Eadaoin, a senior All Ireland fiddle champion, is representing Ireland with the Meitheal group, who are part of a delegation currently touring some of China’s major cities Beijing and Nanchang.
Something spooking is stirring around Craggagh this week!
Please note that the date of this event has been changed to Friday, Oct 28th. Same times as below.
The children from 3rd to 6th experienced a wonderful workshop, facilitated by Dave Swift of Claiomh on Tuesday last, Oct 18th, all about Vikings and in particular their clothing and weaponry.
Dave delivered a huge amount of information in a very short space of time so the following is a summary of his main points!
The majority of Vikings in Ireland came from Norway. Dublin, Wexford and Waterford were controlled by Norwegian Vikings. The exception was Limerick, which was established by Danish Vikings. There is very little evidence of Swedish Vikings in Ireland apart from a cave in Kerry.
Viking men generally wore linen tunics, usually blue or green.
Beware the Viking wearing a blue or black cloak, he is intent on murder!
Money, money, money! A hoard of “hack silver” was discovered in Cushalourt, near Westport, Co Mayo. Vikings wore silver bracelets which they hacked into pieces that were used as currency. We can only speculate as to the provenance of this hoard.
Coins were introduced in 995AD. They were engraved with a cross. Why? Because they were devout Christians? Absolutely not! (well, not yet anyway!). The cross made it easier to split the coin in order to give change. (Perhaps this is why we use the word “briseadh” in Irish!)
Biggest trade was in Slaves. Dublin was a major slave trading town. A very large number of Irish slaves went to Iceland.
Married Viking women wore a cloth on her head.
They often wore blue coloured glass beads as jewellery. Amber was highly valued.
It has been calculated that a single monetary unit equated to 26.1g.
Boats – The Skuldelev 2 is one of the largest Viking boats discovered. It was discovered in Denmark but was built in Ireland from Wicklow timber. Viking boats were long and narrow, allowing them to travel up many rivers. They were also lightweight, allowing them to be carried by their crew.
Boats were propelled two ways – sails and oars. Usually 16 oars either side, requiring 32 men. Crew was often double this so crews could rotate.
Boats didn’t have a front or back – rudder could be transferred.
In battles, opposing armies would agree to lash boats together so they could fight on water!
Pictured is a replica of a Viking helmet found in Norway in 1942. The discovery was kept secret at the time as the country was occupied by the Germans.
It was Iron, polished with beeswax (thus the black colour), the inside was linen stuffed with wool.
A replica of The Isle of Lewis chess set was used in Harry Potter!
Skaldbjorg – The famous Viking Shield Wall!
The Viking shield was round and usually painted red, and sometimes black, yellow or white (unlike the picture above….pedantic historians, look away now!)
Generally made from softwood, which was lightweight. They were not particularly durable. A fighter was usually issued with three as they were not expected to last long.
The bos (like a soup bowl in the middle) was where the fighter’s hand went.
The handle was copper or wooden.
Shields could be lashed to the side of the boat to help keep crew dry!
The Irish were still using this shield in the 12th century, to the surprise of the invading Normans.
There was also a small version of the round shield.
There is no evidence in archaeology of Vikings using body armour, although they did wear leather coats, usually under chainmail (byrnie). This was very expensive, and a suit was really heavy – 8kilos!
The sword is the quintessential Viking accessory! They usually had a short cross guard, and could be single-handed. The crescent cross guard was not introduced until after 1000AD.
Langsac in the Viking name for a long sword and Scramasac was the shorter sword.
“The Irish were very welcoming with the axe!”
So said the Normans anyway! The axe was also a very popular weapon (and particularly brutal!). Three fine examples were discovered in Lough Corrib in 2013.
Skeggocs were a large, somewhat top-heavy axe, originally used for chopping wood. They were a bit cumbersome in the battlefield and were replaced with a smaller version. The axe was multifunctional and the back of the head could be used as a hammer.
The legendry Brian Boru was killed with a two-handed axe while saying his prayers.
Dave told us about the infamous Battle of Stamford Bridge (nothing to do with Jose Mourinho) in which “The Nameless Norwegian” (I’m sure he wasn’t actually nameless, but his name is unknown!) killed 40 Englishmen with a two-handed axe before eventually succumming to a sword wound inflicted from beneath the wooded bridge. Ouch!
Bows were popular but not quite so iconic. Vikings didn’t like to buried with a bow, they preferred their axe or sword.
Unlike Native Americans, who used animal guts to string their bow, Vikings used braided linen which was reinforced with silk (evidence of trade with the Far East).
Early Viking bows harnessed up to 80lbs of power. FYI that could send an arrow straight through one man, and possibly a second; nasty!
The most popular timber was yew and the best of this was sourced from the slow growing yew trees of the alps.
As much as 70% of all arrows found in Ireland were “pin” arrows. They were particularly narrow and could pierce chainmail.
1014AD – The Battle of Clontarf
Perhaps the biggest Viking battle the world has ever witnessed had between 12,000 and 15,000 warriors. (The famed Battle of Hastings, 1066, had a mere 10,000…just a little skirmish by comparison, but the Bayeux Tapestry has done wonders for its reputation!) It was here that Brian Boru was killed.
The black raven was a favourite motif of the Vikings and was used on flags.
Hnefatafl (translation: KingsTable) was a Viking boardgame.
Vikings mixed a herb called yarrow with pig fat to create a substance useful for stopping bleeding.
We are very grateful to Dave Swift for his most informative talk and for allowing us to handle samples of Viking weapons and clothing. David’s website is here: Claíomh
Finally, Brendan from the museum staff briefly spoke to us about the current Vikings In Mayo exhibition, called “The Hoard and the Sword”.
This exhibition contains a genuine Viking sword recovered from the River Moy and the silver hoard discovered in Cushalourt, near Westport.
The exhibition is currently on display in the National Museum of Ireland, Turlough and is well worth a look.
Craggagh National School Board of Management Meeting October 20th, 2016
- Re-fencing of school yard is almost complete, thanks to Seán Dwyer, Kieran Keane, John Killeen and Jimmy Murphy for their time and work.
- Extensive work has been carried out over the summer on the septic tank area.
- It is hoped to paint the exterior of the school next summer.
- Training for school staff in use of defibrillator will be organised.
- Annual Card Game will take place on November 22nd.
- Annual reviews of Child Protection and Anti-Bullying Policies were carried out.
- Maintenance is required to some internal walls. This will be addressed before school reopens in January 2017.
- PA AGM takes place on Oct 24th. PA were praised for their contribution to the school events and activities over the past year.
- It is hoped to retro fit all classroom tables with baskets. PA will be asked to assist with funding of this endeavour. Also, the repainting of school yard markings.
- Sympathies were expressed to the O’Boyle family, Ballinamore House, on the passing of Hugh and the Walsh family, Cornanool on the passing of Phyllis.
- Next meeting will take place in mid-December.
Health Screening will take place in the school on Tuesday, October 25th.
Letters from the School Health Service have been sent home with all Junior Infant children.
The following is a message from our PA Committee
As you are now aware, the AGM of Craggagh PA will be held on Monday, October 24th, 2016 in the Community Centre at 8pm. The election of a new PA committee is on the agenda. The present officers and their positions on the committee are:
CHAIRPERSON: Mary Mc Donnell
VICE-CHAIRPERSON: Yvonne Higgins
SECRETARY: Mags Hession
TREASURER: Kathleen Murphy
VICE-TREASURER: Barbara O’Shea
BOARD OF MANAGEMENT REPRESENTATIVES: John Killeen & Bernie Begley
The current committee has been in existence since March, 2014. All parents/guardians of children attending Craggagh NS are eligible to nominate themselves for election to the PA committee, either in advance of the AGM or on the night. Where an interested party is unable to attend the AGM, their name will be included in the voting process.
Please forward your name and position interested in to the secretary of the PA, Mags Hession, by text , on 087-9100169 before Tuesday, 0ctober 18th, 2016.
As always, the Mini 7s competition pits us against schools of all sizes. This year we will be joining forces with our friends in Straide NS. They are a 3 teacher school like ourselves.
Today, we hit the field in glorious sunshine to hone our skills ahead of the blitz next week.
Packed full of news and updates, click here to download:
For the months of September and October (weather permitting) we intend to do a daily “Morning Mile” (morning 1.5 kilometre just doesn’t have the same ring to it!).
There’s no messing with gear or anything like that, just high-viz vests and off we go for a brisk morning walk. The fresh air and exercise is the perfect way to wake up our brains and bodies and gets us off the best possible start to our busy day.
We welcome any company (as long as you can keep up!).
From our newest Junior Infants to our 6th Class, all have been busy making headbands and wristbands so we can wear our Mayo colours with pride in the lead up to September 18th.
We hope to be able to tie a few around Sam when he comes to visit us in a few weeks time!!!
Maigh Eo Abú!
Our Infant classroom are in for a real treat next month, culture buffs that they are! They’re off to the Linen Hall Theatre in Castlebar to see an exciting show called “Conor: At The End Of The Universe” on October 28th.
This show is part of the Linen Hall’s fabulous Roola Boola Children’s Art Festival.
There are loads of other exciting events happening during the festival, but be sure to book early!
Conor is on a mission.
A mission to get to the outer edge of the Universe before he runs out of time. But how long until the end of the Universe? How much space? How much time?
Conor: at the end of the Universe is a sensory and artistic journey through space at time-bending speeds. This stunning and engaging production, from the company that created Monster/Clock and Human Child, uses puppets, design, animation and music as Conor and his granddad bring you places that you’ve never seen before.
Ages: 4- 6 (and for people who remember what it was like to be 4-6!)
Travel details etc will issue from the school closer to the date.
<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/172892322″>Dan Colley : Conor: At the end of the Universe</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user39234809″>Culturefox.tv</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>
Our blue and red school flag has made the 9,000km Journey to Brazil with Regina Flanagan, aunt of Amy, TJ and Katie McNicholas. Regina is volunteering in Rio with the athlete medical team and has sent us some great pictures from behind the scenes at the Olympics.
Below is a selection of snaps taken at various locations around Rio, the Olympic Village and many of the sporting venues.
Thanks to Katie McNicholas for passing these pics onto us!
How many different sports or locations from the Olympics can you recognise?
Thank you Regina, have a safe trip home, hopefully we’ll get a chance to talk to you about your experience at he Olympics!