Posts made in April, 2013

Waking the Dead

Waking the Dead

As it turns out, the myth that the wake in Ireland came about as a result of lead poisoning suffered by drinkers of stout from pewter tankards is just that! A myth! The story goes that a symptom of this malaise is a catatonic state resembling death, from which the sufferer may recover after a period of a few hours to a few days, to the great relief of those watching for signs of such an awakening. But the truth is that the wake used to be the custom in most Celtic countries in Europe. Mourners would keep watch or vigil over their dead until they were buried. Ireland appears to be the only country where the custom has survived. But even in Ireland the wake is losing favour and the funeral parlour is replacing the home for the traditional wake. Only in the Gaeltach and some rural communities are the old traditions still practiced. In a 1996 article written for the Seattle times by Hugh A. Mulligan titled The Death Knell’s Ringing For The Irish Wake, Mr Mulligan shares some of the reasons for its waning and some of the beliefs behind the rituals involved in the traditional Irish wake. If you want to learn more about Irish wakes try this classic book Irish Wake Amusements by Sean O. Suilleabhain. Originally published in 1961 it provides a first hand account of wakes from the author’s youth and is supported by interviews and research conducted in Ireland.   Like this:Like...

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Oireactas Rinci Na Cruinne (World Irish Dancing Championships)

Boston’s connection to the Emerald Isle became much stronger after last month’s World Irish Dancing Championships came for eight days, wrapping up March 31. This is only the second time in the prestigious international competition’s more than 40-year history that it has been held outside Ireland or Scotland. Follow the link for a slide show of the week. For dance fans, the opportunity to see some of the finest Irish dancers in the world was a rare treat. The event is sponsored by the Irish Dancing Commission (An Coimisiún le Rinci Gaelacha), the World Irish Dancing Championships are the Olympics of the art form, often launching young performers into careers with popular touring shows like “Riverdance” and “Lord of the Dance.” This year’s competition was expected to host more than 5,000 competitors from around the world. But if you were not lucky enough to attend and still wish you had a front row view of the world of Irish dancing are you in for a treat! In 2010 the story of the fortieth Irish Dancing World Championships, held in Glasgow was captured and released as a feature length film. Filmmaker “Sue Bourne went behind the normally closed doors of Irish Dancing and found a remarkable world. Wonderful characters of all ages from across the globe….Ireland, Holland, Britain, America and Russia”. The film is available on DVD or you can watch Jig here on The Guardian’s website. Like this:Like...

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This Day in Irish History-April

April 1986-April-01 – US sub Nathaniel Green runs aground in Irish Sea 456-April-5  St. Patrick returns to Ireland as a missionary bishop. 1886 -April-08 William Ewart Gladstone introduces the first Irish Home Rule Bill into the British House of Commons. 1912-April-09 – Titanic leaves Queenstown Ireland for NY 1974-April-15 – 78th Boston Marathon won by Neil Cusack of Ireland in 2:13:39 1949-April-18 – Republic of Ireland withdraws from British Commonwealth 1014-April-23-King Brian Boru of Ireland beats Danes at Battle of Clontarf 1916-April-29-Easter Rising: The Surrender and Eye-Witness Accounts at Today in Irish History 1994-April-30– Riverdance Premieres Thanks to Conor Cunneen  and  Irish History Today  Like this:Like...

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