Heroes of Irish History - Constance Markievicz
During a recent visit to Cork City Gaol we heard of and witnessed the kind of conditions and punishments that inmates of the jail would have had to endure. From the lowly to the not so lowly. The prison opened in 1824 but is today a visitor attraction. People were interned here for what would be considered today as less than petty transgressions. Amongst that number was one Constance Markievicz who was recorded here as one of its residents in 1919. This lady already immortalised for her part in the Rebellion of 1916 would shape the role that women would play in the Ireland that emerged after the War of Independence and indeed the Civil War. Her crime was that she gave a speech that was considered seditious.
Dublin’s Most Famous Literary Figure
This accolade could fit a number of people in the world of literature past and present. Indeed the list is potentially endless. How does one quantify or indeed arrive at a consensus to this inexplicable question. We can list the usual luminaries, everyone has a favourite. The names slip off the tongue whether it is: Wilde, Yeats, Shaw, etc. etc. However. If one were to delve into what it means to be the personification of a Dub or Dublin person who happens or happened to be a dramatist, might we find ourselves arriving at a consensus of sorts when we think about the man himself, or the ‘Quare fella’ the redoubtable Brendan Behan?
The Irish Tricolour
The flag of Ireland reflects the traditions that make up the diverse communities that inhabit the island of Ireland. In all its complexity Irish history is perhaps best personified with respect to its flag by generations of its people who sought to promote harmony between the disparate factions on the island. This perhaps can be best measured by the noble attempts to fashion a fusion of friendship between diametrically opposed traditions.
Cláirseach na hÉireann-The Irish Harp
The harp is hugely significant in the story of Ireland. Indeed today it is our national emblem, and Ireland is the only country in the world that has the distinction of using a musical instrument as its national emblem. People associate us with the shamrock and the man himself St. Patrick, but the harp holds the distinction as symbolising Ireland. The other connection that people readily make with the harp is Guinness. However, enthusiasts of the pint of plain will quickly point to the fact that Guinness predates the Irish State’s use of the harp and is different in that the Guinness Harp is facing the other way around.
St. Patrick's Confessio
The Confession is one of the few pieces of work still extant that give us some insight into the life of the saint. We learn that Patrick was born into a Roman Britain family possibly on the west coast albeit this cannot be confirmed. The possible date of his birth is given as 415AD somewhere in Wales. Carlisle is mooted as being the area of Patrick’s abduction. However, the west coast of Britain would have been subject to raids from Ireland during one of which we know that Patrick was taken and brought back to Ireland as a slave.
Dlithe na mBreitheamh (Brehon Law)
Ireland is predominately English speaking today. People visiting Ireland for the first time sometimes remark on this. However, the Irish language is alive and well with Irish speaking areas in different parts of the country. We call these Gaeltachtai where Irish is the first spoken language. Another interesting aspect of Irish life going back in time was the fact that we had our own legal system if you would. Prior to the advent of Common Law into Ireland we had a legal system that was totally different to that which exists today according to historical sources. Most significant was the fact that there was nothing akin to capital punishment in the Irish system.