Irish all the way – part 7 "Treasures in the Potato Patch"

Friends of the Lincoln Library column
By: By Jane Tahti Special To The News Messenger
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Ireland was the last stop for the Celts.  

Pushed west, ever west, to the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, their culture rose up as if against a seawall instead of slipping into the levels of the actual sea. 

In a cultural backwash, the Celts flowed back across the island, settling in for millennia after millennia. 

Their lives and culture washed back and forth, from shore to shore, east to west, north to south, sinking in, rising, becoming one with their island. The years were in 400 BC.  Their island kingdom became  Ireland. 

The Celts were fierce warriors.  They went to battle nude, wearing only sandals and sporting their fabulous  torcs.  Oh, dear.  No need to get excited.  Torcs  were thick gold and bronze masculine necklaces  which fit around a warriors neck, open at his throat.  Perhaps the most famous example is the 300 BC Greek statue of an incredibly handsome fallen warrior, wearing only the torc by which Celts and  Gallic warriors were renowned.   

Torcs and other beautiful  relics have been found buried throughout Ireland.  Looking at these Irish treasures of brooches, chalices and illuminated manuscripts; reading Irish literature; listening to the spirited and engaging Irish music, one can't help wondering at the persistence of the centuries-long British contempt for the Irish and the easy inhumanity they practiced in Ireland,  century after century.   

Ancient Irish kings and queens and warriors buried their treasures as they fled certain death and destruction from invaders, which may be why a beautiful 1,200-year-old brooch was found in Eliza Higgins Fleming's home town of Roscrea.  Another such gorgeous artifact - the Ardagh Chalice - was found by two young men in 1868.  We can't help but raise our eyebrows and smile, when we read that one of Irish lad’s name  was so typically Irish: Paddy Flanagan. 

On top of that, the chalice was found in  Limerick.  Yes, good old Limerick, the familiar name for the tidy and amusing little five- line rhymes that passed for poetry in junior high school. 

Even more telling is that fact that the Irish lads found the Ardagh Chalice while digging for potatoes! 

Yes, it was clearly an Irish moment, worthy of poetry and song:  Out of a potato patch in Limerick, there appeared a treasure of  wondrous Irish artistry.  And it was found by none other than our well-named Irish boyo, Paddy Flanagan.

At the Twelve Bridges Library

Free Family Story Time:  3:30 to 4 p.m. Wednesdays. Includes stories and songs for all ages.

Free Mother Goose on the Loose: 10:30 or 11:30 a.m. Thursdays for kids.

Events are sponsored by Friends of the Lincoln Library. Wheelchairs and handicapped access are available. The Twelve Bridges Library is at 485 Twelve Bridges Drive in Lincoln.

 This column is part of a Friends of the Lincoln Library series. To reach the nonprofit Friends, write to Box 1177, Lincoln CA 95648, contact 434-2404 or Jane Tahti is the Friends of the Lincoln Library secretary.