14 Year Old Waterford Boy Was The Youngest Solider Killed In World War 1

During the 1970’s and 1980’s in Ireland the annual remembrance of those tens of thousands of Irish who gave their lives in the Great War was met with a kind of muted national indifference. Certainly there was laying of wreaths … Continue reading 14 Year Old Waterford Boy Was The Youngest Solider Killed In World War 1

19 Back-to-School Quotes about Irish Education & Learning

I do not approve of anything that tampers with natural ignorance. Ignorance is like a delicate exotic fruit; touch it and the bloom is gone. The whole theory of modern education is radically unsound. Fortunately in England, at any rate, education produces no effect whatsoever. If it did, it would prove a serious danger to the upper classes, and probably lead to acts of violence in Grosvenor Square.Oscar Wilde, Writer (1856-1900), ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taughtOscar … Continue reading 19 Back-to-School Quotes about Irish Education & Learning

Saint Patrick’s Day Traditions

The Wearing of the Green The tradition of wearing Shamrock to celebrate Saint Patrick seems to date from the seventeenth or eighteenth century. This was a very turbulent time in Irish history. The suppression of the Gaelic way of life by the ruling British invaders resulted in many aspects of the Catholic religion in Ireland being forced underground. Strict laws were enforced which prevented the Catholic population from attending schools so ‘hedge-schools’ were operated in secret. These were schools run outdoors in secluded places (sometimes literally ‘under a hedge!). The teaching of religion was also forbidden so it is only … Continue reading Saint Patrick’s Day Traditions

Origin of the Song ‘Danny Boy’

The famous Irish song ‘Dannny Boy’ is one of over 100 songs composed to the same tune. The author was the English lawyer, songwriter and entertainer, Frederic Edward Weatherly (1848-1929). He wrote the lyrics to Danny Boy in the year 1910 but only used the traditional tune when he was sent the ‘Londonderry Air’ by his sister-in-law in 1912. The song was republished in 1913. Alfred Perceval Graves was a friend of Weatherly but the two fell out when Graves claimed that his friend had stolen some of the lyrics that Graves himself had written for the song. The tune … Continue reading Origin of the Song ‘Danny Boy’

Origin of the ‘Black Irish’

There are a number of theories about the origin of the term ‘Black Irish’. Almost all were intended as a form of insult or as a means of differentiating one particular group from another. The theories regarding the origin of the phrase ‘Black Irish’ include: 1. Descendants of Viking and Norman invaders who eventually settled in Ireland may have been referred to as ‘Black Irish’. This is more likely because of the dark intentions of the invaders rather than their physical appearance. 2. One of the consequences of the disastrous ‘Spanish Armada’ in the year 1588 was that groups of … Continue reading Origin of the ‘Black Irish’

Osborne, Lavery and Leech – A Trio Of Irish Painters

Walter Osborne was born in 1859. He painted mainly in the French Brittany region of Quimperle but moved to England in 1884. His paintings of rural scenes that dominated his early years gradually gave way to an ‘impressionistic’ interpretation of those subjects that he had great empathy for, namely women, small children and old people. His superb images of young girls at play are still cherished by the National Gallery of Ireland: The Dolls School, The House Builders. John Lavery was born in Belfast but was educated in Glasgow, London and Paris. He originally worked as an apprentice photographer but … Continue reading Osborne, Lavery and Leech – A Trio Of Irish Painters

10 Things You May Never Have Known About Dublin

HOW DUBLIN GOT ITS NAME The Gaelic name for Dublin is ‘Baile Atha¬†Cliath’ which translates literally as ‘town of the hurdle ford’, a description of the bank of wooden hurdles built up across the river Liffey by the Vikings. The word ‘Dublin’ is actually a composition of two Gaelic words: ‘dubh’ meaning ‘black’ and ‘linn’ means ‘pool’ (or ‘mire’). Thus the literal translation of the words from which Dublin gets its name is Black pool! Crossing the ‘hurdle ford’ was not without its dangers. In 770 AD a band of Bon Valley raiders were drowned crossing the Liffey at the … Continue reading 10 Things You May Never Have Known About Dublin