'Old Irish Blessing'
"May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand."
This session's theme is about Ireland and all things Irish.
Begin by asking if any members come from Ireland, have family there, or if they have holidayed there.
Some members may have Irish names.
What do people think of Irish people and their accent? The countryside, the weather, the food.
Get the themed discussion going by asking the following questions.
What are the colours of the Irish flag?
Vertical stripes of GREEN, WHITE and ORANGE
Green is said to represent Roman Catholicism, Orange Protestantism and White both religions coming together in peace.
What do the Irish call Ireland?
This evolved from the Old Irish word Ériu, which was the name of a Gaelic goddess. Ériu is generally believed to have been the matron goddess of Ireland or simply a goddess of the land.
In mainland UK, where would you catch a ferry to get to Ireland?
SWANSEA - CORK; FISHGUARD - ROSSLARE OR LIVERPOOL - BELFAST
What side of the road would you drive on?
What language is commonly spoken in Ireland?
What is their currency?
EURO (replaced the PUNT in 2002)
Who is the Patron Saint of Ireland?
What is he said to have banished from Ireland?
What are the national emblems of Ireland?
THE HARP & SHAMROCK
What Irish drink uses the harp on all its advertising?
What do the Irish call Guinness?
What is the capital of Ireland?
And the river that runs through it?
What about the longest river in Ireland?
What is the name given to the Irish Prime Minister?
Who is Ireland's current Taoiseach and the first gay man to hold this office?
Where is the Northern Ireland devolved Assembly located?
You might want to briefly reference 'The Troubles' at this point, where the IRA and Ulster Loyalists used violence to further their political and nationalistic ambitions for a united Ireland versus UK rule of Northern Ireland. Thankfully the sectarian conflict largely ended with the 1998 'Good Friday' agreement, brokered by John Major and Bertie Ahern, which led to a devolved regional government.
What are the Police called in Ireland?
What do people wear on St Patrick's Day?
What is the 'Craic' enjoyed in Ireland?
GOSSIP OR CHAT. Any entertaining conversation, in fact
In Ireland, what is the traditional occupation of the fabled Leprechaun?
What would you call a wailing female spirit in Irish folklore?
What would you find at the end of a rainbow?
POT OF GOLD
The word for Irish Whiskey is 'Uisce beatha'. What does this literally translate as in English?
WATER OF LIFE
If you 'Kiss The Blarney Stone', what do you get?
GIFT OF THE GAB (The ability to speak easily and confidently)
What type of meat typically is used in Irish Stew?
LAMB OR MUTTON
What is Colcannon?
(Mainly) KALE OR CABBAGE & MASHED POTATOES
What about Champ?
(Mainly) MASHED POTATOES & SPRING ONION
A DISH MADE OF LEFTOVERS (Like Bubble And Squeak) with Sausages or Bacon
Before baking Irish Soda Bread, why is a cross slashed in the top of the loaf?
TO WARD OFF THE DEVIL
What were the years of The Potato Famine?
1845-1849 (There were an influx of Irish immigrants to the UK during these years of poverty and starvation)
What is a five line poem with a distinctive ryhthm called?
Here's an example...
There was an old man named Bill
Who swallowed a nuclear pill
The doctor said cough
And that darn thing went off
And they found his head in Brazil.
(He was okay, but he had a terrible headache.)
Which UK talk show host originally appeared in the Irish comedy TV series 'Father Ted'?
Where was 'Father Ted' set?
Who were the three priests?
FATHER TED, FATHER JACK & FATHER DOUGAL. (Mrs Doyle was the long suffering housekeeper)
Which Irish TV comedian signed off each of his programmes with the phrase "May your God go with you!"
Which Irish TV and radio presenter had a surprise hit in 1978 with 'The Floral Dance'?
Which famous Irish poet and playwright wrote,
"We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars!"
Who played Oscar Wilde in the 1997 film, 'Wilde'?
Who wrote these famous books? ...
'Gulliver's Travels', 1726 - Jonathan SWIFT
'Picture Of Dorian Gray', 1890 - Oscar WILDE
'Dracula', 1897 - Bram STOKER
'Ulysses', 1922 - James JOYCE
One of the oldest books in the world, 'The Book of Kells' is kept in the Trinity College Library in Dublin, Ireland. Created by Celtic monks, it contains the four gospels of the New Testament. How old is it?
Estimated age - 1,213 YEARS OLD (written around 800 AD)
Who played the title roles in these Oscar winning films? ...
'The Quiet Man', 1952 - JOHN WAYNE & MAUREEN O'HARA
'Finnegan's Rainbow', 1968 - FRED ASTAIRE & PETULA CLARK
'Ryan's Daughter', 1970 - JOHN MILLS & ROBERT MITCHUM
'My Left Foot', 1989 - DANIEL DAY LEWIS & BRENDA FRICKER
'Philomena', 2013 - JUDI DENCH & STEVE COOGAN
What were 'The Magdelene Laundries'?
CATHOLIC INSTITUTIONS of confinement where so called 'fallen women' (or single mothers) would give birth, give their child up for adoption then be forced to work to pay their keep
What famous ship, or parts of it, are exhibited in Belfast, where it was built and launched in 1912?
The famous landmark in Northern Ireland, 'The Giant's Causeway', is formed out of what?
What is the world's tallest dog?
What colour is an Irish Setter dog?
What is the national airline of Ireland?
What was recently voted the worst airline in Europe?
Where is Irish national union rugby played?
LANSDOWNE ROAD, NOW THE AVIVA STADIUM
Top of the - MORNING
It cost me an arm and a - LEG
As happy as - LARRY
Away with the - FAIRIES
Running around like a headless - CHICKEN
Not the full - SHILLING
Take the weight off your - LEGS
Chance your - ARM
Donkey's - YEARS
Thick as a - PLANK
As fit as a - FIDDLE
Lie down with dogs and you'll rise with - FLEAS
Tinker's - CUSS
The older the fiddle, the sweeter the - TUNE
The luck of the - IRISH
Gaff - HOUSE
Shenanigans - MISCHIEF
Eejit - IDIOT
Smithereens - PIECES
Brogues - SHOES
Grand - PLEASANT
Gallivanting - PARTYING
Banjaxed - BROKEN
Earwigging - LISTENING IN ON A PRIVATE CONVERSATION
Fair play - WELL DONE
Feck - SHOCK
Fella - HUSBAND OR BOYFRIEND
Fierce - EXCELLENT
Floozie - WOMAN OF DUBIOUS MORALS
Gammy - ROTTEN
Kip - SLEEP
Knackered - EXHAUSTED
Leg it - RUN AWAY
Manky - DIRTY
On the lash - GO OUT DRINKING
IRISH MUSIC QUIZ
Playlist link -
Paddy McGinty's Goat - Val Doonican
Val Doonican released a 1973 album named after a piece of furniture. What was it?
ROCKING CHAIR FAVOURITES
All Kinds Of Everything - Dana
What year did Dana win Eurovision with this song?
Danny Boy - Eva Cassidy
What is this music also known as?
Molly Malone - The Dubliners
Can members name as many shellfish as possible?
CRAB, LOBSTER, PRAWN, WHELK, OYSTER, SCALLOP, COCKLES & MUSCLES
Uptown Girl - West Life
Who originally had a hit with this song in 1983?
When You Say Nothing At All - Boyzone
What film did this song feature in?
Hold Me Now - Johnny Logan
What year did this song win Eurovision?
Lord Of The Dance - The Dubliners
Which dancer created the dance show 'Lord Of The Dance'?
Riverdance - Bill Whelan
Which Eurovision Song Contest featured this music and dance extravaganza during the interval?
* If you have the time and resources, rather than play the above track you could watch the YouTube recording of the above performance. It lasts about 8 mins *
Link here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w0v_pu6miJ8
The Wild Rover - Luke Kelly, The Dubliners
Can anyone name any Irish beverages?
Guiness Stout, Caffreys Bitter, Bulmers Cider, Murphys Cider, Baileys and Poitin (potato Irish Moonshine). Also Irish (Whiskey) Coffee
Drunken Sailor - The Irish Rovers
Time for a SINGALONG
An Irish Party In Third Class - Titanic Soundtrack
Ask members if anyone would like to perform an Irish jig.
The unique thing about traditional Irish dancing is the arms are kept at the side.
Who danced to the Irish music in this film clip?
KATE WINSLET (Rose DeWitt Bukater) & LEONARDO DECAPRIO (Jack Dawson)
May It Be - Enya (to calm things down a little)
What 2001 film did this song feature in?
LORD OF THE RINGS: FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING
Ask if any members enjoyed this JR Tolkien fantasy novel, which was a sequel to his other work 'THE HOBBIT'
Mrs Browns Boys - TV Theme
Who stars as Mrs Brown in the TV comedy series?
I Don't Like Mondays - The Boomtown Rats
Who was lead singer of 'The Boomtown Rats'?
Whiskey In The Jar - Thin Lizzy
Who was lead singer and bass guitarist with 'Thin Lizzy'?
I'm In The Mood For Dancing - The Nolan Sisters
Which Nolan sister presents 'Loose Women' on ITV?
The Lady In Red - Chris De Burgh
Ask members to name as many shades of the colour red as they can?
Cherry, rose, crimson, ruby, scarlet, blood, blush, wine
(Note if any member is wearing red!)
Brown Eyed Girl - Van Morrison
Ask members to look into their neighbour's eyes and say what colour they are?
Recent research by ScotlandsDNA found that blue is the most common eye colour in the UK - 48%. In contrast 30% of eyes are green and only 22% are brown.
Nothing Compares To You - Sinead O'Connor
Who wrote this song?
With Or Without You - U2
Name the band members of U2?
BONO, THE EDGE, ADAM CLAYTON & LARRY MULLEN JR
When Irish Eyes Are Smiling - Ruby Murray
What can you hear in the lilt of Irish laughter? (listen carefully)
THE ANGELS SING
Ireland's Call - Phil Coulter, Irish Rugby World Cup Squad
We finish with the Irish anthem and a wish that all members have 'The Luck Of The Irish' in their lives this year.
I've added an extra song to the end of the playlist which can be used as a meditative track to use during or after a relaxation session. Please let me know if you would like me to do the same each week.
Gaelic Blessing - John Rutter, Libera
Suggestions for practical activities:
Cut potatoes in half and carve patterns in them. Then use them to print images, after dipping them in paint. Make a collage.
Make sour dough with the group. Mix and bake the bread, then serve it with Kerry Gold butter. Here's a recipe:
3 ½ cups Whole Wheat Flour
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Baking Soda
¼ cup Butter (cold and cut into pieces)
1 ½ cups Sourdough Starter (fresh or discarded)
1 cup Buttermilk
¼ cup Honey
1 Egg (egg wash)
Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a bowl or stand mixer, combine flour, salt, and baking soda.
Cut cold butter into dry mix until crumbly.
In a separate bowl mix the sourdough starter, buttermilk, and honey.
Slowly mix the buttermilk/sourdough mixture into the dry mix until dough forms.
Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. About 20-30 minutes.
Cut dough in half and form two loaves.
Place on a baking sheet, and make and X cut on top of each loaf. (No proofing required)
Brush with egg wash and bake for 30-45 minutes, or until 180°F internal temperature.