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Why Do People Kiss the Blarney Stone?

Book Description

Fáilte!

Brew yourself a cuppa and settle in to discover...Why Do People Kiss the Blarney Stone? It's the closest you can feel to the Emerald Isle without boarding a plane! You'll tickle your noggin with spirited questions, including:

How did a white bull start a war?
What is Brian Boru's connection to Guinness?
Why was 1847 known as Black '47?
Where does peat come from?
What's so special about the Book of Kells?

This terrific little tome provides the answers to those questions and many more. With information on Irish history, mythology, and culture, you'll be able to go on and on about anything and everything about The Old Sod.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Title Page
  3. Contents
  4. Introduction
  5. Part 1: Early Ireland
    1. Why would early Irish settlers need snowshoes?
    2. What’s the importance of Ireland’s stone tools?
    3. What are fairy mounds?
    4. How did the early Irish bury their dead?
    5. Why did grave robbers loot Boyne Palace?
    6. Why were bronze and gold life-changing on the Emerald Isle?
    7. What role did Britain play in creating a Celtic Ireland?
  6. Part 2: The Rise of Celts and Kings
    1. Who were the Celts?
    2. How many provinces does Ireland have?
    3. How could the warp-spasm give you an edge in battle?
    4. Why is Tara the seat of kings?
    5. Why are there so many forts in Ireland?
    6. What were the Brehon laws?
    7. Did the druids practice magic?
    8. Why were Celtic craftsmen so highly regarded?
    9. How did poets keep Celtic culture alive?
    10. Did the Romans ever conquer Ireland?
  7. Part 3: Celtic Mythology
    1. Who were the Celtic gods?
    2. Who were the Celtic goddesses?
    3. How were the gods and goddesses celebrated?
    4. What is the Mythological Cycle?
    5. Why did Noah’s descendants invade Ireland?
    6. Who were the Tuatha Dé Danaan?
    7. How did a prophecy pick Ireland’s next leader?
    8. How did a white bull start a war?
    9. Who was the Celtic Achilles?
    10. Why does the name Deirdre mean “sadness” or “sorrow”?
    11. How can sucking your thumb lead to boundless knowledge?
  8. Part 4: Christianity on Celtic Shores
    1. Who was St. Patrick?
    2. Did Patrick really chase the snakes from Ireland?
    3. What is St. Brigid’s connection to leprosy?
    4. How did St. Brigid offend the Catholic Church?
    5. How many people did Columcille convert to Christianity?
    6. What Irish saint was a missionary to Europe?
    7. Which saint lived in a tree?
    8. Which saint washed up in Ireland after a shipwreck?
    9. Which illuminated manuscript was named after a St. Ciaran’s cow?
    10. Which saint was known as “the navigator”?
    11. What modern holiday did Samhain inspire?
    12. What was threefold martyrdom and why did the Irish practice it?
    13. Why was being a hermit difficult in medieval Ireland?
    14. Why didn’t medieval monks get much sleep?
    15. Why did the Irish learn Latin?
    16. What were the duties of monastic students?
    17. How did Irish monks get carpal tunnel syndrome?
    18. What are illuminated texts?
    19. What’s so special about the Book of Kells?
    20. How did the Vikings end Ireland’s Golden Age?
  9. Part 5: The Rise of the Vikings
    1. How did the Rock of Cashel get its name?
    2. Why aren’t a lot of Celtic words used in the English language?
    3. What battle techniques did the Vikings use to subdue Ireland?
    4. How did the monks protect themselves from the Viking invasion?
    5. Did the Vikings really wear horned helmets?
    6. Why was Dublin built as a military town?
    7. How did trade integrate the Vikings into Irish society?
    8. How did Brian Boru become Ireland’s high king?
    9. Why was Brian Boru hailed as a national hero?
    10. What is Brian Boru’s connection to Guinness?
    11. What repercussions did Brian Boru’s victory have on Ireland?
  10. Part 6: Enter the British
    1. Were the English invited to Ireland?
    2. How did the Irish take back the country?
    3. Why did the “Lord of Ireland” kill Ireland’s most powerful family?
    4. How did Henry VIII initiate nearly 500 years of religious upheaval in Ireland?
    5. How did Elizabeth I spark “the Flight of the Earls”?
    6. What is the Ulster Plantation?
    7. Why did the British think the Irish were barbaric?
    8. How did Oliver Cromwell come into power?
    9. How did Oliver Cromwell crush the Irish resistance?
    10. How did a battle between two British kings start the Protestant Ascendancy in Ireland?
  11. Part 7: The Protestant Ascendancy and the Roman Catholic Church
    1. Why were some Protestant aristocrats absentee landlords?
    2. Why did the penal laws ban Irish culture and music?
    3. Why did Catholics pray at Mass stones?
    4. What Irish city became a center of art and higher education during the Ascendancy?
    5. Why did Elizabeth I found Trinity College?
    6. What is Protestant Irish Nationalism?
    7. How did America’s Revolutionary War bring Protestants and Catholics together?
    8. How did the Society of United Irishmen use the poor to help its cause?
    9. Why did Theobald Wolfe Tone commit suicide?
    10. How did the Irish parliament vote itself out of existence?
    11. What patriot was known as “the Liberator”?
    12. Why did Daniel O’Connell give in to the British?
    13. What is modern Catholicism like in Ireland?
  12. Part 8: The Irish Potato Famine
    1. What caused the Great Potato Famine?
    2. What happened during “the Bad Times”?
    3. How did famine victims deal with the dead?
    4. How did landowners react to the crisis?
    5. Who blamed overpopulation for the famine?
    6. How did wearing paupers’ uniforms save some people from starving?
    7. Why was 1847 known as Black ’47?
    8. How did the government make the crisis worse?
    9. How did the famine change Ireland permanently?
  13. Part 9: Independence and Irish Nationalism
    1. What is the Irish Nationalist Movement?
    2. Who are the Manchester Martyrs?
    3. What British prime minister tried to defuse Ireland’s Home Rule Party?
    4. How was Charles Stewart Parnell a leader in land reform?
    5. What was Sinn Féin?
    6. How did the Ulster Protestants derail Home Rule?
    7. How did World War I lead to unrest in Ireland?
    8. What was the Easter Rebellion?
    9. How did Sinn Féin fight for a united Republic of Ireland?
    10. Who was Éamon de Valera?
    11. Who started the Irish Republican Army?
    12. Who were the Black and Tans?
    13. How did a peace treaty start the Irish Civil War?
    14. Why did Éamon de Valera put a stop to the Irish Civil War?
  14. Part 10: The Republic of Ireland
    1. What was the Irish Free State?
    2. How did the Irish Civil War create odd political alliances in the Irish Free State?
    3. Why did the Statute of Westminster apply to Canada, India, South Africa, and the Irish Free State?
    4. How did the Statute of Westminster cause the Economic War?
    5. How was the nation of Éire created?
    6. Why did Ireland stay neutral during World War II?
    7. How did Ireland unofficially support the Allied cause?
    8. When was the Republic of Ireland created?
    9. How did the Ireland Act of 1949 effectively divide Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland?
  15. Part 11: The Troubles
    1. Why did the Flag and Emblems Act not allow Northern Ireland’s citizens to fly the tricolor Irish flag?
    2. Why weren’t Northern Ireland’s Catholics given equal rights?
    3. How did the Derry March of 1968 start the Troubles?
    4. How did conflict between the IRA and the British government escalate the violence of the Troubles?
    5. What was Bloody Sunday?
    6. Why was the Widgery report referred to as the “Widgery Whitewash”?
    7. How was the Council of Ireland supposed to create a lasting peace?
    8. How did the Ulster Workers’ Council nullify the Council of Ireland?
    9. What was the Dirty Protest?
    10. Why did IRA prisoner Bobby Sands starve to death while waiting for prisoner-of-war status?
    11. Where did the IRA get their weapons?
    12. What was the Anglo-Irish Agreement and why did it fail?
    13. Why did U.S. president Bill Clinton grant the head of Sinn Féin a visa?
    14. What was the Good Friday Agreement?
    15. How is the peace in Northern Ireland tested on a yearly basis?
    16. What is the political structure in Ireland like today?
  16. Part 12: Irish Song, Dance, and Storytelling
    1. Why isn’t Irish still spoken prominently?
    2. What’s so important about Irish music?
    3. Who wrote “Danny Boy”?
    4. How important is dance to Irish culture?
    5. Why are Irish wakes so much fun?
    6. Who are the wee folk?
    7. How can you placate fairies, find love and wealth, and avert disaster?
    8. What popular Irish sport was once used to train warriors?
    9. How did seanachaís spin yarns?
    10. How did the Brothers Grimm help record Irish folklore?
    11. How did Oscar Wilde’s parents keep the art of storytelling alive?
    12. Why do people kiss the Blarney Stone?
    13. How can you catch a leprechaun?
    14. What happens when you get a florin from a fairy?
    15. Why do Irish cats sleep inside?
  17. Part 13: Sláinte! Food and Drink in Ireland
    1. Does Ireland have a national dish?
    2. Do the Irish really eat blood sausage?
    3. Do the Irish love a spot of tea?
    4. What’s a cuppa?
    5. Where does Irish tea come from?
    6. Why are there kids in Irish pubs?
    7. Why is Guinness so popular?
    8. How do you pour the perfect pint?
    9. Are there other Irish beers?
    10. What’s the difference between “whiskey” and “whisky”?
    11. Is it legal to brew poteen?
  18. Part 14: Irish Literature
    1. Why did Irish writers immigrate to England?
    2. What Irish author used satire to become a national hero?
    3. What famous author did prejudice leave penniless?
    4. What poet won the Nobel Prize in literature in 1923?
    5. What revolutionary novelist exiled himself from Ireland?
    6. Which Irish writer wrote primarily in French?
    7. Which Irish poet is famous for translating Beowulf?
    8. Which Irish novelist invented the world’s most famous vampire?
  19. Part 15: Geography and Climate
    1. Where is the sunniest part of the Emerald Isle?
    2. What’s so special about the Kerry Peninsula?
    3. What part of Ireland helped preserve the country’s culture?
    4. Where’s the best place to catch Irish lobster?
    5. Should you pack a raincoat?
    6. What are Ireland’s largest lake and longest river?
    7. How did deforestation affect Ireland?
    8. Where does peat come from?
    9. What’s the Burren?
    10. Did giants really build the Giant’s Causeway?
    11. Why is bird watching so popular in Ireland?
    12. Why is Ireland famous for its horses?
    13. Why is Ireland interested in preserving its natural environment?
  20. Afterword
  21. Appendix: A Primer of the Irish Language
  22. About the Authors
  23. Copyright