Céad Míle Fáilte!... (One hundred thousand welcomes!)

"Enchanting Ireland"... Take an artistic journey to the Emerald Isle as seen through the eyes and palette of American Artist, Bernie Rosage Jr. A collection of paintings and adventures inspired by two trips Bernie and his wife, Tami, took to the Emerald Isle. The first trip was in 2008 and the second was in 2014.

Bernie has been blogging their adventures and the background of this collection on this blog... browse around and enjoy yourself.

Paintings are available for purchase... Click HERE to see the collection, availability, and prices.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

"Off to Kiss the Blarney Stone"... Our Quest for the Gift of Gab!

"Off to Kiss the Blarney Stone"... 24x18" oil on gallery wrapped canvas by Bernie Rosage Jr., 2009. County Cork, Ireland.

Blarney Castle in County Cork was one of our favorite parts of our trip to Ireland. The "Kissing of the Blarney Stone" was just a small part... the castle and grounds were breathe taking... a beautiful spot and experience!

For many of the visitors to Blarney, their first priority is to kiss the famous Blarney Stone high up on the Blarney Castle battlements. Tradition holds that those who kiss the Blarney Stone will be endowed with the gift of eloquence - "the gift of the gab", as the locals call it.

Over 400,000 people travel to Blarney every year to kiss the Stone of Eloquence.

Our (Bernie and Tami's) quest... to climb Blarney Castle, kiss the Blarney Stone, and gain the gift of gab!

Blarney Castle was built nearly six hundred years ago by one of Ireland’s greatest chieftains, Cormac MacCarthy, and has been attracting attention beyond Munster ever since. Over the last few hundred years, millions have flocked to Blarney, making it a world landmark and one of Ireland’s greatest treasures.

The quest and climb begins...

To be honest... Tami was hoping the kiss would have the reverse effect on me and that I would "talk less" from this point on... the climb continues...

We reach the top only to find we are not the only ones on "the quest! "

The view from the top is grand...

There’s not just the Stone to make the climb to the battlements worthwhile. In 1837, Samuel Lewis wrote that the top of the Castle “commands a very fine view over a rich undulating tract... on the east is the Comane bog, many years since an impenetrable wilderness, and the last receptacle for wolves in this part of the country: that river, which takes its name from its serpentine course, flows through the bog and joins the river Blarney under the walls of the castle...”

Tami kissing the Blarney Stone...

now it's Bernie's turn. Be sure to watch the video within this post to get a better idea how the kiss is done.

It's official... our quest completed... we even have the tickets to prove it!

Some other famous people kissed the Blarney Stone too... Mick Jagger, Winston Churchill, Laurel & Hardy... to name a few.

After typing that last line a mental image of Mick's lips and mine... GROSS!

Thank goodness that mental image is cleared after seeing this shot... I'll kiss Tami anytime over a Blarney Stone or a Rolling Stone... she's the real solid rock in my life!

Check out the video...

Kissing the Blarney Stone, Blarney Castle, Ireland

Facts About the Blarney Stone
- The location of the Blarney Stone is in the village of Blarney about 5 miles (8 km) northwest of Cork, Ireland.

- The Blarney Stone is a block of bluestone built into the battlements of Blarney Castle.
- The Blarney castle and stone are one of the most popular tourist sites in Ireland, attracting millions of visitors from around the world who wish to tour the castle and kiss the stone.
According to legend, kissing the stone endows the kisser with the gift of gab, eloquence or skill at flattery.

- The word blarney has come to mean clever, flattering, or coaxing talk.

- The name of the village Blarney is derived from the Irish word An blarna meaning 'the plain'.

History of the Blarney Stone
The most commonly accepted story of the stone is that, in gratitude for Irish support at the battle of Bannockburn in 1314 (a Scottish defeat of the English), Robert the Bruce gave a portion of the stone to Cormac McCarthy, King of Munster. Installed at Cormac McCarthy’s stronghold, Blarney Castle, it became known as the Blarney Stone. A century later, in 1446, King Dermot McCarthy then installed the stone in an enlarged castle he constructed.

During the time of Queen Elizabeth I, Dermot McCarthy, the ruler of the castle, was required to surrender his fortress to the Queen as proof of his loyalty. He said he would be delighted to do so, but something always happened at the last moment to prevent his surrender. His excuses became so frequent that the official who had been demanding the castle in the name of the Queen became a joke at the Court. Once, when the eloquent excuses of McCarthy were repeated to the Queen, she said "Odds bodikins, more Blarney talk!" The term Blarney has thus come to mean 'the ability to influence and coax with fair words and soft speech without giving offense'.

Kissing the Blarney Stone
Kissing the stone is for some people a difficult physical feat. In past times, to kiss the Stone people were hung by their heels over the edge of the parapet. One day a pilgrim broke from the grasp of his friends and went hurtling downward to certain death. Since that time the stone has been kissed by another method. First, you sit with your back towards the stone and then someone sits upon your legs or firmly holds your feet. Next, leaning far back and downward into the abyss while grasping the iron rails, you lower yourself until your head is even with the stone to be kissed.

Blarney Stone Legends
Just how long the custom of kissing the Blarney Stone has been practiced or how it originated is not known. One local legend claims that an old women, saved from drowning by a king of Munster, rewarded him with a spell, that if he would kiss a stone on the castle's top, he would gain a speech that would win all to him.

Concerning the power of the stone, Francis Sylvester, an Irish bard of the early nineteenth century, wrote:
There is a stone there, that whoever kisses,Oh! He never misses to grow eloquent:'Tis he may clamber to a lady's chamber,Or become a member of Parliament.

Other Legends about the Blarney Stone
- It was the rock that Moses struck with his staff to produce water for the Israelites during their exodus from Egypt.
- It was the stone that Jacob used as a pillow, and was brought to Ireland by the prophet Jeremiah.
- It was the Stone of Ezel, which David hid behind on Jonathan's advice, while fleeing from King Saul, and may have been brought back to Ireland during the Crusades.
- It was the rock pillow used by St. Columba of Iona on his deathbed.
Myth Busters...
The following question and answer comes from yahoo! answers...
Should I kiss the Blarney Stone?
I heard that it would be stupid to kiss the Blarney Stone because drunken Irishmen like to pee on it so that when tourists like myself kiss it, they can get a laugh out of it. Is this true?
Best Answer:
Hi. I'm from Cork which is a few miles from Blarney. The Blarney Stone is at the very top of a castle in the village of Blarney. Please believe me when I tell you that NOBODY is allowed to p!ss on the Blarney Stone! It's surrounded by keepers of the castle at all times and I'm fairly sure that its locked securely at night. This is a world famous tourist spot. They take good care of it. Trust me. Don't forget to visit The Blarney Wooden Mills which is across the road from the castle. Another popular tourist spot. And try to see Cork City while you're at it.The only p!ssing you will probably see will be from the sky. It may be raining when you get there. Ireland is not the sunniest of countries! Enjoy your stay.
Cead Mile Failte (Irish for 100,000 welcomes)
Have a good one!

Monday, June 22, 2009

"Saturday Night at The Turks Head"... Dublin, Ireland

"Saturday Night at The Turks Head", Dublin, Ireland... 22x28" Oil on stretched canvas by Bernie Rosage Jr., 2009.

The Temple Bar District in Dublin is a HAPPENING place! The local Public Meeting Establishments (Pubs) are a way of life... good friends, good music, good brew, and good craic can be found at every turn. The Turks Head (est. 1760) is one such place!

Friday, June 19, 2009

"Before the Seisiún"

"Before the Seisiún"... 20x16" oil on Canvas Board by Bernie Rosage Jr., 2009.

A painting collection of Ireland would not be complete without something to represent their love of music. Music is as important to the Irish as St Patrick and Guinness! This fiddle was painted from life as my tribute to traditional Irish music. Note I said fiddle although there are no features that distinguishes a fiddle from a violin. I personally can tolerate violin music but a fiddle soothes my soul.

Traditional Irish music today is frequently encountered in the "session" ("seisiún" in Irish, pronounced se-shoon), a gathering of (usually) amateur musicians where tunes are played in unison by all the musicians who know the tune. Such events usually occur at regularly scheduled times, and usually take place in a establishment where dark foamy beverages are easily procured. The participants are generally not paid, except sometimes with free pints of dark foamy beverages, and for that reason they typically huddle in a dark corner rather than sitting on a stage.

The folk music of Ireland (also known as Irish traditional music, Irish trad, Irish folk music, and other variants) is the generic term for music that has been created in various genres on the entire island of Ireland.

Check out these videos of Irish seisiúns...

Irish Traditional Music Session

The Brazen Head Dublin - Irish Music Live

Instruments used in traditional Irish music...
Flute and whistle
Uilleann pipes
Accordion and concertina

Links of interest...

Music of Ireland

Folk music of Ireland

Most-Recorded Tunes
The Top 100 Tunes of the Century

Thursday, June 18, 2009

"Enchanting Ireland" Exhibit Coming Soon... Save the Date... August 2, 2009.

An artistic journey to the Emerald Isle as seen through the eyes and palette of American Artist, Bernie Rosage Jr. The entire "Enchanting Ireland" collection (40 paintings) can be seen on exhibit at the Baysden Gallery, Council for the Arts, Jacksonville, NC, August 2009.


Mark your calendar for the artist reception and the opening of "Enchanting Ireland" on Sunday, August 2, 2009 from 2:3o-4:00 PM at the Council for the Arts.

The Council is located at 826 New Bridge Street, Jacksonville, NC 28546.

The exhibit will run from August 2 -28, 2009.

Save the Date... August 2, 2009 and meet Bernie at the artist's reception.

Hope to see you there...

"The Love Birds and the Legend of the Claddagh"

"The Love Birds and the Legend of the Claddagh"... 12x24" Oil on wood, Finished work by Bernie Rosage Jr. for the Enchanting Ireland Collection, 6-2009.

Click on image to enlarge...

The Claddagh ring is a traditional Irish ring, given in friendship or worn as a wedding ring. The design and customs associated with it originated in the Irish fishing village of Claddagh, located just outside the old walls of the city of Galway.
Our special trip to Ireland was in celebration of our 20th Wedding Anniversary. We were united in marriage May 22, 1988 at Muddy Creek Falls, Maryland. This trip was the honeymoon we never had twenty years ago.
In recognition of this special event we renewed our wedding vows and exchanged Claddagh rings in the small village of Claddagh on the Galway Bay.
Níl aon leigheas ar an ngrá ach pósadh.
(The only cure for love is marriage.)

We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time. ~ T. S. Eliot quote that was part of our original vows then and now...

Our view from the special spot we renewed our vows. Just as we (the love birds) finished... these two beautiful love birds showed up...

The Claddagh's distinctive design features two hands clasping a heart, and usually surmounted by a crown. The elements of this symbol are often said to correspond to the qualities of love (the heart), friendship (the hands), and loyalty (the crown). The expression which was associated with these symbols in the giving of the ring was: "With my hands I give you my heart, and crown it with my love."
Thomas Dillon's in Galway City is the home to the original Claddagh ring and is still in business. These photos were taken of the signs on the building.

Some of thier famous clients...
John Wayne
Bing Crosby
Walt Disney
Princess Grace Kelly
Prince Rainear of Monaco
Gabriel Byrne
Mia Farrow
Barry Fitzgerald
John Fitzgerald Kennedy
Director John Huston
Athlete Sonia O'Sullivan
Queen Victoria
George Kellogg
King George V
King Edward
Lady Dudley
Queen Alexandria
Actress Maureen O'Hara
Winston Churchill

The way that a Claddagh ring is worn on the hand is usually intended to convey the wearer's romantic availability, or lack thereof. Traditionally, if the ring is on the right hand with the design facing outward and away from the body, this indicates that the person wearing the ring is not in any serious relationship, and may in fact be single and looking for a relationship. When worn on the right hand but with the design facing inward toward the body, this indicates the person wearing the ring is in a relationship, or that "someone has captured their heart". A Claddagh worn on the left hand ring finger, facing outward away from the body, generally indicates that the wearer is engaged. When the ring is on the left hand ring finger and facing inward toward the body, it generally means that the person wearing the ring is married.

Check out this video of an Irish singer with a beautiful voice singing about the legend of the Claddagh Ring...