Sunday, March 17, 2013

When Irish Eyes are Smiling...

Sure, 'tis like the morn in Spring. 
 In the lilt of Irish laughter 
 You can hear the angels sing. 
 When Irish hearts are happy, 
 All the world seems bright and gay. 
 And when Irish eyes are smiling, 
 Sure, they steal your heart away. 

I have a reader in Ireland.  I'm thrilled about this because I like to believe I'm Irish with my reddish tinted hair, pale skin, and freckles.  I'm not sure I am, but for some reason, this idea makes me smile.  
Trifolem repens - Original four leaf clover!  All over my backyard!

This picture here is of a four-leaf clover.  The clover symbolizes the Holy Trinity, one leaf for the father, one for the son and one for the holy spirit.  The fourth leaf is said to symbolize luck!  It is also said to symbolize that God's grace will fall upon you. 

So, in honor of the awesome St. Patrick's Day of which I plan on celebrating appropriately, I thought I'd share some tidbits about Ireland.

It's beautiful.  Cold, but beautiful.  Ireland has a rich history with religion, politics, and culture.  

But - that's not the only draw to Ireland.  Here are some interesting facts I found about the beautiful countryside:

  • Ballygally Castle in County Antrim, currently a hotel owned by a major chain, is allegedly one of the most haunted places in the country. Lady Isobel Shaw, whose husband built the castle in 1625, is said to knock on doors at night and then disappear. While alive, Ms. Shaw was locked in her room by her husband and starved, until she leapt to her death from a window.
  • The longest place name in Ireland is Muckanaghederdauhaulia, in County Galway.

An odd Irish birthday tradition is to lift the birthday child upside down and give his head a few gentle bumps on the floor for good luck. The number of bumps should allegedly correspond to the child’s age plus one.

  • The original Guinness Brewery in Dublin has a 9,000 year lease on it's property, at a perpetual rate of 45 Irish pounds per year.

IRELAND FACT: A ROUGH HANGOVER CURE...I’ll just take the hangover, thanks: One traditional Irish cure for a hangover was to be buried up to the neck in moist river sand.

  • According to one rather obscure Irish legend, a ringing in your ears means a deceased friend stuck in Purgatory is ringing a bell to ask you to pray for him/her.  
  • Montgomery Street in Dublin was one of the largest red light districts in ALL of Europre, with over 1600 prostitutes plying their trade.  An old Irish song called "Take Me Up to the Monto" memorializes this era.  (And I live in Montgomery County....interesting...)
  • Bram Stoker was working as a civil servant in Dublin when he wrote "Dracula" in 1897
  • The national symbol of Ireland is the Celtic harp, not the shamrock.
  • Medieval laws in Ireland allowed a man to divorce his wife if she damaged his honor through infidelity, thieving, or "making a mess of everything"
Great stuff here.  One day, I'm going on the James Joyce literary tour through Ireland.  I just need about $10,000 to do it.  Lottery tickets need to become a past-time for me!  Until then, I'll just stare at the beauty.

A traditional Irish prayer:

"May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand."


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