Archive for the ‘The Irish’ Category

The Flintstone Leprechauns

Monday, March 14th, 2011

The term “Celtic” is often seen as synonymous with Irish, but the Celts were not really Irish. Not originally, at least. The original Irish people were a Stone Age culture that thrived (okay, no one knows if they did that well, but at least they existed) on the island nearly as far back as 9000 B.C. This Mesolithic culture was replaced by a “New Stone Age” culture around 3000 B.C. I’m wondering if these guys were like a cross between the Flintstones and the Lucky Charms leprechaun, the modern stone age family with funny accents. Anyway, the people of this Neolithic culture created elaborate stone burial mounds such as Newgrange, built about 500 years before the pyramids. This and similar burial mounds are aligned with the rising sun on the winter solstice. (more…)

The Coffin Ships

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

Continuing with my March series about all things Irish – here’s where the luck of the Irish runs out:  the coffin ships.

I’ve always been of the opinion that the Irish and English are not nearly as different as they believe themselves to be. And I’m not sure how much of the suffering from the potato famine can legitimately be blamed on the English. But there are a few instances where that blame seems pretty clear, and one instance is the coffin ships. (more…)

Green Beer

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

This month, in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, I’m going to write about Irish things, or more accurately, Irish-American things since the holiday is really an American one. Regardless of the celebration’s origins as an Irish Catholic day of prayer, it is now a day when Americans come out to celebrate being Irish or at least pretending to have the capacity to drink mythic quantities of green beer. And the Irish, well, they come out to watch the Americans. Even in for St. Patrick's Day (more…)