10 Reasons Ireland Surprised Me

The Mindful Mermaid

Before I picked up and moved to Cork City on a whim with a working holiday visa, I had never been to Ireland before. All I knew was that it was a little green island filled with lots of pubs and rain.

After spending almost a month living on the Emerald Isle thus far, I’ve completely fallen in love with this scenic country as well as all the quirks of Irish culture. In many ways, my new home has much more to offer than I initially expected.

Here are the 10 ways Ireland Surprised Me:

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A few, perhaps unknown, facts about Ireland…

Stair na hÉireann/History of Ireland

The majority of people attribute the guillotine to the French, but there is evidence of it being used in Ireland almost 500 years before it made its way to France. A man named Murcod Ballagh seemingly used it for an execution near Merton in Co Galway on 1 April 1307.

Dundalk Jail was built in 1853 by a man named John Coffee. In an unfortunate turn of events, while he was building the prison he encountered some financial difficulties, ended up declaring bankruptcy, and became the very first inmate in his own prison when he couldn’t pay off his debts.

A nickname for people from Co Wicklow is ‘goat suckers’. The term was coined because of the goats that frequented the Wicklow mountains.

Ireland was currently the only country in the European Union without a postcode system. That recently changed – at the small cost of 15 million Euro.

In…

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The Curious Re-Emergence of an Ancient Irish Tuath

Beyond the Pale

Indiana: Balloq’s medallion only had writing on one side? You sure about that?
Sallah: Positive!
Indiana: Balloq’s staff is too long.
Indiana: Sallah: They’re digging in the wrong place!
Raiders of the Lost Ark, (1981)

County Sligo, and the old Borough Corporation of Sligo town are roughly 400 years old, and both are creations of the British Empire and its nascent colonial enterprise in Ireland. As part of the Imperial project of extending centralised control across the country from Dublin, the counties were created as brand new entities on top of the earlier Irish Gaelic political territories. These older territories were called tuatha (countries). The tuatha that made up what is now County Sligo are shown on the map accompanying this article.

County Sligo was created by joining together the Gaelic tuatha of what was then known as Iochtar Connacht (Lower Connacht). This was made of five ancient tuatha. Each…

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Brehon Laws and the Establishment of Copyrights

Stair na hÉireann/History of Ireland

Copyright law actually began with the Brehon Laws of Ancient Ireland over 1000 years before it appeared in English legislation. It started and ended in a bitter and brutal dispute over royalties.

The dispute arose in 563 AD between two of the top contributors in the monastic schools of Ireland: Saint Colmcille and Saint Finian, each claiming to be the original author of a manuscript called ‘St Jerome’s Psalter‘.

Born in Gartan, Co Donegal, St. Colmcille was a descendant of the Uí Néill (O’Neill) Clan. He was the son of Princess Eithne and his Grandfather has the honour of being the man who originally brought the slave boy who would later be known as Saint Patrick and gave him his name. Founding several monastic settlements during his lifetime, Colmcille left a lasting mark on the island of Ireland. His first foundation was in Derry and his last was on Iona…

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#OTD in Irish History – 12 May:

563 – St Columcille establishes a community on Iona.

1641 – Thomas Wentworth, English viceroy of Ireland and Earl of Stafford is beheaded. From 1632–39 he was Lord Deputy of Ireland, where he established a strong authoritarian rule. Recalled to England, he became a leading advisor to the king, attempting to strengthen the royal position against Parliament. When Parliament condemned him to death, Charles signed the death warrant and Wentworth was executed.

1784 – J.S. Knowles, dramatist and Baptist preacher, is born in Cork.

1806 – Brigadier General James Shields, US army, and the only person to be elected a senator by three states, is born in Artmore, Co Tyrone.

1823 – Daniel O’Connell founds the Catholic Association, an organisation dedicated to obtaining the franchise for Catholics.

1916 – Irish Patriots, Seán MacDiarmada and James Connolly are executed at Kilmainham Gaol.

1921 – A group of Black and Tans traveling from Listowel towards Athea arrested four young men (Paddy Dalton, Paddy Walsh, Jerry Lyons, Con Dee) in Gortaglanna. One of the men, Con Dee, attempted to free himself from captivity and escaped, though injured by a bullet. Three of the other men are shot dead on the spot.

1944 – Cork-born Venerable Edel Quinn, one of the outstanding missionary figures of the 20th century, dies of TB in Nairobi, Kenya.

1950 – Birth in Dublin of internationally acclaimed actor, film director, film producer, writer, cultural ambassador and audiobook narrator, Gabriel Byrne.

1952 – Birth of former long-distance runner, Patrick “Pat” Hooper in Dublin. He represented Ireland twice and his personal best is 2:17:46. He is the older brother of marathoner and three-time Olympian Dick Hooper.

1981 – Francis Hughes, Irish political prisoner, dies on hunger strike in Long Kesh Prison. His death comes a week after the death of Bobby Sands on 5 May, the first to die in a republican campaign for political status to be granted to IRA prisoners. In Dublin a group of 2,000 people tried to break into the British Embassy.

1983 – Birth of actor, Domhnall Gleeson, son of actor, Brendan Gleeson. He is best known for his portrayal of Bill Weasley in the Harry Potter film franchise, General Hux in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Caleb in Ex Machina and Tim Lake in About Time. He has acted on both stage and screen, earning a Tony Award nomination in 2006 for his role in the Broadway production The Lieutenant of Inishmore.

1997 – Sean Brown (61), a Catholic civilian, was abducted by members of the Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF) as he locked the gates of Bellaghy Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA). Brown was beaten before being shot dead and his body was found the next day beside his burnt-out car at Randalstown, Co Antrim. Brown who left a wife and six children was a GAA official and was often the last person to leave the Bellaghy GAA club.

1998 – British Chancellor Gordon Brown hands the Yes campaign in the North a monster financial boost when he unveils a bumper £315 million plan — over twice what was expected.

1999 – US First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton become the first woman to be granted the Freedom of Galway city, following in the footsteps of her country’s former presidents, John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan.

2003 – Dublin City Council votes by an overwhelming majority to call for the preservation of a house in Moore Street where the leaders of the 1916 Rising have their last meeting and decide to surrender to British forces.

Stair na hÉireann/History of Ireland

563 – St Columcille establishes a community on Iona.

1641 – Thomas Wentworth, English viceroy of Ireland and Earl of Stafford is beheaded. From 1632–39 he was Lord Deputy of Ireland, where he established a strong authoritarian rule. Recalled to England, he became a leading advisor to the king, attempting to strengthen the royal position against Parliament. When Parliament condemned him to death, Charles signed the death warrant and Wentworth was executed.

1784 – J.S. Knowles, dramatist and Baptist preacher, is born in Cork.

1806 – Brigadier General James Shields, US army, and the only person to be elected a senator by three states, is born in Artmore, Co Tyrone.

1823 – Daniel O’Connell founds the Catholic Association, an organisation dedicated to obtaining the franchise for Catholics.

1916 – Irish Patriots, Seán MacDiarmada and James Connolly are executed at Kilmainham Gaol.

1921 – A group of Black and Tans traveling…

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‘The singer from Quimper’, Quimper Square, Cruises Street, Limerick.

hannahwiseman

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During my module, Digital Media 2013 I was involved in a group project which took place during the first 2 months of our semester This included the work of three individuals; Maria Kenny, Gavin Foye and myself. The statue which we were assigned to was ‘The singer from Quimper’ on Cruises Street, Limerick. This location can be seen on Google Maps.

As I have a strong interest in public monuments this project interested me greatly. Last year I studied Limerick public sculptures in depth so I understood what to look for and how to evaluate this statue. I had a lot of fun organizing and forming this wiki page. It was a new experience and one that I felt was relevant to learn with a topic I loved.

To find out more about this piece I looked up my personal notes on this statue, such things as the conservation methods and…

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Offa’s Dyke – Tidenham and the Devil’s Pulpit

Archaeodeath

Back in March, I visited the Wye Valley to explore sections of Offa’s Dyke as it navigates along the high slopes above the river. I thought this would be the best time of year to investigate it when leaves wouldn’t intercede in my views of the landscape, and hence my visit would enhance my appreciation of how the earthwork was interacting with topography and viewsheds.

Sadly, I was disappointed in two regards:

  1. the density of trees, albeit leafless, on the Wye valley’s steep slopes rendered very few lines of sight and the landscape was as difficult to apprehend as if it were summer in terms of longer-distance viewsheds;
  2. This was combined with the fact that the steep slopes and careful conservation measures for the dyke mean that at relatively very few stretches can one apprehend the monument from both below and above. Only for some of the distance can one…

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