Wearing o’ the Green!

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On St. Patrick’s Day it is customary to wear shamrocks and/or green clothing or accessories (the “wearing of the green”). St Patrick is said to have used the shamrock, a three-leaved plant, to explain the Holy Trinity to the pagan Irish. This story first appears in writing in 1726, though it may be older. In pagan Ireland, three was a significant number and the Irish had many triple deities, a fact that aided St Patrick in his evangelisation efforts.The wearing of the ‘St Patrick’s Day Cross’, especially in the World War I era, by the Irish, was also a popular custom. These St Patrick’s Day Crosses have a Celtic Christian cross made of paper that is “covered with silk or ribbon of different colours, and a bunch or rosette of green silk in the centre.”

The colour green has been associated with Ireland since at least the 1640s, when the green harp flag was used by the Irish Catholic Confederation. Green ribbons and shamrocks have been worn on St Patrick’s Day since at least the 1680s.Green was adopted as the colour of the Friendly Brothers of St Patrick,an Irish fraternity founded in about 1750. However, when the Order of St. Patrick—an Anglo-Irish chivalric order—was founded in 1783 it adopted blue as its colour. This led to blue being associated with St Patrick. In the 1790s, green became associated with Irish nationalism when it was used by the United Irishmen. This was a republican organisation—led mostly by Protestants but with many Catholic members—who launched a rebellion in 1798 against British rule. The phrase “wearing of the green” comes from a song of the same name, which laments United Irishmen supporters being persecuted for wearing green. Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, the colour green and its association with Saint Patrick’s Day grew.

Source: WIKI

Molly Malone!

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“Molly Malone” (also known as “Cockles and Mussels” or “In Dublin’s Fair City”) is a popular song, set in Dublin, Ireland, which has become the unofficial anthem of Dublin City.

The Molly Malone statue in Grafton Street was unveiled by then Lord Mayor of Dublin, Alderman Ben Briscoe during the 1988 Dublin Millennium celebrations, declaring 13 June as Molly Malone Day. The statue was presented to the city by Jury’s Hotel Group to mark the Millennium.

Since July 18th 2014, it has been relocated to Suffolk Street, in front of the Tourist Information Office, in order to make way for Luas track-laying work to be completed at the old location.

In Dublin’s fair city,
Where the girls are so pretty,
I first set my eyes on sweet Molly Malone,
As she wheeled her wheel-barrow,
Through streets broad and narrow,
Crying, “Cockles and mussels, alive, alive, oh!”
“Alive, alive, oh,
Alive, alive, oh,”
Crying “Cockles and mussels, alive, alive, oh”.
She was a fishmonger,
But sure ’twas no wonder,
For so were her father and mother before,
And they wheeled their barrows,
Through the streets broad and narrow,
Crying, “Cockles and mussels, alive, alive, oh!”
(chorus)
She died of a fever,
And no one could save her,
And that was the end of sweet Molly Malone.
But her ghost wheels her barrow,
Through streets broad and narrow,
Crying, “Cockles and mussels, alive, alive, oh!”

Dublin Coddle

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Coddle (sometimes Dublin coddle) is an Irish dish which is often made to use up leftovers, and therefore without a specific recipe. However, it most commonly consists of layers of roughly sliced pork sausages and rashers (thinly sliced, somewhat fatty back bacon) with sliced potatoes and onions. Traditionally, it can also include barley.

Coddle is particularly associated with the capital of Ireland, Dublin.It was reputedly a favourite dish of Seán O’Casey and Jonathan Swift,and it appears in several Dublin literary references including the works of James Joyce.

The dish is braised in the stock produced by boiling the rashers and sausages. Some traditional recipes favour the addition of a small amount of Guinness to the pot, but this is very rare in modern versions of the recipe.The dish should be cooked in a pot with a well-fitting lid in order to steam the ingredients left uncovered by water. The only seasoning is usually salt, pepper, and occasionally parsley. It could be considered a comfort food in Ireland, and is inexpensive, easy to prepare and quick to cook. It is often eaten in the winter months. In the days when Catholics were not supposed to eat meat on Fridays, this was a meal often eaten on Thursdays as it allowed a family to use up any remaining sausages or rashers.

The name comes from the verb coddle, meaning to cook food in water below boiling, which in turn derives from caudle, a warm drink.

Recipes

http://britishfood.about.com/od/adrecipes/r/Coddle-Dublin-Coddle-Recipe.htm

http://homecooking.about.com/od/porkrecipes/r/blpork20.htm

Source: WIKI

Irish Banoffee Pie!

With St.Patrick’s Day just around the corner, here is an awesome looking recipe to try!!

Banoffee pie is an English dessert pie made from bananas, cream and toffee from boiled condensed milk (or dulce de leche), either on a pastry base or one made from crumbled biscuits and butter. Some versions of the recipe also include chocolate, coffee or both.

Its name is a portmanteau constructed from the words “banana” and “toffee” It is sometimes spelled “banoffi”.

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Irish Banoffee Pie – Caramel and Banana Pie Recipe | Just A Pinch Recipes.

Bunratty Castle, County Clare, Ireland

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The first recorded settlement at the site may have been a Viking settlement/trading camp reported in the Annals of the Four Masters to have been destroyed by Brian Boru in 977. According to local tradition, such a camp was located on a rise south-west of the current castle. However, since no actual remains of this settlement have yet been found, its exact location is unknown and its existence is not proven.

Around 1250, King Henry III of England granted the cantred or district of Tradraighe (or Tradree) to Robert De Muscegros, who in 1251 cut down around 200 trees in the King’s wood at Cratloe. These may have been used to construct a motte and bailey castle, which would have been the first castle at Bunratty, but again the exact position of this is unknown. A later reference in the state papers, dating to 1253 gives de Muscegros the right to hold markets and an annual fair at Bunratty. It has thus been assumed that the site was the centre of early Norman control in south-eastern Clare. Early 19th century scholars put the structure to the north-west of the current castle. However, when a hotel was constructed there in 1959, John Hunt excavated the area and thought the remains to be that of a gun emplacement from the Confederate Wars (see below).

These lands were later handed back to (or taken back by) King Henry III and granted to Thomas De Clare, a descendant of Strongbow in 1276. De Clare built the first stone structure on the site (the second castle). This castle was occupied from ca. 1278 to 1318 and consisted of a large single stone tower with lime white walls. It stood close to the river, on or near the site of the present Bunratty Castle. In the late 13th century, Bunrattty had about 1,000 inhabitants. The castle was attacked several times by the O’Briens (or O’Brians) and their allies. In 1284, while De Clare was away in England, the site was captured and destroyed. On his return, in 1287, De Clare had the site rebuilt and a 140 yard long fosse built around it. The castle was again attacked but it did not fall until 1318. In that year a major battle was fought at Dysert O’Dea as part of the Irish Bruce Wars, in which both Thomas De Clare and his son Richard were killed. Lady De Clare, on learning this, fled from Bunratty to Limerick after burning castle and town. The De Clare family never returned to the area and the remains of the castle eventually collapsed. As the stones were likely used for other local construction works, no traces remain of this second castle.

In the 14th century, Limerick was an important port for the English Crown. To guard access via the Shannon estuary against attacks from the Irish, the site was once again occupied. In 1353, Sir Thomas de Rokeby led an English army to conquer the MacNamaras and MacCarthys. A new castle (the third) was built at Bunratty, but once again, its exact location is unknown. Local tradition holds that it stood at the site where the Bunratty Castle Hotel was later constructed. However, the new structure was hardly finished before being captured by the Irish. Documents show that in 1355, King Edward III of England released Thomas Fitzjohn Fitzmaurice from prison in Limerick. He had been charged with letting the castle fall into the hands of Murtough O’Brien whilst serving as a Governor (Captain) of Bunratty.

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As it is today

Bunratty Castle (Irish: Caisleán Bhun Raithe, meaning “Castle at the Mouth of the Ratty”) is a large 15th century tower house in County Clare, Ireland. It is located in the centre of Bunratty village (Irish: Bun Ráite), by the N18 road between Limerick and Ennis, near Shannon Town and its airport. The castle and the adjoining folk park are run by Shannon Heritage as tourist attractions.

The fourth castle, the present structure, was built by the MacNamara family after around 1425. Its builder may have been one Maccon Sioda MacNamara, chieftain of Clann Cuilein (i.e. the MacNamaras). He died before the castle was completed which happened under his son Sean Finn (died in 1467). At around 1500, Bunratty Castle came into the hands of the O’Briens (or O’Brians), the most powerful clan in Munster and later Earls of Thomond. They expanded the site and eventually made it their chief seat, moving it there from Ennis.

In 1558, the castle—now noted as one of the principal stongholds of Thomond—was taken by Thomas Radclyffe, the Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland from Donal O’Brien of Duagh, last King of Thomond (died 1579), and given to Donal’s nephew, Connor O’Brien. Donogh O’Brien, Conor’s son, may have been the one to move the seat of the family from Clonroad (Ennis) to Bunratty. He made various improvements to the castle including putting a new lead roof on it.

During the Confederate Wars set off by the Irish Rebellion of 1641, Lord Forbes, commanding forces of the English Long Parliament, was allowed by the then Lord Barnabas O’Brien to occupy Bunratty in 1646. Barnabas did not want to commit to either side in the struggle, playing off royalists, rebels and roundheads against each other. He left for England, where he joined King Charles. Defence of the castle, whose position allowed those holding it to blockade maritime access to Limerick (held by the Confederates) and the river Shannon, was in the hands of Rear-Admiral Penn, the father of William Penn, founder of Pennsylvania. After a long siege, the Confederates took the castle. Penn surrendered but was allowed to sail away to Kinsale.

Barnabas O’Brien died in 1657, but had apparently leased out the castle to one “John Cooper”, possibly the same person married to Máire ní Mahon of Leamaneh Castle, widow of another O’Brien, Conor (died 1651).Bunratty Castle remained property of the O’Briens and in the 1680s the castle was still the principal seat of the Earls of Thomond. In 1712, Henry, the 8th and last Earl of Thomond (1688-1741) sold Bunratty Castle and 472 acres of land to Thomas Amory for £225 and an annual rent of £120. Amory in turn sold the castle to Thomas Studdert who moved in ca. 1720.

The Studdert family left the castle (allowing it to fall into disrepair), to reside in the more comfortable and modern adjacent “Bunratty House” they had built in 1804.The reasons for the move are bound up in family arguments over the eldest son marrying his first cousin.

For some time in the mid-19th century, the castle was used as a barracks by the Royal Irish Constabulary. In 1894, Bunratty was once again used by the Studdert family, as the seat of Captain Richard Studdert. In the late 19th century, the roof of the Great Hall collapsed.

In 1956, the castle was purchased and restored by the 7th Viscount Gort, with assistance from the Office of Public Works. He reroofed the castle and saved it from ruin. The castle was opened to the public in 1960, sporting furniture, tapestries and works of art dating to around 1600.

Source: Wiki

Shrine of St Valentine, Whitefriar Street Church

 
Throughout the centuries since Valentine received martyrdom there have been various basilicas, churches and monasteries built over the site of his grave. Many restorations and reconstructions took place at the site, therefore over the years. In the early 1800s such work was taking place and the remains of Valentine were discovered along with a small vessel tinged with his blood and some other artefacts.
 
In 1835 an Irish Carmelite by the name of John Spratt was visiting Rome. He was well known in Ireland for his skills as a preacher and also for his work among the poor and destitute in Dublin’s Liberties area. He was also responsible for the building of the new church to Our Lady of Mount Carmel at Whitefriar Street. While he was in Rome he was asked to preach at the famous Jesuit Church in the city, the Gesu. Apparently his fame as a preacher had gone before him, no doubt brought by some Jesuits who had been in Dublin. The elite of Rome flocked to hear him and he received many tokens of esteem from the doyens of the Church. One such token came from Pope Gregory XVI (1831-1846) and were the remains of Saint Valentine.
 
On November 10, 1836, the Reliquary containing the remains arrived in Dublin and were brought in solemn procession to Whitefriar Street Church where they were received by Archbishop Murray of Dublin. With the death of Fr Spratt interest in the relics died away and they went into storage. During a major renovation in the church in the 1950s/60s they were returned to prominence with an altar and shrine being constructed to house them and enable them to be venerated. The statue was carved by Irene Broe and depicts the saint in the red vestments of a martyr and holding a crocus in his hand.
 
Today, the Shrine is visited throughout the year by couples who come to pray to Valentine and to ask him to watch over them in their lives together. The feastday of the saint on February 14 is a very popular one and many couples come to the Eucharistic celebrations that day which also includes a Blessing of Rings for those about to be married. On the feastday, the Reliquary is removed from beneath the side-altar and is placed before the high altar in the church and there venerated at the Masses. At the 11.00am and 3.15pm Masses there are special sermons and also a short ceremony for the Blessing of Rings for those about to be married.
 
The Shrine
The Shrine to St Valentine is found on the right hand side of the church as one enters the main body of the church. The casket sits beneath the marble altar in a niche which is protected by an ornate iron and glass gate. Above the altar stands the life-sized statue of the saint set into a marble mosaic alcove. The saint is also barefoot. The casket is wooden and on top bears the papal coat of arms of Gregory XVI along with two large gold plates which have the letter of Cardinal Odescalchi inscribed in English upon them. Between these two plates and beneath the papal crest is a smaller plate with the inscription: This shrine contains the sacred body of Saint Valentinus the Martyr, together with a small vessel tinged with his blood.
 
The Reliquary contains some of the remains of St Valentine – it is not claimed that all of his remains are found in this casket. There is also included a small vessel tinged with the blood of the martyr. These are contained within a small wooden box, covered in painted paper and is tied with a red silk ribbon and sealed with wax seals (which is the usual way in which relics are contained within reliquaries). This container is inside the casket which is seen beneath the altar. The outer casket has only been opened on a couple of occasions and then only to verify that the contents are intact. The inner box has not been opened or the seals broken.
 
When the Reliquary arrived in Dublin it was accompanied by a letter, in Latin, which reads:
 
St Valentine
We, Charles, by the divine mercy, Bishop of Sabina of the Holy Roman Church, cardinal Odescalchi arch priest of the sacred Liberian Basilica, Vicar General of our most Holy Father the Pope and Judge in ordinary of the Roman Curia and of its districts, etc., etc.
 
To all and everyone who shall inspect these our present letters, we certify and attest, that for the greater glory of the omnipotent God and veneration of his saints, we have freely given to the Very Reverend Father Spratt, Master of Sacred Theology of the Order of Calced Carmelites of the convent of that Order at Dublin, in Ireland, the blessed body of St Valentine, martyr, which we ourselves by the command of the most Holy Father Pope Gregory XVI on the 27th day of December 1835, have taken out of the cemetery of St Hippolytus in the Tiburtine Way, together with a small vessel tinged with his blood and have deposited them in a wooden case covered with painted paper, well closed, tied with a red silk ribbon and sealed with our seals and we have so delivered and consigned to him, and we have granted unto him power in the Lord, to the end that he may retain to himself, give to others, transmit beyond the city (Rome) and in any church, oratory or chapel, to expose and place the said blessed holy body for the public veneration of the faithful without, however, an Office and Mass, conformably to the decree of the Sacred Congregation of Rites, promulgated on the 11th day of August 1691.
 
In testimony whereof, these letters, testimonial subscribed with our hand, and sealed with our seal, we have directed to be expedited by the undersigned keeper of sacred relics.
 
Rome, from our Palace, the 29th day of the month of January 1836.
C.Cardinal vicar
Regd. Tom 3. Page 291
Philip Ludovici Pro-Custos
 
The Legend of Saint Valentine
The Roman Martyrology commemorates two martyrs named Valentine (or Valentinus) on February 14 which seems to indicate that both were beheaded on the Flaminian Way, one at Rome the other at Terni which is some 60 miles from Rome. Valentine of Rome was a priest who is said to have died about 269 during the persecution of Claudius the Goth (or Claudius II Gothicus). The other Valentine was allegedly Bishop of Terni, and his death is attested to in the Martyrology of St Jerome. Whether there were actually one or two Valentines is disputed. One possibility is that is two cults – one based in Rome, the other in Terni – may have sprung up to the same martyr but that in the mists of time his true identity became confused.
 
In ancient Rome, February 14th was a holiday to honour Juno – the Queen of the Roman Gods and Goddesses. The Romans also knew her as the Goddess of women and marriage. The following day, February 15th, began the Feast of Lupercalia. At the time the lives of young boys and girls were strictly separate. However, one of the customs of the young people was name drawing. On the eve of the festival of Lupercalia the names of Roman girls were written on slips of paper and placed into jars. Each young man would draw a girl’s name from the jar and they would then be partners for the duration of the festival. Sometimes the pairing of the children lasted an entire year, and often, they would fall in love and would later marry. Under the rule of Emperor Claudius II, Rome was involved in many bloody and unpopular campaigns. Claudius the Cruel was having a difficult time getting soldiers to join his military leagues. He believed that the reason was that roman men did not want to leave their loves or families. As a result, Claudius cancelled all marriages and engagements in Rome. Claudius had also ordered all Romans to worship the state religion’s idols, and he had made it a crime punishable by death to associate with Christians. But Valentinus was dedicated to the ideals of Christ, and not even the threat of death could keep him from practicing his beliefs. Valentine and Saint Marius aided the Christian martyrs and secretly married couples, and for this kind deed Valentine was apprehended and dragged before the Prefect of Rome, who condemned him to be beaten to death with clubs and to have his head cut off. He suffered martyrdom on the 14th day of February, in either 269 or 270.
 
This is one legend surrounding Valentine’s martyrdom. The second is that during the last weeks of his life a remarkable thing happened. One day a jailer for the Emperor of Rome knocked at Valentine’s door clutching his blind daughter in his arms. He had learned of Valentine’s medical and spiritual healing abilities, and appealed to Valentine to treat his daughter’s blindness. She had been blind since birth. Valentine knew that her condition would be difficult to treat but he gave the man his word he would do his best. The little girl was examined, given an ointment for her eyes and a series of re-visits were scheduled.
 
Seeing that he was a man of learning, the jailer asked whether his daughter, Julia, might also be brought to Valentine for lessons. Julia was a pretty young girl with a quick mind. Valentine read stories of Rome’s history to her. He described the world of nature to her. He taught her arithmetic and told her about God. She saw the world through his eyes, trusted in his wisdom, and found comfort in his quiet strength.
 
One day she asked if God really existed and Valentine assured her that He did. She went on to tell him how she prayed morning and night that she might be able to see and Valentine told her that whatever happened would be God’s will and would be for the best. They sat and prayed together for a while.
 
Several weeks passed and the girl’s sight was not restored. Yet the man and his daughter never wavered in their faith and returned each week. Then one day, Valentine received a visit from the Roman soldiers who arrested him and who now destroyed his medicines and admonished him for his religious beliefs. When the little girl’s father learned of his arrest and imprisonment, he wanted to intervene but there was nothing he could do.
 
On the eve of his death, Valentine wrote a last note to Julia – knowing his execution was imminent. Valentine asked the jailer for a paper, pen and ink. He quickly jotted a farewell note and handed it to the jailer to give to his blind daughter. He urged her to stay close to God, and he signed it “From Your Valentine.” His sentence was carried out the next day, February 14, 269 A.D., near a gate that was later named Porta Valentini (now Porta del Popolo) in his memory.
 
When the jailer went home, he was greeted by his little girl. The little girl opened the note and discovered a yellow crocus inside. The message said, “From your Valentine.” As the little girl looked down upon the crocus that spilled into her palm she saw brilliant colours for the first time in her life! The girl’s eyesight had been restored.
 
He was buried at what is now the Church of Praxedes in Rome, near the cemetery of St Hippolytus. It is said that Julia herself planted a pink-blossomed almond tree near his grave. Today, the almond tree remains a symbol of abiding love and friendship.
 
In 496 Pope Gelasius I named February 14 as Saint Valentine’s Day. On each Valentine’s Day, messages of affection, love and devotion are still exchanged around the world. This could be because of Valentine’s work in marrying couples against the law, or because of the miracle worked for Julia and the message he left other. Others believe that people in medieval times sent love notes during February because it was seen as the mating season of birds and that Valentine’s feast falling in the middle of the month became the principle day for this.
 
Compiled from various sources including The New Catholic Encyclopaedia (New York: McGraw Hill. 1967), Butler’s Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs and other principal Saints, and from the Encyclopaedia Britannica (London. 1962).
 
Relics claimed by other places
It is quite possible that the Church of Praxedes, in Rome, does have some of the remains of the saint. A relic can be as small as a scraping of bone or a hair from the head of a saint up to the entire, intact body, as with Blessed Pope John XXIII. In early Christian times it was the custom to build churches over the tombs of the martyrs (as with St Peter’s Basilica and St Paul’s Basilica in Rome) but as time went on this became both impossible and impractical. Instead, the faithful placed parts of the body of a saint in the new altar in the church which meant that the whole body was not used. Therefore, the remains of a saint could be found in many places which does not detract from what is found in any one place or the veneration of the saint by the faithful.
 
Prayer to St Valentine
O glorious advocate and protector,
St Valentine,
look with pity upon our wants,
hear our requests,
attend to our prayers,
relieve by your intercession the miseries
under which we labour,
and obtain for us the divine blessing,
that we may be found worthy to join you
in praising the Almighty for all eternity:
through the merits of
Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Amen.
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