Yankee Doodle Dandy, Dunluce Castle, Anam Cara and more…

Your letter from Ireland shorts from the 4th of July 2023.

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Yankee Doodle Dandy, Dunluce Castle, Anam Cara and more…

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.

Happy Fourth of July to all of our readers in the USA! Did you know that “Mr. Yankee Doodle Dandy” himself, George M. Cohan, had very strong Irish roots? You can read more about his Irish origins here (and apparently he was not “born on the fourth of July” but the third of July!).

Dunluce Castle, County Antrim.
 If you’re a Game of Thrones fan then you might recognise this as Castle Greyjoy. It’s an incredibly picturesque castle perched on the north coast of Ireland. Watch this video to hear Carina tell us a bit more about the castle on our recent visit.

Our Irish surname of the week is Murray. While the majority of Murrays in east Ulster are of Scottish origin, there are also the Irish Gaelic O’Murrys of Roscommon/Galway and the McMurrays of County Donegal. Finally, you will find some smaller Irish Gaelic septs of Murrays/Murrihys in County Clare and County Down. To see where the name appears in Ireland in the mid 1800s go to this page on Johngrenham.com

Anam Cara by John O’Donoghue. 
This book is highly recommended by our Green Room members and one I keep coming back to time and again.The President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, has written the introduction in the most recent version. “Anam Cara” translates as “soul friend” and the book covers lessons from Celtic spirituality as they might apply in our modern world. See the book on Amazon here.


Ní thagann an óige faoi dhó.
(pronounced “nee hagon on owe-i-ga fwee doe”)

which translates as “Youth doesn’t come twice” (you’re only young once)

I think this is something we learn as we get older but is difficult to get across to those who are younger – and need to hear it!

On our trip to Dunluce castle we popped into the nearby old Bushmills distillery in the town of Bushmills for a tour. You can see the history of the distillery on wikipedia here. The distillery is very popular and such a part of history in Ireland that there’s even a picture of it on the current £5 bank notes. Carina can be seen here been taken on tour by a charming local Antrim guide.

Tasting whiskey at the Bushmills distillery in Northern Ireland.

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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