Defensive structures on the Owenabue River

Defensive structures on the Owenabue River: A look at castles, estates and other structures on the Owenabue River Paperback – 11 May 2014



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About the Author

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Jørgen Hartogs and I live, work and study in County Cork, Ireland. Having lived in Belfast, Dublin and Cork I now live in south county Cork in a typical, rural town. I’m working for a multi-national in Cork city, where I use German, English, Dutch and Flemish daily, and I study Local History and Regional Studies at UCC and Cultural Anthropology at Colaiste Stiofan Naofa. Of course I’m interested in folklore, history, archeology and geography and my real passion is the folklore of Ireland.I’m mad about the GAA and Gaelic Football in particular and I have been a Kerry supporter for years. If you would like to contact me feel free to contact me.

Martello Towers in Cork Harbour

Martello Towers in Cork Harbour: A folklorist, historical and archeological study of Martello Towers Paperback – 21 Dec 2012


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About the Author

I would like to introduce myself. My name is Jørgen Hartogs and I live, work and study in County Cork, Ireland. I was not born in Ireland but moved here later on in life. Though I have Dutch nationality I have been living in Ireland long enough to be considered one of the “natives” by some. I won’t claim to be Irish as I don’t have Irish nationality nor was I born here but I would like to pride myself on having integrated very well. Having lived in Belfast, Dublin and Cork I now live in south county Cork in a typical, rural town. I’m working for a multi-national in Cork city, where I use German, English, Dutch and Flemish daily, and I study Local History and Regional Studies at UCC and Cultural Anthropology at Colaiste Stiofan Naofa. Of course I’m interested in folklore, history, archeology and geography and my real passion is the folklore of Ireland.I’m mad about the GAA and Gaelic Football in particular and I have been a Kerry supporter for years. Combining my passions for the GAA and folklore I mostly write about the GAA, but I also write about a large number of other subjects. If you would like to contact me feel free to contact me.

MY LOVELY SMILING BEAMISH BOY

MY LOVELY SMILING BEAMISH BOY by John Spillane

Beam

by Donal Ó Drisceoil

November 2015; The other night I sang at the launch of a book, I sang a book into the world, and I had the right song for the occasion. My song is called MY LOVELY SMILING BEAMISH BOY and the book is called BEAMISH AND CRAWFORD – The Story of an Irish Brewery.

The Beamish Brewery closed it’s doors in 2009 after 217 years and the scent of malt evaporated for the last time from the air over the South Side of Cork City. There was an indescribable sadness about this. To tell you the truth my own mother Mary passed away around the same time and it seemed that all that was old and beautiful was disappearing from the world. The old Cork, the old crowd who were young when I was a child, the colorful characters of the City, the old laugh and the old smile.
There was a documentary made about the Brewery at that time and it was called MY BEAMISH BOY – Directed by Mike Hannon. Irene Buckley composed some lovely music for that and she recommended that I should compose a song for the film, and so I wrote my song and I called it MY LOVELY SMILING BEAMISH BOY.

This song has never been released and it has only existed so far as part of the film, and so I float it gently in your direction, gentle reader, and hope that you may enjoy it.

Here is John Spillane’s song;

MY LOVELY SMILING BEAMISH BOY

When you were young you wished to be,
Just like your dad a Beamish Boy,
In a happy family,
And your mother’s pride and joy,

Don’t you remember me at all?
Can’t you hear my lonesome call?
You always were my pride and joy!
My lovely smiling Beamish Boy!

The scent of malt hangs in the air,
And there is friendship everywhere,
A lonesome star hangs from the sky,
The holy river flows on by,

Don’t you remember me at all?
Can’t you hear my lonesome call?
You always were my pride and joy!
My lovely smiling Beamish Boy!

Don’t you remember me at all?
The Beamish Brewery standing tall?
But now a cloud hangs over town,
The Beamish Brewery has closed down…….

Congratulations to Diarmuid and Donal Ó Drisceoil on their brilliant book. God bless her and all who sail in her.

(Beamish stout is still being brewed, in Murphy’s Brewery, and still tastes good and strong and deep and Beamishy)

The much-loved two hundred year old brewery has shut its gates forever. As they reminisce, the ex-workers must come to terms with their grief at its closure. Suffused with bittersweet memories and wry affection, these are the stories of the famous Beamish and Crawford Brewery. All things must end, but the human spirit persists.

My Beamish Boy (director Mike Hannon), a half hour documentary on the people and stories of the closed Beamish & Crawford brewery, is to be broadcast on RTE One on Monday, June 7th at 7pm.

Part funded by Cork City Council Arts Office, the documentary is an affectionate piece of social history, recording the anecdotes, memories and feelings of many of the Beamish workers, as well as the unique traditions and character of the brewery itself.

The film was shot in 2009 around the time of the brewery’s closure and features creative contributions from some of the Beamish staff, including David Creedon’s photographs of the brewery interior. Johnny McCarthy, who was a fourth generation Beamish worker, and his son Cormac play flute and cello respectively, with Hugh McCarthy (cello) on the original soundtrack which was composed by Irene Buckley and on an original song, My Lovely Smiling Beamish Boy, written by John Spillane for the film. The documentary was produced by Pat Comerford.

The much-loved two hundred year old brewery in Cork, Ireland, shut its gates forever in March 2009. As they reminisce, the ex-workers must come to terms with their grief at its closure. Suffused with bittersweet memories and wry affection, these are the stories of the famous Beamish and Crawford Brewery. All things must end, but the human spirit persists.

The film received the Made in Cork award for Best Short Film at the Corona Cork Film Festival 2009, and was broadcast on Irish national TV in June 2010.

mikehannonmedia.com

Featuring
Jack Callanan / Johnny McCarthy / Pat Bourke / David Creedon / Liam Huggins / Dick Duff / Kevin O’ Donovan / Larry O’ Neill / Rhona O’ Leary / Ann Murray / Jim Cox / Kevin White

Music composed by Irene Buckley

My Lovely Smiling Beamish Boy
Written by John Spillane
Performed by John Spillane, Cormac McCarthy, Hugh McCarthy, Johnny McCarthy,
Produced by Johnny McCarthy
Courtesy of EMI Ireland Ltd
Copyright IMRO/MCPS John Spillane 2009

“The Last Cooper” photographs courtesy of David Creedon

Special thanks to Christy O’ Keeffe / An Spailpin Fanac / Ed Hinchy / John Sheehan Photography / Murray Ó Laoire Architects / Cork Film Centre

Supported by Cork City Council

Produced by Pat Comerford

Directed and edited by Mike Hannon

How Men Lost Their Penis Spines

by Stephanie Pappas, Live Science Contributor   |   March 09, 2011

Time to give thanks for your genome: A new study finds that at some point in our evolutionary history, humans lost a stretch of DNA that would have otherwise promoted the growth of spines on the penis.

Editor’s Recommendations

Stephanie Pappas

Stephanie interned as a science writer at Stanford University Medical School, and also interned at ScienceNow magazine and the Santa Cruz Sentinel. She has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of South Carolina and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

History of the Cork Hebrew Congregation and the Jews of Cork.

History of the Cork Hebrew Congregation and the Jews of Cork. 
The first wave of Jewish emigration to Cork was in 1772 with the influx of a small community of Sephardic Jews from Portugal.
Relatively little is known about this first community. Although they didn’t have a synagogue, a burial ground was discovered at Kemp Street, to the back of the present synagogue on number 10, South Terrace.
The community didn’t exceed about 40 in number, and disappeared through intermarriage with local Protestant families.
Written records from 1891 point to the emergence of a second Jewish community in Cork, following the assimilation of the previous Sephardic community. This community, by contrast, were Ashkenazi, coming (mostly) from a town called Yakmyan in Kovno (former White Russia).
It is very unlikely that Cork, Ireland, was the intended destination of these Eastern European émigrés. They had fled persecution (pogroms) in a staunchly Catholic Country.

Many among their ranks were also very religious. That they would willingly come to another stronghold of Catholicism, such as Ireland, with no traditional ties to Judaism, seems mostly unlikely. Among various explanations proposed, it may have been the case that an unscrupulous ship-captain advised the Jews to disembark and row to America to save money.
Possibly they confused ‘Cork’ for New York (the Jews spoke only Yiddish, and the words are – slighly – cognate). From Cobh (then Queenstown), where they disembarked, the Jews made their way into Cork City, and specifically settled in an area known as Hibernian Buildings, in the City Centre, soon to be known as ‘Jewtown’ by the locals.
This initial crop of Jews worked mostly as peddlers, selling door-to-door. They were known, amongst each other, as the vicklemen (vickle means weekly in Yiddish, and their door-to-door rounds took roughly a week). They would travel around Cork City and its hinterland knocking on doors and selling various things to the local Catholic farming community.

The community reached its peak in the early 20th Century. Family of the first arrivals soon followed when they found out that Cork, and Ireland in general, was tolerant, even friendly, towards the Jews. The community first prayed in a small room in Eastville before renting a room in Marlboro Street, and finally building the present synagogue at 10, South Terrace.

A Jewish cemetery – Beit Olam in Hebrew – was acquired at Curraghkippane, on the outskirts of the cities, and some Jewish victims of the Lusitania disaster (a ship that sank in 1912 off the Old Head of Kinsale, Cork) are buried there.

At its peak of about 450-500 congregants, the community was very active.
Before the decline in numbers, there were two football clubs, a table tennis clubs, a debating club, a branch of the Bnei Akiva, as well as, of course, an officiating ‘Reverend’, a butcher, a doctor and a Chevre Kedushsa (burial society).

By 1939 the community had reached its peak. The sons and the grandsons of the peddlers and vicklemen had qualified as professionals in University College Cork and wanted to leave for a place with greater Jewish life and professional opportunities. There was also emigration to the State of Israel, established in 1948. The combination of emigration to Israel and the U.S. (among other destinations) resulted in a steady decline in number which persisted from the late 1930s until the 1980s, by which stage only 15 to 20 Jews remained in Cork, Ireland.
At present there are only two families left, as well as a scattering of Jews in the surrounding country, as well as transient visitors and businessmen who may come to pray at the shul.

Because of the decline in numbers, services are now only conducted every fourth Friday night, and during the High Holidays. Even during the High Holidays extras, in the form of Chabad-Lubavitch trainee Rabbis, have to be ‘imported’ from the U.K. to make a Jewish religious quorum (a ‘minyan’).

The Cork shul and the Jewish congregation have been featured in a number of online articles, some or all of which may be of interest if you are looking to know more about Jewish life in Cork.

The first wave of Jewish emigration to Cork was in 1772 with the influx of a small community of Sephardic Jews from Portugal.

Relatively little is known about this first community. Although they didn’t have a synagogue, a burial ground was discovered at Kemp Street, to the back of the present synagogue on number 10, South Terrace.

The community didn’t exceed about 40 in number, and disappeared through intermarriage with local Protestant families.
Written records from 1891 point to the emergence of a second Jewish community in Cork, following the assimilation of the previous Sephardic community. This community, by contrast, were Ashkenazi, coming (mostly) from a town called Yakmyan in Kovno (former White Russia).
It is very unlikely that Cork, Ireland, was the intended destination of these Eastern European émigrés. They had fled persecution (pogroms) in a staunchly Catholic Country.

Many among their ranks were also very religious. That they would willingly come to another stronghold of Catholicism, such as Ireland, with no traditional ties to Judaism, seems mostly unlikely. Among various explanations proposed, it may have been the case that an unscrupulous ship-captain advised the Jews to disembark and row to America to save money.
Possibly they confused ‘Cork’ for New York (the Jews spoke only Yiddish, and the words are – slighly – cognate). From Cobh (then Queenstown), where they disembarked, the Jews made their way into Cork City, and specifically settled in an area known as Hibernian Buildings, in the City Centre, soon to be known as ‘Jewtown’ by the locals.
This initial crop of Jews worked mostly as peddlers, selling door-to-door. They were known, amongst each other, as the vicklemen (vickle means weekly in Yiddish, and their door-to-door rounds took roughly a week). They would travel around Cork City and its hinterland knocking on doors and selling various things to the local Catholic farming community.

The community reached its peak in the early 20th Century. Family of the first arrivals soon followed when they found out that Cork, and Ireland in general, was tolerant, even friendly, towards the Jews. The community first prayed in a small room in Eastville before renting a room in Marlboro Street, and finally building the present synagogue at 10, South Terrace.

A Jewish cemetery – Beit Olam in Hebrew – was acquired at Curraghkippane, on the outskirts of the cities, and some Jewish victims of the Lusitania disaster (a ship that sank in 1912 off the Old Head of Kinsale, Cork) are buried there.

At its peak of about 450-500 congregants, the community was very active.
Before the decline in numbers, there were two football clubs, a table tennis clubs, a debating club, a branch of the Bnei Akiva, as well as, of course, an officiating ‘Reverend’, a butcher, a doctor and a Chevre Kedushsa (burial society).

By 1939 the community had reached its peak. The sons and the grandsons of the peddlers and vicklemen had qualified as professionals in University College Cork and wanted to leave for a place with greater Jewish life and professional opportunities.

At present there are only two families left, as well as a scattering of Jews in the surrounding country, as well as transient visitors and businessmen who may come to pray at the shul.

Because of the decline in numbers, services are now only conducted every fourth Friday night, and during the High Holidays. Even during the High Holidays extras, in the form of Chabad-Lubavitch trainee Rabbis, have to be ‘imported’ from the U.K. to make a Jewish religious quorum (a ‘minyan’).

The Cork synagoguge and the Jewish congregation have been featured in a number of online articles, some or all of which may be of interest if you are looking to know more about Jewish life in Cork.

Go > to > Sourcehttp://www.corkhebrewcongregation.com/history

Cork’s Jewish Community — Small in Size, Grand in Spirit (Marlena Thompson)

Gerald Goldberg (Wikipedia)

Cork Festival of Jewish Culture (Held in UCC, 2008)

Kosherme.net Entry

Folklore CD Series: Fred Rosehill

Cork’s Oldest Jew Reflect’s In Sadness [Article, Irish Times]

Vibrant Jewish Community in Irish City of Cork has Dwindled Away [Article, Seattle Times]

Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hebrews

Resources

Zmanim (halachic prayer times) for Cork.

Latest kosher product list (2012-2013) 

Google Maps listing

Websites

Irish Jewish Genealogical Society

Irish Jewish Museum

Articles, Media

A Place in Time, Ep. 5

History of the Jews in Ireland (Wikipedia)

Cork’s Jewish Community — Small in Size, Grand in Spirit (Marlena Thompson)

Gerald Goldberg (Wikipedia)

Cork Festival of Jewish Culture (Held in UCC, 2008)

Kosherme.net Entry

Folklore CD Series: Fred Rosehill

Cork’s Oldest Jew Reflect’s In Sadness [Article, Irish Times]

Vibrant Jewish Community in Irish City of Cork has Dwindled Away [Article, Seattle Times]

Family Trees in Pictures

Family Trees in Pictures by Maike Vogt-Luerssen for Kleio.org


Books and other Publications by the Author


These books are available in good book shops in Germany, Austria and Switzerland and through www.libri.dewww.bol.de and www.amazon.de for readers worldwide. Please advise your bookseller that these books are produced by Books on Demand.

In case you experience problems purchasing my books, please contact me!


Maike Vogt-Luerssen

Die Frauen des Hauses Tudor – Das Schicksal der weiblichen Mitglieder einer englischen Königsdynastie

c. 1.000 pages, with family trees and 292 images

published in 2015

at amazon.com for US$ 30.50

at amazon.co.uk for £ 21.70

available as E-Book everywhere in the world at amazon


Maike Vogt-Luerssen

Lucrezia Borgia – The Life of a Pope’s Daughter in the Renaissance (as E-Book)

with family trees and 78 figures (of which are 37 in Colour)

published in 2014

available as E-Book everywhere in the world at amazon for example

at amazon.com for US$ 10.86

at amazon.co.uk for £ 7.20

Introduction


Maike Vogt-Luerssen

Lucrezia Borgia – The Life of a Pope’s Daughter in the Renaissance

124 pages, with family trees and 76 figures

ISBN 978-1-4537-2740-9

1st English edition 2010

US$ 10.90

This book is available through www.amazon.com

Introduction


Kirsten Boie

Der kleine Ritter Trenk und fast das ganze Leben im Mittelalter (= The little knight Trenk and almost the whole life in the Middle Ages)

expert service by Maike Vogt-Lüerssen

Oetinger Verlag, Hamburg 2012

€ 17,94


Maike Vogt-Lüerssen

Article: The True Faces of the Daughters and Sons of Cosimo I de’ Medici

in: Medicea – Rivista interdisciplinare di studi medicei, No. 10, October 2011, pp. 66-87

Centro Di della Edifimi srl, Florence, ISSN 1974-7004

€ 15,00

Complete article in English


Maike Vogt-Luerssen

Identificare Caterina Sforza nei dipinti del Rinascimento attraverso il simbolismo

in: Caterina Sforza – 500° Anniversario Della Morte (28 Maggio 1509), pag. 77 – 85

Atti del Convegno di studi e della Tavola rotonda internationale

Forlì, 16 maggio 2009

a cura di Silvia Arfelli, Gilberto Giorgetti

Complete article in English


Maike Vogt-Lüerssen

The Sforza III: Isabella of Aragon and her Court Painter Leonardo da Vinci

In German, original title: “Die Sforza III: Isabella von Aragon und ihr Hofmaler Leonardo da Vinci”

488 pages, with family trees and 322 images, 26 of these in colour (format 21 x 27 cm)

Books on Demand GmbH, ISBN 978-3-8391-7110-3

€ 49,90


Maike Vogt-Lüerssen

Article: Caterina Sforza and the Story of the Extraordinary Friendship between the Sforza and the Medici

In German, original title: “Caterina Sforza und die Geschichte der außergewöhnlichen Freundschaft zwischen den Sforza und den Medici”

in: Medicea – Rivista interdisciplinare di studi medicei, No. 3, June 2009, pp. 28-37

Centro Di della Edifimi srl, Florence, ISSN 1974-7004

€ 15,00


Maike Vogt-Lüerssen

Article: The Identification Portrait of the Florentine Princess Anna di Francesco I. de’ Medici (1569-1584)

In German, original title: “Das Identifikationsporträt der florentinischen Prinzessin Anna di Francesco I. de’ Medici (1569-1584)”

in: Medicea – Rivista interdisciplinare di studi medicei, No. 1, October 2008, pp. 26-33

Centro Di della Edifimi srl, Florence, ISSN 1974-7004

€ 15,00


Maike Vogt-Luerssen

The Sforza II: Caterina Sforza – Daughter of a Warrior-Dynasty

In German, original title: “Die Sforza II: Caterina Sforza – Tochter einer Krieger-Dynastie”

344 pages, with family trees and 148 figures

Books on Demand GmbH, ISBN 978-3-8370-2395-4

€ 22,90


Maike Vogt-Luerssen

Women in the Renaissance – 30 Biographies

In German, original title: “Frauen in der Renaissance – 30 Einzelschicksale”

428 pages, with 289 figures

Books on Demand GmbH, ISBN 978-3-8334-6567-3

€ 27.50

available as E-Book everywhere in the world at amazon


Maike Vogt-Luerssen

Agrippina the Younger – The Great Roman Politician and Her Time

In German, original title: “Agrippina die Jüngere – Die große römische Politikerin und ihre Zeit”

260 pages, with family trees and 59 figures

Books on Demand GmbH, ISBN 3-8334-5214-5

2., reviewed edition 2006

€ 17.90

available as E-Book everywhere in the world at amazon


Maike Vogt-Luerssen

The Everyday Life in the Middle Ages

In German, original title: “Der Alltag im Mittelalter”

352 pages, with 156 figures

Books on Demand GmbH, ISBN 3-8334-4354-5

2., reviewed edition 2006

€ 23.90


Maike Vogt-Luerssen

The Sforza I: Bianca Maria Visconti – The Mother of the Sforza

In German, original title: “Die Sforza I: Bianca Maria Visconti – Die Stammmutter der Sforza”

240 pages, with 186 figures

Books on Demand GmbH, ISBN 978-3-8334-3558-4

2., reviewed edition, 2008

€ 18.90


Maike Vogt-Luerssen

Time Travel 1 – Visiting a Town in the Late Middle Ages

In German, original title: “Zeitreise 1 – Besuch einer spätmittelalterlichen Stadt”

288 pages, with 90 figures

Books on Demand GmbH, ISBN 3-8334-2419-2

€ 18.90

available as E-Book everywhere in the world at Amazon, Google and Apple iTunes


Maike Vogt-Luerssen

Margaret of Austria – The Burgundian Hapsburg and Her Time

In German, original title: “Margarete von Österreich – Die burgundische Habsburgerin und ihre Zeit”

2nd, revised and expanded edition, 480 pages, with family trees and 218 figures

Books on Demand GmbH, ISBN 978-3-8334-0378-1

€ 30.50

available as E-Book everywhere in the world at amazon


Maike Vogt-Luerssen

Anna of Saxony – Wife of William of Orange

In German, original title: “Anna von Sachsen – Gattin von Wilhelm von Oranien”

144 pages, with family trees and 62 figures

Books on Demand GmbH, ISBN 978-3-8330-0322-6

3., reviewed edition 2010

€ 13.00

available as E-Book everywhere in the world at amazon


Maike Vogt-Luerssen

Who is Mona Lisa – In Search for Her Identity

In German, original title: “Wer ist Mona Lisa? – Auf der Suche nach ihrer Identität”

232 pages, with family trees and 147 figures

Books on Demand GmbH, ISBN 3-8330-0647-1

€ 17.90

Not available any longer!


Maike Vogt-Luerssen

Martin Luther – In Words and Images

In German, original title: “Martin Luther – In Wort und Bild”

80 pages, with 24 figures

Books on Demand GmbH, ISBN 3-8330-0039-2

€ 9.90

Not available any longer!


Maike Vogt-Luerssen

Katharina von Bora – Martin Luther’s Wife

In German, original title: “Katharina von Bora – Martin Luthers Frau”

100 pages

Verlag Ernst Probst, ISBN 3-935718-87-X

€ 13.00

Due to the closure of the publisher “Verlag Ernst Probst” this book is not available anymore. A more comprehensive version of this biography can be found in my books: “Martin Luther – In Words and Images” and “Women in the Renaissance – 30 Biographies”


Maike Vogt-Luerssen

40 Women’s Biographies from the 15. and 16. Centuries

In German, original title: “40 Frauenschicksale aus dem 15. und 16. Jahrhundert”

300 pages, with numerous figures

Verlag Ernst Probst, ISBN 3-935718-19-5

€ 29.00 (as CD-ROM € 16.00)

Due to the closure of the publisher “Verlag Ernst Probst” this book is not available anymore!

Twenty-five years of German unification by Jenny Farrell

Twenty-five years of German unification

Jenny Farrell

Chancellor Helmut Kohl’s prediction in 1990 of flourishing landscapes springing up everywhere following German unification may have come true—but definitely not in East Germany. Instead there has been massive depopulation: 2 million of a former population of 17 million have left their home regions and migrated to Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg in Western Germany.
The populations of all East German regional states have shrunk, while the Western ones have grown. For example, Saxony-Anhalt has lost more than 20 per cent of its population, and, like most East German regions, it is ageing. The young, highly qualified—and especially women—are gone. The population loss in the East will most certainly continue.
What about the people of East and West Germany? How have they practised unification? If East-West marriages are anything to go by, the relationship remains uneasy: only 1.6 per cent of all new marriages are “mixed.” This corresponds approximately to the rate of marriages between Germans and people with a migration background.
There are dramatic discrepancies between East and West in all kinds of areas. A far greater percentage of people in the East are affected by obesity and alcohol-related death. In the West there is a much higher purchasing power for watches and jewellery. This is, of course, due to poverty and unemployment, as income levels in the East have never averaged more than three-quarters of those in the West. The employment rate in the Eastern states is not likely to match that of the West in the foreseeable future.
Very few of the GDR’s achievements have survived. Child care is one example. Despite a decline in the number of day-care centres in the East, and an increase of these in West German cities, there is still a substantially higher quota of 52 per cent in the East—almost double the West German norm.
Another instance is non-membership of religious denominations. The policy of the governing Socialist Unity Party seems to have been a long-term success; even in the West a kind of catching up can be observed, as secularisation approaches Eastern levels. Three-quarters of East Germans do not belong to the major churches, while in the West the ratio is—still—the exact opposite. However, in 2012 alone four times as many people left the church as joined it in Germany as a whole.
Twenty-five years after unification, the territory of the former German Democratic Republic has become an impoverished internal colony in the heart of one of the richest countries in the world.

Castillo de San Servando

Castillo de San Servando.

The Castillo de San Servando is a medieval castle in Toledo, Spain, next the Tagus River. It was begun as a monastery, occupied first by monks and later by the Knights Templar.

In 1874 the castle was named a national monument.

Evidence exists of an ancient monastery attached to a basilica of the same name, possibly founded in the 7th century. In 1080 Cardinal Richard of St. Victor, a monk of the ancient Abbey of St. Victor in Marseille, was sent as the legate of Pope Gregory VII to the Council of Burgos held that year. One of his mandates was to ensure the adoption of the Roman Rite, replacing the ancient Mozarabic Rite used by the Christians of Iberia for centuries. He carried specific instructions for the restoration of San Servando and its adoption of Roman liturgical practice.[1]

After surviving for several centuries under Muslim rule, when the city was conquered by the Christian army of King Alfonso VI of Castile in 1085, both he and his wife, Constance of Burgundy, became generous benefactors of the basilica and rebuilt the monastery.[1] According to John Ormsby, the English translator of “Don Quixote” by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Alfonso VI called the castle “San Servando” after a Spanish martyr, a name subsequently modified into San Servan (in which form it appears in the “Poem of the Cid”), San Servantes, and San Cervantes. Mr. Ormsby mentions that “there is a complete history of the Cervantes family from the tenth century down to the seventeenth extant under the title “Illustrious Ancestry, Glorious Deeds, and Noble Posterity of the Famous Nuino Alfonso, Alcaide of Toledo,” written in 1648 Rodrigo Mendez Silva.” On the of the side of the mountain, near the Castle, a poem by Miguel de Cervantes was enshrined in 2005, four hundred years after Miguel de Cervantes wrote it. The picture of the poem is a http://www.panoramio.com/photo/15750564

On 11 March 1088 the king offered the monastery to the Holy See on the condition that it be permanently administered by the Abbey of St. Victor, along with all its goods and benefits. This arrangement was approved by Pope Urban II, who was elected the day after the documents for the donation were drawn up, on 20 February 1089. He entrusted the task to Cardinal Richard, by then himself Abbot of St. Victor. After that point, the monastery came under the authority of the Abbey of St. Victor and French monks began to occupy the Spanish monastery, introducing the Rule of St. Benedict.[1]

King Alfonso saw the monastery as a bulwark of Christian presence in the region, and on 13 February 1099, made a donation of the Church of Santa María de Alficén, and of the community surrounding it, which was a traditional Mozarabic territory. He gave the monastery the objective of maintaining this identity among the populace. He further founded a monastery of Benedictinenuns to be attached to the church. Both monastic communities were charged with providing care and hospitality to the poor of the region and to travelers.[1]

The monastery was destroyed by Saracen attacks in 1110, and the monks returned to Marseille. It was at this point that the Monastery of San Servando entered a new phase of its existence, as it became the possession of the Archbishop of Toledo and the cathedral chapter.[1]

King Alfonso VIII gave the monastery to the Knights Templar, who converted the monastery into a fortress in order to protect the Puente de Alcántara against a possible Muslim attack. With the disappearance of the Muslim threat and the dissolution of the Templars in 1312, the fortress lost its importance and was neglected. Today tours of the castle are conducted about the alleged haunting of the site by a miscreant knight, Don Nuño Alvear, who supposedly died after being shown his many victims in a vision.[2]

The fortress was depicted in El Greco‘s noted landscape work, View of Toledo.

It is currently used as a youth hostel.

  1. a b c d e Fita, Fidel (25 May 1906). “El monasterio toledano de San Servando en la segunda mitad del siglo XI”Boletín de la Real Academia de la historia (in Spanish). Tomo XLIX: 280–331. 
  2. La muerte de Don Nuño Alvear, una leyenda templaria de Toledo”.

What faith and art can do when the world is dark

by ANDREW O’HAGAN

THE BOOK OF KELLS: In the contemporary world the illuminated manuscript on display at Trinity College Dublin now stands as a founding classic, as ripe to nonreligious readers as it is to people of faith.

The Isle of Iona is close to Ireland, and it has always mattered to me, a Scot with an Irish name, that our common literature begins in that fertile place. This summer I took Seamus Heaney and some other friends to visit Iona, and we agreed that the atmosphere on the island is unmistakable. Dr Johnson and James Boswell felt the same way when they stepped off the boat in the autumn of 1773 and spontaneously hugged one another. “It’s some place,” said Heaney as we walked through the renovated cloisters of the abbey by the sea. “Can you hear the wind?”

The Book of Kells symbolises, says Bernard Meehan, “the power of learning, the impact of Christianity on the life of the country, and the spirit of artistic imagination”.

Meehan’s book is for me the book of the year, a deeply beautiful and essential guide to what the great Celtic text is all about. An ancient sense of wonder can be found in the Book of Kells, and spores of the old illuminating art can still be felt in the air at Iona as you pass through the cells where Columba once presided and where folios of the famous book were made.

I grew up dreaming about the Book of Kells, its dashing hares, its serpents, its round-eyed monks beyond ecstasy and sleep, its golds and its greens, and a decade ago I got finally to slumber alongside it. I was a visiting fellow at Trinity and had rooms on Parliament Square. Drinks were had and poetry was discussed, pees were taken in foreign sinks. But half my mind was drunk on the Book of Kells. It was just over the way and told the story of our founding spirit.

Edna Longley, in her fine Introduction to Modern Irish and Scottish Poetry, a recent and rich book on the subject, calls Columba the patron saint of Irish/Scottish poetry. “Poetic contact between Ireland and Scotland begins with an island,” she writes, “Iona.”

For me, Columba was the skilled believer, the potent leader, the miracle worker, the magic realist that Scotland needed. We needed him before John Knox and we needed him after. Or maybe I just mean that I needed him. After belief was gone, I needed the lasting power of devotion, a deep source of exultation and fiction that would allow me to be more than just a poor audience to my own memory.

Resplendent hope

John McGahern once wrote a paragraph that captures that resplendent hope in the gravity of past faith. “I have nothing but gratitude for the spiritual remnants of that upbringing,” he wrote, “the sense of our origins beyond the bounds of sense, an awareness of mystery and wonderment, grace and sacrament, and the absolute equality of all men and women underneath the sun of heaven.” That is the Book of Kells for me. Some people turn to nationalism when God is dead. Some to drink. But I wanted the vital spark of the old illuminations, evidence of what faith and art can do together when the world is dark.

Iona was attacked by the Vikings and Colum Cille’s abbots ended up in Kells, according to the Annals of Ulster, in 804. This place was to be a refuge and a place where the work continued. The Book of Kells has a Columban provenance that I feel I recognise and love, for it marks an otherworldly collaboration between the kingdoms of Ireland and Scotland and a beautiful insight into our national mysteries. Not only those we enjoy individually but those we enjoy together, face to face, as nations across the water.

Uncertainty is part of the enjoyment. Was the book started at Iona and finished at Kells? Was the work begun by Columba himself and then spirited away by later loyal abbots in the face of the Viking raiders? The existing book in Dublin has evidence for a great deal and certainty about very little: areas of decoration are unfinished, suggesting the initial book was rescued in a hurry. The original scribes must have died during the raids or soon after the transition to Kells, or they would have finished what they started, no? I recently took Meehan’s wonderful book on a trip to the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh and compared a number of the plates he reproduces to stone carvings held in the collection.

The illustrations in the Book of Kells show the influence of the Mediterranean style that we can see in coins, jewellery and textiles. But the Pictish element has been underplayed somewhat: if you look at surviving stones and graves from the northeast of Scotland or from St Ninian’s early settlement at Whithorn, you see elements – three dots representing the Trinity, for example – that are everywhere in the Book of Kells.

The book is a terrific gathering place of style: you see darkest, unknown Scotland, the country before Macbeth, but also an Ireland establishing a sense of Christ and beauty that is different from the one carried in from Rome. The book is complex, but it also underscores the way simple foreign design codes were already present in Ireland and were newly manipulated by Kells’s scribes. Look at the business of the red dots. “Red dots highlighting the shape of a letter,” writes Meehan, “which are such a striking feature of the Book of Kells, form the major decorative device of a Gospel book known as Codex Usserianus Primus, conventionally regarded as dating from the early 7th century and so the earliest surviving Irish manuscript . . . Similar dots placed around letters for emphasis can be seen in an early 6th-century Greek manuscript from Constantinople.”

Patron saint of storytellers

St Columba commanded the fishes of the sea to rise out of the water and find their tongues. I think of him as a patron saint of storytellers and fiction-makers, an Irishman on the shore at Iona commanding the world into magic. The fish, the lions, the peacocks and hares, the cats, the panthers, the stags and the doves: the book is replete with gorgeous life, danger, faith and symbol. (And such freshness: on folio 84V, one page, there’s a thrilling drawing of a fat, blue-and-yellow-striped cat pursuing a white-faced rat that is running away with a communion host. At the bottom we run into a blue-legged greyhound that has just caught a hare clambering up the page. This is an ancient text, but these images are more alive than anything in Tate Modern.)

The book contains the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, but I believe it is Colum Cille’s gospel of earthly plenitude and everyday natural sanctity we are looking at. For what we see in the Book of Kells is the insular world bursting into colour. It would be another millennium and a half before we heard that “the medium is the message”, but, oddly, we first see it with the Book of Kells. Essentially a showcase for the message of the evangelists, it becomes, by its strange stylistic pedigree, and by its amazing provenance as an Irish-Scots masterpiece, a work of western art that holds in itself the imagination’s first principles.

Of course, being a writer, I think of the scribes. Who were they and how did they come to make this? In a way, they must represent the perfect form of TS Eliot’s impersonal artists, not only unknown and uncredited but completely subsumed by the symbolic enormity of the work they undertook and by a division of labour. Yet each of the writers has his own style: Scribe A, sober and spare, no-nonsense, with a turgid N; Scribe B writes small and decorates largely in red and yellow and purple; Scribe C, perhaps more improvisational yet more hesitant; and Scribe D, more expansive than C and given to sudden brilliant decorative flights in his large hand, using darker inks. We don’t know who these men were, and each must have had a tale behind him. It was Nabokov, that later keeper of his own scriptorium, who said that the only biography of an artist that matters is the biography of his style.

And that is what we see in the Book of Kells, the proteins of many cultures going towards the DNA of Ireland.

The book now stands as a founding classic, as ripe to pagans as to people of faith, a locus of dark materials, a beautiful marker to people who read and a life force and progenitor to people who write. Sitting up late in my rooms at Trinity 10 years ago, I know my thoughts moved over the square to interlace with the patterns in that old book. My own people had travelled like the word itself, and God only knows what part of their vivid colours hadn’t drained into the grave. My guess is that Colum Cille has symbolic power for each of us, Irish and Scots alike, separated by that short and rowdy sea. The book is evidence of what we were like, trying to imagine our way into majesty in the face of something savage. And what is that if not the project of civilisation? We would have our reformations to face, and will again, but the Book of Kells reveals to us our origins beyond the bounds of sense.