RESOURCES TO HELP FAMILIES THRIVE

IRISH GIFTS

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Own a Piece of

OLD IRELAND!!!

LUCKY IRISH PENNY

    This Penny was first minted in 1928 when Ireland became an independent Republic. Last minted in 1968, the next mint was the decimal, so this was the last year of the truly Irish Coin.

    This unique Penny is a piece of art made of Copper and weighs almost an Ounce. One side is the Irish Harp, the National Symbol of Ireland, the other side Hen and Chicks. The writing on the coin is Gaelic.

 

This Penny is becoming scarce as is the opportunity to own one.  

 

IRISH PENNY GIFTS 

 

Irish Penny on Necklace $20.00 


Irish Penny on Key Chain $20.00


Irish Penny on Bag Tag $20.00


LUCK of the IRISH

GREETING CARDS

 

Card has an authentic Irish Lucky Penny.

 

USD $15.00


 

 

Lusty Limericks & Luscious Desserts

A cookbook with Humorous Limericks for Grown-ups


MotherLodeCover.JPG (116195 bytes)

Mother Lode

The Ultimate Collection of Ideas for Keeping Kids Busy

by Kas Winters

 

Over 5,000 ideas for tots through teens

 

Includes activities for various cultural celebrations and learning.

 

USD $30.00

IDEAS for CELEBRATING ST. PATRICK'S DAY WITH YOUR FAMILY


A bit of Irish literature:

Limericks, satire and the beginning of modern prose

 

By Sally D. Ketchum

 

Ireland, so rich in folklore and superstitions, has produced literature respected world over. The first forms were amusing and probably sung; limericks are one example. Limerick form is simple, but with a strict rhyme scheme prescribed, AABBA. Although limericks are usually ribald, the following one is wistful, an old, rather philosophic one that most probably functioned as a drinking song. Perhaps it was popular enough to survive since it not only embraced the tough realism of the Irish spirit, but also its love of life, too.

 

And let me get the canakin, clink,

And let me get the canakin, clink

A soldier’s a man

A life’s a short span,

Why, then, let a soldier drink!

 

Later, during the 18th century, sometimes called the Age of Reason (and wit,) Ireland gave the literary world Jonathan Swift. Although he was misanthropic and a malcontent, he was the master of satire, and, as one scholar calls him,  “the invincible command of plain phrase,” His famous work, Gulliver’s Travels, is often thought of as an children’s book.  Most editions and films deal only with book one, Lilliput, but a recent edition covers all four voyages. (Candlewick: Martin Jenkins and illustrated by Chris Riddell) Though a children’s book, it is truer to Swift’s spirit and it covers all four books. The voyages are a march into darkness. Gulliver (think gullible) often doesn’t see the nastiness and cruelty around him, but, of course, the reader and Swift do.

 

In the first voyage to Lilliput, Swift criticizes the pettiness and vanity of man. In the second, to Brobdingnag, the giants are gross, simplistic, and unable to understand virtue and vice; and in the third voyage to Laputa, the target is science and scientists gone amok--the nonsensical, despicable side of science. In the fourth book the most vicious of all, Gulliver finds creatures he calls Yahoos (no connection with the search engine) who are filthy, amoral creatures. But, in truth, they are decadent human beings. Today’s readers might find Swift’s 18th century satires work today. The 18th century had Swift, we have CNN. Both bare the reality of wars, scandals, corruption, politics, cruelty and indifference. Both Gulliver and the reader are appalled. The society Gulliver prefers in book four is equine, the Houyhnhnms (Swift’s version of a neigh). They are horses who are gentle, intelligent, but rather bland.

 

Last and perhaps most famous (or infamous) is James Joyce. His brilliant and innovative masterpiece, Ulysses, although banned in America for obscenity until 1933, was the birth of modern novel. Joyce is the father of  “the steam of consciousness. He also has an innovative command of archetypal patterns. At its simplest, Ulysses is an account of one day (a June 16th) in the life of a Leopold Bloom, a lower-middle class man in Dublin. However, while describing Bloom’s actions that day, Joyce also gives the reader Bloom’s every thought—even truncated thoughts, past and present impressions, and reactions to all stimuli he encounters. A lot of them time, these thoughts don’t make sense; they are, indeed, a “steam of consciousness”—reality, a jumble like our own minds.

 

There are symbolic threads of The Odyssey in the book (Ulysses is Odysseus.), and also there is symbolic use of anatomy. (I’d rather Joyce had left that out.) Ulysses was recently named No. 1 on the The Modern Library’s Editorial Board’s list of the best 100 novels of the 20th century. “The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man” is No. 3.). Readers are wise, perhaps, to start reading Joyce with “Portrait,” it, too, is great literature, but a much easier read than Ulysses.

 

Last, in this brief piece is a William Butler Yeats, a Dubliner and a Nobel Prize winning dramatist, essayist and poet. Although he traveled widely, he was always homesick for Ireland. He died in France in 1939, but was later re-buried in his beloved country.  I know one of Yeats’ poems, “The Lake Isle of Innisfree,” very, very well.  A large copy in calligraphy hangs over our piano. The poem is full of yearning for solitary quiet and the comfort of many aspects of nature, wildlife, soil and water—and, I think, for home, too. It’s perfect poetry for our modest home here on the lake. The last verse of the three:

“I will arise and go now, for always night and day

I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;

While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,

I hear it in the deep heart’s core.”

The last line always evokes peace in us.

 

So here’s to the Irish! We are drawn to their Guinness and corned beef, their poetry and pride, and that’s what we celebrate March 17th.

____________

Sally Ketchum is a northern Michigan writer. She has many Irish acquaintances. She says that, "Each of them that would be a great character in a book, and I use them on occasion.” Ketchum may be reached at ketchum1985@gmail.com or through The Record-Eagle.


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10/27/15

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