Tag Archives: Scots-Irish

Raise your glass to Mr. Robert Burns

January 25 marks the 255rd birthday of poet Robert Burns (1759-1796), who continues to be widely loved in the Scots-Irish community. Many of the bard’s songs and poems have become international favorites – even among those who find his use of Scottish lowland dialect difficult to decipher. If you find yourself in Franklin, NC this […]

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New Year countdown

Ringing out the old, ringing in the new. Everyone’s doing it tomorrow night. One New Year tradition in Appalachia is the New Year baby. The custom of using a baby to signify the New Year originated in ancient Greece, the baby symbolizing in this case not birth, but re-birth. The Germans added the twist of […]

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The “Fighting Irish” from the Mountains and Beyond

For all the “Fighting Irishmen” there were also large numbers of Irish shirkers. Across the Confederate army, the Irish had a higher propensity to die in action but also to desert. They seem to have bought into the rhetoric of the Fighting Irish but ultimately not enough to see it through for the Confederacy. This more complicated story of the Irish in the Civil War, just like the one in the southern Appalachians (as also highlighted for example by John Inscoe in his work on western North Carolina), is not useful to movies or politicians looking to simplify things for their respective audiences. But, it is the more accurate one.

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The whacks of a shillelagh

St. Patrick’s Day is only a couple of weeks off, and one of the things you’ll always find plenty of at that celebration is shillelaghs. The shillelagh [siúil éille is an old Gaelic word meaning "oak club"] is a wooden cudgel associated with the Shillelagh Forest in County Wicklow, Ireland, famous for its once massive […]

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