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"People will not look forward to posterity who never look backward to their ancestors."
-Edmund Burke

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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, Aug 26, 2014


The idols of Boa Island

Boa is at the lower end of Lough Erne in Co. Fermanagh. Here, in the ancient Caldragh cemetery are two pre-Christian stone figures - the Janus statue and a smaller statue, the Lusty Man. Shown is the more famous of the two - a double-sided figure of two beings carved back-to-back. Interestingly, this type of figure is often referred to when the calendar year has just turned and we are glancing back even as we move forward. Also, the month of January is named after Janus, the Roman god of doors and gates. Often flowers and coins are left at the base of both statues - perhaps for good luck in the new year? Speculation as to what the idols represent continues.
Photo Credit: Bucknell University

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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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