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-Edmund Burke

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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.
Just want entertaining facts about Ireland? Please click here for Did you Know?


Another Kind of Music
by Paul Simon

I was in the audience at the Abbey Theater in Dublin on June 9, 1991, when Seamus Heaney read from his new book of poems, “Seeing Things.” I know the exact date because he kindly inscribed his book for me and dated it. But I wouldn’t have forgotten that night, with or without the month and year. Seamus gave a mesmerizing, witty and emotional performance, and it was a rare opportunity for me to hear the sound of his words spoken with their true accent.

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Poetry Corner: Seamus Heaney(b. April 13, 1939 - d. August 30, 2013)

...was born at Mossbawn, about thirty miles northwest of Belfast, in Northern Ireland.
Sadly, he just left us August 30,2013 RIP.
He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995; no surprise to us.
Reading his poetry for the first time, we were ...well - stunned. His poems are so very well crafted they deserve enough respect for that alone. It is much more than skill that draws the reader. It is the natural eye of the natural poet.
The rare ability to make our lives stop - long enough to consider a small part of the world; a part we would have passed, as we always do, running through the distractions of the day.
We have faith you will not be able to read just one (or even just a few).


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A tribute to Liam O'Flaherty in honor of an August birthday
by Bridget Haggerty

My maiden name is O'Flaherty and, while I cannot claim any direct kinship with Liam, I am very proud to be a member of his clan, if only by name. So, it is with a great deal of respect and admiration that I'd like to share with you something of his background and his life.
Liam O'Flaherty was born on August 28th, 1896. His birthplace was Inishmore, one of the rugged Aran Islands that sit in the Atlantic, off the coast of Galway — the setting for many of his stories and novels.

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The Galway International Oyster Festival - a joyous celebration of a native aristocrat
by Bridget Haggerty

Co. Galway is very fortunate to have the best oyster beds in Ireland. In the unpolluted waters of Brady Bay and Clarenbridge, the oysters lie waiting to be harvested at the beginning of the oyster season on September 1st.
This aristocrat of the sea is generally about three years old, and has been maturing and fattening - ready for its first - and last - encounter with the locals and tourists. Paired up with homemade brown bread and washed down with pints of Guinness, Galway oysters are a gourmet treat not to be missed - especially during the annual festivals in Clarenbridge and Galway City.

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The Clarenbridge Oyster Festival
by Bridget Haggerty

Co. Galway has the best oyster beds in Ireland. In the unpolluted waters of Brady Bay and Clarenbridge, the oysters lie waiting to be harvested at the beginning of the oyster season on September 1st.
This aristocrat of the sea is generally about three years old, and has been maturing and fattening - ready for its first - and last - encounter with the locals and tourists. Paired up with homemade brown bread and washed down with pints of Guinness, Galway oysters are a gourmet treat not to be missed - especially during the annual festivals in Clarenbridge and Galway City.


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Making a Match in Lisdoonvarna

Matchmaking is one of Ireland's oldest traditions and, for the last couple of hundred years, a good deal of it has taken place in Lisdoonvarna during September and early October.
The name Lisdoonvarna comes from 'Lios Duin Bhearna', which means the lios or enclosure of the fort in the gap. The town developed into a tourist centre as early as the middle of the 18th-century when a top Limerick surgeon discovered the beneficial effects of its mineral waters. People travelled from near and far to bathe in, and drink, the mineral waters. Rich in iron, sulphur and magnesium, the waters gave relief from the symptoms of certain diseases including rheumatism and glandular fever.


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The Irish Kitchen: Connemara Apple Tart
In the old days, after the crops had been built into stacks, dried out and then brought into the haggard, it was time for the threshing. Entire communities would come together to help each other out and farmer's wives would vie with each other to produce the best feed for the menfolk. Topping off the main course would be apple or rhubarb tart served with big mugs of hot sweet tea.

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Basic Irish: Starters
Unless you can arrange to spend a year or so living in the Gaeltacht - an Irish speaking part of the country - learning the language will probably be nigh on impossible for most people. That said, in our basic Irish section, we have attempted to share with you simple words and phrases we think you will find both fun and useful.
Photo credit:
Cluiche

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Kids' Ireland: The Salmon of Knowledge
by Grainne Rowlan

"I got him! I got the Salmon of Knowledge!" yelled Finegas, dancing up and down for joy.
Finn came running when he heard his master shout. The Salmon of Knowledge! Finegas had been fishing in the Boyne River for years and years. His only dream had been to catch this well-known fish. Whoever ate THIS salmon would gain all the knowledge in the world! Finn knew now that old Finegas could die happily.



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Music Review: Phil Coulter - A Master Class in Musical Landscapes
by William Ramoutar

He was born in 1942, in Derry, Northern Ireland to a Catholic policeman in the Royal Ulster Constabulary - a predominantly Protestant organization; that was probably hard enough in those days in the North. But to give up the piano because he hated both the instrument and the teacher was almost a losing stroke. Fortunately for the world, he came back to it and formed a musical partnership with Bill Martin, which lasted ten years and brought about a string of hit records with bands from many disparate genres.


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Letters
We receive many lovely letters from visitors to our web site and subscribers to our newsletter. As we’re fond of saying, your feedback helps to make all of the time and effort worth while. While we have a Readers Write Page where we post comments from time to time, we’ve decided to also select a Letter - one that, for whatever reason, tickled our fancy.




This past spring I went to Ireland with my son and his wife & her family. What a wonderful experience - way too short a time. I would have loved to sit and plan my days in a much more leisurely fashion but what we saw was all too wonderful This was my first time there - did a bit of checking on my grandmother's birth place: Roscommon. I would so love to return.
Thank you for this opportunity to be a part of your wonderful home page. Thank you, too, for "Irish Culture & Customs" - it gives us the chance to know more about Ireland and its people.

Bonnie Hirschler
Photo Caption: This is Bonnie and her son Michael Hirschler at the Cliffs of Moher.


ED. NOTE: When we asked Bonnie to send us a photo, she very kindly sent us two. We choose the one of her and her son at the Cliffs of Moher because it is such an iconic image of Ireland and one that is immediately recognizable. Standing more than 500 feet at the highest point and ranging for nearly five miles over the Atlantic Ocean, on a clear day one can see the Aran Islands, Galway Bay, as well as The Twelve Pins, the Maum Turk Mountains in Connemara and Loop Head to the South. The cliffs take their name from a ruined promontory fort “Mothar” which was demolished during the Napoleonic wars to make room for a signal tower



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.





Notices

Did you get your Newsletter?

We try to send one out once or twice a month. If you aren't receiving it, something is wrong. Let us know and we'll try to solve the problem. Note: subscribers are automatically deleted from the data base if the newsletter bounces back multiple times. Full or disabled mailboxes will also cause a subscription to be cancelled. If you have any questions, please contact
Bridget.

 

Sat, Aug 30, 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

Click for More Culture Corner.




Sunday Blessing

Blessing for an Autumn wedding

May golden sunlight guide your way
and renew the joy of your wedding day.
May autumn warmth turn away the cold
and protect your love from
growing old.
And if our love should start to wain
May God grant you strength to
begin again.
Edited and Adapted from a blessing by
Fr. Andrew M Greeley
Photo Credit: The Old Vicarage.



More Blessings


Quote of the Week


‘You cannot change the blood in your veins love this Irish earth. Ask the people. They know. Listen to them. Feel with them...’
From the novel Famine by Liam O'Flaherty
The book is available on Amazon



Attention Maeve Binchy Fans
New book in September
Pre-order it now!
Please click Sister Caravaggio



Please vote in our latest poll

Image Credit: Bizarro Comics



Click through the link to view a comprehensive collection of the Poet Laureate's works. Please click Seamus Heaney.


Choose from personalized metal plaques, flags, door knockers, garden stones and more. Click Irish Shop


The Book: Potion, Pope & Perfidy
Now available in both Kindle & print editions!

A depressed detective, still in mourning for his murdered wife, stumbles into a money-laundering scheme when a book is sold to him by mistake at a library book sale. Written in Latin and Greek the book is a 14th century codex. Obviously a priceless antiquity, as the story unfolds it becomes clear that the book's value is more in its contents than its age. For more details, or to buy the book, please click Amazon.


 

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