,
    In faith of Confessors,
    In purity of holy Virgins,
    In deeds of righteous men.

    I bind to myself today
    The power of Heaven,
    The light of the sun,
    The brightness of the moon,
    The splendour of fire,
    The flashing of lightning,
    The swiftness of wind,
    The depth of sea,
    The stability of earth,
    The compactness of rocks.

    I bind to myself today
    God’s Power to guide me,
    God’s Might to uphold me,
    God’s Wisdom to teach me,
    God’s Eye to watch over me,
    God’s Ear to hear me,
    God’s Word to give me speech,
    God’s Hand to guide me,
    God’s Way to lie before me,
    God’s Shield to shelter me,
    God’s Host to secure me,
    Against the snares of demons,
    Against the seductions of vices,
    Against the lusts of nature,
    Against everyone who meditates injury to me,
    Whether far or near,
    Whether few or with many.

    I invoke today all these virtues
    Against every hostile merciless power
    Which may assail my body and my soul,
    Against the incantations of false prophets,
    Against the black laws of heathenism,
    Against the false laws of heresy,
    Against the deceits of idolatry,
    Against the spells of women, and smiths, and druids,
    Against every knowledge that binds the soul of man.

    Christ, protect me today
    Against every poison, against burning,
    Against drowning, against death-wound,
    That I may receive abundant reward.

    Christ with me, Christ before me,
    Christ behind me, Christ within me,
    Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
    Christ at my right, Christ at my left,
    Christ in the fort,
    Christ in the chariot seat,
    Christ in the poop [deck],
    Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
    Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks to me,
    Christ in every eye that sees me,
    Christ in every ear that hears me.

    I bind to myself today
    The strong virtue of an invocation of the Trinity,
    I believe the Trinity in the Unity
    The Creator of the Universe.

    [source]

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    Mar 15 2014

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

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    Jet Propelled Leprechaun 2013

    Jet Propelled Leprechaun 2013

    Pic: Global Change-Makers

    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

    chicagostpatsparade.com

    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.

    South Side Irish Parade

    Noon, March 16

    Western Avenue from 103rd to 115th streets, Chicago

    The South Side Irish Parade is now a family-friendly event with a zero-tolerance policy for alcohol along the route, although some responsible pre-gaming in one of the watering holes along Western Avenue is not discouraged.

    (773) 916-7757

    southsideirishparade.org

    The Chicago Stockyard Kilty band

    The Chicago Stockyard Kilty band

    Pic: South Side Irish Parade

    Last year’s parade attracted 90 participants, from kilted bagpipers to rosy-cheeked dancers and even a pack of Irish Wolfhounds.

    The day kicks off with a one-mile fun run called The Emerald Isle Mile.

    Northwest Side Irish Parade

    10 a.m. March 16

    William J. Onahan School, 6634 W. Raven St.

    northwestsideirish.org

    The Northwest Irish Parade is a celebration of faith, family and heritage now in its 11th year. The parade includes face painting, balloons and features dancers from the Dillon-Gavin School of Dance. The official After Party starts at 1 p.m. at Immaculate Conception Recreation Center, 7211 W. Talcott Ave., Chicago. Tickets are $10 for 12 and over; children under 12 are $5. The party includes traditional corned beef and cabbage meal with live entertainment.

    St. Patrick’s Festival

    Irish American Heritage Center

    Irish American Heritage Center

    Pic: Irish American Heritage Center

    March 15-17

    Irish American Heritage Center, 4626 N. Knox Ave.

    (773) 282-7035

    Irish-american.org

    The Irish American Heritage Center hosts three days of St. Patrick’s Day follies starting immediately after the city’s parade March 15. This annual family-friendly event includes traditional and contemporary Irish music, dance, food, children’s activities and an Arts and Craft Fair, with vendors selling Irish gifts. Tickets are $12-$15.

    On March 16, stop in for a pint, live music, NCAA games on the large TV screens, darts and a limited traditional Irish menu. Hours are from 1 to 8 p.m. 21 and over only.

    Come back March 17 for the St. Patrick’s Day Celebration. The party runs from 12 to 10 p.m. and includes music, dance and face painting for children. There will be a mass at 11 a.m. $10 at the door; kids are free.

    Shoreline Sightseeing River Cruise

    March 15

    Shorelinesightseeing.com/cruisestours/special-events/st-patricks-day-cruise

    Last year, I took my family downtown to see the green Chicago River. It was a raw, grey day, we had to walk forever (not fun with young children) and on more than one occasion I had to cover the kids’ ears from hearing too much o’ the blarney.

    Learn from my mistake and get an up-close view of the green Chicago River via a Shoreline Sightseeing Cruise.

    Departures for the 90-minute cruise are before and after the city’s St. Patrick’s Day noontime parade March 15, and it includes a traditional Irish buffet with corned beef and cabbage and all the trimmings. You can even get an Irish coffee or a pint at the cash bar. Tickets are $49.

    Suburbs

    Naperville

    St. Patrick’s Day Parade and St. Paddy’s Day 5K

    March 15

    Naperville

    Wsirish.org

    Everyone’s Irish at the 21st annual West Suburban Irish St. Patrick’s Day Parade on March 15. The parade kicks off at 10 a.m. from Naperville North High School at 899 N. Mill St. The parade continues south on Mill Street, east on Jefferson Avenue, south on Main Street and west on Water Street to the Municipal Center.

    West Suburban Irish

    West Suburban Irish

    Pic: West Suburban Irish

    All residents are encouraged to donate a non-perishable food item to benefit the Loaves and Fishes Community Food Pantry.

    The parade steps off immediately following the Rotary Club of Naperville/Sunrise St. Paddy’s Day 5K. The fun continues at Quigley’s Irish Pub after the parade. The parade will include nearly 100 entries comprised of marching bands, youth groups, local businesses, politicians and other groups.

    Of course there will be traditional Irish trappings, like six different pipe and drum groups and two schools of Irish dancers, said West Suburban Irish president Chuck Corrigan.

    At the end of the parade this year, we are going to have some interesting things. We will have the Aurora Area Shrine Club with their small cars and the Medinah Motor Corp, which is some Harley motorcycles that drive in precision units and do little tricks. We’ll also have Mongo Man from bd’s Mongolian Grill.

    No matter the weather, the crowds are always enthusiastic, he said.

    I think they enjoy getting outside. It feels like the kickoff to spring for a lot of folks.

    The grand marshal is Mike Reilly, who serves on the Naperville Park Board and is a member of West Suburban Irish.

    St. Charles St. Patrick’s Day Parade

    Downtown St. Charles Parade

    Downtown St. Charles Parade

    Pic: Downtown St. Charles

    March 15

    Downtownstcharles.org/events/st-patricks-parade/

    The St. Patrick’s Parade goes down Main Street (Route 64) at 2 p.m. and features Irish dancers, Irish music, floats and more. There will also be a Deck Out Your Lucky Dog contest; register at the tent in front of the Municipal Center between 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Before that, come to the Arcada Theater for a St. Patrick’s Dance show at 10 a.m. Several local dance studios will perform.

    East Dundee St. Patrick’s Day Parade

    March 15

    Downtown East Dundee

    Dundeestpats.com

    There will be a celebratory fireworks show on March 14, and the parade is at 11 a.m. The grandstand is at Barrington Avenue and River Street. There will be bands, step dancers, stilt walkers, horses, cavalry, green footballs and an Irish Princess contest for 12-16-year-old girls living in Dundee Township. The FISH Food Pantry will be accepting food and cash donations during parade.

    Irish Jig Jog 5K Race

    March 15

    St. Catherine of Siena, 845 W. Main St., West Dundee

    Irishjigjog.com

    The 10th Annual Irish Jig Jog kicks off at 8:30 a.m. March 15 at St. Catherine of Siena. The event includes breakfast, a beer tent, bagpipers, Irish dancing and a $10,000 Shamrock Raffle.

    Irish Jig Jogging

    Irish Jig Jogging

    Pic: Irish Jig Jog

    Shamrock Scramble

    10-11 a.m. March 16

    Schaumburg Park District, 505 N. Springinsguth Road, Schaumburg

    (847) 490-7020

    Parkfun.com

    Geared to the 6-and-under set, children can make a St. Patrick’s Day craft and have a snack before heading out into field of green clovers. Each clover includes a treat. Find a four-leaf clover and win a prize. Wear your best St. Patrick’s Day attire. Pre-registration is required by March 14. $5-$7.

    This list of events has been sourced from the ‘Go Irish’ column of the Courier-News.

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