Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Wednesday - A World Away 2

I don't know if it is because March and St. Patrick's Day are right around the corner, but I've been obsessing over Ireland for the past month. Green lush countrysides, eclectic cities and a raw a deep history (not to mention accent). What more could a person love? I love this little blog post idea because it is giving me the opportunity to find out things I would have never know. The world is beautiful; It must be discovered!

First, St. Patrick. Who is he? Why is he important? Did you know that he isn't even Irish? He was actually a Brittan and was taken captive by the Irish and made a shepherd. Pretty crazy that he would become their saint huh? I guess karma does work :) Any hoo, he escaped back to Britain and had an impression from God telling him to return to Ireland as a missionary. Every year on the last Sunday in July people climb mountain in Mayo County where he fasted for forty days. So whats the deal with March 17th then? It was a Catholic holiday to celebrate St. Patrick. Also, St. Patrick's original color was blue, not green, but eventually green became popular due to soldiers in the 1798 rebellion wearing green to make a political statement. Cool huh?

Other than St. Patrick, I want to go to Claddagh and have my love give me a ring. Legend has it that Richard Joyce of Claddagh was to be wed to his true love. While out fishing days before the wedding, his boat was captured by Algerian pirates and Richard was forced into slavery. Richard was sold to a wealthy Moorish goldsmith who taught him the ways of being a goldsmith. Richard created a ring for his love. Many years later he escaped and made his way back to Ireland and found his love. She had never married and they immediately were wed. He gave her the ring that he had made with her in mind. The hands represent friendship the heart was for love and the crown represented loyalty. To me, these are the three key things to a happy marriage. A note of caution, you wish bad luck with love upon yourself if you buy one; it must be given to you as a gift by someone who loves you. I'll get one of these one day, from someone I love and who loves me and we'll get it in Claddagh.

Anyone who knows me knows I love Halloween. The Irish have their own. It is still celebrated on October 31-November 1 and it is called Samhain. Not only is it their Halloween, it is also their new year. The Irish believe that the year was divided into two parts, the light and the dark. November 1 to March 1 represents the dark half of the year. In the olden days, the people would prepare a massive feast held for their guests of honor, their dearly departed. Everyone left their doors and windows unlocks so the spirits could go freely and a cake was prepared just for them. If a human were to eat the food left out for the spirits during the festival, they
condemned themselves to an eternity as a hungry soul.

St. Bridget's Complaint. Made famous by the movie Leap Year a woman can propose to a man on Leap day (February 29th). St. Bridget pleaded with St. Patrick to let women propose once every four years so they didn't have to wait so long for men to decide. Very interesting. I think it would be awesome just to go experience this in Ireland (supposedly its huge). I wouldn't personally do it because I think it is a man's place and not a woman's. It is still kind of romantic. Also, any guys who happen to read this, if a man refuses a proposal from a woman on leap day is required to pay a fine. Crazy huh? Also, next year (2012) is a leap year. Maybe I can check it out then :)

Ballycarbery Castle is one of old history. It is also the setting of an old Irish tale of Diarmuid and Grainne. Grainne was betrothed to Fionn and he was an angry old war lord. She fled from him with Diarmuid, one of Fionn's soldiers. They bounced around from place to place until they came upon Ballycarbery Castle. The view was supposed to be so beautiful they decided to make it their home. there are many beautiful castles in Ireland, but the area, County Kerry is beautiful and could make for a really romantic stay. I want to stay there one day and roam the castle ruins.

Okay, until next week, Slan (Irish for goodbye). Next week's destination...

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Love Kaylee


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