The Legend of Brian Boru

As the last High King of Ireland, Brian Boru is a key figure in Irish legend and history. Brian Boru or to use his Irish Gaelic name Brian Borumha mac Cennetig, ruled Ireland from 1002 to 1014.

Brian Boru was born in the early 10th Century, in the ancient Irish Kingdom of Kincora, near the town of Killaloe on the banks of the River Shannon in County Clare. Boru’s father was the King of Thomond and his mother was the daughter of the King of Connacht.

From the 9th Century, Ireland was under constant attack by Vikings, who ransacked churches and villages in the east and began to establish settlements in what later became the cities of Dublin, Waterford and Limerick. When he was still only a child, Brian Boru’s mother, father and elder brother were killed by Vikings and Boru became king of the province of Munster.

In 1002, Brian Boru established himself as High King of Ireland after successfully challenging the reigning king to the title and defeating him in battle at the Hill of Tara. As King, Brian Boru sought to rebuild the churches plundered by the Vikings and reorganize the church in Ireland with the Armagh Cathedral at its head. Boru managed to do what no other High King of Ireland had done, he established himself as King of Ireland in more than just name, by forcing all other challengers to swear allegiance to him during a ten-year campaign.

But Boru faced rebellion from a Leinster king based around Dublin. By both land and sea, Boru set out to attack the rebels in Dublin, who were bolstered by Viking mercenaries from Orkney, the Western Isles and the Isle of Man. On Good Friday 1014, the two armies met at the Battle of Clontarf. Boru’s forces greatly outnumbered those of the rebels and after a daylong battle, the rebels were routed.

But the victory was short lived, for as Brian Boru was praying in his tent, he was murdered by a group of retreating Vikings. According to the annals, the losses of the Battle of Clontarf were very heavy. 6,000 Vikings and rebels were killed, including all their leaders, while Irish losses were around 3,000. But the greater loss to the Irish was that of Brian Boru and his sons, with them passed the last High King of Ireland.

 

The Irish Flag Cocktail

Irish Hammer Cocktail

Great Irish Band #11 – The Frames

irish rock bands, the frames, lt corner pub, irish pub

The Frames in Dublin

The Frames are an Irish rock band from Dublin and are a part of the remnants of the Dublin rock scene of the early 90’s. They’ve done 6 albums and have been very influential on the European music scene and are another band that never got their due.

Founded by Glan Hansard in 1990, the band got its name from his hobby of fixing bicycles. His house was littered with the frames of bicycles and his neighbors referred to it as “the house with the frames”.  The band has had many members over the years including people from Thin Lizzy and Kila, two other great Irish Bands.

The band is also known for interspersing snippets of songs by other artists into their own as a form of homage; notable examples are “Redemption Song” by Bob Marley, “Ring of Fire” by Johnny Cash, “Lilac Wine” by James Shelton (as made popular by Jeff Buckley / Elkie Brooks) and “Pure Imagination” from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory’.

In 1991, Hansard came to public attention after taking the part of “Outspan” Foster in the film The Commitments. However, Hansard regretted this role as he felt it distracted from his music career. Mac Con Iomaire also had a cameo in the movie as a violinist auditioning for the band. Bronagh Gallagher, one of Hansard’s colleagues, can be seen wearing a Frames T-shirt in her appearance in the film Pulp Fiction. Hansard appeared on screen as the principal character parodied by Irish music comedy Web site Eyebrowy.com and in 2007 as the lead in the movie Once which featured his songs.

See what we mean about influential?

The band is still together, although the original lineup is not. Like most bands, some have come and gone and others have passed away. But the work is there and its great work. Here we feature a great song by The Frames called “Falling Slowly”. Enjoy…

 

 

The Emerald – A Great Alternative to Green Beer

irish whiskey cocktails, guiness, irish pub, st patrick's day, shamrockSt. Patrick’s Day is a day that is definitely associated with tipsiness. And much of that is brought about through green beer and less than palatable swill. Sure, you have Guiness (my personal poison) and you do have Red Breast, my fave whiskey. But there isn’t much else. There just aren’t that many decent cocktails because most bar tenders aren’t particularly creative and Irish Whiskey doesn’t really mix well with other…er…mixes, ya know?

So here at LT Corner Pub, we present you something quite delicious – The Emerald!

No, not that Emerald. Or any other Emerald. It’s easy to be confused because there have been a lot of drinks named The Emerald over the years. But this one is really good and you’ll find yourself coming back to it on days that don’t end in a 7. It’s basically a Manhattan made with Irish Whiskey and orange bitters substituted for Angostura. It’s shamrock worthy to be sure and it gets that honor without a single drop of green dye!

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 ounces Irish whiskey
  • 1 ounce sweet vermouth
  • 2 dashes orange bitters

DIRECTIONS

  1. Pour all ingredients into a mixing glass and fill with cracked ice. Stir well for 30 seconds and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a piece of orange or lemon peel, or nothing at all.

 

Traditional Irish Boxty or The Greatest Potato Pancake Ever!

irish boxty, potato pancake, irish pub, guiness beer, irish whiskeyCakes of Potato, known as boxty to the Irish, are said to have originated in the north midlands of Ireland in Connacht and Ulster. Those hailing from Sligo, Donegal, Longford, Mayo, Cavan and Leitrim are huge lovers of this simple, delicious dish.

Boxty is believed to have originated in the days of the Great Famine of 1847 through 1849 as a means of extending the food supply. There are a few recipes, but they all have use raw potatoes, that are grated finely and then served fried.

Boxty recipes have many twists including boiling the potato patty, baking it and even serving it like a dumpling. Today, many people spice up the original recipe adding vegetables and even meat to the dish. But no matter how you cut the mustard, the original style of serving them hot off of a griddle is still as tasty as ever.

Boxty has become increasingly popular in the last few years as Irishmen have become more interested in the original dishes of the Green Isle. In fact, you’ll find boxty on many a menu in Ireland today when only a few years ago it never would have been considered. But it is still a huge part of home cooking for the Sons and Daughters of Erin.

Over the last couple of years, as the Irish have become more interested in their own cuisine, the popularity of boxty has risen. It’s now quite normal to see boxty on a menu in a restaurant in Ireland, whereas a decade ago it would have still been considered a ‘peasant dish.’ However, boxty has always been popular as part of Irish home cooking.

As one traditional (if woefully out-dated) rhyme explains:

Boxty on the griddle,
Boxty in the pan,
If you can’t make boxty,
You’ll never get your man.

RECIPE

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw, grated potatoes
  • 1 cup leftover mashed potatoes
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup (about) milk to mix
  • Butter or oil for frying
  • Sugar (optional)

Directions:

  • Place the grated raw potatoes in a clean cloth and twist to remove excess moisture.
  • Whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder.
  • Combine flour mixture into raw potatoes, mashed potatoes, and eggs.
  • Add enough mix to make a batter.
  • Heat a heavy skillet over medium heat and add butter or oil.
  • Drop potato batter by the tablespoon into the hot pan.
  • Brown on both sides (about 4 minutes per side).
  • Butter each boxty and serve hot with or without sugar.
  • Yield: about 4 servings