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GUEST,Brían Learning Irish? Try this.. (39) RE: Learning Irish? Try this.. 13 May 01

I just would like to say that I have been observing this exchange with admiration. Being able to debate ideas in an open exchange without getting mean-spirited is something I aspire to. Although this has seemed to stray from the original topic Martin proposed,an Irish Language site (, a great site), I'd like to see it continue.

I too am very interested in Celtic, especially Gaelic Culture and investigating the way it creeps into our modern society. Take a look at the words Lake, Lac,Lough, Loch,they have the same meaning, a name for a body of water. Some have gaelic and some have latin origins. They all have a common Indo-European root. I think sometimes we find ourselves waxing nostalgic for our Celtic Heritage when we don't even realise how much we have all around us. I remember being given a tour of a church in Letterkenny by the sextant of the church who pointed out how designs of oak leaves were painted, carved and incorporated into the stained glass of the church. He mentioned that these designs were referring to Colmcille and the Druids. He didn't seem to have a problem with obvious pagan imagery in a catholic church. He was obviously devoutly catholic.

I later saw a Holy well by a roadside in Donegal with a statue of the virgin and blessed rocks from Lourdes. I doubt the people who stopped there to pray considered themselves pagans, but people had probably been praying ther long before the coming of christianity to Ireland.

I have not read Morgan Llwyllen, but I did get a chance to hear her speak to a crowd under a hot tent at Stonehill College in Canton, MA a couple of years ago. She was very knowledgable and entertaining. Another book I've read that discusses connections of celtic and pagan influences in Ireland is Islands of Storm, by Charles Roy. It is very well researched as well as entertaining, full of personal experiences with colorful people he meets in his investigation of ancient monastic sites in Ireland. It gives a refreshing look into the lives of the saints that is temporarily makes one forget about all the pamphlets and prayer cards we were handed in stacks in our religious education classes.

Slán go fóill,

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