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Green is significant to Ireland and the Irish. More so than any other country. But in today's world it has become significant to every country on the planet. Even my youngest son has started a small company called Green Streets. Its purpose is to provide ways to manage water. Governments and even large private Institutions are doing much but it still comes down to each and every one of us. What we do for ourselves improves all of us. We can help the environment and save money at the same time. So... I present here a page of resources to give us guidance and information to help us do just that. Please click Green Home Resources and I hope you will find what you need.

—Russ



Garden Gate
Fáilte
Welcome to Irish Culture and Customs, a labor of love we began several years ago. What started as a surprise milestone birthday trip to Ireland became the beginning of a journey through time. A 2,000-year voyage on a quest to learn as much as we can about everything Irish. So here's where we are so far - more than 700 pages that range from Irish poetry, superstitions , Kids Stories and recipes to specific Irish calendar celebrations such as St. Patrick's Day , Beltane, Samhain and the Feast of St. Brigid. Whether it's an Irish symbol such as the shillelagh, the Shamrock and the Book of Kells or an Irish craft like Aran Isle knitting, you'll discover a wide range of topics in our index. We hope you find the little bit of Ireland you may be looking for and we encourage you to share what you discover with your loved ones on your family website, blog, or social network.





Today's Irish headlines
We comb the newspapers and web sites to find news to start your day with a positive spin. In this section you will also find links to stories from the past two weeks as well as links to the major Irish newspapers, the current time in Ireland and a link to the weather forecast.


The Turning Of The Sovereign Seal
by Bridget Haggerty

"On the morning of the 21st January, in Vaughans Hotel on Parnell square, a man named Tom McGuire elevated and turned the Sovereign Seal of Dáil Éireann, from the rising sun to the setting sun, from north to south and from east to west, and from Pagan to Christian to Sovereign; As in the 1916 Proclamation, claiming sovereignty over the elements, earth, air, fire and water and all there in and there of, on behalf of the Sovereign people and the Sovereign Republic of Éire."
That caption appears on the base holding the seal and it describes what happened in the year 1919 at Vaughan's Hotel - a haunt of Michael Collins and other revolutionaries of the War of Independence. It was also the secret headquarters of the first Dáil Éireann.

[Continue]

Oiche na Gaoithe Moire...
by Bridget Haggerty

...the night of the big wind.
On the evening of Saturday, January 5th, 1839, heavy snow fell throughout Ireland. The next morning, it was completely calm and the sky was covered with motionless, dense cloud. As the morning progressed, the temperature rose well above the January average. While children played in the snow outdoors, mothers and fathers were inside their homes preparing for the festivities of Little Christmas - the feast of the Epiphany.

At about three o'clock in the afternoon, it became unnaturally still. So calm that voices floated between farmhouses more than a mile apart. Something strange was happening, but no one knew exactly what.

[Continue]

Celebrating Candlemas in Old Ireland
by Bridget Haggerty

Candlemas - February 2nd - celebrates the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple and the Purification of the Virgin Mary. As with many festivals in the liturgical calendar, this one has its origins in ancient Rome.
In Roman times, candles were carried through the streets and women observed purification rites. Even today, in many countries, women who had borne children the year before participate in candlelit processions - an activity the Church gladly welcomes as it symbolizes the purification of the Virgin Mary.
In ancient Celtic cultures, the period between February 1st and 2nd is called Imbolc - the first day of spring, midway through the dark half of the year. It was a time when the stirring of new life manifested itself in the first flow of milk in the udders of pregnant ewes - a sure sign that the lambing season was about to begin. The Church tried to replace Imbolc which was dedicated to the Goddess of Youth and Fertility - Bride. Thus, in the 5th century, February 1st became St. Brighid's Day and February 2nd became Candlemas.

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St. Brigid - The Giveaway
by Bridget Haggerty

Known variously throughout Ireland as St. Brigid, Brighid, Brigit, Bridget or Bride, it was believed that she travelled around the countryside on the eve of her festival, blessing both the people and their livestock.
To show that her visit was welcome, families would place a cake or pieces of bread and butter on the windowsill. In some parts of Ireland, the bread would be an oatmeal loaf in the shape of a cross which was specially baked for the occasion. A sheaf of corn was often placed beside it as refreshment for the saint’s favorite white cow which accompanied her. In some places, the offering was left to be taken by a hungry, homeless person.
This feast day(February 1st) heralded the first day of Spring(Imbolc). Similar to the United States groundhog tradition, if a hedgehog came out of his burrow on St. Brigid’s Day, it was a sign that mild weather was coming. If he went back into his burrow, it was a sign that bad weather would continue.

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Irish Landmarks:The Abbey Theatre
by Bridget Haggerty

Led by W.B. Yeats, a group of prominent figures in Irish literature came together with the intention of championing, promoting and preserving the works of Irish-born playwrights. It's thanks to Yeats, Lady Augusta Gregory, J.M. Synge and George Russell that many of the most memorable plays of all time are still being enjoyed by theater-goers all over the world.

The group met in 1903 and founded the Irish National Theatre Society. Then, in 1904, with the assistance of a subsidy from Miss Annie Horniman and free use of a theater on Old Abbey Street, the Abbey Theater opened its doors for the first time on December 27th.

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Butter
by Lady Gregory

Butter, that's a thing that's very much meddled with. On the first of May before sunrise it's very apt to be all taken away out of the milk. And if ever you lend your churn or your dishes to your neighbour, she'll be able to wish away your butter after that. There was a woman used to lend a drop of milk to the woman that lived next door, and one day she was churning, churning, and no butter came. And at last some person came into the house and said, "It's hard for you to have butter here, and if you want to know where it is, look into the next house."

So she went in and there was her neighbour letting on to be churning in a quart bottle, and rolls of butter beside her. So she made as if to choke her, and the woman run out into the garden and picked some mullein leaves, and said, "Put these leaves in under your churn, and you'll find your butter come back again." And so she did. And she found it all in the churn after.

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The Irish Kitchen: A Taste of Ireland: The Potato
by Bridget Haggerty

Ask anyone to name the one food they most associate with the Emerald Isle, and nine out of ten people will say the potato. Today, Ireland's inhabitants consume more potatoes per capita than any other country in Europe or the United States - more than three hundred pounds a year for each man, woman, and child. What may be surprising to many readers is that the potato didn't exist in Ireland until the end of the 16th century.

A perennial plant of the Nightshade family, its widely swollen underground stem or tuber is believed to have originally been used as a vegetable in the Andes Mountains of South America. After being introduced into Europe it was brought to North America and from there, it was taken to the British Isles by the English. Ironically, it is thought that the blight which caused the potato crops to fail and which ultimately led to the Great Famine, came from the United States.

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Basic Irish: A New year

A New Year, A New You? Whether or you succeed in taking off the pounds or giving up the smokes, why not make this year the year you resolve to learn some Irish? We have close to seventy lessons, beginning with the very basics all the way to greetings and toasts! Athbhlian faoi mhaise! (Happy New Year! (pronunciation: Ah-vleen fwee wash-eh)


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Kids' Ireland: Sean & The Selkie
by Grainne Rowland

The sun was just about to set. Three tired fishermen plodded along the narrow coast road to their homes. They were famished for their evening meals and looking forward to a bit of a rest.

Sean was the first around a bend in the road. He stopped so suddenly that the others bumped into him.

"Shhh!" Sean whispered. "Look!"

The three stared at the most beautiful woman they had ever seen. She sat on the rocks combing her long red hair.

[Continue]

Live Music from Mayo

A link to the internet service from Midwest Radio out of Mayo. Broadcasting from their state of the art studios; Midwest Irish Radio plays nothing but the best Irish music. No matter where you are in the world, you are never too far from Ireland when you listen in.
Click here for: Irish Midwest radio.


Shop for the best of Irish products from the comfort of your home

We combed the internet to find reliable resources for the most popular Irish products: Aran Isle sweaters, Guinness glasses, Waterford Crystal, genuine blackthorn walking sticks, the flag of the Republic and more. Some of these shops have become friends; others we trust from their reputations and some offer products that are completely unique. We hope you enjoy browsing through what's on offer and we are confident you will find gifts for any occasion or person, all with an Irish flair.



Authentic Irish clothing from Aran Sweaters Direct

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Tue, Jan 23, 2018

Ilnacullen, Co. Cork - an Island Garden

Located in the sheltered harbour of Glengarriff in Bantry Bay. Ilnacullin, which means island of holly, is a small island known to horticulturists and lovers of trees and shrubs all around the world as an island garden of rare beauty.
The vivid colours of Rhododendrons and Azaleas reach their peak during May and June, whilst the hundreds of cultivars of climbing plants, herbaceous perennials and choice shrubs dominate the midsummer period from June to August.
Because of its sheltered situation and the warming oceanic influence of the Gulf Stream, the climate is favourable to the growth of ornamental plants from many parts of the world.
Even for those who aren’t particularly interested in gardens, there are many other scenic views, especially in the surrounding waters where seals frequent the rocks on the southern shore.
The cover photo on Bridget's book The Traditional Irish Wedding shows a wrought iron garden gate on Ilnaculen. I took that photo. To see it, go to the home page. It's part of the opening paragraph Failte.
—Russ
Resource: Copy and Image - Cork Guide

Click for More Culture Corner.




Sunday Blessing

St. Brigid's Blessing

Through her holy intercession
with our Father in Heaven,
may St. Brigid bless
you and and make you
generous in your giving,
pleasant in your greeting,
honest in your speaking,
loyal in your loving,
clear in your thinking,
strong in your working,
and joyful in your living
And when it's time
for your homecoming,
may there be peace in
your passing and a warm
welcome in heaven.
Photo Credit: Kildare, Ireland


Weekly Quote


Now it's St Brigid's Day and the first snowdrop
In County Wicklow, and this a Brigid's Girdle
I'm plaiting for you, an airy fairy hoop
(Like one of those old crinolines they'd trindle),
Twisted straw that's lifted in a circle
To handsel and to heal, a rite of spring
As strange and lightsome and traditional
As the motions you go through going through the thing.
From A Brigid’s Girdle for Adele by Seamus Heaney
Photo Credit: Cards Unlimited



Seasons of Ireland: Thoughts, Poems, Proverbs & Recipes

Come along on a journey through the four seasons of Ireland. Hear the cries of the rooks in winter and warm yourself by the fire...wish on a dandelion and watch for rainbows in spring...see the lush green and vibrant colors of summer and linger in the long, late twilight... walk through the leaves of autumn to meet friends for a cup of tea or a pint. Along the way, find beauty in Irish blessings, wisdom in Irish proverbs, and experience even more of the flavor of a very special place by trying some tasty Irish dishes. A great gift book for anyone who loves and misses Ireland, or those who simply wish to spend some time in a magical and peaceful place. Relax into Ireland, without need for wellies or an umbrella. And you needn't have any Irish ancestry at all to feel just a little Irish for a while. "May you always have a roof for the rain, walls for the wind, and tea beside the fire."
Click here for Seasons of Ireland



The Skellig Story: Ancient Monastic Outpost
by Des Lavelle

I managed to take the boat trip with the author and this book tells it like it is. Also, I suggest when reading it, play Phil Coulter's Mise eireann and Mna na h-Eireann. He captures the mood and the haunting feeling of the place. Edited and adpated from a review by Michael Kelly on amazon.
Click here for The Skellig Story.


 

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March 4, 2011
   
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This Web Site Bashed, Kicked & Glued together by Russ Haggerty.