100 Things You Didn’t Know About Ireland is soon to be released May 1st. Over thirty four million Irish Americans live in the U.S alone, more than 7 times the population of Ireland. Do you wish you knew more about your Irish ancestors? Do you have anyone to ask? Have your aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents passed on? Were you told ‘be proud you are Irish’ but not sure of what you should be proud of? Have you ever been told anything else about Ireland beyond the Great Hunger, we eat corned beef and cabbage and drink green beer on St Patrick’s Day? Are your relatives dead or were you told not to ask questions about the past? Do you live in Ireland but know next to nothing about your own history? Then 100 Things You Didn’t Know about Ireland is for you. Continue reading
The man known as Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland is shrouded in so many fantastical stories that one wonders if he was a man at all. The real Patrick was a simple human being who was kind, gentle, courageous, and confident in his beliefs. True, he was larger than life but not the way most people think.
Maewyn Succat is the name given at birth to the man we know as Patrick of Ireland around the end of the 4th century. Most likely, he was born in Britain and the son of a Roman deacon named Calpornius who was also a tax collector. His grandfather was Potius during the reign of Constantine the Great, first Christian emperor of the Romans so it is easy to see how Patrick would be influenced in ‘the family business’ from an early age on. As one of Roman nobility, a station of honor and privilege, Patrick would have had hereditary privileges as well. His father would have had high hopes for his son, knowing he could one day rule over his less fortunate countrymen. Continue reading
Read. Read. Read. But also think outside the box. Watch popular movies. The Princess Bride is one of my all time favorites and one of the few screenplays that was written before the book was ever created, which I am told is really about the making of the movie so that makes sense. If you haven’t seen the Princess Bride, you owe it to yourself to watch this great film which is a fairy tale love story, if for no other reason than to hear some of the most quotable long-lasting lines of all time. The movie aired for the first time 25 years ago. Lines that if you or I had in our books, would be remembered and cherished. Now what author wouldn’t dream of that? Incidentally, the movie was not an immediate success, something that should make all of the authors reading this take heart. I, myself watch movies for some of the reasons I read books, not only to be entertained, but to learn more about generating believable and entertaining fiction. Things like how actors portray emotion and dialogue for instance. Continue reading
Everyone wants to fall in love and its been that way since the beginning of time. Nothing has changed about the desire but what has changed is how we go about it or how often we try and try again only to be disappointed. Ever wish there was an easier way to meet a man or woman? For centuries, people had arranged marriages. They married for status, wealth, security or to secure peace between two separate countries. Some of those marriages actually lasted and some were very happy ones. Continue reading
Pope Francis is my hero. For years. Catholicism ruled much of Ireland and there are those who believe it still does. Ar least, 80% of Irish schools are still Catholic and even with history dug up from the Magalene laundries .. to priest pedophiles .. to the power the church had to take children away from single mothers and fathers .. Catholicism still thrives today. In fact, according to the viewpoints and actions of Pope Francis, the church has more responsibility than just making an atonement for her sins. Continue reading
The Celts measured time not by days but by nights. beginning at dusk instead of dawn. With Samhain when the crops were waning. Beginning on Oct. 31st. Not Jan 1st. One of the reasons for beginning with evening, is the Celts’ reverence for the moon and certainly they followed the stars, were great astrologers in fact. Take Newgrange in Ireland. Newgrange is a 5000 year old passage grave and is situated so that the only drop of light shines through a tiny window on the Winter Solstice, Dec. 21st, remarkably close to Christmas and not a coincidence for sure, as the way of the Catholic church was to replace what pagan ideas they could with their own Christian teachings. See other posts on this blog for more information about early Christianity in Ireland. Continue reading
The picture above is a tree in Dublin, Ireland. Spectacular isn’t it? And below may be Grafton St, also in Dublin. Continue reading
A sixth-century monk named Brendan, who would later become known as St. Brendan the Navigator, set out in his tiny seal skin boat with his fellow abbots to a far away land called Hibernia, the name given to Ireland by the Greeks. They voyaged across the cold Atlantic shores toward a wild, mostly untamed territory. They were looking for grace or a way to come closer to God.They came from Britannia (England), Germania (Germany), and Rome as well as all over Western Europe. They wrote Latin and poetry, spoke different languages and came from the highest social ranks. After blending with the Irish, they became the record keepers of genealogies and stories. They became known as the most learned men of Europe. Whether they learned from the Celts or the Celts learned from them is inconsequential. The first Irish monks in Ireland were born .. and Ireland would be changed forever by their arrival.. Continue reading
One way the Christian faith overcame Paganism in Ireland was to adopt the idea, ‘if you can’t beat ‘em join ‘em.’ Halloween is a perfect example. In the Catholic faith, Halloween has been transformed into All Saint’s Day. Not a bad conversion. Still honoring the dead. Not burning people at the stake as in the time of the Spanish inquisition. No boiling a priest’s feet in oil like poor Durmot O’Hurley in the sixteenth century. That one was during the unforgivable reign of Queen Elizabeth I. Halloween or All Hallows Eve is not a Christian holiday at all. It is a Pagan festival time and referred to as Samhain. Continue reading
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The Sun Palace by Brighid O’Sullivan
West Coast of Eire/ AD 520
West Coast of Eire/ AD 520
Bevin would never have believed that a man she trusted like a brother would have betrayed her so easily. But here she was. Seated adrift for all she knew. No shore in sight. Arms and legs tied. Blood pooled in her wrists so that her fingers felt like dead wood. She felt cold, confused, and dazed as a newborn calf. Was she hallucinating, she wondered, brought on by the intensity of the birth? She had felt the same when her son was born, had labored in agony for days. Even when it was all over, she remembered his birth continued to haunt her. She had dreamt of something inside her clawing at her bones, a sense of being ripped and scraped from the inside out, the child ‘s head squeezing and pushing. This was not like that however. How many days had it been since the birth? Two? Three? Four maybe. She felt no pain at the moment. Only terrifying rage.