Tag: Cork

Earth, fire and water

Friday, 2 January, 2015 0 Comments

Spent an enjoyable afternoon yesterday in the company of Eithne Hehir, the creative spirit behind Ballyhoura Ceramics. Using earth and fire, she produces unique pieces that are inspired in the main by one of Ireland’s great natural resources: water.

Note: The Ballyhoura Mountains straddle the borders of south-east County Limerick and north-east County Cork in the central Munster region of southern Ireland.

Ballyhoura Ceramics


Indoctrination in Ireland: Yes, we can

Wednesday, 15 January, 2014 1 Comment

The Irish language (Gaeilge) has its own logic. There are, for example, no words for “Yes” or “No.” Instead, you have to use a negative sentence, such as Ní maith liom (“It isn’t good with me”.) When it comes to the modal verb “can”, things get even more complicated. So, “I can do it” is expressed as Is féidir liom, which means, literally, “It is possible with me.” By the way, the le preposition in its compound forms is an essential component of the language:

Liom: With me
Leat: With you (singular)
Leis: With him
Léi: With her
Linn: With us
Libh: With you (plural)
Leo: With them

At Davis College in Mallow, County Cork, the preposition is presented in a chunk of syntax that will prove very useful, no doubt, for the next tranche of emigrants.

Is féidir linn


Celebrating the Pattern Day

Thursday, 15 August, 2013 1 Comment

The “pattern” or pátrún was celebrated in almost every parish in Ireland from the middle ages to the mid-20th century. Primarily, a religious event associated with the patron saint of holy wells, the Pattern Day was also an important occasion in the social calendar. “We whiled away the time by drinking whiskey punch, observing the dancing to an excellent piper, and listening to the songs and story-telling which were going on about us,” wrote Crofton Croker after attending the Pattern Day at Gougane Barra in West Cork in 1813. With daylight fading, the revellers, Croker included, retired to tents:

“As night closed in, the tent became crowded almost to suffocation, and dancing being out of the question, our piper left us for some other station, and a man, who I learned had served in the Kerry militia, and had been flogged at Tralee about five years before as a White-boy, began to take a prominent part in entertaining the assembly, by singing Irish songs in a loud and effective voice. These songs were received with shouts of applause, and as I was then ignorant of the Irish language, and anxious to know the meaning of what had elicited so much popular approbation, I applied to an old woman near to whom I sat, and found that these songs were rebellious in the highest degree. Poor old King George was execrated without mercy; curses were also dealt out wholesale on the Saxon oppressors of Banna the blessed (an allegorical name for Ireland); Buonaparte’s achievements were extolled, and Irishmen were called upon to follow the example of the French people.”

In 1834, the English author Henry Inglis visited Connemara and was invited to a Pattern Day at Maumean in the Maamturk Mountains:

“It fortunately happened, that on the second day of my sojourn at Ma’am, a very celebrated pattern was to be held, on a singular spot, high up amongst the mountains, on a little plain… on an elevation of about 1,200 feet… The ascent to the spot where the pattern was to be held was picturesque in the extreme, for up the winding way, for miles before us and for miles behind too, groups were seen to be moving up the mountainside — the women with their red petticoats, easily distinguishable; some were on foot, some few on horseback, and some rode double. About half way up, we overtook a party of lads and lasses, beguiling the toil of the ascent, by the help of a piper, who marched before, and whose stirring strains, every now and then prompted an advance in jig-time, up the steep mountain path.”

On arrival at the summit Inglis was invited into a tent where “the pure poteen circulated freely.” However, heated words were exchanged and a fight developed. Inglis describes the row, how five or six “were disabled: but there was no homicide.” Afterwards, “some who had been opposed to each other, shook hands and kissed; and appeared as good friends as before.”

In 1682, Sir Henry Piers attended a Pattern Day at a church on a hill overlooking Lough Derravaragh in County Westmeath noted that quarreling was very much part of pattern procedure:

“For ale sellers in great numbers have their booths here as in a fair and to be sure the merry bag-pipers fail not to pay their attendance. Thus in lewd and obscene dancing, and in excess drinking, the remainder of the day is spent as if they celebrated the Bacchanalia rather than the memory of a pious saint or their own penetentials; and often times it falls out that more blood is shed on the grass from broken pates and drunken quarrels when the pilgrimages are ended than was before on the stones from their bare feet and knees during the devotions.”

Let’s hope that today’s Pattern Day in Ballylanders will a peaceful and happy affair.

Pattern memories


Hero

Tuesday, 9 July, 2013 0 Comments

Perhaps, the most glorious Wikipedia introduction ever written:

Lieutenant-General Sir Adrian Paul Ghislain Carton de Wiart VC, KBE, CB, CMG, DSO (5 May 1880 — 5 June 1963), was an English officer of Belgian and Irish descent. He fought in the Boer War, World War I, and World War II, was shot in the face, head, stomach, ankle, leg, hip and ear, survived a plane crash, tunneled out of a POW camp, and bit off his own fingers when a doctor wouldn’t amputate them. He later said “frankly I had enjoyed the war.”

By the way, in 1908 he married Countess Friederike Maria Karoline Henriette Rosa Sabina Franziska Fugger von Babenhausen. She died in 1949 and in 1951, at the age of 71, he married Ruth Myrtle Muriel Joan McKechnie, then 23 years his junior. She died in 2006 at the age of 102. Sir Adrian died at the family home in County Cork in Ireland in 1963, aged 83. His was an heroic life.

Adrian Carton de Wiart


The Staves in the Caves

Saturday, 13 October, 2012

Emily Staveley-Taylor, Jessica Staveley-Taylor and Camilla Staveley-Taylor from Watford in England are The Staves and, starting on 26 October, the three sisters will be providing support for Bon Iver during his European tour. That’s “a feather in their cap”, as mother would say, but they’re earned it by putting in the work and the miles. […]

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Labbamologga

Sunday, 9 September, 2012

This small monastic site on the Limerick/Cork border was founded in the 7th century by Saint Molaige and the name Labbamologga comes from the original Irish, Leaba Molaige (the bed of Molaige or Molaige’s resting place). Labbamologga continues to be used as a graveyard.

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