Through the Ages – Coming Up Roses
Ireland, home of leprechauns and lords of the dance, lamb stew and men going into pubs.
Of course, there is much much more to Ireland and it is a wonderful place to visit, to be sure to be sure.
If you lived in a small village in Ireland, chances are that you would know most of the people who lived there. Some Irish villages have a population of 200.
Jobs would be in agriculture or in stud farms. The village would most probably have at least 2 pubs and churches as well as arts and crafts stores. Everyone wants to take a little piece of Ireland home with him or her.
Sports are very popular in Ireland. Fishing, golf, horse racing and football are big. And there’s an amazing sport called hurling. It’s kind of like field hockey. The Celts brought this game to Ireland many moons ago and whilst it’s a violent sport, a lot of people still play it.
In basic terms, there are 15 people on each of two teams. The field is around 137m long by 82m wide. There are goalposts at each end and are the same shape as those on a rugby field.
The hurley is the curved wooden stick (called cam-n in Irish) and the ball is called the sliothar. It is about the same size as a hockey ball but has a raised ridge all around it.
The object of the game is to hit the sliothar over the crossbar or under the crossbar and into the net. It is fair to say that a lot of players get accidentally knocked by the hurleys!
After a game of hurling you might want to have afternoon tea. Tea is a major drink in Ireland and is sweetened with lots of sugar. It is complimented by Irish Soda Bread, Oatcakes and scones.
Then it might be time for some music and dance which are also really popular in Ireland and there’s many a song sung down at the pub. Which of course leads us to perhaps most people’s typical idea of Ireland.
Most villages have a multitude of pubs to choose from but patrons are very particular about which one they will frequent. Traditional pubs are very social places where everyone can have a good laugh together. In fact, this is where the term ‘slagging’ came from.
Slagging is when you humiliate a person with as much humour as is possible and avoid a fight. Slagging is often done to unsuspecting tourists but it’s not really nasty, just that lovely charming old Irish humour! We think anyway!
One thing that you would not want to find in a pub is a Bishops Collar. This is the foam on top of your pint and if it is more than 1 and 1/2 inches you should send your pint back.
There are some great Irish toasts and these are our top five favourites: –
1. “May I see you grey and combing your children’s hair.”
2. “May there be a generation of children on the children of your children.”
3. “May you have warm words on a cold evening, a full moon on a dark night and the road downhill all the way to your door.”
4. “May the roof above us never fall in and may we friends gathered below never fall out.”
5. “Here’s to you and yours and to mine and ours and if mine and ours ever come across you and yours I hope you and yours will do as much for mine and ours as mine and ours have done for you and yours.”
Bring on the Soda Bread and Boxty!