8th February, 2001
SOME EARLY VALENTINE CUSTOMS
People probably celebrated Valentine's Day as early as the 1400's. Some historians trace the custom of sending verses on Valentine's Day to a Frenchman named Charles, Duke of Orleans. Charles was captured by the English during the Battle of Agincourt in 1415. He was taken to England and put in prison. On Valentine's Day, he sent his wife a rhymed love letter from his cell in the Tower of London.
Many Valentine's Day customs involved ways that single women could learn who their future husbands would be. Women of the 1700's wrote men's names on scraps of paper, rolled each in a little piece of clay, and dropped them all into water. The first paper that rose to the surface supposedly had the name of a woman's true love.
Also in the 1700's, unmarried women pinned five bay leaves to their pillows on the eve of Valentine's Day. They pinned one leaf to the centre of the pillow and one to each corner. If the charm worked, they saw their future husbands in their dreams.
In Derbyshire, England, believing it would make their true love appear, young women circled the church 3 or 12 times at midnight and repeated such verses as:
"I sow hempseed.
Hempseed I sow.
He that loves me best,
Come after me now."
One of the oldest customs was the practice of writing women's names on slips of paper and drawing them from a jar. The woman whose name was drawn by a man became his valentine, and he paid special attention to her. Many men gave gifts to their valentines. In some areas, a young man gave his valentine a pair of gloves. Wealthy men gave fancy balls to honour their valentines.
One description of Valentine's Day during the 1700's tells how groups of friends met to draw names. For several days, each man wore his valentine's name on his sleeve. The saying wearing his heart on his sleeve probably came from this practice.
The custom of sending romantic messages gradually replaced that of giving gifts. In the 1700's and 1800's, many stores sold handbooks called valentine writers. These books included verses to copy and various suggestions about writing valentines.
THE HISTORY OF DOUGLAS
Part 28 - ST. COLUMBA'S CHURCH - continued from last week
In 1702, Douglas is not even mentioned. It was probably included in the Carrigaline union at that date. The first post-reformation church of which there is any knowledge was situated near Grange Cross. On the orchard wall of Shamrock Lawn up to recently were still to be seen the two pillars of the entrance gate to the church. The Rev. Florence McCarthy who died in 1805, aged eighty years, was parish priest when the church existed. He lived to the south of Grange Road. This was the well known Fr. McCarthy who was buried at Killingly, at whose grave rounds were made. According to local tradition, he was a native of the Kilcrea district. He was ordained at Rome and on one occasion, as he was going to or coming from the continent, he was taken prisoner by the English. The Penal Laws were then in force. The young priest was obliged to take part in the war and probably fought in the Battle of Fontenoy in 1745. Years later when he was parish priest of Douglas, he met his commanding officer who was in Cork in connection with "Whiteboy" troubles. The memory of the past helped to soften the Colonel. There is an inscription to Fr. McCarthy in the old ruined church at Killingly.
'The Parishioners of Ballygarvan have at their own expense erected this stone to the memory of the late Rev. Florence McCarthy parish priest of Douglas and Ballygarvan who departed this life Feb. 24th, 1814 aged 80 yrs'.
One parish priest of Douglas, Fr. Begley lived in a house, the ruins of which can still be seen behind the hoarding near St. Columba's Hall, (C. 1867). In his time, the gallery to St. Columba's Church was approached by an outside stairs. This layout was altered in the church extension. Douglas was probably made a parish when this church at Grange Cross was built. The exact date is not known, but it was probably in 1752. This lasted until 1814. Douglas was certainly a parish before 1768, when a pastor of Douglas died. Fr. Crowley, as far as it is known, was the first parish priest of the modern parish. He died in 1768. The obituary notice states "Died at Douglas, the Rev. Mr. Crowley, parish priest of that place." He was interred at St.Mary's, Shandon.
Church records also suggest that the establishment of a religious foundation in Ballincurrig near the end of Ballinlough Road. This establishment did not appear to be of great importance and was designated a 'cell' rather than a 'monastery.' ln support of this claim the nearby Boreenmanna Road is called in Irish 'Boithrin na Manach' or "The Little Road of the Monks." The church records also speak of a 'church field' at Ballyorban and another at Ballinvuskig.
To be continued next week
JACK LEMMON - A MAN OF MANY BIRTHDAYS
Born on the 8th Feb 1925, this versatile motion-picture actor whose roles during a long career have ranged from amiable young men to grumpy old ones. Although Lemmon is best known for his performances in light comedies, he has gained praise in a variety of films, including satires and dark dramas. He won an Academy Award as best supporting actor for the comedy Mister Roberts (1955) and an Academy Award as best actor for the serious drama Save the Tiger (1973). He was nominated for Academy Awards as best actor for Some Like It Hot (1959), The Apartment (1960), The Days of Wine and Roses (1962), The China Syndrome (1979), Tribute (1980), and Missing (1982).
John Uhler Lemmon III was born into a wealthy family in Boston. He was educated in private schools and graduated from Harvard University in 1947. He began his acting career in summer stock and appeared on radio and television from 1948 to 1952. Lemmon made his film debut in It Should Happen to You (1953). His other films include Irma la Douce (1963), The Great Race (1965), The Odd Couple (1968), The Prisoner of Second Avenue (1975), Glengarry Glen Ross (1992), Grumpy Old Men (1993), and My Fellow Americans (1996). Lemmon also directed the film Kotch (1971).
MRS KELLY - An Appreciation
Last Friday, while entering the Douglas Credit Union, I learned of the sad news that a dear friend had passed away; a friend not only to myself but also to a tremendous number of people that she knew throughout her life.
Mrs. Nina Kelly was born and grew up in the West Village and worked in the old Woollen Mills. She was a woman of laughter and stories of a Douglas past. Nina was one of the early members of the Credit Union. I believe the number on her book was 7. She once told me that the first loan given out was for a pair of brogues.
On entering her house any winter's day you were welcomed by a big roaring fire set by her son John and stoked on a regular basis throughout the day. "Jaysus, you'll burn me out of it one of these day with all that coal", she would say "Dya know what boy, he has me heart broken, him and his fires." I think what she was saying was I'll be lost without him, the creather!" After some hours sifting with her, with one side of the face red, and tears in the eyes from chuckling at the things she would tell you, I'd leave with a different outlook about my silly little worries.
I could go on about Nina all day, so could all her friends and all the people who knew her, especially at the Douglas GAA Club, where she played camogie as a girl, and sang a song or two there as well. She was singing "Do you want your ol' lobby washed down" in the Opera House years before the "Shiner" got a hold of it.
My prayers and sympathies to her dearly loved Family. Rest in peace Mrs.Kelly.
BEFORE ELVIS THERE WAS JAMES DEAN
At the time many considered Elvis Presley to be a singing
version of James Dean, they certainly had a lot in common,
although Presley modelled himself more on the early Marlon Brando
than on Dean, they both identified with the same audience's.
James Dean was the envy of every young American motion-picture
actor. He became famous for his intense, brooding portrayals of
discontented, rebellious young men. Dean starred in only three
films--East of Eden (1955), Rebel Without a Cause (1955), and
Giant (1956). He died in an automobile accident in 1955 at the
age of 24. After his death, he became an idol to young people in
many parts of the world. They considered Dean a symbol of their
frustrations because of the characters he portrayed.
James Byron Dean was born in Marion, Ind. On the 8th February 1931. He studied acting at the University of California at Los Angeles and at the Actors Studio in New York City. Dean acted in TV dramas before beginning his film career. He also was in two Broadway plays, the Jaguar (1952) and The Immoralist (1954).
KNOW YOUR RIGHTS
Question Following my divorce my ex-wife has kept the family
home. If I buy a house for myself to live in what stamp duty
Answer On the 15th June 2000 new stamp duty rates were introduced for first time buyers of both new and second-hand houses. Since then first time buyers have included the spouse of a marriage which Is subject to a decree of judicial separation or a decree of divorce. Marriages subject to non-judicial separation or civil annulment are not covered.
The spouse must have left the marital home and not retained an interest in it and his/her Separated/former spouse must continue to live in the home.
Under the stamp duty rates for first time buyers no duty is paid on property up to the value of £150,000.
£150,001 - £200,000 3%
£200,001 - £250.000 3.75%
£250,001 - £300,000 4.5%
£300,001 - £500,000 7.5%
Over £500,000 9%
This broadening of the definition of first time buyers does not apply to the £3,000 new house grant for first time buyers from the Department of the Environment and Local Government.
However the spouse of a marriage subject to a divorce or civil annulment or to a separation, either judicial or by deed, may be allowed a new house grant where the person's need for housing and a refusal to pay the grant would cause undue hardship.
Information is supplied Cobh Citizens Information Centre,
Phone 021 4814422.
ST. BRIDGET OF SWEDEN
Brigit or Brigantia (Celtic: High One), ancient Celtic goddess of the poetic arts, crafts, and divination; she was the equivalent of the Roman goddess Minerva (Greek Athena). In Ireland she was one of three goddesses of the same name, daughters of the Dagda, the great god of that country. Her two were connected with healing and with the craft of the smith. Brigit was worshipped by the semi-sacred poetic class, the filid, who also had certain priestly functions.
Brigit was taken over into Christianity as St. Brigit but she retained her strong pastoral associations. Her feast day was February 1, which was also the date of the pagan festival
'Imbolc', the season when the ewes came into milk. St. Brigit had a great establishment at Kildare in Ireland that was probably founded on a pagan sanctuary. Her sacred fire there burned continually; it was tended by a series of 19 nuns and by the saint herself every 20th day. Brigit still plays an important role in modern Scottish folk tradition, where she figures as the midwife of the Virgin Mary. Numerous holy wells are dedicated to her.
Brigantia, patron goddess of the Brigantes of north Britain, is substantially the same god-
as Brigit. Her connection with water is shown by her invocation in Roman times as the "nymph goddess"; several rivers in Ireland and Britain are named after her.
WORDS OF WISDOM
"Flattery is like chewing gum; to be enjoyed not swallowed"
THE HISTORY OF ST. VALENTINES DAY
Different authorities believe Valentine's Day began in various ways. Some trace it to an ancient Roman festival called Lupercalia. Other experts connect the event with one or more saints of the early Christian church. Still others link it with an old English belief that birds choose their mates on February 14. Valentine's Day probably came from a combination of all three of those sources--plus the belief that spring is a time for lovers.
The ancient Romans held the festival of Lupercalia on February 15 to ensure protection from wolves. During this celebration, young men struck people with strips of animal hide. Women took the blows because they thought that the whipping made them more fertile. After the Romans conquered Britain in AD 43, the British borrowed many Roman festivals. Many writers link the festival of Lupercalia with Valentine's Day because of the similar date and the connection with fertility.
The early Christian church had at least two saints named Valentine. According to one story, the Roman Emperor Claudius II in the AD 200's forbade young men to marry. The emperor thought single men made better soldiers. A priest named Valentine disobeyed the emperor's order and secretly married young couples.
Another story says Valentine was an early Christian who made friends with many children. The Romans imprisoned him because he refused to worship their gods. The children missed Valentine and tossed loving notes between the bars of his cell window. This tale may explain why people exchange messages on Valentine's Day. According to still another story, Valentine restored the sight of his jailer's blind daughter.
Many stories say that Valentine was executed on February 14 about AD 269. In AD 496, Saint Pope Gelasius I named February 14 as St. Valentine's Day.
In Norman French, a language spoken in Normandy during the Middle Ages, the word galantine sounds like Valentine and means gallant or lover. This resemblance may have caused people to think of St. Valentine as the special saint of lovers.
The earliest records of Valentine's Day in English tell that birds chose their mates on that day. People used a different calendar before 1582, and February 14 came on what is now February 24. Geoffrey Chaucer, an English poet of the 1300's, wrote in The Parliament of Fowls, "For this was on St. Valentine's Day, / When every fowl cometh there to choose his mate." Shakespeare also mentioned this belief in A Midsummer Night's Dream. A character in the play discovers two lovers in the woods and asks, "St. Valentine is past; / Begin these woodbirds but to couple now?"
Unfortunately we were unable to unearth the Celtic equivalent of St. Valentine's day, perhaps some good reader well versed in Irish Folklore could help us out.
Douglas Community School - Table Quiz
Douglas community School parents Association are holding their annual charity table Quiz in aid of the St, Vincent De Paul Society on Thursday February 15th 2001 in the Douglas GAA Club at 8.30pm. Teams of 4 £12.00.
We look forward to your support. All are welcome!
A Public Meeting will take place in the Douglas Community Centre at 8 o'clock on Thursday 22nd February. All are welcome
Douglas Tidy Towns 2001 - Clean up in Douglas
A number of different firms are taking part in a united clean up of Douglas on Sat 17th February. All those wanting to participate are asked to meet in the Community Centre Car Park at 10.30 am. The entire operation is expected to last about two hours.
All Creatures Great & Small Animal Rescue Home
Are holding a public in Emmet Place on Saturday 10th February at 2.30pm. All animal lovers are invited to attend and to bring along your pets.
Still popular and still necessary.
An fháinne, the symbol that denotes that a person is an Irish Speaker was first introduced as far back as l910 It served a very practical purpose indeed at that time. Not alone was it advertisement for the Irish Language, but it served to identify" Irish Speakers to each other and thus increased the amount of Irish spoken.
Down through the years, it maintained it's popularity and both versions were in use - a Gold Fáinne for adults and a Silver Fáinne for the younger generation.
The original Fáinní were quite large and had to be re-designed about 15 years ago and the smaller version is now commonly used. Of course, like everything else in Ireland, it was the subject of plenty of jokes, such as the one about the Irishman on holidays in Rome who got lost and was frantically searching for directions back to his hotel. Spotting a priest coming towards him, he asked for directions in English. Having got the necessary help, the priest
asked the Irishman 'how did you know I spoke English?' and the answer of course came back promptly 'because I saw you wearing a Fáinne'.
The Irish Language Movement was certainly very creative in many of the ideas developed at the beginning of this century. One immediately considers how different things would be for Manx in the Isle of Man, and Scottish Gaelic in Scotland if the Fáinne idea or some other symbol had been developed together with 'language summer colleges'.
One practical difficulty is presented at the present time that was not there, fortunately or unfortunately at the beginning of the century. In those days, people had one suit of clothes - if they were lucky, so the fáinne remained in situ on the one garment.
Nowadays of course, in a more affluent age, people have many suits and many items of casual attire so one might need not just one but several fáinní. Gael-Taca believes that if people realised the beauty of the Irish Language, they would be proud to speak it. As a sign of this good intent, they should wear the fáinne. It says to others 'ta Gaeilge agamsa, labhair liom í'.
Pé scéal é, the Gael-Taca organisation based in Cork City has now made it easier than ever
for people to acquire 'An Fáinne'. They are welcome to contact the Gael-Taca office at - Scoil Neasáin, Port Uí Shuilleabháin, Corcaigh, Fón: (021)4310841 I Fax: (021)4273734
HE WROTE "20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA"
Jules Verne, this French novelist wrote some of the first science-fiction stories. Although his books were written before the invention of the aeroplane, they have remained popular in the space age. Verne forecast the invention of aeroplanes, submarines, television, guided missiles, and space satellites. Verne even predicted their uses accurately.
Verne cleverly used realistic detail and believable explanations to support incredible tales of adventure. His fantastic plots took advantage of the widespread interest in science in the 1800's. He carried his readers all over the earth, under it, and above it. Verne's Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, published in 1870, tells about Captain Nemo, a mad sea captain who cruises beneath the oceans in a submarine. In Around the World in Eighty Days (1873), Phileas Fogg travels around the earth in the then unheard-of time of 80 days, just to win a bet. Other thrillers include A Journey to the Center of the Earth (1864), From the Earth to the Moon (1865), and Around the Moon (1870).
Verne knew a great deal about geography, and used his knowledge to make his stories realistic. He also wrote several historical novels, including a story about the American Civil War, North Against South (1887).
Verne was born in Nantes on 8th February 1828; He studied law in Paris but decided to become a writer. His first works were plays and the words for operas. Verne's first novel, Five Weeks in a Balloon (1863) brought him immediate success. It was based on an essay he wrote describing the exploration of Africa in a balloon. The essay was rejected several times before one publisher suggested that Verne rewrite it as a novel of imagination. The popularity of the book encouraged Verne to continue writing on science-fiction themes. Jules Verne died in 1905.
VELNTINES DAY MASACRE
Al Capone and his gunmen were blamed for the murder of seven members of the Bugs Moran gang in the St. Valentine's Day Massacre of 1929 in Chicago, and although it is almost certain that Capone and his gang were responsible, the charge was never proved.
THE TANGLED WEB
Mary, Queen of Scots, was the only surviving
child of King James V of Scotland. The princess, whose mother was
Mary of Guise, was only a week old when James V died. However,
she was immediately proclaimed queen of Scotland.
Born in 1542, Mary was sent to France at the age of 5 to be educated. She married the French dauphin (crown prince) at the age of 15.The dauphin became king of France soon after their marriage, but he died in 1560.
Mary returned to Scotland in 1561, soon after it had officially become a Protestant country. Before the 1560's, the Roman Catholic Church had been Scotland's official church. Although Mary was a Catholic, she did not oppose the spread of the Protestant faith at first. But in 1565, she married her cousin Henry Stuart, who was also known as Lord Darnley. This young Catholic nobleman's rise to power caused leading Protestant lords to revolt. The rebellion was quickly put down. But the queen soon discovered that she had married an ineffective and overly ambitious husband, and she came to hate him.
A rumour began to develop that Mary was having an affair with her private secretary, an Italian musician named David Riccio. A band of Protestant nobles dragged Riccio from Mary's presence and stabbed him to death in March 1566. Darnley, Mary's husband, was one of the leaders in the murder, but Mary fled with him to Dunbar and thus preserved her power. Mary gave birth to a son three months later. This son eventually became King James I of England.
Mary still hated her husband. Before long she began to show marked attention to James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell. Early in 1567, Bothwell murdered Darnley. Mary married Bothwell three months later.
This marriage was Mary's fatal mistake. She was forced to abdicate in favour of her son in June 1567 and was imprisoned. She escaped in 1568 and raised a small army, but most people in Scotland opposed her. Her forces were defeated, and she fled to England.
Mary was next in line for the English throne after her second cousin Queen Elizabeth I. However, Mary refused to recognise Elizabeth as queen. Beginning in 1569, Mary supported a series of plots to overthrow her.
Elizabeth kept Mary confined and for years refused demands for her execution. Eventually, however, Elizabeth had her tried for high treason. Mary was found guilty, and Elizabeth reluctantly signed Mary's death warrant. Mary was beheaded on Feb. 8, 1587.
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