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"People will not look forward to posterity who never look backward to their ancestors."
-Edmund Burke

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Garden Gate
Fáilte
Welcome to Irish Culture and Customs, a labor of love we began several years ago. What started as a surprise milestone birthday trip to Ireland became the beginning of a journey through time. A 2,000-year voyage on a quest to learn as much as we can about everything Irish. So here's where we are so far - more than 700 pages that range from Irish poetry, superstitions , Kids Stories and recipes to specific Irish calendar celebrations such as St. Patrick's Day , Beltane, Samhain and the Feast of St. Brigid. Whether it's an Irish symbol such as the shillelagh, the Shamrock and the Book of Kells or an Irish craft like Aran Isle knitting, you'll discover a wide range of topics in our index. We hope you find the little bit of Ireland you may be looking for and we encourage you to share what you discover with your loved ones on your family website, blog, or social network.




Easter Monday Mirth & Merriment at the Market
by Bridget Haggerty

Long ago, the day after Easter was one that Irish people eagerly looked forward to. Not only was it a favorite day for buying and selling livestock and merchandise at fairs and markets, it was also a time for enjoying sports, games, sideshows, dancing, eating, drinking, gambling, and perhaps, even some fisticuffs!

For many years, Easter Monday was also a holy day of obligation in the Roman Catholic Church. That meant one had to go to Mass and abstain from work. All well and good, except that the riotous behavior which often followed during the day and well into the evening didn’t sit well with the clergy. in 1828, the Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, Dr. John Doyle, prevailed upon other bishops to petition the Pope to make Easter Monday an ordinary working day. The intention was to disassociate the Church from what was perceived as unseemly fun at the fair! The Pope granted the petition, so that from 1829, Easter Monday was no longer a holy day.

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Easter Sunday: The dance of the Sun at dawn and a cake dance in the afternoon
by Bridget Haggerty

Long ago, the people of Ireland shared a common pious belief with many countries in Europe: when the sun rises on Easter Sunday morning, it dances with joy that the Saviour has risen.
Customarily, families would get up before dawn and make their way to a hill top or other elevated location. Most likely it would have been a place where there was a special holy well. There, they would wait to see the sun do a jig, as it rose above the rim of the earth. For those not wishing to risk damaging their eyesight by looking directly into the brightness, they would look at its reflection in a tub of water. Of course, someone would craftily agitate the vessel and the miracle would be manifest!

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Good Friday Haircuts and Seaweed for Dinner
by Bridget Haggerty

The name Good Friday is generally believed to be a corruption of God's Friday. In Ireland, since the days of the early church, it has always been dedicated to penance, fasting, and prayer. As might be expected, it was the severest day of Lenten austerity. Most people went beyond even the black fast prescribed by the church. They ate nothing at all until midday and even then, all they took was three mouthfuls of bread and three sips of water - three being in honor of the Holy Trinity.

Little or no work was done on the land, except for the planting of a small quantity of grain or potatoes to invoke a blessing on the crops. The rest of the time was spent making sure the house, yard and out-buildings were clean and tidy.

Within the house, the women and girls loosened their hair and allowed it to hang down as a symbol of mourning. They, and the children, would also go barefoot throughout the day. The men and boys trimmed their finger and toenails and also cut their hair. According to superstition, a haircut on Good Friday would prevent headaches during the coming year.

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Easter Saturday and a Funeral for a Fish
by Bridget Haggerty

Pity the poor butchers in old Ireland during the Lenten season. Not one good Christian soul would buy their beef, or any other kind of meat. The main source of protein for the long days of fasting was herring, because it was cheap and plentiful. But, after eating it so often, people were delighted to see the back of it. So much so, they celebrated with a mock funeral on Easter Saturday.

In towns and villages all over Ireland, it was primarily the butchers who planned what was called the Herring Procession. In Dundalk, Co. Louth, a herring was hung on a long stick; then, it was paraded through the town. Following behind were all of the people who had suffered economic loss - the butchers, the workers in the slaughterhouses, the porters and the errand boys.

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Palm Sunday in old Ireland
by Bridget Haggerty

Irish speakers once referred to Palm Sunday as Domhnach an Iúir - Yew Sunday. That's because the "palm" was most often a sprig from the yew tree or some other conifer such as a silver fir, spruce or cypress. In County Fermanagh, early on every Palm Sunday morning, a Protestant cut down sprigs of yew and placed them on his garden wall.

In the old days, families brought their own fronds of "palm" to the church to be blessed. While he didn't have a Palm Sunday ceremony in his own church, it's on record that this very considerate Protestant soul offered palms to his less than fortunate Catholic neighbors on their way to chapel.

It was expected that every member of a family would be present at Mass to receive a blessed palm in commemoration of Christ's entry into Jerusalem. After Mass, the men and boys broke off a sprig and wore it all day in their hat or lapel. Often, it was worn for much longer.

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The Irish Kitchen: An Irish Easter

In old Ireland, Easter Sunday was a day of great celebration, not the least of which was the blessed relief from the abstinence of meat for nearly two months. Here, you can take your pick from lamb or ham. Following the main dish recipes is a perfect vegetable accompaniment to any spring-time dinner menu. And for "afters" - the Irish word for dessert - our resident Irish recipe collectors and contributors offer a delightful suggestion.

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Basic Irish: Lent & Easter
This lesson features words and phrases related to giving up favorite foods like chocolate for Lent. Is
Easter imminent? Our lesson covers appropriate words and phrases from Palm Sunday to Easter Monday.

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Kids' Ireland: How the Harp Came to Be
by Grainne Rowland

"Why are you still at the table?" asked Macha impatiently.

"Wife, I just sat down to my lunch five minutes ago. I've been in the fields all day!" replied Cathal.

"Well, get you back out to the fields. You still have work to do. Take your bread and cheese with you," grumped Macha.

"Let me get a drink of buttermilk first. It's hot outside," Cathal said.

"Don't drink it all. It needs to last for a while."

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A link to the internet service from Midwest Radio out of Mayo. Broadcasting from their state of the art studios; Midwest Irish Radio plays nothing but the best Irish music. No matter where you are in the world, you are never too far from Ireland when you listen in.
Click here for: .


Shop for the best of Irish products from the comfort of your home

We combed the internet to find reliable resources for the most popular Irish products: Aran Isle sweaters, Guinness glasses, Waterford Crystal, genuine blackthorn walking sticks, the flag of the Republic and more. Some of these shops have become friends; others we trust from their reputations and some offer products that are completely unique. We hope you enjoy browsing through what's on offer and we are confident you will find gifts for any occasion or person, all with an Irish flair.



Authentic Irish clothing from

 

Tue, Apr 14, 2020

The Easter Lily Pin

Symbolic of the emergence and resurrection of a free Ireland, Cumann na mBan (the League of Women) led by Constance Markievicz, popularized the wearing of the Easter Lily pin in 1926 in remembrance for those who gave their lives for the cause of Irish independence during the 1916 Easter Rising. In later years, wearing the pin began to fall out of favor as it became associated more with the IRA than with a symbol of rememberance. However, there is now renewed interest in restoring the wearing of the pin to its original status as a mark of respect and in memory of the many young men and women who died during the rebellion.
If you would like to purchase a Lily Pin, please click .


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A Sunday Blessing


Easter Sunday Blessing

At the breaking of the Easter dawn
may the Risen Saviour bless your home
with grace and peace from above,
with joy and laughter, and with love
And when night is nigh, and day is done
Make He keep you safe from all harm.
Photo Credit:

Weekly Quote

“The shot Irishmen will now take their places beside Emmet and the Manchester Martyrs in Ireland, and beside the heroes of Poland and Sérbia and Belgium in Europe; and nothing in heaven or earth can prevent it.
George Bernard Shaw in a letter to the ‘Daily News’, May 1916



The Book
Potion, Pope and Perfidy

This is my novel. It is largely, but not completely Irish. The detective is Irish. The book was created by an Irish monk and a great deal of the story is in Ireland. I think you'll enjoy it.
DO NOT order through the marketplace. If you do you'll get the first version, which is incomplete. It's available on Amazon .



This is the collection of our Jokes. It was built up over many years and, now, is gathered here for your enjoyment. With this in your hand, whenever the day is dull or dreary you can open it up and have a good laugh, you'll feel better.



...a quiet little movie that sneaks up on the viewer and warms the heart like a smooth sip of Irish whisky. A total treasure from beginning to end, the simple sweet gift of musical beauty delivered by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova brings tears to the eyes and joy to tired ears. Adpted from amazon reviews.
Click here for .




I loved this film for many reasons, not the least being that I have experienced Lisdoonvarna, County Clare (a real Irish town) during their annual September Matchmaking Festival! It's visually lovely, and reminded me not only of days walking the greenroads of Clare, but of nights out with my mates in the pubs while I was there as an exchange student. My opinion of this film can be summed up in one word - BRILLIANT! Amazon review
Click here for .


 
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March 4, 2011
   
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