History of Ireland

Hey guys, check these out for some cool info on Ireland's history and culture!

Newgrange, the oldest neolithic tomb in europe




This is a good one


The story of Brian Boru, the first and only real High King of all Ireland!


Cashel of the Kings: The Rock of Cashel


General pics


God i really will do anything not to study lol :doh:

Hi Shannon There Are Some Cool Stories About Faries(the Ones With Wings Not Viva) And Goblns And Leprauchins And The Such Anyone Like To Share. I Dont Have Time To Do It Sorry



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flynns08 said:
Hi Shannon There Are Some Cool Stories About Faries(the Ones With Wings Not Viva) And Goblns And Leprauchins And The Such Anyone Like To Share. I Dont Have Time To Do It Sorry
When i was at college, for a Travel and Tourism assignment i had to do a huge project on Ireland, the history, culture and tourist hot spots. It is such a great country with so many interesting stories and places. Somebody should definately write something about it!
The Children of Lir

Now at the time when the Tuatha de Danaan chose a king for themselves after the battle of Tailltin, and Lir heard the kingship was given to Bodb Dearg, it did not please him, and he left the gathering without leave and with no word to any one; for he thought it was he himself had a right to be made king. But if he went away himself, Bodb was given the kingship none the less, for not one of the five begrudged it to him but only Lir. And it is what they determined, to follow after Lir, and to burn down his house, and to attack himself with spear and sword, on account of his not giving obedience to the king they had chosen. "We will not do that," said Bodb Dearg, "for that man would defend any place he is in; and besides that," he said, "I am none the less king over the Tuatha de Danaan, although he does not submit to me."

All went on like that for a good while, but at last a great misfortune came on Lir, for his wife died from him after a sickness of three nights. And that came very hard on Lir, and there was heaviness on his mind after her. And there was great talk of the death of that woman in her own time.

And the news of it was told all through Ireland, and it came to the house of Bodb, and the best of the Men of Dea were with him at that time. And Bodb said: "If Lir had a mind for it," he said, "my help and my friendship would be good for him now, since his wife is not living to him. For I have here with me the three young girls of the best shape, and the best appearance, and the best name in all Ireland, Aobh, Aoife, and Ailbhe, the three daughters of Oilell of Aran, my own three nurslings." The Men of Dea said then it was a good thought he had, and that what he said was true.

Messages and messengers were sent then from Bodb Dearg to the place Lir was, to say that if he had a mind to join with the Son of the Dagda and to acknowledge his lordship, he would give him a foster-child of his foster-children. And Lir thought well of the offer, and he set out on the morrow with fifty chariots from Sidhe Fionnachaidh; and he went by every short way till he came to Bodb's dwelling-place at Loch Dearg, and there was a welcome before him there, and all the people were merry and pleasant before him, and he and his people got good attendance that night.

And the three daughters of Oilell of Aran were sitting on the one seat with Bodb Dearg's wife, the queen of the Tuatha de Danaan, that was their foster-mother. And Bodb said: "You may have your choice of the three young girls, Lir." "I cannot say," said Lir, "which one of them is my choice, but whichever of them is the eldest, she is the noblest, and it is best for me to take her." "If that is so," said Bodb, "it is Aobh is the eldest, and she will be given to you, if it is your wish." "It is my wish," he said. And he took Aobh for his wife that night, and he stopped there for a fortnight, and then he brought her away to his own house, till he would make a great wedding-feast.

And in the course of time Aobh brought forth two children, a daughter and a son, Fionnuala and Aodh their names were. And after a while she was brought to bed again, and this time she gave birth to two sons, and they called them Fiachra and Conn. And she herself died at their birth. And that weighed very heavy on Lir, and only for the way his mind was set on his four children he would have gone near to die of grief.

The news came to Bodb Dearg's place, and all the people gave out three loud, high cries, keening their nursling. And after they had keened her it is what Bodb Dearg said: "It is a fret to us our daughter to have died, for her own sake and for the sake of the good man we gave her to, for we are thankful for his friendship and his faithfulness. However," he said, "our friendship with one another will not be broken, for I will give him for a wife her sister Aoife."

When Lir heard that, he came for the girl and married her, and brought her home to his house. And there was honour and affection with Aoife for her sister's children; and indeed no person at all could see those four children without giving them the heart's love.

And Bodb Dearg used often to be going to Lir's house for the sake of those children; and he used to bring them to his own place for a good length of time, and then he would let them go back to their own place again. And the Men of Dea were at that time using the Feast of Age in every hill of the Sidhe in turn; and when they came to Lir's hill those four children were their joy and delight, for the beauty of their appearance; and it is where they used to sleep, in beds in sight of their father Lir. And he used to rise up at the break of every morning, and to lie down among his children.

But it is what came of all this, that a fire of jealousy was kindled in Aoife, and she got to have a dislike and a hatred of her sister's children.

Then she let on to have a sickness, that lasted through nearly the length of a year. And the end of that time she did a deed of jealousy and cruel treachery against the children of Lir.

And one day she got her chariot yoked, and she took the four children in it, and they went forward towards the house of Bodb Dearg; but Fionnuala had no mind to go with her, for she knew by her she had some plan for their death or their destruction, and she had seen in a dream that there was treachery against them in Aoife's mind. But all the same she was not able to escape from what was before her.

And when they were on their way Aoife said to her people: "Let you kill now," she said, "the four children of Lir, for whose sake their father has given up my love, and I will give you your own choice of a reward out of all the good things of the world." "We will not do that indeed," said they; "and it is a bad deed you have thought of, and harm will come to you out of it."

And when they would not do as she bade them, she took out a sword herself to put an end to the children with; but she being a woman and with no good courage, and with no great strength in her mind, she was not able to do it.

They went on then west to Loch Dairbhreach, the Lake of the Oaks, and the horses were stopped there, and Aoife bade the children of Lir to go out and bathe in the lake, and they did as she bade them. And as soon as Aoife saw them out in the lake she struck them with a Druid rod, and put on them the shape of four swans, white and beautiful. And it is what she said: "Out with you, children of the king, your luck is taken away from you for ever; it is sorrowful the story will be to your friends; it is with flocks of birds your cries will be heard for ever."

And Fionnuala said: "Witch, we know now what your name is, you have struck us down with no hope of relief; but although you put us from wave to wave, there are times when we will touch the land. We shall get help when we are seen; help, and all that is best for us; even though we have to sleep upon the lake, it is our minds will be going abroad early."

And then the four children of Lir turned towards Aoife, and it is what Fionnuala said: "It is a bad deed you have done, Aoife, and it is a bad fulfilling of friendship, you to destroy us without cause; and vengeance for it will come upon you, and you will fall in satisfaction for it, for your power for our destruction is not greater than the power of our friends to avenge it on you; and put some bounds now," she said, "to the time this enchantment is to stop on us." "I will do that," said Aoife, "and it is worse for you, you to have asked it of me. And the bounds set to your time are this, till the Woman from the South and the Man from the North will come together. And since you ask to hear it of me," she said, "no friends and no power that you have will be able to bring you out of these shapes you are in through the length of your lives, until you have been three hundred years on Loch Dairbhreach, and three hundred years on Sruth na Maoile between Ireland and Alban, and three hundred years at Irrus Domnann and Inis Gluaire; and these are to be your journeys from this out," she said.

But then repentance came on Aoife, and she said: "Since there is no other help for me to give you now, you may keep your own speech; and you will be singing sweet music of the Sidhe, that would put the men of the earth to sleep, and there will be no music in the world equal to it; and your own sense and your own nobility will stay with you, the way it will not weigh so heavy on you to be in the shape of birds. And go away out of my sight now, children of Lir," she said, "with your white faces, with your stammering Irish. It is a great curse on tender lads, they to be driven out on the rough wind. Nine hundred years to be on the water, it is a long time for any one to be in pain; it is I put this on you through treachery, it is best for you to do as I tell you now.

"Lir, that got victory with so many a good cast, his heart is a kernel of death in him now; the groaning of the great hero is a sickness to me, though it is I that have well earned his anger."

And then the horses were caught for Aoife, and the chariot yoked for her, and she went on to the palace of Bodb Dearg, and there was a welcome before her from the chief people of the place. And the son of the Dagda asked her why she did not bring the children of Lir with her. "I will tell you that," she said. "It is because Lir has no liking for you, and he will not trust you with his children, for fear you might keep them from him altogether."

"I wonder at that," said Bodb Dearg, "for those children are dearer to me than my own children." And he thought in his own mind it was deceit the woman was doing on him, and it is what he did, he sent messengers to the north to Sidhe Fionnachaidh. And Lir asked them what did they come for. "On the head of your children," said they. "Are they not gone to you along with Aoife?" he said. "They are not," said they; "and Aoife said it was yourself would not let them come."

It is downhearted and sorrowful Lir was at that news, for he understood well it was Aoife had destroyed or made an end of his children. And early in the morning of the morrow his horses were caught, and he set out on the road to the south-west And when he was as far as the shore of Loch Dairbhreach, the four children saw the horses coming towards them, and it is what Fionnuala said: "A welcome to the troop of horses I see coming near to the lake; the people they are bringing are strong, there is sadness on them; ft is us they are following, it is for us they are looking; let us move over to the shore, Aodh, Fiachra, and comely Conn. Those that are coming can be no others in the world but only Lir and his household. Then Lir came to the edge of the lake, and he took notice of the swans having the voice of living people, and he asked them why was it they had that voice.

"I will tell you that, Lir," said Fionnuala. "We are your own four children, that are after being destroyed by your wife, and by the sister of our own mother, through the dint of her jealousy." "Is there any way to put you into your own shapes again?" said Lir. "There is no way," said Fionnuala, "for all the men of the world could not help us till we have gone through our time, and that will not be," she said, "till the end of nine hundred years."

When Lir and his people heard that, they gave out three great heavy shouts of grief and sorrow and crying.

"Is there a mind with you," said Lir, "to come to us on the land, since you have your own sense and your memory yet?" "We have not the power," said Fionnuala, "to live with any person at all from this time; but we have our own language, the Irish, and we have the power to sing sweet music, and it is enough to satisfy the whole race of men to be listening to that music. And let you stop here to-night," she said, "and we will be making music for you.

So Lir and his people stopped there listening to the music of the swans, and they slept there quietly that night. And Lir rose up early on the morning of the morrow and he made this complaint: --

"It is time to go from this place. I do not sleep though I am in my lying down. To be parted from my dear children, it is that is tormenting my heart.

"It is a bad net I put over you, bringing Aoife, daughter of Oilell of Aran, to the house. I would never have followed that advice if I had known what it would bring upon me.

"O Fionnuala, and comely Conn, O Aodh, O Fiachra of the beautiful arms; it is not ready I am to go away from you, from the border of the harbour where you are.

Then Lir went on to the palace of Bodb Dearg, and there was a welcome before him there; and he got a reproach from Bodb Dearg for not bringing his children along with him. "My grief!" said Lir. "It is not I that would not bring my children along with me; it was Aoife there beyond, your own foster-child and the sister of their mother, that put them in the shape of four white swans on Loch Dairbhreach, in the sight of the whole of the men of Ireland; but they have their sense with them yet, and their reason, and their voice, and their Irish."

Bodb Dearg gave a great start when he heard that, and he knew what Lir said was true, and he gave a very sharp reproach to Aoife, and he said: "This treachery will be worse for yourself in the end, Aoife, than to the children of Lir. And what shape would you yourself think worst of being in?" he said.

"I would think worst of being a witch of the air," she said. "It is into that shape I will put you now," said Bodb. And with that he struck her with a Druid wand, and she was turned into a witch of the air there and then, and she went away on the wind in that shape, and she is in it yet, and will be in it to the end of life and time.

As to Bodb Dearg and the Tuatha de Danaan they came to the shore of Loch Dairbhreach, and they made their camp there to be listening to the music of the swans.

And the Sons of the Gael used to be coming no less than the Men of Dea to hear them from every part of Ireland, for there never was any music or any delight heard in Ireland to compare with that music of the swans. And they used to be telling stories, and to be talking with men of Ireland every day, and with their teachers and their fellow-pupils and their friends. And every night they used to sing very sweet music of the Sidhe; and every one that heard that music would sleep sound and quiet whatever trouble or long sickness might be on him; for every one that heard the music of the birds, it is happy and contented he would be after it.

These two gatherings now of the Tuatha de Danaan and of the Sons of the Gael stopped there around Loch Dairbhreach through the length of three hundred years. And it is then Fionnuala said to her brothers: "Do you know," she said, "we have spent all we have to spend of our time here, but this one night only."

And there was great sorrow on the sons of Lir when they heard that, for they thought it the same as to be living people again, to be talking with their friends and their companions on Loch Dairbhreach, in comparison with going on the cold, fretful sea of the Maoil in the north.

And they came on the morrow to speak with their father and with their foster-father, and they bade them farewell, and Fionnuala made this complaint: --

"Farewell to you, Bodb Dearg, the man with whom all knowledge is in pledge. And farewell to our father along with you, Lir of the Hill of the White Field.

"The time is come, as I think, for us to part from you, O pleasant company; my grief it is not on a visit we are going to you.

"From this day out, O friends of our heart, our comrades, it is on the tormented course of the Maoil we will be, without the voice of any person near us.

"Three hundred years there, and three hundred years in the bay of the men of Domnann, it is a pity for the four comely children of Lir, the salt waves of the sea to be their covering by night.

"O three brothers, with the ruddy faces gone from you, let them all leave the lake now, the great troop that loved us, it is sorrowful our parting is." After that complaint they took to flight, lightly, airily, till they came to Sruth na Maoile between Ireland and Alban. And that was a grief to the men of Ireland, and they gave out an order no swan was to be killed from that out, whatever chance might be of killing one, all through Ireland.

It was a bad dwelling-place for the children of Lir they to be on Sruth na Maoile. When they saw the wide coast about them, they were filled with cold and with sorrow, and they thought nothing of all they had gone through before, in comparison to what they were going through on that sea.

Now one night while they were there a great storm came on them, and it is what Fionnuala said: "My dear brothers," she said, "it is a pity for us not to be making ready for this night, for it is certain the storm will separate us from one another. And let us," she said, "settle on some place where we can meet afterwards, if we are driven from one another in the night."

"Let us settle," said the others, "we meet one another at Carraig na Ron, the Rock of the Seals, for we all have knowledge of it"

And when midnight came, the wind came on them with it, and the noise of the waves increased, and the lightning was flashing, and a rough storm came sweeping down, the way the children of Lir were scattered over the great sea, and the wideness of it set them astray, so that no one of them could know what way the others went But after that storm a great quiet came on the sea, and Fionnuala was alone on Sruth na Maoile; and when she took notice that her brothers were wanting she was lamenting after them greatly, and she made this complaint: --

"It is a pity for me to be alive in the state I am; it is frozen to my sides my wings are; it is little that the wind has not broken my heart in my body, with the loss of Aodh.

"To be three hundred years on Loch Dairbhreach without going into my own shape, it is worse to me the time I am on Sruth na Maoile.

"The three I loved, Och! the three I loved, that slept under the shelter of my feathers; till the dead come back to the living I will see them no more for ever.
The Children of Lir....continued

"It is a pity I to stay after Fiachra, and after Aodh, and after comely Conn, and with no account of them; my grief I to be here to face every hardship this night"

She stopped all night there upon the Rock of the Seals until the rising of the sun, looking out over the sea on every side till at last she saw Conn coming to her, his feathers wet through and his head hanging, and her heart gave him a great welcome; and then Fiachra came wet and perished and worn out, and he could not say a word they could understand with the dint of the cold and the hardship he had gone through. And Fionnuala put him under her wings, and she said: "We would be well off now if Aodh would but come to us."

It was not long after that, they saw Aodh coming, his head dry and his feathers beautiful, and Fionnuala gave him a great welcome, and she put him in under the feathers of her breast, and Fiachra under her right wing and Conn under her left wing, the way she could put her feathers over them all. "And Och! my brothers," she said, "this was a bad night to us, and it is many of its like are before us from this out."

They stayed there a long time after that, suffering cold and misery on the Maoil, till at last a night came on them they had never known the like of before, for frost and snow and wind and cold. And they were crying and lamenting the hardship of their life, and the cold of the night and the greatness of the snow and the hardness of the wind. And after they had suffered cold to the end of a year, a worse night again came on them, in the middle of winter. And they were on Carraig na Ron, and the water froze about them, and as they rested on the rock, their feet and their wings and their feathers froze to the rock, the way they were not able to move from it. And they made such a hard struggle to get away, that they left the skin of their feet and their feathers and the tops of their wings on the rock after them.

"My grief, children of Lir," said Fionnuala, "it is bad our state is now, for we cannot bear the salt water to touch us, and there are bonds on us not to leave it; and if the salt water goes into our sores," she said, "we will get our death." And she made this complaint: --

"It is keening we are to-night; without feathers to cover our bodies; it is cold the rough, uneven rocks are under our bare feet.

"It is bad our stepmother was to us the time she played enchantments on us, sending us out like swans upon the sea.

"Our washing place is on the ridge of the bay, in the foam of flying manes of the sea; our share of the ale feast is the salt water of the blue tide.

"One daughter and three sons; it is in the clefts of the rocks we are; it is on the hard rocks we are, it is a pity the way we are."

However, they came on to the course of the Maoil again, and the salt water was sharp and rough and bitter to them, but if it was itself, they were not able to avoid it or to get shelter from it. And they were there by the shore under that hardship till such time as their feathers grew again, and their wings, and till their sores were entirely healed. And then they used to go every day to the shore of Ireland or of Alban, but they had to come back to Sruth na Maoile every night.

Now they came one day to the mouth of the Banna, to the north of Ireland, and they saw a troop of riders, beautiful, of the one colour, with well-trained pure white horses under them, and they travelling the road straight from the south-west

"Do you know who those riders are, sons of Lir?" said Fionnuala.

"We do not," they said; "but it is likely they might be some troops of the Sons of Gael, or of the Tuatha de Danaan."

They moved over closer to the shore then, that they might know who they were, and when the riders saw them they came to meet them until they were able to hold talk together.

And the chief men among them were two sons of Bodb Dearg, Aodh Aithfhiosach, of the quick wits, and Fergus Fithchiollach, of the chess, and a third part of the Riders of the Sidhe along with them, and it was for the swans they had been looking for a long while before that, and when they came together they wished one another a kind and loving welcome.

And the children of Lir asked for news of all the Men of Dea, and above all of Lir, and Bodb Dearg and their people.

"They are well, and they are in the one place together," said they, "in your father's house at Sidhe Fionnachaidh, using the Feast of Age pleasantly and happily, and with no uneasiness on them, only for being without yourselves, and without knowledge of what happened you from the day you left Loch Dairbhreach."

"That has not been the way with us," said Fionnuala, "for we have gone through great hardship and uneasiness and misery on the tides of the sea until this day."

And she made this complaint: --

"There is delight to-night with the household of Lir! Plenty of ale with them and of wine, although it is in a cold dwelling-place this night are the four children of the king.

"It is without a spot our bedclothes are, our bodies covered over with curved feathers; but it is often we were dressed in purple, and we drinking pleasant mead.

"It is what our food is and our drink, the white sand and the bitter water of the sea; it is often we drank mead of hazel-nuts from round four-lipped drinking cups.

"It is what our beds are, bare rocks out of the power of the waves; it is often there used to be spread out for us beds of the breast-feathers of birds.

"Though it is our work now to be swimming through the frost and through the noise of the waves, it is often a company of the sons of kings were riding after us to the Hill of Bodb.

"It is what wasted my strength, to be going and coming over the current of the Maoil the way I never was used to, and never to be in the sunshine on the soft grass.

"Fiachra's bed and Conn's bed is to come under the cover of my wings on the sea. Aodh has his place under the feathers of my breast, the four of us side by side.

"The teaching of Manannan without deceit, the talk of Bodb Dearg on the pleasant ridge; the voice of Angus, his sweet kisses; it is by their side I used to be without grief."

After that the riders went on to Lir's house, and they told the chief men of the Tuatha de Danaan all the birds had gone through, and the state they were in. "We have no power over them," the chief men said, "but we are glad they are living yet, for they will get help in the end of time.

As to the children of Lir, they went back towards their old place in the Maoil, and they stopped there till the time they had to spend in it was spent. And then Fionnuala said: "The time is come for us to leave this place. And it is to Irrus Domnann we must go now," she said, "after our three hundred years here. And indeed there will be no rest for us there, or any standing ground, or any shelter from the storms. But since it is time for us to go, let us set out on the cold wind, the way we will not go astray."

So they set out in that way, and left Sruth na Maoile behind them, and went to the point of Irrus Domnann, and there they stopped, and it is a life of misery and a cold life they led there. And one time the sea froze about them that they could not move at all, and the brothers were lamenting, and Fionnuala was comforting them, for she knew there would be help come to them in the end.

And they stayed at Irrus Domnann till the time they had to spend there was spent. And then Fionnuala said: "The time is come for us to go back to Sidhe Fionnachaidh, where our father is with his household and with all our own people."

"It pleases us well to hear that," they said.

So they set out flying through the air lightly till they came to Sidhe Fionnachaidh; and it is how they found the place, empty before them, and nothing in it but green hillocks and thickets of nettles, without a house, without a fire, without a hearthstone. And the four pressed close to one another then, and they gave out three sorrowful cries, and Fionnuala made this complaint: --

"It is a wonder to me this place is, and it without a house, without a dwelling-place. To see it the way it is now, Ochone! it is bitterness to my heart.

"Without dogs, without hounds for hunting, without women, without great kings; we never knew it to be like this when our father was in it.

"Without horns, without cups, without drinking in the lighted house; without young men, without riders; the way it is to-night is a foretelling of sorrow.

"The people of the place to be as they are now, Ochone! it is grief to my heart! It is plain to my mind to-night the lord of the house is not living.

"Och, house where we used to see music and playing and the gathering of people! I think it a great change to see it lonely the way it is to-night

"The greatness of the hardships we have gone through going from one wave to another of the sea, we never heard of the like of them coming on any other person.

"It is seldom this place had its part with grass and bushes; the man is not living that would know us, it would be a wonder to him to see us here."

However, the children of Lir stopped that night in their father's place and their grandfather's, where they had been reared, and they were singing very sweet music of the Sidhe. And they rose up early on the morning of the morrow and went to the Inis Gluaire, and all the birds of the country gathered near them on Loch na-n Ean, the Lake of the Birds. And they used to go out to feed every day to the far parts of the country, to Inis Geadh and to Accuill, the place Donn, son of Miled, and his people that were drowned were buried, and to all the western islands of Connacht, and they used to go back to Inis Gluaire every night.

It was about that time it happened them to meet with a young man of good race, and his name was Aibric; and he often took notice of the birds, and their singing was sweet to him and he loved them greatly, and they loved him. And it is this young man that told the whole story of all that had happened them, and put it in order.

And the story he told of what happened them in the end is this.

It was after the faith of Christ and blessed Patrick came into Ireland, that Saint Mochaomhog came to Inis Gluaire. And the first night he came to the island, the children of Lir heard the voice of his bell, ringing near them. And the brothers started up with fright when they heard it. "We do not know," they said, "what is that weak, unpleasing voice we hear."

"That is the voice of the bell of Mochaomhog," said Fionnuala; "and it is through that bell," she said, "you will be set free from pain and from misery."

They listened to that music of the bell till the matins were done, and then they began to sing the low, sweet music of the Sidhe.

And Mochaomhog was listening to them, and he prayed to God to show him who was singing that music, and it was showed to him that the children of Lir were singing it. And on the morning of the morrow he went forward to the Lake of the Birds, and he saw the swans before him on the lake, and he went down to them at the brink of the shore. "Are you the children of Lir?" he said.

"We are indeed," said they.

"I give thanks to God for that," said he, "for it is for your sakes I am come to this island beyond any other island, and let you come to land now," he said "and give your trust to me, that you may do good deeds and part from your sins."

They came to the land after that, and they put trust in Mochaomhog, and he brought them to his own dwelling-place, and they used to be hearing Mass with him. And he got a good smith and bade him make chains of bright silver for them, and he put a chain between Aodh and Fionnuala, and a chain between Conn and Fiachra. And the four of them were raising his heart and gladdening his mind, and no danger and no distress that was on the swans before put any trouble on them now.

Now the king of Connacht at that time was Lairgren, son of Colman, son of Cobthach, and Deoch, daughter of Finghin, was his wife. And that was the coming together of the Man from the North and the Woman from the South, that Aoife had spoken of.

And the woman heard talk of the birds, and a great desire came on her to get them, and she bade Lairgren to bring them to her, and he said he would ask them of Mochaomhog.

And she gave her word she would not stop another night with him unless he would bring them to her. And she set out from the house there and then. And Lairgren sent messengers after her to bring her back, and they did not overtake her till she was at Cill Dun. She went back home with them then, and Lairgren sent messengers to ask the birds of Mochaomhog, and he did not get them.

There was great anger on Lairgren then, and he went himself to the place Mochaomhog was, and he asked was it true he had refused him the birds. "It is true indeed," said he. At that Lairgren rose up, and he took hold of the swans, and pulled them off the altar, two birds in each hand, to bring them away to Deoch. But no sooner had he laid his hand on them than their skins fell off, and what was in their place was three lean, withered old men and a thin withered old woman, without blood or flesh.

And Lairgren gave a great start at that, and he went out from the place. It is then Fionnuala said to Mochaomhog: "Come and baptize us now, for it is short till our death comes; and it is certain you do not think worse of parting with us than we do of parting with you. And make our grave afterwards," she said, "and lay Conn at my right side and Fiachra on my left side, and Aodh before my face, between my two arms. And pray to the God of Heaven," she said, "that you may be able to baptize us.

The children of Lir were baptized then, and they died and were buried as Fionnuala had desired; Fiachra and Conn one at each side of her, and Aodh before her face. And a stone was put over them, and their names were written in Ogham, and they were keened there, and heaven was gained for their souls.

And that is the fate of the children of Lir so far.


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Ha Ha i love Leprechauns. I even have a singing stuffed toy leprechaun. so you ask, what the hell is a leprechaun? well....

The leprechaun is a solitary creature avoiding contact with mortals and other leprechauns--indeed the whole fairy tribe. He pours all of his passion into the concentration of carefully making shoes. A leprechaun can always be found with a shoe in one hand and a hammer in the other.

Most leprechauns are ugly, stunted creatures, not taller than boys of the age of ten or twelve. But they are broad and bulky, with faces like dried apples. They have a mischievous light in their eyes and their bodies, despite their stubbiness, usually move gracefully.

They possess all the earth's treasures, but prefer to dress drab. Usually grey or green colored coats, a sturdy pocket-studded apron, and a hat---sometimes green or dusty red colored.

They have been know to be foul-mouthed and they smoke ill-smelling pipes calld 'dudeens' and they drink quite a bit of beer from ever handy jugs. But the other fairies endure them because they provide the much needed service of cobblery.

Leprechauns guard the fairies' treasures. They must prevent it's theft by mortals. They, alone, remember when the marauding Danes landed in Ireland and where they hid their treasure. Although, they hide the treasures well, the presence of a rainbow alerts mortals to the whereabouts of gold hordes. This causes the leprechauns great anxiety---for no matter how fast he moves his pot of gold, he never can get away from rainbows.

If a mortal catches a leprechaun and sternly demands his treasure, he will give it to the mortal. Rarely does this happen.

Occassionally, especially after a wee too much beer, he will offer a mortal not only a drink but some of his treasure.

Female leprechauns do not exist. :p :p :p
LOL I know they are very long, but good stories :)

LOL yes Mell a there are no female leprechauns in Ireland only fairies, they live in the mountains in the old castle ruins and they marry fairy Kings i.e. leprechauns! Im sure they are much better looking that leprechauns lol

I love leprechauns too, by any chance does your leprechaun sing "when irish eyes are smiling"?

Ya know they have a saying in the USA "When Irish eyes are smiling...they want something" lol :D

The Rock of Cashel , my favourite castle in Ireland. Hundreds of years ago it was the seat of the High Kings of Munster. Hense the reason why it called cashel of the Kings.



This is Caislean ne dtuatha or in english Doe Castle...before the english came to Ireland, this was the castly of my family in Donegal!

Donegal Places - Doe Castle

Doe Castle
Doe Castle stands on a sheltered inlet of Sheephaven Bay, one of Donegal’s and Ireland’s most evocative monuments. Restoration work is continuing on the building. While it may be possible to restore the castle to the way it was in medieval times, using an appropriate range of stones, mortar and timber, it is certain that Doe Castle can never be restored as the centre of military and political power that it once was. Doe Castle’s strategic location is evident, whether one approaches from the landward side, heading east from Creeslough, or from across the inlet, and for many years it was the base of the Sweeneys whose power extended well beyond the surrounding area. The Sweeneys are inextricably linked with Donegal, yet their origins were not in the County but in the Western Isles of Scotland.
Although the first Sweeney came to Fanad in the mid thirteenth century, the Sweeneys did not settle permanently in Donegal until early in the fourteenth. They were gall-oglaigh i.e. foreign soldiers or mercenaries, and they became key elements in maintaining O’Donnell rule.
The castle takes its name from one of the three branches of the Sweeney clan - Mac Suibhne na dTuath (Sweeney Doe) - the other two being Mac Suibhne Fanad and Mac Suibhne Boghaineach (or Banagh) . In due course the fame of the Sweeneys as fighters spread all over Ireland, leading the McCarthys of Cork to encourage a branch of the clan to move south, where a large number of McSweeneys can still be found.


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Shannon said:
I love leprechauns too, by any chance does your leprechaun sing "when irish eyes are smiling"?
Yes!!!! Thats what my lil Leprechaun baby sings!!! Hehe

It's in my car and it drives everyone nuts because i always press it's foot and then the Irish eyes are smiling songs starts playing;

When you catch a leprechaun he will say

"Three wishes il grant you
Big wishes and small
But you with a fourth one
You'll get none at all"

Dont let those leprechauns trick you into making a fourth wish people, they're tricky little guys and they are invisible in the day time!


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The Giants Causeway, Ireland

The Causeway proper is a mass of basalt columns packed tightly together. The tops of the columns form stepping stones that lead from the cliff foot and disappear under the sea. Altogether there are 40,000 of these stone columns, mostly hexagonal but some with four, five, seven and eight sides. The tallest are about 40 feet high, and the solidified lava in the cliffs is 90 feet thick in places.

A fine circular walk will take you down to the Grand Causeway, past amphitheatres of stone columns and formations with fanciful names like the Honeycomb, the Wishing Well, the Giant's Granny and the King and his Nobles, past Port na Spaniagh where the Spanish Armada ship Girona foundered, past wooden staircase to Benbane Head and back along the cliff top.

The area has always held a natural fascination due to the formations and it should come as no surprise to learn that the different formations have become individually named. These names are usually linked with legend and mythology, the building of the Causway being attributed to Finn MacCoul who was also responsible for Lough Neagh and include colourful descriptions such as "Giants Well", "Giants Organ" "Wishing Chair or Giants Chair.


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omg i love Ireland, lol.

Blarney Castle is one of Ireland's oldest and most historic castles, an ancient stronghold of the McCarthy's, Lords of Muskerry, and one of the strongest fortresses in Munster.

  • Blarney Castle was originally a timber hunting lodge built in the 10th century, which was replaced by a stone castle in 1210. The present day construction was completed by Dermot McCarthy, King of Munster in 1446. The Castle remained the ancestral stronghold of the McCarthy family until the arrival of Oliver Cromwell with cannon guns in 1646. Fifteen years later with the arrival of King Charles II on the English throne saw the return of the McCarthys to the Castle.

    Following the Battle of the Boyne in 1690, all Irish chiefs were stripped of their powers and the McCarthys were again forced to leave Blarney Castle. The Castle was sold to Sir James Jefferyes, Governor of Cork in 1703. The Castle is now owned and managed by the Trustees of the Blarney Castle Estate.

  • The world famous Blarney Stone is situated high up in the battlements of the castle. Follow one of the several long, stone spiral staircases up to the top and enjoy the spectacular views of the lush green Irish countryside, Blarney House and The Village of Blarney.

    The stone is believed to be half of the Stone of Scone which originally belonged to Scotland. Scottish Kings were crowned over the stone, because it was believed to have special powers.

    The stone was given to Cormac McCarthy by Robert the Bruce in 1314 in return for his support in the Battle of Bannockburn.

    The stone itself is set in the wall below the battlements and to kiss it, one has to lean backwards (holding on to an iron railing) from the parapet walk.

    The stone was reputed to have been that mentioned in the Bible as "Jacob's Pillow" and was supposed to have been brought to Ireland by Jeremiah the Prophet. It was more likely to have been brought back during the Crusades which legend applies also to the Stone of Scone now at Westminister Abbey.

    Another tale was that McCarthy was given the story of the stone by an old woman whom he saved from drowning. This lady turned out to be a witch. As a reward, she told him the secret of a stone in the castle which would give him the gift of eloquence in return for a kiss. Wherever the truth lies, tradition has it that once kissed the stone bestows the gift of eloquence.

    You too can acquire the gift of eloquence by kissing the stone!!!!!
Its my family castle guys lol

Doe Castle
Sheephaven Bay

Irish history.

A four-storey tower standing in a square turreted bawn built early in the 16th century on a beautiful site on Sheep Haven Bay by MacSweeney na d'Tuath, foster father of Red Hugh O'Donnell. Note that the moat on the landward side has been hewn out of the rock.


Irish history.

The castle is first mentioned in 1544 in connection with internecine wars between the sons of MacSweeney Doe. Wrecked sailors from the Spanish Armada were granted refuge here in 1588. By 1600 it had been taken over by Eoghan Og MacSweeny, an ally of the English, who was unsuccessfully besieged there by his brother Rory in 1601. Red Hugh O'Donnell attacked the castle unsuccessfully in 1601, but shortly afterwards the castle was granted by the Crown to Rory O'Donnell. Taken again by the MacSweeneys in 1606, it was captured again by Rory O'Donnell in the following year.

In the same year it was granted to Sir Basil Brooke, but was taken in 1608 by Sir Cahir O'Doherty's allies and shortly afterwards retaken by Crown forces. It was then granted to a number of English men before it fell into Irish hands again in 1641. In the following year it greeted Owen Roe O'Neill back to Ireland. Captured by surprise by Coote for the Cromwellians in 1650, it later served as a Royal garrison under Charles 11. In the Williamite wars it was captured by Donough Og MacSweeney but was taken by the English again shortly afterwards. It was extensively repaired by Hart at the end of the 18th century and inhabited by his family until 1843, after which it was deserted.


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Dublin Castle

Dublin Castle is more of a palace than a castle and is currently used to entertain heads of state. It was originally built on the orders of King John in 1204 and has enjoyed a somewhat quiet history. Silken Thomas Fitzgerald laid siege in 1534, a fire destroyed much of the castle in 1684, and the events of the 1916 Easter Rising. It was lightly defended in 1916 and probably would have fallen if the insurrectionists only realized how light the opposition was they faced. The castle was used as the official residence of the British viceroys of Ireland, until the Viceregal Lodge was built in Phoenix Park. Earlier it had been used as a prison. Red Hugh O'Donnell, one of the last of the great Gaelic leaders, escaped from the Record Tower in 1591, was recaptured, and escaped again in 1592.

Only the Record Tower, built between 1202 and 1258, survives from the original Norman castle. Parts of the castle's foundations remain, and a visit to the excavation is the most interesting part of the castle tour. The castle moats, now completely covered by modern developments, were once filled by the River Poddle and can be seen on the castle tour........
Red Hugh O'Donnell, one of the last of the great Gaelic leaders, escaped from the Record Tower in 1591, was recaptured, and escaped again in 1592.

Red Hugh O'Donnell was the Prince of Donegal in aliance with the McSweeney's and the Ui'neall or modern day O'Neill. He was famous for escaping and then defeating the English when they over ran his castle in Donegal. But eventually the O'Neall andthe O'Donnell, had enough of the constand harrassment of the English administration in Dublin Castle being forced to pay taxes on their own land and constanly fighting to protect it! They all took a ship bound for the continent and never returne. This can be seen as the route cause of the modern day conflicts in Norther Ireland because after O'Neill and O'Donnell left, Ulster was left prey to the dublin regime and loyal Scots presbyterian and english protestants were planted in Northern Ireland by Queen Mary. Much of the rest of ireland was planted this was but none so thoroughly as Ulster.


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Saint Patrick's Cathedral

  • Ireland's largest church was founded beside a sacred well where St. Patrick is said to have baptised converts around 450A.D. A stone slab bearing a Celtic cross and covering the well was un-earthed at the turn of the century(20th). It is now preserved in the west end of the cathedral's nave. The original building was just a wooden chapel and remained so until 1192 when Archbishop John Comyn rebuilt the cathedral in stone. Much of the present building dates back to work completed between 1254 and 1270.

    St Patrick's is one of the largest cathedrals in Ireland, where cathedrals tend to be smaller than those on the continent. It is 91 metres long externally and the nave is 17 metres high. Built in an early english gothic style the cathedral has heavy buttressing and stout walls.

  • Internally it is decorated with memorials and monuments to important families and individuals connected to the cathedral. Jonathan Swift, author of Gulliver's Travels was Dean of the cathedral for many years and his portrait shows St Patrick's in the background.

    Johnathan Swift…
W.B. Yeats (1865 - 1939)
W.B. Yeats was born in Dublin in 1865 into an Anglo-Irish Protestant family. He was educated in London and Dublin and he had a childhood affinity for Co. Sligo where his mother's family had been for four generations. Yeats' father was a painter and both he and his brother Jack received training in art. While Jack went on to become Ireland's greatest ever painter (Jack B. Yeats), William showed a greater interest in poetry and drama. Yeats' poetic career can be divided into three stages:

a) An early romantic stage in which he was preoccupied with the revival of Gaelic culture and with the myths and legends of Ireland's Celtic past. This period, which lasted up to 1910, is dominated by poems such as "The Wanderings of Oisin" (1891) and plays such as "The Countess Cathleen" (1902).

b) His second phase was his mature phase during which the three greatest influences on Yeats were: (i) His love for Maud Gonne (ii) The changing face of Ireland 1916 - 1923 (iii) His oncoming old age and his quest for "unity of being". That is a means by which a youthful mind might be equated with an aging body.

c) His last stage 1930 -1939 in which the poet takes a critical look at his earlier career and life, recognising perhaps that his work had become overburdened with symbolism and therefore had lost its sense of immediacy with the reader.

Yeats is regarded as the greatest poet of the 20th Century mainly on the strength of his work between 1910 -1921. During this period it is fair to say that much of Yeats poetry was dominated by his preoccupation with Maud Gonne, the daughter of a British Army officer, who he had first met in 1883 when she was 19 and he was 23. Maud Gonne's failure to reciprocate Yeats' love was perhaps the single most important inspiration of Yeats' poetry. Maud Gonne's marriage to Major John McBride made Yeats realise that there was no place for him in her life, he then married Georgina Hyde Lees. The marriage was a happy one and they had two children. Yeats' later work is dominated by an element of self criticism that can be seen in "The Circus Animals Desertion". He recognises in his old age that the poetry of his youth was overly embellished with symbolism to the point where the real theme of the poem was often completely cloaked from the reader.

Lake Isle Of Inisfree (Circa.1890).
I will arise and go now,and go to Inisfree,
and a small cabin build there,of clay and wattles made:
Nine bean rows will I have there, a hive for the honey bee,
and live alone in the bee-loud glade.
And I shall have some peace there,for peace comes dropping slow,
dropping from the veils of the morning to where the Cricket sings;
There midnight's all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
and evening full of the Linnit's wings.

I will arise and go now,for always night and day,
I hear lake waters lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart's core.

The" Lake isle of inisfree" was written in London while he was feeling homesick for his native Co. Sligo in the northwest of Ireland. W.B.Yeats was a man of exceptional talent and was awarded the Nobel prize for literature in 1923. At various times revolutionary patriot, upholder of an idealized aristocratic tradition, and Senator of the 'Irish Free State', Yeats was also a student of the occult. An obsessive lover, his poetry draws upon a rich vein of mystic melancholy, Irish mythology and wide eclectic reading in literature, history and philosophy. He is a writer whose true and abiding significance is now only beginning to be understood and appreciated.

George Bernard Shaw
(1856-1950.) "Quotations."
"If all the economists were laid end to end, they would not reach a conclusion." "One touch of Darwin makes the whole world kin."

"Nothing is worth doing unless the consequences
may be serious."

"Success covers a multitude of blunders."

"Self-sacrifice enables us to sacrifice other
people without blushing."

"He who can, does. He who cannot, teaches."

"All professions are conspiracies against the laity."

"No question is so difficult to answer as that to
which the answer is obvious."

"Martyrdom is the only way in which a man can
become famous without ability."

"You see things; and say 'Why?' But I dream
things that never were and say 'Why not?'"

George Bernard Shaw was born in Dublin in 1856 to Irish Protestant parents. His father, George Carr Shaw, an unsuccessful businessman, was a dreamy, diffident character, who maintained family tradition by seeking solace in alcohol. By far the strongest character in the household was G.B.S.'s mother Bessie, who devoted her energies to an active disdain of her husband, before she fell under the spell of George Lee (who also went by the names of George John Lee, George Vandeleur Lee, and, simply, Vandeleur Lee), a Svengalian music teacher and conductor. When Lee crossed the Irish Sea to conquer London, Bessie and her daughter Lucy followed him; they were followed in turn, shortly thereafter, by G.B.S. The editor of the London newspaper The Hornet offered George Lee a job as its music critic, not realising that Lee could not write well. Faced with a dilemma, Lee readily offered the task of writing the music column to the bookish Shaw. Though Lee's name would remain in the byline, Shaw accepted, using this job to cut his journalistic teeth until he was found out by the editor. Shortly after this, Shaw, who never went to university, began to visit the Reading Room of the British Museum. He went there for eight years, using it to furnish himself with the education that he felt he needed. He devoured encyclopaedias and vast amounts of literature, building a monumental general knowledge which would stand him in good stead for his future literary and journalistic careers. Initially, he had little literary success in London; his first five novels were rejected by publishers. However, in the early 1880s Shaw discovered socialism, the beliefs of which coloured all his later work, and which helped him truly to carve out a literary voice for himself. In 1884 he became one of the first members of the Fabian Society, a socialist organisation which advocated the establishment of democratic socialism by gradual legal reforms, rather than by revolution. He wrote numerous pamphlets for the Society, and soon found himself on the executive committee. His political interests also found a more conventional outlet: from 1897 to 1903 he was a local government councillor for the London Borough of St. Pancras, during which time he helped to erect the first free ladies' public lavatory in that borough. From 1888-90, building on his short stint at The Hornet, Shaw was music critic for The Star. Hiding behind a fiction as he had earlier behind George Lee's name, he styled himself "Corno di Bassetto" -- Italian for "basset horn", a high-pitched clarinet whose timbre he probably thought was reminiscent of his own strident, piping voice. From 1890-94, he was music critic for The World, and drama critic for the Saturday Review from 1895-98. It is, however, for his plays that Shaw is largely remembered. While hugely entertaining, full of exuberant and witty dialogue, they are also didactic, packed with ideas and social messages. This is not the place to list them all, but among the most famous are Mrs Warren's Profession (1898), Man and Superman (1902), Androcles and the Lion (1912), Saint Joan (1923) and Pygmalion (1913). Of them all, the latter (which was also made into the enormously successful musical and film My Fair Lady) has probably the most relevance to the Shavian alphabet in terms of its subject matter. It deals with a phonetician named Henry Higgins who, for a bet, plucks from the streets Eliza Doolittle, a poverty-stricken flower girl, and, through a rigorous programme of phonetic, grammatical and social tutoring, enables her to transform herself into a lady of social respectability. It was Shaw's opinion that language (or the social inferences made from a person's use of language) was partly to blame for keeping the lower classes in the social, professional and educational gutter. He believed that the seemingly arbitrary relationship between the Roman alphabet's letters and the English language's sounds contributed to this. "Consequently," he wrote in the preface to Pygmalion, "no man can teach himself what [the English language] should sound like from reading it; and it is impossible for an Englishman to open his mouth without making some other Englishman despise him." Shaw died in 1950 at his home in Ayot St. Lawrence, Hertfordshire, allotting part of his estate to the creation of a new, phonetically-based alphabet, which was to become Shavian.

Requiscat. (Circa.1881.)
"We are all in the gutter,
but some of us are looking
at the stars." TREAD lightly, she is near
Under the snow,
Speak gently, she can hear
The daisies grow.
All her bright golden hair
Tarnished with rust,
She that was young and fair
Fallen to dust.
Lily-like, white as snow,
She hardly knew
She was a woman, so
Sweetly she grew.
Coffin-board, heavy stone,
Lie on her breast,
I vex my heart alone
She is at rest.
Peace, Peace, she cannot hear
Lyre or sonnet,
All my life’s buried here,
Heap earth upon it.

Oscar Wilde was the son of the late Sir William Wilde, an eminent Irish surgeon. His mother was a graceful writer, both in prose and verse. He had a brilliant career at Oxford, where he took a first-class both in classical moderations and in Lit. Hum., and also won the Newdigate Prize for English verse for a poem on Ravenna. Even before he left the University in 1878 Wilde had become known as one of the most affected of the professors of the aesthetic craze, and for several years it was as the typical aesthete that he kept himself before the notice of the public. At the same time he was a man of far greater originality and power of mind than many of the apostles of aestheticism. As his Oxford career showed, he had undoubted talents in many directions, talents which might have been brought to fruition had it not been for his craving after notoriety. He was known as a poet of graceful diction; later on as a playwright of skill and subtle humour. A novel of his, "The Picture of Dorian Gray," attracted much attention, and his sayings passed from mouth to mouth as those of one of the professed wits of the age. When he became a dramatist his plays had all the characteristics of his conversations. His first piece, Lady Windermere's Fan, was produced in 1892. "A Woman of No Importance" followed in 1893. "An Ideal Husband" and The "Importance of Being Earnest" were both running at the time of his disappearance from English life. All these pieces had the same qualities a paradoxical humour and a perverted outlook on life being the most prominent. They were packed with witty,sayings, and the author's cleverness gave him at once a position in the dramatic world. The revelations of the criminal trial in 1895. naturally made them impossible for some years. Recently, however, one of them was revived, though not at a West End theater. After his release in 1897, Wilde published "The Ballad of Reading Gaol," a poem of considerable but unequal power.OSCAR WILDE died in Paris, from meningitis. The end to a career which promised so much came in an obscure Hotel in the Latin quarter. Here the once brilliant man. of letters was living, exiled from his country and from the society of his countrymen. The verdict that a jury passed upon his conduct at the Old Bailey in May, 1895, destroyed for ever his reputation and condemned him to ignoble obscurity for the end of his days. When he had served his sentence of two year's imprisonment, he was broken in health as well as bankrupt in fame and fortune.He was born one hundred years before his time

A Short Biography of Samuel Beckett

Samuel Barclay Beckett, the second of two sons of middle-class Protestants, was born at Cooldrinach in Foxrock, County Dublin, on 13 April 1906. He attended Portora Royal School in Enniskillen (Oscar Wilde’s old school) where he studied French, a language in which he would later write. He was a well-rounded athlete excelling at school in cricket, tennis and boxing.

At 17 he entered Trinity College, choosing as subjects French and Italian. At this time, Beckett greatly enjoyed American films, in particular the silent comedies of Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin and these would crucially influence his interest in the vaudevillian tramp.

After college, Beckett travelled to Paris where he met James Joyce. He became one of Joyce's favoured assistants in the production of Finnegans Wake and, inspired by the literary circle around him, began writing himself. The publication of his first poem, Whoroscope, won him £10 in 1930 and he soon after published a study of the recently deceased Proust, a man was greatly admired by Beckett.

Soon Beckett was writing his first stories (which were published in 1934 as More Pricks Than Kicks) and was back in Dublin lecturing at Trinity College. But he was restless and in 1932 returned to Paris where he wrote his first novel, Dream of Fair to Middling Women. This autobiographical novel demonstrated that Beckett was developing his own voice but his next novel, Murphy, was turned down by numerous publishers and would not appear until 1938.

Beckett settled in Paris but in 1937, walking home late one night with some friends, he was stabbed and nearly killed in the street. James Joyce took great care of him, paying all his hospital expenses and bringing round numerous visitors. It was while recuperating that Beckett met Suzanne Deschevaux-Dusmesnil, whom he would eventually (in 1961) marry.

Beckett and Suzanne joined the Resistance in 1941 but were betrayed and forced to flee to Rousillion in the south of France. There Beckett produced his next novel Watt while working on a farm.

After the war, Beckett visited his mother in Ireland. Sitting in her house he claimed: "I became aware of my own folly. Only then did I begin to write the things I feel”. He switched to writing primarily in French and enjoyed a fruitful and fine period of writing. His first French novel, Mercier et Camier, anticipates the concerns and structure of Waiting for Godot, and at this time he also wrote his famous trilogy: Molloy, Malone Dies and The Unnamable. In 1947 he wrote his first play, Eleutheria, which remained unpublished while he was alive (it caused great controversy after his death when an English translation was published against the wishes of the Beckett estate). Waiting for Godot was produced in Paris in 1953 and at last brought Beckett public acclaim.

During the 1950s and 1960s, Beckett's masterpieces, Endgame, Krapp's Last Tape and Happy Days were produced, as well as his first radio plays and some remarkably innovative prose fiction, including How It Is (1961) and the haunting The Lost Ones (1970). In 1969 he became the third Irishman of the century to be honoured with the Nobel Prize and he then, in defiance of public demands for new work, released his still unpublished Mercier et Camier. Also, he at last agreed to the removal of eye cataracts which had been plaguing him for years.

In 1977 he began the autobiographical Company and in the early 1980s produced more prose pieces, including Ill Seen, Ill Said and Worstward Ho, and more plays, such as Rockaby and Ohio Imprompt. His last major work, the prose fiction Stirrings Still, was written in 1986. By now he was seriously ill with advancing emphysema and he wrote his final work, the poem What is the Word, in bed after hospitalisation. He used his last years to concentrate on translations of his works and died on 22 December 1989. He is buried in Montparnasse Cemetery in Paris.

James Joyce 1882-1941

James Joyce is at once Dublin's most local and most international writer. In his novels the city gains a universal identity like Homer's Mediterranean or Biblical Jerusalem, transcendental, yet ruthlessly realistic. Today his name is forever linked with that of Dublin.

Joyce's formative years were spent against a background of constant upheaval. Originally well-to-do, his spendthrift father swept his large family into poverty, moving from lodging to lodging around the city. Joyce's home life stood in stark contrast to the comfort enjoyed by his schoolfriends at Clongowes and Belvedere and his colleagues at University College, and much of his youth was spent roaming the streets. His determination to escape was enhanced by what he saw as the introverted atmosphere of the Irish literary revival, which he denounced in a scurrilous broadsheet, The Holy Office, on the eve of his departure for the continent in 1904.

Joyce settled in Trieste with Nora Barnacle, the Galway girl who was to become his wife. Relations with Dublin were further strained when his book of short stories, Dubliners, caused a protracted argument between Joyce and his Dublin publisher, George Roberts. On Joyce's final visit to Dublin in 1912 Roberts destroyed the entire first edition and Joyce left the country for ever the next day. Disowned, as he felt, by Ireland, Joyce nevertheless acknowledged his Irishness throughout his exile. In Dubliners (published in London in 1914) and his autobiographical novel A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916) Joyce presented a meticulous warts-and-all picture of Dublin and his own family and social background.

Taking refuge from war-torn Europe in neutral Zurich, Joyce worked on the novel which would revolutionise world literature and make Dublin eternally his own. In Ulysses he reconstructed an entire Dublin day in June 1904 and made it the stuff of a modern epic, full of real people, real places, real names and topical allusions. The modern Odysseus, Leopold Bloom, steers his way through a city which is by turns beguiling, hospitable or oppressive. Although Joyce's candid descriptions of human organs at work caused the book to be banned in Britain and the United States for many years after its publication by the courageous Sylvia Beach in Paris in 1922, Ulysses earned him international acclaim.

Joyce, who had moved to Paris in 1920, was based there for nearly twenty years. He became a famous but elusive figure avoiding interviews and public appearances and resolutely maintaining his independence of any movement, political, social or literary, which tried to claim him. Devoted to his immediate family - his wife Nora, his children Giorgio and Lucia, and later Giorgio's wife Helen and their son Stephen - he also brought with him a collection of family portraits, inherited from his father, every time he changed his apartment (at least an annual occurrence).

Surrounded by a select circle of friends, he worked for seventeen years on his last novel, the complex masterpiece Finnegans Wake, in which Dublin is once again the centre of the universe and the theatre of all human history. Finnegans Wake appeared in May 1939, on the eve of the war and the occupation of France. The Joyces sought refuge in Vichy and finally got permission to return to Zurich in December 1940. A month later Joyce was taken ill, and died of peritonitis on 13th January 1941.


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St. Patrick's Day

  • Saint Patrick is believed to have been born in the late fourth century, and is often confused with Palladius, a bishop who was sent by Pope Celestine in 431 to be the first bishop to the Irish believers in Christ.

  • Saint Patrick was the patron saint and national apostle of Ireland who is credited with bringing christianity to Ireland. Most of what is known about him comes from his two works, the Confessio, a spiritual autobiography, and his Epistola, a denunciation of British mistreatment of Irish christians. Saint Patrick described himself as a "most humble-minded man, pouring forth a continuous paean of thanks to his Maker for having chosen him as the instrument whereby multitudes who had worshipped idols and unclean things had become the people of God."

    Saint Patrick is most known for driving the snakes from Ireland. It is true there are no snakes in Ireland, but there probably never have been - the island was separated from the rest of the continent at the end of the Ice Age. As in many old pagan religions, serpent symbols were common and often worshipped. Driving the snakes from Ireland was probably symbolic of putting an end to that pagan practice. While not the first to bring christianity to Ireland, it is Patrick who is said to have encountered the Druids at Tara and abolished their pagan rites. The story holds that he converted the warrior chiefs and princes, baptizing them and thousands of their subjects in the "Holy Wells" that still bear this name.

    There are several accounts of Saint Patrick's death. One says that Patrick died at Saul, Downpatrick, Ireland, on March 17, 460 A.D. His jawbone was preserved in a silver shrine and was often requested in times of childbirth, epileptic fits, and as a preservative against the "evil eye." Another account says that St. Patrick ended his days at Glastonbury, England and was buried there. The Chapel of St. Patrick still exists as part of Glastonbury Abbey. Today, many Catholic places of worship all around the world are named after St. Patrick, including cathedrals in New York and Dublin city.

  • Why Saint Patrick's Day?
    Saint Patrick's Day has come to be associated with everything Irish: anything green and gold, shamrocks and luck. Most importantly, to those who celebrate its intended meaning, St. Patrick's Day is a traditional day for spiritual renewal and offering prayers for missionaries worldwide.

    So, why is it celebrated on March 17th? One theory is that that is the day that St. Patrick died. Since the holiday began in Ireland, it is believed that as the Irish spread out around the world, they took with them their history and celebrations. The biggest observance of all is, of course, in Ireland. With the exception of restaurants and pubs, almost all businesses close on March 17th. Being a religious holiday as well, many Irish attend mass, where March 17th is the traditional day for offering prayers for missionaries worldwide before the serious celebrating begins.

  • In American cities with a large Irish population, St. Patrick's Day is a very big deal. Big cities and small towns alike celebrate with parades, "wearing of the green," music and songs, Irish food and drink, and activities for kids such as crafts, coloring and games. Some communities even go so far as to dye rivers or streams green!

Easter Rising

The Easter Rising (Irish: Éirí Amach na Casca) was a militarily unsuccessful rebellion staged in Ireland against British rule on Easter Monday in April 1916. The rebellion marked the most famous attempt by militant republicans to seize control of Ireland and force independence from the United Kingdom. The Irish Republican revolutionary attempt occurred from April 24 to April 30, 1916, in which a part of the Irish Volunteers led by school teacher and barrister Padraig Pearse and the smaller Irish Citizen Army of James Connolly seized key locations in Dublin and proclaimed an Irish Republic independent of Britain. The event is seen as a key point on the road to Irish independence, though it marked a split between republicanism and mainstream Irish nationalism, which had hitherto accepted a promise of limited autonomy under the British crown, enshrined in the Third Home Rule Act, which had been enacted in 1914, but suspended for the duration of World War I.

Planning the Rising
While the Easter Rising was for the most part carried out by the Irish Volunteers, it was planned by the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB). Shortly after the outbreak of World War I on August 4, 1914, the Supreme Council of the IRB met and, under the old dictum that "England's difficulty is Ireland's opportunity", decided to take action sometime before the conclusion of the war. To this end, the IRB's treasurer, Tom Clarke formed a Military Committee to plan the rising, initially consisting of Pearse, Eamonn Ceannt, and Joseph Plunkett, with himself and Sean MacDermott added shortly thereafter. All of these were members of both the IRB, and (with the exception of Clarke) the Irish Volunteers. Since its inception in 1913, they had surreptitiously hijacked the Volunteers, and had fellow IRB members elevated to officer rank whenever possible, hence by 1916 a large portion of Volunteer leadership were devoted republicans in favor of physical force. A notable exception was the founder and Chief-of-Staff Eoin MacNeill, who was determined to use the Volunteers as a bargaining tool with Britain following World War I, and who was certainly opposed to any rebellion that stood little chance of success. Nevertheless, the IRB hoped to either win him over to their side (through deceit if necessary) or bypass his command altogether. They had little success with either plan.

The plan encountered its first major hurdle when James Connolly, head of the Irish Citizen Army, a group of armed socialist labor union men, completely unaware of the IRB's plans, threatened to initiate a rebellion on their own if other parties refused to act. As the ICA was barely 200 strong, any action they might take would result in a fiasco, and spoil the chance of a potentially successful rising by the Volunteers. Thus the IRB leaders met with Connolly and convinced him to join forces with them. They agreed to act together the following Easter.

In an effort to thwart informers, and, indeed, the Volunteers' own leader, early in April Pearse issued orders for 3 days of "parades and manoeuvres" by the Volunteers for Easter Sunday (which he had the authority to do, as Director of Organization). The idea was that the true republicans with the organization (particularly IRB members) would know exactly what this meant, while men such as MacNeill and the British authorities in Dublin Castle would take it at face value. Of course this was too much to hope for, and MacNeill soon got wind of what was afoot and threatened to "do everything possible short of phoning Dublin Castle" to prevent the rising. Although he was briefly convinced to go along with some sort of action when MacDermott revealed to him that a shipment of German arms was about to land in County Kerry, planned by the IRB in conjunction with Sir Roger Casement (who ironically had just landed in Ireland in an effort of stop the rising), the following day MacNeill reverted to his original position when he found out the shipment was scuttled. With the aid of his cohorts of like mind, notably Bulmer Hobson and The O'Rahilly, he issued a countermand to all Volunteers, canceling all actions for Sunday. This, however, only succeeded in putting the rising off for a day, greatly reducing the number of men who would turn out.

The Rising
The plan, largely devised by Plunkett (and apparently very similar to a plan worked out independently by Connolly), was to seize strategic buildings throughout Dublin in order to cordon off the city, and resist the inevitable attack by the British Army. The Dublin division had been organized into 4 battalions, each under a commandant who the IRB made sure were loyal to them. A makeshift 5th battalion was put together from parts of the others, and with the aid of the ICA. This was the battalion of the headquarters at the General Post Office, and included the President and Commander-in-Chief, Pearse, the commander of the Dublin division, Connolly, as well as Clarke, MacDermott, Plunkett, and a young captain named Michael Collins. Meanwhile the 1st battalion under Commandant Ned Daly seized the Four Courts and areas to the northwest, the 2nd battalion under Thomas MacDonagh established itself at Jacob's Biscuit Factory, south of city center, in the east Commandant Eamon de Valera commanded the 3rd battalion at Boland's Bakery, and Ceannt's 4th battalion took the workhouse known as the South Dublin Union to the southwest. Members of the ICA also commandeered St. Stephen's Green and Dublin's City Hall. Ideological tensions came to the fore when a Volunteer officer gave an order to shoot looters, only to be angrily countermanded by James Connolly.

As MacNeill's countermand basically prevented all areas outside of Dublin from rising, the command of all active rebels fell under Connolly, who fortunately had the best tactical mind of the group. After being badly wounded, Connolly was still able to command by having himself moved around on a bed. (Although he had the dubious achievement of insisting that a capitalist government would never use artillery against their own property. It took the British less than 48 hours to prove him wrong.) The British worked slowly, unsure of how many they were up against, and put their efforts into securing the approaches to Dublin Castle and isolating the headquarters at the GPO, before the gunboat Helga shelled large parts of the city and burned much of it down. Their plan by and large worked very well. Outnumbering the rebels with approximately 4500 British troops and 1000 police (the insurgent Volunteers are estimated at about 1000 and the ICA at under 250),they bypassed many of the defenses, and isolated others to the extent that by the end of the week the only order they were able to receive was the order to surrender. The headquarters itself saw little real action. Perhaps its most noteworthy moment was when Pearse read the Proclamation of the Republic to a largely indifferent crowd outside the GPO. After that the rebels barricaded themselves within the post office and were soon shelled from afar, unable to return effective fire, until they were forced to abandon their headquarters when their position became untenable. On Saturday, April 29, from the new headquarters on Moore Street, after realizing that all that could be achieved was the further death of civilians, Pearse issued an order for all companies to surrender.

The rebels had little public support at the time, and hundreds of people were killed and wounded, (mostly civilians caught in the crossfire). Some 3000 suspects were arrested and 15 leaders (including all seven signatories of the independence proclamation) were executed (May 3–12). Among them was the already mortally wounded Connolly, shot in a chair because he was unable to stand. At the time the executions were demanded in motions passed in Irish local authorities and by many newspapers, including the Irish Independent in an editorial. Prisoners being transported to internment camps in Wales were jeered and spat upon by angry Dubliners.

Infiltrating Sinn Féin
The executions marked the beginning in a change in Irish opinion, much of which had until now seen the rebels as irresponsible adventurists whose actions were likely to harm the nationalist cause. As freed detainees reorganised the Republican forces, nationalist sentiment slowly began to swing behind the hitherto small monarchist Sinn Féin party, ironically not itself involved in the uprising, but which the British government and Irish media wrongly blamed for being behind the Rising. The surviving Rising leaders, under Eamon de Valera, infiltrated Sinn Féin and deposed its previous monarchist leadership under Arthur Griffith, who had founded the party in 1905 to campaign for an Anglo-Irish dual monarchy. Sinn Féin and the Irish Parliamentary Party fought a series of inconclusive battles, with each winning by-elections, until the Conscription Crisis of 1918 (when Britain tried to force conscription on Ireland) swung public opinion behind Sinn Féin.

There was a Boer uprising in South Africa at the start of World War I when Afrikaners who wished to break the link between South Africa and the British Empire, allied themselves with the Germans of German South West Africa. The revolt was crushed by the forces loyal to the South African Government. In contrast to the British reaction to the Easter Rising, in a gesture of reconciliation the South African government was lenient on those rebel leaders who survived the rebellion and encouraged them to work for change within the constitution. This strategy worked and there were no further armed rebellions by Afrikaners who opposed links with Britain. In 1921 Jan Smuts a leading South African statesman and soldier was able to bring this example to the notice of the British Prime Minster David Lloyd George and it helped to persuade the British Government to compromise when negotiating the Anglo-Irish Treaty. "What if the British had been lenient to the Irish rebel leaders" is one of the interesting speculations on Anglo Irish relations.

1918 General Election
The general elections to the British Parliament in December 1918 resulted in a Sinn Féin landslide in Ireland (though most of seats were uncontested), most of whose MPs gathered in Dublin to proclaim the Irish Republic (January 21, 1919) under the President of Dáil Éireann, Eamon de Valera, who had escaped execution in 1916 through luck. (His physical location away from the other prisoners prevented his immediate execution, while his American citizenship led to a delay while the legal situation was clarified. By the time a decision was taken to execute him, and his name had risen to the top of the executions list, all executions had been halted.)

Long-term Impact
The Rising is generally seen as having been doomed to military defeat from the outset, and to have been understood as such by its leaders: critics have seen in it elements of a "blood sacrifice" in line with some of the romantically-inclined Pearse's writings. Though the precursor to Irish statehood, it did nothing to reassure Protestant unionists in Ireland.

Although recognised and treated as an important stage in Ireland's historical political development, neither the modern-day Republic of Ireland nor the vast majority of its citizenry treat it as the starting date of independence. Instead, the 1922 date of the coming into being of the Irish Free State, as a result of the Anglo-Irish Treaty signed between Irish delegates and the British government in 1921 after the Anglo-Irish War, is considered the starting date of independence as this is when the it was first formally recognised by the British.

Until the 1970s, the Irish state commemorated the Easter Rising with a major military parade through Dublin. Those parades have been discontinued.

Irish poet and statesman William Butler Yeats published the poem 'Easter 1916' in 1921, and the poem is among his most popular works. In this poem he specifically cites some of the key figures of the uprising (including Connelly, Pearse, etc), some of whom were his close friends.

Over eighty years later, another momentous event in the history of Ireland occurred at Easter time. The Good Friday Agreement was signed in 1998 in an attempt to finally put to rest the troubles of the island.

Socialism and the Easter Rising
The Easter Rising has sometimes been described as the first socialist revolution in Europe. Whether or not such a statement is true is debatable. Of the leaders, only James Connolly was devoted to the socialist cause. Although the others nominally accepted the notion of a socialist state in order to convince Connolly to join them, their dedication to this concept is highly questionable at best. Political and cultural revolutions were much more important in their minds than economic revolution. Certainly men like Pearse were resigned to the notion that the rising would be a military failure, and thus any promises pretaining to its aftermath were inconequential. Connolly clearly was skeptical of his colleagues' sincerity on the subject, and was prepared for an ensuing class struggle following the establishment of a republic. Many years later, the Soviet Union would be the first country to recognise the Republic of Ireland.

Men executed for their role in the Easter Rising
Patrick Pearse
Thomas J. Clarke
Thomas MacDonagh
Joseph Mary Plunkett
Edward Daly
William Pearse
Michael O'Hanrahan
John MacBride
Eamonn Ceannt
Michael Mallin
Cornelius Colbert
Sean Heuston
Sean MacDermott
James Connolly
Thomas Kent
Sir Roger Casement