My first experience with Guinness Extra Stout, the quintessential drink of Ireland, was a poor harbinger of my eventual opinion of the heavy, dark ale. I first drank the black Irish beer at Geisenhaus in North Canton while sampling 52 beers over the course of a year in the mid-1980s, my mission to earn a handcrafted stein and to learn about beers of the world. I liked most beers on the program, but I hated the Guinness — it tasted like molasses, and I guzzled the last third to get it over with. It was not a beer I wished to drink again. But drink it again I did, several years later, and that time I came to appreciate it. Read the rest of this entry »
Archive for the ‘Celts’ Category
I’m curious if I can trace my love of Scottish and Irish music through a specific ancestor back to the homeland. As long as I’ve played violin, long before I knew that traditional Scottish fiddling existed, I felt an intense call to play Scottish music. That longing may have originated in my ancestry.
Robert Crum, William Cran and Robert MacNeil in “The Story of English,” published in 1986 and based on the PBS television series, wrote about the cultural impact of the planting of settlers in northern Ireland. The English, always trying to quash, oust and otherwise defeat the rebellious Celts who had the gall to want to rule their own lands and have freedom to worship as they chose, enacted a series of measures intended to break the rule of the Celtic chiefs in Ulster, the northern kingdom of Ireland. (I added that bit of editorializing.) King James confiscated the lands of the Lords of Tyrone and Tyrconnel, say the messieurs, and granted the territory in the north to English and Scottish planters, the bulk of the new tenants coming from Scotland. About 200,000 Lowland Scots — those who lived in the south of Scotland — went to Ulster, mainly to northeast Ireland, in the first decades of the 17th century, and 2 million of their descendants migrated to America in the 18th and 19th centuries and the early part of the 20th century. My McClintick ancestors may have been among those Scots-Irish immigrants. Read the rest of this entry »
Perhaps it was a T-shirt bearing the red dragon of Wales that caught my eye. I have this vague memory of David Mandry wearing such a shirt at the Flax Scutching Festival in Winona in the early 1990s, and because I played in a band, the Bog Carrot, that played Welsh music, in addition to traditional Scottish and Irish tunes, I may have said hello. David and Joan Mandry, the latter hailing from Aberystwyth on Cardigan Bay and being a singer and folksong compiler, soon became Bog Carrot fans, because it’s not everywhere that you can hear the traditional music of Wales. They came to hear us play on Aug. 19, 1995, in a concert hosted by the Lisbon Historical Society next to the Old Stone House, a former tavern built in 1805, and with them was a young Welsh woman, Mari Morgan, who, we learned, sang traditional Welsh songs. Read the rest of this entry »
The high-hipped cat without a tale, the Manx takes its name from a tiny island, the Isle of Man, 33 miles long and 13 miles wide, lying between England and Ireland in the Irish Sea. The Manx is short-haired and has no tail, with a hollow where the tail should start. John Montgomery in “The World of Cats” says the high back legs give it a walk like a rabbit’s hop.
Legends claim the Manx cat reached the Isle of Man from wrecked ships of the Spanish Armada off Spanish Point, near Port Erin; a newspaper from 1808 says an East County ship wrecked on Jurby Point; and another tradition says a Baltic ship wrecked between Castle Rushen and the Calf. A Welsh legend says that Manx cats were known in Cornwall at an early date and the cat went from the west of England to Man. A superstition said that Manx cats had their own king who lived the life of an ordinary house cat by day and at night assumed his royal powers, and if his householder is cruel to him, he takes terrible revenge. The Manx supposedly lost his tail because he was late getting on the Ark. You can see information about the Manx at the Cat Fanciers’ Association website at http://www.cfa.org/client/breedManx.aspx. Read the rest of this entry »
Highland Scots remember him as the rose among the heather.
Charles Edward Stuart was descended from the first king of Scotland, Robert the Bruce, who defeated England at the battle of Bannockburn in 1314. Robert was descended from Robert de Bruce I, a follower of William the Conqueror, the Norman leader who invaded England in 1066. The surname Bruce came from Bruis, a castle near Cherbourg, and is typical of many French names that indicated the home of the person. Read the rest of this entry »
During our vacation in Michigan in 2010, my wife and I ate pasties on a porch in Munising beside South Bay, an inlet of Lake Superior, while waiting for a boat excursion to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. A pasty — pronounced with a hard “a,” as in pat, is a meat pie that hints at a Celtic past in the U.P. I discovered when I began attending Scottish games in the 1990s that the meat pie is a traditional Scottish food, and no games is complete without a vendor selling that treat and Scottish shortbread. The pasty, however, is a product of another branch of the Celts, who once spread throughout most of Europe: those who live in Cornwall.
“Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable,” 16th ed., says that Cornwall, the last county in England before embarking by water for Ireland and points south and west, takes its name from the Cornish word Kernow, deriving from the tribal name Cornovii, meaning “horn people,” referring to the long peninsula that Cornwall occupies. The Anglo-Saxons called the Britons who lived there “Cornwalas,” meaning “Corn foreigners,” and that term became Cornwall. Read the rest of this entry »
My friend’s widow gave this print to me. The painting, by Robert Griffing, is titled “Long Way From Home.” My friend bought it at the Ligonier Highland Games in Pennsylvania. Griffing produces eastern frontier and American Indian paintings in exquisite, realistic detail. His website is http://www.robertgriffing.com/.
I never thought I would seriously consider wearing a kilt. But I must if I’m to realize one of my ambitions — I want to compete in Scottish fiddle competitions, and one of the main requirements for males, right up there after knowing how to play traditional Scottish fiddle, is wearing of the kilt. So I’ve embarked on the quest to find a kilt. Read the rest of this entry »
I saw the term “St. Patty’s Day” in three comic strips last week. I was tempted to write the authors and tell them it’s St. Paddy’s Day,” but the deed was done. It’s a common mistake, one I see often in ads. I’ve taught the newsroom writers at the Alliance Review the correct spelling, but the rest of the world, at least in the U.S., seems unaware of the distinction. Patty is the nickname for Patricia, and Paddy is the nickname for Patrick. Paddy is obvious to me because I play Irish music, where many tune names include “Paddy,” such as “Paddy’s Return.” I corrected the newsroom when articles about the Indonesian tsunami called the wave a tidal wave, and I like to think that I enlightened AP in that regard, because it quickly followed suit. But no one at AP called to thank me, so I’ll never know. Next is fixing St. Patty’s, and after that I hope to eliminate “share” as a synonym for “tell” and “present.”
Columbus discovered America. That was the standard thinking on the discovery of our continent for a long time, ignoring the fact that Indians were already here and considered the land already discovered. Then we learned that the Vikings had preceded Columbus, moving west from Iceland to Greenland to what is now the coast of maritime Canada, but they left no lasting settlements so lost the credit for discovery. A lesser-known and possibly apocryphal expedition was that of Madoc o Cymru (Madoc of Wales). Read the rest of this entry »