Happy St Patrick’s Day

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The history of St Patrick, , is a bit sketchy, the exact date of birth is not known .Similarly, the place where St Patrick was born cannot be confirmed. Suffice to say there is a broad agreement that he was active as a missionary in Ireland during the second half of the 5th century.And he is regarded  as the founder of Christianity in Ireland.

There are so many theories and books on St Patrick and to do just one blog on the patron saint of Ireland,( also of Nigeria and Montserrat), would do no justice to the man. I am therefor focusing on other Irish historical traditions.

Amhrán na bhFiann or A soldiers song- The Irish Anthem.

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The National Anthem, called ‘The Soldier’s Song’/‘Amhrán na bhFiann’ was written by Peadar Kearney either early in 1910 or late in 1909 (according to an affidavit signed by him in 1926). The music, by Patrick Heeney, is understood to have been composed around the same time. The original English text of ‘The Soldier’s Song’ was first published in Bulmer Hobson’s, Irish Freedom newspaper in 1912. ‘The Soldier’s Song’ was not widely known until it was sung at the GPO during the Easter Rising of 1916.

Liam Ring (Ó Rinn) was responsible for its first translation into Irish in late 1916 and it was published in the Army magazine, An tÓglach, on 3 November 1923. The Executive Council of the Irish Free State, on 12 July 1926, decided to adopt the music of ‘The Soldier’s Song’/‘Amhrán na bhFiann’ as the official National Anthem.

All three men responsible for the National Anthem, Peadar Kearney, Patrick Heeney and Liam Ring (Ó Rinn), were from Dublin’s north inner city and lived within 200 yards of each other.

Ireland’s Call-The Other Irish Anthem

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Rugby is one of the most if not the most popular sports in Ireland, The national Rugby Union’s team consists of players from the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.Rugby fans will know that since 1995 two Irish anthem are played at the start of rugby matches.

Even though Ireland’s official anthem is ‘The Soldier’s Song’, it is sensitive for those who have Unionist sympathies in Northern Ireland. This is similar to Northern Ireland’s national anthem which is ‘God Save the Queen’ and which is favoured by those who have nationalist sympathies. All rugby matches are played in the Republic of Ireland and both ‘Ireland’s Call’ and ‘The Soldier’s Song’ are sung. After the first verse is sung, it is followed by a chorus which is also sung in the same key and then repeated in a higher note at the end.

The song came into being in 1995 and was composed and written by Phil Coulter in a bid to merge different Irish traditions. The song was first broadcast in the Kelly Show in Northern Ireland and in the Late Late Show in the Republic of Ireland by Andrew Strong.

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Today on St Patrick’s Day .Ireland will be playing England in Twickenham,England for the last match of the 6 Nations Championship(which is basically the European Cup for Rugby) and although had already won the championship, if they win today they will have won the grand slam for the 3rd time in history, it will also mean they will win the triple crown( the original trophy when the championship was only played by England,Ireland, Scotland and Wales).

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Although I am a Dutch man(living in Ireland) and know very little about Rugby, on days like today I feel as Irish as any Irish man.

All that is left for me is to wish you all a Happy St Patrick’s day and may the luck of the Irish be upon the National Irish rugby team this afternoon.

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Happy Birthday Santa Claus

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I know what you’re all thinking” Has he lost his marbles, we are only 2 days away from St Patrick’s day and he is coming up with a Christmas story”

Do not worry I can assure you that I still have all my faculties. Legend has it that on this day in the year 280 Saint Nicholas was born. Saint Nicholas who we now know as Santa Claus, Saint Nick or if you live in a Dutch speaking country Sinterklaas or still as Saint Nicholas

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There are so many different version of his origin varying between Lapland and Spain.

According to tradition, he was born in the ancient Lycian seaport city of Patara, currently in Turkey,,when he was young, he traveled to the Middle East. He became bishop of Myra soon after returning to Lycia. He was imprisoned during the persecution of Christians by the Roman emperor Diocletian but was released under the rule of Constantine the Great. He attended the first Council of Nicaea (325), where he allegedly struck the heretic Arius in the face.

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He was buried in his church at Myra, and by the 6th century his shrine there had become well known. In 1087 Italian sailors or merchants stole his alleged remains from Myra and took them to Bari, Italy; this removal greatly increased the saint’s popularity in Europe, and Bari became one of the most crowded of all pilgrimage centres. Nicholas’s relics remain enshrined in the 11th-century basilica of San Nicola at Bari,

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It is however also alleged that Saint Nicholas is buried in County Kilkenny,Ireland. Tradition in these parts tell that the earthly remains of St. Nicholas were secretly removed from Bari by returning crusader knights, who brought them back to Newtown Jerpoint for safe keeping.

The grave’s stone slab is carved with the image of a cleric with the heads of two knights behind each shoulder, said to be those of the two crusaders who, so the story goes, brought Nicholas’s remains to Ireland. Evidence lends some credence to this tale as the Normans in Kilkenny were keen collectors of religious relics, and it is known that Norman knights participated in the Holy Land Crusades.

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We all know of course that all these theories are incorrect because he still delivers present every Christmas.

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The Kidnapping of Shergar

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On this day 36 years ago, gunmen stole the champion Irish race horse Shergar from a stud farm owned by the Aga Khan in County Kildare, Ireland. The five-year-old thoroughbred stallion, named European horse of the year in 1981, was worth $13.5 million and commanded stud fees of approximately $100,000.

The most famous and valuable racehorse in the world, Shergar had won the 1981 Epsom Derby by ten lengths, which is the longest winning margin in the race’s 202-year history. Following this triumph, he had four more major derby wins and was named European Horse of the Year.

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When he retired after that first season, racehorse owners paid up to $120,000 for shares in his services impregnating mares, eager to have young horses from his bloodline to train for races.

The stallion had a white blaze mark on his face, four white “socks” and a distinctive racing style of running with his tongue hanging out – he was gentle, calm and kind.

On the cold, muggy evening of February 8, 1983, Shergar was kidnapped by a gang of men in balaclavas, thought to be part of the IRA.

The bay colt was owned by the Aga Khan, the billionaire spiritual leader to 15 million Ismaili Muslims. When he was returned to Ireland after her first winning season, he was syndicated for $15 million between 34 people – each share was worth around $382,000, six of which were kept by the Aga Khan.

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Shergar was just five years old when he was snatched in the middle of the night from the Ballymany Stud in Co. Kildare. He had been preparing for his second season as a breeding stallion, the BBC said.

It was shortly after 8 pm when the son of Jim Fitzgerald, Shergar’s head groom that lived at the stud, heard a knock at the door. He opened it to find two men wearing balaclavas wielding guns – one of them said, “We have come for Shergar. We want $3 million for him.”

Jim Fitzgerald, a father of six, was forced at gunpoint to Shergar’s stable where they were joined by six more masked gunmen. He loaded Shergar into the horsebox the men had brought with them. Fitzgerald was then forced into their car at gunpoint.

Among others, one reason the investigation was so difficult for authorities was because the kidnappers had chosen the day before Ireland’s big Goff’s racehorse sale to abduct Shergar, when many horseboxes were being driven across all of Ireland’s roads, thereby making it hard to differentiate him.

After driving him around for three hours, the kidnappers dumped Fitzgerald out of the car. He found his way to a telephone and rang his brother – this phone call led to a series of phone calls between Shergars’ shareholders, his vet, racing associates and several Irish Ministers. This process is referred to as “a caricature of police bungling,” as the actual police weren’t notified until 8 hours after Shergar was taken and the men were long gone from the area.

Using coded phrases, the kidnappers soon began negotiations with a representative of the Aga Khan over the telephone, but made sure to hang up before 90 seconds passed so that authorities couldn’t track their location.

Negotiations with the kidnappers were short-lived and fruitless. Despite a highly publicized search by authorities, Shergar was never seen again and no ransom was paid. The case was never solved, although there were a variety of theories about the identity of the kidnappers. The most popular one held that the Irish Republican Army stole the animal in order to raise money for weapons, but ended up killing him in a panic because he was too difficult to handle.

 

 

 

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Crazy Irish Priest

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Unfortunately there is no other way to describe Father Neil Horan(not the One Direction dude) then crazy. On several occasions he disrupted major events and costing one athlete a GOLD medal.

On 20 July 2003, Horan ran across the track at the Formula One British Grand Prix at Silverstone Circuit, wearing a kilt and waving a religious banner, which stated “Read the Bible. The Bible is always right”.

His protest took place on the 200 mph (320 km/h) Hangar Straight. Several drivers chose to swerve to avoid him and the safety car had to be deployed to protect him and the competitors. Horan was tackled by track marshal Stephen Green, who removed him from the track before he was arrested.He was charged with, and pleaded guilty to, aggravated trespass and sentenced to two months imprisonment.

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At the 5 June 2004 Epsom Derby, Horan was spotted by police and shoved to the ground moments before they believed he was about to run in front of the horses. He was later released without charges, although police did circulate information about Horan to other sporting events.

In spite of the fact that security for the 2004 Athens Olympics was tight due to fears of a terrorist attack, on 29 August Horan (who had flown to Athens earlier that day) was able to run onto the course of the men’s marathon event near the 35 km mark, carrying a placard.

Horan pushed Brazilian Vanderlei de Lima, who was leading the race, into the crowds alongside the course.After a few seconds Horan was hauled off the shaken runner by Greek spectator Polyvios Kossivas. Kossivas subdued Horan and helped de Lima up and back to the lane.

Horan was promptly arrested by Greek police (who were later criticized for not giving runners adequate protection). Following the encounter with Horan, De Lima suffered from leg cramps and muscle pain, although he continued running and completed the race. He lost 20 seconds from his 48-second lead and finished third, after being passed by Italian Stefano Baldini and American Mebrahtom Keflezighi at the 38 km mark.

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Horan ruined years of preparation and hard training by de Lima in a few seconds

The head of the Brazilian Track Federation launched an appeal based on the controversy surrounding Horan’s interference in the marathon. The federation asked that de Lima also be awarded a gold medal, citing precedents set in past Olympic matches where extenuating circumstances have led to more than one winner in certain sports. This request was denied. Horan was given a 12 months’ suspended sentence by a Greek court and fined €3,000. Although he could have been sentenced to up to five years’ imprisonment, the judge gave him a suspended sentence due to his mental state.

During the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany, Horan was arrested by German police before he could stage a planned protest. He had written to German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, and The Kingdom newspaper in County Kerry, Ireland, informing them that he planned to dance a peace jig outside the stadium in Berlin before the World Cup final. He told The Kingdom he would carry posters declaring “Adolf Hitler was a good leader who was following the word of Christ”, give the Hitler salute and light a candle for Hitler at the Gestapo headquarters.He spent two months in custody awaiting trial but was released on 15 September 2006 when the judge discharged the case.

On 20 January 2005, Kevin McDonald, the Archbishop of Southwark (South London), defrocked Horan. Horan later made the following statement to the press: “I completely reject this decision. I appeal to the much higher court of heaven and the court of Jesus Christ … I now cannot preach, I cannot give out communion – I am little more than a pagan.”

On 13 April 2007, Horan was served with an Anti-Social Behaviour Order (ASBO) banning him from entering, on the day of the race, any of the London boroughs that the course of the London Marathon passed through.

Horan auditioned for Series 3 of Britain’s Got Talent in 2009 (airing 16 May) performing an Irish jig in traditional costume. The judges put Horan through to the next round. It was revealed he was let through because the producers “did not know” who he was.[10] The makers of the show, TalkbackThames and Syco, defended showing Horan’s audition on the show.[1] Horan then appeared on The Ray D’Arcy Show on Today FM and revealed that he did not get through to the next stage.

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With all the mayhem he caused you’d suspect he would be locked up in a mental institution, but no he still roams free.

 

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Soloheadbeg ambush

 

Robinson-Treaty-Breen-Brennan101 years ago today  on a quiet Tipperary roadway the first nationalist revolt against the British Empire, last century, was started by a small band of armed men from town lands and villages—Donohill, Solohead and Hollyford—in the vicinity of Tipperary Town. The Soloheadbeg ambush shook British rule in Ireland.

On the same day, the first Dáil was meeting, an ambush takes place at Soloheadbeg, Co Tipperary that is now seen as being the opening skirmish in the War of Independence.

An unauthorized attack led by Seán Treacy and Dan Breen but also involved Seán Hogan, Séamus Robinson, Tadhg Crowe, Patrick McCormack, Patrick O’Dwyer, Michael Ryan and Seán O’Meara (the latter two being cycle scouts).  resulted in the deaths of two RIC constables, James McDonnell and Patrick O’Connell.

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Although much of nationalist Ireland went on to support the war against Britain, this attack evoked outrage at the time. Breen, a ruthless, brilliant guerilla fighter later said ‘The people had voted for a Republic; now they seemed to abandon us who tried to bring that Republic nearer, for we had taken them at their word. Our former friends shunned us. They preferred the drawing-room as a battleground.’

Constables James McDonnell and Patrick O’Connell (both Irish born Catholics), had been walking with loaded rifles escorting a horse drawn cart containing a load of gelignite from Tipperary Military Barracks for blasting purpose at Soloheadbeg Quarry (located 3 miles from Tipperary). Constable McDonnell, who was about 50 years was from Belmullet, County Mayo. He was a widower with four children. Both constable were popular within the community.

Each day from 16 to 21 January, the men chosen for the ambush took up their positions from early in the morning to late afternoon and then spent the night at the ‘Tin Hut’. On 21 January, around noon, Patrick O’Dwyer saw the transport leaving the barracks. The consignment was on a horse-drawn cart, led by two council men and guarded by two RIC officers armed with rifles. O’Dwyer cycled quickly to where the ambush party was waiting and informed them.Robinson and O’Dwyer hid about 30 metres in front of the main ambush party of six, in case they rushed through the main ambush position.

 

After the transport reached the position where the main ambush party was hiding, masked volunteers appeared in front of them with their guns drawn and called on them to surrender. The two officers took up firing positions and the volunteers immediately fired upon them. Both RIC officers, James McDonnell and Patrick O’Connell, were killed.As planned, Hogan, Breen and Treacy took the horse and cart with the explosives and sped off. They hid the explosives in a field in Greenane and threw a few sticks out on the roadside a few miles further on as a decoy. The explosives were moved several times and later divided up between the battalions of the brigade.Tadhg Crowe and Patrick O’Dwyer took the guns and ammunition from the dead officers, while Robinson, McCormack and Ryan guarded the two council workers, James Godfrey and Patrick Flynn, before releasing them once the gelignite was far enough away.

Breen gave apparently conflicting accounts of their intentions that day. One account implies that the purpose of the confrontation was merely to capture explosives and detonators being escorted to a nearby quarry.The other was that the group intended killing the police escort to provoke a military response.

“Treacy had stated to me that the only way of starting a war was to kill someone, and we wanted to start a war, so we intended to kill some of the police whom we looked upon as the foremost and most important branch of the enemy forces…. The only regret that we had following the ambush was that there were only two policemen in it, instead of the six we had expected.”

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The ambush would later be seen as the beginning of the Irish War of Independence, and it is claimed the men acted on their own initiative to try to start a war.

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 The British government declared South Tipperary a Special Military Area under the Defence of the Realm Act two days later.

A meeting of the Executive of the Irish Volunteers took place shortly thereafter. On 31 January, An t-Óglach (the official publication of the Irish Volunteers) stated that the formation of Dáil Éireann “justifies Irish Volunteers in treating the armed forces of the enemy – whether soldiers or policemen – exactly as a National Army would treat the members of an invading army”.

There was strong condemnation from Catholic churchmen, as both of the dead were their parishioners. Arthur, Canon Ryan, of Tipperary declared them to be “martyrs to duty”, and the “Curse of Cain” was upon the parish.

A monument was erected at the site of the ambush, and each year, a ceremony of remembrance is held there.

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Breen wrote a best-selling account of his guerrilla days, My Fight for Irish Freedom in 1924. He represented Tipperary from the fourth Dáil in 1923 as a Republican with Éamon de Valera and Frank Aiken.He was the first anti-Treaty TD to take his seat, in 1927. He was defeated in the June 1927 general election and travelled to the United States where he opened a prohibition speakeasy. In 1932 he returned to Ireland and regained his seat as a member of Fianna Fáil in the Dáil at that year’s general election. He represented his Tipperary constituency without a break until his retirement at the 1965 election. .

During World War II he was said to hold largely pro-Axis views. In 1946 he became secretary of the Save the German Children Society. He attended the funeral of Nazi spy Hermann Gortz on May 27 1947.

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Oíche na Gaoithe Móire-The Night of the Big Wind

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I do believe there is a climate change, but I am just not completely convinced how much of this is really man made. There have been climate changes throughout the history of the planet and some much more severe then the current one.

The Night of the Big Wind (Irish: Oíche na Gaoithe Móire) was a powerful European windstorm that swept across Ireland beginning in the afternoon of 6 January 1839, causing severe damage to property and several hundred deaths; 20% to 25% of houses in north Dublin were damaged or destroyed, and 42 ships were wrecked.[1] The storm attained a very low barometric pressure of 918mbars and tracked eastwards to the north of Ireland, with gusts of over 100 knots (185 km/h; 115 mph), before moving across the north of England to continental Europe, where it eventually dissipated. At the time, it was the worst storm to hit Ireland for 300 years0

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The storm developed in the mid-Atlantic region early on January 6, 1839, but really intensified as its associated depression moved up along the northwest coast later in the night, bringing death and destruction to the whole island.

The calm before the Big Wind struck was particularly eerie. Most of the eight million people living in Ireland at the time were preparing themselves for Little Christmas, the Feast of the Epiphany.

The previous day had seen the first snowfall of the year; heavy enough for some to build snowmen. By contrast, Sunday morning was unusually warm, almost clammy, and yet the air was so still that, along the west coast, voices could be heard floating on the air between houses more than a mile apart.

At approximately 3pm, the rain began to fall and the wind picked up. Nobody could possibly have predicted that those first soft raindrops signified an advance assault from the most terrifying hurricane in human memory.

By 6pm, the winds had become strong and the raindrops were heavier, sleet-like, with occasional bursts of hail. Farmers grimaced as their hay-ricks and thatched roofs took a pounding. In the towns and villages, fires flickered and doors slammed. Church bells chimed and dogs began to whine. Fishermen turned their ears west; a distant, increasingly loud rumble could be heard upon the frothy horizon.

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Some people claimed the temperature reached as high as 23°C(75°F) . and the heavy snow of January 5 totally melted.

During the daytime on January 6, however, a deep Atlantic low-pressure system began moving across Ireland where it collided with the warm front.

The first news of bad weather was reported in County Mayo when the steeple at the Church of Ireland in Castlebar was blown down.

 As the evening went on, the winds began to howl and soon reached hurricane force.

The arrival of the hurricane force winds would never be forgotten by those who witnessed it.

The Dublin Evening Post described its arrival with the following: “about half past ten it rose into a high gale, which continued to increase in fury until after midnight when it blew a most fearful and destructive tempest.”

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In Dublin, crowds flocked to the old Parliament House in College Green to hide under the portico, believing it one of the few places strong enough to withstand the storm.

As the wind grew stronger, it began to rip the roofs off houses. Chimney pots, broken slates, sheets of lead and shards of glass were hurtled to the ground. Rather astonishingly, someone later produced a statistic that 4,846 chimneys were knocked off their perches during the Night of the Big Wind.

Many of those who died that night were killed by falling masonry. Norman tower houses and old churches collapsed. Factories and barracks were destroyed. Fires erupted in the streets of Castlebar, Athlone and Dublin.

The wind blew all the water out of the canal at Tuam.

The historic legacy of the storm is such that it is still referred to in the press today.

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Will the real Santa Claus please stand up.

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Someone tried to convince me that Santa Claus is a mythical figure.Well if that’s the case who puts my presents under the Christmas tree?

Anyhow!

Santa Claus has many names but they all come from the same historical figure,Nikolaos of Myra(aka Nicholas of Bari)

The true story of Santa Claus begins with Nicholas, who was born during the third century in the village of Patara. st-nicholasjpgAt the time the area was Greek and is now on the southern coast of Turkey. His wealthy parents, who raised him to be a devout Christian, died in an epidemic while Nicholas was still young. Obeying Jesus’ words to “sell what you own and give the money to the poor,” Nicholas used his whole inheritance to assist the needy, the sick, and the suffering. He dedicated his life to serving God and was made Bishop of Myra while still a young man. Bishop Nicholas became known throughout the land for his generosity to those in need, his love for children, and his concern for sailors and ships.

A rather offbeat story recounted by Kelly and Rogers, tells of Nicholas visiting a local butcher during a famine. To his surprise, he was served meat. Suspecting the worst, Nicholas proceeded to his host’s cellar, finding three barrels containing three murdered boys in brine. The bishop lost no time in restoring them to life, and “has been a patron of children-in-a-pickle ever since.” His acts of kindness and miracles for children, carried the reputation of Nicholas to the far corners of the Roman Empire.

Some argue that Santa Claus is based on the Norse god, Thor, who was associated with winter and the Yule log and rode on a chariot drawn by goats named Cracker and Gnasher.

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That the historical person of Nicholas became transformed into the kindly Santa Claus from a pagan legend was due to the notoriety he gained by extending a helping hand in the aid of children. His was not an age known for protecting children. Instead they were often left to beg when they lost their parents or lived in poverty.

Other claim he is based on the Germanic god Odin,also known as Wodan.

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 The modern Santa Claus grew out of traditions surrounding the historical Saint Nicholas, the British figure of Father Christmas and the Dutch figure of Sinterklaas (himself also based on Saint Nicholas).

 

Perhaps the most significant aspect of the Nicholas legend was that his story influenced future generations to demonstrate kindness to children, at least once a year. The modern tradition has remained true to the simple bishop of Myra, who devoted his life to helping the poor.

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Although the traditions are the same there are differences in the different configurations of Saint Nick. I’ll just go through a few of them there are too may to list them all(trust me I checked it twice)

Sinterklaas

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Unlike Santaclaus,Sinterklaas does not travel from the North pole by sleigh and reindeer. No Sinterklaas likes his comfort, he therefor travels from Spain on a steamboat.

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And once he arrives at his destination in the Netherlands he gets on a white horse called Amerigo.

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Rather then doing a last minute Christmas rush Sinterklaas delivers his presents on the 5th of December. Saint Nicholas died on the 6th of December, so the presents are delivered on the eve of St Nicholas’s death.

Father Christmas

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Father Christmas is the traditional English name for the personification of Christmas. Although now known as a Christmas gift-bringer, and normally considered to be synonymous with American culture’s Santa Claus which is now known worldwide, he was originally part of an unrelated and much older English folkloric tradition. The recognisably modern figure of the English Father Christmas developed in the late Victorian period, but Christmas had been personified for centuries before then.

Below are a few more Christmas figures

Joulupukki-Finland

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Mikulás-Hungary

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Ded Moroz-Russia and other Eastern European countries.

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An Irish tradition states that the relics of Saint Nicholas are also reputed to have been stolen from Myra by local Norman crusading knights in the 12th century and buried near Thomastown, County Kilkenny, where a stone slab marks the site locally believed to be his grave.

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I hope you all get the presents you are hoping for.

Regardless of who delivers them. When I was a kid I got them from this man(who was actually my real dad)

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Merry Christmas

Santa's Sleigh House

 

 

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The Manchester Martyrsire

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On the 11th September, 1867, two prominent Fenians Colonel Thomas Kelly and Captain Timothy Deasy were arrested in the centre of Manchester on a vagrancy charge. News of their arrest was immediately sent to Mr. Disraeli, the Prime Minister, and it was considered quite a capture. Seven days later, the two prisoners were conveyed from the Court House in Manchester to the County Jail on Hyde Road, West Gorton. The Kelly and Deasy were handcuffed and locked in two separate compartments inside the Police van, with twelve mounted policemen to escorting the van.

On 18 September 1867 about 50 Irish Fenians, led by William Allen, attacked a prison van guarded by a large number of unarmed police at Hyde Road in Manchester, England.

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Their aim was to release two important Fenian prisoners, Thomas J. Kelly and Timothy Deasy. In the course of freeing the men, an unarmed police sergeant, Charles Brett, was shot dead, and 26 men were eventually tried for their part in the attack. Three, William Allen, Michael O’Brien and Michael Larkin, who became known as the ‘Manchester Martyrs’, were hanged in front of an estimated 10,000 people on 23 November 1867 for their part in the raid, and the events surrounding the attack became part of Irish nationalist folklore.

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All three executed men were born in Ireland: William Allen came from Bandon, Co. Cork, and was only eighteen years of age when he died. In a defiant address from the dock he declared, ‘I will die proudly and triumphantly in defence of republican principles and the liberty of an oppressed and enslaved people’. Michael Larkin, 32, came from near Banagher, Co. Offaly, and was a tailor who lived with his wife and family in Manchester. He was ill at the time of the raid and struggled to escape from the scene, and his comrades Larkin and O’Brien were captured while helping to carry him across a nearby railway embankment.

Michael O’Brien, 31, from Ballymacoda, Co. Cork, had previously lived in the United States and gained the rank of lieutenant in the US army. An accomplished revolutionary, he lived under the pseudonym William Gould while in England, and contemporary accounts refer to him by his false identity.

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Their deaths made them martyrs but the courage and eloquence of their speeches from the dock after being condemned to death established them as heroes, their cry of “God save Ireland” inspiring TD Sullivan to write a rebel song of that name which became for more than 50 years Ireland’s unofficial national anthem.
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The Holy hijack of Aer Lingus Flight 164

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Today marks the 101st anniversary of “the Mircale of the Sun”an event that occurred on 13 October 1917, attended by a large crowd who had gathered near Fátima, Portugal, in response to a prophecy made by three shepherd children that the Virgin Mary, referred to as Our Lady of Fatima, would appear and perform miracles on that date. Newspapers published testimony from reporters and other people who claimed to have witnessed extraordinary solar activity, such as the sun appearing to “dance” or zig-zag in the sky, careen towards the earth, or emit multicolored light and radiant colors. According to these reports, the event lasted approximately ten minutes.

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“Hang on there” I hear you say” Back up their Padre, the title mentions a hijack not a divine intervention” Yes you are right, please bear with me

As stated the Miracle of the Sun occurred on October 13 1917, fast forward a little over 6 decades to May 2 1981. Aer Lingus Flight 164 was a scheduled Boeing 737 passenger flight that was hijacked on 2 May 1981, en route from Dublin Airport in Ireland to London Heathrow Airport in the United Kingdom. But that is not where the story ends.

Flight EI164 was about five minutes from Heathrow airport when passenger Downey, a 55-year-old Australian but living in Dublin, was said to have gone into the cabin toilet, he doused his hands in gasoline and poured water on his clothes to give the impression that they were flammable ,holding a lighter and making threats unless he was taken to Iran.

When he was told the plane didn’t have the fuel to get to Tehran, he settled for France.

Although the plane was now on foreign soil, Irish Transport Minister – and future Taoiseach(prime minister) – Albert Reynolds flew to France to handle the situation.

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Downey had been a Trappist monk in residence at Tre Fontane Abbey in the 1950s (this was later confirmed by monastery officials),before he was expelled from the order for punching a superior in the face.

He then took a job as a tour guide in central Portugal, at a shrine devoted to Our Lady of Fátima, who is said to have appeared before three children and shared with them three secrets.At the time of the hijacking, the third secret was known only to the Pope and other senior figures in the Catholic Church.

On Flight EI 164, Downey carried a briefcase containing a text he believes may be the third secret. It predicts devil-inspired catastrophes and damnation.

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“The third secret of Fatima is many things,” Downey said. “Basically, it concerns the third millennium and the second coming of Christ.

His text says a “great chastisement” will fall on humanity in the second part of this century the like of which has not been seen since the deluge.

It reveals, he says, that Satan infiltrate the top of the church. The great and the powerful will perish with the little and the weak.

The Catholic Church will split and the corrupt in Rome will fall. Millions and millions will perish by the hour and those still living will envy those who are dead.

Downey further demanded the publication in the Irish press of the nine-page statement which he had the Captain throw from the cockpit window.

After an eight-hour standoff (during which time Downey released 11 of his 112 hostages), French special forces stormed the plane and apprehended Downey. No shots were fired and nobody was injured.

It emerged that Downey was being sought by police in Perth, Australia, in connection with a $70,000 land fraud incident and was also wanted in Shannon, Ireland, for alleged assault.In February 1983, he was sentenced, in Saint-Omer, France, to five years’ imprisonment for air piracy.

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I am passionate about my site and I know a you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

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The sack of Wexford -Oct 11 1649

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The Sack of Wexford took place on October 11  1649, during the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland, when the New Model Army under Oliver Cromwell took Wexford town in south-eastern Ireland. The English Parliamentarian troops broke into the town while the commander of the garrison, David Sinnot, was trying to negotiate a surrender – massacring soldiers and civilians alike. Much of the town was burned and its harbour was destroyed. Along with the Siege of Drogheda, the sack of Wexford is still remembered in Ireland as an infamous atrocity.

Oliver Cromwell was the most influential General of the English Civil War, famous for creating the New Model Army and decisively defeating King Charles I at Naseby in 1645.

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However, his fighting career didn’t end with the final defeat of the King. Ireland still held Royalists, who had recently allied with the local Confederate rebels, and the these combined forces were preying on Parliamentary shipping. Cromwell was not a man to sit my and let this happen and in August 1649 he landed in Ireland with a highly trained army of Civil War veterans.

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The town’s garrison initially consisted of 1500 Confederate soldiers under David
Sinnot. However, the morale of the town was low – perhaps as a result of hearing of the fall of Drogheda (below) on September 11 – and many of the civilians in Wexford wanted to surrender. Sinnot however, appears to have strung out surrender negotiations with Cromwell and was steadily reinforced, bringing his garrison strength up to 4,800 men by the 11th of October.

While negotiations continued on the 11th October Cromwell’s troops suddenly stormed the vulnerable town. Cromwell denied giving the order,cromwel6-233x300

but chaos ensued as the Parliamentarian troops flooded into Wexford. The town’s castle was inexplicably surrendered without a fight by its English Royalist captain, Stafford, and after this any notion of a fight was over. Irish troops fled from their stations in panic and were then pursued and often massacred by Cromwell’s men. Many more tried to cross the nearby river Slaney to escape the orgy of violence unfolding in the town, but most, including the governor Sinnot, drowned or were shot as they tried to swim. Violence in the town grew out of hand, spreading to its civilian population and the buildings as well as the survivors of the garrison. By the end of the day 2000 soldiers and 1500 civilians had been killed, at the cost of just 20 of Cromwell’s men.