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Just a Friendly Reminder

May 4, 2011

Thought I’d post a quick reminder that we moved the Irish Fireside blog to back in 2009.

We’ve posted A LOT of great information since then, so if you’re not following us there… you’re definitely missing out.

Are You Still Following This Feed?

December 10, 2009

Hey, we moved our blog to back in October. Time to update your feed.

When you get to the new site, you can check out our Irish Fireside Holiday Gift Guide. It’s loaded with all kinds of Irish and Ireland-inspired gifts.

We’re Moving the Blog

October 1, 2009

After nearly four years in this spot, we’re moving all our blog posts to the web domain.

Don’t worry, you won’t notice any big changes… it’s just a new web address.

From now on, all new posts will appear at For those who use an RSS reader, you can click the subscribe button on the new page.

Visitors Unknowingly Vandalizing Ireland

September 30, 2009
Visitors have made a habit of creating their own mini-dolmens in County Clare. Mini-dolmen, originally uploaded by hexcalibur.

The rocky, karst landscape of the Burren in County Clare stands in stark contrast to lush hills of the rest of Ireland. Home to a unique ecosystem and collection ancient, man-made stone structures, the area has also become home of “natural” vandalism.

For years, inspired visitors have been creating mini-dolmens that mimic the stacked stones constructed by the ancient people of the region, like the famous Poulnabrone Dolmen. Unfortunately, by moving even small limestone slabs, visitors are upsetting the environment and participating in what officials are calling “environmental vandalism.”

Carol Gleeson, Project Manager with The Burren Connect Project said, “Unique and vulnerable habitats are being destroyed by visitors when they illegally remove protected limestone pavement to build miniature dolmens and other stone structures. However, we believe that most visitors do not want to deliberately damage the Burren pavements, as they do not realize the full environmental impacts of their actions.”

To help address the problem, a new initiative by The Burren Connect Project and Clare County Council intends to educate the public and engage schoolchildren in cleaning up the renegade dolmens.

Gleeson continued, “The Burren Connect team hopes that the newly launched environmental maintenance program, combined with existing education projects, website campaigns, publications and information points across the Burren will help raise awareness amongst visitors of the need to treat the landscape with respect and to abide by the Burren Code, which basically promotes the Leave No Trace ethos.”

So folks, if you’re in the Burren, admire it’s eerie, rocky landscape, but resist the temptation to stack stones… or take some limestone home with you.

More info at:

How Will You Celebrate Arthur’s Day Tomorrow?

September 23, 2009

Guinness Shadow, originally uploaded by Steffe.

The big day has finally arrived. The day when all the world raises a glass to Arthur Guinness in honor of the 250th Anniversary of the Black Stuff.

At 5:59pm Dublin time (that’s 12:59p in New York, 11:59a in Chicago, 10:59a in Denver and 9:59a in Los Angeles), a worldwide toast will be raised to Arthur Guinness. EVERYONE is invited to join in.

The big party is of course in Dublin, the home of Guinness, but smaller celebrations are planned anywhere the brew is served.

We’ve got a few more Guinness goodies to give away, so to enter, just leave us a comment answering:

How will you be celebrating Arthur’s Day?

More info:

Aer Lingus May Stop Flying to the US???

September 22, 2009

Irish airline Aer Lingus may begin contracting out their US-Ireland routes. This info comes from’s Kenneth Haynes.

This news appears to be in line with the airline’s gradual reduction in service to Shannon Airport which I talk about in my “Aer Lingus, You’re Killin’ Me” post. It’s a shame… especially since the airline’s statements are constantly noting “the importance of Shannon.” Alas, they’re hurting and need to make changes. I just wish they had a better way of communicating with the public, they must have a broader plan than what we’re hearing about in the news, right???

Exploring Celtic Motifs

September 15, 2009

Submitted by Kat Behling

An image of Celtic knotwork engraved in stone at ClonmacnoisThousands of years before the dawn of Christianity, geometric motifs played a prominent role in both the ancient Celts’ religion and artwork. The religious union of mankind and the universal cosmos, essential to the ancient Celts’ spiritual beliefs, was represented by powerful symbols integrating the two worlds. Some of these motifs can still be seen today on stone carvings in many parts of Ireland. Newgrange, one of the oldest burial mounds in Europe, is highly-decorated with carvings depicting spirals, crosses and other ancient icons. The cross, now the universal symbol of Christianity, was considered to be a sacred sign representing the bridge between heaven (the universe) and earth (man). The pages within the Book of Kells, Book of Durrow and other illuminated manuscripts are adorned by various spirals, patterns, ornamental letters and intricate knotwork. Other symbols can be found on stone crosses, magnificent cloths and jewelry, highly-decorated weapons and religious monuments.

An image of Celtic knotwork engraved in stone at Clonmacnois

Here are other symbols and their ancient interpretations:

  • Circle – The sun; the moon; the infinity of time; birth, death and rebirth; the human eye
  • The Wheel of Being – four circles (the four elements) are unified by a fifth (balance)
  • The Celtic Cross – The circle defines God’s love as unending, the vertical axis the spiritual world, the horizontal axis the earthly world
  • The Single Spiral – One of the oldest motifs; represents growth; flowing of energy; sometimes used to represent the sun
  • The Double Spiral – The Equinox: when day and night are of equal length; also a sign of balance
  • Triple Spiral (aka the “triskele”) – most recurring element in Celtic art; 3 spirals radiating from a common center; often found in illuminated manuscripts; represents unity of the heart, mind and soul; later represented the Christian Trinity
  • The Clockwise Spiral – The sun; cosmic energy; growth
  • The Triquetra (Latin for “three cornered”) –  the number 3 was an extremely powerful number; later the sign was adapted as the sign for the Holy Trinity in the Christian church
  • Knotwork – Longevity and continuity
  • Chevrons – Resembling arrowheads, often occurs as a repeat pattern; represents power
  • Waves – Life force flowing from the Tree of Life
  • The Tree of Life – Eternal life; seasonal cycles
  • Hands – Friendship; affection; love of work
  • Heart – Faithfulness; charity; compassion (Note: The symbolic meaning of the heart and hands relates to the Cladagh Ring)
  • Dragon – Represents the four elements: earth, water, fire, air; luck and power; fertility
  • Snake – Death and rebirth represented through shedding of skin
  • Birds – Voyagers to the Otherworld; associated with gods and goddesses
  • Dove – Peace
  • Peacock – Immortality; later used to represent Christ
  • Lion – Wisdom; dignity
  • Fish – Cosmic; later represented Christian persecutions
  • Cat – Guardians of the Otherworld
  • Dog – Healer of body and soul; loyalty
  • The Symbols of the Four Gospels:
    • Matthew – Angel
    • Mark – Lion
    • Luke – Ox
    • John – Eagle