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Bean-Finn - A female Irish water spirit known in Germany as Weisse Frau, and as Jenny Greentooth in England.
The Bean-Fionn’s name, which means “white woman,” comes from the color of her gown. She is a female faery who lives underwater in lakes and streams. She is considered to be dangerously malevolent towards human children, deriving great pleasure from drowning them when they play too close to her watery home.
They are best avoided.


This one spirit that is very wide spread. She is known in many different lands by many different names (and even different spellings of the same name). Banshee is the American and Canadian phonetic spelling for the Irish Bean Si, or Bean Sidhe, whose name means Woman of the Hill, Mound, or Faeries, the Scots Gaelic Bean-Sith.
In the Scottish Highlands she is called Caoineag (the Weeper or One Who Weeps) and Bean-Nighe (Washing Woman), mainly in the Hebrides region where she is also know as Coainteach, or Cointeach, One Who Keens, the name given to her in southwest Scotland, as well. In Celtic Scottish folklore she is Bean-Nighechain, Little Washer Woman, and Nigheag na H-ath, Little-Washer by-the-Ford.
The French refer to this being as Cannered Noz, Woman of the Night, and in Cornwall, England she is Cyhyreath.
In Brittany her name is Eur-Cunnere Noe, in Waterford she is Badbh, and in Wexford, Kildare, and Wicklow, her name is spelled Badhbh.
In Kilkenny and Loais Badhbh carries a surname, Chaointe.
Only to the Welsh is this being considered to be both male and female, and is referred to as Cyoerrath and Gwrach y Rhibym, or Hag of the Dribble.
The Manx call her Ben Shee. Other names include Badh and Banshie, East Munster; Ban Sith, Bean Shith, Ben Side, and, in Britain, Tunnerez Noz.

The Banshee are comprised of female faeries who live as solitary beings who attach themselves to human families of noble blood.
To these families her cries are a foretelling of death, in the role of a supernatural messenger.
Some think that she is a ghost because of her appearance and clothing. She is described as being a beautiful woman with long red hair, a pale face, and eyes that glow red from her continuous weeping.
She wears a flowing white gown and a shroud to cover her face in mourning.
To some her warning wail is oddly comforting, but to most it is a shrill and terrifying sound, perhaps a reflection of how the listener views death.
They are usually seen by the side of rivers washing the clothes of those about to die.

battle ninja

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• John Ford, father of Henry Ford, the founder of the Ford Corporation of America, emigrated to America after being evicted from a small holding in Ballinascarty Co. Cork in 1847?

• Billy the Kid, born Henry McCarty, was the son of Irish immigrants, Michael and Catherine McCarty?

• There are five areas in Dublin whose names end in the letter 'O'? Fewer than one Dubliner in 20,000 can name them off by heart. They are: Rialto, Marino, Portobello, Phibsboro and Pimlico.

• Dublin's O'Connell Bridge was originally made of rope and could only carry one man and a donkey at a time? It was replaced with a wooden structure in 1801. The current concrete bridge was built in 1863 and was first called "Carlisle Bridge".

• One of the great gaffes in social history took place at Stormont in the 1920s? During an important function, Northern Ireland minister Dawson Bates - who was in attendance with his wife and son - entered the main hall. As the party made their way towards the gathered dignitaries, they were grandly announced "the honourable Dawson Bates, his wife, Lady Bates, and their son Master Bates." (We're not kidding - this really happened!)

• The Irish alphabet has only 18 letters? J, K, Q, V, W, X, Y and Z are not used.

• According to Irish custom, cold and wet weather was welcomed on Good Friday? It was interpreted as a sign of nature in mourning for the death of Christ.

• If a boy was born on Easter Sunday, he was destined for high office in the Church?

• It was on Easter Monday, April 18, 1949, that Éire became officially known as the the Republic of Ireland?

• An Irishman, Jimmy Kennedy, from Co. Tyrone, wrote the song Red Sails in the Sunset?

• Singer, Eyna's real name is Eithne Ní Bhraonáin

• St Patrick's Church of Ireland Cathedral in Armagh stands on a bit of land called the ridge of the willow tree? According to legend, this land was given to St. Patrick by Irish chief Daire, after St Patrick brought him and his horse back to life.

• When St. Patrick died, his followers argued about where to bury him? To settle the dispute, they harnessed two untamed oxen to a cart carrying St Patrick's earthly remains. Wherever the oxen stopped was where the saint would be buried. According to the legend, the oxen stopped when they reached Dun-lethglaisse, the site of the present Church of Ireland Cathedral, Downpatrick

• The jawbone of St.Patrick was preserved in a silver shrine and was often requested in times of childbirth, epileptic fits and as a preservative against the evil eye?

• In 1931 Ernest Walton, who was born in Dungraven, Co. Waterford, split the atom for the first time? This scientific landmark was achieved with an accelerator built to his own design. Walton and his partner John Cockcroft received the 1951 Nobel Prize for Physics for their efforts.

• Leinster House in Dublin was originally built as a private home for the Duke of Leinster? At that time, the most fashionable part of Dublin was the North Side and he was asked why he was building on the South Side. He said "Where I go, fashion follows me" To this day the most fashionable part of Dublin is the South Side.

• Robert Barton of Co. Fermanagh composed the unofficial anthem of Australia, "Waltzing Matilda?"

• The lyrics to "Danny Boy" were written by an Englishman? His name was Frederic Edward Weatherly and he also wrote the lyrics to the popular WWI song, Roses of Picardy.

• St. Patrick might not be buried in Ireland at all? One legend says he ended his days in Glastonbury, England and was buried there. The Chapel of St. Patrick still exists as part of Glastonbury Abbey and there is evidence of an Irish pilgrimage to his tomb during the reign of the Saxon King in A.D. 688.

• St. Patrick was the first person in history to speak out against slavery and he is the Patron Saint of the Excluded? By the time of his death, or shortly thereafter, the Irish stopped slave trading and they never took it up again.

• St. Patrick's real name is believed to have been Maewyn Succat?

• In 1948, Harry Truman was the first American president to attend the St. Patrick's Day Parade in New York City?

wee leprechaun

• The area of the entire island of Ireland is 32,593 square miles? A mere coincidence that it also has 32 counties?

• Buncrana, Co Donegal, is the most Catholic town in the Republic, with 94.3 per cent of its population belonging to the denomination? Greystones, Co Wicklow, has the highest Church of Ireland population, at 13.3 per cent.

• New York's Central Park was modelled on St. Stephen's Green in Dublin?

• You can only call yourself a true Dubliner if you were born between the North and South Circular Roads?

• The Irish word for province means fifth? And yet there are are only four provinces, you say - Leinster, Munster, Connaught and Ulster? The answer is that at one time Meath, which means in the middle, was once the fifth province.

• In old Ireland, the word Tory meant a brigand or highwayman? Strange that the Brits adopted this word for Conservatives - or maybe not!

• Sigmund Freud once remarked that the Irish were the only people who couldn't be psychoanalysed? While most of us would like to think we have no need for it, there are many who think we're beyond hope! Source: The Truth about the Irish by Terry Eagleton

• Murphy is the most common surname in Ireland? In Irish it means 'sea hound.'

• Dublin has the oldest maternity hospital in Europe - the Rotunda? (a most appropriate name!)

• The word quiz was invented by an 18th century Dubliner? He won a bet that he could introduce a new word by chalking it on walls around the city. Since nobody knew what it meant, the word acquired the meaning it has today.

• Ten percent of Co. Roscommon's population is Brazilian? The samba is danced in one local club on "Brazil Nights", and on Friday evenings, one local radio station broadcasts in Portuguese!
<• The word bard is derived from the ancient name for a Celtic poet?

• The first three days of April are called the "Borrowed Days" and are traditionally associated with bad weather?

• Cairbre, the lion used to introduce Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer films, was born at the Dublin Zoo? (On March 20, 1927)

• In the old folklore, sore eyes could be soothed by rubbing them with boiled daisies?

• In some parts of old rural Ireland, it was considered lucky to sow potatoes on Good Friday?

• Irish-born Patrick Maguire was the first man of Christopher Columbus’ crew to step on North American soil?

• Customarily, on St. Patrick's Day, the only green Irish people wear is a sprig of shamrock in the lapel of their coats?

• The Pope is also bishop of the tiny see of Kilfenora in Co. Clare?

• According to the 12th century prophecies of St. Malachy, Ireland will be at peace, when the shamrock meets the palm - in other words, when St. Patrick's day falls on Palm Sunday?

• St. Patrick is also the patron saint of engineers?

• The second St. Patrick's Day Celebration was established in 1780 by the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick in Philadelphia?

• Gan tir gan teanga means no language no nation. Great saying to put on a T-shirt!

• The Dutch Blue Guards, the personal bodyguard of King William III, were devout Catholics to a man?

• Tom Gallagher of Derry invented the modern cigarette in 1888?


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In the misty hills of Ireland
A long, long time ago,

There lived a lovely Irish lass
Who loved her father so.

One day he went to fetch some wood,
But he did not soon return,
And so his loving daughter's heart
 Was filled with great concern.

She searched for him throughout the day,
And when a fog came in
She wept, for she was fearful
They would never meet again.

Then suddenly, a little band
Of leprechauns came by.
They all were very saddened
To hear the lovely maiden cry.

They asked if they might have a lock
Of her long and golden hair,
Then tied the silken strands across
A crooked limb with care.

'Twas a magic harp they'd made,
And when the maiden touched each strand,
The music led her father home
Across the misty land.

And to this day the harp remains
A cherished symbol of
The blessings of the hearth and home
The Irish dearly love.

In Dublin's Fair City

Sweet Molly Malone

In Dublin's Fair City,
Where the girls are so pretty,
I first set my eyes on sweet Molly Malone.
As she wheeled her wheelbarrow,
Through streets broad and narrow,
Crying "Cockles and Mussels,
Alive Alive O!

Alive Alive O! Alive Alive O!
Crying "Cockles and Mussels,
Alive Alive O!"

She was a fishmonger,
But sure 'twas no wonder,
For so were her father and mother before.
And they each wheel'd their barrow,
Through streets broad and narrow,
Crying cockles and mussels,

  Alive  Alive o!

Alive, alive o!, alive, alive o!
Crying cockles and mussels

Alive Alive o!

She died of a fever,
And no one could save her,
      And that was the end of sweet Molly Malone.
  But her ghost wheels her barrow,
       Through streets broad and narrow,
Crying cockles and mussels

Alive  Alive o!

Cockles and Mussels

Dodiesdreamworld >
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The motif of the Harp telling the truth on its own is a common motif in Celtic folklore- For example, in the song about the 'Two Sisters' (or 'Cruel Sister') where one sister drowns the other in order to marry the king. But some of her hair is washed ashore and used to string a harp which, again at the king's court, reveals the truth about the murder.

This, of course, refers to the Celtic appreciation of the magical powers of music, and particular the harp as the ultimate musical instrument in the ancient tradition of sacred music in northwestern Europe. But it is THIS tale that actually enlightens us that the Harp in its turn receives at least part of its magic from the powers of the trees.

This story is much aligned with the little knowledge we have about the real-existing Celtic harps of old. The famous Brian Boru harp, dating to the Middle Ages and exhibited at the Trinity College in Dublin, has a soundbody made of willow wood and the neck and pillar made of oak wood. This is interesting because of the special qualities of the trees involved.

In all ancient cultures to which they were known, willow trees represented the powers of the Great Goddess and willows were frequently found in sacred groves dedicated to goddessses, particularly those of the moon, the night, dreams, and love. The Willow was used for clairvoyance, magic, and healing.

The Oak, on the other hand, has been associated with Mars, in all its velocity, energy and vitality. The Oak is very much a 'yang' tree, outgoing, emanating, 'active'. Oak was taken to battle. While the Willow is gentle, silent, introvert, 'yin'.

On a symbolic level, the Harp made of Oak and Willow combines the cosmic principles of male and female. The strings are held up by the strong force of the pillar (Oak) and resonate through the receiving chalice of the soundbody (Willow). From this union, a third element, the 'child', is born: the sound of Music.

But the main message of the tale is actually about the living tree. Because we learn that trees have ears! It will make a difference to your life when you tell them something. And also, they will store this information and hold it. By revealing Maon's petty secret the Willow actually did him a favour. It cured him of vanity and a lot of fear.

Trees are the memory archives of the biosphere, and that is a scientific fact. They receive all kinds of data in form of cosmic radiation, from within our solar system and even from far beyond. In addition, trees are sensitive to air electricity, changes in the Earth's magnetic field, the moon cycles, solar cycles, and of course wind and weather. They store everything in their annual rings with such a precision that dendrologists have derived a climate calendar (comprising of tree ring patterns) for our planet that goes back about 7000 years!

So imagine ancient Celtic society with stories like this one going round. They make the woods not a gloomy place full of lurking criminals as in today's media, but instead a place where you are in good care of the trees. They are alive, they listen, and they can whisper back.
    (c) 2003 Fred Hageneder


Source for story: T W Rolleston, "The Early Milesian Kings", Celtic Myths and Legends, Senate, London 1994

Other version of this tale appears on the web at:
("The King With Horse's Ears")
and at
(p. 151, "Legends of Maon, Son of Ailill")

Fred Hagenederwee leprechaun

In addition to being a graphic designer and visual artist, Fred Hageneder is an accomplished harper and and composer whose CD, "Spirit of Trees" features music about ten different tree species. He is also the author of two notable books about trees, The Spirit of Trees: Science, Symboisis and Inspiration and The Heritage of Trees: History Culture and Symbolism. Fred lives in the Cotswolds, West England, and is involved in an initiative to recreate sacred groves throughout Europe. To learn more about Fred and his work, please visit his website,



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  An Irish Legend
wee leprechaun

If you should be walking along a wooded path some moonlit night in Spring and hear the faint tap-tapping of a tiny hammer, you might be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of an Irish leprechaun, the elfin shoemaker. His roguish tricks are the delight of Irish story-telling

According to legend, the leprechaun has a pot of gold hidden somewhere, and he must give up his treasure to the one who catches him. You'll have to step lively and think quickly to capture a leprechaun's gold though, because this sly little fellow will fool you into looking away for an instant while he escapes into the forest.

A story is told of the man who compelled a leprechaun to take him to the very bush where the gold was buried. The man tied a red handkerchief to the bush in order to recognize the spot again and ran home for a spade. He was gone only three minutes, but when he returned toImage dig, there was a red handkerchief on every bush in the field!

As long as there are Irishmen to believe in the "little folk," there will be leprechauns to reflect the wonderful Irish sense of fun. Many a new story of leprechaun shenanigans will be added to Irish folklore each year. Will you be the lucky person to catch a leprechaun and find the pot of gold? Perhaps it's at the end of everyone's rainbow!

wee leprechaunA Medely of Irish Tunes and Dancing for Your Entertainment.


The Dubliners, The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Mackem. There are Unicorns and Fairies, As well as a Reel Around the Sun from Geneva.
Enya and Nanci Griffiths drop in to to say hi.

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the Hill of Allen
     Finn, the mighty captain of the Irish  chivalry in King Cormac's reign, wept but twice in his life. Once was for the death of his hound Brau.... The other well I'll tell you the story.
    One morning, long before that sorrowful day, Finn and his comrades  and found a beautiful fawn. She sped swiftly before them, not into the thickest parts of the woods, but  toward  Finn's strongholld in the Hill of Allen.
Soon she had left everyone far behind except Finn and his two hounds Brau and Skolawn. These at last overtook her, but instead of pulling down their prey they began to lick the creature and play about her. Then the three  animals went quietly on toward Finn's home, gambolling together like lambs.
Finn gave orders that all the other hounds should be held in leash and no one was to harm the fawn, which entered the stronghold and lay down in the hall That night a beautiful woman stood among them suddenly.
"O Finn," she said, "my name is Saba! A Dark Druid by his sorceries put the shape of a fawn upon me. For three years I have lived wretchedly in the wood, for I could only get free of the

enchantment by entering your stronghold, and I feared to approach it lest I should be struck down. I pray you give me shelter."
       Finn sprang up, and swore to protect her. Before she had been  in the stronghold many days they were wedded, and had many  months of great happiness.     
But at length news came that the North-men's ships were in the bay of Dublin.
"I must go to the aid of my allies," said Finn. "It is said that a man  lives after his life, but not after his honour."
       Very sadly the two parted, but in eight days Finn returned safe and victorious.

As he approached his stronghold the people came out to meet him with an air of morning, and Saba was not amongst them.
At length one took courage to tell what had happened.
         One day, looking from the ramparts, they saw a likeness of Finn returning, with Brau and Skolawn at his side. Saba rushed 
down, out of the gates, to meet him; but when  she came up the horseman struck her, and she turned into a fawn again.
       She fled back to the stronghold but the fierce hounds turned her from it. Finn's men seized weapons and ran out, but now nothing was to be seen. They heard the rushing of feet, the
yelping and snarling of hounds, and at last the tumult died away into the woods.
Finn said not a word, but stretched himself on his bed in silence for two days. He took Brau and Skolawn, and spent seven years inWoodlands  searching the forests of Ireland for the enchanted fawn. At length he despaired, and returned home.
  Then one day as he followed the chase he heard a great clamour of the hounds as if they had spotted some monster. Spurring up to the spot, Finn discovered a naked boy standing with his back to a tree, while the hounds raged round him.
Finn beat off the hounds and advanced towards the boy, looking earnestly into his eyes. He was handsome and fearless, but he did
  not speak, or seem to understand what Finn said to him.Oisin
They bought him home, like an animal and in time he became tame and soon learnt to speak. This was his story:

'He had lived all his ife in a pleasant valley surrounded by cliffs none could climb. He was looked after by a tender fawn who made sure that there were always plenty of fruits and berries to be eaten, and a cave for shelter.

Often a tall, dark man came and spoke to the fawn, sometimesSaba tenderly, sometimes in anger. But she always turned away her  head. At length one day he struck her with a long staff, and went away, followed by the fawn, who continually looked back and moaned to the boy.
He tried to run to her, but his limbs were useless and he fainted.
When he awoke he found himself in a  strange place, and though he wondered far and wide he never could find the valley
Oisin became a famous warrior again. Finn called the boy Oisin, which means Little Fawn, and counted him his son. He became a famous Bard; but he would have given his splendid harp, as Finn would have given his
glorious sword, to look on Saba once more.'

'O my what a wonderful story, I do believe it is very like one of the
 stories from the Welsh Mabinogion'

The Enchantment of Ireland

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wee leprechaun

• Balbriggan, Co. Dublin, was once the hosiery capital of the world? Around the turn of the century, stockings and tights were widely known as 'Balbriggans'

• If some is described as "maggalore" it means they've had one too many? It's from the Irish phrase maith go lor which means "well on" or "good enough."

• If someone's glass is described as flathúil - flahool - it means overflowing? The literal translation is "chieftainlike" and has evolved to mean generous or liberal.

• If money is described as flúirseach (
flew-shirk), it literally means that it is plentiful?

• Louis H. Sullivan, the Boston-born son of an Irish immigrant is said to have created the modern skyscraper?

• Over 800 million cans of Guinness Draught have been sold in over 70 countries since the brand's launch in 1989?

• Robert Louis Stevenson, the author of Treasure Island, took a supply of Guinness with him on his travels to Samoa?

• At 198 calories a pint, Guinness has fewer calories than a pint of skimmed milk or orange juice?

• There are documentary records of 9,724 shipwrecks around the Irish coast?

• Ernesto Guevara Lynch, the father of Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara, was a descendant of a Galway woman, Ana Lynch y Oritz, who settled in Argentina in the 18th century?

• Dublin's first bus route was inaugurated in 1919 by the Clondalkin Omnibus Company, using a wooden body from a horse-drawn vehicle on a five-ton chassis? Source: The new Encyclopedia of Ireland

• The password for George Washington's troops in Boston on March 17, 1776 was "St. Patrick"?

• Catherine McCarthy, known as the "jolly Irishwoman of the Lower East Side" was the mother of notorious outlaw Billy the Kid?

• Comedic genius and creator of the Keystone Cops, Mack Sennett, was the son of Irish immigrants?

• Kevin Street Garda Station was once the Palace of the Archbishop of Dublin?

• The police station in Dungannon, County Tyrone, should overlook the Khyber Pass? in the 19th century, the plans for this fearsome fortress-type building were sent by mistake to Ireland instead of India!

• In Sligo, you still officially need a licence to buy molasses? It's a legal hangover from the days when the county was the poitin capital of Ireland.

• The first casualty of the Irish Civil War (1922-23) was a Free State Sniper who was smashed over the head with a teapot by an elderly Dublin woman?

• In the old days, it was the custom for the oldest girl in an Irish family to marry first and her sisters
  according to age afterwards?

• Dublin's oldest traffic light is situated beside the Renault garage in Clontarf? The light, which is still in full working order, was installed in 1893 outside the home of Fergus Mitchell who was the owner of the first car in Ireland.

Scotland's capitol, Edinburgh, is named after the Irish nun Edana who founded a convent there in the 6th century?

• In 1986, a 900 year old cheese was found perfectly preserved, in a Tipperary bog?

• Cahirciveen in Kerry was once so inaccessible from the rest of Ireland that it was quicker to send newspapers and mail from Dublin via New York?

• John Tyndall, a physicist who was born in Leighlin Bridge, Co. Carlow, was first to discover why the sky is blue? Don't you just love it that it was an Irishman?

• The Devil's Bit mountain near Thurles, County Tipperary, is so called because Satan, furious at finding no wicked souls in Ireland as he flew over it, supposedly bit a chunk out of the rock in his rage?

• A monkey appears on the FitzGerald coat of arms in tribute to the family pet which rescued the infant 1st Earl of Kildare from a fire at Kilkea castle in the 14th century?
• Covering some 400 square miles, the midland Bog of Allen is the largest peat bog in the world?

• Trout from Lough Melvin in Co, Fermanagh taste like chicken when cooked? According to legend, St. Patrick transformed them from fowl to fish.

• The largest carillon of bells in the British Isles (128 of them) is housed in the spire of St. Colman's Cathedral in Cork?

• Dublin's oldest workhouse closed its doors for the last time in July 1969? Based in Smithfield, it sheltered as many as 10,000 orphans during the 170 years it was in operation

Ireland is the world's 20th largest island?

• The milk drawn from a hazelnut kernel, when added to mead or honeyed water, was once used to help cure a cough?

• Dublin's West-Link bridge lanes are the busiest in Europe, possibly even in the world? Each lane handles 20,700 vehicles a day, compared to 10,800 per lane at New York's George Washington Bridge.

• Most likely, the oldest pub in the world is in Ireland? The Guinness Book of Records confirms that Sean's Bar in Athlone, Co. Westmeath, built in the year 900, is the oldest pub in Ireland, England, Scotland or Wales, and is probably the oldest pub in the world. Sean's Bar was built 300 years before Athlone Castle across the street and the building still contains a section of the "Clay & Wattle" wall with which it was originally built. The Brazen Head in Dublin has long claimed to be Ireland's oldest pub, but it is in fact 700 years junior to its Athlone counterpart.

• The original Abbey Theatre in Dublin was opened in 1904 on the site of a morgue?

The world's most northerly vineyard is in Mallow, Co. Cork?

• The ancestors of the first man on the moon, Neil Armstrong, were from County Fermanagh?

• The first mummy to be seen publicly outside Egypt was displayed in Belfast in 1824? It is still there.

• A holy tree on the Tyrone shore of Lough Neagh was said to bring good fortune to those who hammered coins into its trunk? It eventually died of metal poisoning.

• On April 13th, 1829, the day the English Parliament gave the vote to Irish Catholics, the statue of George Walker - Protestant hero of the 1689 siege of Derry - which had stood quietly on the city's famous walls for more than a century, inexplicably crumbled?

• The popular song "Do They Know It's Christmas?" was written by Bob Geldof?

• "Christmas in Killarney" was written by singer-songwriter John Redmond of Burditt Hill, in Clinton, Massachusetts?

• The carol "While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks by Night" was written by poet-laureate of England, Dublin-born Nahum Tate?

• The first pantomime in Ireland, "The Magic Rose", was staged at the Theatre Royal in Dublin in 1811?

• December 27, the feast of St John, was believed to be a good day for farmers to borrow money in order to buy new seed for the coming season?

Shane MacGowan's classic "Fairytale of New York" is the most widely played song on Irish radio every Christmas?

• According to Irish folklore, it's bad luck to take the Christmas decorations down before January 6?

• To have good health in the coming year, you should eat an apple on Christmas Eve?

• You should never launder a Christmas gift before giving it to the recipient? It washes out the luck? (Especially if it's a DVD player!)
• In 1171, King Henry II took Christmas festivities to Ireland? He went there to get the Irish chiefs to swear allegiance to the English Crown, and on finding them very agreeable, so history tells us, he had a huge hall built, in traditional Irish style, in a village near Dublin, called Hogges. There he laid on a sumptuous feast, introducing the Irish to the customs of tournaments, Christmas plays, and mumming

• It was on Christmas Eve in 1601 that the Irish and Spanish armies were defeated in the Battle of Kinsale?

• Long before Christianity came to Ireland, it was customary to place holly leaves and branches around the home during winter? This was intended as a kindly and hospitable gesture as it was believed that the good people who inhabited the forests would come into the home and use the holly as shelter against the cold. This may actually have had some basis in fact, as holly growing in the wild is often used as shelter by small animals and insects.

• A US Marine of Irish descent, Daniel Joseph Daly, was awarded the Medal of Honor twice?
• The "father of Argentina's Navy" was Admiral William Brown who wasborn in Foxford, Co. Mayo?

• Ireland's last Great War veteran was Thomas "Tommy" Shaw who was 102 when he died in 2002. He was buried with full military honours in Bangor, Co. Down, and a bugler from the Royal Irish Regiment sounded the Last Post.
It's said to be lucky to breakfast by candlelight  and New Year's morning?

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wee leprechaun

• The last ever Great Auk was killed on the Saltee Islands of Co. Wexford by local fishermen in 1845?

• in 1765, John Hannon, Irish immigrant, opened the first chocolate shop in America, at Dorchester, Massachusetts?

• Ned Kelly - Australia's most famous outlaw, was born to Irish parents in Victoria in 1854?

• The largest farm ever, covered over four million acres (bigger than the whole of Northern Ireland) of Australia's Northern Territory, and was owned by Ulsterman Samuel McCaughey until his death in 1909?

• Before he became a rock singer-songwriter, Dylan liked nothing better than to hang out in Greenwich Village with the Clancy Bothers and Tommy Makem, learning Irish songs?

• Enya's real name is Eithne Ní Bhraonáin?

• Fastest time to pluck a turkey: Vincent Pilkington of Cootehill, Co Cavan, plucked a turkey in one minute and 30 seconds on RTÉ television in Dublin on November 17, 1980

• Longest-serving altar boy: Tommy Kinsella of Bray in Co Wicklow began serving Mass in the Church of the Holy Redeemer, Bray, in April 1917 and continued in the same church for 81 years until his death in 1999

• Longest hit in a hurling contest: The greatest distance for a 'lift and stroke' hit is 118m (129yds), credited to Tom Murphy of Three Castles, Kilkenny, in the 'long puck' contest held in 1906

• The current Times Square New Year's Eve Ball was designed and made by Waterford Crystal?

• According to old Irish folklore, if the tail of a herring is rubbed across the eyes of a child, it will give immunity against disease for the rest of the year?

• "Saturday's flitting, a short sitting?" In other words, nobody moved house on a Saturday, got married on a Saturday, or embarked on a big project the day before the Sabbath, Also, overnight travel was never undertaken

• The Wexford Carol dates back to the 12th century?

• "Once in Royal David's City" was written by Irish poet Cecil Frances Humphreys Alexander? She also wrote "All things Bright and Beautiful".

• Christmas in Killarney was written by the Tin-Pan Alley song-writing trio John Redmond, James Cavanaugh and Frank Weldon?

• Finding a holly bush loaded with berries was thought to be very lucky?

• On the second day after Christmas, you should abstain from meat to prevent fever.

• Shoes placed side by side on Christmas Eve will prevent a quarrel?

• The Scottish game 'shinty' is often confused with the Irish sport of hurling?

• Hurling features in Irish folklore to illustrate the deeds of heroic mystical figures and it is chronicled as a distinct Irish pastime for at least 2,000 years?

• The Irish word for a hurling stick, or "hurley" is camán?

• Dublin bus numbers follow the system used in the days of the horse-drawn tram, which ran from the city centre outwards in a clockwise direction from south to north?

• Mountjoy Square is the only real square in Dublin, measuring 600 feet in length and width?

• The Boot Inn at Cloghran is the oldest pub in Dublin(1593), rather than the Brazen Head (present building dated 1710)? Source: The Little Book of Dublin by Tom Galvin

• Irish-born poet and citizen of New Zealand, Thomas Bracken, wrote the New Zealand national anthem, God Save New Zealand, in 1878.?

wee leprechaun

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pig with an acornTwas an evening in December,
As I very well remember,
I was strolling down the street in drunken pride.
But my knees were all a flutter
So I landed in the gutter,
And a pig came up and lay down by my side.
Yes, I lay there in the gutter
Thinking thoughts I couldn't utter,
When a young maid passing by did softly say,
"You can tell a man that boozes
By the company he chooses,"
At that , the pig got up and walked away!


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The LeprechaunThe name leprechaun may have derived from the Irish leath bhrogan (shoemaker), although its origins may lie in luacharma'n (Irish for pygmy). These apparently aged, diminutive men are frequently to be found in an intoxicated state, caused by home-brew poteen. However they never become so drunk that the hand which holds the hammer becomes unsteady and their shoemaker's work affected.

Maon and the Willow

A Tale from Ireland

As retold by Fred Hageneder

Maon was the rightful heir to the throne of Ireland, which was usurped by his grand-uncle Covac. Covac had killed Maon's father and grandfather, the king, and tortured the boy, Maon, who, in consequence, lost his speech.

One year, the son of a poor widow was chosen for this task, and the mother managed to convince the merciful king to let her son live. King Maon agreed, on the condition that the man would swear by Wind and Sun never to tell a man what he might see. And so it happened, and the young man returned to his mother.

But soon enough, the weight of the secret began to wear him down, and he fell more and more sick with it. Until finally a wise druid was called in and he suggested for the young man to go to a remote place in the woodlands and whisper his secret to a tree. The sick young man happened to chose a beautiful, mature willow tree, told it the secret, and swiftly recovered.

But chance had it that soon after, Craftiny, the very harper who was so instrumental in re-uniting king Maon with his country and with his love Moriath, this very harper who had since stayed with the couple, needed a new harp. He walked the Wildwood far and wide, asking and searching for the right tree to give of his body the precious wood for the sacred instrument. And the tree he found was that same willow.

wee leprechaunThen came the day when Craftiny was to play his new instrument in the king's hall. And when the harper first touched the strings, they - to the amazement of all the assembled guests - sounded the words "Two horse's ears has Labra the Mariner!" The king went pale and exposed his ears. But the scandal wasn't as bad as he had always feared. No haircutter ever again had to lose his life (and now even the haircutters could live happily ever after).
    (c) 2003 Fred Hagene

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wee leprechaun
• There are thirteen Dublins in the United States?
According to the Weather Channel, there are 10 Dublins in the USA:
New Hampshire
North Carolina
According to other sources, there’s also a Dublin in Michigan, Maryland and Kentucky. Beyond the USA, there’s a Dublin in Nova Scotia, Ontario and South Australia.

• The only town in the world to be named St. Patrick is in Missouri, USA?

• The medieval purgatory on Lough Derg, Co. Donegal was believed to be one of the two entrances to Hell, Mount Etna on Sicily being the other?

• Squire Watson, an eccentric 18th century Kilkenny landowner, had such an unshakeable belief that he would be reincarnated as a fox that he had a luxurious marble den built in the grounds of his estate in anticipation of his return?

• In 1922, at the height of the Irish Civil War, Free State Brigadier Patrick Paul escaped from his Republican captors in Waterford disguised as a mother superior?

 • Ireland had its own werewolf legend? These creatures were believed to be the souls of the damned who had rejected the teachings of St. Patrick.

• Thespian suspicion over Macbeth - usually referred to as 'the Scottish play' - is thought to date from the time of the Irish actor-manager Spranger Barry (1719-1777)? Famous for his portrayal of the evil king, his life was dogged by personal problems, law suits and agonising gout and he died in poverty.

• According to old Irish folklore, the cuttings of your hair should not be thrown where birds can find them? They will take them to build their nests, and then you will have headaches all the year after.

• If you take sheep's suet and the rind of the elder tree and boil both together, the mixture will cure a burn without leaving a mark?

• When taking possession of a new house, every one should bring in some present, however trifling, but nothing should be taken away? Also, a prayer should be said in each corner of your bedroom, and some article of your clothing be deposited there at the same time. Source: Irish Cures, Mystics Charms & Superstitions, by Lady Wilde

• Mike Quill from Co.Kerry was the founding president of the Transport Workers Union of America?

• The word hubbub is derived from the ancient Irish war cry abu!?

• Co. Cork-born Mary Harris Jones, one of America’s early labor champions, is also known to many as “Mother Jones”?

• One of the world's first women drivers was Miss Jennie Richardson, who took controls of the Bessbrook to Newry tram in 1884?

• The world's oddest royal family is that of the Caribbean island of Redonda? This crank dynasty was founded by an Irish sailor when his ship stopped off at this desolate rock in 1865. He passed the 'title' King of Redonda onto his decendants. The reigning monarch is a housewife in Manchester.

• More than 130 Irish soldiers were awarded the Medal of Honor in the American Civil War?

• Brussels was liberated by the Irish Group of the British Army in 1944?

• The famous phrase "War is Hell" is attributed to the Cavan-born American Civil War General Phil Sheridan?

• Polo was played for the first time in Europe in Co. Limerick? In 1868, having seen the game played by tribesmen in India, members of the British Army 10th Hussar Regiment stationed in Limerick returned to their base and organized a match with the local gentry.

• While he was born in Scotland, Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes, was Irish? He was the eldest son of 10 siblings born to emigrants Charles Doyle and Mary Foley.

• According to old Irish folklore, eating young nettles three times in May will keep the rheumatics away for a year?

• On the thirtieth anniversary of the Munich air disaster which wiped out the famous 'Busby Babes' football team, Manchester United played Coventry? What makes it eerily memorable is that the only goal of the game was scored by United's new Irish signing Liam O'Brien at 3.04 pm - the exact moment of impact three decades before.

• According to legend, the hair of anyone who swims in Calliagh Berras Lough on Slieve Gullion in Co. Armagh will turn grey overnight?

• According to old Irish folklore, if you can cover three daisies with your hand, summer is here?

• The World's oldest New Testament, dating from the 2nd century, is in the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin?



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    In the pagan days, when Ireland was ruled by heroes and fairies, there was a king of Ulster called Conor MacNessa.
    His father had also been a king, but he died when Conor was very young, and the crown was taken by a proven warrior called Fergus. What could a boy and a woman do against him?
    Zessa, Conna's mother, was very beautiful, and Fergus wanted to have the dead king's wife as well as his kingdom.

This wonderful image comes from http://www.mc.taramagic.com/
I will marry you," said Nessa, "If you will let my son reign for a year, so that his children will be able to call themselves the sons of a king.
Fergus agreed; but in a year Conor had proved himself to be so wise and just and courageous that his people would not have Fergus back.
There are many stories of Conor a few that I have already to write out but this is about the demise of Conor after a long and tempestuous reign.
    The men of Connacht had made a cattle raid on Ulster, and were fleeing before Conor and
his men. The spoilers were overtaken at a ford, but before a blow could be struck a man rose from his hiding place in the bushes and slung a stone at Conor. It entered his forhead and he fell to the ground. Whilst the Ulstermen gathered round their fallen but still breathing champion, and while they bore him carefully home, the men of Connacht escaped with their plunder. To this day the place called Athnurchar, the Ford of the Sling - Cast.
    The doctor found that if he were to cut the stone out the king would die. So he sewed the wound around the stone with golden thread, and told Conor that he would live only so long as  he gave away to no passionate feeling and moved quietly.
Now I ask you what kind of life was this for an Irish king of the heroic age? He might not mount his horse, let alone ride before his warriors when they swept down on their enemies. His bed was spread with the skins of wolves he had not slain, and he was girded with a sword he might not draw. In fact there was nothing left for him but the Druids' song, the feast, and the council.
    Now, one day, a darkness crept across the fae of the noon-day sun, and all the land was shrouded in gloom. Conor sent for a Druid and asked him the meaning of the portent. The Druid
was lost in a long silence. Then at length he began to speak.
  "I see a hill in a distant country. There is a crowd of people on the hill. They wear long, bright coloured garments. There are also soldiers with breastplates and helmets of bronze. These people are darker than the Irish, and the sand is hot under their feet."
"I see three crosses on a hill and three men nailed upon them by their hands and their feet. The man on the nidmost cross is like to the Immortals. It is for him that the sun has darkened."
Conor asked: "Is he an evil-doer?"
"Nay," replied the Druid; "He is the son of the greatest God. He came to these people because they were poor and in bondage, as a stronge champion he goes to the aid of the oppressed. But they have betrayed Him to their tyrants to be killed. The tyrants would have released Him, for His words were the truth, and he stood before them in bonds and rags like to an Immortal. But the slaves clamoured for His blood, and the tyrants have thrown Him as you might throw meat to the hounds, O, Conor in a little while he will be dead!"
    Then Conor sprang to his feet, driven mad by anger at this torture of the man in the distant country. Slashing in the air with his sword, he cried: "Thus would I strike down his enemies!"
    Ar the doctor had fortold, the stone moved in the king's head, and he died on the same day that Jesus of Nazereth was crucified.

      I have just read a wee bit of the life of the Conchobar mac Nessa (son of Ness) is the king of Ulster in the Ulster Cycle of Irish mythology. He rules from Emain Macha (Navan Fort, near Armagh).

And it is quite amazing. I could fill the Irish page with him and his family, so many different accounts as usual. I love legends, they make living a very mysterious past-time.
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• One should always wear something new at Christmas (and Easter, too) or new garments will be few in the coming year?

• It is unlucky to wear a ragged garment on Christmas Day?
A hole meant a leak in the purse. However, if clothing is torn on the festival, it should not be sewn; it should be pinned together.

• Ireland is the best place on the planet to avoid an earthquake?
   No epicentre has ever been recorded there.

• Over half a million Irish homes now have a computer, and 80 per cent of those have internet access?

• Ireland has more dogs per capita than any other EU country?

Source: The Truth About the Irish by Terry Eagleton.

• Ireland is the country with the largest number of Congressional Medal of Honor winners?   
The records show that 258 were either born in Ireland or were of Irish descent. Germany/Prussia is second with 128 recipients.

• More than 350,000 Irishmen volunteered for service during WW1 in addition to the 50,000 Irishmen already serving in the regular army and reserve at the outbreak of the war?

• During World War I, the Royal Dublin Fusiliers won 49 battle honours and three Victoria Crosses?

• Donkeys were useful in Ireland because of the way they put down their hooves? They do it in a pattern different from horses which allows them to traverse bogland in a gliding movement.

• Ireland now has more tourists than residents? Visitors are now running over 5 million a year, compared to a population of about 3.8 million.
• Much of the world's population of Greenland Whitefronted geese spends the winter in Ireland? Source:  by Terry Eagleton.

• Oliver Plunkett was the first Irishman in almost 700 years to be canonized as a saint?
     He was given the honour on October 12,1975

• Pope Gregory reformed the calendar introduced by Julius Caesar in 45BCE? The 4th of October was followed by the 15th October. However, the reform was not implemented in Ireland till 1752

• Edgar Allan Poe's father was Irish? A failed actor, David Poe is said to have abandoned his family after the death of Poe's mother, Elizabeth Arnold Hopkins. Edgar was two years old.

• The crypt of St. Michan's Church in Dublin contains the almost perfectly preserved remains of corpses dating from the Middle Ages?
The reason for their preservation appears to be the limestone walls of their tombs.

• The Fomori are the evil gods of Irish myth?

• A ship from Cobh, Co. Cork, discovered the ghostly wreck of the Marie Celeste in 1872?

• The bullaun stone, which is kept in St. Matthew's Church on the Woodvale Road in Belfast, is said to have the power to cure warts, spots and acne?

• In Sligo, you still officially need a licence to buy molasses? It's a legal hangover from the days when the county was the pocheen capital of Ireland?

• On 13th April 1829, the day that the United Kingdom Parliament gave the vote to Irish Catholics, the statue of George Walker - Protestant hero of the 1689 siege of Derry -which had stood quietly on the city's famous walls for more than a century, inexplicably crumbled?

• An Irishman wrote the song The Teddy Bear's Picnic? His name was Jimmy Kennedy from Omagh, Co. Tyrone

• Tiny Coliemore Harbour beside the Dalkey Island Hotel was the main harbour for Dublin from the fifteenth to the seventeenth century?


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   Ghost Watch at Irelands eye.com


Ghost in the old Irish linen mill - A young Irish linen worker, named Helena Blunden, died after a tragic fall in a Belfast mill in 1912. There are many people who believe her spirit still haunts the mill today. The printing company which is now based in the building alerted us to unusual, eerie encounters with a ghostly inhabitant.

Visitors to Irelandseye.com were invited on the Ghost Watch to view a live broadcast by web camera from a Ghost watch in Ireland windowsroom in the Irish linen mill and to report if they witnessed unusual, strange events. The web camera has been running 24 hours a day, seven days a week and has attracted some three million visitors. We have published visitors' reports of ghost sightings and otherwise and continued to research the history of the linen mill.

A remarkable and accidental discovery of a bundle in the linen mill has unearthed an century old recording and Haunted Ireland Discovet the ghostarchive newspaper reviews of Helena Blunden's singing talent. We invite you to listen to this recording of Helena Blunden singing Pie Jesu which was made on 24 January 1912, just three months before her tragic death.

We have updated the reported sightings from our online viewers. In addition to this we have some statistics on our reported sightings and non-sightings over a year.

A layout map of the Irish linen mill indicates the room where Helena once worked and where her footsteps have been heard along corridors and on stairs. Ghost, magic, haunting or myth - you decide.

All Material © 1999-2005 Irelandseye.com and contributors

Thankyou Irelandseye for this wonderful story, I am sure the children will be very interested.


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