Patrick Taylor, best-selling author of the Irish Country Doctor series, had this to say when asked what he wanted on his tombstone. He wasn’t a bad fella. Pretty simple message, eh? Interviewing this highly respected Irish doctor and medical researcher turned novelist, I found him anything but simple. While we were on the subject of his eventual demise, Patrick told me a story. “When I told my daughter I planned to be cremated, she told me she knew what to do with my ashes; she planned to add them to the septic tank because she said I was always full of shit.” I laughed. As a writer myself, I interpret this to mean Patrick Taylor has oodles of imagination and creativity, a fine compliment in my book. I hope Patrick agrees with my assessment.
Visiting by phone, myself in Western New York and Patrick Taylor on Salt Spring Island, near Vancouver, British Columbia, I found himself to be generous with his time, charming, and good company. A true Irishman. The following is a record of our conversation.
After all England had done to Ireland and the history of the Great Hunger barely a hundred years before, I was floored when I found something through my research for 100 Things You Didn’t Know About Ireland. Great Britain wrought what some would call heartless vengeance onto her own people once again.
Belfast Air Raids, WWII
During the Second World War, Ireland remained neutral, despite the fact Northern Ireland was part of the United Kingdom, which was deeply engaged in mortal combat with Germany.
This decision did not bode well with England. In fact, Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of England was furious and resented Ireland’s neutrality. In an effort to bring Ireland into the war, he implemented several strategic actions by controlling ports and shipping supplies to Ireland. These strategies had disastrous consequences, hitting the Irish population at its poorest.
With the European conflict raging, Churchill prepared to deliver several embargoes that would devastate Ireland; that is until she brought out her secret weapon to defend herself. Check out the facts below.
The violence of the Troubles in Northern Ireland cannot be overlooked in Irish history so this post is dedicated to that subject.
In honor of the loyal readers of Celticthoughts.com,. There are over 900 now and the numbers grow consistently day by day, I am running a giveaway in June. I will be in Ireland in July so winners will be announced upon my return. Gifts range from Irish books set in Ireland, Irish jewelry, gifts and a very special prize from Patrick Taylor, his newest not yet published book called Only Wounded about the Troubles in Belfast by Patrick Taylor. He has graciously agreed to donate an autographed copy of his new book. To be entered into the drawing, simply comment on any post in the month of June or subscribe on the home page to Celticthoughts.com.
I have been curious about the Irish language but confess to thinking it is something so daunting, so out of my reach, that I have not even tried to learn much about it. I have heard there are Gaeltacht regions where the Irish language is spoken not only in Ireland but in specific parts of the world, which leads me to believe this is a another part of Irish culture that simply could not be erased from the Irish identity no matter now hard the English tried. I’ve also learned recently that the Irish language is over 2000 years old. I find that amazing. So how can one learn about this unique part of Irish culture? I looked for someone who is an expert to answer my questions. and low and behold I didn’t have to look far because Eoin, the owner of Bitesize Irish Gaelic, actually found me. See interview about 100 Things You Didn’t Know About Ireland. The link is below book cover photos.
To begin with, I’ve researched one day in Dublin, including 3 meals, a friendly place to sleep for the night and even take in some sightseeing, all for less than $50 a day!
A hostel will run you about $12 to $18 a night for a single person in a room sharing. For more private accommodation $15 to $35. Pretty cheap huh? Even the lowest grade hotels in the U.S are not this cheap. Travel to Ireland instead.
I’ve said that before but did you know the grass-roots of this fine country, the very fiber of America, the existence of the American government, the life blood that makes America great is due largely in part because of Irish Revolutionary soldiers followed by a few Scots and Scots/Irish, though to be fair, many of the Scots fought for the British and there is at least one notable Irishman in the British army.
Without these brave Irish men, America would likely not exist, which is why George Washington (the father of America and her first general) loved his Irish soldiers.
The women of Ireland are the most self-convinced, adaptable, determined and brave people on God’s green earth and their history proves it. Though they did not have yet the right to vote or hold political office, women who lived in and around Dublin invented their own political groups and there was no stopping their enthusiasm or how they would change Ireland. To learn who ten of the strongest and bravest women of 1916 were, (Coming soon) Subscribeand get a FREE Report. Ten Irish Heroines of 1916, The Women of the Rising.
In 1913, Cumann na mBan (translated as Women’s League) was a strictly female organization meant to be a compliment to the Irish Volunteers. The purpose of Cumann na mBan was to advance Irish Liberty through the use of force by arms against the crowned forces if need be.
Often, when we think about Irish history we think of the 1916 Easter Rising, the Great hunger and stories of evictions, starvation, social injustice. While all these things are true, and I certainly would not want to downplay any of it, there were other more positive things going on in Ireland, despite all that heartache and hardship. Below are 5 things You Didn’t Know About Irish History, from my new book, 100 Things You Didn’t Know About Irish History.
A landlord is a man who has property or keeps lodgings to whom tenants pay a fixed rent. The operative word here is fixed, something an Irish landlord had complete will to establish as he wished, often using his immense power to do just that. Many Irish landlords were cruel and looking to make a good buck at the expense of poor Irish peasantry but that was not always the case and one has to understand the situation of the times.
People crammed into coffin ship.
Several things contributed to the disaster so to put all the blame on landlords, perhaps is too simplistic an explanation. Not for the first time, the potato crop failed in the mid nineteenth century. This was the staple of the poor Irish diet. Along with widespread famine, all other crops were exported out of Ireland, the prices increased as well, and store houses of grain kept locked while the British government adopted a Laissez-faire doctrine of response, creating mass hunger, misery, evictions, emigration, and for some, death. Many landlords left their Irish estates in the hands of an estate agent, some leaving the country altogether. The estate agents had one goal and one only, to make the estate viable. Soon all landlords were grouped together as tyrants.
Not all landlords fit into this stereotype but there with their horrible reputations, would it be that easy to trust any landlord?.Continue reading →
100 Things You Didn’t Know About Ireland, filled with little known Irish history, 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? Do you know anything else in Irish history beyond the history of the Famine,corned beef and cabbage and 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 Irish history? Then 100 Things You Didn’t Know about Ireland is for you. Continue reading →