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Iron Age Man loved a nice bit of Swiss Cheese


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Archaeologists have uncovered evidence that production of Swiss Cheese dates back to prehistoric times, paving the way for such delicacies as Gruyere and Emmental reports Newcastle University.

An international team led by the University of York and Newcastle University looked at the composition of residues left on fragments of ceramic pots found at six sites in the Swiss Alps. The shards of pottery were known to date from Neolithic times to the Iron Age. The researchers found that the residue on those from the 1st millennium BC — the Iron Age — had the same chemical signatures associated with heating milk from animals such as cows, sheep and goats, as part of the cheesemaking process.

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From Cauldron to Grail in Celtic Mythology

The transformation from Cauldron to Grail is a theme that occurs throughout Celtic Mythology – from the Cauldrons of the Dagda and Cerridwen to the Holy Grail of King Arthur. In one part of the Mabinogion, which is the cycle of myths found in Welsh legend, Cerridwen brews up a potion in her magical cauldron to give to her son Afagddu (Morfran). She puts young Gwion in charge of guarding the cauldron, but three drops of the brew fall upon his finger, blessing him with the knowledge held within. Cerridwen pursues Gwion through a cycle of seasons until, in the form of a hen, she swallows Gwion, disguised as an ear of corn. Nine months later, she gives birth to Taliesin, the greatest of all the Welsh poets.

The Cauldron of Knowledge

Cerridwen’s magical cauldron held a potion that granted knowledge and inspiration — however, it had to be brewed for a year and a day to reach its potency. Because of her wisdom, Cerridwen is often granted the status of Crone, which in turn equates her with the darker aspect of the Triple Goddess (as envisaged in modern paganism). As a goddess of the Underworld, Cerridwen is often symbolized by a white sow, which represents both her fecundity and fertility and her strength as a mother. She is both the Mother and the Crone; many modern Pagans honour Cerridwen for her close association to the full moon.

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The Legend of St George and the Dragon

By tradition in England, 23 April is the day for a red rose in the button hole, the national flower. However, unlike other countries, England does not celebrate it like Americans celebrate 4 July with fireworks. In fact, you are more likely to see big St Patrick parades in England celebrating Ireland’s National Day, more than you would see any sign of St George’s Day being celebrated.

For most people in England St George’s Day is just another ordinary working day.

Despite the fact that St. George has been the patron saint of England since the 14th century, only one in five people know that St. George’s Day falls on 23 April.

More than a quarter of people living in England do not even know who their patron saint is!

St. George is the patron saint of England. His emblem, a red cross on a white background, is the flag of England, and part of the British flag. St George’s emblem was adopted by Richard The Lion Heart and brought to England in the 12th century. The king’s soldiers wore it on their tunics to avoid confusion in battle.

Who was the real St George and what did he do to become England’s patron saint?

St George was a brave Roman soldier who protested against the Romans’ torture of Christians and died for his beliefs. The popularity of St George in England stems from the time of the early Crusades when it is said that the Normans saw him in a vision and were victorious.

The Legend of St. George and the Dragon

St. George traveled for many months by land and sea until he came to Libya. Here he met a poor hermit who told him that everyone in that land was in great distress, for a dragon had long ravaged the country. The old man said:

Every day, he demands the sacrifice of a beautiful maiden and now all the young girls have been killed. The king’s daughter alone remains, and unless we can find a knight who can slay the dragon she will be sacrificed tomorrow. The king of Egypt will give his daughter in marriage to the champion who overcomes this terrible monster.

When St. George heard this story, he was determined to try and save the princess, so he rested that night in the hermit’s hut, and at daybreak set out to the valley where the dragon lived. When he drew near he saw a little procession of women, headed by a beautiful girl dressed in pure Arabian silk. The princess Sabra was being led by her attendants to the place of death. The knight spurred his horse and overtook the ladies. He comforted them with brave words and persuaded the princess to return to the palace. Then he entered the valley.

As soon as the dragon saw him it rushed from its cave, roaring with a sound louder than thunder. Its head was immense and its tail fifty feet long. But St. George was not afraid. He struck the monster with his spear, hoping he would wound it.

The dragon’s scales were so hard that the spear broke into a thousand pieces. and St. George fell from his horse. Fortunately he rolled under an enchanted orange tree against which poison could not prevail, so that the venomous dragon was unable to hurt him. Within a few minutes he had recovered his strength and was able to fight again.

He smote the beast with his sword, but the dragon poured poison on him and his armour split in two. Once more he refreshed himself from the orange tree and then, with his sword in his hand, he rushed at the dragon and pierced it under the wing where there were no scales, so that it fell dead at his feet.

The Real St George

Saint George is popularly identified with England and English ideals of honour, bravery and gallantry, but actually he wasn’t English at all. Very little is known about the man who became St George.

Quick Facts about St George

  • Born in Turkey (in Cappadocia)
  • Lived in 3rd century
  • His parents were Christian
  • Became a Roman soldier
  • Protested against Rome’s persecution of Christians
  • Imprisoned and tortured, but stayed true to his faith
  • Beheaded at Lydda in Palestine
  • St. George is believed to have been born in Cappadocia (now Eastern Turkey) in the year A.D. 270. He was a Christian. At the age of seventeen he joined the Roman army and soon became renowned for his bravery. He served under a pagan Emperor but never forgot his Christian faith.

When the pagan Emperor Diocletian started persecuting Christians, St. George pleaded with the Emperor to spare their lives. However, St. George’s pleas fell on deaf ears and it is thought that the Emperor Diocletian tried to make St. George deny his faith in Christ, by torturing him. St George showed incredible courage and faith and was finally beheaded near Lydda in Palestine on 23 April, 303.

In 1222, the Council of Oxford declared April 23 to be St George’s Day and he replaced St Edmund the Martyr as England’s patron saint in the 14th century. In 1415, April 23 was made a national feast day.

Patron Saint

St George is patron saint not only of England but also of Aragon, Catalonia,, Ethiopia, Georgia, Greece, Lithuania, Palestine, Portugal, and Russia, as well as the cities of Amersfoort, Beirut, Bteghrine, Cáceres, Ferrara, Freiburg, Genoa, Ljubljana, Gozo, Pomorie, Qormi, Lod and Moscow.

St George is also patron saint of scouts, soldiers, archers, cavalry and chivalry, farmers and field workers, riders and saddlers, and he helps those suffering from leprosy, plague and syphilis.

 

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Women of the Celts: the Welsh Goddess Arianrhod – Bad Mother or Mythic Goddess?

We’re very proud to bring you an article by Claire Hamilton about the famous Welsh Goddess. She says:

Arianrhod was a Welsh Goddess who lived on an island off the west coast of Wales. At the centre of her castle was a turning glass tower, which contained the mystical Seat of Poetic Inspiration. Her name Arianrhod means ‘starry wheel’.

She is obviously a very powerful Celtic Goddess even though she apparently completely disgraces herself as a mother within her story.

The Story of the Welsh Goddess Arianrhod

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Bear Bone Shows Humans Populated Ireland 2500 Years Earlier Than Realised

A remarkable archaeological discovery in a Co. Clare cave has pushed back the date of human existence in Ireland by 2,500 years. This discovery re-writes Irish archaeology and adds an entirely new chapter to human colonisation of the island – moving Ireland’s story into a new era.

Radiocarbon dating of a butchered brown bear bone, which had been stored in a cardboard box at the National Museum of Ireland for almost 100 years, has established that humans were on the island of Ireland some 12,500 years ago –2,500 earlier than previously believed reports Colm for Irish Archaeology.

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Saint Patrick’s Life – the facts and the stories

Saint Patrick (ca. 390-460) is revered as patron of Ireland and, of course, he has come to be associated with parades and a lot of mischief associated with alcohol. No one would prohibit the Irish their day. Mayor Richard Daley used to say,

in Chicago on St. Patrick’s Day, everyone is Irish or wishes they were.

But let’s leave some of that malarkey aside as unworthy of his dignity. In lives of the saints, Patrick is called the Enlightener of Ireland and we are right to praise his memory says Father Gabriel Rochelle in the Las Cruces Sun-News.

But was Saint Patrick Irish?

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Inaugural Lafayette Celtic Festival features blend of Celtic and Cajun music

Crawfish and Guinness, whiskey and cook-offs, Irish and Cajun music — what do they have in common asks the Acadiana Advocate? The answer lies deep in the heart of Cajun country this weekend as Lafayette prepares to host the inaugural Celtic Bayou Festival. The Lafayette Celtic Festival celebrates all aspects of Celtic and Irish American culture as well as the rich Acadian culture of Louisiana.

The festival will take place Friday and Saturday at Warehouse on 535 Garfield St. in Lafayette. According to husband and wife team Tony and Sheila Davoren, the creative forces behind the festival, Lafayette’s enthusiasm for world music makes it the perfect venue. Sheila Davoren said:

The cultures are similar — the music, the dancing, the storytelling and the sheer joy of life — so our festival has a modern twist, and incorporates both traditions.

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Is Bardsey Island the mystical Island of Avalon?

An apple found nowhere else in the world has been discovered growing on a Welsh holy island. The variety of apple – believed to date back to the 13th Century when it was grown by monks – was spotted on remote Bardsey Island.

Wales displays two prominent peninsulas: Llyn in the North and Pembroke in the South. Between them is the broad sweep of Cardigan Bay. Two miles out to sea off the tip of the Llyn Peninsula lies Bardsey Island (Welsh name Ynys Enlli).

Bardsey Island has long been associated with religious activity. Pre-Roman Celts visited the island to pray and often to die on this most western isle as they followed the setting sun. During early Christian times Bardsey Island was a place of pilgrimage. There is a pilgrim’s route along the North Wales coast with a string of churches built along the way. Indeed three trips to Bardsey was considered equal to a pilgrimage to Rome. Anybody buried on Bardsey was guaranteed eternal salvation.

Dr Joan Morgan – one of the world’s leading experts on apples – said the apple was the only one of its variety in the world.

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Merrow – The Irish Mermaid

The word merrow or moruadh comes from the Irish muir (meaning sea) and oigh (meaning maid) and refers specifically to the female of the species. Mermen – the merrows male counterparts – have been rarely seen. They have been described as exceptionally ugly and scaled, with pig-like features and long, pointed teeth. Merrows themselves are extremely beautiful and are promiscuous in their relations with mortals.

The Irish merrow differs physically from humans in that her feet are flatter than those of a mortal and her hands have a thin webbing between the fingers. It should not be assumed that merrows are kindly and well-disposed towards mortals. As members of the sidhe, or Irish fairy world, the inhabitants of Tir fo Thoinn (the Land beneath the Waves) have a natural antipathy towards humans. In some parts of Ireland, they are regarded as messengers of doom and death.

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Irish Bog Body – 4,000 Year-old Cold Case

We’ve just re-watched a fascinating Documentary called “4,000 Year-old Cold Case: the Body in the Bog”. The program was originally shown in December 2013 (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03js0gf) and documents the discovery of Cashel Man. The new Bog Body, originally thought to date to approx. 300 B.C.E. was later discovered to be about 4,000 years old – which makes it the oldest preserved body of its kind in the world!

In typical ‘Bones’ fashion, they brought in a forensic anthropologist as well as a coroner and tried to determine whether the body had died from natural causes or a violent death, which he had. Ned Kelly of the National Museum of Ireland was brought in to help. Ned is a veteran archaeologist, and has previously investigated some of Ireland’s most famous bog bodies. The interesting thing that the program brought out is that there is a significant difference between the way that the Irish Bog Bodies were killed and those found in Scandinavia and the rest of Europe (with the exception of some parts of England).

Bog Body slain with overkill

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