Monday, October 1, 2012

The Harp symbol of Ireland and Guinness

Youghal, Co Cork Ireland, Photo: Helen Tilston


My morning walk to the bakery through the walled city of Youghal brings me past this shop.
It speaks softly to me as I head towards the baker for our morning cake of soda bread, scones and daily ration of bread and a treat, perhaps a meringue.
Photo of our kitchen-table, overlooking the Blackwater River which 50 yards away feeds into the Irish sea


  The shop-keeper now knows me from repeat visits and as he hands me my change I ponder the symbol of the harp on the coins

 Since 1922, the government of Ireland has used a  left-facing harp, based on the harp in the library at Trinity College Dublin as its state symbol. The harp emblem is used on official state seals and documents including the Irish passport and has appeared on Irish coinage  from the Middle Ages to the current Irish imprints of Euro coins. Note:  The Harp faces left.
 
 




On March 17th, the Feast day of St. Patrick, this symbol or badge is worn in Ireland, plus a few springs of shamrock, picked fresh from the hedge rows. 

Many visitors to Ireland enjoy a glass or pint or Guinness, the famous drink of stout manufactured in Ireland since Arthur Guinness started brewing ales from 1759 at the  St. James's Gate Brewery, Dublin. On 31 December 1759. It is said, he signed (up to) a 9,000 year lease at £45 per annum for the unused brewery.  Ten years later, on 19 May 1769, Guinness first exported his ale: he shipped six-and-a-half barrels to Great Britain.

Guinness also use the Harp as their symbol.  You will note the harp faces to the right in their logo and advertising.






I leave you with this beautiful Irish Harpist and singer, Orla Fallon singing a very special song for you.

Do you suppose the composer of Carrickfergus  patronized establishments that served Guinness?

60 comments:

  1. Hi Helen,
    Is there a significance to the harp facing either right or left? What a beautiful voice Orla Fallon has. I love the sound of the harp. Thank you for sharing Carrickfergus, and for your lovely photos of your recent visit to Ireland. (Are those your meringues in the second photo? (Yum!)

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    1. Hello Sanda

      A good question about the harp. Perhaps one of my Irish bloggers will inform us. Orla Fallon has a fabulous voice and is a talented harpist too. I have seen her in concert several times and she always delivers.
      The meringue I purchased at the bakery and we nibbled on it all day.

      Have a great week

      Helen xx

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  2. Guinness! my husband's favourite tipple Helen. My mother used to call it a meal in a glass!

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    1. Hello Jacqueline

      As you husband likely knows, Guinness pulled in a pub in Ireland tastes very different from the bottled variety in North America. Some say it is the grimy water from the River Liffey in Dublin that gives it its flavour. That is a good one "a meal in a glass" :))

      Helenxx

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  3. Hello Helen:
    How wonderful to think of your making your daily stroll to the baker and then returning to enjoy your breakfast at the kitchen table looking out on that wonderful view. And soda bread, so long since we have tasted it and something which we always associate with Ireland.

    What you say here about the harp we found to be most interesting and, for the most part, entirely new to us. We are now fascinated with right or left facing harps!

    As we have been typing this the beautiful voice of Orla Fallon has sounded in the background, drawing us in spirit across the miles to Eire.

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    1. Hello Jane and Lance

      It would be a joy to have you at our breakfast table, enjoying soda bread and saving the crumbs for the pair of white doves that visited us daily.

      I am happy you liked Orla Fallon's rendition of Carrickfergus. One finds that many countries choose their Heads of State as the emblem on coinage

      I shall move on and harp no more, wishing you a glorious week.

      Helen xx

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  4. Lovely post Helen - I am still steeped in the mists and magic of Ireland.
    The photo of the little shop painted in soft lovat green with the sunshine and shadows looks very inviting as does your breakfast table with its wonderful view.
    Continue to enjoy your sojourn in your homeland Helen.

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    1. Hello Rosemary

      Thank you for your welcome words this morning.

      There are a few stores sporting this soft shade of green, which looked magical in the dappled light. Our view is spectacular from the kitchen and also the living room. There is always action on the water and we find ourselves composing stories about the various boats that pass our window. We are easily entertained.

      Have a wonderful week

      Helen xx

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  5. Beautiful recording. My grandmother used to have a glass of Guinness regularly, swearing it was a 'cure all' for all ills!

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    1. Hello Jane

      Thank you for writing and I am pleased you liked Orla Fallon singing. Your grandmother may have had a point when she spoke of the medicinal benefits of Guinness.

      To a great week

      Helenxx

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  6. Hello dear Helen! Well, if I could sit with you at your kitchen table munching on soda bread and tea, I think that would just be enough of a visit to Ireland for me--I could turn around and go home afterwards, a happy girl. :)

    I love the light in these photos...and of course, the magic of the harp!
    Bisous,
    H.

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    1. Hello Heather,

      I would have a hard time allowing you to leave following a cup of tea and some soda bread. We would be just warming up but it would be a start (what a delightful thought). Let us hope it will happen one day soon.

      To a week of joy

      Helen xx

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  7. Dear Helen - trying again. I made a comment but it has vanished. Must be the new blogger format.
    I am still steeped in the mists and magic of Ireland so loved this post.
    What a gorgeous little shop painted in soft lovat green - looks as if there are lovely things inside.
    The view from your breakfast table is just perfect.
    Glad you are enjoying your sojourn in your old homeland.

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    1. Hi Rosemary

      Blogger is tricking me too this week. There is a magician at large removing typed messages and it is not Halloween yet.

      I loved hearing from you twice

      Helenxx

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  8. Grand post! Wish I could be in Ireland now! Had my 1st taste of Guinness at the Gravity Bar at the brewery in Dublin! Wishing you well! Cathy

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    1. Hello Cathy

      I hope your travels bring you home to Ireland soon. Guinness tastes best, taken as draft, in Ireland. A former boss used say "I am like Guinness stout; I do not travel well"

      Helen xx

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  9. Helen, I have a handful of girlfriends heading to Ireland...I think this week, watch for them, okay?
    LOVE the harpist and your photos!

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    1. Hello Auntie Bliss

      I am sure your friends will have an absolutely wonderful time and lots of laughter. Should I warn people they are coming?
      Glad you liked the music and images.

      Helen xx

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  10. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  11. Your morning routine sounds idyllic, and the song is beautiful. I often listen to the Nation Public Radio Celtic Sojurn radio show via my computer. Enjoy Ireland!

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    1. Hello Jen

      I do love my morning walk and to watch the sunrise over the ocean is an added bonus. There is a wonderful feeling about the town of Youghal. It is an actual working town, not touristy nor spoiled.
      I love NPR

      Helenxx

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  12. Dear Helen,
    What a beautiful part of Ireland ....... my mouth is watering at your description of all of those breads and cakes !!
    ......... and, so interesting about the Guinness Brewery......I remember when my Mum and Dad visited and they were given two Guinness Wade Pottery figures. I still have them.
    .....and, to finish off with such beautiful music.....such a treat.
    Hope that you are well Helen. So sorry that I haven't been around much .....still getting used to this new computer ! Much love. XXXX

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    1. Hello Jacqueline
      Youghal is a beautiful part of Ireland and when the sun is shining it is heavenly. There are three great bakeries in the town and many great restaurants. How interesting that you have souvenirs from your parents visit to Guinness Brewery.
      Thanks for your good wishes and I am sure you will master your computer in no time.
      Helen xx

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  13. Your morning walk sounds perfect Helen and what a lovely view to sit and enjoy with your breakfast. They used to swear-by a glass of Guinness a day in the old days and gave it to young women as medicine if they were anaemic, the saying was not an apple a day keeps the doctor away but a Guinness! ;) My Mum and Dad were married on March 17th and Mum had daffodils and shamrock in her bouquet.

    Jane

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    1. Hello Jane

      I love the image of your mother's wedding bouquet, how beautiful.

      Daily life is beautiful and there are so many interesting walks and tempting bakeries. Fresh bread daily is still in demand here. There are no preservatives and it spoils in a day.

      You are right there are supposedly medicinal benefits attached to Guinness.

      Have a great week

      Helen xx

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  14. I have always wanted to visit there...someday. Have a lovely crisp day Helen!

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    1. I hope your wish comes true and you get to Ireland one day very soon. It is magical.

      Helenxx

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  15. Helen, you take notice of small details in the palm of your hand. I can see your head bent over the coins and your mind firing off an idea for a post. I like the thought of this very much. Also, I see you in relaxed, white or ivory skirts, long, and with your hair pulled back in an easy braid -- perhaps a hat -- as you head back home to your sunny table and your morning feast.

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    1. Hello Suze

      You have my number!!! Always keeping a future post in mind.
      I love the beautiful image you have created of my dress and I shall not spoil it by actually revealing my wardrobe. Your description would be later in the day for sure.

      Thanks for stopping and wishing you a week of joy

      Helen xx

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  16. Helen,
    I seemed to have somehow missed your last few posts. Ireland is one of our favourite places and your posts give such a feel of the Ireland we love. The music, the people and the soda bread! The Guinness over here never tastes as good as ones we have had in Ireland. Enjoy the rest of your stay.
    Sarah x

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    1. Hello Sarah

      Always lovely to see you here and I understand it is not always possible to keep up with all our blogging friends.
      You are indeed right when you say Guinness does not taste the same as in Ireland.
      I hope you make it over soon

      Helen xx

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  17. Helen, I have so enjoyed reading this post. While visiting Trinty College in Dublin I had the opportunity to see the oldest surviving harp. I have often wondered it's significance. I, too, heard the story of the 9000 year lease of the brewery.

    Listening to Orla Fallon's beautiful voice I am once again transported. The music of Ireland is always lovely. I love the stories.

    How wonderful it would have been to have had the opportunity to meet up for a day.

    Bonnie

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    1. Hello Bonnie

      How great you got to see "the harp" at Trinity College. It is very special walking the grounds of Trinity and thinking of the greats who have walked before us.

      I heard a marvelous story this week about the Easter Rising in 1916 when the shooting started, a young boy (the father of the story-teller) got separated from his father and a policeman lifted the young boy and put standing on the horizontal bar (half-way up) of the wrought iron gate of Trinity College and wove the boys arms through the railings and told the young boy to hang on and his dad would return for him. It worked.

      I am happy you like the music.

      It would indeed have been special to have met with you.

      Helen xx

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  18. What a wonderful morning routine, Helen and Ireland is definitely on my bucket list. Beautiful music...

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    1. You would love the leisurely life of this small town and I hope you visit soon.

      Thanks for your visit and compliment

      Helenx

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  19. You make me long for a real draught of Guiness, Helen! Not the same here. I see plenty of sunshine! I hope you're enjoying the days!

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    1. Hello Jacqueline

      We are indeed blessed with sunshine daily and of course, lest we get too comfortable, the odd shower of rain.
      It is such a joy being with my family and re-telling all the family stories again. Guinness on tap is sheer gold.

      Helen x

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  20. bump - arr whos that? two tilston paths crossing - lovely article helen.

    omani padmi hum
    Stef Tilston
    cymru


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    1. Hello Stef Tilston

      How delighted I am to bump into another Tilston. From your email to me, which I thank you for, I see you live in Wales, a beautiful place. Col. Fred Tilston VC is my father in law and yes the family hailed from Wales and England.

      Stop by again.

      Helen xx

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  21. Helen,
    Lovely post and a top of the morning to you! Of all the places to be you sure can select them perfectly. Soul travel does a body great benefits and are the keys to a grand and full life.

    Bette

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    1. Hello Bette

      Thank you for your kind words. Top of the Morning in return to you. I love to travel and from my youngest days always held a curiousity for what was around the corner. I agree with what you say on the benefits of travel for the soul.
      To a week of joy
      Helen xx

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  22. Thanks for this very nice post ... and for Orla Fallon! :-)

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    1. Hello Peter

      Why thank you kindly for your comment and I am delighted you enjoyed this post.

      My best for a great week

      Helen xx

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  23. What a lovely post Helen! It is wonderful to know that you enjoyed your time in Ireland, you certainly know how to do it!
    Your photos are fantastic, they show the Irish charm :) The harp is a national emblem of Ireland and I am delighted with the information on your post about it. A glass of Guinness while listening to a beautiful melody of the harp sounds like a nice idea to me. I really liked the way you finish your post with a video of the amazing Orla Fallon. Have a wonderful day!

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  24. Hello Tourism Ireland

    Many thanks for visiting my blog and for your kind and approving comments.

    I am Irish born and educated and return to the land of my youth at any given opportunity, which is at least one a year.

    I hope you visit again

    Helen

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  25. Love the last line Helen. Orla is a fantastic Harpist. I adore soda bread which I haven't had for such a long time. Now you have my tastebuds going, I must have some this weekend:)

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  26. I agree with you on Orla's talent as a harpist. Thanks for listening to the words of Carrickfergus.
    I hope your soda bread turns out to your expectation.

    Have a glorious weekend, it is Canadian Thanksgiving weekend in this corner of the world.

    Helenxx

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  27. Love the idea of going out for bread every morning :)

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    1. Hello Becky

      My family are very fussy about their fresh bread and a daily visit to the bakery is necessary and I must say I loved obliging.

      Helenxx

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  28. My dearest Helen,

    Your lovely posts about your holiday in Ireland make me want to visit to Ireland. I've never been to Ireland but I feel so connected to this country through its literature and music. Most of my favourite writers are Irish. The best English poets are Irish. Doesn't it say something? I listen to the classical music and jazz mainly at home. I rarely listen to folk music but when I hear the Irish music such as "The Johnstons - The Lambs On The Green Hills" (have you ever heard this gorgeous ballad?) - I can become maudlin after hearing two melody lines. I also love your choice of the Irish Harpist and singer, Orla Fallon. I have got a record of Mary O' Hara playing only harp as a solo instrument. I often play it as a background music when I have dinner parties at home. People always ask me who the musician was. I learn something new today reading this post. Wishing you a great weekend. Best wishes, ASD x

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    1. Dearest ASD

      I hope you visit Ireland soon. With your knowledge of it's literature, poetry, music and folklore you will obtain so much more than the average tourist. You speak of Mary O'Hara, I have seen her in concert and read her autobiography and did have her LP (now disappeared). Speaking of the Johnston, what a coincidence you should speak of them and I love "The Lambs on the Green Hills" - I have it playing as I type. Many years ago,Michael Johnston from the group encouraged my frends and I to enter a folk singing competition and he backed us up on guitar - our song was http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0iKRpSn4wjg&feature=related (we did go through to the finals).
      Thank you for commenting, sharing and prompting fond and beautiful memories.

      Helen xx

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  29. I adore Guinness and particularly Irish Guinness. They make it and sell it the world over but it only tastes as creamy in Ireland. Could be something to do with the water but I suspect that the difference in taste is just a well kept Irish secret.
    What a wonderful holiday you have had. Thank you for the news.
    Cheers Gillian

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    1. Hello Gillian

      Guinness does taste delicious in Ireland. My brothers hold bartenders responsible for pouring Guinness perfectly and are highly critical if it is not poured slowly and allowed to rest in stages of pouring.
      I was a most memorable trip.
      Have a glorious week

      Helenxx

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  30. Darling Helen! You know I play the harp? I started out playing Irish tunes and I will forever be enchanted by this beautiful culture. Oh how I love an Irish cottage and landscape!

    Thank you for coming to view my home and wares. I hope you are enjoying your autumn; I AM! It is cold here now, but it is a beautiful part of the cycle.

    Have a lovely Sunday, Anita

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    1. Hello Anita

      I do remember that you play the harp and would love to hear you play one day. Have you recorded?

      Wishing you a joyful weekend. It is Canadian Thanksgiving here and we are at the lake, visiting friends at their cabin and there is a roaring fire.
      Helen xx

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  31. Helen,
    How lovely that you are still there enjoying yourself...How I will love to visit Ireland one day. That coin is absolutely exquisite, as are the banknotes in your previous post.
    Enjoy!
    Nathalie

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    1. Hello Nathalie

      I hope you visit Ireland one day. The coin and notes are beautiful but I still manage to not hold on to them, they disappear from my wallet quickly.

      We have returned from Ireland but our hearts have remained - it takes a few weeks for the heart to catch a flight home.

      Fond wishes for a beautiful week

      Helen xx

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  32. No matter where you travel or live, a good bakery is a welcome place. We just got to our condo in the mountains and one of our first stops will be to the bakery to buy bagels. Enjoy your trip, my friend! Enjoy your fresh bread and goodies!

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  33. The more you write of Ireland the more my heart smiles. When in Dublin on St. Patrick's Day many years ago, Guinness was such a huge presence and of course the harp symbol. I had not known that the harp on Irish coins was after the harp in the library @ Trinity College. Now..I have an urge for some soda bread & a pint of Guinness!

    What a fun time you've been having Helen xx

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  34. Hello Helen, you seem to have found yourself a lovely spot there in Youghal. I love that Gerogian shop window. I never knew that about the left facing harp, it is intrigueing isn't it? Much love to you, Linda x

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