Irish Web sites - no blarney
March 14, 1998
Web posted at: 11:44 a.m. EST (1644 GMT)
By CNN Interactive writer Elizabeth Knefel
Everyone claims to be Irish on St. Patrick's Day. But behind the parades and celebrations, there is a definite culture. Surfing the Web can help you discover more about the Irish. Sites include the history, heritage, music, poetry, and dance of Ireland.
If you're Irish or wish you were, your first stop should be the Ancient Order of Hibernians in America National Web Page. This organization has been around since 1836 and visitors to the site can find information about heritage, music, language and a wide variety of links to other Irish inspired sites. You can take an online quiz to test your knowledge of Irish culture or even send an animated Saint Patrick's Day card to friends. The Heritage section is full of information that will help you trace the roots of your Irish family tree. You can look up Irish bloodlines, read the biographies of U.S. presidents with Irish backgrounds or access The Irish Genealogical Society-International to review birth and death records.
For more detailed information on your search for Irish roots, check out The Irish Ancestral Research Association (TIARA) Web site. It provides a more extensive list of links and additional information for your ancestral search. These links include tutorials on genealogy, national resources, maps, history, culture, clan associations and emigration and old passenger lists.
If you're interested in the past, Irish History on the Web is a must. This site features general history links, timelines, Republican and Unionist history, Northern Ireland history and history about the great potato famine of the 1840's.
Lovers of Irish music will want to visit Ceolas. Here you can learn what Celtic music is, read profiles of artists, get notations of many traditional tunes and even music software. You can also learn about Celtic musical instruments and bands. Not to be forgotten is Celtic dance, a section which lists Web sites, dance classes and of course, information about Riverdance.
With over 300 golf courses, the emerald Isle is a haven for duffers from around the world. Golf Club Ireland provides a list of courses, golf news, vacation information and unique golf humor. If you can't actually get over to Ireland to play, try Golf Club Ireland's virtual golf section.
The Irish gift for language is an important part of Ireland's culture. For a generous serving of that culture visit Sláinte! Toasts, Blessings, and Sayings. Here you'll find a detailed history of the custom of "toasting" and how the Irish have perfected it as an art form. There are extensive lists of toasts and blessings for almost any occasion. Wedding, birth, retirement, drinking and of course St. Patrick's Day toasts are listed in both English and Gaelic. And, if your favorite toast isn't listed you can share it with everyone by posting it on the Web site. The virtual toast section provides a practice area with appropriate sounds for "toasters in training".
There's no better way to end this tour of Irish sites than with this favorite Irish blessing:
"May your glass be ever full. May the roof over your head be always strong. And may you be in heaven half an hour before the devil knows you're dead."