97. Nannie’s Fun Facts (24)

J.M.J.

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Hello, Friend!  Nannie here!

According to irishfireside.com, “Ireland was once an island of forests.”

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The Tree Council of Ireland concerns itself with “tree planting, management, and conservation.”  The Tree Council also makes effort to make sure “heritage and ancient trees…survive as long as possible…”  (treecouncil.ie)

The website livingtreeeducationalfoundation.org tells us that “Traditionally, living trees have played a central role in the practical and daily lives of the Irish people.” An “8th-century legal tract…classifies (trees) in … groups.”  The oak and the Scots Pine are in the Group called “Nobles of the Wood (Chieftain Trees).”  The Hawthorn (Whitethorn) is in the Group called “Commoners of the Wood (Peasant Trees).”  The Blackthorn is in the Group called “Lower Divisions of the Wood (Shrub Trees).”                                                               “A woodland was one of the most important parts of a landscape, giving sustenance, shelter, and sanctuary to a community.”                                                                                                   One of the “Sacred Trees of Ireland” was “an oak at the mouth of the Shannon, Co. Meath…’Eo Mugna’…  Some of (the sacred trees were reputed to be large enough to shelter a thousand men.”                                                                                                                                                 An oak was “associated with kingship.”

347 The high King of Ireland, Brian Boru, was said to have planted an oak tree!                                 A “huge live oak in Raheen, near Scarriff, Co. Clare…was reputed to have been planted by the Irish king a thousand years ago.” (irishcentral.com)

The blackthorn has been more familiarly used in the making of shillelagh(s)* and walking canes.  We learn at irishfireside.com that the blackthorn can be known to bring hope and also provides safety to the nightingale bird.

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The hawthorn (whitethorn) has berries that the birds love!

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The Tree Council of Ireland tells us that  “Around 12,000 years ago, Ireland was covered in snow and ice.  This was known as the Ice Age.  As the weather became warmer, the snow and ice melted and trees began to grow.”  Seeds of different trees were carried to Ireland by birds, animals and the wind “across the landbridges from Britain and the rest of Europe.  Eventually, the seas rose, the landbridges were flooded and Ireland became an island.  Our native trees are the trees that reached here before we were separated from the rest of Europe.”                                                                                                                                                   Among those native trees were oak and Scots pine.  Maple, hawthorn (whitethorn), and blackthorn are also found in Ireland.

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“Maples are commonly planted in city streets and parks.”  (ucd.ie)

“Ireland’s oldest oak trees are being revived as part of an international campaign to save the forests and to help propagate the DNA of ancient woodlands…Because the oaks are direct descendants of the ancient Irish forests that flourished after the Ice Age, they contain the genetic material best equipped to thrive in the country today.  The Archangel Project (global initiative to propagate the DNA of ancient forests, from ancient Ireland to ancient Greece) co-founder David Milarch says, ‘We want to help Ireland reforest itself.  It’s imperative to reforest the planet, and it makes sense to use the oldest, most iconic trees that ever lived.’  Scattered around Ireland are remnants of the post glacial woodland that covered the country for 9,000 years.”                                                                                                There are ancient oak woods in County Clare that have “remarkable DNA…having been in one place for 1,000 years.”                                                                                                                              A representative of a group called the Woodland League, Andrew St. Ledger, tells us that “the authentic landscape of Ireland is western Atlantic temperate rainforest, dominated by oak.”  Mr. St. Ledger says “We are optimistic our native forests will return.  It will be a slow process and will have to be mostly achieved by the people themselves.  We are a forest people without a forest.  But not forever.”  (irishcentral.com – “Bringing Ireland’s ancient oak trees back to life”  by Jane Walsh)

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Now to our evergreen pines!  The oldest tree in the world is a bristlecone pine…over 5,000 years old in the White Mountains of California.  (livescience.com)                                                  “Scots Pine is known as a pioneer tree, able to thrive in hostile environments and make their surroundings more hospitable to allow other plants to flourish…it was one of the first trees to make a home in Ireland after the last ice age and is the only pine native to the country…A walk through a pine forest is said to invigorate and refresh the soul.  Pine resin has a distinct fresh fragrance that when breathed in can give you a delightful feeling of vitality.”  (ireland-calling.com)

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The Government of Ireland’s Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine tells us that “Scots pine fits naturally into the Irish landscape,” and “has always been significant in Irish history.”  (agriculture.gov.ie)

And, Of course, why wouldn’t Finney love any tree that was called ever…green!

In the visitors centre of the Ceide Fields in northwestern Ireland, there is displayed a “bog pine” which was “uncovered during turf cutting by Patrick Caulfield in Belderrig…It was part of an ancient forest of pine trees which grew on the bog and has been radiocarbon dated to about 4,300 years old.  This tree had fallen over so the trunk is preserved as well as the roots.” This information came from the Ceide Fields portion of museumsofmayo.com.  A trip to this site would be well worth your time as it tells an amazing story of the natural preservation of an agricultural settlement in Ireland thousands of years ago!

God bless you and thank you for visitin’ Finney and me!

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 *A shillelagh is a blackthorn stick or club.

96. Pinin’!

J.M.J.

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Hello, my Friend!  Hello today!

I hope you are in a good way!

No matter rain, sleet, snow, or shine,

I always hope your day is fine!

It’s fun to see the lovely trees!

It’s fun to watch them in the breeze!

Their leaves rustle and wiggle, too.

They give their sounds to me and you!

Their beauty is uniquely fine…

Easily showin’ the Touch, Divine!

God gave us trees to help us all,

No matter if we’re short or tall!

They give us shade in summer’s warm,

And can protect us in a storm,

So we stay dry when rain does fall,

No matter if we’re short or tall!

Their boughs and branches and their leaves

Bring greens and browns with sight-ly ease.

So when someone might see our gold,

Trees help with this, since days of old!

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They’ve always been grand Friends to me.

A special gift is ours, you see.

We Leprechauns can speak with trees.

We do this with the greatest ease.

They often help us hide our gold.

They’ve done this since the times of old.

Of course, with doors to underground,

Trees help Leprechauns not be found!

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Each type of tree helps in its way,

With diff’rent helps from day to day.

The Maple has some tasty fun!

In early Spring its sap does run!

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The Hawthorne plays a special part,

To sometimes be a home apart

From places that would never hide

A Leprechaun in or out-side!

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The mighty oak has its own place

To members of the Irish race!

Even Brian, high king so grand,

May have planted oak in Ireland!*

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Another tree’s called the blackthorn,

Which can bring hope to the forlorn.

It can keep safe a nightingale**,

By givin’ safety without fail.

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But of these trees we’ve mentioned here,

Sometimes, for them, though they are dear,

The leaves can fall from these fine trees,

And everyone who does look sees

That it’s a while ‘fore they grow back.

So, for a time, there is a lack

Of certain leaves that help us some,

Due to the trees they do come from.

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But of all trees, there is one kind,

Who never fails, and doesn’t mind,

To let us use branches and leaves

That help us hide our gold with ease.

These trees I speak of…Evergreens…

Make for such lovely forest scenes.

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These trees which we do call the “pines,”

They show us secret “welcome” signs.

Just like all trees, they are our Friends,

From start of day till the day ends.

But these pine trees are always green,

Not like when trees have no leaves seen.

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Our pine friends can be tall or small,

called evergreens, though, they are all.

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At Christmastime, they do headline

All the news with beauty fine!

Their decorations bring such joy,

‘Specially to each girl and boy!

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I love to hide in a pine tree

Because it’s mostly hard to see

Even my red hair and green Me!

My hidin’s good each place I be!

Pine trees provide a cozy place,

Where ’tis not hard to hide my face!

And when the breezes softly brush

Through pine trees, pine fragrance does rush

Right past your nose to give a gift

That seems so often gives a lift,

No matter how your day has gone…

Be you yourself or Leprechaun!

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So when you pass a mighty pine,

Think of these lovely thoughts of mine.

By now I’m sure that you must see

What a grand Friend can be a tree!

For Leprechauns, what would we do

Without their help I’ve told to you!

They help us with both warmth and shade;

With covered places that they’ve made.

They keep us safe with hide-places…

Where no one can see our faces!

They have spots that are so cozy,

To hide in when someone’s nosey!

They help us keep so warm and dry,

When rain falls hard right from the sky!

They do all this whene’er they can,

Helpin’ us again and again.

And as I’ve said, when leaves do fall,

The evergreens still help us all.

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At Christmastime and all year round,

Their lovely fragrance can be found.

Their loyal presence never fades,

In all their greens in many shades.

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I thank you, God, for every tree…

Whose leaves and branches are to me

A fine grand part of all my days,

And help me much in many ways!

But  special thanks to every pine,

Who gives to all a constant sign,

Of faithful service to us all,

No matter season…tall…or small!

I am so glad to speak this way,

Of how Trees help me every day.

And nice to know that I can say

God bless you now and every day!

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*irishcentral.com

**irishfireside.com

***courtesy of Stevie Towne

95. Nannie’s Fun Facts! (23)

J.M.J.

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 It’s often not in our minds how things might have gotten the way they are, or, how things might have come to be.  I think, though, along those lines when it comes to red doors.  Red is not what you call a passive color…it makes a real statement.  I think of the centuries old cottage on Inis Mór, the largest of the Aran Islands, off the west coast of Ireland, by Galway Bay…with its bright red door!

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Here is a reproduction of an Irish cottage in East Durham, New York at the Michael J. Quill Irish Cultural and Sports Centre.

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How about this structure on Inis Mór…a wow of a color, and…red door.

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 Just seems to me there must be more of a significance than just color choice.  So, I looked around and found a tidbit of info at http://www.houzz.com…”In Ireland, a red door is thought to ward off ghosts or evil spirits.  Through history, red doors have held great meaning in some religions.  The red door symbolized that the ground beyond the door was holy and sacred, a sanctuary from any evil, both spiritual and physical.”

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Now that sounds more like it.  And, of course, with Ireland’s blessing of having had the good St. Patrick nurture the Irish people with the Good News of the Gospel, it seemed to me there was more of a reason that had to do with Faith in God.  I was reminded myself of the biblical Passover account of the Lord “striking down every first-born of the land, both man and beast (executing judgment on all the gods of Egypt) but passing over the homes where the blood of the lamb was on the ‘two doorposts and the lintel’…”  (Exodus 12)

I found a website called answers.com, and it spoke of  Catholicism and a red door representing the blood of Christ, and that the area behind the door is “holy and sacred.”

Now that makes sense, too…but I could not find any solid Catholic source as a reference to red doors…but this little bit of info seems to be reasonable.

This is a Catholic Church in Massachusetts.  The difference in color between the two pictures is just the way the camera picked it up…

 

This is a picture from a door on another Catholic Church in Connecticut…

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This is a picture of the Rectory of a Catholic Church in Olmsteadville, New York…

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So, it seems that the Leprechauns have chosed the right color for their doors when danger or suspicious activity seems to be happening.  Safety and refuge exists behind those red doors!

 

Another fun fact has to do with an article at http://www.irishcultureandcustoms.com…”Who was behind the doors of Dublin?”  The article is written by Bridget Haggerty.  Bridget is a great source for different information about Irish culture and traditions and this website has different pieces written by her…a fun source!

My Family referred to Bridget’s book, The Traditional Irish Wedding when our oldest daughter, Kate, was planning her wedding.

Back to the the doors of  Dublin…Maybe some of you have seen the wonderful poster with pictures of lots of wonderfully colored Irish doors in Dublin, and, yes, red is certainly well represented! Bridget tells us, in regard to this particular poster, that “It was 1970 around St. Patrick’s Day that a colourful collage of Dublin doors appeared in the window of the Irish Tourism offices on Fifth Avenue in New York City.  People on their way to watch the parade were stopped in their tracks by what they saw.  Drawn by the uniqueness of the image, many of them went inside to find our where they could get a copy.  There were so many requests that Joe Malone, North American Manager of Bord Fáilte at the time, commissioned the poster that has since become an icon of Ireland.”  If  you give this article a read you will see this famous poster.

Lastly, there is another poster with many red doors of Ireland…just a great poster! Here are a few partial pictures to give you an idea of the fun doors that are on the poster…of course, lotsa red!

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God bless you and thank you for visitin’ Finney and me!

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94. Our Red Doors!

J.M.J.

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Hello, my Friend!  Hello today!

I hope you are in a good way!

No matter rain, sleet, snow, or shine,

I always hope your day is fine!

I’m sure you’ve seen red doors so grand…

There are so many in our land!

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So many kinds, all lovely, too

But just between us…me and you,

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 We Leprechauns have “special” doors…

“Of course,” you’d say, “…’special’ red doors.”

‘Tis true, though, I say loud and clear,

“Special” red doors I’ll tell of here!

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I hope now you want to know more,

About the Leprechaun’s red door.

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Sometimes we have homes in the trees.

Sometimes we need to hide with ease.

Sometimes the rocks do help us, too.

They help us be hidden from view…

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Other places where we do live,

Good hidin’ place…don’t always give…

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‘Tis when we need to hide so well,

‘Tis of these times that I do tell!

Each home for Leprechauns does need

A fine and grand strong door to lead

Into the home where Family lives…

And, secret work, the Family gives.

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Oh, My, you say…what could that be…

That secret work that none can see?

A little bit…I can tell you,

A little bit of what we do.

But, first we must speak of the door.

And speak of what the red is for!

Many times our doors are not red.

Not always red…that’s what I said.

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Leprechaun doors do guard us well…

Because we have a way to tell

When danger’s near and we must hide,

When we are inside or outside.

No matter how our doors might look,

Our homes can be a safer nook,

If we just turn the boards around

So red’s the color that is found!

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When door is red, well warned are we,

That on the lookout we should be.

Somewhere there’s something strange about,

The red will tell…we need not shout!

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Sometimes we need to hide the gold…

‘Tis been the way since days of old.

Sometimes we may have left our pot

In a very obvious spot.

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But once we know to hide the pot

We move quite fast…cover the spot!

The red door is for us a sign…

A warning to us grand and fine,

That if we go behind the door,

The “red” protects, and even more…

Should anyone try to get in,

The red door does some fine jammin’!

It jams so that it just stays shut

For everyone everywhere but

A Leprechaun who’s dressed with green,

Who’ll always look as fine as seen

Just anywhere that you could go…

A Leprechaun, someone does know!

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And then when it seems danger’s past,

A Leprechaun must run so fast,

To where he had his pot o’ gold,

Just as he’s done since days of old.

Because he knows there’ll be gold dust,

And sweep it up, he really must!

Or else someone who shouldn’t see,

Might know some gold would nearby be!

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Now all the while cleanin’ is done,

He has to watch…make sure no one

Is seein’ him and where he goes…

Makin’ sure only he knows

Just where he now will hide the gold,

Just like he’s done from days of old.

And when the rainbow rays appear,

‘Tis sign for all no danger’s near…

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‘Tis then the boards can go back ’round,

So color red need not be found.

The pots can come outside again

So gold can sparkle always when

The sun’s rays find the gold to play…

So sun and gold can shine their way!

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We’re thankful for our doors so fine,

That can give us a warning sign…

Protect us, too, stay shut and tight,

And keep us safe from those who fight…

From those who want to steal our gold,

Just like it’s been since days of old.

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So, when you’re walkin’ on a day,

And see a small door on your way,

If it be red, you won’t see us,

‘Cause Leprechauns don’t like a fuss!

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I, Finney, have just told you now,

One of the many ways of how,

We Leprechauns stay safe and well,

And make sure none can story-tell,

That they did find a pot o’ gold

That’s been hidden since days of old!  *

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And of the secret work we do,

Just this one thing I can tell you…

Deep underground is where we go,

Once through the doors which you now know.

Our work has to do with the gold…

Just as it’s been since days of old!

I am so glad we talked today!

God bless you is what I do say!

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*rainbow picture courtesy of Jean Kohout

93. Nannie’s Fun Facts! (22)

J.M.J.

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 1995

 Hello, my Friend! Nannie here !

Imaginatin’ lends a whole new fun way of thinkin’, when you begin to think of it as drawing from “mem’ries that go back…far…and deep…”  or “…delvin’ deep in memory.”

“Perhaps the beauty that we see

       Strikes a deep chord of memory…”

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Seems to me that many of us would be quick to say that a lovely sunset, or a starry night, or gazing at the ocean is something that moves us in a way that’s different and powerful…Could be possible that our reaction is one of being moved and stirred inside to something that is within us and not just outside of ourselves? Hmmm…sounds vague, but still I feel that many of you may have a thought of what I mean. Even these beautiful sights of Ireland…it’s like they reach right inside you and find a familiar home…and give you a great and deep comfort or joy.

2280b …the western sea

1382a …view from the Black Fort on Inis Mór

126-338a …Galway Bay

DSC03209 …the western sea

1391a …the ancient ruins of Dun Aengus on Inis Mór of the Aran Islands

Dun Aengus on Inis Mór of the Aran Islands

The ancient ruins of Black Fort on Inis Mór of the Aran Islands

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Inis Mór

1370a …the Cliffs of Moher

The ancient sites in Ireland speak for themselves with a mystical language all their own.

     57-2258   504           The Giant’s Causeway on the north coast of Ireland

2018   2023 Newgrange, a structure from the Stone Age in the Boyne Valley of Ireland, estimated to be over 5,000 years old.

 187  …The Hill of Tara was once “the ancient seat of  the high kings of Ireland.”  (www.mythicalireland.com)

So much of their stories are left to our “imaginatin’!” Which brings us to the amazin’ story of Tir na n’Og…there’s a beautiful poem written by Gerald Griffin…”Hy-Brasail — The Isle of the Blest”…

“Men thought it a region of sunshine and rest.

And they called it Hy-Brysail, the isle of the blest.”

Mr. Griffin goes on to say it “looked like an Eden, away, far away!”

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Another poem by Ethna Carbery (who is Anna MacManus, wife of Seumas MacManus of Donegal) is named “I-Breasil.” Ethna speaks of “the mystical land” with all the wonderful and beautiful things found there.

“Forgotten of men, in a rose-rim set,

I’Breasil shines like a beckoning star.”

Michael Dames in his Mythic Ireland, simply says, “It was believed to lie off the south-west of Connacht, and was named after Bres, the son of Ériu…Consequently ‘Bresil” was a magic realm, neither sea nor land, yet both.” And…”Brazil, South America, was named after it!…In the early twentieth century Aran Islanders in Galway Bay continued to believe that their Brazil was visible once every seven years. They called it The Great Land…To earlier generation the Brazil mirage was also know as the Isle of the Living, the Isle of Truth, of Joy, of Fair Women, and of Apples.”

Seumas Mac Manus in The Story of the Irish Race, tells us that “The Irish scholar O’Flaherty in 1684 in his ‘Iar Connacht’ says ‘There is now living Morrogh O’Ley, who imagines he was himself personally in O’Brazil (Tir na n’Og).”

Black’s Guide to Ireland tells us…”The poet Moore wrote…

…when the western wave grews bright,

With daylight’s parting wing.

Have sought that Eden in its light,

Which dreaming poet’s sing.”

It goes on to tell us that ” – Beaufort, in his ancient topography of Ireland, writes       – ‘The inhabitants of (Inis Mór) are still persuaded that, in a clear day, they can see from this coast Hy-Brysail (Tir na nOg), or… the Enchanted Island’…”

Seumas MacManus tell us the same… “For that enchanted land (the Land of Promise, the Isle of the Blessed, or the Land of Perpetual Youth) did not fade away before the light of Christianity. Even to many of the spiritual-minded, present-day dwellers on the Western margin of Ireland, Tir na n’Og or I-Breasil, exists under the sea, just at the horizon’s rim. Some rarely blessed people still alive, have, on occasion, seen it on a beautiful summer’s eve rise over the sea, in all its intoxicating, indescribable, beauty.”

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The New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia tells us that “..he (St. Albert the Great) alluded to the commonly received idea that another island…existed in the Western Ocean…”

Seumas MacManus also tells us that “The voyage of St. Brendan, too, was in search of this Land of Promise.” (The Story of the Irish Race)

 0210161849-1.Map-Abraham Ortelius, 1592  Copyright:  Public Domain

Going back to Michael Dames Mythic Ireland saying …”Brazil, South America, was named after it!…  There is an article at http://www.historyireland.com, “An Island Called Brazil,” written by Geraldo Cantarino, a Brazilian journalist, which stands up for the possibility that the name of the county of Brazil is Irish in origin.

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 Our last fun fact leads us to http://www.libraryireland.com!  If you would like to read more about the belief in Tir na n’Og, go to the libraryireland website and look for the work of James Bostwick, Irish Druids and Old Irish religions (1894)…”The Future Life or Land of the West.”  This is a wonderful article and it’s jammed with comparisons to other stories that speak of a place similar to our Tir na n’Og.

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God bless you and thank you for visiting Finney and me!

 

92. Imaginatin’!

J.M.J.

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Hello, my Friend!  Hello today!

I hope you are in a good way!

No matter rain, sleet, snow, or shine,

I always hope your day is fine!

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Thousands of years are like a day

For Leprechauns, for we can say

That God helps us to long-ly keep

Mem’ries that go back…far…and deep…

Imaginatin’ for us be

Just delvin’ deep in memory.

So many grand tales have been told…

Has been this way since days of old…

Let’s start to talk of this today,

But let’s talk in a special way…

Let’s talk of things beyond our “real…”

Things we might say, we kind of “feel…”

But real and feel don’t quite say right,

When we are talkin’  “Heaven’s Light.”

There are some things within our minds

Not so made up as other kinds

Of things that we just somehow know…

Just hard to figure…how they show.

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Perhaps the beauty that we see

Strikes a deep chord of memory…

We, Leprechauns, know this is true.

Things old for us seem new to you!

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 This long mem’ry of times of old…

It helps us know more than we’ve told.

We’ve been around so very long…

To think we don’t know would be wrong.

Some well true history has been lost,

Makes time’s passing,  such a great cost.

Some true events are legends now,

And then called fables…not sure how.

So, what I say cannot be said,

To be made up inside my head!

I, Finney, tell you…is not so…

‘Cause we, Leprechauns…we just know…

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A good example’s Tir na n’Og…

Tale’s not made up by some old rogue…

So many think it’s just a tale…

Some say its name is Hy-Brasail*.

Some other names it’s known by, too.

I, Finney, will name just a few…

I-Breasil**, Hy-Brasil, Bresil***,

O’Brazil**** and even Brazil***!

The Poet Moore gives us some “sight”…

Telling of “Eden in its Light.”*****

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You say, “What is this special place?”

 …whose mem’ry time does not erase?

Some say ’tis in the western sea,

And underneath the waves it be…****

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It comes and goes, as some do say,

Though never sure on just what day…

Seems seven years that it may take,***

Before it rises…waves to break.

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Once there did fly a great white horse,

Across the sea…west was the course…*1

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Why did this horse fly to the West?

To get to this Isle of the Blest!*

Also some call it the Great Land.***

‘Tis sure it is so very grand!

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‘Tis Paradise**** to many minds,

With beauty visions of all kinds!

Soft flowers bloom like none you’ve seen.

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There are no greener fields of green.

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The air holds song like none you’ve heard…

As if  ’twas sung by a Queen Bird.

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 The gentle splash of water, cool,

Sparkles rainbow, just like a jewel.

The ground just never hurts your feet,

And tasty grand’s the fruit to eat!

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The breezes blow with sweet fragrance,

And night time skies show stars that dance!

We, Leprechauns, though, this we know,

‘Tis rarely to this Land we go.

No mystery, though, this Land is so,

No matter if it might not show.

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To do our sacred work we must,

As God has given us this trust.

No work like ours to do when there,

‘Cause to steal gold, no one does care.

Just kindness, care, and gentle peace,

Are what you find here…does not cease.

This is a land made long ago,

Whose mem’ry lives within us…know.

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And when we now see fine grand things…

And hear sounds like when beauty rings…

‘Tis just what was once that we sense…

Our sight’s now dulled by “fog” that’s dense.

Eden’s beauty once was ours…

All its trees, sea, air, and flowers.

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Just everything was good and fine,

‘Twas crafted by God’s Hand, Divine.

Just know that God has even more

Amazin’ beauty that’s in store,

When Eden once more rises high

And no one will then ever die!

We’ll all just want to sing and dance

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And share our joy at every chance!

There’ll be no sickness…nothing bad…

And we’ll never be feelin’ sad.

And we will all just laugh and play,

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And be in Peace for every day!

I am so glad we talked today!

God bless you is what I do say!

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Note from Nannie!

Today is the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes!

Our Blessed Mother Mary is the Golden Rose, Queen of Ireland!

Immaculate Heart of Mary, please pray for each of us!

Sacred Heart of Jesus, please bless each of us!

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Happy Feast Day of our Queen of Heaven and Earth, all the Angels, and the Saints!

And thank you for visiting Finney and Me!

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*1Wilkinson and Philip – Mythology

*Griffin, Gerald – “The Isle of the Blest” and http://www.irelandof the welcomes.com [Oisín and Niamh – “the fine white horsegalloped across silver seas into (Tir na nOg).]

**Carbery, Ethna – “I Breasil”  (Ethna Carbery is Anna MacManus, wife of Seumas MacManus of Donegal);   also MacManus, Seumas – The Story of the Irish Race

***Dames, Michael – Mythic Ireland

****MacManus, Seumas – The Story of the Irish Race

*****Black’s Guide to Ireland

******Map – Abraham Ortelius, 1592  Copyright:  Public Domain

91. Nannie’s Fun Facts! (21)

 J.M.J.

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Hello, my Friend!  Nannie here!

Well…our little Finney was just hidin’ and hidin’ on us!

I guess if there is one thing most of us have heard about leprechauns, it is that they seem to always have someone chasing after them to catch them and steal their gold!

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Our Finney knows that we would never do that to him, but would certainly try to help him in every way we can!

Let’s try to help him by doing as he asks us…

                        “just clap your (our) hands or make some noise,

                        or help me (him) find some fine grand toys”

that he could hide behind!

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Or we could

                        “just begin to talk or to sing, so no one could see anything

                        of where I(he) was or where I(he’d) be

                        so that just no one could see me(him)!”

My goodness, we have our work cut out for us trying to help little Finney and keep him safe and free from being a victim of gold-thievery!!!

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But we are not the only ones who try to help Finney and his fellow Leprechauns!

In an article from November, 2015, by Bernie Malone, at http://www.irishcentral.com,

“Leprechauns Are Protected Under European Law,” we continue to read that…”Leprechauns, or little people, and their heritage are protected on a European directive (European Habitats Directive – 2009) thanks to a group of lobbyists from Carlingford, Co. Louth…The directive was part of an effort to preserve the rich bio-diversity of the area called ‘The Sliabh Foy Loop,’ now a protected area for flora, fauna, wild animals and leprechauns.”  It goes on to say, “It is a long, detailed procedure and it has taken nearly eight years to secure the future of our heritage, culture and folklore.  We are delighted in the knowledge that our little people will be protected from extinction and allowed to thrive on the mountains,” local man Kevin Woods said of the directive, in 2011.

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There are also two youtube.com videos about the Carlingford leprechauns, about 2 1/2 minutes long, which are well worth the watch!  The previously mentioned Mr. Kevin Woods, who identifies himself as a Leprechaun Whisperer (the only one left in Ireland!) explains he has dedicated his life to the preservation of the lives of the 236 leprechauns left in Ireland.  Mr. Woods explains that there were vast numbers of them once, so great care must be given to help the remaining 236 survive.

Just go to http://www.youtube.com, and type Carlingford leprechauns in the search bar, and you will be in for a few minutes of the lighter side of life!

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One more very fine thing to mention is that, a few days ago, on February 1st, was (and is!) the Feast of the grand and revered St. Brigid! Information about St. Brigid can be found at catholic.org.  This text at this website tells us that Brigid lived in the late 5th century and early 6th century, and that she is the patron of Ireland, dairymaids, cattle, midwives, Irish nuns, and newborn babies!

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“Many stores of Brigid’s purity followed her childhood.  She was unable to keep from feeding the poor and healing them.”  This text also tells us that”…she founded a monastery in Kildare, called the Church of the Oak…Brigid invited a hermit called Conleth to help her in Kildare as a spiritual pastor…She later founded a school of art that included metalwork and illumination, which Conleth led as well.  It was at this school that the Book of Kildare, which the Gerald of Wales praised as ‘the work of angelic, and not human skill,’ was beautifully illuminated, but was lost three centuries ago.”  Lastly, from this text, “There is evidence that Brigid was a good friend of Saint Patrick’s and the the Trias Thaumaturga (book about the three wonder-working saints of Ireland…Patrick, Brigid and Columba) claimed, ‘Between St. Patrick and Brigid, the pillars of the Irish people, there was so great a friendship of charity that they had but one heart and one mind.  Through him and through her, Christ performed many great works.’…she passed away on February 1, 525.”

I have a very amusing personal story of St. Brigid, and what I call a gesture of her friendship extended to me!  I am thinking that if you are reading this you are either Irish or love things-Irish.  So, having said that, I will tell you this story hoping you will use your Irish Faith in God, your mind, and your heart as you read this little story from the Irish Faith-filled mind and heart (mine!) of an Irish American girl born and brought up in New York!  I think then you will understand why I feel St. Brigid extended her friendship to me…  For many years now, I have been “writing” a book about Irish things…similar to the Posts at this site that I call “Nannie’s Fun Facts.”  Well, this one night (May of 2012), I was working on my piece about St. Brigid…and I finished quite late.  But my mind was full of her as the patroness of dairy workers, her cows, and her love of beer! [In the writings of Peig Sayers*, there is a prayer (attributed to a Gaelic poet of the Middle Ages) associated with Brigid and a desire for beer in the next life with the King of Kings!] So, after I had finished writing, I was so tired, but didn’t I check the news, online, before I go to bed…don’t usually do that before I turn in, but this night I did.  So don’t I see headlines from an article about cows who crashed a back yard food and beer party!  Whaaat?!  The policeman who came to “the scene of the crime,” is quoted as saying, “The cows chased them (group of young adults) away from the table they were sitting at and started drinking their beers.  They knocked the beer cans over with their noses and started drinking beer right off the table.” (The policeman said it even appeared that they preferred one brand of beer over another!)

So, what could this be all about?   Are we speaking of descendants of the cows of St. Brigid herself?  And such peculiar timing that I would see this in the news on the night I had just been working on St. Brigid!  Seems to me, it could fall in the category of a possible “Hi from our good Brigid in Heaven!”

“…One of the traditional rituals in Ireland to celebrate the beginning of early spring, February 1st (the Feast of St. Brigid) is making a St. Brigid’s Cross (made of rushes woven together).                                                                                      (www.saintbridget.com)

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The beautiful St. Brigid’s Cross

(courtesy of Betsey Towne)

Just to finish with a last fun thought about our Brigid…I felt the need to look into this “beer-drinking cows” situation and found that they were a certain type of cow called belted galloways.  So…I looked for some Irish connection, and found that this type of cow is, indeed, raised in Ireland, and there are herds all over the country…and one of the most notable herds lives in…Co. Kildare!  Yup, just like our Brigid! And…here is a portion of a pic that was generously provided to me by the policeman who took it!

0205161422-1aHere are 2 of the six party-ing cows enjoying the beer remnant!

God bless you and thank you for visiting Finney and me!

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*Peig Sayers – An Old Woman’s Reflections