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Cultural Traces Around the World

Ireland: The Beloved Emerald Isle of Beauty and Legends, Part 2 of 2

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Ireland, known as the “Emerald Isle,” is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean. Its lush landscapes, charming historic castles and cathedrals, and welcoming people make Ireland a beautiful and poetic land. Today, we invite you to discover some of the instruments, music, dances, and folklore that have emerged from this creative island nation.

The Emerald Isle is the only nation in the world to have a musical instrument as its national emblem - the harp. The soothing sounds of this majestic instrument evoke feelings of peace and tranquility.

Another expression of Irish culture on the Emerald Isle is the world-renowned Irish Ceili dance. In the musical “Loving the Silent Tears,” based on Supreme Master Ching Hai’s spiritual poems, traditional Irish dance is beautifully choreographed to accompany the Irish soprano Katie McMahon, as she sings “Between the Master and I.”

The Tuatha Dé Danann came to Ireland sometime around 1900 BC. Early texts describe them as a “tribe of the gods” or fallen angels highly skilled in magic. Later, the Tuatha Dé Danann were defeated by the Milesians, the final race to settle in Ireland. After the battle, it is believed the Tuatha Dé Danann moved to live underground where they used their magic to become what are known today as fairies. Various natural landmarks are said to be portals to the fairy world, including Oweynagat (Cave of the Cats) in County Roscommon, Lone Hawthorn trees, and various ancient megalithic sites across the country.

The shamrock is another famous symbol of Ireland. In the 5th century, Saint Patrick, the patron Saint of Ireland, used the three leaves of the shamrock to teach the Irish about the Christian Holy Trinity: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. If you’re one of the fortunate few, you may spot a four-leafed clover! In the Middle Ages, it was believed that carrying a four-leaf clover would allow a person to see fairies and provide magical protection.
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