January 4, 2010

it's that damn heritage of hers!

You can hear that phrase utter by many a family member of mine after any event that is remotely Irish, Scottish, or in any way Celtic! SIDE NOTE: When referring to the basketball team, it's pronounced with an "s" sound--Seltic. When referring to the culture or people, it's a hard "c" or "k" sound--Keltic. Mm'kay? :)


. . .

Jason and I go through massive phases in our love of "the old country" (I'm sure this is actually meant to be used for countries like Russia and Czechoslovakia, but I'm borrowing it in any case). It's usually followed by any cultural event we partake in, such as our wedding, The Highland Games, or even something as simple as listening to Irish Christmas music! It may even amuse you to know that our computer is named "Highlander."

. . .

After our trip to Oregon, we were happy to see that our cousins also had the same flair for their background as well (my cousin's named their daughter Keeley--an old Gaelic word for beautiful, so we're told). And yes, we totally came home and decided on Irish and Scottish names for our unborn children: Fiona Layne for a girl, and Seamus Lochland for a boy.

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The longest running obsession fascination I have with my heritage is the claddagh ring.

In the Claddagh the crown represents loyalty, the heart represents love, and the hands represent friendship. This ancient Gaelic design is also used in engagement rings and in traditional wedding rings for the Irish. If worn on the right hand with the heart facing out it means you are single, facing in means you are dating someone. If worn on the left hand with the heart facing out it means you are engaged and facing in you are married.

An original symbol of the "Fisher Kings" of the Galway town of Claddagh, Ireland, the design was first fashioned into the traditional ring back in the 17th Century during the reign of Mary II.

Legend has it that an Irish young man, Richard Joyce, bound for the West Indian slave plantations - no doubt the Irish Caribbean island of Montserrat - was kidnapped himself in rough seas by a band of Mediterranean pirates and sold to a Moorish goldsmith who over the many long years of his exile helped him perfect the skills of a master craftsman.

When in 1689 King William III negotiated the return of the slaves, Joyce returned to Galway - despite, it said, the Moor's offer of the daughter's hand in marriage and a princely dowry of half of all his wealth.

Back in Ireland a young women had never stopped faithful waiting for her true love to return. Upon which time when he presented her with the now famous Royal Claddagh gold ring - a symbol of their enduring love. Two hands to represent their friendship, the crown to signify their loyalty and lasting fidelity, and the sign of the heart to symbolise their eternal love for each other.

I've been wanting to get one of these gorgeous traditional rings for years (and I don't honestly know why we didn't use them for our original wedding rings). Thanks to my scrimping and saving bits of my allowance, I've finally bought one! I don't want to post the stock photos because I don't like the way they look, so you'll have to wait 1-2 weeks for mine to arrive. As we speak it's being hand crafted in Ireland! ;)

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Jason has been wanting to bring more greens into the house for a long time. I've always fought him tooth and nail because I liked red--two colors that do not go together unless there's a fat man in a red velor suit involved (in my opinion). But somewhere around the fourth time we move last year, I grew weary of red. I switched to black and white. Black and white were great, but freezing cold without any friends. Then I saw these pillows at Pottery Barn. And these boxes at IKEA. And then we bought them. And then green snuck its little way into our house. And now I have a page that's covered in apple green links. And I actually like it!

So if you ever happen to drop by and the old blog-stead is looking a little like Lucky Charms threw up on your screen, just smile and think, "It's that damn heritage of hers!"

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