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Dun na Sead or Fort of the Jewels in Baltimore, Co Cork originally collected taxes levied on foreign vessels.  This Anglo-Norman castle was built in the early 13th Century and was besieged and sacked many times.  It became a garrison for Oliver Cromwell in 1649 and after that fell into ruin.  A restoration was undertaken and completed in 2005.

During the early 1800′s many fiddles were destroyed or hidden both by the fiddlers and laypeople because they thought it best for the soul as it was a “sinful instrument that encouraged wild dancing, drinking and fighting.”

The 10th Irish Division of the Royal Iniskillen Fusillers was formed on Aug 21, 1914 after the outbreak of World War I.  It included battalions from various provinces of Ireland and fought at Gallipoli and Palestine

Crveeykeel Court Tomb

Crveeykeel Court Tomb in Cliffoney, Co Sligo, is made up of a long, trapeze shaped cairn which encloses an oval court, burial chamber and three subsiding chambers built into the cairn.  The earliest parts are from the Neolithic period
(2500 B.C.)

Seamus Heaney

Seamus Heaney, the contemporary Irish poet and recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1995, had great success with his translation of ‘Beowulf’ giving it a modern version of the Old English poem.  It was also translated by J.R. R. Tolkien who also wrote ‘Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit’.

An Irish Proverb

The well-fed does not understand the lean.

Ireland’s First Witch

Born in 1280 in Kilkenny, wealthy Dame Alice Kytier was the first woman to be condemned for being a witch in Ireland. She was indicted for sorcery, heresy, and poisoning four husbands but fled the country before she was executed.

Puck Fair

The annual Puck Fair in Killorglin, Co Kerry is held for three days beginning
Aug 10.  At this time a group of people go into the mountains and catch a goat.  He is then put into a cage in the middle of the town signifying the start of the merrymaking.  A young girl is crowned ‘Queen’ and she is the one to crown the goat on the last day when he will be released.  There is a horse fair, singing, dancing and the pubs stay open until midnight.  The theory as to the origins go back to the time of Cromwell when a he-goat broke away from the pack when soldiers were approaching and he headed to the town of Killorglin warning the people.

An Irish Saying

A blacksmith’s horse and the cobbler’s wife are the last to have shoes.

Irish Custom of Surnames

Surnames in Ireland have been passed from father to son for almost 1,000 years.  The surname system in Ireland is one of the oldest hereditary surname systems in the world.

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