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Friday, September 10, 2010

A Bit of Irish History - Part 2

Around 8,000 B.C. the first people arrived in what is Ireland.  They probably crossed a land bridge from Europe to the Emerald Isle.  Archaeologists continue to study these people today.  Let's just say that life was all about survival back then.  There are those Neolithic sites such as Newgrange that have mounds at the location.  The mounds have been studied.  Some of them appear to be tombs but could have stored food and supplies at a later point in time.  In addition, they may have been used to hide from invaders. Newgrange aligns with the rising sun on winter solstice which may have some religious significance for the time.

By the year 600, St. Patrick and other Christian missionaries had successfully spread Christianity to the area which replaced the Celtic religion.  The Celtic religion is considered to be a pagen religion.  Little information is known about it because there are no written records.  St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland.  He is supposedly buried in County Down at the Down Cathedral in Downpatrick.

I am sure that there is more to the ancient history of Ireland.  There's folklore, legends, and stories that have been handed down over the thousands of years.  Where else would the legend of the Leprechaun come from.  They have been linked to Tuatha De Danann of Irish mythology.  Leprechauns make shoes, store their gold coins in a hidden pot of gold, and, of course, that pot is at the end of the rainbow.  If a human captures a Leprechaun, they get three wishes.  Also, Leprechauns look like old men but are childsize.  These are such fun stories that expand the imigination.  It is fun to read about them.

Apparently, Celtic music is a misnomer.  It is a commerical name to describe the folk music found in the Celtic areas of Western Europe.  The fact is that no one really knows what the Celts' music was like.  It remains a mystery even today.  I suppose record companies will continue to sell the music under the Celtic name.

To be continued................

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