Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Irish Sixpence for Her Shoe

According to the Irish wedding tradition, a bride should have something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and an Irish sixpence for her shoe.
Irish Sixpence for Her Shoe

Something old symbolizes the connection to family. Something new symbolizes optimism for the future. Something borrowed symbolizes friendship. Something blue symbolizes the beautiful color of the Irish sky. An Irish sixpence for her shoe represents wealth, both financially along with the riches of a happy marriage.

An element of superstition is also connected with this Irish wedding tradition. The sixpence acts as a lucky charm that will keep the bride safe on her wedding day.

The first Irish sixpence was minted in silver in 1544. Over the centuries the Irish coin underwent several size and composition changes. Ireland's modern day coinage was issued in 1928 after years of planning by a committee, whose chairman was W.B Yeats.

Irish Sixpence for Her Shoe - Wedding TraditionThe sixpence featured the Brian Boru harp on one side and an Irish wolf hound on the other; it was minted from copper and nickel that created a silver color coin. The coin was issued sporadically until 1969.

In 1971, Ireland abandoned the pounds -shilling - pence monetary system and introduced the decimal system.

The Irish sixpence is still affectionately held as a talisman and timeless keepsake. This coin is no longer in circulation; however, The Irish Gift House, has a limited supply that is presented with an Irish sixpence history card.

The Irish Gift House also offers a complete line of Irish wedding gifts and you may also wish to visit our Irish wedding traditions page.

Friday, August 17, 2018

W B Yeats - Horseman Pass By

W B Yeats was born June 13, 1865 and died January 28, 1939.
W B Yeats Horseman Pass By
The final resting place for the Irish poet is Drumcliff Church in Co. Sligo, located on Ireland's Atlantic coast, with Ben Bulbin mountain in the background.

Under Ben Bulbin is the title of one of his poems from which the following verse is taken:

Under bare Ben Bulbin's head is Drumcliff churchyard Yeats is laid.
An ancestor was rector there 
Long years ago, a church stands near, 
By the road an ancient cross.
No marble, no conventional phrase;
On limestone quarried near the spot
By his command these words are cut:
"Cast a cold eye
On life on death
Horseman pass by".

William Butler Yeats, son of the painter John Butler Yeats, was born in Dublin in 1865. Considered Ireland's greatest poet, and also perhaps the best poet in the English language since Wordsworth, he began his career as "one of the last Romantic" to quote his own description.

Many of his early poems, both wistful and mysterious, are of haunting beauty. But in the early 1900's he began to direct his energy to the twin causes of the Irish literary renaissance and Irish national independence. A new style emerged in his writing, austere, but capable of sustained magnificence, dealing with a wide range of human experience including the momentous public events which occurred in Ireland during his lifetime.

He was a founder member and first president of the national Theatre Company, The Abbey, and also served as a member of the Irish Senate.

In 1923 he won the Noble prize for literature. He died in France in 1939 and was interred as he wished in Drumcliff churchyard in 1948. His gravestone bears the epitaph as he had directed.

Cast a cold eye
On life on death
Horseman pass by.

The Irish Gift House routinely posts about Irish customs and culture on our BlogSpot