jump to navigation

St Patrick and Confusion March 17, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Medieval
St Patrick and Confusion

Beach has always been fascinated by questions of uncertainty in history, in part because these teach modesty, in part because they are a useful way to annoy colleagues. And, in tribute to question marks past, he thought that he would celebrate St Patrick’s day – finally a correct date for an anniversary! – by concentrating […]

Irish Changeling in New York February 18, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Irish Changeling in New York

Ok there has been a lot of energy and desperation spent on this one: Beach has wasted, in fact, about six hours of his life trying to chase down the story. If any reader should happen to find a newspaper version there will be a bright shiny book of some description put in the post […]

Irish Giants: Prehistoric and Otherwise February 7, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern, Prehistoric
Irish Giants: Prehistoric and Otherwise

Beach stumbled the other day on this passage from the Dublin Freeman’s Journal, August 1812. ‘It is not a little surprising, considering our veneration for Irish antiquities, that no notice should be taken of the skeleton recently disinterred at Leixlip. This extraordinary monument of gigantic human stature was found by two laborers in Leixlip churchyard […]

An Eagle, A Basket and A Boy January 12, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
An Eagle, A Basket and A Boy

Beachcombing probably owes his ever patient readers an apology today. This post hardly counts as bizarre history: but there are eagles (much visited in previous posts, particularly involving children being carried away) and a young man’s hair turning white and a classy illustration to go with it. The story relates to the West of Ireland […]

Accidentally Obscene January 7, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
Accidentally Obscene

The Belfast Telegraph recently ran a story on the Limerick town of Effin – named for St Eimhin no less! ‘Ann Marie Kennedy is proud to live in Effin – and now she has launched an online campaign to have Facebook recognise the town whose name was blacklisted for being too offensive [urban dictionary]. Ann […]

Snakes, Fairies and St Patrick January 5, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
Snakes, Fairies and St Patrick

A lead up to tomorrow’s epiphany gift to all readers: Scary Fairies: the Proto Edition. Bede begins his Ecclesiastical History of the English in 731 with a geographical overview of the island of Britain and also, given its importance in the conversion of the English to Christianity, Ireland. It is a memorable passage not least […]

White Horses, Sex and Sovereignty December 12, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Medieval
White Horses, Sex and Sovereignty

Inspired by Southern Man’s comment on yesterday’s post Beach thought he would today quote from some of the passages relating to Irish sovereignty. There was in pre-Norman Ireland the idea that the land is a woman, Sovereignty, who must be courted and seduced by the successful king. Take, for example, this rather tame passage relating […]

Letting Off Steam November 26, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
Letting Off Steam

All societies need moments when kings, citizens and slaves let off steam. The police in the United States allow adolescents to get away with things on Halloween that would land them in a jail cell every other night of the year. The Romans had Saturnalia when masters had to serve their slaves the dinner and […]

A List of Supercentenarians November 21, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern

  The following list of long-living folks crops up in a book from the very early twentieth-century. Different versions of this same list had already appeared in various publications through the nineteenth century and names seem to have been added and dropped as easily as editors clumped decades onto the supposed Methuselahs: John Effingham, for […]

Fairy Investigation Society November 14, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Fairy Investigation Society

***This post is dedicated to Invisible*** Beachcombing has a bit of a chip on his shoulder about Wikipedia. But every so often there are pages there that are the closest we come to ‘real knowledge’. Take the Fairy Investigation Society that Beach has been looking into for the last couple of days – since, in […]

Review: The Middle Kingdom November 8, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
Review: The Middle Kingdom

As regular readers will know Beachcombing went a little fairy mad this summer. Indeed, as we speak two academic articles have been accepted for publication and four more are still waiting the judgement of tetchy referees spread out from Edinburgh to the Pacific Coast. In the process of writing these articles he read most twentieth-century […]

Eggs, Mermaids and Fairies October 26, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern