Free shipping - Free Returns

A Story of True Love for Valentine’s Day

Jospeh and Grace broken hearted

In 1915 Joseph Mary Plunkett joined the Irish Republican Brotherhood and quickly rose in rank to become a leader of the Easter Rising of 1916. Joseph had contracted Tuberculosis at an early age and struggled with poor health all of his life.  Joseph was well educated and even wrote a book of poetry.  One of his poems was incorporated into a song about his relationship with his wife, Grace. Poems by Joseph Plunkett

 

In 1916 shortly before the Rising, Joseph was taken to the hospital to undergo surgery to the glands in his neck. He practically crawled from his hospital bed with bandages still on his neck to join the other leaders in the General Post Office. Several days later after heavy shelling and running low on ammunition the GPO was surrendered.

Joseph was taken and held at the Kilmainham Gaol in Dublin to be court martial. His poor health was never an issue to the British who quickly sentenced him to execution by firing squad. Seven days before the execution was to be carried out he was allowed to marry his long time sweetheart Grace Gifford. They were allowed one kiss and 10 minutes to talk with guards all around them in a small room.

On May 04, 1916 Joseph Mary Plunkett was shot where-the-1916-rebelsdead in the court yard of the Kilmainham Gaol. So ended the life of one of Ireland’s bravest patriots. Grace Gifford Plunkett died in Dublin on December 13, 1955. Grace had never remarried.

 

Please listen to this moving story in song by Wolftones:

Wolf Tones

Click here to hear – Wolf Tones – Grace

 


Let us be your personal shoppers. Stop by the store for our extensive line of and other carfully selected treasures to touch your inner celt
Home  |  Mens  |  Womens  |  Kids  |  Gifts

Dublin, a Viking City?

Dublin is an iconic city, where the Liffey meets the Irish sea. It’s a city that’s full of monuments, beautiful architecture, art, and bridges. It’s the seat of Irish culture, music, textiles, and all things Irish. In fact, ask anyone to name a city in Ireland and chances are that Dublin is the first city they think of. Dublin is undeniably Irish, but that hasn’t always been the case.

Ha' Penny Bridge in Dublin

Ha’ Penny Bridge in Dublin

From Wikipedia: “The earliest reference to Dublin is sometimes said to be found in the writings of Claudius Ptolemaeus (Ptolemy), the Egyptian-Greek astronomer and cartographer, around the year 140, who refers to a settlement called Eblana. This would

Boru Wood Quay Warrior pendant from The Celtic Ranch

Boru Wood Quay Warrior pendant from The Celtic Ranch

seem to give Dublin a just claim to nearly two thousand years of antiquity, as the settlement must have existed a considerable time before Ptolemy became aware of it. Recently, however, doubt has been cast on the identification of Eblana with Dublin, and the similarity of the two names is now thought to be coincidental. It is now thought that the Viking settlement was preceded by a Christian ecclesiastical settlement known as Duiblinn, from which Dyflin took its name. Beginning in the 9th and 10th century, there were two settlements where the modern city stands. The Viking settlement of about 841 was known as Dyflin, from the Irish Duiblinn (or “Black Pool”, referring to a dark tidal pool where the River Poddle entered the Liffey on the site of the Castle Gardens at the rear of Dublin Castle), and a Gaelic settlement, Áth Cliath (“ford of hurdles”) was further upriver, at the present day Father Mathew Bridge at the bottom of Church Street.”

Viking Lion Figurine. Photo courtesy of National Museum of Ireland

Viking Lion Figurine. Photo courtesy of National Museum of Ireland

It’s widely accepted that Viking Dublin was a thriving city by 840 AD, with trading outposts scattered throughout the Island. For those of you who watch the hit series Vikings, **SPOILERS** Ragnar’s son, Ivar The Boneless was one of Dublin’s Viking Kings, and his brother, Sitrygg Snake In The Eye, briefly reigned in Waterford. Vikings reigned in Dublin until 1014, when they were defeated by Irish High King, Brian Boru and the Battle of Clontarf.

Norse Alphabet Runes

Norse Alphabet Runes

Keith Jack Norse Forge Dragon Weave Bracelet from The Celtic Ranch

Keith Jack Norse Forge Dragon Weave Bracelet from The Celtic Ranch

It’s believed that in the two centuries of Viking expansion in Dublin, Viking and Celtic cultures began to meld, and they even developed a hybrid Gael-Norse language. In fact, there are still remnants of Norse in modern Gaelic. Religions were combined as well, with Roman Catholicism, Celtic Christianity, and Viking Paganism all being practised in ancient Dublin. But just as quickly as the Vikings arrived, they left, taking most of their culture, language and descendants with them. In fact, only around 1.4% of Irish people have Viking DNA, where the numbers are significantly higher in Great Britain, with some areas, like Orkney and Shetland, where 25-29% of men were found to have Viking DNA.

Viking Artifacts courtesy of The National Museum of Ireland

Viking Artifacts courtesy of The National Museum of Ireland

So, Is Dublin a Viking or a Celtic city? Yes. It’s both. The bones of the city are undoubtedly Viking, even if you’d have to dig pretty deep to find them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Let us be your personal shoppers. Stop by the store for our extensive line of Viking and other carfully selected treasures to touch your inner celt
Home  |  Mens  |  Womens  |  Kids  |  Gifts

Lughnasadh

Lughnasadh (pronounced Loo-Nah-Saw) is the Gaelic harvest festival, which has been celebrated throughout the Celtic lands since ancient times. It is traditionally celebrated midway through the summer solstice and the autumn equinox.

grain-1503388__180

According to Wikipedia, Lughnasadh is mentioned in some of the earliest Irish literature and has pagan origins. The festival itself is named after the god Lugh. It involved great gatherings that included religious ceremonies, ritual athletic contests (most notably the Tailteann Games), feasting, matchmaking and trading. There were also visits to holy wells. According to folklorist Máire MacNeill, evidence shows that the religious rites included an offering of the ‘first fruits‘, a feast of the new food and of bilberries, the sacrifice of a bull and a ritual dance-play in which Lugh seizes the harvest for mankind and defeats the powers of blight. Much of the activities would have taken place on top of hills and mountains. Lughnasadh customs persisted widely until the 20th century, with the event being variously named ‘Garland Sunday’, ‘Bilberry Sunday’, ‘Mountain Sunday’ and ‘Crom Dubh Sunday’. The custom of climbing hills and mountains at Lughnasadh has survived in some areas, although it has been re-cast as a Christian pilgrimage. The best known is the ‘Reek Sunday‘ pilgrimage to the top of Croagh Patrick on the last Sunday in July. A number of fairs are also believed to be survivals of Lughnasadh, for example the Puck Fair. Since the later 20th century, Celtic neopagans have observed Lughnasadh, or something based on it, as a religious holiday. In some places, elements of the festival have been revived as a cultural event.

fruit-946499__180

Lughnasadh is also known as Bilberry Sunday, Blueberry Sunday, Crom Dubh Sunday, and Garland Sunday, and can be celebrated anytime between the middle of July and the end of August.

Berry picking is a traditional part of Lughnasadh and legend holds that if there is a plentiful crop, then the rest of the harvest will also be plentiful.

wreath-1520645__180

Another Lughnasadh or Garland Sunday tradition is the making of garlands and wreaths, which are then placed around all of the Holy Wells in Ireland, honoring the patron saints.

So how can you celebrate the Lughnasadh Festival? However you want! Bake a pie, dig in the garden, relax around a fire or decorate your home with flowers. However you choose to honor this tradition, we wish you a happy and bountiful summer!

 

 


Let us be your personal shoppers. Stop by the store for our extensive line of and other carfully selected treasures to touch your inner celt
Home  |  Mens  |  Womens  |  Kids  |  Gifts

Celtic Crosses

celtic-899427_960_720Celtic Crosses are one of the more ubiquitous symbols in Ireland and throughout Irish

Mullingar Pewter Celtic Cross

Mullingar Pewter Celtic Cross

history. Legend has it that St. Patrick introduced the cross to Ireland, combining the traditional cross with the nimbus, the Pagan symbol of the sun to help the converts understand the importance of the cross. Others believe that the Celtic cross predates Christianity. Either way, it’s undoubtedly Celtic.

Celtic Christians erected high crosses, large, intricate stone crosses in churchyards and cemeteries throughout Ireland, Britain, and

ShanOre Sterling Silver Emerald and Diamond Celtic Cross

ShanOre Sterling Silver Emerald and Diamond Celtic Cross

mainland Europe, but the Protestant Reformation in Britain and Europe led to the removal and destruction of most of the ancient stone crosses.

Keith Jack Oxidized Sterling Silver and Gold Cross

Keith Jack Oxidized Sterling Silver and Gold Cross

In the 1800’s, Ireland underwent a Celtic Revival, and with the new sense Celtic pride, preservation of historic landmarks, and Celtic crosses became a priority. New crosses were built as the ancient symbols regained popularity, and today it is a symbol of Celtic Identity, as well as a sacred symbol.

cross-549439__180

 

 

 

 

 

Fado Celtic Cross

Fado Celtic Cross

The tradition of Celtic crosses lives on today in the form of tattoos, garden statuary, and jewelry. Did I mention jewelry? We have some of the finest Celtic crosses made in Ireland, here at the Celtic Ranch. With names like Keith Jack, ShanOre, Fado, and Mullingar, you won’t find better quality, fine Irish silver, gold, platinum, and pewter Celtic crosses anywhere else.


Let us be your personal shoppers. Stop by the store for our extensive line of and other carfully selected treasures to touch your inner celt
Home  |  Mens  |  Womens  |  Kids  |  Gifts

The Tree of Life

tree-338211__180

Tree of Life Cluster Pendant with green accents

Tree of Life Cluster Pendant with green accents

The tree of life is such an evocative symbol that is neither masculine nor feminine. It is revered by all faiths and seems to tug at the spirit, reminding us that we’re connected to the earth, to the sky, and to all mankind. It’s a primitive symbol that can be found in every culture, on almost every continent.

Maybe it’s because it’s such a simple symbol, one of the first things most children draw, something that we all recognize and connect

An 1847 depiction of the Norse Yggdrasil as described in the Icelandic Prose Edda by Oluf Oulfsen Bagge

An 1847 depiction of the Norse Yggdrasil as described in the Icelandic Prose Edda by Oluf Oulfsen Bagge

with, or maybe it’s because trees are life sustaining, creating the very oxygen we breathe and the fruit that we enjoy. Perhaps it harkens back to our primate nature that we found comfort in the security of trees, where we were safe from saber tooth tigers. Whatever it is, the tree of life speaks to us.

The tree of life is a sacred symbol in most of the world’s religions. Zoroastrians, Jews,Gilded tree of life doors in Chotyniec Poland Christians, Muslims, Bahai’s, Hindus, Buddhists, Taoists, Mormons, Pagans, Wiccans, and many Native American tribes all have a tree of life of some sort in their traditions.

The Celtic Tree of Life or Crann Bethadh in Gaelic is one of the more prominent ancient Druid symbols that found it’s way into modern iconography. The Druids believed that the tree of life was a link between heaven and earth, the

Keith Jack Sterling Silver and 18k gold Tree of Life pendant

Keith Jack Sterling Silver and 18k gold Tree of Life pendant

dead and the living. The ancient Celts worshiped trees and recognized that trees provided shelter, food, firewood, warmth, etc. In Celtic culture, it was forbidden to clear an entire area of trees moon-165487__180and they would always leave one sacred tree standing in the center of their communities. The Celts believed that trees were their ancestors and the most sacred tree of all, the oak, called “daur” (root word of door) was believed to be the Axis Mundi or center of the earth. The word Druid literally means “Oak Seeing” or “Oak Knower” .

 

Whatever your heritage, religion, politics, race or gender may be, we are all united by the tree of life. When you wear a tree of life necklace, you carry a link to all of human history, to life, death, the earth and sky next to your heart. It’s comforting. It’s home.

 


Let us be your personal shoppers. Stop by the store for our extensive line of and other carfully selected treasures to touch your inner celt
Home  |  Mens  |  Womens  |  Kids  |  Gifts

Wild Irish Horses: Equestrian Ireland

celtic horse

Celtic Horse from Book of Kells Courtesy of libraryireland.com

Horses are important in ancient cultures throughout the world. China, Japan, Great Britain, and of course Ireland and other Celtic cultures have revered the horse for its beauty, grace and usefulness in farming as well as battle.

There are several gods and goddesses associated with horses in Celtic religions, Epona, (Gaulish for mare),was a mother goddess, and a warrior goddess. She was so popular she was the only Celtic goddess worshiped in Rome. The horse deities were often associated with the sun, perhaps because horses were an important source of meat, as well as useful farm animals, and so a significant part of  ancient life giving energy.

Celtic horse

Celtic Horse Pewter Pendant

Of course horses were also used in battle, ridden upon and chariot driven both. The ancient Irish used a thick blanket that was heavily decorated instead of a saddle. There are historical records indicating that ancient Irish horses were shod with something referred to as a crú  (see libraryireland.com for more), which is still a term used for a horseshoe.

Horses remain an important part of Irish and Celtic culture. An old Irish saying says “Sell cow, buy sheep, but never be without a horse”.  Irish horses have long been prized for their sure-footed and light gait. Being bred on a rocky, craggy, boggy island has given them these unique attributes, and their history of being bred with wild horses has created a bloodline sought after by equestrians worldwide. In fact, the steeple-chase is believed to have originated in Ireland in 1752, when two County Cork farmers decided to race their horses between two church steeples which were four miles apart.  During the race, the horses jumped the natural obstacles as they came upon them. (for more information visit irelandofthewelcomes)

The love affair the Celts and Irish have with horses has been a long and happy one.Irish draft horses, Connemara ponies, Vanner (Gypsy Vanner), and Kerry bog pony are a few of the breeds originating in Ireland (for pictures and more information go to theequinest.com), and remain sought after for their sturdiness, beauty and grace which mirrors that of the people who bred them.

irish horse

Irish Draft Horse ( Image from davidlkel)

 

 


Let us be your personal shoppers. Stop by the store for our extensive line of and other carfully selected treasures to touch your inner celt
Home  |  Mens  |  Womens  |  Kids  |  Gifts

The Easter Rising: 100 years later Part 2

The Easter Rising (also known as The Easter Rebellion) began on April 24, 1916 and has remained a controversial part of Irish history for the last century. The politics behind it are complicated, and emotions still run high among the Irish and the British.

The Easter Rising is one of the most important and bloodiest parts of Irish history. What of the aftermath? The British, while caught by surprise at the uprising, quickly rallied their troops and began to gain control of the situation. By Wednesday that week the British had landed more troops in Ireland, after hundreds of casualties on both sides, the Irish, realizing they were out gunned, backed down.

The fifteen leaders of the rising were imprisoned in Kilmainham Gaol, just outside Dublin. All fifteen were sentenced to death for treason. At the time, many Irish people were resentful of the rebels for causing so much death and destruction, as they did not fully support the cause for Irish independence. Approximately three thousand people believed to be involved in the rising either directly or indirectly were arrested, and eighteen hundred of them were sent to prison in England without a trial. These executions and imprisonments, along with months of martial law, turned the hearts of the Irish who had not originally agreed with the rebels. They began to resent anew the British rule, and began to work toward independence.

In 1918 the Sinn Fein party ( whose purpose was Irish independence)  won a majority of the Irish seats in parliament, then refused to sit in the UK parliament. In 1919 they met and convened an Irish parliament and declared Ireland’s independence. Following this the Irish Republican Army began using guerilla tactics to fight against the British rule. In 1921 a cease-fire was called, and a treaty was signed with the British resulting in the establishment of the Irish Free State, a self-governing part of the United Kingdom. Six Northern Irish states remained as part of the UK, and remain still today despite the twenty-six states who officially declared independence on Easter Monday, April 18, 1949. Today in Ireland and England, there are still factions at war with one another.

In the one hundred years since the beginning of the fight for independence, Ireland has changed and yet remains the same. Emotions run high on both sides, while some view the original fifteen as heroes, others see them as terrorists and treasonists. It remains to be seen if the two countries can completely come together, and fully lay down arms.

the easter rising

Courtesy of history.com

For more information on the Easter Rising, check out the following websites:

http://www.history.com/topics/british-history/easter-rising

http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/ireland-1845-to-1922/the-1916-easter-rising/

 


Let us be your personal shoppers. Stop by the store for our extensive line of and other carfully selected treasures to touch your inner celt
Home  |  Mens  |  Womens  |  Kids  |  Gifts

The Easter Rising: 100 years later

The Easter Rising (also known as The Easter Rebellion) began on April 24, 1916 and has remained a controversial part of Irish history for the last century. The politics behind it are complicated, and emotions still run high among the Irish and the British.

The short version:

Many Irish people had felt that Britain paid no attention and had no care for the welfare of the Irish, who had been under British rule since 1171, and had been considered part of the United Kingdom since 1801. Although Ireland had seats in British Parliament, they believed they had little say in governing themselves and therefore were treated as second class citizens and allowed to suffer and starve (especially during the Great Famine which claimed thousands of lives between 1845 and 1847) under British rule. A group of Irish nationalists (members of the Irish Volunteers as well as the Irish Republican Brotherhood) planned to use force to oust the British from Ireland, thereby making it independent.

On the afternoon of April 24, 2016 the General Post Office in Dublin was taken over by the insurgents and the Proclamation was read. Four Courts, Jacobs Factory, Boland’s Bakery, and other important buildings around Dublin were likewise occupied, as well as places around all parts of Ireland. The hub of the conflict was the General Post Office, and that was where the headquarters was located.

During the next week, bloody conflict raged throughout Dublin. More than 400 people lost their lives, and at the end of the week PH Pearse, one of the leaders of the rising, declared unconditional surrender “ In order to prevent further slaughter of the civil population and in the hope of saving the lives of our followers, the members of the Provisional Government present at headquarters have decided on an unconditional surrender, and commandants or officers commanding districts will order their commands to lay down arms.  P.H. Pearse, Dublin 30th April 1916.” (for the source of this quote visit taoiseach.gov.ie)

the Easter Rising

photo courtesy of anpost.ie

The British reaction to the rising was swift and bloody.

Please join us next Monday, March 28 for more on The Easter Rising.

 


Let us be your personal shoppers. Stop by the store for our extensive line of and other carfully selected treasures to touch your inner celt
Home  |  Mens  |  Womens  |  Kids  |  Gifts

St. Patrick’s Day In Ireland

The biggest St. Patrick’s day celebrations in the world take place, naturally, in Ireland. Throughout the country there are festivals to celebrate the beloved Saint Patrick. In many areas of Ireland, there are street markets, parades, music, and other entertainment. Sure, the pub is a great place to be, but there’s so much more!

In Limerick, there is a parade which features national puppeteers, dance groups, celebrities and more. 80,000 people are expected to line the streets of Limerick to watch a parade featuring 4,000 participants. There is an international band championship, which actually takes place for several days during the St. Patrick celebration. Other festivities include horse races, free drinks at local restaurants, and much, much more!

County Cork’s celebration of St. Patrick includes a parade, festival market, and circus performers as well as a parade. Like most of Ireland, their festival takes place over several days.

Derry-Londonderry has an Irish Language Week, with events throughout the city. County Wexford’s parade is considered the oldest in Ireland. Dingle starts their celebration at 6am, the Dingle Fife and Drum Band kicks it off playing throughout the streets.

In Northern Ireland, County Armaugh has a huge celebration of St. Patrick, including a carnival procession, special dinners, and lectures about the historical significance of the saint.

Of course there’s Dublin, international city, home of Guinness, Trinity College, and a huge St. Patrick festival! Of course there’s a parade, music shows, shopping, and Guinness (an estimated 7.5 million pints consumed on St. Patrick’s Day).  This year’s parade theme, Imagine If, has been inspired by the imagination of the youth of Ireland as they look to the future …..the next 100 years. See the making of the 2016 Festival Parade right here.

These festivals last for several days, sometimes even a week. More than just parades and beer, they’re festivals celebrating St. Patrick and his spiritual and cultural contribution to Ireland. Should you make it to one of these, all we can say is:

Slánte!

St. Patrick

St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin
Photo from http://www.stpatricksfestival.ie/

 


Let us be your personal shoppers. Stop by the store for our extensive line of and other carfully selected treasures to touch your inner celt
Home  |  Mens  |  Womens  |  Kids  |  Gifts

Patrick: Patron Saint of Ireland

St. Patrick’s Day is more than just a celebration of all things Irish, it’s the celebration of the spirit of the Irish people, embodied in a single man.

St. Patrick was born in Britain to wealthy parents near the end of the fourth century. He is believed to have died on March 17, around 460 A.D. Patrick was taken prisoner around the age of 16 by a group of Irish raiders who were attacking his family’s estate. They brought  him to Ireland and sold him into slavery where he spent six years as a shepherd, and during which time he learned the Irish language, and prayed, becoming immersed in his Christian spirituality where he found solace.

He had two visions, one which told him to return to his home, the second told him the boat was ready. He walked 200 miles to the coast, boarded the ship and returned to his native land. After he returned home he traveled to Gaul and joined the priesthood, studying under St. Germanus, he was consecrated as a bishop, and sent to Ireland.

He was sent to succeed St Palladius, who had not had much success converting the Irish, but Patrick had a dream of the voices of the Irish , entreating him to return. His depth of faith enabled him to return to the land of his enslavement where he worked diligently to convert the Irish to Christianity.

It took much work, because the Irish were unwilling to convert, and had trouble relating to the “new” religion. Patrick kept his faith, and through his teachings of Christ on the cross, and by using the three leaves of the native shamrock plant to explain the Holy Trinity he was able to convert much of the country and earned the nickname ” enlightener of Ireland”

Patrick

Shamrock of Ireland Photo courtesy of Irish Culture and Customs

Patrick’s great love of the Irish, despite his slavery at their hands early in his life enabled him to save them, this noble cause is why we celebrate him and he has become a symbol of Ireland representing not just the religious faith of the Irish, but also the perseverance of the Irish people against seemingly great odds. His humility in his mission is widely known, and the following quote attributed to him.

“I owe it to God’s grace that through me so many people should be born again to Him.”

Perseverance, grace, humility. It doesn’t get more Irish than that.


Let us be your personal shoppers. Stop by the store for our extensive line of and other carfully selected treasures to touch your inner celt
Home  |  Mens  |  Womens  |  Kids  |  Gifts