Hello to you, Friend! Nannie here!
In our last story-poem, Finney talked to us about the birds he thought of as Friends!
Finney told us the things he saw as he watched the birds, and he told us he wanted to have birds as Friends just like Grampa! (See Post #50) He told us he hoped they wouldn’t always want to fly away or hide when they saw him. He told us about big birds, little birds, birds that fly high, and birds that spend time on the ground! He told us about their eatin’, their hidin’, their swimmin’, their flyin’…whether they seemed to like to be alone or with other birds…There was even a great picture of Lewie on the hand and shoulder of his Friend, Earl! The Turkey Family and the Duck Family were grand sights, weren’t they?
We saw a picture of Mr. Cardinal and Mrs. Cardinal…maybe some of you already knew that it is the Mr. who has the bright red color…and the Mrs. is brown with red accents. Cornell University has an interesting website http://www.allaboutbirds.org which would be a wonderful go-to for any bird lover. We have already referenced http://www.birdwatchireland.ie as a grand depository of information about the birds that are found in Ireland. And, speaking of birds found in Ireland, remember that cardinals (known to be non-migratory North American birds) do not seem to ordinarily be mentioned , but there was a report of ONE sighting…so who knows what the future holds! Seems, too, like this is a good place to mention that http://www.audubon.org would understandably also be an excellent resource for bird details.
But let’s talk a bit (we won’t be able to cover “everything!”)*, about the parts birds play when it comes to Irish history and folklore…I will mention http://www.libraryireland.com very much, as it is such a wonderful “armchair” to sit in and have our minds brought to the “old” ways and “thinkin’s and writin’s!” All of us are free to browse in the cyber-bookshelves of this amazin’ assortment of Irish writin’s! I will mention just a few “bird” references from the sources included in http://www.libraryireland.com…
We find in Lady Wilde’s writings from 1888 that “sketches of the Irish past” specifically mention magpies, wrens, ravens, water wagtails, cuckoos, and robin redbreasts.
A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837, by Samuel Lewis, tells us that “Large flights of wild geese and swans occasionally visit Lough Erne towards the close of the year, the appearance of which is considered to prognosticate a severe winter.”
The Dublin Penny Journal from April of 1833 tells us that “an extraordinary piece of antiquity… was found in a bog at Ballymoney, Co. Antrim.” The “ancient Irish instrument” that was found, is a mystery as to its use. The “instrument” is “ornamented” with birds in a similar fashion to the “Irish crosiers of the sixth century.”
Dr. Joyce’s A Smaller Social History of Ancient Ireland (1906), tells us that the pens that the scribes used in the writing of manuscripts “were made from the quills of geese, swans, crows, and other birds: no metallic pens were used.” Also from this “social history”, we learn that “the singing of birds had a special charm for the old Irish people”…and cites the story of Comgan, who expressed that “Sweet was the voice of the wood of blackbirds…”. This information was followed by the story of the cows who only gave their milk freely when the 3 little birds came and sang in their ears. (See Post #51 – Note from Nannie!) Still yet another story from Dr. Joyce’s work is that “the croaking of the raven and the chirping of the wren” and the screaming of the eagle, are spoken of in the “old books” as having special significance. (We’ll talk of this another time!) And we won’t talk about the “special laws” regarding bird-catching (also Dr. Joyce!)
Here’s a fun fact for the name lovers among you! In Some Anglicised Surnames in Ireland, written in 1923 by Padraig MacGiolla-Domhnaigh (I don’t know how to say it either!), The names Heaney, Henaghan and Henahan, and McEneany, McEneney and McNeney have been Anglicized to be “Bird!”…”presumably because the word “can” (bird) enters into the construction of the names.” Omigosh, who’d ever a-thunk that? “The Gaelic of the surnames are respectively Oh-Eanaigh, O h-Eanacháin, and Mac An-Eanaigh.”
The last fun fact story…and one that we simply must include, has to do with the good St. Brendan and his mighty travels!
The “Lyfe of Saynt Brandon” in the Golden Legend, published by Wynkyn de Worde, 1483, and Legendary Fictions of the Irish Celts, by Patrick Kennedy share a similar story and the essence of it is something like this…
St. Brendan and his companions, on their journey across the Atlantic Ocean came upon an island. “…the trees and shrubs were filled with birds of varied and beautiful plumage, whose voices united in forming music that entranced the souls of the listeners. ” The good saint felt “there was something supernatural about the little creatures…” The story goes on to tell that one of the birds “perched on his arm” and said “It is delightful to us to hear the voice of one of God’s creatures who loves and fears Him as we do ourselves.” Because of God’s mercy to them (the birds), they “have never ceased night and day to sing hymns of joy and gratitude.”
Six months ago today was when Finney decided to tell the world… “Hello From Finney!” This first little story-rhyme was a big step! After Finney’s first adventure book (Finney Hides the Pot O’ Gold) was published in January of 2014, Finney realized he had a lot more stories he wanted to tell before his next adventure went to the printing press!
Being a Mom and a Grandmom who is fiercely grateful for the Irish blood within me, I have found that The Adventures of Finney the Leprechaun has been the fruit of an effort to bring to everyone who is interested, some fun, imagination, Irish history and culture and a heaping measure of the Faith that we Irish have in God and His protection and provision for us, His children. I would very much like to help with the realization of just how significantly unique and mystical was and is the part God has allowed Ireland and her people to play in the History of the Family of Man!
Since that first “Post”, Finney has had visitors from 10 different countries! Most of these visitors have been from the United States and Ireland! After that, in alphabetical order, the other visitors have been from Belgium, Canada, Dominican Republic, France, Germany, Iceland, Singapore, and the United Kingdom!
What fun it has been to watch Finney enter the internet world with all his Leprechaun innocence and fun. Finney always tries to see the best in each of us, and he never tries to hurt anyone! He certainly can make mistakes, but when he knows he has done so, he is very sorry!
Finney and Nannie are both so delighted that you have stopped by to visit! If you have fun info or a rhyme to or for Finney, please e-mail Nannie at firstname.lastname@example.org!
I would especially like to ask you Irish visitors from Ireland for any thoughts you might have as to how Finney can tell his stories better! Any pronunciations you may like to phonetically share with us, too, would be appreciated…like, for instance, in the above mentioned last name of Padraig…”MacGiolla-Domhnaigh!” (???)
Also, if you are a teacher, and if there are any of Finney’s story-rhymes that you particularly like (mostly for fun, grammar, and diction), if you e-mail me at the e-mail address I just mentioned, I will send you a complimentary Teacher question/work sheet to use with the reading (hopefully out loud!) of the little story! It would be helpful, too, if you told me the grade-level you are teaching.
God bless you and thank you for stopping by!
Finney and Nannie hope you visit often!
*One folktale that we won’t focus on, where birds play a major role, is “The Children of Lir.” Four swans are central to the story and if you read it for yourself, you might agree it is not the most joyful of stories!