A Monastic City, Crystal Helmets and Irish Woods…
Your letter from Ireland shorts from the 19th of September 2023.
Céad míle fáilte, welcome to your Letter from Ireland “Shorts”. Each Tuesday we’ll bring you a quick-read of some of our favourite and interesting Irish things for this week.
FAVOURITE PLACES IN IRELAND
Clonmacnoise Monastic City, County Offaly. Founded all the way back in the 6th century, this place contains layers of history and is the final resting place of the last two high kings of Ireland. Click here to see a video with Carina explaining more about this amazing place.
FEATURED IRISH SURNAME
Our Irish surname of the week is O’Connell. The surname O’Connell and its variations originate from Gaelic Irish O’Conaill, meaning “descendant of Conall”. This name possibly combines “con” (from “cu”, a hound) and “gal” (valour). A 7th-century Irish saint and Abbot of Inis Caoil made it “famous”. The main O’Connells sept trace their lineage to Aengue Tuirmeach, the High King of Ireland around 180 B.C., from what became County Kerry in southwest Ireland. To see where the name appears in Ireland in the mid 1800s go to this page on Johngrenham.com
BOOK I’M READING NOW
“Wild Woods: The Magic of Ireland’s Native Woodlands” by Richard NairnRichard Nairn, a lifelong nature enthusiast, bought a woodland near a river to deeply understand its ecosystem. The book chronicles a year of his exploration, revealing the historical significance of trees in Irish culture, reviving lost woodland skills, and discussing modern uses like forest schools and rewilding. See the book on Amazon here.
IRISH WORD OR PROVERB
“Ní hé lá na báistí lá na bpáistí”
Another Irish tongue-twister! It translates to “A rainy day is not the children’s day” or “Oh no! It’s a rainy day – the kids will be stuck inside and going mad, as will their parents!” It must have been coined in the days before TV and the internet.
IRISH CRAFT/PRODUCT WE LOVE (not an advert – just things we like)
Back in the 60s, the Irish government encouraged many designers and craftspeople to relocate to Kilkenny town where they could work together, share skills and further the Irish craft industry. They set up shops where these unique crafts could be bought and that was the beginning of the Kilkenny shops which you can now find around Ireland and online. The shops are all privately owned now but they still sell Irish crafts and many of them are products we’ve featured here in past letters such as Foxford Mills and Waterford Crystal. You can even get yourself an American Football helmet made from Waterford crystal. Not sure I’d wear that one to a game!
That’s it for this week. Send us an email with any of your own favourites for inclusion in future emails, or if you’re a plus member leave a comment below.
Slán for now,
Mike & Carina.
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