What the History of Ireland ,St.Patrick Food Wedding and The Claddagh History and the meaning .

If you rattle off one quote per beer, this entire post should get you through the night:

1. If you’re enough lucky to be Irish, you’re lucky enough! –Irish saying

2. Many an opportunity is lost because a man is out looking for four-leaf clovers. –Unknown

3. Here’s to a long life and a merry one.
A quick death and an easy one
A pretty girl and an honest one
A cold beer – and another one!
— St. Patrick’s Day Toast

4. It is better to spend money like there’s no tomorrow than to spend tonight like there’s no money! –Irish toast

5. An Irishman is never drunk as long as he can hold onto one blade of grass to keep from falling off the earth. –Irish saying

6. There are only two kinds of people in the world, The Irish and those who wish they were. –Irish saying

7. Irish diplomacy is the ability to tell a man to go to hell so that he looks forward to making the trip. –Irish saying

8. An Irishman has an abiding sense of tragedy which sustains him through temporary periods of joy. –Irish saying

If you rattle off one quote per beer, this entire post should get you through the night:

1. If you’re enough lucky to be Irish, you’re lucky enough! –Irish saying

2. Many an opportunity is lost because a man is out looking for four-leaf clovers. –Unknown

3. Here’s to a long life and a merry one.
A quick death and an easy one
A pretty girl and an honest one
A cold beer – and another one!
— St. Patrick’s Day Toast

4. It is better to spend money like there’s no tomorrow than to spend tonight like there’s no money! –Irish toast

5. An Irishman is never drunk as long as he can hold onto one blade of grass to keep from falling off the earth. –Irish saying

6. There are only two kinds of people in the world, The Irish and those who wish they were. –Irish saying

7. Irish diplomacy is the ability to tell a man to go to hell so that he looks forward to making the trip. –Irish saying

8. An Irishman has an abiding sense of tragedy which sustains him through temporary periods of joy. –Irish saying

And may you be in heaven half an hour before the devil knows you’re dead.
—Irish prayer

19. May you never forget what is worth remembering or remember what is best forgotten. –Irish blessing

20. In Heaven there is no beer that’s why we drink it here! –Irish saying

21. May God bless and keep in good health your enemies’ enemies. –Irish blessing

22. May the saddest day of your future be no worse than the happiest day of your past. –Irish saying

23. Here’s to you and yours and to mine and ours. And if mine and ours ever come across to you and yours, I hope you and yours will do as much for mine and ours as mine and ours have done for you and yours! –Irish toast

24. May you live as long as you want and never want as long as you live. –Irish saying

25. Drink is the curse of the land. It makes you fight with your neighbor. It makes you shoot at your landlord-and it makes you miss him. –Irish saying

Irish Wedding Customs, Superstitions, and Lucky Traditions

Lucky Wedding Months And Days

When it comes to picking the wedding date, the Irish bride and groom have plenty of superstitions to guide their choice. First there is the month, which is ruled by this old rhyme:

Marry when the year is new,
Always loving, kind and true.

When February birds do mate,
You may wed, nor dread your fate.

If you wed when March winds blow,
Joy and sorrow both you’ll know.

Marry in April when you can,
Joy for maiden and for man.

Marry in the month of May,
You will surely rue the day.

Marry when June roses blow,
Over land and sea you’ll go.

They who in July do wed,
Must labor always for their bread.

Whoever wed in August be,
Many a change are sure to see.

Marry in September’s shine,
Your living will be rich and fine.

If in October you do marry,
Love will come but riches tarry.

If you wed in bleak November,
Only joy will come, remember.

When December’s showers fall fast,
Marry and true love will last.

What about choosing the ideal day of the week for an Irish wedding? Surprisingly, the most popular days for modern weddings are among the least auspicious, according to this proverb:

Monday for health,
Tuesday for wealth,
Wednesday the best day of all,
Thursday for losses,
Friday for crosses,
Saturday is no day at all.

Claddagh Rings, Tara Brooches, And Lucky Earrings

If the woman accepts the proposal, she might wear the traditional Claddagh ring, an ancient Irish symbol. The Claddagh design consists of three key elements: a heart for love, a pair of hands for friendship, and a crown for loyalty. The motto of the symbol is “Let love and friendship reign”, surely a fine sentiment for any marriage. As an engagement ring, the Claddagh is worn with the crown pointing inwards towards the wrist. Once the couple is married, it is used as a wedding ring by turning it around so the crown is oriented to point at the bride’s fingertips. Irish husbands and wives wear their wedding rings on the ring finger of their left hands.

 

Don’t Forget The Lucky Wedding Colors

One of the first steps in planning any wedding is to determine the color palette. The color green, of course, is widely thought of as the signature color of the Emerald Isle, yet for weddings, it is not traditionally the best color to use. Blue is the most traditional Irish wedding color, as it has signified purity and fidelity since Biblical times. In fact, several hundred years ago, the Irish flag was not the green, orange, and white stripes with which we are familiar, but a golden harp on a blue background. This rhyme spells out the traditional customs about wedding colors:

Marry in white everything’s right
Marry in blue lover be true
Marry in pink spirit’s will sink
Marry in gray live far away
Marry in brown live out of town
Marry in green ashamed to be seen
Marry in yellow ashamed of your fellow
Marry in black wish you were back
Marry in red wish you were dead
Marry in tan he’ll be a loved man
Marry in pearl you’ll live in a whirl

Fairies are drawn to beautiful things, especially lovely Irish brides.
Fairies are drawn to beautiful things, especially lovely Irish brides.

Beware The Fairies!

The other reason why a superstitious Irish bride may wish to avoid green is because it is thought to lure the fairies who are constantly trying to lure the bride away. Fairies, you ask? It turns out that a large number of Irish wedding rituals are based upon the ancient belief that fairies are drawn to beautiful things and wish to collect them. Few things are lovelier than a radiant bride, which is why the fairies are particularly attracted to brides, and why many precautions are taken to keep her from their clutches. Although the fairies are a special part of Irish folklore, a great many wedding customs around the world are based on ancient beliefs that evil spirits are drawn to brides. What else should the bride and groom do to keep those mischievous fairies at bay? When dancing at the reception, the bride should take care to always keep one foot on the ground. If she has both feet I the air simultaneously, those darn fairies might just spirit her away. The smart bride kicks up her heels one at a time!

HANDFASTING – TYING THE KNOT Image result for Irish Wedding Customs

Handfasting is an ancient Celtic tradition that involved tying the hands of the betrothed together well in advance of their actual wedding day. It is similar to an engagement, a time when both parties decide if they really wish to commit. In Modern times the tradition occurs on the actual wedding day although in centuries past the ceremony acted as a kind of temporary marriage.

Handfasting was actually a legitimate way for people to be married during the Middle Ages and only declined when laws were enforced making the act of marriage much more formal. Ireland was ruled by ‘Brehon law’ and handfasting was duly recognised as a proper form of marriage.

This tradition is well recorded in Ireland and especially at Teltown in County Meath. The Irish historian John O’Donovan (1806-1861) wrote of the ‘Teltown Marriages’:

A number of young men went into the hollow to the north side of the wall, and an equal number of marriageable young women to the south side of the wall which was so high as to prevent them from seeing the men; one of the women put her hand thro’ the hole in the gate and a man took hold of it from the other side, being guided in his choice only by the appearance of the hand. The two were thus joined hands by blind chance were obliged to live together for a year and a day, at the expiration of which time they appeared at the Rath of Telton and if they were not satisfied with each other they obtained a deed of separation, and were entitled to go to Laganeeny again to try their good fortune for the ensuing year.

In the Pagan and Wiccan traditions the handfasting ceremony may involve an arrangement of rocks, candles, crystals, a robe or ribbon, a broomstick, marriage documents, a silver box and other symbolic items. 

THE LUCKY HORSESHOE Image result for THE LUCKY HORSESHOE

The tradition of a horseshoe is well known throughout the world and so it is in Ireland. By placing the horseshoe upright over a door or in a room the ‘luck of the house’ was kept intact. The Greeks associated the horseshoe with the crescent moon and its symbolism of fertility. The tradition was popular throughout Ireland and England too with the readily available horseshoe being carried by the Bride as she walked down the aisle. It was then affixed securely by the Groom in the matrimonial home. Today, glass and ceramic horseshoes are symbolically used at Irish wedding ceremonies.

THE WEDDING TOAST

There are many old sayings, Blessings and Toasts that are used at a traditional Irish wedding. Here are three of our favourites:

Friends and relatives, so fond and dear,
’tis our greatest pleasure to have you here.
When many years this day has passed,
fondest memories will always last.
So we drink a cup of Irish mead and ask
God’s blessing in your hour of need.’

Guests response:
‘On this special day,
our wish to you,
the goodness of the old,
the best of the new.
God bless you both who drink this mead,
may it always fill your every need.’

————————–

May your mornings bring joy and your evenings bring peace.
May your troubles grow few as your blessings increase.
May the saddest day of your future
Be no worse than the happiest day of your past.
May your hands be forever clasped in friendship
And your hearts joined forever in love.
Your lives are very special,
God has touched you in many ways.
May his blessings rest upon you
And fill all your coming days.

————————–

May the road rise to meet you
May the wind be always at your back
May the sun shine warm upon your face
and the rain fall soft upon your fields
And until we meet again my friend
May God hold you in the palm of his hand

FLOWERS

It was customary to decorate the house that the wedding celebration was held in with locally grown flowers and plants. These would vary according to the time of the year that the wedding was held. Some plants have become associated with Ireland, not least the now readily available ‘Bells of Ireland’, used in modern times for its symbolism. A Celtic tradition in Wales involves the plant Myrtle which is presented by the Bride to the Brides-maids who then plant it in their gardens. If the plant grew then the Brides-maid would be married before the year is out!

Irish Wedding Poems

The Lark in The Clear Air

Traditional

Dear thoughts are in my mind
And my soul soars enchanted,
As I hear the sweet lark sing
In the clear air of the day.
For a tender beaming smile
To my hope has been granted,
And tomorrow she shall hear
All my fond heart would say.

 

I shall tell her all my love,
All my soul’s adoration,
And I think she will hear
And will not say me nay.
It is this that gives my soul
All its joyous elation,
As I hear the sweet lark sing
In the clear air of the day.

He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven

by W.B. Yeats

Had I the heaven’s embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams

Had I a Golden Pound

by Francis Ledwidge

Had I a golden pound to spend.
My love should mend and sew no more.
And i would buy her a little quern*,
Easy to turn at the kitchen floor

And for her wondrous curtains white,
With birds in flight and flowers in bloom,
To face with pride the road to town,
And mellow down her sunlit room

And with the sliver change we’d prove
The truth of Love to life’s own end,
With hearts the year could but embolden,
Had I a golden pound to spend.

* A quern is a little hand mill for grinding corn

Oh, Call it by Some Better Name

by Thomas Moore

Oh, call it by some better name,
For Friendship sounds too cold,
While Love is now a worldly flame,
Whose shrine must be of gold:
And Passion, like the sun at noon,
That burns o’er all he sees,
Awhile as warm will set as soon–
Then call it none of these.

Imagine something purer far,
More free from stain of clay
Than Friendship, Love, or Passion are,
Yet human, still as they:
And if thy lip, for love like this,
No mortal word can frame,
Go, ask of angels what it is,
And call it by that name!

She Moved Through The Fair

Traditional

(This Irish wedding poem is also
a popular and traditional wedding song)

My young love said to me,
My mother won’t mind
And my father won’t slight you
For your lack of kine.
And she laid her hand on me
And this she did say:
It will not be long, Love,
Till our wedding day.

 

As she stepped away from me
And she moved through the fair
And fondly I watched her
Move here and move there.
And then she made her way homeward,
With one star awake,
As the swan in the evening
Moved over the lake.

The people were saying,
No two e’er were wed
But one had a sorrow
That never was said.
And I smiled as she passed
With her goods and her gear,
And that was the last
That I saw of my dear.

Last night she came to me,
My dead love came in.
So softly she came
That her feet made no din.
As she laid her hand on me,
And this she did say:
It will not be long, love,
‘Til our wedding day.

Beloved

Another beautiful Irish wedding poem by Francis Ledwidge

Nothing but sweet music wakes
My Beloved, my Beloved.
Sleeping by the blue lakes,
My own Beloved!

Song of lark and song of thrush,
My Beloved! my Beloved!
Sing in morning’s rosy bush,
My own Beloved!

When your eyes dawn blue and clear,
My Beloved! my Beloved!
You will find me waiting here,
My own Beloved!

My Lagan Love

Traditional

Where Lagan streams sing lullaby,
There blows a lily fair.
The twilight gleam is in her eye,
The night is on her hair
And like a love-sick lenashee
She hath my soul in thrall.
No life have I, no liberty,
For love is lord of all.

And often when the beetle’s horn
Has lulled the eye to sleep,
I slip into her shieling lorn
And through the doorway creep.
There on the cricket’s singing stone
She makes the bogwood fire.
Then comes that soft sweet undertone,
The song of heart’s desire.

Her welcome, like her love for me,
Is from her heart within:
Her warm kiss is felicity
That knows no taint of sin.
And, when I stir my foot to go,
‘Tis leaving Love and light
To feel the wind of longing blow
From out the dark of night.

Dear Dark Head

Translated by Sir Samuel Ferguson

Put your head, darling, darling, darling,
Your darling black head my heart above;
Oh, mouth of honey, with the thyme for fragrance,
Who with heart in breast could deny you love?

Oh, many and many a young girl for me is pining,
Letting her locks of gold to the cold wind free,
For me, the foremost of our gay young fellows;
But I’d leave a hundred, pure love, for thee!

Then put your head, darling, darling, darling,
Your darling black head my heart above; 10
Oh, mouth of honey, with the thyme for fragrance,
Who, with heart in breast, could deny you love?

Do You Remember that Night?

Translated by Eugene O’ Curry

Do you remember that night
That you were at the window,
With neither hat nor gloves,
Nor coat to shelter you;
I reached out my hand to you,
And you ardently grasped it,
And I remained in converse with you
Until the lark began to sing?

Do you remember that night
That you and I were
At the foot of the rowan tree,
And the night drifting snow;
Your head on my breast,
And your pipe sweetly playing?
I little thought that night
Our ties of love would ever loosen.

O beloved of my inmost heart,
Come some night, and soon,
When my people are at rest,
That we may talk together;
My arms shall encircle you,
While I relate my sad tale
That it is your pleasant, soft converse
That has deprived me of heaven.

The fire is unraked,
The light extinguished,
The key under the door,
And do you softly draw it.
My mother is asleep,
And I am quite awake;
My fortune is in my hand,
And I am ready to go with you.

The Heart of the Wood

This old  anonymous poem translated from Gaelic is another beautiful Irish wedding poem

My hope and my love,
we will go for a while into the wood,
scattering the dew,
where we will see the trout,
we will see the blackbird on its nest;
the deer and the buck calling,
the little bird that is sweetest singing on the branches;
the cuckoo on the top of the fresh green;
and death will never come near us for ever in the sweet wood.

No Sickness Worse than Love

Anonymous 
This 15/16th old Gaelic poem makes a very intimate Irish wedding poem.

No sickness worse than secret love
It’s long, alas, since I pondered that
No more delay; I now confess
my secret love, so slight and slim

I gave a love that I can’t conceal
to her hooded hair, her shy intent
her narrow brows, her blue-green eyes
her even teeth and aspect soft

I gave as well – and so declare-
my soul’s love to her soft throat
her lovely voice, delicious lips
snowy bosom, pointed breast

And may not overlook, alas,
my cloud-hid love for her body bright
her trim straight foot, her slender sole,
her languid laugh, her timid hand

Allow there was never known before
such a love as mine for her
there lives not, never did, nor will,
one who more gravely stole my love

Do not torment me, lady
Let our purposes agree
You are my spouse on this Fair Plain
so let us embrace

Wedding Traditions and Meanings

In this global world we live in, different cultures are everywhere around us, and we see some of these differences in weddings. Each country and culture has their own traditions that they follow when it comes to weddings. We have decided to showcase three  wedding traditions that make up the beauty of some of the cultures around us. This month we look at Irish wedding traditions.

How the Irish Wed

1. The Ring

In a U.S. wedding, the ring is simply called a wedding ring. With an Irish wedding, the ring is called a Claddagh ring. This ring is a heart that is held by two hands. On top of the heart is a crown, which symbolizes honor. The two hands represent faith, and the heart represents love between the two people. There are many different types of American wedding rings. In both countries, when the wedding ring is worn on the left hand that means they are married.

2. Traditions

The place that people are married in America varies. Some people choose to be married in a church, while others may choose different venues. With an Irish wedding, the couple typically walks to the church together before they exchange their vows. As they walk to the church, people will throw rice and other items, such as pots and pans, to bless the marriage.


3. Wedding Dress

In America, most brides choose to wear a white wedding dress, which symbolizes purity. In an Irish wedding, the bride typically wears a blue wedding dress, which also symbolizes purity. Some brides in today’s time choose to wear white in Ireland.

4. Flowers

An American bride will choose a wide variety of different flowers for her bouquet. With an Irish wedding, the bride chooses English lavender, which is an ancient symbol for loyalty, love, luck and devotion. These flowers are typically mixed in with other flowers the bride chooses.

5. Hair

In an American wedding, the bride can choose to wear her hair in a variety of ways. With an Irish wedding, it is a tradition for the bride to wear her hair in a braid on her wedding day. This braid is a symbol for luck and feminine power.

6. The Honeymoon

The honeymoon in America can take place in a wide variety of different places, and is a place the groom typically chooses. In Ireland, the translation for honeymoon is mi na meala, which translates to the month of honey. Some Irish newlyweds would spend an entire month together drinking honey wine and be well secluded. They would do this in hopes the bride would become pregnant during this time.

7. Entertainment

With American weddings, the traditional wedding song is played while the bride walks down the aisle. The bride and groom typically choose music to be played during the reception. With an Irish wedding, a harpist typically plays Irish music before the wedding. Bagpipes play as the couple exits the ceremony or during the reception.

8. Wedding Cake

The wedding cake for an American wedding can be done in a variety of different ways, and is something the bride typically chooses. With an Irish wedding, the wedding cake is typically a fruitcake that is made with honey. The cake is then soaked in an Irish whiskey and frosted with a sweet glaze.

9. Wedding Gifts

With an American wedding, the bride will typically register at a certain store and list the wedding gifts that she would like to receive. In an Irish wedding, the traditional wedding gift is a bell. Chiming the bell is thought to keep evil spirits away. Some couples will actually ring the bell while they recite their vows.

10. Throwing the Bouquet

The throwing of the bouquet tradition is the same for both the U.S. and Ireland. The bride throws the bouquet to a crowd of women and whoever catches it will be married next.

Irish Theme  Song List

THE IRISH WEDDING THEME

An Irish theme wedding is a perfect way to make your wedding stick out and be memorable to all the guests attending. It additionally celebrates your heritage and Irish culture, and is a great way to start your marriage.

Albany weddings - #1 affordable DJ

CLOTHING OPTIONS FOR AN IRISH THEME WEDDING
The Harvest Knot –
Many years ago, the men of Ireland gave their brides-to-be an accessory called harvest knots which were weavings of straw. Usually, a Harvest Knot is trimmed with flowers and worn in their hair or around your neck. You can put a harvest knot also in the flower bouquet along with the lucky horseshoe to symbolize Irish pride.

Add Irish Flare – Okay. Okay. I know this sounds cheesy, but as a twist on the Horseshoe Bridal Bouquet above, some women also sew a tiny cute horseshoe onto the hem of their wedding dress for Irish weddings. Try it!  It is like bedazzling for your future good fortune! 

Adding Irish Lace –  A great way add Irish to your wedding attire is to mix in some Irish lace. Authentic Irish Lace is always loaded with intricate patterns and great quality. You can add lace to the veil to really bring the Irish out.

IRISH FOOD OPTIONS
The Dinner
– The way that the wedding guests would feast in celebration, back in old Ireland was to have a potluck meal hosted at the bride’s family’s house. Traditional Irish dishes include coddle, stew soda, Irish bread, and of course everyone loves cornbeef and cabbage.

The Wedding Cake – The Irish wedding cake is typically a heavy fruit cake with white icing. Tradition says that one of the bride’s sisters or bridesmaids is actually the one to cut and serve it. But they location of the actual cut is the strangest part of this cake cutting custom. Tradition actually has the bride seated while the groomsmen held the cake over her head while her sister or best friend cut it. 

Reception Dancing – Learn and perform a real Irish jig to traditional Irish music at the reception. The actual steps of Irish folkdances are called ceilidh.

Here is a good playlist of must hear Irish songs for your wedding reception:

Andres Segovia – Henry Purcell
A 12 Year Old Irish Girl In All Of Us – Flogging Molly
A Walk in Irish Rain – Irish Descendants
Ave Maria (Schubert) – The Irish Tenors
Barrett’s Privateers – Irish Descendants
Black Velvet Band – Irish Rovers
Catch The Wind (Folk) – Irish Descendants
Come on Eileen Dexie’s – Midnight Runners
Danny Boy – The Irish Tenors
Dublin in the Rare Old Times – Three Irish Tenors
Farewell To Nova Scotia – Irish Rovers
Give Ireland Back To The Irish – Paul McCartney
Haste to The Wedding (Celtic) – The Corrs
I’ll Take You Home Again Kathleen – Three Irish Tenors
Irish Heartbeat – Van Morrison & The Chieftans
Irish Jig – Various Artists
Irish Medley – Dixie Chicks
Jump Around – House of Pain
Mother Machree – John Gary
Old Irish Blessing – Sprague Choir
Peg O My Heart – Jerry Vale
Riverdance Soundtrack – Irish Diddy
Shipping Off To Boston – Dropkick Murphies
The Biplane Evermore – Irish Rovers
The Irish Washerwoman – Celtic Bagpipes
Tim Finnegan’s Wake – Celtic Connection
Toora-Loora-Looral Three – Irish Tenors
Traditional Irish Folk Song – Dennis Leary
Unicorn – Irish Rovers
Waltzing Matilda – The Irish Rovers
Wasn’t that a party – Irish Rovers
When Irish Eyes Are Smiling – Bing Crosby
Wild Irish Rose – Country George Jones

50 Wedding Traditions and Superstitions

here are 50 wedding facts to ponder as you plan your big day:

Good Luck and Bad Luck
1. Hey, brides, tuck a sugar cube into your glove — according to Greek culture, the sugar will sweeten your union.
2. The English believe a spider found in a wedding dress means good luck. Yikes!
3. In English tradition, Wednesday is considered the “best day” to marry, although Monday is for wealth and Tuesday is for health.
4. The groom carries the bride across the threshold to bravely protect her from evil spirits lurking below.
5. Saturday is the unluckiest wedding day, according to English folklore. Funny — it’s the most popular day of the week to marry!
6. Ancient Romans studied pig entrails to determine the luckiest time to marry.
7. Rain on your wedding day is actually considered good luck, according to Hindu tradition!
8. For good luck, Egyptian women pinch the bride on her wedding day. Ouch!
9. Middle Eastern brides paint henna on their hands and feet to protect themselves from the evil eye.
10. Peas are thrown at Czech newlyweds instead of rice.
11. A Swedish bride puts a silver coin from her father and a gold coin from her mother in each shoe to ensure that she’ll never do without.
12. A Finnish bride traditionally went door-to-door collecting gifts in a pillowcase, accompanied by an older married man who represented long marriage.
13. Moroccan women take a milk bath to purify themselves before their wedding ceremony.
14. In Holland, a pine tree is planted outside the newlyweds’ home as a symbol of fertility and luck.

It’s Got a Ring To It
15. Engagement and wedding rings are worn on the fourth finger of the left hand because it was once thought that a vein in that finger led directly to the heart.
16. About 70 percent of all brides sport the traditional diamond on the fourth finger of their left hand.
17. Priscilla Presley’s engagement ring was a whopping three and a half-carat rock surrounded by a detachable row of smaller diamonds.
18. Diamonds set in gold or silver became popular as betrothal rings among wealthy Venetians toward the end of the fifteenth century.
19. In the symbolic language of jewels, a sapphire in a wedding ring means marital happiness.
20. A pearl engagement ring is said to be bad luck because its shape echoes that of a tear.
21. One of history’s earliest engagement rings was given to Princess Mary, daughter of Henry VIII. She was two years old at the time.
22. Seventeen tons of gold are made into wedding rings each year in the United States!
23. Snake rings dotted with ruby eyes were popular wedding bands in Victorian England — the coils winding into a circle symbolized eternity.
24. Aquamarine represents marital harmony and is said to ensure a long, happy marriage.

Fashionable Lore
25. Queen Victoria started the Western world’s white wedding dress trend in 1840 — before then, brides simply wore their best dress.
26. In Asia, wearing robes with embroidered cranes symbolizes fidelity for the length of a marriage.
27. Ancient Greeks and Romans thought the veil protected the bride from evil spirits. Brides have worn veils ever since.
28. On her wedding day, Grace Kelly wore a dress with a bodice made from beautiful 125-year-old lace.
29. Of course, Jackie Kennedy’s bridesmaids were far from frumpy. She chose pink silk faille and red satin gowns created by African-American designer Ann Lowe (also the creator of Jackie’s dress).
30. In Japan, white was always the color of choice for bridal ensembles — long before Queen Victoria popularized it in the Western world.
31. Most expensive wedding ever? The marriage of Sheik Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum’s son to Princess Salama in Dubai in May 1981. The price tag? $44 million.
32. In Korea, brides don bright hues of red and yellow to take their vows.
33. Brides carry or wear “something old” on their wedding day to symbolize continuity with the past.
34. In Denmark, brides and grooms traditionally cross-dressed to confuse evil spirits!
35. The “something blue” in a bridal ensemble symbolizes purity, fidelity, and love.

Food and Family
36. In Egypt, the bride’s family traditionally does all the cooking for a week after the wedding, so the couple can…relax.
37. In South Africa, the parents of both bride and groom traditionally carried fire from their hearths to light a new fire in the newlyweds’ hearth.
38. The tradition of a wedding cake comes from ancient Rome, where revelers broke a loaf of bread over a bride’s head for fertility’s sake.
39. The custom of tiered cakes emerged from a game where the bride and groom attempted to kiss over an ever-higher cake without knocking it over.
40. Queen Victoria’s wedding cake weighed a whopping 300 pounds.
41. Legend says single women will dream of their future husbands if they sleep with a slice of groom’s cake under their pillows.
42. An old wives’ tale: If the younger of two sisters marries first, the older sister must dance barefoot at the wedding or risk never landing a husband.

Show Off at a Cocktail Party
43. In many cultures around the world — including Celtic, Hindu and Egyptian weddings — the hands of a bride and groom are literally tied together to demonstrate the couple’s commitment to each other and their new bond as a married couple (giving us the popular phrase “tying the knot”).
44. The Roman goddess Juno rules over marriage, the hearth, and childbirth, hence the popularity of June weddings.
45. Princess Victoria established the tradition of playing Wagner’s “Bridal Chorus” during her wedding processional in 1858.
46. The bride stands to the groom’s left during a Christian ceremony, because in bygone days the groom needed his right hand free to fight off other suitors.
47. On average, 7,000 couples marry each day in the United States.
48. Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve are the two busiest “marriage” days in Las Vegas — elopement central!
49. The Catholic tradition of “posting the banns” to announce a marriage originated as a way to ensure the bride and groom were not related.
50. Stag parties were first held by ancient Spartan soldiers, who kissed their bachelor days goodbye with a raucous party.

Irish cuisine

Irish cuisine is the style of cooking that originated from Ireland, or was developed by the Irish people. It has evolved from centuries of social and political change, and the mixing of the different cultures on Éire, predominantly the English and Irish. The cuisine is founded upon the crops and animals farmed in its temperate climate.

This is a list of dishes found in Irish cuisine. Irish cuisine is a style of cooking originating from Ireland or developed by Irish people. It evolved from centuries of social and political change. The cuisine takes its influence from the crops grown and animals farmed in its temperate climate. The introduction of the potato in the second half of the 16th century heavily influenced Ireland’s cuisine thereafter and, as a result, is often closely associated with Ireland. Representative Irish dishes include Irish stew, bacon and cabbage, boxty, coddle, and colcannon.

Irish dishes

Name Image Description
Bacon and cabbage Bacon and cabbage.jpg Unsliced back bacon boiled together with cabbage and potatoes.
Barmbrack Barmbrack.jpg A leavened bread with sultanas and raisins.
Black pudding Irish black and white pudding slices.JPG Sausage made from cooked pig’s blood, pork fat, pork rind, pork shoulder, pork liver, oats, onion, rusk (wheat starch, salt), water, salt, pimento, and seasoning (rusk, spices). Picture shows slices of black pudding (dark) and white pudding (light).
Boxty Boxty with beef and squash.jpg Finely grated raw potato and mashed potato mixed together with flour, baking soda, buttermilk and occasionally egg, then cooked like a pancake on a griddle pan.
Breakfast roll Breakfast roll 1.jpg A bread roll filled with elements of a traditional fry-up, designed to be eaten on the way to school or work. It can be purchased at a wide variety of petrol stations, local newsagents, supermarkets, and eateries throughout Ireland and Great Britain.
Champ (also known as Poundies) Champ (food).JPG Mashed potatoes and chopped scallions (spring onions) with butter and milk.
Coddle Coddle.jpg Layers of roughly sliced pork sausages bacon, usually thinly sliced, somewhat fatty back bacon, with sliced potatoes, and onions.
Colcannon Colcannon.JPG Mashed potatoes with kale or cabbage.
Corned beef sandwich Katzs deli corned beef.jpg A sandwich prepared with corned beef. It is traditionally served with mustard and a pickle,.
Cottage pie Shepherdspie2.JPG Cottage pie is a beef and vegetable mixture with a delicate beef sauce topped with creamy mash potato, which has been gratinated. Not to be confused with shepherds pie which has minced lamb in it.
Crubeens Crubeens 2008.jpg Boiled pigs’ feet.
Drisheen   A type of black pudding.
Farl Ben W Bell Soda Bread Farl 05 June 2007.jpg A traditional quick bread or cake, roughly triangular in shape.

Fried bread Fried bread.jpg Bread fried in bacon fat.
Full breakfast Irish breakfast.jpg Bacon, sausages and eggs, often served with a variety of side dishes.
Goody   A dessert dish made by boiling bread in milk with sugar and spices.
Gur cake Gur cake.jpg A pastry confection associated with Dublin.
Irish stew Irish-stew.jpg A traditional stew of lamb, or mutton, potatoes, carrots, onions, and parsley.
Limerick Ham   A particular method of preparing a joint of bacon within the cuisine of Ireland. The method was originally developed in County Limerick, Ireland.
Irish Seafood Chowder   A particular method of preparing a seafood soup, often served with milk or cream. Ireland.
Mashed potato MashedPotatoes.jpg Prepared by mashing freshly boiled potatoes with a potato masher, fork, ricer,or food mill, or whipping them with a hand beater. Butter and milk are sometimes added.
Pastie Pastie supper Ben W Bell 27 March 2006.jpg A round, battered pie of minced pork, onion, potato and seasoning.
Potato bread Irwins potato cakes modified.jpg A flat bread made from potato and flour, dry-fried. A key component of the Ulster Fry.
Skirts and kidneys   A stew made from pork meat, including the kidneys, blatter, and liver.
Soda bread Ben W Bell Soda Bread Farl 05 June 2007.jpg A variety of quick bread traditionally made in a variety of cuisines in which sodium bicarbonate (otherwise known as baking soda) is used as a leavening agent instead of the more common yeast. The ingredients of traditional soda bread are flour, bread soda, salt, and buttermilk. Sometimes raisins are added to make it sweeter.
Spice bag   Popular fast food dish in Dublin, consisting of deep-fried chips, chicken balls or strips, red and green peppers and a variety of spices.
Spiced beef   A cured and salted joint of rump steak or silverside beef, which is traditionally served at Christmas or the New Year.
White pudding Irish black and white pudding slices.JPG Very similar to black pudding, but containing no blood. Contains pork meat and fat, suet, bread, and oatmeal formed into a large sausage shape. Picture shows slices of white pudding (light) and black pudding (dark).

 

Top 10 foods  to try in Ireland

Soda bread

Soda breadEvery family in Ireland has its own recipe for soda bread, hand-written on flour-crusted note paper and wedged in among the cookery books. Some like it sweet with a spoonful of honey, sugar, or dried fruits, while others prefer sprinkled-in seeds, bran and oats for a health boost, or treacle and Guinness for the opposite effect. The basic ingredients don’t change though; “bread soda” (bicarbonate of soda) and buttermilk form the raising agent, which is mixed in with flour. And nor does the way it’s eaten; sliced and spread liberally with butter.

Shellfish

Visit Ireland outside of summer, and the chance of seeing the sun will go from unlikely to impossible. On the plus side, you can feast on the West coast’s plump native oysters (ostrea edulis) which come into season in September, when the Galway Oyster Festival is held. Shellfish abound in Irish cuisine, from clams in Connemara, to Molly Malone’s famed cockles and mussels, and Dublin Bay prawns (langoustines), which have their own festival in Howth, in April.

Irish stew

Irish stewOne-pot cooking doesn’t get much simpler than Irish stew, which was traditionally made with mutton, slowly stewed for hours until the meat was tender, with onions, potatoes and some recipes adding carrots to the pot. To avoid the stew being watery (a childhood horror for me and many others), some recipes incorporate pearly barley, a knob of roux, or sliced potatoes in the bottom of the pot, while others reduce down the cooking liquor at the end. These days, you’re more likely to find Irish stew made with lamb (since the more flavourful mutton is so hard to come by), with herbs (thyme, parsley, bay leaves) and stock added for depth of flavour.

Colcannon and champ

Potatoes transformed the Irish diet when they were introduced from the New World in the late 16th century. Ireland’s population boomed with this cheap and plentiful food source, but was later decimated, in the 19th century, when the potato harvests were hit by blight. Potatoes are still a staple at most mealtimes – colcannon is a classic, comforting mash of potatoes, cabbage or kale and butter or cream, flavoured with scallions (spring onions), and the variations are endless. Champ is a similar, mashed potato favourite, flavoured with scallions, milk and butter.

Boxty

BoxtyPotato dumpling, potato pancake and potato bread are all ways used to describe boxty, and some say the name originates from the Irish phrase arán bocht tí, meaning “poor-house bread”. The recipe calls for grated raw potato to be mixed with mashed potato and then either; mixed with flour and salt and boiled before being sliced and fried in butter (boxty dumplings), added to a pancake-like batter before being fried (boxty on the pan), or the batter mix baked in a loaf tin and then sliced and fried (boxty in the oven). Whichever way you choose, it’ll end up in a pan of bubbling butter, and can be teamed with just about anything, from humble bacon and eggs to smoked salmon and crème fraîche.

Boiled bacon and cabbage

Boiled bacon, boiled cabbage and boiled potatoes may not sound all that appetising but it remains a firm family favourite. Traditionally, salted pork – a cut from the shoulder or back of the pig – would have been soaked over night depending on how much desalting was needed, before being boiled, with the cabbage added to the cooking pot in the last ten minutes. A silky, parsley sauce is the classic accompaniment.

Irish salmon and smoked salmon

SalmonWild salmon is now a rare treat in Ireland, superior in so many ways to its farmed cousins. If you find it fresh on a menu, snap it up (the best months are April to June); poached and served with a white sauce, new potatoes and spring greens it’s simply delicious. Smoked salmon is another must-try – the oak-smoked salmon from the Burren Smokehouse, the beechwood-smoked salmon from the Connemara Smokehouse, and the unusual turf-smoked salmon from The Haven Smokehouse are all worth looking out for.

Black and white pudding

The Irish weren’t the only ones to discover the delights of black pudding – pork meat, fat and blood mixed with barley, suet and oatmeal in an intensely flavoured sausage. White pudding (minus the blood) may be less common around the globe, but no full Irish breakfast would be complete without a slice of each. Beyond breakfast, black pudding is just as likely to appear on the menu of smart Irish restaurants nowadays, served with sautéed scallops, in croquettes, under poached eggs, in salads, risottos and garnishing soups.

Coddle

Coddled porkWith roots as a working-class Dublin dish, the name coddle comes from the slow simmering or “coddling” of ingredients in a one-pot stew. The leftovers at the end of the week would be slowly stewed in the oven for hours, with slices of pork sausage packed in with bacon rashers or leftover boiled bacon and sliced potatoes and onions. To make a superior version, use the best quality pork sausages and bacon, and serve the coddle with slices of soda bread to mop up the juices.

Barmbrack

Enthusiasts make this fruity tea loaf all year round, serving it smothered in butter with a nice cup of tea in the afternoon. It’s at Halloween, however, that you’d find a charm in your slice foretelling the future, be it a rag for bad luck or poverty, a ring to be wed within a year, a pea to avoid tying the knot within a year, a coin to bring wealth and a stick to have quarrels. Raisins, candied peel – which some recipes call to be steeped overnight in black tea and whiskey – and mixed spice all go into the mix

Irish Lamb Stew Recipe

TOTAL TIME: Prep: 25 min. Cook: 2 hours

MAKES: 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1-1/2 pounds lamb stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon dill weed
  • 8 pearl onions, peeled
  • 3 medium carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half cream
  • Hot biscuits

Directions

  1. In a large resealable plastic bag, combine 4 tablespoons flour, salt and pepper. Add lamb; shake to coat.
  2. In a Dutch oven, brown lamb in oil on all sides. Add water and dill; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 1-1/2 hours or until meat is almost tender.
  3. Add the onions, carrots and potatoes. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until the meat and vegetables are tender.
  4. In a small bowl, place remaining flour; stir in cream until smooth. Stir into stew. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Serve with biscuits. Yield: 6 servings.

Corned Beef ‘n’ Cabbage Recipe
         TOTAL TIME: Prep: 35 min. Cook: 1-3/4 hours

MAKES: 2 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 corned beef brisket with spice packet (1 pound)
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened apple juice
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated orange peel
  • 1 teaspoon prepared mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 small head cabbage
  • 4 medium carrots, cut into 3-inch pieces

Directions

  1. Place brisket and contents of spice packet in a large saucepan. Add onion, water and apple juice. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 1-1/2 to 2 hours or until meat is tender.
  2. Transfer brisket to an 11-in. x 7-in. baking dish coated with cooking spray; reserve cooking liquid. Combine the brown sugar, orange peel, mustard and cloves; rub over meat. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, cut cabbage into four wedges, leaving a portion of the core attached to each wedge. Add cabbage and carrots to cooking liquid. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until tender. Thinly slice corned beef; serve with vegetables. Yield: 2 servings.

 

Irish Soda Bread

               Total:1 hr 40 minActive:20 min ield:2 loaves
Ingredients

  •  5 cups sifted all-purpose unbleached flour
  •  3/4 cup sugar
  •  2 teaspoons baking powder
  •  1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  •  1 teaspoon baking soda
  •  1/4 pound (1 stick) butter
  • 2 1/2 cups mixed light and dark raisins, soaked in water for 15 to 20 minutes and drained
  •  3 tablespoons caraway seeds
  •  2 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 large egg, slightly beaten

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter 2 (9 by 5-inch) bread pans.

Stir together the sifted flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Cut in the butter and mix very thoroughly with your hands until it gets grainy. Stir in raisins and caraway seeds.

Add the buttermilk and egg to the flour mixture. Stir until well moistened. Shape dough into 2 loaves and place in the pans.

Bake for 1 hour. Test with a toothpick for doneness. Cool in the pans for 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Fluffy Key Lime Pie

TOTAL TIME: Prep: 20 min. + chilling YIELD:8 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 package (.3 ounce) sugar-free lime gelatin
  • 1/4 cup boiling water
  • 2 cartons (6 ounces each) Key lime yogurt
  • 1 carton (8 ounces) frozen fat-free whipped topping, thawed
  • 1 reduced-fat graham cracker crust (9 inches)

Directions

  • 1. In a large bowl, dissolve gelatin in boiling water. Whisk in yogurt. Fold in whipped topping. Pour into crust. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or until set. Yield: 8 servings.
Total:
1 hr 5 min Active:40 min Yield:6 servings Level: Intermediate
Total:10 min Active:10 min Level: Easy Total:10 min Active:10 min Level: Easy
Total:4 hr 10 min Active:10 min  Yield:about 6 to 8 main-course serving Level:Easy
Total:55 min Active:10 min Yield:4 servings Level: Intermediate
Ingredients

  •  8 ounces (225 grams) freshly cooked potatoes
  •  8 ounces (225 grams) peeled raw potatoes
  •  8 ounces (225 grams/ generous 1 1/2 cups) white flour
  •  1/4 American teaspoon baking powder (1/2 Irish teaspoon bread soda), sifted *see note
  •  8 to 12 fluid ounces (225 to 300 millileters/1 to 1 1/2 cups) buttermilk
  •  Pinch salt (optional)
  •  Butter, for frying

Peel the cooked potatoes while they are still hot, drop into a bowl and mash immediately. Grate the raw potatoes, add to the mashed potatoes with the flour and sifted bread soda. Mix well, and add enough buttermilk to make a stiff batter.

Heat a frying pan, grease with butter and cook large or small pancakes in the usual way. Eat them straight from the pan with butter, crispy rashers or pure Irish honey.

Note: This recipe was provided by professional chefs and has been scaled down from a bulk recipe provided by a restaurant. The FN chefs have not tested this recipe, in the proportions indicated, and therefore, we cannot make any representation as to the results.

*Note: an Irish tablespoon is the same quantity as an American tablespoon plus a teaspoon.

Shepherd’s Pie

 

Total:55 min Active:10 min Yield:8 servings

Ingredients

  •  4 tablespoons olive oil
  •  3 onions finely chopped
  •  3 garlic cloves finely chopped
  •  2 pounds freshly ground lamb
  •  One 24-ounce can tomato sauce
  •  1/2 pound butter
  •  1/2 cup flour
  •  1 cup burgundy wine
  •  4 tablespoons lamb base
  •  2 cups water
  •  Salt and pepper, to taste
  •  2 teaspoons tarragon
  •  2 cups yellow corn, cooked
  •  1 cup green peas, cooked
  •  1 cup carrots, diced, cooked
  •  4 pounds potatoes (with skin), boiled
  •  1/2 gallon milk
  •  1/2 pound grated Parmesan cheese
  •  Seasonal vegetables, for serving

Directions

Heat oil in a large frying pan over low heat, then add onions and garlic. Cook until soft, turn up heat and add the fresh lamb meat. Stir until well browned. Drain off fat and add the tomato sauce.

Make flour sauce: In saucepan cook 1/4 cup butter, add flour, stir and cook for a minute, then add burgundy wine, lamb base, and water. Season with salt, pepper, and tarragon. Simmer gently for 15 minutes, and then add yellow corn and green peas and carrots.

Mash the potatoes, and then add 1/4 pound butter and milk, season with salt and pepper. Put meat mixture in individual 8-ounce dishes with approximately even portions and top with mashed potatoes. Spread Parmesan cheese on top of each dish and put in a preheated 350 degree oven and brown until a golden brown color. Serve with seasonal vegetables.

Recipe courtesy of Julio Hernandez The Pelican Inn, San Francisco, CA

Beef and Guinness Stew

 

Total:40 min Active:20  min Yield:1 serving Level: Easy

Ingredients

  •  Knob of butter
  •  About 2 pounds beef fillet, diced
  •  1 cup diced onion
  •  1 cup diced celery
  •  1 cup diced leek
  •  Sprig thyme
  •  Sprig rosemary
  •  1 pint Guinness
  •  1 quart brown sauce

 

 Directions

In a medium size pot, place a knob of butter and sear the beef until brown. Add the diced vegetables and sweat for 5 minutes. Add the thyme, rosemary, about half the bottle of beer and reduce by half. Add the brown sauce and cook for 10 minutes.

Finish the beef by pouring in the rest of the beer and serve with roasted carrot and parsnip and champ potato, if desired.

 Roast Tenderloin and Maui Onion
Total:1 hr 45 min Active:45 min Yield:4 servings Level:None

Ingredients

  •  4 small Maui onions, peeled
  •  1 tablespoon caster sugar
  •  4 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems removed
  •  1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  •  2 ounces Roquefort blue cheese
  •  4 ounces chicken stock
  •  2 ounces polenta
  •  2 ounces heavy cream
  •  Salt and pepper
  •  4 (8-ounce) pieces beef tenderloin
  •  2 cups veal stock

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

To prepare the onions, cut the onions into 4 wedges (quarters) leaving the top on so the pieces stay together. Gently saute the pieces in a pan until golden brown. Sprinkle the onions generously with caster sugar and roast in the oven until soft.

To make the polenta, cut the mushrooms in half and saute with oil in a pan until soft and brown and set aside. Cut the blue cheese into 1/4-inch cubes and set aside. Bring the chicken stock to a boil and add the polenta. Continue to stir while gently simmering until the polenta is soft and smooth, about 20 minutes. Add the cream and salt and pepper, to taste, and keep warm.

To assemble the dish, season the tenderloins with salt and pepper and sear in a hot pan until golden brown on all sides, about 3 minutes per side. Deglaze the pan with veal stock and reduce to a syrup consistency. Finish tenderloins in oven with onion pieces until desired degree of doneness is reached. Allow meat to rest for approximately 8 minutes. While tenderloin is resting, gently heat the polenta over low heat, adding mushrooms and blue cheese, and adjusting the seasoning 2 minutes before serving.

To serve, place a generous spoonful of polenta in the center of each plate, top with caramelized onions, and put tenderloins on top. Spoon stock reduction over and around the tenderloins and serve with steamed vegetables, if desired.

Ireland Facts
Where is Ireland?
Ireland is an island nation located to the north-west of continental Europe. To the east of Ireland, lies the island of Great Britain, from which it is separated by the Irish Sea. On the west of Ireland is the northern Atlantic Ocean; while the Celtic Sea borders the island on the west. Ireland and Great Britain, along-with the nearby islands, are collectively known as the British Isles.

What is the capital of Ireland?
Dublin is the capital of Ireland. It is located near the mid-point of the east coast of the country, at the mouth of the River Liffey, and at the center of the Dublin Region. With a population of 525,383, Dublin is the most populous city of Ireland. The city serves as the historical, cultural, educational, economic, and the administrative center of the island nation.

How big is Ireland?
Covering a total area of 32,595.1 square miles, Ireland is the twentieth-largest island on the earth and the third-largest in Europe. It has a coastline of 1,738 miles. The island is home to approximately 6,197,100 people.

What are the administrative divisions of Ireland?
Ireland is sub-divided into four provinces: Connacht, Leinster, Munster, and Ulster. During the thirteenth and the seventeenth centuries, Ireland was divided into thirty-two traditional counties. Twenty-six of the counties lie in the Republic of Ireland and six counties are in Northern Ireland.

Who are the political leaders of Ireland?
The Republic of Ireland is an Irish Free State covering five-sixths of the island. It is a parliamentary republic with the president being the head of the state. Currently the head of state is President Michael D. Higgins. The official head of the government is called the Taoiseach; Enda Kenny heads the government, presently. The Irish President has very little executive power, with the main power vested in the Taoiseach.

What is the official currency used in Ireland?
The Euro (€) denoted by the ISO 4217 code EUR is the official currency of the Republic of Ireland. It was adopted in 1999 replacing the Irish pound.

What is the official language of Ireland?
The official de facto language of Ireland is English, spoken by the majority of the population. Irish and Ulster Scots are also given the status of official languages but English remains the dominant lingua franca. There are a significant number of Asian and eastern European languages spoken in the island.

What is the religion of Ireland?
Christianity is the official religion of the Republic of Ireland. The largest denomination is Roman Catholicism practiced by almost seventy-three percent of the population. The remaining population adheres to Protestantism. However, the Anglican Church of Ireland is the largest religious group. Owing to the increase in immigration levels in the island, the number of Muslims in the island are increasing. The island has a small Jewish community as well.

What is the economy of Ireland like?
The economy of Ireland is heavily dependent on services, trade and high-tech industries. In 2010, the nominal gross domestic product of the island was estimated at $208.3 billion, while the GDP per capita was $46,592. Food processing, engineering, computer equipment, textiles, chemicals, and pharmaceuticals are the major industries in the island, constituting thirty percent of the GDP. The island has rich deposits of natural resources like zinc, lead, copper, gypsum, limestone, dolomite, and peat. Agriculture also adds to the economy with cattle, dairy products; barley, hay, and wheat being the major agricultural products. The major trading partners of the island are: Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the United States of America, France, Germany, China, and Japan.

When is the national day of Ireland celebrated?
The national day is celebrated on March 17 every year. This day is known as St. Patrick’s Day. The day is observed as a national holiday in the honor of St. Patrick, the patron Saint of Ireland.

Saint Patrick brought Christianity to Ireland. He died on March 17 in 461 AD, and hence this day has been commemorated as St. Patrick’s Day.

Map: Ireland
Flag: IrelandECONOMY

  • Industry: Food products, brewing, textiles, clothing, chemicals, pharmaceuticals
  • Agriculture: Turnips, barley, potatoes, sugar beets; beef
  • Exports: Machinery and equipment, computers, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, live animals
Image result for st patrick

St. Patrick: Taken Prisoner By Irish Raiders

It is known that St. Patrick was born in Britain to wealthy parents near the end of the fourth century. He is believed to have died on March 17, around 460 A.D. Although his father was a Christian deacon, it has been suggested that he probably took on the role because of tax incentives and there is no evidence that Patrick came from a particularly religious family. At the age of 16, Patrick was taken prisoner by a group of Irish raiders who were attacking his family’s estate. They transported him to Ireland where he spent six years in captivity. (There is some dispute over where this captivity took place. Although many believe he was taken to live in Mount Slemish in County Antrim, it is more likely that he was held in County Mayo near Killala.) During this time, he worked as a shepherd, outdoors and away from people. Lonely and afraid, he turned to his religion for solace, becoming a devout Christian. (It is also believed that Patrick first began to dream of converting the Irish people to Christianity during his captivity.)

After more than six years as a prisoner, Patrick escaped. According to his writing, a voice—which he believed to be God’s—spoke to him in a dream, telling him it was time to leave Ireland.

To do so, Patrick walked nearly 200 miles from County Mayo, where it is believed he was held, to the Irish coast. After escaping to Britain, Patrick reported that he experienced a second revelation—an angel in a dream tells him to return to Ireland as a missionary. Soon after, Patrick began religious training, a course of study that lasted more than 15 years. After his ordination as a priest, he was sent to Ireland with a dual mission: to minister to Christians already living in Ireland and to begin to convert the Irish. (Interestingly, this mission contradicts the widely held notion that Patrick introduced Christianity to Ireland.)

Familiar with the Irish language and culture, Patrick chose to incorporate traditional ritual into his lessons of Christianity instead of attempting to eradicate native Irish beliefs. For instance, he used bonfires to celebrate Easter since the Irish were used to honoring their gods with fire. He also superimposed a sun, a powerful Irish symbol, onto the Christian cross to create what is now called a Celtic cross, so that veneration of the symbol would seem more natural to the Irish. Although there were a small number of Christians on the island when Patrick arrived, most Irish practiced a nature-based pagan religion. The Irish culture centered around a rich tradition of oral legend and myth. When this is considered, it is no surprise that the story of Patrick’s life became exaggerated over the centuries—spinning exciting tales to remember history has always been a part of the Irish way of life

Claddagh Ring History And Meaning

The Claddagh Symbol and Meanings

In the early 16th century an Irish man by the name of Richard Joyce was fishing off the coast of Galway a week before he was to be married when his currach (boat) capsized. Richard was captured by pirates, taken to West Africa and sold into slavery to a Moorish goldsmith. Years passed and Richard escaped captivity and returned home to Ireland to find that the girl he loved had never married. Richard shaped a unique ring for the girl he left behind. The ring was fashioned of three symbols; the hands signifying Friendship, holding a heart signifying love, topped with a crown for loyalty. Richard and his love married and settled in the village of Claddagh. The village no longer exists but since those early days the Claddagh ring has been worn as a sign of Love, Loyalty and Friendship. When wearing the ring the heart pointed toward you means your heart is taken: the heart pointed away from you means your heart is free. Worn on the left ring finger, heart pointed toward you represents a wedding band. Although traditionally used as a wedding band, the Claddagh ring has come to be worn as a friendship ring as well.

 The Irish Claddagh Rings are probably the most culturally rich pieces of jewelry ever recorded in history. The meaning, significance and history of the Cladagh ring has a rich ancient past that dates back to over 300 years. The design of the Cladag ring and even the way the ring is worn are all deeply rooted in Irish tradition. Kaisilver, strives to keep the Irish Cladagh ring tradition alive and creates the world’s best Claddagh gold and silver rings. All gemstone options are available and great attention is paid to every detail. Today, the meaning of the Claddagh ring and the significance of wearing Claddagh rings has spread far and wide. The Cladaugh ring is made and worn far beyond the small fishing village in Ireland where the tradition started over 300 years ago.

Meaning of the Claddagh ring. What do the Cladagh rings mean?


The meaning of the claddagh ring is what gives the ring it’s significance. Over the years the cladagh ring has brought up designs with minor variations, the basic meaning and significance of the Irish claddagh ring has however been retained. The hands of the ring are shown holding the heart and the hands denote friendship and togetherness, the heart itself signifies love and the crown in the claddagh ring stands for loyalty. It is this meaning of the claddagh rings that make them an ideal choice for all occassions, wedding rings, birth stone rings, engagement rings, mothers day rings and rings for just about any other occassion. The deep and true meaning of the Irish claddagh rings has also put them into a group of rings referred to as the faith rings. In today’s materialistic world where love, friendship and loyalty are becoming increasingly rarer by the day, the claddagh ring with it’s realistic and worthy meaning makes an ideal gift to give and to receive.

In a nutshell the meaning of the Claddagh ring could be summarized as, Let Love and Friendhsip Reign Forever.

History of the Claddagh ring. The Claddagh Irish tradition.


The history of the Claddagh ring dates back to over 300 years. A small fishing village in Ireland called the Claddagh was where the tradition of the Claddagh rings first started. The word Claddagh itself comes from the Irish term ‘An Cladach’ that means a ‘flat stony shore’. This was a pretty and ancient village with winding streets and small thatched roofed mud houses. Modernisation has changed all that now but the tradition of the Claddagh ring lives on and has infact grown much stronger in many parts of the world.

There are two theories put up explaining the first occurence of the Cladagh Irish ring.

First Theory: Margaret Joyce inherited a huge amount of money from her late husband named Domingo de Rona. He was a wealthy Spanish merchant trading with Galway in Ireland. She later married the Mayor of Galway in 1596 (Oliver Og French)and used her inherited wealth to construct many bridges in Connacht. The first Cladagh ring was supposed to be her providential reward and was dropped by an eagle into her lap.

Second Theory: A native of Galway by the name of Richard Joyce was captured by the Algerians and sold as a slave to a Moorish goldsmith. Later in 1689 William III of England demanded the release of all British subjects and Richard Joyce was released from slavery too. The Moorish goldsmith offered Richard Joyce a major portion of his wealth and also his only daughter in marriage, if he agreed to stay in Algiers. The story goes that, Richard Joyce refused all the tempting offers and returned to his native city with the first Claddagh ring.

These are the two major explanations for the history of the Claddagh ring. It does not matter which theory you believe in, or if you believe in neither, because everyone agrees that the Claddagh ring has a history and meaning that is significant to this day.

Wearing the Claddagh ring. Which hand to wear Cladag Rings.


The meaning and significance of the Claddagh ring is not just in the crown, heart and clasping hands, it also extends to the hand on which the ring is worn and the direction in which the crown on the ring points. In case of a married or engaged person Claddagh rings are worn on the left hand with the crown pointing away from the (the person wearing the ring) heart. For a person willing to consider love the ring is traditionally worn on the right hand with the crown pointing away from the heart. For a person not interested in starting a relationship the Cladagh ring is worn on the right hand with the crown pointing towards the heart.

The Irish Claddagh ring as a Wedding or Engagement Ring.


The Claddagh ring is one of the most popular Irish Wedding Rings. Traditionally the ring is passed down from a mother to her daughter. Today this Irish traditional ring is popular in many countries as a wedding ring or an engagement ring. Kaisilver has added an extra dimension to this issue by providing custom made high end claddagh rings in 18K Yellow or White Gold. These claddagh rings are available in all sizes with any gemstone of your choice. On the higher price range, Cladagh rings are also available with diamonds in the crown to add beauty and glitter to this ring. As expected, high end craftsmanship would be a must for all special occassion rings and Kaisilver provides just that. In the final phase of production every ring is hand finished to perfection. If you have read the above paragraphs on the deeper meaning, history and significance of the Irish cladagh ring, you will surely realize why this ring makes a perfect wedding or engagement ring.

Design variations for your Claddagh rings.


As the meaning and significance of the Irish Claddagh Rings spread across the world, jewelry designers tuned the design to appeal to a wider section of jewelry buyers. This brought up a few prominent design options for the Claddagh ring. In all these cases, the deeper meaning and Irish tradition are left intact. The first major variation was the Cladagh ring with two hearts instead of one. There was another variation without the crown, this design however retained the hands clasping the heart. It was Kaisilver who gave the ring it’s artistic and classic appeal, by releasing the first high end claddagh rings with all gemstone options. The design, attention paid to every detail, the clarity and graceful fingers holding the heart are some of the features of the Kaisilver Claddagh rings that took the world by storm. The Kaisilver claddagh design ensures that your gemstone is firmly mounted and protected from side impacts from all sides. The healthy gold weight also ensures that the ring will retain it’s shape and not twist and bend out of shape at the slightest excuse.

Male Claddagh Ring. Are male Cladagh rings available.


Claddagh rings are available for males too. As expected, the male Claddagh ring would be heavier than the claddag ring created for ladies. If the male Cladagh ring is made with a gemstone, the size of the gemstone would be much larger too. Because of the more active lifestyle followed by today’s man and the fact that men are not as careful with their jewelry as ladies, a good gold weight for the male claddagh ring is a must. There is ofcourse no reason why the male Claddagh ring should not have the same high end craftsmanship. The design for a male ring should lay emphasis on being sturdy and durable, this can come without any compromise on good style and craftsmanship. If you are interested in a pair of rings for your wedding or engagement you can always custom order a pair of claddagh rings with gemstones of your choice.

Silver Cladagh Rings also available as high end rings.


For most jewelry buyers, the Claddagh ring is a symbol of love and friendship. The ring is worn for it’s rich tradition and significance rather than as a display of wealth and luxury. With this background, it is really not necessary to always create Claddagh rings in gold alone. Sterling Silver Claddagh Rings can also be made with all gemstone options and with the same high end craftsmanship as the gold option. The classic and elegant look of sterling silver has attracted many jewelry lovers throughout the world, it is not just the lower price of silver that appeals to these silver jewellery lovers. The best way to create a sterling silver Cladag ring is to have it made without any Rhodium or other plating. This would allow the silver to tarnish as normal silver does. You can polish your silver ring with any recommended polish or fabric. This method gives your Claddagh Silver Ring a classic and antique feel which is ideal for a ring that has a 300 year old rich tradition.

Other Terms and Spellings used for the Cladagh Ring.


The claddagh ring has a history that goes back to over 300 years, few variations in designs have evolved over time. However what is amazing is the number of ways in which the claddagh ring is actually spelt. The correct spelling is ‘claddagh’ but a common spelling for this is ‘cladagh’ with a single ‘d’ and then the all famous ‘clladagh’ this lays double emphasis on the ‘l’ and goes light on the ‘d’. We have numerous queries from buyers for ‘cladaugh’ rings, so this could be a popular spelling too. Finally is the spelling that is long and almost spells out every sound in every alphabet in the word, the ‘calladagh’ ring. So the next time you come across these spellings rest assured that they refer to the famous Irish Claddagh Ring.

Other Names For The Ring, these names have been derived by identifying the tradition or the features of the ring and so you have the ‘clasped hands ring’, a little more elaborate is the ‘clasped hands and heart ring’ or simply the ‘hands and heart ring’. Because of a design variation that had two hearts in it, the ring also got the name of the ‘double heart ring’. Linking it to it’s origins gave it the name of the ‘Irish heart ring’ and also the ‘Irish wedding ring’. Because of the significance of the ring the name ‘faith ring’ is used. The faith rings are infact a group of rings and the claddagh ring is often included in this group.

Enhancing The Meaning Of The Claddagh Ring


The history of the claddagh Irish ring highlights the deeper meaning and significance of the ring. If you are interested in this stunning jewel, there are a few options that you can choose that will help enhance the meaning of your ring. The first option is to make this ring as a birth stone ring and this is quite easy since we provide all gemstone options. If the ring is for a special occassion ring like a wedding or engagement, you can still have your birthstone set in the ring. Another option is to go for a pair of claddagh rings where, the lady’s and men’s ring have the same design and differ in gemstone size and overall ring dimensions. There is a growing trend towards exchanging birthstones where the lady wears a ring with the birthstone of the man and vice versa. This is expected to build a close bond between the couple (or friends) even when they are geographically hundreds or thousands of miles away.

Check Your Birthstone From These Charts

Month Born Zodiac Sign Birthstone
January Capricorn Garnet
February Aquarius Amethyst
March Pisces Aquamarine
April Aries Diamond Or White Zircon
May Taurus Emerald
June Gemini Pearl
July Cancer Ruby
August Leo Peridot
September Virgo Sapphire
October Libra Opal
November Scorpio Citrine or Topaz
December Sagittarius Turquoise

The claddagh ring history tells us of how special the occassion was when the first ring was made over 300 years ago. It is very likely that your claddagh ring is being worn to signify a special occassion like a birthday, an engagement or even a wedding. It is therefore an excellent idea to have the ring etched with a short message, a name or a date inside the band. The length of the message will depend on the overall size of the ring as, etching a long message on a small ring would cause the text to be virtually unreadable. We provide this etching service at no additional charge and our experts will advise you regarding the message size that is suitable for your ring.

  a Timeline of Ireland History

1850 The Irish Franchise Act greatly increases the number of people allowed to vote

1851 The population of Ireland has fallen to 6,552,000

1854

The Catholic University of Ireland opens

Oscar Wilde is born

1858 The Irish Republican Brotherhood is formed

1867 Fenian rising

1869 The Church of Ireland is disestablished

1870

Gladstone’s Land Act gives tenant farmers the right to compensation if they have made improvements to the land

The Home Government Association is formed

1873 It is replaced by the Home Rule League

1879 The Irish National Land League is formed. It demands the ‘three f’s’, fair rent, fixity of tenure and free sale of land.

1880

A new verb enters the language ‘to boycott’. Charles Stewart Parnell, the leader of the Land League declares that if a tenant is evicted and somebody else takes over the land that person is to be ostracized. The first person so treated is a Captain Boycott.

1881

The Land Law Act grants the ‘3 f’s’. The Land Commission is formed to fix rent and to give loans to purchase land.

Parnell is imprisoned

1882

James Joyce is born

Parnell is released

1884

The franchise is extended again

The Gaelic Athletic Association is founded

1885 Under the Ashbourne Act loans are given to tenant farmers to buy their land. The loans are to be repaid at low rates of interest

1886 The first Home Rule bill is rejected by the British parliament

1890

Michael Collins is born

Oscar Wilde publishes The Picture of Dorian Gray

Parnell is named as co-respondent in a divorce case

1891 Another Land Act makes more money available to tenant farmers to buy land

1893

The Gaelic League is founded

The second Home Rule bill is passed by the British House of Commons but is rejected by the House of Lords

Another Land Act makes it easier for tenant farmers to borrow money to buy their land

1898 The Irish Local Government Act gives Ireland local government similar to the English system

IRELAND IN THE 20th CENTURY

1900 Oscar Wilde dies

1903 A final Land Act makes it still easier for tenant farmers to obtain loans and buy their land. As a result millions of acres change hands by 1921

1905 Sinn Fein is founded

1909 The Irish Transport and General Workers Union is founded

1913

The Ulster Volunteer Force is founded

Tram strike in Dublin

A third Home Rule bill is passed by the British parliament. However the act is put on hold in September because of the outbreak of the First World War.

1916

The Easter Rising

James Joyce publishes A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

1919

The Irish Volunteers are renamed the Irish Republican Army

A number of Sinn Fein MPs were elected to the British parliament in December 1918. However they refuse to take their seats. Instead they form their own parliament in Dublin called the Dail Eireann. Eammon de Valera is elected president of the Dail.

1919-1921 The War of Independence. The IRA fights a guerrilla war against the British.

1920

Ireland is partitioned. The Government of Ireland Act forms 2 parliaments in Ireland. One in the North and one in the South. Both are to have their own prime minister. However both are to be subordinate to the British parliament.

The ‘Black and Tans’ are formed to reinforce the Royal Irish Constabulary

1921

The Northern parliament meets for the first time. Sinn Fein win almost all the seats for the Southern parliament but they refuse to take their seats. Instead they carry on meeting in the Dail Eireann.

A truce is made between the IRA and the British

An Anglo-Irish treaty partitions Ireland

1922

The Dail agrees to the treaty but civil war begins between those who accept the treaty and those who don’t

Michael Collins is killed

The Garda Siochana is formed

James Joyce publishes Ulysses

1923

The civil war ends

A Censorship of Films Act is passed

William Butler Yeats wins the Nobel Prize for Literature

1925 George Bernard Shaw wins the Nobel Prize for Literature

1926 Fianna Fail is founded

1929 The Shannon hydro-electricity scheme is finished

1932-1937 Eamon De Valera is Prime Minister

1936

The IRA is banned in the Irish Free State

Aer Lingus is founded

1937

A new constitution comes into force. The Irish Free State becomes Eire. Douglas Hyde is the first president.

1937-1948 de Valera is Taoiseach

1939 James Joyce publishes Finnegans Wake

1941

A German air raid kills 34 people in Dublin

James Joyce dies

1949 The Republic of Ireland Act makes Eire a republic

1951-1954 de Valera is Taoiseach again

1955 Ireland joins the United Nations

1957-1959 de Valera is Taoiseach for the 3rd time

1959-1973 de Valera is President

1961 RTE begins broadcasting

1969 Beginning of ‘The Troubles’ in Northern Ireland

1972 ‘Bloody Sunday’ in Derry. Fourteen people are killed when the British 1st Parachute Regiment opens fire on demonstrators.

Gaelic Radio begins

1973

Ireland joins the EEC (forerunner of the EU)

1974 The sale of contraceptives to married people is legalised

1982 Corporal punishment ends in Irish schools

1985 The Anglo-Irish agreement

1990-1997 Mary Robinson is President of Ireland

1990s Ireland experiences rapid economic growth. It is called the Celtic Tiger.

1994 There is a cease fire in Northern Ireland

1995

Seamus Heaney wins the Nobel prize for Literature

The Irish people vote in a referendum to allow divorce

1996 Gaelic T.V. begins

1997 Mary McAleese becomes President

1998 The Good Friday Agreement is signed

1999 Ireland unwisely joins the Euro

IRELAND IN THE 21st CENTURY

2004 In a referendum the Irish people vote to stop automatically granting citizenship to anyone born in the country.

2005

Cork is made European Capital of Culture.

The EU recognises Irish as a working language.

.

 
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