Why Do People Kiss the Blarney Stone?: And 176 Other Fascinating Irish Trivia Questions



Brew yourself a cuppa and settle in to discover...Why Do People Kiss the Blarney Stone? It's the closest you can feel to the Emerald Isle without boarding a plane! You'll tickle your noggin with spirited questions, including:

How did a white bull start a war?
What ...

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Why Do People Kiss the Blarney Stone?: And 176 Other Fascinating Irish Trivia Questions

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Brew yourself a cuppa and settle in to discover...Why Do People Kiss the Blarney Stone? It's the closest you can feel to the Emerald Isle without boarding a plane! You'll tickle your noggin with spirited questions, including:

How did a white bull start a war?
What is Brian Boru's connection to Guinness?
Why was 1847 known as Black '47?
Where does peat come from?
What's so special about the Book of Kells?

This terrific little tome provides the answers to those questions and many more. With information on Irish history, mythology, and culture, you'll be able to go on and on about anything and everything about The Old Sod.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

Let's face it: Everyone wants to be Irish. Whether you want to express your cultural identity or feign it, there is no better way to start than this collection of trivia masterminded by two esteemed professors and Irish history buffs. A trade paperback original. (Entry-level trivia question: When is St. Patrick's Day 2013? Sunday, March 17th.)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781440560057
  • Publisher: Adams Media
  • Publication date: 1/18/2013
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 709,891
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 7.40 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Ryan Hackney received his BA and MA in the history of science from Harvard University. He has written for Let's Go guides to Britain, Europe, and Ecuador, and he edited Let's Go Ireland. He also got engaged in Ireland (to an American) and has an Irish-Canadian bulldog named Chaucey.

Amy Hackney Blackwell graduated from Duke University with degrees in history and medieval and Renaissance studies, with a concentration in the history and literature of the British Isles. She received an MA in early modern European history from Vanderbilt.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 11

Part 1 Early Ireland 13

Why would early Irish settlers need snowshoes? 14

What's the importance of Ireland's stone tools? 15

What are fairy mounds? 16

How did the early Irish bury their dead? 17

Why did grave robbers loot Boyne Palace? 19

Why were bronze and gold life-changing on the Emerald Isle? 20

What role did Britain play in creating a Celtic Ireland? 21

Part 2 The Rise of Celts and Kings 23

Who were the Celts? 24

How many provinces does Ireland have? 25

How could the warp-spasm give you an edge in battle? 27

Why is Tara the seat of kings? 28

Why are there so many forts in Ireland? 28

What were the Brehon laws? 29

Did the druids practice magic? 31

Why were Celtic craftsmen so highly regarded? 32

How did poets keep Celtic culture alive? 33

Did the Romans ever conquer Ireland? 34

Part 3 Celtic Mythology 37

Who were the Celtic gods? 38

Who were the Celtic goddesses? 39

How were the gods and goddesses celebrated? 41

What is the Mythological Cycle? 42

Why did Noah's descendants invade Ireland? 42

Who were the Tuatha Dé Danaan? 43

How did a prophecy pick Ireland's next leader? 46

How did a white bull start a war? 46

Who was the Celtic Achilles? 48

Why does the name Deirdre mean "sadness" or "sorrow"? 51

How can sucking your thumb lead to boundless knowledge? 52

Part 4 Christianity on Celtic Shores 55

Who was St. Patrick? 56

Did Patrick really chase the snakes from Ireland? 59

What is St. Brigid's connection to leprosy? 60

How did St. Brigid offend the Catholic Church? 61

How many people did Columcille convert to Christianity? 62

What Irish saint was a missionary to Europe? 64

Which saint lived in a tree? 66

Which saint washed up in Ireland after a shipwreck? 66

Which illuminated manuscript was named after a St. Ciaran's cow? 67

Which saint was known as "the navigator"? 67

What modern holiday did Samhain inspire? 68

What was threefold martyrdom and why did the Irish practice it? 69

Why was being a hermit difficult in medieval Ireland? 70

Why didn't medieval monks get much sleep? 71

Why did the Irish learn Latin? 72

What were the duties of monastic students? 74

How did Irish monks get carpal tunnel syndrome? 75

What are illuminated texts? 76

What's so special about the Book of Kells? 77

How did the Vikings end Ireland's Golden Age? 78

Part 5 The Rise of the Vikings 81

How did the Rock of Cashel get its name? 82

Why aren't a lot of Celtic words used in the English language? 83

What battle techniques did the Vikings use to subdue Ireland? 84

How did the monks protect themselves from the Viking invasion? 85

Did the Vikings really wear horned helmets? 86

Why was Dublin built as a military town? 86

How did trade integrate the Vikings into Irish society? 89

How did Brian Boru become Ireland's high king? 90

Why was Brian Boru hailed as a national hero? 91

What is Brian Boru's connection to Guinness? 93

What repercussions did Brian Boru's victory have on Ireland? 93

Part 6 Enter the British 95

Were the English invited to Ireland? 96

How did the Irish take back the country? 98

Why did the "Lord of Ireland" kill Ireland's most powerful family? 100

How did Henry VIII initiate nearly 500 years of religious upheaval in Ireland? 101

How did Elizabeth I spark "the Flight of the Earls"? 102

What is the Ulster Plantation? 103

Why did the British think the Irish were barbaric? 103

How did Oliver Cromwell come into power? 104

How did Oliver Cromwell crush the Irish resistance? 105

How did a battle between two British kings start the Protestant Ascendancy in Ireland? 107

Part 7 The Protestant Ascendancy and the Roman Catholic Church 109

Why were some Protestant aristocrats absentee landlords? 110

Why did the penal laws ban Irish culture and music? 111

Why did Catholics pray at Mass stones? 112

What Irish city became a center of art and higher education during the Ascendancy? 113

Why did Elizabeth I found Trinity College? 114

What is Protestant Irish Nationalism? 114

How did America's Revolutionary War bring Protestants and Catholics together? 116

How did the Society of United Irishmen use the poor to help its cause? 117

Why did Theobald Wolfe Tone commie suicide? 119

How did the Irish parliament vote itself out of existence? 120

What patriot was known as "the Liberator"? 121

Why did Daniel O'Connell give in to the British? 123

What is modern Catholicism like in Ireland? 124

Part 8 The Irish Potato Famine 127

What caused the Great Potato Famine? 128

What happened during "the Bad Times"? 129

How did famine victims deal with the dead? 131

How did landowners react to the crisis? 132

Who blamed overpopulation for the famine? 132

How did wearing paupers' uniforms save some people from starving? 134

Why was 1847 known as Black '47? 135

How did the government make the crisis worse? 137

How did the famine change Ireland permanently? 138

Part 9 Independence and Irish Nationalism 141

What is the Irish Nationalist Movement? 142

Who are the Manchester Martyrs? 143

What British prime minister tried to defuse Ireland's Home Rule Party? 143

How was Charles Stewart Parnell a leader in land reform? 145

What was Sinn Féin? 147

How did the Ulster Protestants derail Home Rule? 148

How did World War I lead to unrest in Ireland? 149

What was the Easter Rebellion? 151

How did Sinn Féin fight for a united Republic of Ireland? 152

Who was Éamon de Valera? 153

Who started the Irish Republican Army? 154

Who were the Black and Tans? 155

How did a peace treaty start the Irish Civil War? 156

Why did Éamon de Valera put a stop to the Irish Civil War? 157

Part 10 The Republic of Ireland 159

What was the Irish Free State? 160

How did the Irish Civil War create odd political alliances in the Irish Free State? 161

Why did the Statute of Westminster apply to Canada, India, South Africa, and the Irish Free State? 162

How did the Statute of Westminster cause the Economic War? 163

How was the nation of Éire created? 164

Why did Ireland stay neutral during World War II? 165

How did Ireland unofficially support the Allied cause? 166

When was the Republic of Ireland created? 167

How did the Ireland Act of 1949 effectively divide Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland? 168

Part 11 The Troubles 171

Why did the Flag and Emblems Act not allow Northern Ireland's citizens to fly the tricolor Irish flag? 172

Why weren't Northern Ireland's Catholics given equal rights? 173

How did the Derry March of 1968 start the Troubles? 174

How did conflict between the IRA and the British government escalate the violence of the Troubles? 175

What was Bloody Sunday? 177

Why was the Widgery report referred to as the "Widgery Whitewash"? 178

How was the Council of Ireland supposed to create a lasting peace? 179

How did the Ulster Workers' Council nullify the Council of Ireland? 180

What was the Dirty Protest? 180

Why did IRA prisoner Bobby Sands starve to death while waiting for prisoner-of-war status? 181

Where did the IRA get their weapons? 182

What was the Anglo-Irish Agreement and why did it fail? 183

Why did U.S. president Bill Clinton grant the head of Sinn Féin a visa? 184

What was the Good Friday Agreement? 186

How is the peace in Northern Ireland tested on a yearly basis? 187

What is the political structure in Ireland like today? 188

Part 12 Irish Song, Dance, and Storytelling 191

Why isn't Irish still spoken prominently? 192

What's so important about Irish music? 194

Who wrote "Danny Boy"? 196

How important is dance to Irish culture? 196

Why are Irish wakes so much fun? 198

Who are the wee folk? 198

How can you placate fairies, find love and wealth, and avert disaster? 200

What popular Irish sport was once used to train warriors? 201

How did seanachaís spin yarns? 202

How did the Brothers Grimm help record Irish folklore? 204

How did Oscar Wilde's parents keep the art of storytelling alive? 205

Why do people kiss the Blarney Stone? 206

How can you catch a leprechaun? 207

What happens when you get a florin from a fairy? 208

Why do Irish cats sleep inside? 209

Part 13 Sláinte! Food and Drink in Ireland 211

Does Ireland have a national dish? 212

Do the Irish really eat blood sausage? 212

Do the Irish love a spot of tea? 213

What's a cuppa? 214

Where does Irish tea come from? 214

Why are there kids in Irish pubs? 215

Why is Guinness so popular? 217

How do you pour the perfect pint? 218

Are there other Irish beers? 218

What's the difference between "whiskey" and "whisky"? 219

Is it legal to brew poteen? 220

Part 14 Irish Literature 221

Why did Irish writers immigrate to England? 222

What Irish author used satire to become a national hero? 222

What famous author did prejudice leave penniless? 224

What poet won the Nobel Prize in literature in 1923? 225

What revolutionary novelist exiled himself from Ireland? 227

Which Irish writer wrote primarily in French? 228

Which Irish poet is famous for translating Beowulf 229

Which Irish novelist invented the world's most famous vampire? 229

Part 15 Geography and Climate 231

Where is the sunniest part of the Emerald Isle? 232

What's so special about the Kerry Peninsula? 232

What part of Ireland helped preserve the country's culture? 233

Where's the best place to catch Irish lobster? 234

Should you pack a raincoat? 234

What are Ireland's largest lake and longest river? 235

How did deforestation affect Ireland? 235

Where does peat come from? 236

What's the Burren? 238

Did giants really build the Giant's Causeway? 239

Why is bird watching so popular in Ireland? 240

Why is Ireland famous for its horses? 241

Why is Ireland interested in preserving its natural environment? 242

Afterword 244

Appendix: A Primer of the Irish Language 245

Index 249

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