#165 | To Claim The Emerald

In Thin Lizzy’s tune Emerald, Phil Lynott tells a tale of marching men who wish to overthrow overlords, fighting a fight they believe to be right. But they bring horrible destruction in their pursuit of this goal – children never playing again, for example – as they seek The Emerald, a talisman not unlike Tolkien’s ring.
Lynott never explains what the Emerald is nor does he need to. The Emerald is intimately associated with Ireland, the Emerald Isle. But where did this name come from? Did Ireland have it first?
In this week’s episode, Darach and Peadar discuss the history of this term: its appearance in “When Erin First Rose” by physicist-doctor-poet-rebel William Drennan, the context in which this ballad was written and the intentional references in it to the well-known lyrics of “Rule Britannia”. They consider other emerald isles, including Lesbos in Greece and Geziret El Zabargad in Egypt. They wonder why the Irish word for an emerald sounds a bit like the ancient Greek one. And other precious commodites of note, such as salt and silver, get a mention.
As for the Vikings, their shameless travel agents get a mention.
FUALAINN, Gearóidín’s mask project is on Etsy:  https://www.etsy.com/ie/shop/fualainn


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