Ever wonder why Irish dancers keep their hands totally still at their sides when they dance? Many sources attribute this custom to the Traveling Dance Masters of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. For a fee, this Dance Master would teach Irish children jigs, reels and hornpipes. Accompanied by a fiddler and/or piper, the Dance Master … Continue reading Irish Trivia: Irish Dancing
History has shown us over and over again that a society cannot be suppressed if their customs and language are allowed to flourish. It’s a lesson exemplified by the colonies’ treatment of black slaves, and of Elizabeth I's conquest of Ireland. One of the first things Elizabeth did was to order was the elimination of … Continue reading Irish Trivia: The Irish Gaelic Language
As I was editing my manuscripts, I noticed that I occasionally used the word Okay, or its abbreviation OK. There’s nothing that peeves me more than an anachronism in historical fiction, so I decided to see if I could trace the origins of the word. Easier said than done! I did find out that OK … Continue reading Western Trivia: The Origins of “OK”
In this country, we most often associate the bagpipe with Celtic cultures, particularly the Irish and Scots, but it is an instrument played around the world. Finland, Romania, Spain, Italy, Belarus, Turkey, Iran, Algeria and India are just a few of the countries where bagpipes are a traditional folk instrument. The Irish bagpipe is called … Continue reading Irish Trivia: The Bagpipe
Cowboys seldom referred to their ropes as lassos. They usually just called them ropes, and the act of catching a steer was called roping. In the Southwest, the rope was also referred to as a lariat or riata, both from the Spanish “la reata”, again meaning rope. At the end of the riata was a … Continue reading Western Trivia: A lasso by any other name …
Billy the Kid (born William Henry McCarty, alias Henry Antrim, Kid Antrim, & William H. Bonney) has often been referred to as The Left-Handed Gun. In 1958, a movie with that title was made and starred the inimitable Paul Newman. The myth began with the publication of this ferrotype: It seems to show that Billy … Continue reading Western Trivia: The Left-Handed Gun
In the mid 1860s, Navajo traditional clothing gave way to velveteen. The women began to wear velveteen dresses (or skirts and blouses) in lieu of deerhide or woven dresses called “blanket dresses”, which were fashioned by connecting two woven panels at the shoulders and lacing up the sides. The men replaced deerhide or woven leggings … Continue reading Native American Trivia: Navajo Clothing
Saint Patrick's was born in Old Kilpatrick, Scotland, and his birth name was Maewyn Succat. He took the name of Patrick when he was ordained a priest. Happy Paddy's Day!
Today's post includes some new words I've learned during my research, as well as one that's often misunderstood. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to match the words A through D to definitions 1 through 4: A. Porter B. Hogan C. Laager D. Kiva 1. A camp defended by a circular formation … Continue reading What’s in a Name?
Today’s trivia is a little nugget about the FAST GUN. In spite of what we’ve seen in TV or movie Westerns, gunslingers in the Old West were few and far between. And even fewer of them were cowboys. Most cowboys did carry a pistol or two, as well as a rifle. But a cowboy’s main … Continue reading Western Trivia: The Fast Gun