Wars Of The Irish Kings

In fact, land in pre-twelfth century Ireland had little political value.  Although there were rich plains, it was not a farming culture but a decentralized grazing one in which wealth was measured in cattle.  There were no cities, and the kingdoms, which rarely had roads or clearly defined boundaries, were separated by a dense forests and bogs, which were more of a deterrent to travel (or easy military movement) than the mountains.  A reading of the  sometimes-cryptic early annals suggests and endless series of battles and cattle raids.  To be glib, early medieval Ireland sounds like a somewhat crazed Wisconsin, in which every dairy farm is an armed at perpetual war with its neighbors, and every farmer claims he is a king.

Some tite illustrations in the book:

For a dip into Irish history, you can’t top:

The illustrations go a long way towards telling the story.

It’s not all bad. 

Edward McGuire’s portrait of Seamus Heaney.


Stewball

Samuel Sidney [The Book of the Horse, 1875, repr. ed. Bonanza Books, 1985] stated Skewball “…won a great number of plates and prizes in England, and one famous match in Ireland.” The Irish turf callendar says he won six races worth £508 in 1752, when he was eleven years old, and was the top earning runner of that year in Ireland. The match became the subject of a ballad, Skewball, which has endured, in varying forms, to the present day.

The match celebrated by the ballad is listed in Pond’s Racing Calendar of 1752. It was held at the Curragh in Kildare, Ireland, on Saturday, March 28, with each participant putting up 300 guineas. Arthur Marvin (also Marvyn, or Mervin) owned Skewball, who carried 8st. 7lb. His opponent was “Sir Ralph Gore’s grey mare,” carrying the heavier weight of 9 st. Skewball was a gelding, which explains why he was still running at age eleven; although it was not uncommon for horses to run to ages 9 or 10 during that period, successful stallions were usually retired from the turf to commence their stud careers. He won the 4 mile race in 7 minutes and 51 seconds.

(source)

Whatever just noting that it’s the 266nd anniversary of a run by a horse in a race that people are still singing about.

A skewbald horse. Karakal’s own work on Wiki

They don’t seem to run many four mile horse races anymore.  Some history on these “real stayers.

Sir Ralph Gore, owner of the grey mare, was born at Belle Isle castle.

During the Battle of Lauffeld on 2 July 1747 all his superior officers were killed or severely wounded, so command of the battalion fell to Gore, who performed so well, that on the following day he received the thanks of the British commander Prince William, Duke of Cumberland.

The Curragh:

photo by Eoghan888

(Remembering now that I stopped there once to visit the Irish National Stud)

Helytimes own photo

Leadbelly’s version:

and one more from Leadbelly:

Check out the bowties on The Hollies:


Mary Anne Trump

One of our most popular posts is on Fred Trump, outrageous, villainous, smiling agent of chaos much like his son.

But we never really thought about Trump’s mother.  Mothers should be off limits maybe?  Even Trumps have mothers.  A hasty misreading of this Kellyanne Conway quote:

Got us to look into it.

Stunned to find Trump’s mother was a Gaelic-speaking immigrant from a remote Scottish island.

Hailing from the Outer Hebrides

Mary Anne MacLeod was born in Tong, on Lewis in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland, United Kingdom, in a pebbledashcroft house numbered “5 Tong”

Tong

She was raised in a Scottish Gaelic-speaking household with her second language being English, which she learned at Tong school where it was reported she was a star pupil. Mary attended the school up until the eighth grade. Her father was a crofter, fisherman and compulsory officer (truancy officer). According to one profile, she was “brought up in an environment marked by isolation, privation and gloom.”

Wow.  She’s pretty much from the Iron Islands.

You can see her interviewed in 1994 on Irish television, RTé, here.  She has an interesting accent.  She speaks of her love of Irish and Scottish music.

She claims Trump is meeting Steven Spielberg?

 


Ireland should take in two million refugees

I’ve developed a radical policy idea.  This is my position paper.

The Republic of Ireland should take in two million refugees.

Here’s my case.

Ireland is empty

Seriously, walk around the place.  There’s like nobody there.

Almost nobody

Here’s Ireland overlaid on Pennsylvania:

Pennsylvania has 12.78 million people.  Similar landscape and climate.

Ireland has 4.773 million people.

Ireland has fewer people today than it did in 1841.

Not busy

What a wild fact.  What other country is like that?  Can we really trust that 1841 census?

My source here is the Central Statistics Office of Ireland:

Ireland is empty because people moved away.

There were all the people that died in the massive famine.

But post-famine emigration is really what depopulated Ireland.  The whole story of Ireland is people moving away.

Even James Joyce looked for a life elsewhere.

The people of Ireland were themselves once refugees.  

They weren’t always looked fondly on either.

They were considered to be dirty and dangerous fundamentalists from a scary religion.

Now look at them.

“Her father, Alfred Roy Carey, was of African American and Afro-Venezuelan descent, while her mother, Patricia (née Hickey), is of Irish descent.”

Says The Washington Post:

According to the Census, there are 34.5 million Americans who list their heritage as either primarily or partially Irish. That number is, incidentally, seven times larger than the population of Ireland itself (4.68 million).

That’s just the USA.  There are something like two million Irish Australians and four millionish Irish Canadians.

What a great chance for Ireland to return the favor! 

What a cool national mission for Ireland!

And remember, we’re just restoring Ireland to its historical population level.

some people could live here

Possible counter argument:

But that will destroy the unique national character of Ireland!

Meh.

First of all, maybe they won’t, maybe they’ll adapt to it.  Or, as immigrants have done everywhere, offer new foods, traditions, ideas, and stir themselves into an overall blend.

You telling me Athlone isn’t happy to have Thai restaurant Kin Khao? Check out the reviews!

Second of all Irish culture is pretty darn resilient, there’s dudes in Southie three generations removed who’ve never visited the place who have shamrock tattoos and sing some fraction of the songs while they get drunk together.

Third of all Irish culture has been well-preserved already.

You can count on the Irish to do a fine job preserving.  source, shoutout to Wiki user Dilif

You can count on the Irish to do a solid preservation job.

(This song about boiling a policeman and spreading him like pavement is a fair example of Irish culture*.)

and

Frankly Irish culture could use a bit of a jolt.

Previous pinnacle of Irish culture?

Taking in two million refugees is a challenge.

But Ireland is up to it.  This country is one of the best ever producers of nurses, caregivers, teachers, cops.  It could be a a national project that would bring out the best in them.

You don’t think largely ceremonial president Michael D. Higgins could inspire and lead his countrymen in this task?

In conclusion, Ireland should take in two million immigrants.

Honestly it’s mostly sheep over there.

By the way, not asking Ireland to do anything I wouldn’t do myself.  You could argue California has already taken in two million refugees.  I haven’t crunched the numbers yet but I think we could take in a million more.

* I’m aware the song was written by a Scottish person

How big are England and Ireland compared to California?

The UK: 65.64 million people.  93,629 square miles.

California: 39.25 million people. 163,996 square miles.

Ireland: 4.773 million people.  32,595 square miles.

In 1841 the population of Ireland (just counting what’s now the Republic, not the whole island) was 6.53 million.

abandoned house near Killary photoed by Helytimes

Ireland is like a ghost town.

Today’s radical policy suggestion:

Ireland should take in two million refugees.  Much as the world once took them in.  It’s time to return the favor.  Two million refugees would return the nation to pre-1841 population.

Today’s question:

Are there other countries where the population is significantly smaller today than it was around 1840?

(maps via the great site Overlap Maps which is run by Sunflower Education, a publisher of books for homeschoolers)


The Irish comic tradition

source.  Barry McGovern / Johnny Murphy in Irish comic storyteller Samuel Beckett’s play

Just read this one.


It’s true.  Bannon, as presented in this book, is funny.  Makes it harder to dislike him.

At one point he describes Paul Ryan as

a limp-dick motherfucker who was born in a petri dish at the Heritage Foundation.

This vivid turn of phrase after speaking to an embattled Roger Ailes:

Bannon was surprised at his desperation.  “He was babbling,” he later told an associate.  “He was in the fucking mumble tank.”

Bannon’s key insight:

Monster, filthy, sick, beast – these are terms Bannon throws around as compliments, what bro doesn’t?  But on the other hand he starts to sound a lot like a dark wizard delighting in his devil-powers as he launches demons at the world.

Anyway, fast, entertaining and insightful book.

Was interested in the perspective of Peter Schweitzer, who wrote Clinton Cash.

Could you argue the same about journalists and Trump?  Both love Twitter.


The Ordnance Survey

 

A friend is going to Ireland to do some landscape painting.  I’m like, amazing.  Plus this is a guy who usually gets it with maps.  One day I sit down at my desk which has under its top an Ordnance Survey map of the Dingle Peninsula.

And I’m like oh friend make sure you get the Ordnance Survey map for where you’re going!

Why, he says.

Look, the Ordnance Survey Ireland website doesn’t have the smoothest experience.

But the treasures within!

Ordnance Survey Ireland is headquartered in the Phoenix Park.

The origins of the Ordnance Survey lie in the aftermath of the last Jacobite rising which was finally defeated by forces loyal to the government at the Battle of Culloden in 1746. Prince William, Duke of Cumberland realised the British Army did not have a good map of the Scottish Highlands to find the whereabouts of Jacobite dissenters such as Simon Fraser, 11th Lord Lovat so they could be put on trial.

They just missed him here.

You don’t want to have a map that marks every stone row and holy well?

A map that shows the ancient druid stones and the ruined churches like something a wizard would have?

good to have a waterproof map