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A Hundred Thousand Welcomes!
by Bridget Haggerty

On Garinish Island in Bantry Bay, Co. Cork, there is a lush, semi-tropical garden called Ilnacullen. It's where my husband took this photo. Quite by chance, it became the cover for my book, The Traditional Irish Wedding. That was five years ago. Little did we know then, that what started as a ten-day surprise trip to Ireland for my birthday, would also be the beginning of a journey back through time. A two-thousand year voyage through history, on a quest to learn as much as we can about Ireland's culture.

From the legend of the Claddagh Ring to "drowning the shamrock" on St Patrick's Day, the Irish have been blessed - and sometimes cursed - with more traditions, customs and supersitions than there are lobsters in Galway Bay. As the old quip goes: "indeed, isn't the Irish sea itself red with them?"

Humor is as much a part of Ireland's heritage as the wit, charm and warmth of her people. And it's these characteristics that show up time after time in the many articles we've written.

In a series called Emblems of Ireland, we explore the significance of the harp and the shamrock. In another one called A Taste of Ireland, we share what we know about Irish Coffee, Soda Bread, Colcannon and other national dishes. We've also put together an on-going series that focuses on important days in the Irish Calendar - from New Year's to Christmas. And, for readers who may be contemplating a trip to the Ould Sod, we're ready to offer a helping hand with a series called Driving In Ireland. We may change the title to "See that road over there? Well, don't take that one!"

Our hope is that you'll find every article entertaining and informative. But most important of all - we want you to have as much fun as we're having!

 

Tue, Dec 2, 2014


Holly and Ivy hanging up and
something wet in every cup*

Not so long ago, Irish Christmas decorations were much simpler than they are now. The children gathered holly and ivy for adorning, windows, doorways, mantles and pictures, and the father would carve out a turnip in which would be placed a large red candle. This would go in the window to light the way for the Holy Family on Christmas Eve. Only in relatively recent times did an Irish family have a Nativity scene and a decorated tree in the house. As for Mistletoe, it's quite rare in ireland and is generally associated with ancient Celtic and Druidic fertility celebrations; this is most likely where the custom of kissing under the mistletoe comes from.
*Old Irish Christmas toast
Image: Pashley Manor Gardens.

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Visit 30 of Ireland's most beautiful gardens. Includes a stunning collection of 200 full-color photos.
Click here for Gardens of Ireland


 

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