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Time of the Reed Moon

Oct 28- Nov 23- Time of the REED MOON.  To the Celts, this month was the end of the year and Samhain (Halloween) was celebrated.  It was a time to connect with the ancestors.  Reed was used to thatch roofs and as coverings for floors.  It was also used to make whistles, flutes and recorders.  It is said that the flute the Pied Piper used was made from reed.

According to the Celts, the calendar year ended on Oct 31 and was considered the most sacred of festivals.    They believed that all laws of time and space were suspended during this time allowing the spirits of the other world to mingle with the living.  The living did not find this desirable so they dressed in costumes as disguises and went about the village causing mayhem to frighten away the spirits.

According to USA Today, Derry is the number 1 place to celebrate Halloween.  For 30 years, the people of Derry have had this celebration for 3 days, with floats, parades, singing, dancing, concerts, and of course, fireworks over the River Foyle.

Slainte

Sláinte is the most used Irish expression in America. Sláinte, meaning ‘Good Health,’ is an ancient Irish expression that derives from the word slán, meaning safe. It is used in different contexts. For example, when downing a pint of Guinness you say ‘Sláinte’ before you begin to drink. There are many other expressions that use slainte such as ‘Is fearr an tsláinte ná na táinte” (health is better than wealth). Another expression is ‘Go dte tú slán” (may you go safe), which is what you say when someone is leaving on a journey. ‘Sláinte na bhfear’ (Good health to the men) is another derivative, which is used when drinking in the company of men. ‘Sláinte na mbean’ is the opposite – for when drinking with women! Slán is another Gaelic term that sounds like sláinte, but has a different meaning. It means goodbye.

Source: Niall O’Dowd – Irish Central June 25, 2016.

Titanic Belfast has been named Europe’s number one visitor attraction, beating the Eiffel Tower in Paris to the title this year. Source: Irish Central

It’s official! Thanks in no small part to Colin Farrell, the Irish accent has been voted the sexiest in the world. French men can only hang their heads in shame as they came FOURTH – just ahead of the Australian accent. The survey, which polled 5,000 women from around the world, revealed that Ireland is now tops for sexiest accent, beating out Italy and Scotland for the top spot. Ireland has been in or around the top spot for five years but this is the first win for the Emerald Isle. England was sixth and Sweden was seventh, with Spain, Wales and America completing the top 10. Source: Irish Central

W. B. Yeats (1865-1939)

As a schoolboy in London, Yeats longed for his native Sligo and as an adult he often returned there. He describes Sligo in his Reveries over Childhood and Youth and Sligo’s lake-studded landscape haunts his poetry. His gravestone in Drumcliff carries an epitaph he wrote himself, “Cast a cold eye on life, on death. Horseman pass by.”

James Joyce (1882-1941)

James Joyce was born in Dublin but spent most of his adult life in Europe. He used Dublin as the setting for all of his major works including Dubliners, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and Ulysses. Joyce claimed that if Dublin were ever destroyed, it could be recreated from the pages of Ulysses. The Irish branded the book pornographic and banned it until the 1960s.

Jonathan Swift (1667-1745)

Johnathan Swift was born in Dublin and educated at Trinity College. He spent five years in England but returned to Dublin in 1694 after failure of his political career. After his return to Ireland, he began a life in the church, becoming the dean of St. Patrick’s in 1713. Swift also was a prolific commentator. His best-known work, Gulliver’s Travels, contains a bitter satire on Anglo-Irish relations. In his final years Swift suffered from Ménière’s disease, an illness of the ear which led many to believe him insane.

Vikings in Dublin

Viking raiders landed in Ireland in the late 8th century and founded Dublin in 841 A.D. They built a fort on the site of what is today Dublin Castle and also established a settlement along the bank of the Liffey at Wood Quay. Much of their trade was in silver, slaves and piracy. Following their defeat by Brian Boru in 1014 they integrated with the Irish people, adopting Christian beliefs.

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