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There is a very old prayer attributed to Saint Patrick called “Patrick’s Hymn” or “The Lorica”. In Ireland we know it more commonly as “St. Patrick’s Breastplate” and “The Deer’s Cry”.

For centuries it was believed Saint Patrick wrote the hymn and sang it on the occasion when he and and a group of companions were on their way to the Hill of Tara to convert a great Irish king to Christianity. More recently, scholars suggest it was written by an anonymous author in the late 7th or early 8th century.

Whatever the case, it is a prayer/poem/hymn that reflects the spirit of the patron saint of Ireland. So, on this the feast day of Saint Patrick, I offer you his cherished prayer. God bless and Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

Saint Patrick’s Hymn

I arise to-day

Through a mighty strength

With the invocation of the Trinity,

Through belief in the Threeness

Thorough confession of the Oneness

In the society of the Creator.

 

I arise to-day

Through the strength of Christ with His baptism,

Through the strength of His crucifixion with His burial,

Through the strength of His resurrection with his ascension,

Through the strength of His descent for the Judgment of Doom.

 

I arise to-day

Through the strength of the rank of Cherubim,

In obedience of angels,

In the service of the archangels,

In hope of resurrection to meet with reward,

In prays of Patriarchs,

In preachings of Apostles,

In faiths of Confessors,

In innocence of holy Virgins,

In deeds of righteous men.

 

I arise to-day

Through the strength of heaven:

Light of sun,

Radiance of moon,

Splendour of fire,

Speed of lightening,

Swiftness of wind,

Depth of sea

Stability of earth,

Firmness of rock.

 

I arise to-day

Through God’s strength to pilot me:

God’s might to uphold me,

God’s wisdom to guide me,

God’s eye to look before me,

God’s ear to hear me,

God’s word to speak for me,

God’s hand to guard me,

God’s way to lie before me,

God’s shield to protect me,

God’s host to save me

From snares of devils,

From temptation of vices,

From everyone who wishes me ill

Afar and anear

Alone and in a multitude.

 

I summon to-day all these powers between me and those evils:

Against every cruel merciless power that may oppose my body and soul;

Against incantations of false prophets

Against black laws of Pagandom,

Against false laws of heretics,

Against craft of idolatry,

Against spells of women and smiths and wizards,

Against every knowledge that corrupts man’s body and soul.

 

Christ to shield me to-day

Against poison, against burning,

Against drowning, against wounding,

So that there may come to me abundance of reward.

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,

Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,

Christ on my right hand, Christ on my left,

Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ when I arise,

Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,

Christ in every mouth of everyone who speaks of me,

Christ in every eye that sees me,

Christ in every ear that hears me.

 

I arise to-day

Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity;

Through belief in the Threeness,

Through confession of the Oneness

Of the Creator of Creation.

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It’s been an exciting year for Ireland and its film industry and the proof is in the pudding…or maybe I should say “the Oscars” because, for the first time ever, Ireland has several Oscar entries in several categories. And this year it is very possible that an Irish co-produced film or an Irish actor/actress/director will take home an all important gold statue.

Here is the breakdown of the Irish at Oscars 2016:

Best Picture: Brooklyn and Room.

Untitled

Best Actor in a Leading Role: Michael Fassbender in Steve Jobs. Though Michael was born in Heidelberg, Germany, and his father is German, his mother is Irish. His family moved to Killarney when he was a toddler.

Best Actress in a Leading Role: Saoirse Ronan in Brooklyn and Brie Larson in Room. Saoirse was born in New York to Irish parents. When she was three the family moved back to Ireland and Saoirse grew up in County Carlow. Brie Larson is a native of San Francisco, California. And while she’s not Irish, she is being recognized for her role in an Irish film that was directed by Irishman Lenny Abrahamson, who is from Dublin.

Best Director: Lenny Abrahamson for Room. Lenny was born in Dublin. He studied physics and philosophy at Trinity College, where he also directed short videos with the Trinity Video Society, which he co-founded with Ed Guiney. He graduated in 1991 with first class honours (gold medal). Previously he directed Adam & Paul, Garage, What Richard Did, Frank, and, for television, Prosperity.

Best Short Film (Live Action): Benjamin Cleary for Stutterer. Benjamin is an Irish writer/director from Dublin. He completed a Screenwriting MA at the London Film School. Stutterer is his first short film, which he wrote, directed, and edited.

Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay): Room, Screenplay by Nick Hornby and Brooklyn, Screenplay by Emma Donoghue. Emma was born in Dublin in 1969. She is an award-winning writer, living in Canada. Her first feature film is Room, which she adapted from her novel by the same name. Her novel was shortlisted for the Man Booker and Orange Prizes and has sold over two million copies. Her latest novel is Frog Music, a mystery inspired by a murder in San Francisco, 1876. She is adapting it into a feature film for Monumental Pictures.

How to Watch The Oscars from Ireland:

The 88th Academy Awards takes place tonight in the Dolby Theatre, Hollywood and it will be an all night affair for anyone watching it from Ireland. The famous red-carpet-walk kicks off at midnight Irish time and the ceremony itself starts at about 1.30am. The whole celebration will finish around 5am.

If you have Sky, you will have a few ways in which to watch the glitz and glamour. The E! channel will run its broadcast from 10.30pm-4.30am. Sky Living will start its live broadcast at 11.30pm. And, I believe, Sky will have a dedicated Oscars channel: Sky 331/Virgin Media 307. Alex Zane and Zoe Ball will host the previews until Chris Rock takes over at 1.30am.

Also, The Irish Times will have a live blog of the red carpet pre-event and the ceremony itself.

If you can’t be bothered to stay up all night (and who can blame you…personally I’m only interested in the Irish nominees!), it will be possible to catch up on highlights on Monday evening at 9pm on RTÉ2, when the event will be condensed into a (thank goodness) two-hour package.

Irish Oscar Win Odds:

What are our chances of the Irish bringing home the gold? Well, Laurence Mackin of The Irish Times predicts, “Don’t expect a haul. Brie Larson is 1/33 to pick up an Academy Award of Merit (the Oscar’s official name) for her stunning turn in Room. Variety recently threw its weight behind Benjamin Cleary’s chance in the best live action short category (Stutterer is at 3/1). The others though remain outside bets. Room and Lenny Abrahamson are at 66/1 and Brooklyn is at 200/1.”

I’m going to remain positive, however, and cheer the Irish on into the wee hour of the night. Here’s hoping Ireland wins big.

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Patience. Some say it’s a “virtue”, others say it is “a companion of wisdom”. I say, when exercised correctly, patience is an act of love. We practice patience with our children, particularly when they are young, with our spouses when they make us crazy, and sometimes…if we remember…with our parents…especially as they are aging.

My sister-in-law, Rosaleen, is a person with infinite patience. As her mum’s health slowly declined, Rosaleen’s patience exponentially increased. Everyone in our family watched in awe (and with gratitude) as she courageously stepped into the role of caregiving daughter and lived in that space for many years without complaint.

When Mama wanted to go to bed, Rosaleen was there to assist. When Mama asked the same question for the twentieth time, Rosaleen answered with kindness. When many of us thought Mama should enter a nursing home, Rosaleen resolutely disagreed. Taking Mama out of her beloved home was not an option to consider. Instead, Rosaleen got outside help to come to her and together everyone practiced patience in helping my magnificent mother-in-law leave this world.

By the grace of God, Rosaleen was near to Mama when she took her last breath…but she nearly missed the moment. The doctor, having been called to the house, examined my mother-in-law, and asked to see Rosaleen in the hall. For a few tense minutes they whispered about the inevitable and reentered the bedroom where Mama was resting. Not a second later, Rosaleen saw her mum turn to look at the sepia coloured wedding photograph of herself and Dada hanging on the wall. Mama then took one more breath and that was it. She was gone. Someone not practicing patience might have missed it, but not Rosaleen. She was there.

She was there in that moment and she was there for everything that happened in the whirlwind of a week thereafter. She made the arrangements for a celebration of life to honour Mama. She arranged the wake at home, the removal, and the sit-down lunch at the hotel after the burial. She cooked and baked and fed our large family and the many visitors that called in. She made endless cups of tea and opened more bottles of wine than any of us want to remember. Ah, sure, she’d tell us it was nothing with a wave of her hand or she’d say “many hands make light work” or give the credit to someone else. But we know…it was her. And now she quietly and patiently goes through a home filled with a lifetime of memories and cherished objects, passing things on to the next generation or recycling and giving away what she can whenever possible.

So today, on this the Month’s Mind of Mama’s passing, we not only remember the woman we called Mother, Granny, Great-grandma, admired Mother-in-law…we stop to thank the person who practiced the most loving patience we ever witnessed. Dear Rosaleen, we are so very grateful. Thank you.

Additional Reading & Listening:

http://www.rte.ie/radio1/doconone/2011/0715/646810-radio-documentary-house-strictly-private-irish-wake/

http://farmette.ie/2010/03/03/the-irish-country-wake/

http://blog.funeralone.com/grow-your-business/unique-services/irish-funerals-can-teach-us-celebrating-life/

http://www.irishcentral.com/roots/history/Ancient-Irish-funeral-and-wake-customs-recalled-this-Halloween-season.html

https://www.funeralwise.com/customs/irishwake/

http://www.irishcentral.com/opinion/others/it-may-be-a-stereotype-but-the-irish-do-great-funerals-138564194-238119711.html

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Mary Rose

Screen Shot 2015-04-22 at 3.15.08 PMIt is with great sorrow that I share with you the tremendous loss happening in our Irish home. After several months of illness, my wonderful mother-in-law, Mary Rose, passed away peacefully on the evening of 8 April 2015 surrounded by her loving family.

Mary Rose was our matriarch. Her beloved husband, Dan, passed away some time ago. She was in her ninety first year when she left this world and she is remembered with love by her twelve children, their husbands and wives, her twenty-eight grandchildren and her eight great-grandchildren.

Mama (the name her family called her by) was a woman of strong Catholic faith. She passed the tradition she felt so passionately to her children and their families. She attended mass daily until she was no longer able and for many years she participated in the Perpetual Adoration of her local church. She prayed the Rosary every day.

As those of you who have followed this blog for a long time will know, I was blessed to learn much from Mama. She gently encouraged and showed me how to cook, bake, garden, knit and sew. She was before her time in thinking about eating organically and maintaining good health ~ a passion we shared. In her quiet way, Mama also showed me how to be a good mother. Once, when I asked her how she managed to hold back her tears as she said goodbye to her children when they left Ireland, she told me a mother should never burden her children with such sorrow.

We will miss Mary Rose greatly. I leave you today with a poem that was read at her funeral mass:

Miss Me – But Let Me Go

by Edgar A. Guest

When I come to the end of the road

And the sun has set for me

I want no rites in a gloom-filled room.

Why cry for a soul set free?

Miss me a little but not too long

And not with your head bowed low.

Remember the love that we once shared,

Miss me but let me go.

For this is a journey we all must take

And each must go alone.

It’s all a part of the Master’s plan,

A step on the road to home.

When you are lonely and sick of heart

Go to the friends we know

And bury your sorrows in doing good deeds.

Miss me but let me go.

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The Meeting on the Turret Stairs by Frederic William Burton

The Meeting on the Turret Stairs by Frederic William Burton

One of my favourite paintings in The National Gallery of Ireland is Hellelil and Hildebrand, The Meeting on the Turret Stairs by Frederic William Burton.

This richly coloured watercolour painting depicts the ill-fated lovers Hellelil and Hildebrand, meeting on the stone stairway of a medieval tower. The princess and her bodyguard had fallen in love but her father regarded the young soldier as an unsuitable match for his daughter and ordered his sons to kill him.

The painting captures the couple’s poignant final embrace. Burton’s inspiration for the painting was the story of the ill-fated lovers as told in an old Danish ballad.

It seems I am not the only one smitten by this exquisite painting. Back in 2012, RTE ran a competition to find the country’s favourite piece of artwork and The Meeting on the Turret Stairs was the winner.

In 1864, Burton sold the painting to a dealer, Edward Fox White. Interestingly, in the contract they signed, Burton retained the copyright. The painting changed hands a number of times over the following 30 years but in 1898 it was bought by Miss Margaret McNair Stokes (sister of Whitley Stokes).

An article by Jeanette Stokes in the Irish Arts Review, (Vol.26, no.3, 2009) refers to the fact that there are tantalising hints in some of Margaret Stokes’s letters to her family that her interest in Burton was something more than friendship. Margaret Stokes was writing a biography of Burton when she died in 1900, in her will she bequeathed the painting, along with a number of other works by Burton, to the National Gallery of Ireland.

Sadly, the painting is only available to view at limited times each week, due to its medium and sensitivity to light. The National Gallery’s website states: “The Meeting on the Turret Stairs will be back on limited display from 2 March 2015. Viewing Times from 2nd March: Mondays and Wednesdays: 11.30am to 12.30pm. Admission is free, but a timed-ticketing system will be in operation. No advance booking. Tickets are limited and available on the day, from the Information Desk in the Millennium Wing, on a first-come, first-served basis.”

If you’re in Dublin, stop by The National Gallery of Ireland…and, if you’re lucky, you too will catch a glimpse of this exceptional Irish love painting.

 

 

Additional Reading:

http://www.nationalgallery.ie/Home/Collection/Irelands_Favourite_Painting/Burton

http://www.historyireland.com/medieval-history-pre-1500/irelands-favourite-paintingthe-meeting-on-the-turret-stairs/

http://www.thejournal.ie/irelands-favourite-painting-is-announced-and-its-a-romantic-one-462651-May2012/

http://thewildgeese.com/profiles/blogs/burton-s-helellil-and-hildebrand-the-meeting-on-the-turret-stairs

http://www.independent.ie/entertainment/books/irelands-favourite-painting-reveals-that-were-a-country-of-old-romantics-at-heart-26857335.html

 

 

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An Irish Easter

Opps…in all the hustle and bustle of the day…I forgot to hit the “Publish” button on this post yesterday!! 

Easter is finally upon us and the weather is still holding beautifully. We were meant to get showers from Wednesday onwards, but the sun has been splitting the sky and everyone is out and about in their spring finery.

Mother nature has been a bit of a show off too.

Spring in Ireland 1Spring in Ireland 2

 

We have a house-full coming for dinner this afternoon. Nineteen for supper (that’s the adults and the children) and another seven for the afters (tea and dessert/cheese board and port). The big debate in our Irish home has been lamb or ham?!? Yes, it’s the baa vs the oink!

My lovely husband is fed up with me asking everyone we meet, “Are you serving ham or lamb for your Easter supper?” Our Irish home is evenly divided. What about yours? To keep the peace, we’ve decided to split the difference and have both this year. Roast lamb with garlic and rosemary AND baked ham crusted with brown sugar glaze and honey.

For sides will be having roast potatoes and boiled potatoes (you can never have too many potatoes in Ireland), garden peas and a big green salad. And for our pudding (dessert) we’re serving Rhubarb Crumble, Apple Tart, Banoffee, Lemon Drizzle Cake, Meringues with fresh fruit and cream and, for the children, we have Rice Krispie Bars, Rocky Road Biscuits, and Caramel Squares. It’s an Irish desert feast!

To finish off the supper, we’re serving a selection of gorgeous Irish cheeses: Gubbeen, Cooleeney, Cashel Blue, Wexford Vintage Cheddar, along with Manchego and Saint Agur (the last two not being Irish).

It’s a huge Easter meal for a rather large crowd, but as my sister-in-law loves to say, “Many hands make light work!” We’ve got many hands cooking today: even two of the brothers-in-law are hard at work in the kitchen, each one making a leg of lamb! We can’t wait to see who makes the best one.

From our Irish home to yours, I wish you a very Happy Easter!

 

 

 

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I have enjoyed reading Angela’s posts at A Silver Voice from Ireland for the past two years. This one, in particular, about Little Women’s Christmas in Ireland, is so thorough that it made no sense for me to write my own post about the matter. Thank you, Angela, I’m going to put my feet up {actually, I’m going to go back to bed!}. To women everywhere, I wish you a Nollaig na mBan.

A SILVER VOICE FROM IRELAND

On Monday next, January 6, thousands of women across Ireland will gather to celebrate Nollaig na mBan or Womens Christmas.

All over Ireland, January 6 marks the end of the Christmas season – it is the day on which the fairy lights, the Christmas tree, the decorations and the Christmas cards are taken down and put away for another year. It is considered bad luck if decorations remain displayed after this date! January 6 has many titles – Epiphany, Little Christmas, 12th Night, Women’s Christmas,  Women’s  Little Christmas, and Nollaig na mBan. Such an important day to have 6 different names!

In Ireland, ‘Little Christmas’ is one of the traditional names for January 6, the feast of the Epiphany. Epiphany is a Christian celebration of the day on which the Magi arrived with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to honour the new-born baby Jesus, the day on which Jesus is revealed to the gentiles. Epiphany is one of the oldest Christian holy days that originated…

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