Page 1. " Feast of the Circumcision "
The Feast of the Circumcision
Public DomainThe Feast of the Circumcision
This is a Christian celebration of the ritual circumcision of Jesus, on January 1st, eight days after his birth.


Page 2. " novenas "

 A novena is ritual of the Catholic Church where prayers are repeated nine times, either on the same day or on nine successive days.  They are usually prayers of petition but may be of thanksgiving.

Page 2. " He fought with the Old IRA "
3rd Tipperary Brigade IRA 1921
Public Domain3rd Tipperary Brigade IRA 1921

Referred to as the "Old" IRA (Irish Republican Army) to distinguish the original group from others which have since claimed to be members of the IRA.  They were formed in 1919 to fight for an Irish socialist republic, to include Ulster.


Further Reading:

Northern Divisions: The Old IRA and the Belfast Pogroms (1920-22) by Jim McDermott

Page 2. " Prohibition "

Prohibition - Disposal of Liquor
Public DomainProhibition - Disposal of Liquor

 Prohibition began on January 16th 1920 and banned the manufacture, sale or transport of alcohol in the USA.  Campaigners for this legislation believed it would end poverty, reduce crime and corruption and improve the health of the nation. 

For 14 years, a great deal of time and effort went into enforcing the law but it was a losing battle, mainly because of organised crime and corruption in law enforcement.  By 1926 it was obvious that the Noble Experiment was not working.  However, the law was not repealed until 1933. 


Page 2. " speakeasies "

Speakeasies were illegal drinking establishments which sprang up during Prohibition.  By the mid-20s, it is believed there were 100,000 in New York City alone.

Page 5. " the child was named Angela for the Angelus "

Listen on Spotify: Angelus performed by the monks of Notre Dame

The Angelus is a prayer to commemorate the annunciation of the angel Gabriel to Mary.  It is introduced by the sound of a bell and consists of repetitions of "Hail Mary" with verses and prayer.


Page 5. " the St Vincent de Paul School "

The St Vincent de Paul Society is the largest Christian charity in Ireland.  It provides services and support to those in need.

Official website

Page 13. " Cuchulain. Say it after me, Coo-hoo-lin "
Public DomainCuchulain

Cuchulain, originally named Setanta, was an ancient Irish hero.  Like Hercules, his father was a god and his mother was mortal.  When he was young he was told by an eagle that he was special and must choose between an ordinary but long life and a glorious but short one.  He chose the latter.




Page 17. " Dad rolls up the stairs singing Roddy McCorley "

Roddy McCorley fought against the British in the Irish Rebellion of 1798.  He and his family had been evicted from their farm because his father had been convicted of stealing a sheep and was subsequently executed.  Trying to flee to America, Roddy McCorley was betrayed, captured and finally executed.  He gives his name to a well-known rebel song, recorded by the Clancy Brothers, the Dubliners and the Kingston Trio.

Listen on Spotify:  Roddy McCorley performed by The Dubliners

Official Roddy McCorley web site


Page 18. " The Red Branch Knights "

The Red Branch Knights were a group of semi-mythological warriors associated with the hero of ancient Ireland, Cuchulain.  They were bodyguards to the kings of Ulster.  It is thought that their name derived from their practice of hanging their victims' heads on the branches of trees.  Irish nationalists have used the name in recent times to claim responsibility for terrorist acts.

Page 18. " the Fenian men "
 John O@Mahoney

The Fenians were a secret revolutionary party that took its name from the legendary Finn MacCool and his warriors, the Fianna.  It was founded by John O'Mahony in the USA and by James Stephens in Ireland in 1858.  Its military wing was the IRA.

Page 19. " singing Kevin Barry and the rest of the sad songs "

Kevin Barry
Public DomainKevin Barry

Kevin Barry was one of the best-known Republican martyrs.  He was sentenced to death when he was 18 for his part in an ambush in which three British soldiers died.  He was the first Republican to be executed since the Easter Rising of 1816, and his execution in 1920 provoked outrage throughout the world.  Barry remained loyal to the cause despite being tortured, and did not inform on his compatriots.

Listen on Spotify: Kevin Barry sung by Declan Hunt