St. Patrick

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St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner so I thought it would be nice to learn a bit about St. Patrick…

St. Patrick of Ireland is one of the world’s most popular saints. He was an apostle of Ireland and born at Kilpatrick, which is near Dumbarton, in Scotland, in the year 385. He died at Saul, Downpatrick, Ireland on March 17, 461.

The Story of St. Patrick
Patrick was born in the year 385, probably in Kilpatrick, Scotland. His parents were Calpurnius and Conchessa, Romans living in Britain because they were in charge of the colonies. As a boy of fourteen or so, Patrick was captured during a raiding party and taken to Ireland as a slave to tend and herd sheep. Ireland at this time was a land of pagans and druids. He learned the language and practices of the people who held him. During his captivity he turned to God in prayer. He wrote,
“The love of God and his fear grew in me more and more, as did faith, and my soul rose, so that, in a single day, I have said as many as a hundred prayers, and in the night, nearly the same. I prayed in the woods and in the mountain, even before dawn. I felt no hurt from the snow or ice or rain.”
Patrick’s captivity lasted until he was about twenty, when he escaped after having a dream from God in which he was told to leave Ireland by going to the coast. There he found some sailors who took him off to Britain, where he was reuinited with his family. He had another dream in which the people of Ireland were calling out to him, “We beg you, holy youth, to come and walk among us once more!”
He began his studies for priesthood. He was ordained by St. Germanus, Bishop of Auxerre, whom he had studied under for years. Later, Patrick was ordained a bishop, and was sent to take the Gospel to Ireland. He arrived in Ireland March 25, 433, at Slane. One legend says that he met a Chieftain of one of the tribes, who tried to kill Patrick.
Patrick converted Dichu (the Chieftain) after he was unable to move his arm until he became friendly to Patrick. Patrick began preaching the Gospel throughout Ireland, converting many. He and his disciples preached and converted thousands and began building churches all over the country. Kings, their families, and entire kingdoms converted to Christianity when hearing Patrick’s message.
Patrick by now had many disciples, among them Beningnus, Auxilius, Iserninus, and Fiaac. Patrick preached and converted all of Ireland for 40 years. He worked many miracles and wrote of his love for God in Confessions. After years of living in poverty, traveling and enduring much suffering, he died March 17, 461. He died at Saul, where he had built the first church.

Shamrock

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Long ago when Ireland was a land of druids, a Christian bishop known to us now as St. Patrick came to teach the word of God. Although the origins of the shamrock are lost in antiquity, the legend suggests that St. Patrick plucked a shamrock from Irish soil to demonstrate the meaning of the Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. The plant was reptued to have mystic powers in that its petals will stand upright to warn of an approaching storm. The shamrock remains Ireland’s most famous symbol. The shamrock is also commonly associated with the symbol of luck. In studying Celtic history, scholars have discovered that the shamrock was a charm to ward away evil.

Tara Brooch

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The Irish tradition of metalworking goes back to 3000 years to the Bronze Age. The Tara brooch is considered to be one of the finest examples of ancient Irish metalworking craftsmanship. It is a “ring brooch” dating back tothe later 7th or early 8th century. Despite its name, it does not have any historical attachment to Tara. Rather, it was found in 1850 in Bettystown in County Meath and later acquired by a jeweler who named it the “Tara Brooch”. It is exquisitely made in silver and gilt. The seven-inch long brooch was embellished with Celtic knotwork on both front and back. The Tara Brooch was not meant to be a brooch to hold clothing but to be decorative. Brooches contained neither Christian or Pagan religious motifs and were made for wealthy patrons who wanted a personal expression of status. Each brooch was made unique and individualized for each patron. The brooch is now on permanent display in the National Museum of Ireland in Dublin.

Ireland’s Official Color

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Well as St. Patrick’s Day is getting closer a common misconception has come to mind: Ireland’s offical color. Usually, you wear green on St. Patrick’s day to represent Ireland, however St. Patrick’s flag was blue, as is Ireland’s official color. Here’s a nice little fun fact and a small idea:  my sister and I are wearing blue on St. Patrick’s day instead of green, are you?

The Nine Glens of Antrim

The Coast Road begins at Larne as you drive north through the Glens of Antrim to the Giant’s Causeway. You can enjoy some of the most beautiful scenery imaginable. The Glens of Antrim, a land of folklore and fairies, are famous in legend and song, with each of the nine Glens having their own distinct character and charm.

Glenarm
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– Gleann Arma, Glen of the Army
Glenarm Forest Park and Glenarm Castle with it’s walled Gardens make Glenarm a wonderful place to visit. The castle is only open to visitors a few days each year, but the forest park and walled gardens are open all year round.

Glencloy
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– Gleann Cloiche, Glen of the Hedges
Glencloy meets the sea at the pretty harbour town of Carnlough, and here you’ll find another beautiful beach. There are views of Slemish mountain from the glen, where it’s said that St. Patrick spent the early part of his live in slavery, herding sheep until he escaped to Wales.

Glenariff
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– Gleann Aireamh, Arable or Fertile Glen
The best-known of the nine, known as the “Queen of the Glens”. A classic example of a U shaped glacier valley, and also a perfect example of a glen divid into ladder farms, (with each farm taking some good land near the river, and some mountain land higher up the valley. The glen meets the sea at Waterfoot and the beautiful beach there. At the top of the glen the picturesque waterfalls and forest walks are an absolute must see.

Glenann
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– Gleann Athain, Glen of the Colt’s Foot or Rush Lights
The most famous spot is Ossian’s grave, and there’s also the bleak but beautiful Cushendall-Ballymoney mountain road.

Glencorp
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– Gleann Corp, Glen of the Slaughtered
A fierce battle was fought in the area of the middle glens (Glen Ballyeammon to Glendun) in 1559 between the McDonnells and the MacQuillans. The MacQuillans had cavalry, but before the battle the McDonnells dug pits in the boggy land and covered them with heather and grass. The mounted soldiers fell in to the trap and so the McDonnells won the Battle of the Boglands.

Glendun
Glendun
– Gleann Abhann Duinne, Glen of the Brown River
A beautiful glen leading to the white sandy beach at Cushendun, there’s a beatiful riverside / forest walk through the glen, and many points of interest. Nearby at Torr head is the closest point in Ireland to Scotland and Cushendun was formerly an important port. The town used to have the smallest pub in the world, but they extended it.

Glenshesk
Glenshesk
– Gleann Seisce, Glen of Reeds or Sedges
On the other side of Knocklayde from Glentaisie, this glen also leads down to Ballycastle and just before the town lie the ruins of the Franciscan Friary of Bunamargy, built for the friars by the local chieftain, Rory MacQuillan in 1485. As a result of a few fierce battles it became the property of the MacDonnell Clan who had no qualms about setting fire to the friary when it was occupied by the English forces under the command of Sir William Stanley in 1584. Throughout the glen there are many standing stones marking the burial places of saintly men and women and clan leaders killed in battle. A castle in Drumenia is called after Goban Saoer, celebrated in local folklore as the icon of builders and artisans.

Glentaisie
Glentaisie
– Gleann Taise, Princess Taisie’s Glen, (Princess of Rathlin Island)
A beautiful sheltered lying in the shadow of Knocklayde mountain. Leads down to the mile long golden beach at the beautiful historic town of Ballycastle.

Glenballyeamon
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– Gleann Baile Éamainn, The Glen of Edwardstown
Leads down to Cushendall and at the centre of the nine glens. There’s also the site of an ancient axe factory on Tievebulliagh mountain. The mountain was formed from a volcanic plug, the intense heat generated by molten basalt has given rise to the formation of a durable flint, porcellanite, which is found at the foot of the eastern scree slope of the mountain. An array of Neolithic artifacts, including bracelets, axe heads, chisels, and polishing tools. Flint axe heads fashioned from porcellanite that originate from this quarry have been found across the British Isles, from the Outer Hebrides to the south coast of England and across the rest of Ireland. The scenery of the glen includes Trostan, the highest mountain in Antrim, boggy mountain tops, gently sloped hills, rushing waterfalls, pasture land, forests and the winding GlenBallyeamon river. Dominating the Glen is the long Lurigedan mountain, which takes a couple of hours to climb, but is well worth the effort. There are beautiful views of Scotland and the Scottish Isles.

Irish Stoat

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The stoat is one of the fiercest predators and is active by day and by night; it relentlessly tracks its prey by scent, and apparently it licks the blood off its prey’s fur leading to the old wives tale that it sucks blood. The victim is killed by pouncing on it and biting deeply into the back of the neck near the base of the skull. It was virtually driven to extinction in the 1950s when myxomatosis was introduced, as rabbits are its main source of prey. It was only the fact that stoats eat many other types of prey, even insects, that it was able to survive. A stoat’s hunting ground is usually about 50 acres although it can be more if prey is scarce. Its den is a rock crevice or a disused rabbit burrow and it normally lives alone. In winter, the coat of the stoat turns white all except for the tip of its tail which is black. In Northern Scotland, the change is complete. However, in England and Ireland, the fur remains creamy with white under parts. Stoats don’t like to be out in the open and so tend to hunt along ditches, hedgerows, and walls or through meadows and marshes. They search each likely area systematically, often running in a zigzag pattern. Although protected in Eire, they are not protected in the rest of the United Kingdom. They eyes of the young or kittens do not open until they are about a month old and they are covered in fine white fur with it being thicker at the scruff of the neck so that the mother can carry them without her teeth penetrating the skin.

Irish Pie

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Time: 1 hr, 30 minutes

Ingredients:
– 3 cups cubed cooked chicken
– 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
– 1 teaspoon garlic salt
– 2 cups seasoned stuffing croutons
– 1 pound bulk pork sausage, cooked and drained
– 2 cups peeled cooked diced potatoes
– 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
– 3 eggs
– 1-1 1/2 cups milk

In greased 3-qt baking dish, layer the first seven ingredients in the order given. Whisk eggs and milk; pour over cheese. Cover and bake at 325° for 55 minutes or until a thermometer reaches 160°. Uncover; bake 10 minutes longer or until lightly browned. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.