Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Erin Go Bragh, Leprechauns, and other Irish Tidbits
In anticipation of an upcoming trip to Ireland, I decided to check into some of the Irish sayings, tales, and interesting tidbits of a few things Irish. For example on St. Patrick's Day (which happens to be my birthday) you always see buttons with Erin Go Bragh on them. What does it mean? Ireland Forever. But it has been anglicized from the original Gaelic according to the sources I scanned.
Then there's the fascination with Leprechauns. Are they anything like Santa's elves, I wondered? Seems the tales of leprechauns have their roots in legend that involves shoemakers since that is the derivative of their name. They are portrayed as little aged men who are usually drunk but yet keepers of ancient treasure left by the Danes. If captured, they will promise great wealth to go free. They carry two pouches. One with a silver shilling that magically returns to the pouch and one with a gold piece that turns to leaves or dust when parted with. If you see a leprechaun, you must not take your eyes off him for a moment or he will vanish instantly.
This led me to wonder if the leprechaun's favorite drink was Guinness. Which led me to wonder, just what is Guinness. As far as I can determine, Guinness is a beer made popular by Arthur Guinness back in the late 18th century. It is a dark beer called a stout. Guinness comes with a thick creamy foam head and is said to have less calories and less alcohol content than most other beers. Does that mean the leprechauns drink more or prefer a different brew?
I anticipate quite a few tales, and tall ones at that, at most every turn we take in Ireland. It should be quite an entertaining trip. Do you have an Irish tale to share?