Would ye look at that! St Patrick's Day in Dublin by Tommy Burke 13 Apr 2014

"Oh look there's a leprechaun over by Molloy" I said to my better half as we were passing the Molloy Malone (1) statue on Grafton Street in Dublin. It was St. Patrick's Day 2014. A sea of green, masses of hats, shamrocks, and miniature video cameras attached to extendable poles. I'd not been to this capital's parade since I was five years old!.

Molloy Malone Statue, with a Leprechaun (not actually real)
Leprechaun at Molloy Malone statue
Lead marchers from the Fire-service
Lead marchers from the Fire-service
Irish army soldiers marchinge
Irish army soldiers marching

Inevitably the streets were packed (2) with people of all nationalities. Best of all they appeared to have really enjoying themselves and I think the general atmosphere was great. Overhearing what sounded like insider information on the best viewing spots, we moved towards a man in a high visibility jacket who was in discussion with parade visitors. The obvious thing to do was to move away from the bigger crowds and find an area that was, as one passer-by put it, "less dense". We quickly discovered that the wall of spectators was never- ending, so we decided it was best to stop walking a couple of hundred metres later just opposite Trinity Bar. We had a trick up our sleeves, the curb provided an additional six inches of critical viewing height so we stood on the edge of that. If we were lucky we'd be able to see something as the marchers marched by.

Gazing with envy towards the few that had booked a hotel room with a window facing onto the parade promenade, we soaked in the atmosphere and observed the bustle of the crowd. Telescopic like cameras were unholstered and snapped anything that moved, young wans (3) were singing "olé olé olé"(4) (pronounced ol-ay ol-ay ol-ay) . Children were saddled on their daddies shoulders to get a better view, people were climbing on top of phone boxes and bollards to get the best view possible. This was going to be fun!.

Look at those people up there with their perfect viewing points
Perfect viewing points
Lets Make History
Lets Make History
Marching Band
Marching Band

It's one of those days that you do have to be there to experience the warm atmosphere and the celebratory mood of all kinds of people. This year's theme was "Let's Make History". The lad (5) with the iPad turned out to be really useful because anything we couldn't see oursevles could be seen on the iPad. Thank you Mr. iPad!. The marchers and floats are split into different sections, one was based the battle of Clontarf (6) which took place in 1014, marking it's 1000 year anniversary. The Gardaí (7), the Fire-service , and the Army led the procession. I did my best to capture video and photos of the marchers for your viewing pleasureI did take some video too so if it turned out well you can expect to see that shortly (8). You can view some of the photos I took below.

That concludes the four part series on St. Patrick's Day 2014. I hope you picked up a few things from my posts and I'm always happy to answer questions on Ireland no matter how simple, silly, or difficult they are. Yes we are in Europe, no we are not currently suffering from a famine and haven't since the mid 1800's. No we don't know Johnny from Letterkenny or Mary from the sticks in Leenane. No we don't all just eat potatoes, don't be daft! (9).

They had a bone to pick with us
They had a bone to pick with us
Some light reading
Some light reading

The slang words seem to be building up so I think it's only fair that I produce a video to explain some more Irish slang words in the next couple of weeks to keep an eye out for that. WeLoveAccents has a special focus on accents so I think this will be fun!. As a taster I'll start off by telling you that the professionals offering lessons that will help you speak in an "Irish Accent" are wrong, and we don't pronouce the word "Irish" as "Oire-ish", it's "Ire-rish". The letters "I" and "r" blend together, you shouldn't seperate them. Also, when pronouncing "Ireland" you don't say "eye-er-lend". More on all of that later plus myths and facts about Irish sterotypes. I'll leave you with these parade images.

Chat to ye soon!


Irish slang:
(1) Molloy Malone: Molloy Malone originates from a song that has become the unofficial anthem of Dublin. Molloy was a fictitious fish monger of considerable beauty. She wheeled a wheelbarrow selling cockles and mussels during the day and sold herself during the night. The song dates back to the late 19TH Century.
(2) Packed: A lot, full.
(3) Young wans: "Wans" refers to people (plural). Usually young people.
(4) Olé Olé Olé: A famous Irish chant. Originally part of a song released during the 1990's for the Irish Soccer team at the World Cup. It's likely to be chanted at any gathering of Irish people including concerts, sporting events, and now parades. Incidentally it was chanted at a concert I attended the previous night too.
(5) Lad: Man, boy, guy. I would say it'd be used for younger males more than older males. It's also a word used when referring to a man's private part!
(6) Battle of Clontarf: A famous battle between Brian Boru and the King of Leinster.
(7) Gardaí: Republic of Ireland's national police force. It is an unarmed police force.
(8) Shortly: In a short while. This could vary from a few minutes to days. Using it means someone can expect something but it's so ambiguous that there is no set time.
(9) Daft: Silly, funny. The most common phrase would be "don't be daft".

What goes on in Ireland, goes on everywhere by Tommy Burke 15 Mar 2014

"Oh look there's your man! "(1). That is the phrase used when the famous parade Grand Master appears on the horizon. Are you going to be attending a parade on the 17th March this year?! Or maybe you're wondering what happens in Ireland? Well let me tell you a bit about that, but before I do I want to show you a fantastic video that showcases just how unique Ireland is. It really make's me feel proud Being Irish.

Uilleann pipes
Uilleann pipes

Dublin, Ireland's Capital, has hosted a parade every year since 1995. There are loads(2) of events held around the country including little village parades with a parade stretch less than a few hundred metres long. It's all good craic, you'll have sports teams of all ages and pipe bands to decorated local company vehicles that add their own little bit. One feature that almost all parades need to have is at least one uilleann piper (3) at the head of the parade. It's not uncommon for a parade to be delayed waiting for an uilleann pipe player to arrive having just played at another parade!.

Do we all drink Guinness on St. Patrick's Day? Well in my last article I said that it'd be down to personal preference but even non-Guinness drinkers might have one. Yes, true to the stereotypical view of the Irish much drinking will be had. It's all in good fun though. Over 13 million pints of Guinness are drank worldwide on the 17th compared to about 5.5 million normally. It's also common for someone to enjoy an Irish coffee which is a mix of hot coffee, cream, brown sugar and whiskey. Just try not to have it for breakfast!

An Irish Coffee
Irish Coffee
Source: wikimedia.org
Everyone Being Irish
Everyone Being Irish

The parade kicks off at 12 o'clock and people from all over the country and indeed the world venture up to Dublin to attend it. In fact, I'll be attending a concert by a band called "Kodaline" the day before so I'll be there for the day too, I just hope I can get a good spot along the parade stretch because it'll be madness!(4). Once it starts you may hear phrases like "be the hokey!"(5) and "merciful hour!"(6) from visiting culchies (7) as the parade floats pass by. A huge effort goes into the design of parade floats so they are truly a sight to behold.

If you're around on the 15th there will be a treasure hunt taking place in the city centre and if you can complete it then you'll have visited many of the landmarks. Seachtain na Gaeilge(8) (Shock-tin nah gwail-gah) has been running since the 1st March and it's a celebration of the Irish language, with events taking place throughout St. Patrick's weekend. It's a great time to brush up on your Irish or learn a few words and phrases. On top of that there'll be a range of music and street performances throughout the city. If you'd like to listen to traditional Irish music and if you're into chainsaw jugglers and fire breathers then you're bound to find something to your liking.

Percentage of Irish Speakers, 2011 Census
Irish Speakers
Source: Gaelige - Irish Speakers
You can dress in green
Dress in green

Naturally wearing all green today is completely acceptable and not a fashion disaster at all. You can even dress up as a leprechaun, wear a green top hat, and pin live shamrocks to your jumper(9). You'll also see a sudden explosion of the snake population as hundreds are released around the city for people to chase and capture as a tribute to St. Patrick. Ah no, would ye be well?!(10) I'm only joking.

You've now read three different articles on St. Patrick and St. Patrick's Day. You can test how much you've learned by taking this St. Patrick's Quiz. It'd be very easy for me to talk a lot more about what happens on the 17th but this taster should be enough for now. Next week will wrap up the St. Patrick's Day series. Let's hope it doesn't rain when I'm at the parade! Remember now, don't be the one calling it St. Patty's call it Paddy's Day, St. Paddy's or St. Patrick's day ;-) Chat to ye later!


Irish slang:
(1) Your man: A man, usually someone the person knows the face of but can't think of his name.
(2) Loads: A lot of, many. You can also say "tonnes" or "piles".
(3) Uilleann Piper: An Irish version of Scottish bag pipes, they sound a little bit different and equally as nice. Uilleann pipers are in very high demand on St. Patrick's Day.
(4) Madness: Crazy, chaotic, very busy.
(5) Be the Hokey: Wow. Woah. An indication of being impressed by something. It's a word used by the rural populace, particularly older generations..
(6) Merciful hour: Wow, yikes, woah. A word used by older generations and more likely to be heard in rural areas.
(7) Culchies: Rural Irish people, people who don't live in a town area or housing estate. They live in the countryside and country villages. The urban populace are commonly described as "townies".
(8) Seachtain na Gaeilge: Week of Irish which funnily enough is celebrated for over two weeks. A series of events across the country promote the Irish language.
(9) Jumper: A sweater, a piece of clothing you place over a t-shirt.
(10) Would ye be well?: Are you kidding? Are you joking? No way, no. Not happening. I will not. Used to expression disbelief or a disagreement with something that; has happened, is happening or will happen. It's also used to describe someone that did something crazy or silly. E.g. "He drove his car without a seatbelt, would ye be well?" or "She bought a pint of Guinness for €10, would ye be well?" I'm sorry I can't narrow the definition down but it's used in so many different ways!.

St Patrick, myths and facts by Tommy Burke 08 Mar 2014

Conas atá tú?(1)(Kun-us at-aw to) Last week I introduced Saint Patrick (Pah-trick). This week we're one step closer to the worldwide celebration of St. Patrick's Day. To help prepare you for that great day I'm going to go over some myths and facts relating to St. Patrick so you know your snakes from your St. Patty'!. The first fact is that St. Patrick's Day takes place on the 17th March.

St. Patrick is Irish!. Well, as I pointed out in my last blog post St. Patrick was not Irish. To the best of my knowledge he was from the South West of Britain. We've known this for some time so don't worry, we're still going to claim him and we're still going to celebrate St. Patrick's day. Everyone can breath now so take her handy! (2).

Not an actual leprechaun!
Not an actual leprechaun
Source: funny-pics-fun.com/

He was the first Christian missioner to Ireland. Those of you that are eagle eyed will notice I previously mentioned Palladius and he was the first Christian missioner to visit Ireland in the 5th Century. Some of the deeds attributed to Patrick may have been the work of Palladius.

Well at least he drove the snakes out of Ireland!. Ah well actually he didn't!. It wasn't because someone else did or because the snakes are still here either. There were never snakes in Ireland. When Ireland separated from the Pagea supercontinent there were no snakes on the Island so it apart from pets and zoo snakes you won't find any. The snake was a symbol of worship in Ireland prior to Christianity. The tale of St. Patrick "banishing" the snakes from Ireland is a play on the fact he converted people to Christianity. Imagine there were snakes in Ireland, would ye be well?! (3)

St. Patrick getting to know the snakes.
St Patrick and snakes
Source: jewelryonetsyteam.blogspot.com

Ireland was the first to celebrate St. Patrick's Day with a parade. Wrong again!. The first parade was held in America. The exact year isn't really known but a St Patrick's Day group was founded in Boston in 1737 so we could say that was the first year. An Irishman named John Marshall held a party in the 17th March in New York in 1762, he was the man to get us started so fair play to him! (4). Every year since 1766 a parade has been held in New York with only a few exceptions. Only in the last 40 years has St. Patrick's Day become a major event in Ireland.

Shamrocks, not to be confused with clovers

Well surely the Shamrock we all wear on St. Patrick's Day is related!. As the tale goes the shamrock was used by Patrick to explain the holy trinity and since nearly all shamrock have three leaves it does make sense. Patrick never mentioned using the shamrock in his writings so this may not be true either. How frustrating it is for an Irishman to debunk much believed ideas!.

Is he buried on top of Croagh (Crow) Patrick mountain or in Downpatrick?. He's more likely to have been buried in Downpatrick in County Down and the grave atop of the mountain is only a shrine or symbolic tribute to the Saint. I've climbed that mountain about half a dozen times and there is a pilgrimage up that mountain every year that draws thousands of people, some of whom travel up it barefoot!. I highly recommend a trip up that mountain because if you're lucky enough the clouds will stay away and you'll have a spectacular view. I'll show you in the near future.

Croagh Patrick Mountain, Co. Mayo.
Croagh Patrick Mountain, Co. Mayo
The Black Stuff

You have a pint of Guinness (5)(Gin-niss, do not pronounce the 'G' as a 'J', it's more like "Guin" in the word "Guinea")on St. Patrick's Day. Well that's down to personal preference, it's certainly a good day for Guinness producer Diageo. Many Irish that travelled to America brought the tradition of drinking Guinness with them too.

Are leprechauns real?. Some people do wonder if they exist. Sadly they are a myth. I've heard stories of people coming to Ireland and asking where they can go to see Leprechauns and wondering if they exist!. They're described as fairy like creatures wearing green that get up to mischief. You can dress up as a leprechaun on St. Patrick's Day if you like and piles(6) of people do!

A leprechaun on a pot of gold.
A leprechaun on a pot of gold
It's Paddy not Patty.
Its Paddy not Patty

You can say St. Patty's or St. Paddy's it doesn't matter. No again! There is no such thing as St. Patty's Day and way too many people have taken up the use of this word as a proper name. It's not, please don't use it and please politely tell anyone you hear using it to stop ☺

It's safe to say there are more myths than facts associated with St. Patrick and St. Patrick's Day. In the third blog on St. Patrick I'll describe what happens in Ireland on the 17th March. It's pretty good craic(7)(krak) and a lot of effort goes into the organisation of the day. If you're into Ireland like I am then you'll be interested in some upcoming quizzes to test your knowledge. There will be different sets of questions with different degrees of difficulty. As promised I visited my local village last week and took some snaps including some of the round tower so you can have a gander(8) at those soon too. Chat to ye then!


Irish slang:
(1) Conas atá tú?: Irish for "how are you?". "Conas atá sibh?" means how are you (plural).
(2) Take her handy: Take it easy.
(3) Would ye be well?: Are you joking? or you can't be serious. It can also mean that a person was a little crazy, e.g. He's going to go skydiving tomorrow, would ye be well?!.
(4) Fair play to him:Well done, good job. An expression of thanks. E.g. "I just fixed the washing machine", "Fair play to you!".
(5) Guinness: An Irish produced alcoholic beverage and a very famous one at that. It's exported all over the world.
(6) Piles: A lot of.
(7) Craic: good fun, also a word used when asking for news. E.g. "Any craic?" can mean "any news?". Not to be mistaken with the word "crack" which is a gap or hole in something or a word used to describe drugs!.
(8) Have a gander: Have a look at.

We need to talk about Patrick by Tommy Burke 01 Mar 2014

Good old St. Pádraig! He's some man(1) for one man isn't he?!, or one Saint even!. If there is one thing that Ireland may be known for across the world aside from Guinness and hospitality it has to be the man himself (2). The 17th of March is always green, but what do we really know about St. Patrick?

The first myth about the man is that he's Irish, well he's not. We adopted him from South West Britain. St. Patrick may actually be Welsh!. Now before you start saying St. Patrick's day is ruined it's not because he's still the Patron Saint of Ireland so he's more ours than anyone else's! He's also the patron Saint of Nigeria!

This is a typical image of the Saint.
St. Patrick
Source: www.catholiccompany.com
The Nigerian Flag
The Nigerian Flag
Source: sashajustice.com

He was taken from his aristocratic Christian home around 400 A.D by 'Niall of the nine hostages' and brought to Ireland. He wasn't always Christian but was converted when he came to Ireland and developed a deep sense of faith while in captivity. As story goes he escaped back to Britain after a voice came to him and told him to and the same voice told him to go back to Ireland.

Historically the Church authority in Britain was supposed to have sent him back to Ireland though. He didn't introduce Christianity to Ireland because that was done by the first bishop of Ireland Palladius in 431 A.D, but he did convert thousands of pagans.

Life in Ireland for a preaching Christian would have been dangerous he was a bit like the Rambo of Christianity back then. During his time as a priest in Ireland he wrote "I daily expect either assassination or trickery or reduction to slavery". St. Patrick was beaten and bullied by those in power in Ireland and he died on the 17th March 461 A.D. You can see where the date to celebrate St. Patrick's Day was taken from now. It is argued that his greatest achievement was driving the snakes out of Ireland.

A Catholic Rambo? Living life dangerously.
Source: www.pegworks.com
St Patrick's Day
St Patrick's Day
Source: www.irishcorner.com

That's the story of our Patron Saint in a nutshell. Fast forward to today and mythology around St. Patrick has grown immensely and this is where we get the parades and celebrations from. I think we all can use a global day of celebration on the 17th of March though so I wouldn't take that away from us , it's just a typical case of hear-say being passed along and outgrowing the original tale. Lá Fhéile Pádraig(3) is a day to celebrate being Irish and your love for Ireland.

There are many myths and facts surrounding the man so I'll do my best to clear as many of those up as I can in the coming blogs and some of them are gas(4)! I'll give you an insight into what happens in Ireland on St. Patrick 's Day too if you're good. Chat to ye then!.


Irish slang:
(1) Some man: a great man.
(2) The man himself: the man. Possibly the man you were just talking about when they walk into the room.
(3) Lá Fhéile Pádraig: St. Patrick's Day as Gaeilge (in Irish). It's pronounced "law fail-eh paw-rick".
(4) Gas: a word used to describe many things. Usually used to describe something that's funny or interesting. E.g. Me:"Did ye hear she was only driving for two days and she passed her test?!" You: "That's gas!". E.g. You: "My dog is able to roll over on command!". Me: "That's gas!". A typical statement would be "You're a gas man Paddy!".

It's A Small World by Tommy Burke 21 Feb 2014

Did you ever hear of the phrase "it's a small world"?. Well in Ireland the meaning of that phrase is almost a scientific fact!. It's not uncommon to find someone you just met that knows someone you know and maybe they're related somewhere along the line too. I'm not exaggerating, especially when it comes to rural Ireland. If you had the Full Irish (1) for breakfast then the neighbours will know about it before lunch time, and if you bought a litre of milk and the paper in the afternoon the same neighbours would know before evening.

A typical Full Irish breakfast, heart attack on a plate but so so good!
Full Irish Breakfast
Source: www.blackiewarner.com
Wait, leprechauns are real?
Source: rubberstamping.about.com

OK, maybe I'm exaggerating a little bit but most Irish people would agree I'm not far off the mark. In the last decade or so the population of the world officially became more urban than rural and this urbanisation means the traditional rural Ireland is slowly disappearing. That makes me sad, but there is still plenty of it to experience if you're lucky enough to live in the Irish countryside among the leprechauns (I'm only messin'(2), there are no such things as leprechauns, or are there?). Throughout the year I'll be taking photos of the Irish landscape to show you it's definitely worth a visit.

If I said I was from Kildare people would think I was only down the road(3) from the college (I went to NUI Maynooth (May-newth), North Kildare but I'm over an hour away. An hour in Ireland is a good distance away I'll have you know!, and you know that face you get when you tell someone where you are from and they have no idea but they let on they really do know where it is?. I'd get that a lot. It was easier for me to tell people I had just met that I lived near Carlow because no one has really heard of my local village, Castledermot. To this day I have good friends that are adamant I really am from Carlow, or Dublin (I moved from there when I was eight years old don't get me started). Sometimes I can't tell if they're havin' the craic(4) or if they're being serious.

You can barely see a difference between the locations of Castledermot and Carlow
Locations of Castledermot and Carlow
Source: Wikipedia.com
I like where I live. We're on a hill so the broadband signal reaches the house via an antenna that just about clears the treeline. It's a quiet area and the fresh air is great apart from times when the farmers are spreading(5). A typical rural setting you might say. Although I live in south Kildare I'm very close to the border of County Carlow border. I'm going to get hassle for saying that because people really do think I'm from Carlow when I'm from not!.
Not quite breaking bad middle of nowhere but close?.
Middle of nowhere
Source: breakingbad.wikia.com
The River Barrow and old Wellington Bridge, now Graiguecullen Bridge
Middle of nowhere
Source: www.eurekabooking.com

Ceatharlach (Ka-her-lock) is the Irish world for Carlow meaning four lakes. It's about one hours drive or less than 100km's from Dublin once you get out of the city centre and it serves as a good commuter route for work in and around Dublin. About 55,000 people live in the county in total. It's got most things that you'd need, a couple of shopping centres, some decent restaurants, lots of pubs, schools, a swimming pool and cinema. It's pretty self sufficient

The River Barrow (bah-row) flows through the town. Right beside these ruins is a bridge formerly known long before my time as Wellington Bridge and it was given the name in celebration of the defeat of Napoleon by Wellington. We call it Graigecullen (Gray-cullin) bridge now.

Religion was and to a large extent still is an important facet of Irish life. A large Cathedral dedicated to Our Lady of Assumption (not to be mistaken with consumption) was the first to be built after the Catholic emancipation of the 19th Century. You can see the steeple from the surrounding countryside and even from my house about 8 miles away.

Irish history is steeped in conflict and rebellion and Carlow town is no different. A famous rebellion in 1798 saw the massacre of 600 rebels and civilians after a failed attack on the town and a distinct sculpture known as the 'liberty tree' stands in the centre of Carlow town. 'Tis a nice sculpture even if ye get destroyed(6) by the mist coming from the water fountain on windy day!

Our Lady of Assumption Carlow Cathedral, finished in 1833.
Carlow Cathedral

The Liberty Tree in Central Carlow Town.
The Liberty Tree
The Liberty Tree with a fountain base, Carlow.
Liberty Tree with a fountain base

Ducketts Grove is another neat site near Carlow town and it has recently undergone some renovation. The estate originally covered 5,000 acres which in Ireland is a lot considering the size of the country. Apparently it's haunted by a banshee(7) and a couple of years ago a documentary was made there and people stayed overnight in the ruins. At least that's what we were told happened because we never saw them again.

Ah no I'm only joking we did see them and they probably heard a few odd noises like owls whoo-ing and the howling of the wind passing through the ruins. If the place was fully restored it would look fantastic.

Ducketts Grove: Front View of the House (top left), Main Entrance (bottom left) and Side Tower (right).
Front View & Main Entrance
Side Tower

I was most excited to visit the Brownshill Dolmen. It's a famous Megalithic burial chamber called a portal tomb. Two pillar stones hold he cap stone up and a middle stone acts as the gateway to the tomb. It was built between 5 and 6,000 years ago by the first farmers in Ireland. The roof stone or cap stone weights approximately 150 tonnes alone and that makes it the heaviest in Europe. What I want to know is how did they get that thing up there?!. You have to see it to realise how big it is, those fence posts around it are about five foot high!.

Brownshill Dolmen
Carlow Castle

The final stop on my visit to Carlow town was to a place I hadn't been before. It was the ruins of Carlow Castle. Built in the early 1200s it was at one point the headquarters of the Lordship of Ireland. The architect was William Marshal and you'll be hearing a little more about him as I talk about other places I've been visiting in future blogs. In typical Irish comical fashion two thirds of the castle was blown up by a physician called 'Middleton' who was renting the castle as a lunatic asylum in an effort to enlarge the windows. What was Middleton thinking?! The remaining standing wall is impressive.

That's a quick fire tour of some of the interesting places worth seeing in my local area. I notice a lot of the photos are pretty grey and there's not a whole lot that I can do about that because the buildings are just that colour. I was lucky to get those blue skies though with the weather we were having, there's a rhyme we're taught as children; Rain rain go away, come again another day. If only it worked! Spring is here and that'll help to bring some colour to my next few blogs.

I didn't visit the local village last week because the weather was terrible and I was lucky to get around Carlow without getting drowned(8) by the rain. I'll get to it soon so you get an idea of what a rural village is like. There are about 2,000 people in Castledermot and it's is a historical town. One distinct feature is the round tower. Round towers were built by the monks for protection. There are many stories of Viking raids and monks taking refuge in these towers and I'll be visiting a Viking Museum soon too so I'll be able to tell you more then. Round tower doors were high off the ground so that only a ladder or rope could reach then. Unfortunately for the monks they had kept all their valuable possessions in those towers in times of danger so the Vikings set fires and I'll let you fill in the rest. Two prominent granite crosses stand tall in the Franciscan abbey ruins. I'll take some snaps in the near future.

Castledermot Round Tower
Castledermot Round Tower
Source: www.chooseireland.com
I can't believe it's not butter!
Cottage Pie

That was a whirlwind introduction to my local area, there will be more to come and I recorded some video footage of the sites I visited too. You can look forward to seeing a short video blog to compliment this one in the near future. St. Patrick's Day is less than a month away and the build up to it has already started in Ireland. In my next few blog I'll be talking about some myths and facts relating to St. Patrick and I have visited what I believe is his burial place at the top of Croagh Patrick mountain. You can also expect blogs on my trip to Wexford where I visited JFKs ancestral home and a very old and famous lighthouse. I also visited some sites in Waterford. On top of that I recently attended a world famous New Years day wellie race and parade in Castlecomer Co. Kilkenny which was good fun!.

If she'll let me I'll introduce my pet dog Sheeba and pet cats Tabby (or is it Tibbi?, I'll have to ask my brother) and the black and white stray cat. We don't have a name for it yet and I'd welcome suggestions. I might even talk about how to cook a cottage pie in a butter tray! Chat to ye later!


Photo images © Tommy Burke.

Irish slang:
(1) Full Irish: A traditional Irish breakfast usually containing; toast, white and black pudding, sausages, rashers, hash-browns, poached eggs, a tomato, mushrooms, and maybe some fried potatoes.
(2) I'm only messin': I am just joking/kidding.
(3) Down the Road: Near-by. It could also be "Up the road" or "Across the road".
(4) Havin' the craic: Having a good time, joking. Not related to drugs!.
Someone might ask you "What's the craic?!", they generally mean "how are you?, any news?". You can't say "what is the craic?" it has to be "what's the craic?".
(5) Spreading: Farmers fertilising their fields.
(6) Destroyed: Irish slang for many things, but generally it means something that isn't good. In the case above I meant 'getting wet'. If you slipped in the mud and got very dirty you could say "I'm destroyed". It doesn't necessarily mean the clothes are dirty beyond recovery. Another example would be if an athlete was badly beaten in an event by an opponent, "he/she was destroyed in that race". I could go on all day but I think you get the idea!.
(7) Banshee: Bean Sidhe (Ban - she) in Gaelic Irish meaning woman of the fairy mounds. A female spirit that wails when someone is about to die.
(8) Drowned: It means really wet or soaked. Not actually drowning.

Hi Everyone ! by Tommy Burke 07 Feb 2014

Tommy with Panda

Do you have an interest in Ireland? Well if you do then maybe you'll enjoy reading about the topics I'm going to write about because I have an interest in Ireland too! So who am I and why should you think about listening to what I have to say? Find out here.

I'm Irish. My name is Tommy, son of Tom, grandson of Tom, nephew of Tom, and cousin to two Toms. That's what it can be like here and from what I was told it was either John or Tom. My biggest blog hope is for people to learn more about Ireland, and maybe learn to pronounce Irish places and sayings properly!. For my sins I'm 26 years old and I like to think I'm almost as wise as a 26 year old should be. I consider myself 'from the country' and live near Carlow Town but I'm from County Kildare. I'm not quite a 'culchie' even though I'd prefer to think I am and I'm not a townie even though I've lived half my life in townlands. We can figure that one out later.

I've got two parents and two brothers John (I told you it was either Tom or John) and Adam both five and ten years younger than me which makes me the oldest so I always get to sit in the front passenger seat. I'll try not to bore you with details on what my first teddy bear was (it was a blue elephant and I still have it) or what my favourite colour is (OK red) unless you want to hear about all of that in which case ask away. I did go to college and studied history and a lot of geography. Right now I'm a postgraduate researcher in geography. As far as hobbies go I'm interested in history, current affairs, films, and all manners of sport especially soccer.

I'll be blogging for We Love Accents and I'm going to take an approach to Irish related topics that assumes you have no prior knowledge about Ireland. If you can stick with me here then you'll learn about some history, about places, the Irish people, traditions, and how things are pronounced. If you're from the South then Donegal is pronounced 'Dun-e-gawl' and not 'don-e-gle' OK ?. From time to time I will also be taking my video camera out and probably make myself look crazy to show off my beautiful country. I'm proud to be Irish and I want to share Ireland with you. I could go on for ages but that'll do for now. I'll chat to you in a bit!.


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