History of Ireland Jewellery

Stair na hÉireann/History of Ireland

I personally own the locket pendant and absolutely adore it; they are available in both silver/gold and for men, women and children. I bought my locket pendant in Kilkenny, however, many jewellers throughout Ireland carry the line. For those abroad interested in purchasing, here is the link to the designer’s website: http://www.historyofireland.ie/


No beginning…. the unwinding path, symbolised by a Celtic swirl similar to those carved in stone by our ancestors some 5,000 years ago and still evident today in the magnificent Neolithic structures that litter our beautiful countryside.

The diversity of the earliest settlers from the Atlantic coastlines of Europe to the Nordic regions, incorporating both rituals of death and rituals of rebirth, qualities that were important to life in the universe have over time formed a culture that is rich in heritage, beliefs and tradition.

A culture, evolved from mythical tales to living legends, that…

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Holy wells of County Meath

Pilgrimage In Medieval Ireland

I had a lovely surprise this week,   I received a  gift  from my friend Muireann of a  newly published  book on holy wells called  Meath Holy Wells by Noel French. Holy wells have always interested me. They are really are  special and peaceful places. Given that there are approximately  3000 holy wells  in Ireland  they are many wells scattered around the country that  I am unaware of  and I must confess until now  I knew little of the wells in Meath.

Meath Holy Wells by Noel French

So what is a holy well? A holy well is a natural spring or natural  or man-made hollows ( bullaun stones)  in rock  which collect with water,  deemed to have a religious significance through association with the saint. The history of devotion at holy wells is  complicated,   the earliest references to the Christian use of holy wells  date to the seventh…

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Marriage and Brehon Law in Ancient Ireland

Stair na hÉireann/History of Ireland

Irish history is immersed in centuries of oppression that was particularly harsh in respect to the Catholic religion. The late 17th and 18th century Penal Laws prevented priests from celebrating mass never mind conducting the sacrament of marriage. If a priest was caught, sanctions were quite severe, in fact, punishable by death. The last of the Penal Laws were not repealed in Ireland until 1920 by the Government of Ireland Act.

Given this background and the unique identity of the native Irish people who were forced to practice their faith underground, it is not surprising that an Irish wedding had a particular identity all its own and had a number of specific traditions associated with it.

Handfasting is an ancient Celtic tradition that involved tying the hands of the betrothed together well in advance of their actual wedding day. It is similar to an engagement, a time when both parties…

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Brehon Laws: Family, Children, and the Status of Women in Early Ireland

Stair na hÉireann/History of Ireland

Prior to the Anglo-Norman invasions Ireland was home to between 80-140 independent petty kingdoms called túatha. A person’s idea of nationhood was local to their home túath and kin-group (fine). Each túath had its king elected from among its noble grades, each had their own customs and traditions, styles of dress, particular songs and legends making each túath culturally and politically distinct in character from the next. Early Irish history is a logbook of the allegiances, battles, and triumphs of these kingdoms and the families that comprise them.

At the backdrop of this seemingly bitty social order a golden thread of justice held the fragments of society together; a set of laws and customs that were common to all across the land, long since established, just, fair and practical. These were the customary practices that had developed through the interactions of free people over extended periods of time until becoming…

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2009 – U2 play Madison Square Garden at the 25th anniversary Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Concert.

Stair na hÉireann/History of Ireland

‘Gimme Shelter’
(Mick Jagger/Keith Richards)

Oh, a storm is threat’ning
My very life today
If I don’t get some shelter
Oh yeah, I’m gonna fade away
War, children, it’s just a shot away
It’s just a shot away
War, children, it’s just a shot away
It’s just a shot away
Ooh, see the fire is sweepin’
Our very street today
Burns like a red coal carpet
Mad bull lost it’s way
War, children, it’s just a shot away
It’s just a shot away
War, children, it’s just a shot away
It’s just a shot away
Rape, murder!
It’s just a shot away
It’s just a shot away
Rape, murder!
It’s just a shot away
It’s just a shot away
Rape, murder!
It’s just a shot away
It’s just a shot away
The floods is threat’ning
My very life today
Gimme, gimme shelter
Or I’m gonna fade away
War, children, it’s…

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Today in Irish History – 26 September:

Stair na hÉireann/History of Ireland

In the Liturgical calendar, today is Feast day of St. Colman.

1289 – ‘All men of good will to the king’, both Irish and English, in Munster and Leinster are summoned to Buttevant in Leix (Queen’s County). A ten-day expedition which begins on this date, subdues and forces the local Irish into an uneasy peace.

1713 – Charles Lucas, physician, MP and political radical, is born in Ballingaddy, Ennis, Co Clare.

1792 – Birth of Captain William Hobson. Born in Waterford, he was the first Governor of New Zealand and co-author of the Treaty of Waiting.

1902 – James Dillon, politician and Fine Gael leader is born in Dublin.

1920 – Ambush in Bunadreen, Co Kerry.

1920 – Black and Tans burned the village of Kilkee, Co Clare.

1930 – Saor Éire, a republican/socialist party, is founded by Peadar O’Donnell, Seán MacBride and other IRA members; it, the IRA and…

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Remembering the Great Famine – a dying nation’s groan


Sunday August 26th was the last day of Heritage Week in Ireland and on this day I chose to visit a Famine Settlement high above the  Limerick landscape on Knockfierna, County Limerick.

This hill was once home to hundreds of people.

Knockfierna, the highest point in County Limerick at approximately 950 feet, was common land so anyone could live there. It was  to this place  that many of the dispossessed went to live during the Famine years . Some had been evicted because they could not pay their rent; most  had no place else to go because there was no work.

A Famine Dwelling

Foundations  of scores of primitive  shacks have remained in place on Knockfierna since it was deserted in 1847.  Spread over some 200 acres, there  are remnants of many houses – tiny, at about 8 feet by 8 feet, – with nothing more than walls and clay floors with sod roofs . It…

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