Category Archives: Ancient Ireland

Today’s Research: Sunrises

Pausing to Research

Quite often as I’m writing, I realize that to describe something I need to better understand it, or even see it. I know some writers do not pause. They just make a note to come back to it later. I’ve learned to accept the fact that I must pause. And so I did today.

YouTube Research

Of course, I’d rather be in Ireland, but since I can’t be today, many times YouTube is the next best thing. I thought you might like to experience it with me, so below is the video that I hope will inspire a good description. I’m on Chapter 23!

Archaeology and Historical Novels

photo by Tim Regan

Exciting New Discoveries!

Those of us who read historical novels like there to be some accuracy in them. The story needs to be true to its setting. Since I having been writing stories set in ancient Ireland, in the 5th and 6th centuries, much of what I write about is based, necessarily, on legends. The setting is the best I can make it with what is known, thanks in great part to archaeological discoveries. And as technology gets better, more is proven and discovered, which I think is really exciting.

The Discovery of St. Columcille’s Cell on Iona

photo by Tim Regan

When I read this, I was really excited because I’m currently writing about St. Columcille! The end of the story will put him in this cell, that was discovered about sixty years ago but only recently dated to his lifetime. Where I’m at now in writing the novel, he’s not on Iona yet, but I’m following the stories of his life and will get there. Proving that a figure from so long ago actually was in the place where historical accounts put him, and that the whole story is not a fantasy, is really incredible if you think about it.

Read the article from the BBC by clicking here.

The Truth of Old Celtic Stories…

…are often not the point of telling them.

The Storyteller
photo by Hans Splinter

The spiritual significance of these historical figures lies in what we can apply to our lives and how we might carry on the legacy of faith. That’s why I write my novels. But sometimes I do get critics who insist these people never really lived, never really carried on the way the legends say they did, never could have accomplished the feats that made them into saints.

But I say, not so fast. To believe that is to deprive ourselves of the privilege, and the responsibility, of striving to do the same. If we don’t live lives worthy of having tall tales told about us one day, we’ve failed to carry the torch and give our lives real meaning. So I say be inspired by the tales of old, and realize that you too can make a difference.

 

Reenactments For the Novelist

Since I write historical fiction, I’m really interested in reenactments. There are plenty of Civil War and pioneer reenactments around here, but that’s not the era I’m currently writing in. So you can imagine how excited I was to find this video. It may not completely describe my setting—this one claims to be pre-historic to early Christian, which is a huge range—but overall it gives you a very good feel of the word of Columcille and his mother Eithne (Enya.)

 

 

 

Book Cover Reveal!

The Roots of Irish Wisdom: Learning From Ancient Voices

The updated, revised edition of Celtic Wisdom: Treasures From Ireland is ready!

The Roots of Irish Wisdom by Cindy Thomson

What’s New

This is a paperback edition. What’s new is a bit more added information and my own black & white photographs from my trips to Ireland. Much of the book is the same as Celtic Wisdom, just updated.

How to Buy the Book

The ebook edition is on Kindle. If you have Kindle Unlimited, you can get it for free. The regular price is 4.99. Very soon the print edition will be available for 8.99. If you’d like a signed copy, contact me and we’ll make arrangements.

What’s So Special About This Book?

I’m biased, of course, but I think readers interested in Irish history and Celtic Christianity will enjoy this wee introduction to the men and women who brought the faith to Ireland, along with some thoughts on Celtic learning, prayer, and art.

What Are Others Saying

On Celtic Wisdom:

“Among the shelves of books available on the subject, Celtic Wisdom by Cindy Thomson is a wonderful distillation of the important truths and legacy of Celtic Christianity.”~John Doan, Emmy-nominated composer and premier harp guitarist, storyteller, and historian.

It’s a perfect sampler for anyone interested in learning more about the Christian faith of the Celts and how it has influenced generations.~Christina on Amazon

Make Celtic Wisdom a part of your library, but leave it on the coffee table for others to pick up and enjoy as well. Only 95 pages–small, but that actually makes it more accessible for those of us who are always too hurried to sit down to a longer scholarly work. Well researched and enlightening, Celtic Wisdom is a real treasure.~Cathi on Amazon

This book is an excellent survey but hopefully it will whet your appetite to recapture the whit, wisdom and understanding of an age long forgotten by today’s urban worries. By the time you finish reading it, you will feel the mist on your skin and the peat under your feet and see a light emanating all around you! Yet, it’s a quick read, well worth your time and energy if you are seeking a new old way of approaching God.~Martin on Amazon

St. Patrick’s Day Eve!

St. Patrick Hill of SlaneHow to Celebrate?

It’s a question I usually ask myself when the day rolls around. How about you? Some people (in America) go to an annual parade, pancake breakfast, listen to live music at an Irish restaurant or pub. All good choices. All things I’ve done in the past.

Some use it as an excuse to get absolutely soused. I don’t recommend that. Drunkenness has nothing to do with the patron saint of Ireland, and can even be viewed as cultural stereotyping. I know we’re in the season of Donald Trump anti-pc rhetoric, but still…

Just How Should I Celebrate St. Patrick's Day, anyway? Click To Tweet

What St. Patrick’s Day Isn’t

Its not about leprechauns, green beer, kissing people who aren’t really Irish…It’s not “Irish I Were Drunk Day.” (Please, throw away that t-shirt!) It also is not St. Patty’s Day. Maybe there is a female saint named Patty with the same day, but probably not. If you must use the shortened version, and I personally have no problem with that, use Paddy, not Patty.

What St. Patrick’s Day Is

I’ve posted lots of thoughts on this:

Here with a guest post

And here

Here

And here

My Favorite Thing to Do On St. Patrick’s Day

Put on some Irish music, maybe Cherish the Ladies, We 3 Banjo, Natalie McMaster. Cook up some Irish stew (here’s a good recipe) and READ! There are some great Irish books out there, either by Irish authors or about Ireland. Of course, I hope you’ll read mine, but leave me some recommendations in the comments, okay? And enjoy!

*Looking for some non American recipes for St. Patrick’s Day? Check out my board on Pinterest.

Brigid of Ireland by Cindy Thomson, ebook

Ebook, Book One, Daughters of Ireland

Princes of Ireland by Edward Rutherford, Irish books Cindy ThomsonHow the Irish Saved Civilization, top Irish books Cindy ThomsonThe Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry/Cindy Thomson Irish books

In Search of Ancient Ireland by McCaffrey and Eaton/Cindy Thomson Irish books

Saint Brigid of Ireland

Happy St. Brigid’s Day!

Brigid of Ireland by Cindy Thomson, ebookFebruary 1, St. Brigid’s Day, Imbolc in the Celtic calendar, and Ground Hog’s Day (Feb. 2) in the U.S., are associated with the arrival of spring. It certainly feels like spring where I am, although that might not last.

As you might know, the Irish saint Brigid is special to me. Many years ago I began to learn about her, and I thought I should tell people what I learned. Eventually this led to my historical novel. Last year I published a Kindle version. It was only available on Kindle but I will soon change that to make it available in other book formats as well. I have updated the Kindle file with better formatting, which I hope will be available by the time you read this. If you’ve already purchased it, you should be able to go upload the new updated version. Same text, just looks better. And this summer the sequel, Pages of Ireland, should be available in both print and ebook.

Why Brigid is Special

For me, it’s all the stories of her amazing generosity. The miraculous way God restored her goods–the items she gave to the poor–so that she and her followers never went without. The fact that she was born a slave and became the most venerated woman in ancient Irish history.

There are three patron saints of Ireland: Patrick, Brigid, and Columcille. She’s the only woman. And her cross? I had never seen anything quite like it before, and the story behind it intrigued me. Traditionally, school children in Ireland weave a new St. Brigid’s Day cross on this day. The cross has an odd shape, at least to the non Irish. Some say it’s shaped like a wheel and indicates the four seasons.

St. Brigid's Cross

Learn More About St. Brigid

Here are some links to previous blog posts I’ve written on St. Brigid. I’d love to hear what you think.

St. Brigid Stained Glass in Ireland

St. Brigid (center) window in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh, Northern Ireland

Happy St. Brigid’s Day!, 2011

Happy St. Brigid’s Day, 2012

St. Brigid’s Eve (How to Weave a St. Brigid’s Cross)

St. Brigid’s Day, 2010 (Brigid’s Oat Bread recipe)

One Legend About St. Brigid

About That Sequel, Here’s a Sneak Peek!

“I am Brigid, Abbess of Cill Dara. We welcome you, traveler. You come without a torch, so we assume you seek sanctuary here. You have found it.”

Aine hadn’t realized she had been holding her breath until that moment.

Lowering the cowl from her head, the woman’s hair flowed freely in the night air.

“’Tis you, Brigid! I knew it!”

Brigid clutched the arm of the woman standing next to her as she spoke to Aine. “God be with you, child. There is welcome here for you.” She narrowed her eyes to gaze in the dim light. “Do I know you?”

“I do not blame you for not remembering. I was just a girl when you healed me on the road to Aghade. We learned to read together, remember? My Uncle Cillian taught us.”

Brigid brought a hand to her mouth. By the light of the torch held by one of Cill Dara’s sisters, Aine detected tears forming at the corners of Brigid’s eyes.

“Aine? You are so grown up now.” Brigid reached for the girl and gave her a tight squeeze.

Celtic Wisdom Audio

Celtic Wisdom by Cindy ThomsonAlmost an Audiobook!

I’m trying something new! Since Celtic Wisdom is out of print, I thought I’d try recording an audio version. Uh, not as simple as it sounds! There are Irish words in there, and the book was published in UK English, so some things are not the way I would usually say them. For instance, sometimes their verb-subject agreement is different.

It’s not perfect, but for those of you who like listening to podcasts, you might like it. (It’s possible I’m the only who will notice these quirks.)

A Free Introduction

So I’m posting the mp3 here of the first chapter. If you like it, let me know: would you be willing to pay say, 99cents, for additional chapters? It takes me hours to record one part, so I need to know if this something readers would like before I press on.

The chapter titles:

How the Ancient Irish Found the Christian Path

Patrick

Brigid

Columcille

The Apostles of Erin

Celtic Learning and Art

Celtic Prayer

Learning about the Scots-Irish with author Cindy Thomson

The Free Chapter