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.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Tree of Life

Crann Bethadh is Tree of Life in the Gaelic language and in Celtic folklore trees are the source of all life and creation. The ancient Druids believed that two hidden eggs hatched from inside a willow tree; one of these brilliantly colored scarlet eggs produced the sun and the other formed the Earth.

The Celtic spring festival of Beltane on May 1st marks the beginning of the light half of the year and it incorporates the legend by painting eggs as one of the activities. Eventually Christians adopted the practice of coloring eggs at Easter.

Beltane also celebrates the mighty oak tree as the specie that is associated with the light half of the year when the leaves have returned to the deciduous trees and there is plenty. The ancient Celts considered the sacred oak to be a source of strength and it is from doire, its name in Gaelic, that the strength knot, the Dara knot, originated. The Dara knot represents the root system of the mighty oak and that we too have hidden strengths that we must use during challenging times. The Druids noted that it is the oak that is most likely of all trees to be struck by lightning, yet once stuck, it continued to flourish.
The Celtic winter festival of Samhain is celebrated on October 31 through November 1 and it marks the start of the dark half of the year on the Celtic calendar. This dark time of the year is associated with the holly tree, that like the oak is defiant of lightning strikes as its prickly evergreen leaves allow electricity to pass through. Subsequently it was often planted adjacent to structures and homes to guard against lightning strikes.

Celtic lore understood that bringing the foliage of the holly tree inside during the winter would provide sanctuary from the cold for the wee fairy folk, who in return would be kind and protective to the human inhabitants. This practice evolved into the Christian Christmas ritual of decorating the home with holly or accenting your front door with a holly wreath.

The Ash is another of Ireland's sacred trees as it is known for its strength with its wood prized for boot construction and in modern times for hurling sticks. The Druids considered the ash tree to have magical properties and later Irish immigrants would bring a piece of ash wood as a charm against drowning during their travel to new lands. According to Christian lore, St. Patrick used a staff of ash wood to banish the snakes from Ireland.

The ash is a large tree that will obtain heights of 130 feet with a massive root structure. Due to these proportions the Celts referred to ash trees as the Tree of Life that spans between worlds and was considered the backbone of the creation.

tree-of-life-jewelryCeltic mythology also held the yew tree in high regard as it is associated with longevity along with immortality. The yew can often live in excess of 2,000 years and it has an interesting way of regenerating itself by directing its branched to grow downward to the soil which in turn from new trees that would often wrap around the original.

The Tree of Life
Its branches reach in search of learning and knowledge.
The trunk symbolizes strength,
Its flowers and fruit renewed growth
and its deep roots represent our ancient Celtic heritage.
The ancient Tree of Life symbol has been preserved in Irish culture; thus The Irish Gift House is proud to present an assortment of Irish made Tree of Life jewelry that includes Tree of Life necklaces along with earrings and charms. We additionally feature a section of Tree of Life gifts that includes items that range from plaques to money clips with many eclectic selections in between.