Abhaile go Tailteann

Trip Start Jan 01, 2008
Trip End May 28, 2017

Flag of Ireland  , Leinster,
Friday, April 22, 2011

Home...meaning Teltown and the mayhem of an O' Brien wedding!

Forget the one across the water, we'll be having our own Royal wedding on April 29th and this one promises to be a lot more fun. 

To escape the fascinator debate I'll take a little stroll down the Rath Dubh memory lane....
The ancient and historic town of Kells is hometown to me but 5 miles out the back road there's a little lane called the Rath Dubh. That's where home really is! The Rath Dubh leads you to Tailteann - colloquially it's called Tailte and that lane down to it (with 5 houses including ours) is locally called the Rath Dubh (Black Fort) ...because of its' connection to witches.

Tailteann Games
The Tailteann Games were an ancient sporting event held in Ireland in honour of Queen Tailte.They ran from 1829BC to 1169-1171AD when they died out after the Norman Invasion.
A revival of the Tailteann games was announced by Eamon DeValera in Dáil ‰ireann in 1921 however due to the Anglo-Irish War games were not held until 1924.The Games were launched to celebrate the independence of Ireland. The Hogan Stand at Croke Park was built and opened for the 1924 games. They were held by the GAA in 1924, 1928, and 1932 and were open to all people of Irish birth or ancestry, with participants coming from England, Scotland, Wales, Canada, the USA, South Africa and Australia as well as Ireland. Competitions included art, music and Irish dancing amongst other sports and cultural events. Best trivia...Tarzan won the swimming gold medal!

These Games coincided in timing with the Olympics, so many athletes participating in the Paris and Amsterdam Olympics came to Dublin to compete, including Harold Osborn, the American High Jumper, who won the High Jump titles at Paris 1924 and Tailteann Games 1924.

In 1964 the Willwood Group of Companies revived the Tailteann Games under the stewardship of marketing manager Bill Hyland. Bill and my dad spent many happy hours together discussing the games since the Fort of Tailte (Anglicised to Teltown) is part of the family farm at Teltown. We loved Bill because he always arrived with a box of goodies including Silvermints from the company coffers. He was a lovely gentleman and we would have loved him anyway. My dad was proud to light the torch for several successive years and then fly by helicopter to Croke Park to welcome it on it's arrival there with a team of relay runners who carried it the 25 miles from Teltown to Croke Park. In 1974 I was there when my sister Teresa arrived into the stadium and handed it to Harold Osborn for the Golden Jubilee celebrations. My dad was just bursting with pride that day. I'm pretty sure Daddy, Bill, Harold and Larry are all up there now sharing many a good memory over a drop of Irish whiskey!
A right royal wedding
The royal O' Brien wedding being the timing factor for this whole trip it's taken up a fair bit of chat time in the kitchens over many cups of tea ever since I arrived with debates about fascinators and who's invited or not. Nevertheless and regardless of the partners who didn't get invited and the after party ceili antics it's fair to say it went off without any more than one hitch (pun). Special for me for it's family re-union including my eldest son Robbie all the way from Basel, Switzerland to meet Mom all the way from Sydney, Australia!
The countryside is looking spectacular in her lovely gown of emerald shades highlighted with crystals of bluebells and cherry blossoms. If only the moods matched the surroundings. Varying from fear for the future to downright mean spiritedness at times but it's still Ireland - over 30 years of trips "home" and it's still the same......everything changes and everything stays the same.
There was a celtic tiger here once but now that one has run away and left a trail of financial ruin it seems but it's left great roads and nicely painted houses too....and kids who can have weddings in K Clubs,  and there's Iphones and great cars around the church on a Sunday.

"Ireland is Bankrupt" today's newspaper:  
 Ireland will never repay the €250bn it has borrowed from the EU and IMF, senior government insiders have admitted – but we will not default until our ­EU partners agree we have no choice.
A senior minister last night told the Irish Mail on Sunday that the Cabinet expects our crippling debts to be ‘restructured’ within three years.
However,Fine Gael is pinning its hopes on the EU being forced by outside events, such as the collapse of the Greek economy, into a realisation that Ireland cannot hope to pay off the debt mountain accumulated by our rogue banks" 

It's fair to say that Ireland has been through tough times before and no doubt will weather this storm too.

For the traveller I find food and service standards are poor to average at a high price and this hasn't improved during Celtic Tiger years either, microwaved Irish breakfast in hotels...yuk! and the attitude is very much one of pay up and shut up.

But it still has lovely scenery and an interesting history (especially in Dublin) with some lovely old buildings and streets to explore.

And of course Ireland shines for music and craic...and the barmen here really know their stuff.

Kells boasts one of the greatest manuscripts around - the Book of Kells (An Leabhar Cheanannais) which is on exhibit in Trinity College. This 6th century masterpiece is deemed Ireland's greatest national treasure. It comprises the 4 gospels but it is the iconography and illustrations which make this the finest manuscript of it's kind in existence today.

The book of Kells was written by St Columbkille and his monks.

Who is Saint Colmcille?
St. Columcille is Scotland’s patron saint and, in Ireland, he is honored second only to St. Patrick. A missionary, St. Columcille is credited with taking Christianity to Scotland. His memorial day is June 9.
The correct pronunciation of Columcille puts the accent on the first syllable. The pronunciation then becomes “colum kill” 

Born of royal bloodlines in northern Ireland on December 5, 521, his proper name was Colum MacFehlin MacFergus. The name Colum means dove. As a young boy he spent much time in church and soon the suffix “cille,” the Gaelic word for Church, was added to his name. He was called “Colum-cille”—Dove of the Church. Well educated, he was a man of great faith who could have become a king but instead chose a life of service to God.

After ordination, he worked among the poor in his native Ireland and was famous for his works of charity. When he was 42 years old, he was exiled from Ireland and sent to the territory known as Scotland with 12 companions.

There he spent the next 34 years establishing churches and schools, and staffing them with many disciples who were attracted by his ardent penance, fervent prayer, sincere preaching, and deep confidence in God. Columcille spent much time copying the Scriptures and other manuscripts and writing poems. For a while the book lay in Kells church. It was stolen from there in 1007 and found two and a half months later in a bog, without it's jewel-encrusted cover. The book was returned to Kells, but in the 17th century it was given to Trinity College, Dublin, where it remains today. It's considered Ireland's most valuable national treasure. Locals believe it should be returned to a permanent museum site in St Columcille's house in Kells where it will be more at home close to the High Crosses and Round Tower of Kells. There's something very right about the idea of returning this magnificent Kells relic back to where it started isn't there? Ireland could do well to start setting it's ancient history back where it belongs, then maybe the fortunes of the entire island would be restored to balance.

Unsurpassed for beauty, variety and intricacy of decorative detail, this wonderful page is the single most celebrated feature of the medieval Book of Kells. The text consists of the opening words of the Gospel according to St Matthew, 'Now the birth of Christ…'
Look closely...you will see cats and rats, human heads, three angels, and two moths! 

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