The Lisbon Lions Remembered – How Glasgow Celtic Became the First UK Team to Win the European Cup

Things didn’t look to change that much as the 1966-67 competition got under way. The press in England as ever was bemoaning the fact that an English team was yet to win the competition, and that maybe this would be the season that soccer justice would be seen to be done.

Meanwhile Glasgow Celtic, playing in their familiar green and white soccer uniforms and fielding a team made up entirely of players from the West of Scotland were working there way through the tournament.. Backed by their hugely partisan crown in their huge and archaic home stadium of Parkhead in the East End of Glasgow, the “Bhoys” were playing some really remarkable attacking football. Coached by their enigmatic manager, the late Jock Stein, they were slowly raising the eyebrows of soccer fans throughout Europe as they defied the odds and beating some of the strongest teams in Europe of that time.

English hopes were dashed as the season’s contenders, Liverpool, were dumped from the competition by the highly underrated Ajax of Amsterdam. However Celtic just kept on winning till they made it to the Final, held in Lisbon in late May 1967. Their opponents were to Internazionale of Milan, who was widely expected to finally show these Scottish upstarts who the masters of soccer were and send them back to Glasgow with their tails between their legs.

The late Jimmy Johnston, among the best Scottish footballers of all time, recalled the few moments waiting in the tunnel before the game kicked of “We were waiting, and all of a sudden the Internazionale players began to appear. I looked up and they all seemed so well groomed and tall. The aroma of hair oil and after shave in the tunnel was overwhelming.”

“Spontaneously all the Celtic players began to sing some of our Glaswegian street songs, and the Italians looked at us as if we had just fallen out of a tree. But there was a fear in their eyes.” he summed up.

Things looked bad for Celtic after they fell behind to a soft penalty just a few minutes after the game kicked off. Instead of trying to press their advantage, the Italians began to withdraw into their traditional defensive posture. Celtic and Jock Stein refused to be overawed and responded by mounting wave after wave of attacking football, combining the individual skills of Johnston and exceptional teamwork of his teammates.

It seemed that the Italian defense would stand firm, until late in the game Celtic drew level with a cannonball shot from outside the area from full back Tommy Gemmell. It looked like extra time as Inter packed their penalty box and Celtic pressed on relentlessly looking for a chink in the Inter defensive shield. And it came with a minute to go from a simple tap in from Willie Wallace.

A minute later the final whistle blew. The impossible had happened. Glasgow Celtic had become the first British team to win the European cup. This was indeed, a remarkable achievement; one that can never be taken away from them. Celtic’s victory proved two major points. First, that Italian football’s invincibility was exaggerated, and that one of the top English clubs would be the first UK team to win the trophy.

Street parties went on both in Lisbon and in the east end of Glasgow on a night that will never be forgotten. The night the legend of the Lisbon Lions was born.

Local Bands in Oahu

In addition to its pristine beaches, lush natural fauna, and exciting nightlife, Oahu is home to several reputable local bands. These musical groups enhance the nightlife beyond its baseline of tropical cocktails and gentle Pacific breezes by adding an auditory touch. Now, a vacation to Hawaii can please all the senses.

Live music performances take place nightly around the island at any number of venues to showcase Oahu’s musical talent and passion, ranging from the heart of Waikiki to the Ko Olina area to the North Shore. As a result, guests across the island have easy access to great music.

Some of the most popular local Oahu bands are described below.

1. Maacho and Cool Connection – Considered the “godfather” of Hawaiian reggae, Maacho and Cool Connection is from Honolulu itself. Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Maacho is a pure entertainer who has helped shape Hawaii’s growing reggae industry since 1975. Maacho has won several Hawaiian music awards, including best music video and best “live” video.

2. Kilroy – Also based in Oahu, Kilroy is one of Hawaii’s premier hard rock bands. The band includes several active and former military officers who inject heart and soul into each performance, despite juggling difficult careers. The band was formed in 2009 and has since performed across the island state. They are currently working on a CD.

3. Celtic Waves – Drawing on notes from old Ireland, Celtic Waves performs traditional jigs and reels across Oahu. The song list ranges from 17th century compositions to modern Irish music and features a range of instruments including harp, fiddle, and mandolin.

4. Gordon Freitas – Considered Oahu’s local troubadour, Gordon Freitas offers a repertoire of music, folklore, and history. His music draws from Hawaii’s own rhythm. Freitas performs solo, in duet, and with groups according to the occasion.

5. The Saloon Pilots – An Oahu bluegrass band, the Saloon Pilots draw from the musical style of the continental US, incorporating fiddle, banjo, and guitar into their performance. The band formed in 2003 in Oahu itself and has since played a number of opening performances across the state.

As shown above, Oahu is home to a wide range of music. While the state’s emblematic ukulele is often incorporated into performances, local bands express wide ranging musical interests including, but not limited to, hard rock, international, folk, and bluegrass.

Be sure to take advantage of the wide range of entertainment options during your visit to Oahu. Performances occur regularly at several local Oahu venues, including Tiki’s Bar and Grill, Duke’s Canoe Club, and Moana Surfrider. Up to date events calendars will provide accurate information about location and admissions costs. Ultimately, catching a live show should be part of any Hawaii vacation.

Cruise Wales, Visit Holyhead Port on Anglesey

It seems there is a growing demand to cruise Wales along with other British ports, to the extent that Wales could come to emulate some of the top European cruising destinations in a popular leisure cruise market.

This was among the conclusions of a recent report prepared by a committee of legislators in the House of Commons, the British Parliament. The report notes the strong growth in the UK cruise market over the last ten years or so, and recommends action is taken so that Wales can share in this exciting growth, and thereby help to strengthen economies around Welsh ports.

But keen ocean cruise travellers looking to cruise Wales should note that at present there are insufficient docking facilities and infrastructure at many Welsh ports to facilitate the increasingly bigger cruise liners cruising North European waters.

A $2m campaign called the “Celtic Wave” and led by Anglesey has started, covering ports in Ireland and Wales, with the objective of getting more cruise visitors to these locations and then to visit attractions in the nearby areas.

In Cardiff the Welsh Assembly Government has urged the UK government to put their weight behind extra infrastructure funding to get these ports, including Holyhead, Anglesey, Swansea, Newport and Milford Haven, up to the high standards expected by the cruise liner firms.

Looking further out the prospects look good for Welsh ports to have similar success to that enjoyed by Baltic ports where there is already a strong and popular cruise market.

From the port of Holyhead in north west Wales to Swansea and Newport in South Wales, Welsh ports can act as locomotives of economic recovery when they encourage travellers to cruise Wales.

The first cruise ship visited Newport in Summer 2009, where the nearby Celtic Manor Hotel will host the 2010 Ryder Cup.Among the nearby attractions cruise passengers from Newport could visit were the Millennium Centre and Cardiff Castle.

Equally when a cruise ship arrives at Holyhead on Anglesey, visitors can be bused to excellent attractions such as World Heritage Castles of Wales at Beaumaris and Caernarfon, Llynnon Mill and South Stack Lighthouse, as well as walking along the excellent nearby coastal path.

To upgrade docking facilities for the expected increase in cruise ship arrivals at Holyhead, the Welsh Assembly Government will make finance available to strengthen the jetty used by the former Anglesey Aluminium smelter. This offers an excellent sheltered berth and convenient disembarkation point for cruise line passengers.

When this upgrade is finished it should see the Holyhead outer harbour jetty capable of accommodating mega liners such as the Westerdam, a 2,000 passenger carrying, 285 metre liner.

There is a promising and exciting future for visitors to the UK looking to cruise Wales during their west European tour experience, and as a part of this Holyhead port will no doubt play its part as guests set out to explore the many varied island attractions.

Enjoy Your Holyhead Cruise Destination – Cruising UK and Ireland

Cruise lines which offer cruising vacations around the UK and Ireland are now including a Holyhead cruise as part of their packages. As a major British passenger ferry port on the west coast, Holyhead, Anglesey offers high standard facilities for large cruise liners who aim to provide their passengers with a rich and diverse itinerary.

Holyhead Breakwater is a famous attraction and the longest sea wall in the UK, and cruise liners can anchor in a sheltered spot to the north east of the breakwater and Anglesey Aluminium jetty in the outer harbour. The local boatyard can provide a suitable tug if the cruise ship requires assistance.

For cruise ships over 250 metres in length this location is great as it is in the shelter of the town and harbour with the prevailing winds coming from the south west. Passengers can land at the Fish Dock on the east side of the inner harbour, a journey they can make by ship’s tender. At the dock special coaches will take visitors to various attractions across the island and on the mainland.

If you sailed up north from Milford Haven or Swansea in South West Wales, chances are you may have glimpsed some amazingly beautiful Cambrian coastal settings. Approaching Anglesey island you may have caught eye of some fine sandy beaches stretching from the south near Llanddwyn, where shots from Demi Moore’s Half Light movie were taken, to Trearddur Bay in the west. And don’t forget world renown South Stack Lighthouse, well worth a visit after arrival in Holyhead.

Ferries sail to Dublin, the Irish capital, and to Dun Laoghaire from Holyhead. In fact the port of Holyhead now welcomes some of the top cruise ships in Northern Europe. Cruise lines such as Holland America, Noble Caledonia, Oceana Cruises and Hapag Lloyd will increase their visits, drawn no doubt by the variety of historical and natural attractions for their passengers. Holyhead has already hosted a cruise ship carrying 750 passengers, the 48,000 tonne Seven Seas Voyager.

Plans are advanced for using the Anglesey Aluminium jetty as a more convenient embarkation facility, which will attract ever larger cruise ships otherwise bound for the larger ports at Dublin and Liverpool. The aim is for Holyhead to accommodate ships of around 85,000 tonnes and so using this jpier would be a great plus. It is likely that for an upgrade of Holyhead port facilities an investment of around £7 million is needed, and around £500,000 of this would help upgrade the jetty.

Looking ahead, the extra investment in port infrastructure at Holyhead, especially when as many as 70 cruise liners sail in North European waters, increases the chance of this Holyhead cruise destination becoming a real possibility for many keen cruise passengers. And now Anglesey council is leading the “Celtic Wave” initiative to encourage co-operation between key ports in Wales and Ireland, namely Holyhead, Swansea, Milford Haven, Cork, Waterford and Dublin. The strategy is supported by £1.2 million, aiming to draw bigger cruise ships and visitors to these ports.

Among the many other interesting attractions you could visit are the historic castles of Wales at Beaumaris and Caernarfon, both UN World Heritage sites. There again you may prefer seeing the last working mill in Wales at Llynnon, Llanddeusant, appreciate the fine Rex Whistler paintings at Plas Newydd or stretch your legs on the Anglesey coastal path. All these factors will attract more cruise liners to choose this Holyhead cruise destination in the months and years ahead.

Intricate Celtic Silver Jewelry

There are a lot of pieces of jewelry out there for you or your loved one to enjoy. These pieces are made of precious metals, and some are expensive, while others are not so expensive. You need to make sure that you are not getting similar looking jewels for those you love, which is an important thing to understand. You can get an intricate piece of Celtic Silver Jewelry and make sure you are the light of your loved ones life. Giving such a beautiful gift is fascinating and wonderful in these modern times of ours.

The modern era of jewelry is not that great to look at. Seriously, take a look at the jewelry that is out there, and you’ll notice that your world view will change fast. The jewelry world is not exactly thriving with innovated waves of intricate design. That’s why it is important to understand that there are choices, choices like intricate Celtic silver jewelry that can be delivered right to your front door.

You don’t need to be rich or prominent to get a good piece of Celtic silver jewelry. You need to know that life is good, and you need to show it off, so why not look online for the best selection. There are a lot of companies pushing for you to understand the glory that is out there if you simply go online and search for the proper selection that you can find online. Yes, the online world has grown by leaps and bounds and has created a better deal and wealth of intricate jewelry that can not be rivaled by any other retailer that you might found out there. Seriously, you are not going to find a better selection with the pricing that you are going to find online, you should learn that fast to avoid the stress of going around town looking for the right piece for your loved one or friend.

Intricate Celtic Silver Jewelry is out there, and if you’re not careful someone else is going to trump you and get it for your loved one. Surprise the one you care about with such a beautiful piece of jewelry. These pieces are made with a lot of symbolism that is not rivaled by simple gold and silver. Get an intricate design, and a profound meaning of the world around you. The art and time spent on a piece of jewelry of this kind is really beautiful and has connotations that are not going to be matched by any other piece of jewelry out there. Seriously, you need to make sure you get the right piece at the right price or you will regret it later on. Be kind to your love, make sure you get a piece of intricately designed jewelry and never take your love for granted. You’ll love the selection online, and you’ll love your jewel when it comes to your door with free delivery most of the time. Don’t let the sun go down on this opportunity, act fast.

Celtic Jewelry is Steeped in History

All cultures throughout history have placed a significant importance to symbols. Long before the development of modern communications, ancient cultures used symbols as a way to share information. The ancient Celts left behind a long history of symbolism and artistry that endures today.

The Celts are though to be the earliest Aryan settlers in what is now Europe. It is thought that the Celts were driven westward by succeeding waves of Teutons, Slavs and others. Referred to by the Romans as Gaels, the Celts were once the predominant race in what is not Britain, Ireland, France, northern Italy and parts of Spain.

The Celts are thought to have reached the apex of their influence in towards the end of the third century B.C. It was a matter of time before the Celts fell before the great legions of the Roman Empire.

Relegated to the northern reaches of Britain, including Ireland, the Celts split into two factions, one dominating Ireland and Scotland. The other sect came to predominate what is now Wales and the rest of Britain. Like many pagan cultures, the Celts were earth worshipers and had a particular interest in the sun.

There was a great belief among the Celts that all things on the earth were interconnected. No where is this belief more apparent than in the intricate knot work that has come to symbolize Celtic life. Often thought to be the work of angels or other celestial beings, the knot work is now a staple in Celtic designs that can be seen in paintings, sculpture and jewelry. Celtic knot work jewelry is very popular and requires a great deal of artistic ability to produce. The delicate braiding can be seen in a variety of rings, pendants and bracelet jewelry.

The cross shape that dominates the Christian religions is actually a creation of the Celts and predates Christianity at least several centuries. In the center of the cross is often found a circle, thought to represent the unity of nature. Since the sun played an important part in the Celtic belief system, the circle could also be the sun. The four points of the Celtic cross are said to represent the four known natural elements of fire, water, earth and wind. Another explanation is that the four points represent the four corners the earth.

The five sided star or pentacle, is another dominate symbol in Celt history and has found its way into the design of Celtic jewelry. The pentacle is widely associated with practitioners of Wicca and other earth worshiping sects. The symbol has been given a bad name by many orthodox religions. Many orthodox religions equated paganism and earth worship with devil worship. Even today, there are many mostly Christian sects that claim the pentacle Satanism. The Celts saw the symbol in its true sense, representing the various stages of life, birth, childhood, adult life, aging and death.

Another popular form seen in Celtic jewelry is the Claddagh. Graced by a heart held by two hands and a crown, the Claddagh is a universal symbol of love, fidelity and devotion.

Like many other ancient cultures, the Celts placed a great deal of emphasis on animals. This makes given he belief that all life on earth is somehow connected. Very similar to Chinese culture, birds, horses, dogs, fish and serpents all had a special significance. While many people that Saint Patrick drove the snakes from Ireland, the act of driving out the serpent was merely a metaphor. The serpent tempted Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden so the metaphor refers to driving the devil out of a land that St. Patrick was trying to convert to Christianity.

The Man Who Saved Celtic Music

Familiar with the name “Francis O’Neill”? The current wave of interest in Celtic music owes him a great debt — he’s the person who collected and published the music for thousands of Celtic tunes, making them available to musicians all over the world.

O’Neill was born in 1848 in Ireland. When he was 16, he emigrated to the United States. During his life, he was a rancher, a teacher, a Chicago policeman, and fathered ten children. He also played the flute!

O’Neill (also known as “Chief O’Neill”) loved Celtic music. At that time, the music was passed down tune at a time from one musician to another. Little had been saved by transcribing in written form.

O’Neill did not read music — he played by ear — but he became convinced of the value of saving Celtic tunes for prosperity by transcribing them into musical notation for future generations. With the help of a fiddling seargeant in the Chicago police department who did read music, he managed to do so. He would play the tunes he had learned from other musicians; the sergeant would transcribe them into musical notation.

By the time O’Neill died in 1936, he had collected and transcribed nearly 3,500 tunes — many of them dating back hundreds and hundreds of years!

He eventually published eight books — including the now classic “The Music of Ireland”. This book is still easily available in most bookstores. This book alone provides notation for 1,850 tunes!

Noel Rice offers this comment that illustrates O’Neill’s contribution: “He recalled reading about some boys who would sit at the feet of an old musician, thinking they were learning the music the way generations before them had. “And this old man,” he said, “was playing these lovely Irish tunes right out of O’Neill’s book.”

The Carved Stones and Celtic Crosses of the Scottish Isle of Islay

Islay, off the west coast of Scotland and part of the Inner Hebrides, is full of varied interest and charm. Owing to its position in the path of the gulf stream, the climate is extremely mild, and vegetation is in consequence rich and beautiful. There are not many trees save in sheltered places, but the growth of underwood, of ferns and of wild flowers is luxuriant and forms a marked feature of this delightful island.

The variety of scenery is great, along the coast especially, where bold headlands and reefs of volcanic rock alternate with stretches of sand-hills and turf. The great lochs which nearly cut the island in two have beauties of their own, Loch Indaal studded with villages which almost recall those of the Italian lakes, and Loch Gruinart with its sand flats stretching far away northward to where the tides of the Sound of Islay and the Atlantic waves meet in never-ending strife.

In Bowmore, the island’s main centre, the Mactaggart Leisure Centre comprises a superb swimming pool, sauna and fitness gym. Adjacent is Morrisons Bowmore Distillery, one of the eight working distilleries on Islay. Other distilleries of fame are Bruichladdich, Caol Ila, Bunnahabhain, Ardbeg, Lagavulin and Laphroaig. They all offer guided tours, some on appointment only. Bowmore famous Round Church stands at the top of Main Street, overlooking the village.

If the hills seem humble when compared to the neighbouring peaks of Jura, they are not without a certain grandeur, affording good walks and marvellous views; and as many of the lochs are well stocked with trout, Islay has attractions for the fisherman. In truth the traveller, whatever be his special pursuit, may do worse than spend a few summer days at one of the comfortable hotels and cottages which the island boasts. But is is to the ever increasing class of persons who take an interest in the relics of early times that Islay offers some of the greatest attractions.

Islay’s written history is fragmentary and the monuments of her past are no less so; but for all that, they extend over a lengthened period, from the days of hill forts and standing monoliths until later times when, in the great days of the Western Church, the island became covered with chapels, under whose protecting walls there are still to be seen many of the exquisite crosses and gravestones which form so peculiar and interesting feature of the Western Highlands.

There are about a hundred examples of carved work (carved stones, graveslabs and Celtic Crosses) on Islay alone. Many of these are so much worn and defaced that only indications of their designs can be traced, but the remainder are of the greatest interest, some indeed being works of art in the fullest sense of the term.

The stones belong to various periods. There are little crossed rudely cut on undressed slabs of stone, and these are probably the most ancient. Then in the crosses of Kildalton and Kilnave, and in the cross-bearing slab found at Doid Mhairi, now in the garden at Ardimersay, there are examples of a style which seems to have been directly derived from Ireland; but far the greater number belong to the thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth centuries, when the art assumed and retained its special Argyllshire character, the plated work of the Irish monuments developing into the richly foliated scrolls which form one of the great beauties of the West Highland carving.

On Celtic Tides – One Man’s Journey Around Ireland With a Sea Kayak – A Book Review

Chris Duff has always been a man more at home in the water than out of it. He was working with the US Navy in Holy Loch, Scotland in 1982 when his enlistment period ended. Faced with the difficult decision of whether or not to re-enlist, he opted to return to civilian life. Soon the dream of an Irish journey would be born.

Chris tried several trades, at one point working in upstate New York as a butcher’s assistant to an old couple from Ireland. When he asked where the old man was from he was told the Aran Islands. For those of us who love Ireland it brings delightful visions of stone cottages and late night music sessions into our heads. The couple pulled a coffee table book off a shelf and opened it to some striking images of the Aran Islands and its people – rough seas, steep rock cliffs, stone houses, skin-covered boats called currachs and rugged, wind-worn faces. Our man Chris was captivated by the wild sea surrounding that beautiful island and a seed was sown in his brain that would grow and give birth to a life-changing Celtic adventure fourteen years later.

Chris’s decision to kayak around Ireland was not the first such journey for him. He embodies the spirit of adventure that many of us only dream about. He had kayaked around the US and Canada – twelve months and 8000 miles. He had also circumnavigated Great Britain – five and a half months and 3000 miles. Ireland, however, with its wild seas and unprotected west coast, with powerful waves meeting the first landfall of Europe, would be a different story entirely.

The starting point is Dublin’s famous River Liffey on June 1, 1996. The sacred vessel of the journey, an eighteen foot sea kayak loaded with one hundred pounds of food, water and camping gear, a journal wrapped in plastic for safe keeping and a map of the Irish coast carefully splash-guarded at the helm. As Chris begins his travels he shares with us his blessings – ten years of carpentry work had allowed him to save enough to take this precious time off for this adventure, to “take the time and just be quiet for a few months.” Few of us have ever know that luxury but he has worked hard for it and appreciates it; lucky for us he shares every moment so we can enjoy it vicariously through his words.

What struck me most about Chris’s writing is the mystery and wonder with which he regards the beauties of nature around him, particularly the west coast of Ireland, where stark cliffs are pounded by strong seas and winds whip wildly. At times he kayaks into sea caves along the coast and paddles in the semi-darkness and one feels his reverence for what nature has wrought in our landscape.

Ireland’s coastline is simply mad with bird life, particular the islands off the coast. At one point a large-winged fulmar watches him curiously, floating in the air and staring him in the eyes. Chris says to him “You are so beautiful my friend. What have you seen and where have you been today?” There is a timelessness in the eyes of such a bird, that can make us feel our insignificance in the face of Mother Nature. Chris visits islands rich with bird colonies – cormorants, puffins, shags, fulmars, kittiwakes, guillemots, gannets, razorbills – by the thousands. They are all very tolerant of his presence and simply accept him rather than flying into a frenzy at his approach as one would expect. It’s a bird watcher’s paradise.

Along the journey, Chris visits numerous islands – some with names that sound familiar like Skellig Michael and Clare Island, others that are tiny dots on the ocean landscape. In foul weather he sits out the wind and waves, peering from his tent at the storm outside, waiting for a break in the weather. He takes us with him as he sleeps in a beehive hut or paddles under a waterfall near Dingle Bay to take a cold freshwater shower or even goes religiously pub hopping from session to session in the busy pub town of Dingle.

What is remarkable is that unlike many with Irish ancestry, Chris Duff did not come to Ireland to seek his past. He wanted to enjoy a challenging kayaking journey and be alone with the winds and the waves. The powerful force of the Irish landscape and the Irish people, however, makes its mark upon him. He begins to feel not only a sense of belonging but a sense of wonder and of loss. As he walks through tangles of wildflowers on a deserted island, he comes across ruins of stone cottages and chapels and the history of the place pours forth to ensnare him as it has done to so many others. He muses:

“Across the narrow waterway two stone house ruins stood bathed in the last rays of sun. The island, radiant in the evening light, looked as if it was an enchanted fairy tale land. Shadows of stone walls divided green meadows, and the cap of rock that broke through at the top of the island looked like a place where fairies might dance…”

I found it a pleasure to travel the circumference of the Emerald Isle with a philosophizing “American canoeist.” His courage in the face of the wild waves of the west coast is mind-boggling to a land lubber like myself. At one point he lands safely on some remote shore only to be greeted by a local emergency crew that was looking for him. Someone had spotted him “struggling” in the waves and thought he was in distress. Meanwhile he had been having the time of his life happily battling the waves!

The names of the landmarks of his journey ring like a cast of famous actors with cameos in a blockbuster film – Mizen Head, Dursey Head, the Skelligs, Dingle Bay, the Blaskets, The River Shannon, Galway Bay, the Cliffs of Moher, the Aran Islands, Clare Island – and more! The list goes on. It truly is a cast of remarkable characters and keeps you guessing which one will walk on stage next.

When visiting the Blasket Islands, which were abandoned reluctantly by the villagers in the 1950’s, Chris comments that in a kayak the paddler always sits facing forward. In the traditional Irish currach, however, the oarsmen face the rear of the boat and watch their wake. This last view of their island must have been quite painful for the villagers as they rowed further and further away from the ancestral home of their kin.

The people along the way are uniquely Irish. Whenever Chris emerges from the sea, seemingly out of nowhere, he is met with remarks of disbelief. “You’ve come from Dublin in that?! I think y’er mad.” The kindness to strangers has always been the hallmark of Irish hospitality; thousands of years ago it was actually mandated by the Brehon laws of the land. It simply seems second nature to a generous people. The fishermen who casually hand him a few lobster claws or some cleaned fish for his dinner, along with advice about his crossing. The housewife who makes him dinner and asks him to join the family by the fire for a night of storytelling. The couple who rise at dawn to see him off on the next leg of his journey. The fellow kayaker in Galway who gives him a place to stay and relax after a spell of bad weather and helps carry his heavy kayak through the crowded streets of the city. It is only sadly in the north of Ireland, where the troubles were still raging, where his knock at a door is met with suspicion and fear rather than a smile and a warm welcome by the fire.

Ireland is a revelation to our kayaker friend. He is awed by the natural beauty of windswept islands and cliff-lined coasts, drawn to the friendly people, bewildered by the sheer volume of history bursting from the seams of the landscape and humbled by the mysterious sacredness he feels. He has a gift for storytelling, for describing a scene down to the last rays of the sun, that may well be proof of his Irish ancestry.

To those who are faint of heart, there are scenes in this book which are truly harrowing. Chris paddles over waves that would frighten the be-jaysus out of you and me and navigates around submerged rocks that could puncture his wee kayak and drown him. But truth be told, he does finish his journey safely. As the old saying goes, he “lives to tell the tale.” So enjoy every beautiful and hair raising second of it!

Copyright Janet McGrane Bennett 2010

Janet McGrane Bennett has run and operated Celtic Reader Irish Bookstore since 2002. Her life long passion for Irish history and literature encourage her to share this love of books and all things Irish and Celtic. She is a graduate of Drew University English Literature undergraduate program and studied Irish history, theatre and literature at St Patrick’s College Maynooth in County Kildare, Ireland. Every year she travels to Irish and Celtic festivals on the East Cast of the US to set up her traveling book shop under the sunny summer skies. Visit Celtic Reader online at and at

An Expedition Into the Ideas Surrounding Christian & Celtic Crosses and Japanese Water Tattoos

Which tattoo design should you choose for you next or new tattoo? There are so many different ones out there how are you possibly meant to narrow them down and find something your like?

Well one of the important things to consider when choosing your new tattoo is the meanings behind the tattoo, both the popular well known ones and the strange and obscure ones. After all you need to know what you are getting yourself into and what different people are going to think about you and your new tattoo once you get it done.

Although if you are getting your new tattoo as a form of rebellion who cares what other people think of your new tattoo or for that matter anything your do. But seriously most of us have some interest in what this new image we are going to get indelible inked onto our skin means.

In order to help you make an informed decision when it comes to your new tattoo we are going to explore the various design elements and meanings of a few tattoo designs that will hopefully be of interest to you:

1. Christian Cross Tattoos

2. Japanese Water Tattoos

3. Celtic Design Tattoos

The Holiness of Christian Cross Tattoos

Let’s start with number one, Christian Cross Tattoos, Christian crosses cover all manner of tasteful and thoughtful tattoo designs all dealing with crosses and how they impact on and are an integral part of Christian belief.

Quite often you will see crosses joined or mixed with rosary beads, as the famous or infamous, depending on your point of view, Nicole Ritchie has recently had done on her ankle. Another popular duo is the cross and a rose or number of roses, again joining two powerful symbols of the Christian faith into the one Christian cross tattoo.

Koi Fish and Spectacular Wave Japanese Water Tattoos

Moving onto number two we have Japanese water tattoos, there are any number of varied, weird and wonderful tattoo designs in this genera ranging from spectacular wave formations to all manner of swimming Koi and varying amounts of water.

The Koi is a fish that originated in China but the Japanese have adopted the fish with lots of meanings. In Japan they are said to be particularly prized for their manly abilities, to the Japanese this fish emulates the warrior, their Samurai, in that when the fish is on the chopping board it maintains its honor by laying perfectly still even though it ‘knows’ it is about to die.

The Japanese were so taken with the Koi fish and all the manly attributes it is said to display that they felt it was the appropriate symbol for the annual Boys’ Day Festival. It is meant to display and represent all the qualities boy are hoped to aspire to such as overcoming life’s difficulties, courage and having the ability and staying power to achieve lofty goals. During their annual Boys’ Day Festival each family flies a Koi flag for each boy in the family.

Intricate Celtic Design Tattoos

Lastly let us go over the intricate and wholly nature of Celtic design tattoos. The great thing about Celtic design tattoos is that there is such a range, you might be going for an intricate interwoven circular design in black and white with gray shading or for a mythical creature motif.

Then there are stunning interwoven armband designs and how can we forget the ever popular Celtic cross tattoo designs. Either way there is a huge amount of choice available for you within the Celtic design tattoo genera.

So there you have it an exploration of three exciting tattoo designs and what they are all about and what they mean, hopefully you have gotten something out of this little article. No doubt you want to see what all this looks like when an artist puts pen to paper and creates a tattoo design. We have recently put together tattoo galleries for all three of these tattoo design, just click on one of the links below to check them out: