EVERYTHING FAMILY &
"Mother of Family Ideas"
Own a Piece of
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.
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.
Penny is becoming scarce as is the opportunity to own one.
IRISH PENNY GIFTS
Irish Penny on
Irish Penny on Bag Tag $20.00
LUCK of the IRISH
Card has an authentic
Irish Lucky Penny.
& Luscious Desserts
A cookbook with
Humorous Limericks for Grown-ups
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
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.
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
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
email@example.com or through The Record-Eagle.