Friday, March 15, 2013

Greetings, scholars!

England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales:
Four little puppy dogs without any tails!

The poem above helps wee geographers remember the names of the British Isles. As St. Patrick's Day is upon us, we shall focus on Irish music and art this week.

Chi Rho (letters of the Greek alphabet) Page from the Book of Kells (c.800)

This illuminated manuscript from the Medieval Period (Middle Ages) was created by Celtic (from Ireland) monks on vellum (animal skin). It contains beautiful Irish knots, a red-headed Mary and Jesus, and many animals and mythical beasts. The Book of Kells is Ireland's greatest treasure!

Look closely for these hidden images (Click HERE to magnify):

1. cat with rats eating a communion wafer
2. moths (symbols of rebirth)
3. otter on his back, holding a fish

Listen to the Finale to Gustav Holst's St. Paul Suite. You will hear a jolly Irish dance called a Dargasson alongside the melancholy English folksong, Greensleeves.

Beware the Ides of March and draw your own illuminated manuscript based on an initial in your name, in the style of the Book of Kells.

Further explore the world's most beautiful book here and here. Lastly, read about the history of St. Patrick's Day here.