Archive for the ‘History’ Category
(I first wrote this March of 2011. I’ve reposted it this month for our Irish Heritage celebration. Enjoy! – BS)
Coffin Ships are a rather sad part of Irish history. Originating during the Great Irish Famine, and of course the prison ships to Botany Bay. The first vessel with Irish convicts for Botany Bay arrived in Port Jackson on 26 September 1791.
They were called “coffin ships,” because so many poor souls had been dying on them as of late, leaving behind widows and orphans and broken families. Typically untrustworthy vessels, these ships were purchased literally from salvage yards (where they awaiting dismantling) by unscrupulous owners who had no intention of repairing them. Sailors who agreed to serve on board these floating wrecks typically knew nothing of the dangers until they were well out at sea, vagabonds, and those desperate for work (of which there were plenty) quickly volunteered.
Concerned only with profits, these same ship owners heavily overburdened the ships then insured them against expected losses of cargo. They were quite literally worth more at the bottom of the sea than upon it.
(I first wrote this March of 2012. Each year I try to add at least one new story to my Irish History Celebration posts. I’ve reposted it this month for our Irish Heritage celebration. Enjoy! – BS)
The Famine began quite mysteriously in September 1845 as leaves on potato plants suddenly turned black and curled, then rotted, seemingly the result of a fog that had wafted across the fields of Ireland. I have been told that the cause was actually an airborne fungus originally transported in the holds of ships traveling from North America to England. Somewhat ironic then if you consider how many Irish families in turn fled to North America because of it. Let no one say we Irish have not had a sense of humor in the annuals of history.
In Any event, The Great Famine was a period of mass starvation, disease and emigration between 1845 and 1852. Outside of Ireland it is more commonly called The Irish Potatoe Famine. Within Ireland, and amongst my own family it was referred to as an Gorta Mór or great hunger.
The blog is green once again. The quote is changed as it will do so each week this month for something that I feel is witty, applicable or entertaining. Your mileage may vary of course.
A recent conversation reminded me of the dangers of doing my historical work each year on Ireland. We Irish are romantics, we even romanticize our revolutions, and it can be easy to fall sway under the ideology through that silver tongue. I say we, but at the heart of the issue is I am whats usually known as a Plastic Paddy, born in America and accepted by neither. So it is.
My grandfather supported independence, but not the method by which it was attempted or achieved. That’s a serious fence to straddle, especially in Irish politics. I think due him I am of the same. The methods were brutal, ugly, horrible and little more than terrorism. The basis for the action can be understood, even appreciated, but not the extremes to which it was taken. Having never been in that position myself, I find it hard for me to judge any stronger than that.
No side was correct in the conflict and troubles. Both sides did wrong, gave wrong, and escalated wrong. No side was in the right, and it was all painted in shades of gray.
The cease fires are important. Because only by stepping away from the conflict can we see how far down the path we go in losing our humanity, ability, and basic human concern for our fellow man. If one stays in the furnace too long all they see is fire, and everything needs to burn.
I hope by this way of explanation I have somewhat eased my friends’ mind in regards to my own position, complex though it may seem.
The works I have written that are military in nature and gathered may sometimes seem to support one side, or the other, but its not the case. Rather I am attempting to bring perspective, a chance to view for a moment through another eye as best I can. A glimpse behind the curtain if you will. The intent is to explain to my fellow Americans that we are not as insulated as we think we are from terrorism, and all it takes is one action, one straw for the camel that we could be thrust in to a similar corner. At which point only studying history such as Ireland do we find peaceful ways out of that corner, without entering the furnace ourselves.
I confess an above normal level of obsession with this Russia/Ukraine incident. I make no excuse for it.
Truth be told its little more dynamical than the Georgian incident.
But for some reason this feels different. A vibe in the air. A vibe I haven’t felt or seen since the 1970′s and 8-’s during the Cold War
Are we on the verge of a second Korean War? Maybe, maybe not. It’s hard to say with North Korea, whose leadership system and propaganda machine portrays their leaders like demigods (Such as his awe-inspiring 11 hole in ones upon playing golf for the first time ever in his entire life…or maybe thats smell inspiring). Predicting North Korea falls in to 2 basic categories:
- Boating and threatening- This will continue until China reaches from around the curtain and drags them back stage whereupon they smack them in the head while saying “Nice Doggie” until they halt.
- Hot war – Playtime is over.
I notice a lot of folks from my generation, the so called Generation X, asking “Why are we there? Why are we sticking our nose in it?”
(I first wrote this March of 2011. I’ve reposted it this month for our Irish Heritage celebration. Enjoy! – BS)
It’s been said that we Irish are blessed with the “gift of Blarney” or gift of speech. Which is why we make such great story tellers, writers, authors, poets and actresses.
Renowned for such wit and humor as that which came from the likes of Oscar Wilde, William Butler Yeats and others. For we Irish, words and language are so very important…My grandfather once told me that if a picture is worth 1,000 words then it takes 1,000 words to paint a picture.
But this Irish gift of wit doesn’t come out of thin air, so the legends say, but rather from solid stone!
This one is a fairly new one, as it was just written in 2010. As with our other March stories we thought we’d share it once again! – BS 2013 UPDATE: Video corrected
Irish history is more than just words on paper. Like so many civilizations past we tend to put our stories, our mythos in to song.
Many have heard the songs of Ireland and found them any array of reactions from distinctive, to beautiful, to addictive. Music is not merely a form of expression for the Irish. It’s a way of reliving our past, and it is probably one of the few mediums in which blood has not been shade amongst ourselves.
The son of the god Lugh and Deichtine, Cú Chulainn was originally named Sétanta . He gained his better-known name, Cú Chulainn, as a child after he killed Culann’s fierce guard-dog in self-defense, and offered to take its place until a replacement could be reared.
This is a story oft told me as a young lad
More on Cú Chulainn after the jump
(I first posted this on March 10, 2007 at Techography.com it has been reprinted here for posterity and your enjoyment)
The Orangemen are a peculiar amalgam of history, anger, controversy, patriotism, and pain.
It was founded in the same County that my own family heralds from…Armagh. It’s no surprise that we settled in Ellijay then, the Apple Capital of Georgia. The Orange Order is a Protestant fraternal organization based predominantly in Northern Ireland and Scotland with lodges throughout the Commonwealth, Canada and in the United States.
I first wrote this back in 2010. I have reposted it for our Irish Heritage Month – BloodSpite
Without a doubt this is my most favored Irish song. It’s not really traditional, having been written in the late 1970′s.
However, the story behind is as saddening as the lyrics.
More after the Jump
I first published this at Techography on March 17, 2007. I reposted it here in 2010 for posterity and your reading pleasure! I imagine it will be a yearly thing- BS
I, Patrick, a sinner, a most simple countryman, the least of all the faithful and most contemptible to many, had for father the deacon Calpurnius, son of the late Potitus, a priest, of the settlement [vicus] of Bannavem Taburniae; he had a small villa nearby where I was taken captive. I was at that time about sixteen years of age. I did not, indeed, know the true God; and I was taken into captivity in Ireland with many thousands of people, according to our deserts, for quite drawn away from God, we did not keep his precepts, nor were we obedient to our priests who used to remind us of our salvation. And the Lord brought down on us the fury of his being and scattered us among many nations, even to the ends of the earth, where I, in my smallness, am now to be found among foreigners.
St. Patrick, The Confessio
The person who was to become St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, was born in Wales about AD 385. His given name was Maewyn Succat, and he almost didn’t get the job of bishop of Ireland because he lacked the required scholarship.
Far from being a saint, until he was 16, he considered himself a pagan. At that age, he was sold into slavery by a group of Irish marauders that raided his village. During his captivity, he became closer to God.
(BloodSpite’s Note: I originally wrote this in March of 2011. I’ve republished here for this years Irish Heritage celebration. I hope you enjoy!)
I’ve mentioned before that my family hails from County Armagh. However, my family does not align itself with the Ulsters. It’s one of the reasons we left Ireland in the 1940′s my grandfather having had enough of the frictions between the North and South, “We were all Irish, dammit.” he would often curse in his latter years with a shake of his head.
This post isn’t about politics however, it’s more about a place that politics happened.
I originally wrote this in 2010 here. While I try not to add anything to my original posts when I re-post them I do try to correct spelling, punctuation, etc. I also have a bad habit of adding new pictures upon occassion. Otherwise you should find little, to no differences between the reposted material, and the original. – BloodSpiteDanny Boy is one of over 100 songs composed to the same tune.
The author was an English lawyer, Frederic Edward Weatherly (1848-1929), who was also a songwriter and radio entertainer. In 1910 he wrote the words and music for an unsuccessful song he called Danny Boy. In 1912 his sister-in-law in America sent him a tune called the Londonderry Air, which he had never heard before. He immediately noticed that the melody was perfectly fitted to his Danny Boy lyrics, and published a revised version of the song in 1913. As far as I know, Weatherly never set foot in Ireland.
Read the rest of this entry »
On Easter Monday, shortly after noon, Patrick Pearse and a band of ill armed and ill prepared poets and romantic patriots rose in rebellion took control of the General Post Office incentral Dublin and several other strategic sites around the city. The Irish Republic was proclaimed in Dublin, and the insurgent Tricolour suddenly broke upon startled eyes flying from the flagstaff above the General Post Office in the very heart of the Irish capital.
This isn’t really a Fathers day post. But in many ways it is. I wrote it originally in October of 2010. The more I go over it and see the relationship between my own father, and his father to me I am forced to think that despite the undertone…maybe it is about Fathers Day after all.
When your coming home Dad, I don’t know when
But we’ll get together then yea
You know we’ll have a good time then…
My Dad and I hold this song between us. Its a bit of a testament to when he was in the Navy and gone for months at a time. Before Facebook. Before Skype. Before E-mail. Before cellphones. Deployments on a Aircraft Carrier could keep him gone most of a year with little to no communication save letters via the ever so slow US postal service.
I got a lot of E-mails and Facebook comments with my rendition of Glory to Georgia. Couple of folks didn’t know I played.
I don’t…play well that is. I have a bad habit of repeating rifts over and over especially if I am singing.
But music has always been our bond.
Read the rest of this entry »
I wrote this just before my wedding. June 12, 2004 at our sister site of Techography.com. I’m republishing it here both for posterity, and because this weekend is my wife and I’s eight year anniversary. I look back now and I can see a visible difference in my writing. I can also see a difference in myself. That’s for another time, however. Bear in mind this was written several years ago so the phrasing is appropriate. I did not post that weekend. I will not be posting this one. Somethings are worth celebrating privately. -BS
History tells us that that June 23, 1865 was the date the last Confederate General Surrendered his command.
I”m afraid its just not so.
The real date is June 12, 2004.
Thats the date I surrender (I”m a former 18th Georgia Infantry Re-enactor) my freedom to a Northern born individual, a former Union Re-enactor for the 155th Irish of Western New York.
This story was originally written by me at our sister site Techography.com June 5th, 2006. As so many of my work, the original article is no longer in the archives there. I republished it here in May of 2010. I bring it back around every June as a remembrance to the D-Day Invasion and for those whom have gone before. It’s that time of year again, to bring it back to the front page. The time to Remember. Always, Remember.-BS
I mentioned before I owned a picture of that painting. (You can too But mine has more history as I got mine from the now dissolved Navy Aviation Ordnance School out of Oceania, VA.) I received it from my father, a US Naval veteran, at age 7. It has hung on walls in my homes ever since, and in my bedroom as a lad. I never knew that years later I would be inspired to write about those units, that beach, that day. Maybe he did.
Water. My father and uncles told me once that at sea the ship becomes an island, and the water becomes all encompassing.
It surrounds the Landing craft, reminds you of that old poem
“Water water everywhere, and not a drop to drink…”
The wind is cold, the spray is miserable. The clothes are soaked through, and the landing craft is pitching and yawing like a kite in a windstorm. The boys vomit from the roller-coaster affects of the seas and smashing waves that jar your teeth out of your head.
The place, is Normandy, the beach is Fox Green.
Welcome to the Invasion
This article started as a paper for one of my college classes on research, as such it has APA style references etc which I have included at the end of the article for your own bemusement. I have expounded upon the original story a great deal, as the subject matter is interesting. I draw no conclusions as to the vile of the Project itself. I leave that to the reader. Sorry it took me so long to get it done! – BloodSpite
From the early 1950’s until the late 1960’s the Central Intelligence Agency in two countries (The US and Canada) conducted a long running series of experiments under auspicious heading Project MKULTRA. Due the clandestine nature of the project, much of the research material has been lost or destroyed; although over 20,000 pages of material were recovered in 1975.
Some 2 years ago, the Senate Health Subcommittee heard chilling testimony about the human experimentation activities of the Central Intelligence Agency. The Deputy Director of the CIA revealed that over 30 universities and institutions were involved in an ‘extensive testing and experimentation’ program which included covert drug tests on unwitting citizens ‘at all social levels, [high and low], native Americans and foreign.’ Several of these [tests involved] the administration of LSD to ‘unwitting subjects in [social] situations.’ … The Central Intelligence Agency drugged American citizens without their knowledge or consent. It used university facilities and personnel without their knowledge.” – Senator Edward Kennedy, 1977
Numerous leading scientists and world leaders were part of the program, including former Canadian World Psychiatric Association chairperson Dr. Donald Cameron as well as CIA Director Richard Helms. The basis of the program was to use human experimentation with a variety of illicit drugs to identify everything from a perfected truth serum, to brainwashing and the ability to sway the decision-making process in a foreign leader.
The results were anything but what they wanted.