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A Brief History of Ireland By John Holwell

Alyssa Simma English 1102

For my travel topic I chose Ireland. I chose Ireland mainly because I am part Irish and wanted to learn more about that part of my heritage. The three points I am most interested in about Ireland is their history, their cultures customs and myths, and their famous sights. The country of Ireland was organized into five kingdoms known as the five fifths of Ireland. Soon later around 400 AD seven independent kingdoms. According to this article the kings of these kingdoms were said to become allies and raid the neighboring Romans and Brits. It is said that during one of these raids a lad by the age of sixteen was captured returned to Ireland and sold to slavery. During his enslavement the boy turned to religion. When he escaped around the age of twenty two, he then studied theology in the Roman church and in 432 returned to Ireland and made it his quest to convert the Irish into Christianity. Who is this lad you ask? The famous St. Patrick! However, in 1495 King Henry VIII extended English law over the entirety of Ireland and assumed supremacy over the Irish parliament. This basically meant that the Irish were to fall under the religion being enforced by King Henry VIII, which basically meant that he was doing whatever he could to separate the church from the position and power

of the pope. King Henry VIII was as passionate about changing the religious circumstances in Ireland as he did in England. Then by the time Queen Elizabeth assumed the thrown it was said that Roman Catholicism became linked with Irish sentiment and the Irish refused to accept English imposed ecclesiastical change. The Irish were meeting England with a greater resistance. Because of the resistance around 1660 Queen Elizabeth expropriated all the lands and settled the province with Englishmen so that the English law prevailed throughout the land. After some success around 1690 the Irish defeated London and signed a treaty with them granting them numerous rights only to see it denied by the Protestant dominated Irish parliament. The separation of the two religions caused for the Catholics to be excluded from public office and not to be able to vote. While attempts were made to reconcile they did not succeed and remained in poor standing. Around 1798 Irish took steps to set in motion their independence that led to their own Irish parliament. The union of Ireland was very unpopular and their population dropped from 8.2 million to 6.6 million due to famine, disease, and emigration; mostly to the US. After several attempts at treaties and acts creating separate parliaments and religious debacles in 1972 the Republic of Ireland was born.

YourIrish Top Ten Irish Myths

Alyssa Simma English 1102

So we all know of the famous St. Pattys day, the most recognized Irish holiday around the world. We think about it as wearing green, wearing shamrock symbols, and little leprechauns. However, for the Irish it is an important religious holiday that is the celebration of the teachings of Christianity by Saint Patrick. However the Irish also have many other unknown traditions and customs. For example during Irish weddings the groom wears his families kilt rather than a suit. They also celebrate the death of their loved ones by making light of the time. They tell funny and amusing stories from ones live and drink as opposed to taking that time to mourn. Also a common tradition and custom that they do is during leap year on leap day women propose to their significant other as opposed to the men doing it. The Irish custom also believes in many myths. Some of the said to be top myths in the Irish culture are the Banshee, Pookas, Changelings, Dagdas Harp, The Children of Lir, St. Patrick, the Shamrock, and what is said to be number one: Leprechauns.

The Banshee is said to be woman who carries the omen of death. The banshee is believed to be seen in different forms such as an old woman dressed in rags, or sometimes young and beautiful, or even as a wash woman ringing out bloody clothing. The legend says that whenever she was seen she let out a horrible ear splitting cry and the cry brought death upon those who heard it.

Pookas are believed to be fairys that reek havoc in the mortal world. It is said that on good days Pookas will destroy farms and anger the animals and take ships away from Ireland and cause them to wreck. On good days they believe that Pookas will call the names of people and if someone comes outside they take them away.

The legend of female fairies is that they often give birth to deformed children. However, fairies prefer visually pleasing babies so legend says that they used to come into the mortal world and take human babies and replace them with their changelings. Changelings were believed to look like typical human babies but did not possess any human emotional characteristics; changelings were only happy when misfortune and chaos was occurring in the house.

This is the myth of Dagdas Harp. Dagda was the high priest who had a large harp. During a war, a rival tribe stole Dagdas harp and took it to an abandoned castle. Dagda followed the tribe and called to the harp. The harp came to Dagda and he struck the chords. The harp let out the Music of Tears and everyone in the castle began to cry. Dagda struck the chords again and the harp played the Music of Mirth and all the warriors began to laugh. Then, Dagda struck the chords a final time and the harp let out the Music of Sleep. Everyone

but Dagda fell into a deep sleep, allowing him to escape with his magical harp unharmed.

The Children of Lir are said to come from the Irish Mythological Cycle.Irish believed thatLir was the lord of the sea with a wife and four children. When Lirs wife died he married her sister. She was jealous of Lirs children so she led them to a lake one day and preformed a magical spell on them that changed them into swans. They had to remain as swans until they heard the sound of the Christian bell. The children remained under the curse for 900 years until St. Patrick came to Ireland.

St. Patrick was not only the Saint That brought Christianity to Ireland, the Irish believe that St. Patrick brought days of joy and green beer. St. Patrick was said to have forced all the snakes out of Ireland.

The shamrock is seen as the symbol of Ireland, however, it is the unofficial symbol representing the Irish cultures. The druids believed that the shamrock was a sacred plant that could ward off evil. The Celtics believed the Shamrock had mystical properties due to the plants three heart-shaped leaves. The Celtics believed three was a sacred number. Some Christians also believed the Shamrock had special meaning- the three leaves representing the Holy Trinity.

The leprechaun is the most wildly known myth of the Irish. Unlike how leprechauns today are seen; as small little creatures dressed in green. The belief of leprechauns has been one of the Irish since medieval times. They say that leprechauns are seen as small old men and the legend is that leprechauns collect gold and hide it at the end of a rainbow. If one catches a leprechaun the leprechaun has to grant three wishes before he can be released.

Travel Blog By: Zoe Smith Places To Visit In Ireland By: Mark Heraghty

Alyssa Simma English 1102

Ireland has many places to visit, historical ad modern. Over the research of several blogs I have found that they all agree that these would be in the top five places to visit in Ireland: The Cliffs of Moher, Glendalough, The Rock of Cashel, The Temple Bar, and The Book of Kells. The Cliffs of Moher are 5 miles long and 700 feet above crashing waves. These cliffs were said to be a sacred site of the Celtic people, as well as a frequent hunting ground of Brian Boru High King of Ireland. OBriens Tower sits upon the cliffs today and houses the visitor center. The visitors center distributes information on the geology and history of the area. Glendalough is in the heart of the county Wickalow. Glendalough has two glacial lakes between great mountains. It is often referred to as the Garden of Ireland. The Rock of Cashel is from the Gaelic meaning fortress. The Rock of Cashel was used for the worshiping of Protestants. The Eoghanachta clan held the possession of the rock until one of Irelands greatest historical figures Brian Boru took it. The castle surrounding the

rock rises 200 feet in the air. The castle also contains ruins, a cathedral, an abbey, a chapel, a round tower, high crosses and several other structures, all of which are enclosed within an impressive stone wall. The Temple Bar is one of Irelands more modern attractions. The Temple Bar is considered Dublins Bohemian District. There are many pubs, river cafs, shops, galleries, restaurants, hotels and a variety of small family owned businesses. The entrance to the Temple Bar is through Merchants Arch and through a passage that leads to a square filled with travelers and city goers. The Book of Kells is listen as a number one attraction in Ireland. The Book of Kells is so popular because it contains a small glimpse of a masterpiece from the early Medieval Celtic world. It contains, Medieval and Celtic art, fluent Celtic script, symbolism, and portraits all within the original pages. Irelands attractions appeal to travelers and those who live there because of the diversity it possesses. Irelands sights allow one to see the evolution of Ireland. From historical landmarks, peaceful places created by their nature, and the hustle and bustle of the modern cities today; Ireland provides a sight for all interests.