Happy St. Brigid’s Day!

One Legend

There are so many stories of St. Brigid that I love (hint: you’ll find many of them retold in my novel, Brigid of Ireland). But I thought I’d talk about just one today, the story of Brigid and her mother. I wonder if this is where Disney got some its ideas. It’s an ancient story of a girl who longs for the mother she never had due to some cruel circumstances.

Born a Slave

Brigid’s mother was her father’s slave. Her father’s wife did not like it that her husband had impregnated his slave, so Brigid’s mother, Brocca, was sold to a druid while she was still expecting. Brigid’s father was cunning, however, and not about to sell two slaves for the price of one. Part of the transaction was the requirement that when born, the baby had to return to him. That is how Brigid came to grow up without a mother.

Not a Model Servant

St. Brigid mosaic at St. Patrick’s cathedral in Armagh.

Brigid is said to have become a Christian because of the teaching of Patrick. Most historians believe the two saints’ lives did not overlap, so it’s probable she was converted by his followers. Brigid had a heart for the poor. In that time, you were either a self-sustained property owner—as her father was, also known as a minor king—a slave, or part of the royal house. Without any of those things, you were a wanderer living in the woods, begging when you could, hunting and foraging for your food. There were plenty of needy people around. Brigid always gave to them. The problem was, what she gave away did not belong to her. Now, it’s said that whatever she gave away was miraculously restored, but despite that, her father grew weary of her generous ways. He decided to put her into the service of the King of Leinster.

Her Father’s Sword

Photo by Ricardo Cruz on Unsplash

While waiting in the chariot alone as her father went to seek an audience with the king, Brigid encountered another beggar. Being away from her dairy, she looked around the rig to see what she might give. The glint of metal caught her eye. Under a blanket lay her father’s sword. Not an ordinary weapon, this sword had a hilt encrusted with dazzling jewels. No matter. It was the only thing available. While she was handing the sword to the beggar, Brigid’s father and the king emerged from the castle.

“You see? You see why I have to get rid of her?” her father said.

The king nodded. Being wise, as kings tend to be, the king approached Brigid and asked her to explain herself. She waved an arm toward the king’s bountiful fields and hearty cattle, and said, “If I had all this, King, this is what I would give away to those who have nothing to eat and nowhere to lay their heads.”

The king felt humbled by her answer. (Perhaps even chastised.) He declared that this special woman should not be enslaved. Instead, he granted her her freedom. That sounds great, right? But, if you look at what I said about the social structure of ancient Ireland, you’ll realize that life would have been easier for Brigid if she had remained a slave. She does want to find her mother, though. This is where I began my novel, Brigid of Ireland.

Still a Giver

Now having nothing, Brigid continued to give. And as time went on, she continued to be the hands and feet of Jesus. This kind of example inspires me. I hope she inspires you as well.

Brigid of Ireland by Cindy Thomson, ebook

Book One, Daughters of Ireland

On the Eve of St. Brigid’s Day

Tomorrow is St. Brigid’s Day, but today, the eve, is the day traditionally that St. Brigid crosses are made. How they are made and how they are used varies by region in Ireland. I’ve talked a lot about this in The Roots of Irish Wisdom.

St. Brigid's Cross

I admit, I’m not a perfectionist when it comes to making these crosses. The one above really should have a tighter center, but it gives you the idea if you’ve never seen one.

School children make them in Ireland. If only we had access to reeds like those growing in Ireland, the ones we make here in Ohio would be prettier.

Here’s one description of how they are made. http://www.irishcultureandcustoms.com/1Kids/MakingBrigdXs.html

What Does it Mean?

Legend is that Brigid wove one of these crosses while explaining Jesus’ sacrifice to dying a pagan. Rushes or reeds were spread on the floors of houses back then to provide cushion like a carpet. So, she just reached down and grabbed some and wove this as she spoke. Of course, the dying man was converted because of this.

But why weave them? Where are they hung?

Well, again, many answers. They were hung above the cottage door or the barn door to ask for protection from fire or just general protection. A new one was woven and placed there and the hold one burned, or the old was buried in the garden, or it was placed in the cattle’s trough. OR…it remained in the roof and a new one added each year, thus revealing the age of the dwelling. As I said, it varied.

What Does St. Brigid’s Day Mean?

The beginning of spring in Ireland, the beginning of lambing season, the beginning of fishing season. The day aligns with the change of season, this one in the ancient Celtic calendar was Imbolc. (Learn more here.)

But it’s also a good time to learn about St. Brigid and her lasting influence.

Other Uses of the Cross

I have one (not a real one) hanging in my car. It was a gift from a friend who is no longer with us. Some people hang them in other places in their house. Wherever it’s a reminder of this saint and her example, is good. No rules.

I have a St. Brigid’s cross necklace. I often see folks at the Irish festivals wearing them.

It’s unique shape makes it distinctive. Once you are aware of it, you may start noticing it.

I won’t have time to make a cross this eve, but I make them often with groups of people, usually with pipe cleaners because that’s an easy way to learn. Have you made a St. Brigid’s cross?

Brigid of Ireland by Cindy Thomson, ebook

Book One, Daughters of Ireland

Why St. Brigid Matters

Brigid of Ireland by Cindy Thomson, ebook

Book One, Daughters of Ireland

Research

People are interested in St. Brigid: who she was, what she did…

Not long ago I got a call from a BBC1 researcher. She wanted to ask about St. Brigid because I’d written a book on her. The show she was researching for was exploring offering something a little different for St. Patrick’s Day. Some might find it odd that a “researcher” was consulting a fiction writer, but writing historical fiction requires research. For this book it was not only historical details about what life was like in the 5th century, but also legends and the beliefs of people today. We had a great talk. She asked me twice if I had plans to come to the UK. Oh, I wish. Hopefully in the future!

St. Brigid Stained Glass in Ireland

Lingering Interest

It’s not 100%, but more often than not when I make appearances, I sell more copies of Brigid of Ireland than my other titles. I’ve heard people comment about how hard it is to find anything on  Ireland’s female patron saint. There are schools and churches named for her, but there remains a mystique surrounding Brigid. I know some, especially nuns, are interested in the story that Brigid was consecrated as a bishop (something the church would not allow today) Other than that, I’m not sure why people are so intrigued (I know why I am. I’ll get to that in a moment.) If you have ideas, please leave a comment.

Fact or Fiction/Faith or Folly?

I’ll always remember a discussion that ensued at a talk I gave many years ago at the Milwaukee Irish Festival. Was Brigid real and a saint or was she really a goddess and the church made up the saint to appease the pagans and convince them to accept the faith? It was not a discussion I was trying to have, but rather one that came up in audience questions. The stage manager was insisting that she was a goddess and never real. A few Catholic women in the audience were saying that she IS real because they pray to her every night. (And the Protestants were aghast at that!) I mentioned this to the BBC researcher and told her that Americans in particular seem to want proof for everything, And that’s missing the point. What do the stories tell us? What is there in them that we need desperately to apply to our own lives? (And for the record, Brigid may have real and just named after the popular goddess. And for hundreds of years the legends about both saint and goddess got intertwined. That’s my feeling, anyway.)

Why She Mattered to Me

A question I often get is why did I decide to write a story about Brigid. My own father asked me that question. I don’t know if my answer satisfied him or if it satisfies anyone else either, but here it is.

Many years ago I was at the Dublin (Ohio) Irish Festival in the cultural area. There was a table set up with information on St. Brigid. The stories intrigued me but I had to leave before I learned very much. So I went home and starting reading all I could find on St. Brigid. Then I decided to write a book of short stories (fiction). Turns out that was a lame idea, and someone suggested I write a novel instead. I did, as you know.

Photo by Karl Fredrickson on Unsplash

But, as the BBC researcher asked me, did Brigid perhaps intrigue me because her story was so different than what I learned about in the church I was raised in? I think so. Yes, there are women in the Bible that are worthy of study, but Brigid was a leader in the church in her day. She performed miracles. She was incredibly generous. She lived out the Great Commission, and had a huge influence. I wanted to know more about what that looked like, and also what Celtic Christianity was about. (Hint: it’s not about paganism: https://celticvoices.blogspot.com/2007/11/does-celtic-pagan-evil.html )

Here is a wonderful synopsis that explains the significance of Brigid’s legacy from Solas Bhride http://solasbhride.ie/the-story-of-brigid/

Remember

I think that’s our calling. Learn from the past, and Brigid is a good example to follow. What do you think?

 

A Word for 2020

Happy New Year!My One Word

As some of you know, I choose a word for each year. I try to do this prayerfully, but I believe God will use whatever I choose to teach me what He wants me to learn, so long as I listen. I’m trying! In fact, one year my word was Listen. If you search this blog for “My One Word,” you’ll find most of my previous words (although not last year’s. I apparently didn’t blog about that one.)

This Year’s Word

My word for 2020 is Grace. Like the years I chose Love, and Peace, this one was easy to hear spoken at church and to discover in the Bible. Grace is an essential element of Christianity, so of course it’s important and I need to study it. So I will.

The Sunday after Christmas, I heard this in church:

And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him.~Luke 2:40 NIV

The grace of God was on Jesus, so of course, I want that too!

Usually I go into the year with a preconceived notion of what that word is going to teach me. My word for 2019 was Discover. I imagined all the wonderful things I’d learn and the great adventures I’d take in 2019. I thought it would be fun and thrilling. Discover in 2019 for me ended up going way beyond that. I discovered what life is without my mother, who passed away in June. I discovered a close family member (thanks, Ancestry.com) who I hadn’t known about and who I got to meet in person and still keep in touch with. I discovered secrets kept from me as a result of that discovery. I discovered that I do have enough energy to watch three little grandkids, two of whom were born in 2019! I picked the right word. There was much to discover and thus much to learn about myself.

So, I’m thinking Grace will teach me that even though I might fail, even though I might not get things done I think I should, God spreads His Grace over me. But what will Grace really mean to me in 2020? We shall see!

A New Start

Isn’t that how most people see the new year? A chance to start all over again if we didn’t meet our goals for 2019. Is that how you look at it? Rather than beating ourselves up for what did not achieve, try again.

Even though I’ve read James Joyce’s Ulysses (ugh! I’ll never get those hours back again!) I didn’t remember this quote from one of the characters in the book until I came across it in some rabbit trail Googling I was doing while writing my current novel. Yep, this ended up in said novel.

A man of genius makes no mistakes. His errors are volitional and are the portals of discovery.

Ah, grace and discover both covered there! I will try to use my mistakes, accept the grace offered when I fail, and discover something worthwhile along the way. How about you?

Did you choose a word for 2020? Please comment.

 

Thoughts from Debut Author JPC Allen and a Giveaway!

It’s my pleasure to host Jennifer Allen (JPC Allen) on my blog today. I’ve watch her grow as a writer in my local ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) group and I can tell you she’s one to watch!

A lot has happened to me in the last fourteen months as a writer. I’ve had two short stories published. Since I’m getting paid for those stories, I am officially an author. But becoming an author of Christian fiction has meant so much more than getting a paycheck.

I’ve been writing stories since second grade. As I entered my college years, I began a novel and had always thought of myself as a novelist. After my kids entered school, I wrote a YA Christian crime novel and spent years improving it because it was the kind of story I like to read. But I got nowhere seeking an agent for it. I’ve had many agents ask to see sample chapters and my business plan only to have them to turn it down for various reasons, usually because the YA Christian fiction market is so tough to publish in.

Then I had the opportunity to write a short story for Mt. Zion Ridge Press. The only constraint was that it had to be set in Ohio. Although I am a huge fan of mystery short stories and have read hundreds of them, I’d never thought about writing one. My first crime short story, “Debt to Pay”, appeared in the anthology From the Lake to the River, last September. I was now an author. But that word took on a whole new meaning three months later.

Last December, Mt. Zion Ridge Press was accepting submissions for Christmas short stories. I had two weeks to come up with 5,000-word story that actually made sense. Since it had taken me years to get my novel in shape, 5,000 words in two weeks seemed as unconquerable as climbing a 5,000-foot peak in my bare feet. But I decided to go for it.

As I worked on my YA mystery, “A Rose from the Ashes”, I became more concerned with writing the story the way God wanted me to rather than taking it over and writing it to please myself. I didn’t think of it as my story. For some reason, God wanted to filter this story through me. I was very aware that it was finely balanced, and I didn’t want to wreck it.

And something funny happened. As I wrote and revised and sweated, the story became exactly the kind of story I’ve always wanted to write. Christmas is my favorite holiday, and some of my favorite mysteries are set at Christmas. Here I had the chance to write one. I’m a country girl at heart, and the story is set in a rural county in Ohio. The mystery hinges on mercy and forgiveness, two qualities I focus on as I grow as a Christian.

Getting paid for my art and having the owners of Mr. Zion Ridge Press accept my stories was a wonderful validation of my hard work. But I think I truly became an author when I collaborated with my heavenly Father as a junior partner and began thinking of the stories as His.  I can’t wait to see what other projects He has in mind.

I’m holding a book giveaway on my site! Click here for details.

 

Christmas fiction off the beaten path 

Not your Granny’s Christmas stories …

Step off the beaten path and enjoy six stories that look beyond the expected, the traditional, the tried-and-true.

Inspired by the song, “Mary Did You Know?” – a mother’s memories of events leading up to and following that one holy night. MARY DID YOU KNOW? By Patricia Meredith

A young woman seeking her own identity searches for the man who tried to kill her and her mother on Christmas Eve twenty years before. A ROSE FROM THE ASHES. By JPC Allen

Princess, tower, sorceress, dragon, brave knight, clever peasant – combine these ingredients into a Christmas-time story that isn’t quite what you’d expect. RETURN TO CALLIDORA. By Laurie Lucking

Anticipating tough financial times, the decision not to buy or exchanged presents leads to some painful and surprising revelations for a hardworking man and his family. NOT THIS YEAR. By Sandra Merville Hart

Years ago, a gunman and a store full of hostages learned some important lessons about faith and pain and what really matters in life – and the echoes from that day continued to the present. THOSE WHO STAYED. By Ronnell Kay Gibson

A community of refugees, a brutal winter, a doorway to another world – a touch of magic creating holiday joy for others leads to a Christmas wish fulfilled. CRYSTAL CHRISTMAS. By Michelle L. Levigne

Purchase links: Amazon,Barnes and Noble, 24SymbolsKobo

JPC Allen started her writing career in second grade with an homage to Scooby Doo. She’s been tracking down mysteries ever since. A former children’s librarian, she is a member of ACFW and has written mystery short stories for Mt. Zion Ridge Press. Online, she offers writing tips and prompts to beginning writers. She also leads writing workshops for tweens, teens, and adults, encouraging them to discover the adventure of writing. A lifelong Buckeye, she has deep roots in the Mountain State. Join the adventure on her blog, Facebook,Instagram, or Goodreads.

Celtic Beginnings: All Saints Day

Photo by Kilian Kremer on Unsplash

All Hallows Eve

Halloween is hugely celebrated in the US, but its roots can be found in Ireland. You may have seen several articles about this on Facebook and elsewhere leading up to October 31. I know I have. Here’s a good one to check out on the Irish American Mom website.

There is a harvest aspect to the Celtic festival, but also a celebration of the dead. All Hallows or All Saints became the Christian church’s All Saints Day.

All Saints Day

Photo by Léa V on Unsplash

A day to remember all those believers who have gone to their eternal rest. A day to remember that those who have gone before us lead us on our way. This is important to me. It’s the theme of all my historical writing. It’s the theme of a Bible verse that has inspired me:

This is what the LORD says: “Stop at the crossroads and look around. Ask for the old, godly way, and walk in it. Travel its path, and you will find rest for your souls. ~Jeremiah 6:16 NLT

And So I Pause

…to consider the significance of this day. Admittedly it’s something we do think about as we get older. More and more people we have known, those who have raised us, those who have been spiritual mentors, have passed on. That’s fitting, but truly everyone should think about those saints in heaven, see what there is to be learned from their lives, and celebrate that they ran the good race and now are made perfect.

The photo below spoke to me. It reminds me of the empty seats at my church where a saint once sat but has now gone on to new life. I, like the woman here, am left to carry on. I know I can’t fill their shoes (you may feel the same way about those you are missing) but I must do my best, with God’s help.

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

OH October!

O hushed October morning mild,
Begin the hours of this day slow.
Make the day seem to us less brief.
Hearts not averse to being beguiled,
Beguile us in the way you know.
Release one leaf at break of day;
At noon release another leaf;
One from our trees, one far away.
Retard the sun with gentle mist;
Enchant the land with amethyst.
Slow, slow!
~From October by Robert Frost

Photo by Kaye Hanson on Unsplash

Slow Down, October

I get Robert Frost’s wish expressed in the poem above, don’t you? Well, I mean if you live where the leaves change, but even if you don’t there are surely things in life you wish would not fly by so fast. We only have autumn color for a few weeks and it changes daily. Just when you are used to admiring the reds, golds, and oranges of autumn, you look out the window one day and they’ve fallen to the ground. The show is finished and will not return for a whole year. And even then there is no guarantee next year’s show will be as vibrant. Oh, slow down, October!

And Yet, There is a Lesson

And I’m not talking about “take time to smell the roses,”  although that’s a good lesson.The lesson I’m learning is life will not slow down, no matter how much I wish it would. And it shouldn’t. We need autumn so that winter will come. We need winter because it is a time of rest and restoration. And we need winter in order for spring to come and new leaves to form so that in the fall there will be another color show. It’s a rhythm, the rhythm of life.

Photo by Łukasz Łada on Unsplash

Discover

Photo by Nine Köpfer on Unsplash

That was my word for 2019. And as the year winds down, I’m learning my word meant much more than I imagined when I chose it. (That ALWAYS happens, by the way.) I’ve discovered what life will be without my mother, who passed away June 25. I’m discovering what it’s like to be Grammy to three! Last year I was only Grammy to one! I discovered a close family member I didn’t know existed and I’m learning what that relationship will be. And I’ve discovered that I can write despite distractions. (Yep, writing this during the World Series). I’ve learned that writing slow is ok. That all things work together for good for those who love God and are the called according to his purpose. (From Romans 8:28)

And I’ve learned time waits for no one. So … relax. I can’t change that truth. But I can cherish these things I’ve discovered and keep them close while I admire those radiant autumn leaves.

How about you? What have you discovered?

Photo by Mayur Gala on Unsplash

 

Writing Your Genealogy

My Library Presentation

on Unsplash.com Roman Kraft
@romankraft

I was asked to make presentations at four branch libraries in Belmont County, OH. It was so fun to do this because the topic requested was how to write your family’s story after you’ve done the research.

Beyond Facts, Dates, and Sources

What genealogy enthusiast hasn’t tried to tell his or her family the genealogy story and been disappointed with the response. Eye rolling, blank stares…

Well, what is needed here is a story! If you are not a writer that could seem daunting, so I’ve made up a little outline to help. (Click to enlarge picture)

Timelines Are Essential

The main thing I want to point out here, the best way to get started, is to use a historical timeline. There are many online. Once you decide what ancestor you are going to use in your story, look at the times he/she lived in. Some of what happened may not have effected him/her, some may have, and some things certainly will have. Look at local history along with political events and natural disasters such as tornadoes, earthquakes, and floods. Once you see what was happening at the time, a story may surface.

Of course we are always looking at wars: Civil War, WWII… but there are other things that happened: inventions, discoveries, industrial advances, labor strikes, mine disasters, train wrecks, protests, crop failures. Sometimes you will need to look for lesser known events.

For instance, I looked at the period of time in which my maternal grandfather was in the army, 1904-1906. It was not wartime, and yet it was an interesting time in history.  I’ll share the story I wrote about him, the one I shared with the library groups.

William Taylor Brown

WT Brown

William Taylor Brown (referred to as Taylor or WT) traveled from his home in the rural, rolling hills of Kentucky to the big city of Lexington to embark on a journey that would ensure he would never again be an isolated country boy unfamiliar with the ways of the world.

Born in 1880, during the time of violent family feuds in Kentucky, Taylor grew up in a family of eleven children. The industrial revolution passed rural Kentucky by. Nearly every family farmed for a living, most raised tobacco. Opportunities were few. Not many children continued their education beyond elementary school because they were needed to work the farm. Taylor had many scars on his body, as noted when at the age of 22, in April of 1904, he enlisted in the United States Army. Those scars may have been the result of farming injuries or perhaps he obtained them from fights. It is not known if his family participated in the feuds taking place all around them. His enlisting officer noted him as having good character.

He was sent to report to the Presidio in San Francisco, California. One can only imagine the train ride across the country. Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Arizona were not yet admitted to the Union. Utah had only become a state eight years earlier. He would have marveled at bison on the plains, cattle drives, dust storms, and mountains much loftier than those he was used to in the east and snowcapped. He may have ridden the rails with folks ill with tuberculous who were bound for Colorado since the trend was to recuperate there at the time.

Photo by 223 223 on Unsplash

The Presidio had been a military establishment since it was founded by Spain in 1776. The U.S. Army took residence there beginning in 1848. It was the departure site for troops deploying to the Philippines when Taylor Brown was sent there. President Theodore Roosevelt visited the year before. It was a bustling military base near the city of San Francisco decades before the Golden Gate Bridge was built but 55 years after the Gold Rush ballooned the population.

Photo from the California State Archives online

Taylor Brown shipped off to the Philippines on June 1, 1904. It took 25 days to sail there, yet another adventure for the Kentucky boy. Six years earlier Spain ceded the Philippines to the United States. Not wishing to be ruled by yet another nation, the people rebelled, and war broke out until the insurrection ended in 1902 and a provisional government was set up.

Clashes and guerilla warfare still broke out, however, over the next decade, thus the need for an American military presence and the reason Taylor Brown ended up there for eight months. A law was passed stating the island country would become independent eventually. It’s possible Taylor was involved in construction while in the Philippines. (Military history of Pasay Garrison during his stay is available in NARA but I have not yet explored it.)

He returned to San Francisco in March of 1905. His enlistment was for three years so he remained at his station and was there when on April 18, 1906, the great earthquake hit just after 5:00 in the morning.

Army troops provided security, fought fires, and provided all kinds of aid including building shelters. Later Taylor Brown would speak of fighting fires after the ’06 earthquake to his children.

WT with wife Lola and some of their children.

Almost exactly a year later Taylor was discharged from the army and returned to Kentucky. He worked as a laborer hauling logs and farmed. He stayed single for nine years. (edit: I believe he was married before marrying my grandmother, but it looks like relationships were difficult for him.) Perhaps he was not ready for family life after all he’d seen and done in the army. Or perhaps it was his childhood that influenced his choices. While he loved his children, his marriage was filled with strife and separation followed.

Family lore says that he was a hard man, although he loved his children. He stayed in the hills where he had been raised until his death at age 65. Perhaps the hardships he’d seen while serving affected him. Perhaps his upbringing poorly prepared him for family life. While these are only speculations, understanding his military service may help explain some of his future difficulties. He did raise a child who loved him, my mother. And that may be his greatest legacy after all.

A Story Is Better

Don’t you think? I could have said my grandfather was married twice and had served in the army and was in San Fransisco during the Great Earthquake. But for me, those facts only bring questions. With a little thought and a little historical research, you can help your relatives become just as interested in genealogy as you are. Every life has a story…or two.

Festival Recap

Dayton Celtic Festival

This festival is held every year on the last weekend of July. The cultural area is only open Saturday and Sunday, although that could change in the future because it’s influenced by whether or not the Dayton Dragon baseball team has a game or not. The cultural area is in the concourse in front of the stadium.

I did this festival many years ago when it was in another location. When the festival expanded to use Riverscape, Heather Schieman, the Cultural Area Director, contacted me. For a few years, I was the only author. Last year I was joined by Terrence O’Leary and this year David McDonnell joined us. It was HOT! The crowd seemed slim, especially on Sunday. But I sold a decent number of books and met a lot of cool people. I love going because it’s the area my husband and I grew up in and we usually have old friends stop by.

 

I spoke twice. Once on tips to find your Celtic ancestors and once on the topic of my new book Celtic Song. Small, but enthusiastic audiences!

And this year I also got to visit with the Irish wolfhounds!

My biggest seller at this festival:

And a close second:

Brigid of Ireland by Cindy Thomson

Dublin Irish Festival

Held the first weekend in August, this is one of the largest Irish festivals in the world. Here authors have their own tent: The Authors’ Corner.

We are cared for by The Book Loft of German Village staff headed by the awesome Julie Burgess. This year 17 authors were present. Many of us have been together for several years now, sometimes meeting up at multiple festivals, resulting in friendships.

With author Jim McVeigh.

One year there were four Irish authors from the north of Ireland, and since that time it’s become one great party. Last year J.P. Sexton had to cancel at the last minute because of an injury that rendered him physically unable to come. This year he was also physically unable to attend but this time it was because he was turned away from boarding a plane due to a VISA issue or maybe it was a passport issue. He was in Ireland and was trying to get back. It’s all very mysterious, however, because he is a natural born US citizen, although he spent most of his childhood in Donegal. (A story for another time.) The year he was here, he taunted author Greg McVicker for leaving his Schmidt’s Cream Puff (forever after referred to in the Authors’ Corner as the Dublin Cream Bun) unattended while he visited with potential readers. Below you see JP taking advantage of that. Was this photo staged? I’ll never tell!

Well, JP’s situation this year would not go unnoticed. Authors Jim McVeigh and Greg McVicker (two of the Irish lads) penned an ode to JP and got some of the other authors to join in recording the song. I wasn’t there because they did this at the hotel where they all stayed and I’m local and don’t stay there. I knew you’d ask! (Check out Greg’s Facebook Page here: https://www.facebook.com/ThroughtheEyesofaBelfastChild/) And Jim’s Facebook Page here: https://www.facebook.com/fartymcfee/

There is some mild language in the song, but Americans might not notice because it’s Greg’s Belfast-talk. But you’ve been warned in case that matters to you. It is hilarious, for sure.

Creative people, aye?

Back to the festival.

There was a good crowd this year. The weather was fantastic. Not as many as I would have thought found their way to the Authors’ Corner. I sold a couple more books in Dayton than I did here, and this was Friday-Sunday. Positive thoughts for next year, though. And several people did go home with signed copies. No complaints about that!

 

Best seller in Dublin this year:

Brigid of Ireland by Cindy Thomson

But only one more than second place:

At this festival I spoke to a bit larger group about Celtic Women. They were a fun crowd, despite it being nearly the end of the festival on Sunday before my assigned time came around. This festival draws good crowds for all the talks by authors, storytellers, musicians, and historians.

A Deal for You!

Not able to attend this year? Until the end of the month, you can get any (or all) of my books shipped free in the US. Well, one exception. I sold so many Celtic Song titles that I don’t have those. But I have all the rest. And if you’re near the Book Loft, you can pick up signed copies there. They have two copies of Celtic Song.

Here’s the run down:

Brigid of Ireland: $5 (very limited number left)

Pages of ireland: $12

Enya’s Son: $16 (very limited number left)

The Roots of Irish Wisdom: $9

If you’d like to take advantage of this offer, use the contact form below. Thanks!

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