Irish Heritage Month – St. Patrick’s Day Traditions & Irish History

So it has been a crazy month, and my plan for posting things twice, even once a week did not work out. So today I want to post about some traditions that my family has on St. Patrick’s Day, as well as some parts of Irish History, including one of the most significant points in Irish History.


 

On St. Patrick’s Day every year my family has some traditions that we always try to observe. Sadly some of them don’t always happen when St. Patrick’s Day falls during the week. However, when it falls on a weekend, we start the day with a traditional Irish breakfast, made up of bacon rashers, sausage, white pudding, black pudding, fried eggs, and fried tomato. Then we all sit down together to watch the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in NYC. In the evening, we sit down with a delicious dinner of Corned Beef, potatoes, cabbage, and carrots. This year we had our corned beef and carrots with colcannon, which is normally a potato and cabbage dish. However, since my mom and I have a potato allergy we used cauliflower, and it was amazing. While we eat our dinner, we sit down and watch two movies.  The Quiet Man starring John Wayne and Maureen  O’Hara and Darby O’Gill and the Little People starring Sean Connery, Albert Sharpe and Janet Munro.  The Quiet Man tells the story of Sean Thornton, a man who after a fatal knock out in the boxing ring, returns to his home of Ireland, where he meets Mary Kate Danaher and follows their courtship and marriage. In Darby O’Gill and the Little People, we are treated to the story of Darby O’Gill his daughter Katie and Mr. Michael McBride of Dublin as they tangle with Brian, King of the Leprechauns, and the local bully Pony Sugrew.


 

In King Brian’s main home for the leprechauns, we see his throne that he sits upon, the throne of King Brian Boru, the last high king of Ireland. Brian Boru also known by his Irish Gaelic name Brian Borumha mac Cennetig, ruled Ireland from 1002 to 1014. He was born in the early 10th Century, in the ancient kingdom of Kincora, near a town called Killaloe by the banks of the River Shannon in County Clare.

During the 9th Century, Ireland was under constant siege by the Vikings; they would ransack churches and villages in the east and began to establish settlements in what would later become known as the cities of Dublin, Waterford and Limerick. When he was still only a child, Brian Boru’s mother, father and elder brother were killed by Vikings and Boru became king of the province of Munster.

In 1002, Brian Boru established himself as High King of Ireland after he successfully challenged the reigning king to the title and defeating him in battle at the Hill of Tara. As King, he sought to rebuild the churches plundered by the Vikings and reorganize the church in Ireland with the Armagh Cathedral at its head. Boru managed to do what no other High King of Ireland had done, he established himself as King of Ireland in more than just name, by forcing all other challengers to swear allegiance to him during a ten-year campaign.


Today marks the 100th Anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising, which was the rebellion for Irish Independence. This rebellion changed the course of Ireland’s history when it began on Easter Monday of 1916. There were 7 members of the Irish Republican Brotherhood Military Council, the group that planned the rising. Their names were Thomas Clarke, Sean McDermott, Patrick Pearse, Eamonn Ceannt, Joseph Plunkett, James Connolly and Thomas MacDonagh. All seven of these men were executed at the end of the rebellion.

The 1916 Easter Rising began on that Easter Monday, when members of the IRB, Irish Volunteer Force, and Irish Citizen Army, took over the pre-selected buildings around Dublin with little resistance. These buildings included the General Post Office, the Four Courts, Jacob’s Factory, Boland’s Mill, the South Dublin Union, St. Stephen’s Green, and the College of Surgeons. Military Strategy and position were the factors that went into the decisions of which buildings to occupy. Dublin was the location of the deadliest battles which took place at Mount Street Bridge.

The British forces that opposed the Irish Republic were lead by Brigadier-General William Lowe. By April 28th, the British forces went from only 400 troops to 19,000. This went up against the 1,600 fighters for the Irish Republic as there had been some confusion as to the date of the rising.

Three days after the battle at Mount Street Bridge, Elizabeth O’Farrell carried the order to surrender to other strong holds that were under rebel control. The order read: “In order to prevent the further slaughter of Dublin citizens, and in the hope of saving the lives of our followers now surrounded and hopelessly outnumbered, the members of the Provisional Government present at headquarters have agreed to an unconditional surrender, and the commandants of the various districts in the City and County will order their commands to lay down arms” (courtesy of Irish Central., for full article click here).

At the end of the rising 16 leaders were executed and about 3,000 more were arrested in connection with the group.


 

Thank you for reading about 2 pieces of Irish History that are important to me, as well as important in the growth of Ireland as a country.

If you would like to learn more about the 1916 Easter Rising, or Irish History in general, there are great books, and websites that are dedicated to the wonderful history of Ireland and it’s people. I will put some links below.


 

Living In Ireland | A Brief History of Ireland

GenealogyPro | Irish History

Local Histories | A Brief History of Ireland

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