Sunday, November 5, 2017

Irish Peat, a Source of Heat, Energy and Gifts.

irish-peat cuttingIn Ireland, peat, which is also commonly called turf once it has been cut, is harvested from the bogs as a source of fuel; this practice has been an integral part of Irish history for centuries and continues today.

Peat is an accumulation of partially decayed vegetation that is cut from the land. Traditionally, turf was hand cut with a sharp hoe that produced thick, muddy bricks that were stacked during the summer months to dry.

Until the 20th century, peat's principal uses as an alternative to wood were heat along with fuel for cooking. Peat continues to be used for heat and cooking in homes and business throughout Ireland; however, typically the milled peat is dried and compressed into briquettes.
irish-peat-giftsIn modern times the peat is scraped with heavy equipment as part of an industrialized process with much of the peat fired at electric generating stations. The Irish government established Bord na Móna as the agency that oversees the peat resources for the economic benefit of Ireland. Take a look at this fantastic video from Bord na Móna that details the harvesting of peat.

For centuries peat or turf has been an integral part of Irish history with the boglands possessing a rugged beauty that has inspired generations. Turf is a wonderful and unique product of the land that has evolved into a fine medium of artistic expression that enriches the links of our Celtic heritage and cultural identity.


The Irish Gift House is proud to offer a collection of carved ornaments and figurines that we have assembled in our new Irish peat gifts section. 

Monday, October 16, 2017

Arizona Law Enforcement Emerald Society Shamrock Patch - The Green Backs the Blue

The Arizona Law Enforcement Emerald Society (ALEES) shamrock patch is back in stock at The Irish Gift House. 100% of the proceeds benefit the benevolent works of ALEES which includes assisting the families of fallen officers and first responders.

Arizona Law Enforcement Emerald Society Shamrock Patch.jpg

The ALEES patch features an embroidered earth tone design of the Arizona flag inside of a shamrock. This Irish patch measures 3" wide x 1 3/4" tall and it is two piece military or tactical style design with a Velcro backing. This shamrock patch will look great on caps or clothing along with backpacks and you will be assisting ALEES help the families of fallen first responders in both Arizona and throughout the United States.

The ALEES shamrock patch is available from The Irish Gift House for only $6.95 each or for a limited time you may receive one free of charge with any purchase of $99.00 or more. Either way, $6.95 is donated to ALEES for every patch shipped. Additionally, each patch is complete with a shamrock history card that is complements of The Irish Gift House.

The ALEES patch is a hot item that is now in its second production run. Through your generosity, The Irish Gift House has raised over $700.00 for ALEES since this promotion started in September, 2017. Through our special promotions and your assistance, The Irish Gift House has donated almost $37,000.00 to ALEES during the past decade. On the ALEES' Facebook page they write, While you are there, give them a good review, they've been backing the blue before it was popular.

Arizona Law Enforcement Emerald Society is compromised of Law Enforcement professionals, active and retired, throughout the great State of Arizona. They are part of a nationwide fraternal institution created over 60 years ago to promote a social spirit among police officers of Irish ancestry and those with an Irish spirit.

ALEES has evolved into a benevolent organization which, through its Non-Profit Foundation provides immediate financial support to families of law enforcement officers who are killed or seriously injured in the line-of-duty while serving.

The Irish Gift House is a mom and pop Irish gift site that is based in Arizona and boasts the largest collection of Irish and Celtic gifts and jewelry in the world.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Labor Day's Irish Roots

Irish immigration to the United States during the 19th Century is counted in the millions; with a huge concentration arriving during the Great Irish Famine of 1845 through 1852. In Ireland they were starving to death, but in the United States, along with other unskilled immigrant laborers, the Irish were working to death.

There was no shortage of work in our young country for the Irish immigrant and their progeny. Railroad and canals along with growing skylines were being built a rapid pace, and the mills factories and mines also ran on cheap and easily replaced labor.

The laborers toiled long hours, often 12 hours per day and seven days a week, just to earn the most basic living. The work was performed in often dangerous and unsanitary conditions. These conditions, along with child labor and low wages, contributed to the organization of labor unions. Many of the early leaders where Irish immigrants along with their adult children.

The industrialists of the day when to great length to halt the organization of the workers. Violence and death was a common practice as was the case of the Pullman Strike of 1894 that resulted in the deaths of 30 strikers. The strike was crushed and the demands were not meet, but industry was definitely on notice. Additionally, six days after the strike ended, congress, in an effort to appease organized labor, designated Labor Day as a federal holiday, a concept that was initiated by two men whose parents were Irish immigrants.

It is known that Peter McGuire, proposed a workingman's holiday during a meeting of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners. McGuire was the organization's general secretary at the time and he later went on to be a co-founder of the American Federation of Labor (AFL).
Labor Day's Irish Roots

A case is also made claiming that it was Matthew Maguire, a machinist and union leader, who proposed a Labor Day holiday to the Central Labor Union in New Jersey. Maguire went on to be selected as the 1896  nominee for vice president for the Socialist Labor Party of America. 


Samuel Gompers, who co-founded the AFL along with Peter McGuire, credits his partner as the father of Labor Day. It is widely speculated that Gompers did not want the credit to go to Matthew Maguire, who was an avowed socialist, because many in organized labor wanted to 
distance the movement from socialism.
      
Regardless of which of these two Irishmen is the actual father of  Labor Day, it is definite that both men were involved in establishing the Labor Day holiday. The Irish Gift House hopes that you enjoy your three day weekend.  

Monday, August 28, 2017

Irish Christmas Decorating


From weddings to wakes, nobody celebrates like the Irish, so Christmas is absolutely no exception.
Irish Christmas Decorating
For this reason The Irish Gift House offers a plethora of Irish Christmas decorations that are available in several different categories.
The Irish Christmas ornaments section is one of the largest categories on our site where we offer in excess of 250 different baubles for your tree. Separately indexed is our collection of over 100 different Belleek ornaments that includes a series of bells. These two sections, along with our Royal Tara ornaments, gives you almost 400 different choices.

The Irish angel tree toppers is another popular tree decorating category. You will find several illuminated designs that will compliment both your tree and your heritage. Our designs abound with shamrocks and have the assurance of being UL listed.
An Irish Santa figurine will stand out as a treasured centerpiece that you may wish to display throughout the year. Among these figurines you will find shamrock Santa decorations that include ornaments along with brooches and décor items.

Jesus is the reason for the season, so our selections would be incomplete without our Celtic advent wreaths so that you may welcome the Son of God on his birthday.

Another decorating idea, with the baby Jesus at the center, is our Irish nativity designs that include both figurines and ornaments.
So party with the Irish; just try to keep up!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

The Harp, not the shamrock, is the national symbol of Ireland.

The iconic shamrock is the most recognizable symbol associated with the Emerald Isle but it is the
Irish Harp
Irish harp that is the official symbol of Ireland. The harp is found on official documents and Ireland's coat of arms; it may also be found on uniforms and the presidential flag and passports. The harp has long been present on Irish coinage and it is currently embossed on Irish Euro coins. A version of this Irish symbol is also the cost of arms for the Irish province of Linster.

With a history that dates back over 1,000 years, the sound of an Irish harp is unique in that the sound board is hollowed out of a single block of willow wood. Harpist were held in high esteem in the Irish social order and were part of the court of Kings and noblemen.

An interesting fact is that in 1922 when the harp was adopted as the national symbol by the newly formed Irish Republic, the design, of what is known as the Brian Boru harp, had to be modified. The reason for the modification is that Guinness has been using the harp as its logo since 1862. The work around is that the sound board or the straight edge of the Guinness harp is on the left while the Irish government harp had to appear with its sound board on the right.
 
Irish Harp JewelryThe harp is also present on Great Britain's Royal Coat of Arms. This is ironic being how is was the English, who viewed the instrument as a symbol of opposition to the crown, who outlawed the harp in 16th century. This ban cause almost a complete demise as most harp music was not written; however, in 1792 an Irish harp festive was held in Belfast and one Edward Bunting is credited in saving the music for prosperity by writing it down on paper.

At The Irish Gift House we also play a minor role in preserving this part of your proud heritage with Irish harp jewelry. We feature a grand selection of Irish harp necklaces and brooches along with Irish harp charms and earrings.    
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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

How to Draw a Shamrock

 Hi Kerry O'Neal here from The Irish Gift House and for the past 33 years of being in the Irish business, I have had many customers ask me, “How do you draw a Shamrock?”
how to draw a shamrock
My response has always been, “Remember the shamrock represents the love of the Irish people.” In Christianity, the shamrock represents “God’s Eternal Love”- the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. In the ancient pagan belief, the three leafs of the shamrock represents the Earth, water and fire (Sun), all the essentials for the “Love of Life”.

Hence the shamrock is compiled of 3 hearts. So it truly is easy to draw. Start by drawing a heart then add a heart attached to each side and finally add a stem to hold your "Irish Love”. Easy!

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Celtic Crosses, Their History and Symbolism

Celtic crosses are fundamentally Christian crosses with a circle connecting the arm and the stem with
Celtic Crosses
the earliest know examples dating to around 650 AD. These early designs were etched on face of a slab of rock much like you would find on a grave stone. It wasn't until the 9th century that the chiseled monuments, that are often referred to as the High Cross, came into being. The trend of these Celtic crosses, with recorded heights of 23 feet, continued in Ireland, along with the surrounding islands that were evangelized by the Irish, through the 12th century.

These early Celtic crosses were often found at churchyards and are self-contained monuments that were generally sculptured form sandstone. Some were simple designs, while others, such as the Cross of Scriptures at Clonmacnoise and the High cross at Monasterboice, featured ornate figure carving, but the chief characteristic feature is the circle connecting the arm and the stem.
There is much speculation as to why the circle or ring was added to what became to be known the Celtic cross. The theories and legends ascribed to the adaption range from spiritual to artistic and even consider structural implications.

One popular legends includes that St. Patrick came upon a standing stone that was carved with a circle, the symbol of the pagan moon goddess. St. Patrick blessed the stone and added a Latin cross to the design and thus created the first Celtic cross.
Another legend, again has St. Patrick, but this version it is the sun, a symbol of both light and life, as the circle that is combined with the Latin cross to create the Celtic cross. Metaphorically, the sun, which was worshiped by the pagan Irish, is replace with Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
Regardless of which legend is correct the Celtic cross has evolved into a deep-rooted Christian icon that is historically connected to Ireland in the form of these ancient stone carvings.
    
The Celtic cross remains a popular symbol of faith and heritage as it continues to be use as grave stones and jewelry along with gift items and as tattoo designs.
The Irish Gift House can't help you with grave stones and our assistance with tattoos would be limited to that you are welcome to barrow any of our product designs as inspiration for your body art; however if you are looking for Celtic wall crosses or a sterling silver Celtic cross necklace you will hit the jackpot by visiting our site. Additionally, we have a huge selection of Celtic cross necklaces for men along with gold Celtic cross necklaces.

You will find all of these selections, along with nine additionally categories, under our Celtic crosses index heading  on our site.