Introducing Oisín the Brave Plus A Giveaway From Éire’s Kids

Today we’re stepping into a modern day Tír na nÓg (Land of Youth) with Éire’s Kids, a Galway based company that created the wonderful characters of Oisín the Brave and Princess Éire to spark the imaginations of young boys and girls.

Derek Mulveen and Michelle Melville

In today’s post, author Michelle Melville introduces us to the wonderful books she created with her husband Derek Mulveen. 

Their company, Éire’s Kids, create and sell gorgeous gifts and souvenirs for boys and girls from ages 3 to 10.

For those living in Ireland or further afield, Éire’s Kids have something for all ages and interests. This entrepreneurial couple has graciously sponsored a giveaway for Irish American Mom’s readers.

Check out how to enter our little giveaway to win one of 5 lovely prizes at the end of this post.

But first let me hand you over to Michelle, to introduce you to Oisín the Brave and his wonderful friends…..

 

Éire’s Kids And Oisín The Brave:

 

Oisin the Brave on Robot Island

Hurry Orane, Hurry!

 

it’s ……. IT’S AN ADVENTURE!!!”

 

Follow Oisín the Brave and Orane the Dragon through the Dolmen of Time on an adventure that takes them traveling across many seas, meeting strange looking creatures and helping a little robot on a quest to find the GOLDEN KEY and save Robot Island ….

Oisín the Brave – Robot Island is written and illustrated by Galway couple Michelle Melville and Derek Mulveen.  Their books and Irish themed gifts are designed to ignite the imagination of children with beautiful illustrations, colorful designs and exciting characters.

Ireland’s recent economic downturn forced many Irish people abroad. Over the last few years, this married couple from Galway on Ireland’s west coast, watched loved ones move away.

Determined to remain at home themselves, they created their own company — Eire’s Kids, a business that produces Irish-themed books, souvenirs gifts and keepsakes.

Osisn the Brave, and Princess Eire
Their illustrated storybooks are based on the adventures of OISÍN the BRAVE, PRINCESS ÉIRE and ORANE the DRAGON.

“Both Michelle and I worked in the construction industry and like many people, we found ourselves facing an uncertain future. At the same time, many of our friends and family had to travel abroad for work,” explained Derek.

 

“We had always struggled to find perfect but inexpensive children’s gifts

that would give the recipient a little memory of Ireland,

and decided we would like to address this issue

with a business of our own.”

 

 

Our book series and products are designed to be bright, colorful and where possible, educational.

“We wanted always to invoke, at the heart of each product, our Irish heritage, culture and language,” Michelle said. “Our products are designed to address all markets, especially the recently emigrated, so that their children can keep in touch with their Irish roots.”

Oisin the Brave Moon Adventure

Derek and Michelle’s illustrated children’s books were very well received in Ireland and over in the U.S with recent book tours that saw Derek whimsically introduce Oisín the Brave, Princess Éire and Orane the Dragon.

Featuring at Milwaukee Irish Fest (Aug. 2013) and at a New York book tour (March 2014), Derek is set to cross the pond and headline once again in this years Wisconsin’s Milwaukee Irish Fest.

They have recently launched their first coloring book ‘Memories of Ireland’, with many more whimsical adventures and coloring books due to be published this year.

Oisín the Brave’s book series is based on mythical but modern day characters and their imaginative adventures through the Dolmen of Time.

“We introduce the Irish language slowly into all storylines with visual Irish learning at the back of each book,” Mulveen explained

Follow Oisín the Braves adventure on Facebook with Eire’s Kids Ireland where you will be kept up to date with all new book release dates

Oisín is also on Twitter @eireskids and all of these wonderful books and specialty gifts are available online on the Éire’s Kids website.

 

The Prizes

Great news!  We’re going to have five lucky winners in this week’s giveaway. Here are the prizes just waiting to be one.

 

Prize #1:’OISÍN THE BRAVE – ROBOT ISLAND & MOON ADVENTURE’

Illustrated Story Books

 

Win Oisin the Brave

Prize #2: Love Irish Dancing Photo Frame and Clothes Hook

Love Irish Dancing Photo FramePrize #3:  ‘Happy St. Patrick’s Day’ Photo Frame

St. Patrick's Day Photo FramePrize #4: ‘MEMORIES OF IRELAND’ Coloring Book with crayons.

Memories of Ireland Coloring Book Prize #5: LUCKY ZIP – Sheep zipper attachment

Lucky Zips - IrelandThe Giveaway:

Five lucky winners will receive one of the prizes outlined above..

To enter just leave a comment on this blog post by noon on Saturday, March 14th, 2015.  Any comment will do but if you need inspiration why not tell us about which legendary Irish character you most admire.  Perhaps it’s Fionn MacCumhaill, Cúchulainn, or St. Brendan the Navigator. There’s a vast array of characters just waiting for you to pick.

A winning comment will be chosen randomly.  Remember to leave your e-mail so that I can contact you should you win.  Your e-mail won’t be published or shared, just used to contact our lucky contestants.

Winners will be announced on Saturday March 14th, so Michelle can get the winners’ prizes in the mail.

Thanks to everyone who supports and enters this little giveaway.

 

Slán agus beannacht,

(Goodbye and blessings),

 

Irish American Mom

 

Disclosure: Irish American Mom does not have a business relationship with Éire’s Kids. No cash payment was received for publishing this giveaway post. I love to help spread the word about small home businesses, artists and crafts people. Thank you to all who support these wonderful Irish and Irish American business enterprises.

Images published with permission of Éire’s Kids.

Irish Famine Pots

Famine pots are giant cast iron vessels, which were created to cook large volumes of soup to feed the starving Irish in 1847, the bleakest year of Ireland’s Great Hunger, now known as ‘Black 47′.

Famine pot Leghowney

Famine Pot, Leghowney, Donegal

Mattie Lennon, a reader of my blog, and an avid Dublin folklorist, poet and author, contacted me to let me know about a project currently underway to preserve these old pots.  The idea is the brain child of a Donegal man, John Cassidy.

But before I hand you over to Mattie, to tell us about their amazing work, let me fill you in on a little bit of history behind these pots, and their significance as a link to our Irish cultural heritage.

 

History of Irish Famine Pots

 

Famine pot, Lough Eske, Donegal

Famine pot, Lough Eske, County Donegal

The failure of the potato crop first affected the Irish in the autumn of 1845, and by 1847 Ireland was a country of homeless, starving paupers.

Prior to 1847 famine relief was provided through employment schemes. Recognizing the need for farmers to be free to work the land, the British government abandoned the work schemes, and replaced them by providing the starving Irish with ‘soup’ through the Soup Kitchen Act of January 1847.

Soup was cooked in large cast iron cauldrons which have come to be known as famine pots, soup boilers or workhouse pots. 

These durable pots were made in a Quaker iron foundry owned and run by the Darby family in Coalbrooke in the Severn Valley of England.

Famine Pot, Nenagh, County Tipperary

Famine Pot, Nenagh, County Tipperary

Initially 600 of these durable cost iron pots were supplied by the British government.  An additional 295 pots were provided by the Society of Friends or the Quakers.

The Society of Friends demonstrated incredible generosity during the Famine.  Hiring ships to bring food, medicine and supplies, they are credited with saving many lives.

Soup was made in the famine pots using a variety of recipes or  from whatever scraps the people could afford.

Famine Pot, Fahan, County Donegal

Famine Pot, Fahan, County Donegal

Nettles and wild herbs were added. The nutritional value of these soups was very questionable. Many soup recipes were lacking in nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, and over time gave rise to scurvy and other diseases.

Some were so thin or watery they caused intestinal ailments such as diarrhoea.

However, no matter how deficient these soups may have been nutritionally, a bowl of watery soup was sometimes all that stood between a poor Irish person and death.

Famine Pot, Johnny Foxe's Pub

Famine Pot, Johnny Foxe’s Pub

Many of our ancestors stood in line with an empty can in hand, eager to have it filled with soup, brewed in these famine pots.

No matter how degrading it may have been for them to join the line of impoverished Irish men, women and children, this soup was a last resort to help quell the pangs of their empty stomachs.

These pots tell an important story from our past.

Famine Pot, Ballyvaughan Workhouse, County Mayo

Famine Pot, Ballyvaughan Workhouse, County Mayo

However, despite the desperate need of the Irish people for this soup, instructions were issued by the English to discontinue the services of the soup kitchens. 

By October of 1847 all of the government soup kitchens had closed. The Irish were expected to live off the new potato harvest, which was ready to be picked in autumn of 1847.

Unfortunately this harvest was merely one quarter of a normal Irish potato harvest, and the three million people who depended upon the soup kitchens for survival were left to fend for themselves.

 

The Irish Famine Pots Project by Mattie Lennon

 

Famine Pot, Manorhamilton, County Leitrim

Famine Pot, Manorhamilton, County Leitrim

In 2011 John Cassidy found an old famine-pot, broken in pieces, in south Donegal, had it welded, restored and mounted outside Leghowney Community Hall.

Such was the interest shown by American tourists that he decided to do some research on the whole Famine-pot/Soup–kitchen aspect of the famine.

As I had worked with John on other projects he asked me to come on board for this one.

 

We found that because of bigotry, pride, misguided patriotism and inherited false information,this aspect of the potato failure was almost air-brushed from our history.

Here’s a little video of John Cassidy explaining this project ….

In conjunction with An Lár TV we are now making a documentary on the subject.

Five prominent historians, Dr. Ciaran Reilly, Fr. Anthony J. Gaughan, Professor Christine Kinealy, Dr Moran and Rob Goodbody, a Quaker historian, have all recorded interviews to camera.

We have all the raw footage and are now in need of funding for editing. 

This doumentary will be broadcast by on An Lár TV which reaches the Irish Diaspora in more than 120 countries around the world including Irish groups and clubs from the US, Canada, Spain, Switzerland, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand.

Here’s a list of some of these clubs and groups ….

  • Ireland Calls Radio Show, New York, USA,
  • Irish Defence Forces Veterans.
  • Turkey/Paris Gaels GAA Club, Paris, France,
  • London Irish Association (Hammersmith and Wimbledon),
  • The Irish Canada Monument Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada,
  • The Irish Sports and Social Club, Vancouver, Canada,
  • The Irish Association of Toronto, Canada
  • The Tara Association, New Jersey, USA
  • Little Shamrocks, New Hampshire, USA
  • The Irish Association, Christchurch, New Zealand
  • Cedar Valley Irish Cultural Association, Iowa, USA
  • The Ulster American Society, Pennsylvania, USA
  • The Irish community of Gridley, California, USA.
  • The Irish community of Atlanta, Georgia, USA.
  • The Irish Association of South Africa.
  • The Irish Club, Basel, Switzerland.
  • The Irish Club, Brussels, Belgium.
  • The Costa Gaels GAA Club, Marbella, Spain.
  • The Irish Club, Marbella, Spain.
  • Gaelic Athletic Association Toronto Canada.
  • The Uruguay Ireland Association, Montevideo, Uruguay.
  • The Tolosa Gaels GAA Club, Toulouse, France.
  • The Irish Community of Auckland, New Zealand.
  • Auckland GAA, Auckland, New Zealand.
  • The O’Neill Malcom Branch, Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Eireann, Washington D.C.,
  • St. John’s Avalon Harps GAA Club, Newfoundland, Canada.
  • Tasmanian Gaelic Football Association, Hobart, Australia.
  • The Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, Iowa.

 

The target market for this documentary is Ireland and abroad, mainly the USA.

We are also  hoping to get the documentary into schools in Ireland and around the world.

 

A Final Note From Irish American Mom:

 

John and Mattie have created a wonderful website called Irish Famine Pots to explain their fantastic work.

You can also learn more about Mattie and read some of his writings and poetry on his own personal website.

A big thank you to Mattie and John for undertaking this ambitious and culturally significant project. I look forward to viewing this documentary and hope the will keep us posted on their progress and dates for release of the film.

 

Slán agus beannacht,

(Goodbye and blessings)

 

Irish American Mom

 

Image Credits – All photos published courtesy of Mattie Lennon and John Cassidy from the Irish Famine Pots website.

Giveaway Time – Quirky Irish Art by Olyart

March is here at last, and without a shadow of a doubt this is our month – time to celebrate St. Patrick and all that is Irish.

To kick start the month I’m delighted to introduce you to the quirky and entertaining artwork created by Olyart in County Galway, together with a little giveaway to help spread some Irish luck.

enjoy irelandOlyart designs and creates Irish gifts, with a humorous take on contemporary souvenirs. 

First let me hand you over to Joanna from Olyart to explain her design inspiration, and then check out how to enter our giveaway at the end of the post.

 

A Little History Behind Olyart

 

Olyart was established in December 2011. The story behind it is quite unusual as it’s an Irish business but started and run by Polish girls, who literally fell in love with Ireland from their very first minute there.

Four Seasons of Ireland
Aleks and Joanna met in the west of Ireland in Galway, and became very good friends.

Experiencing Irish kindness and Irish people’s need for random chats and socializing, combined with the amazing landscapes, art and culture inspired these two girls to start OLYART. 

Irish population - sheep and humans

They love living in Ireland.

But what about the never ending rain? Here’s Joanna’s perfect response:

 

“Sure, rain is a challenge,

but also an amazing inspiration for illustrations.”

 

Everything is an inspiration in Ireland – the variety of accents, food, music, red hair, Paddy’s Day, summer not being much different to winter, the black shtuff, cottages, slang ……. 

Irish Slang

Where else in the world do people say they are doing the messages when they are going shopping?

Even Irish greetings have to be longer than a simple hello, and sound more like this …….

 

“Hi ….. how are you?…. how’s it going …… what’ s the craic?”

 

OLYART’s idea is to design Irish souvenir gifts, a bit quirky and with a humorous take on contemporary Ireland.

Irish summer - when the rain is warm

OLYART specializes in a range of products such as postcards, mugs, coasters, fridge magnets, tote bags and greeting cards for various occasions.

Lucky Irish Sheep Bag by Olyart

The girls also create personalized gifts for businesses or individuals. Most of their products are bilingual (English and Irish).

They are sold in shops in Ireland and so far in Germany, France and Sweden.

OlyArt Irish Mugs

You can check out the full range of their products on the OLYART website.

You can also follow along on Facebook and Twitter.

Here’s a little YouTube video to introduce you to some more of Olyart’s quirky products …..

The Prize:

 

The girls at Olyart have graciously sponsored a giveaway for Irish American Mom’s readers.

One lucky winner will receive a surprise selection of Olyart products up to a value of 30.

What a perfect way to get March off to a great start.

The Giveaway:

 

To enter our giveaway just leave a comment on this blog post by noon on Wednesday, March 11th, 2015.  You can leave any comment you wish. What you write does not affect your chances of winning.

If you need some inspiration, why not tell us about your favorite Irish gift or let us know if you have ever received a funny or quirky gift from Ireland …

Traffic Jam In Ireland

A winning comment will be chosen randomly.  Remember to leave your e-mail so we can arrange to have your prize delivered.  Your e-mail won’t be published or shared, just used to make contact.

The winner will be announced on the evening of Wednesday, March 11th, 2015 and the name shared at the end of this post.

You may check out Irish American Mom’s complete terms and conditions for sweepstake entries by clicking here.

Best of luck to all our entrants and a big thank you to Olyart for sponsoring this great prize for Irish American Mom’s readers.  I really appreciate their generosity.

And a big thanks to all of you who enter and help spread the word to family and friends about this little giveaway.

 

Slán agus beannacht,

(Goodbye and blessings),

 

 

Irish American Mom

 

Disclosure: Irish American Mom does not have a business relationship with Olyart. No cash payment was received for publishing this giveaway post. I love to help spread the word about small home businesses, artists and crafts people. Thank you to all who support these wonderful Irish and Irish American business enterprises.

Images published with permission of Olyart.

The Sunbeam Path – An Interactive Children’s iBook By Marion Rose McFadden

“The Sunbeam Path” – what an exciting name for a children’s picture book. The very name speaks of faeries and intrigue.

The Sunbeam Patch - CoverJust saying this title aloud makes me want to take a sunny journey to a land of make believe.

In today’s post I’m excited to introduce you to Nora, a delightful little Irish girl who follows a wisp of light dancing on the edge of the forest. A world of faeries and demifay awaits.  These enchanting characters were created by Irish artist and writer, Marion Rose McFadden. 

Maggie Green, a resource teacher currently living in County Donegal, graciously reviewed this book for Irish American Mom. 

She works with children with additional learning needs and has a deep understanding of how to integrate technology into education.

Maggie shares her insights on her wonerful blog “A Geek and a Teacher”.

But now let me hand you over to Maggie for her book review of “The Sunbeam Path”  ……

 

The Sunbeam Path – An Interactive Children’s iBook

By Marion Rose McFadden

 

Book Review by Maggie Green

 

My children, like most children, love stories. Every night we have story time. They both cuddle up beside me and they each choose a book and we read and we talk about the stories.

They have their firm favorites and the books that they now know off by heart and they sometimes read along with me or finish my sentences. It is wonderful to see their blossoming relationship with books and reading, and I hope to see it continue long into the future.

How faeries live

Some books stay with you for a lifetime. Even as an adult when I start to read books I loved as a child to my own children I am transported back to the place I was when I first heard the story.

Cozy in the crook of my father’s arms as he read to me, his soft soothing voice taking me to another world as the characters and magic of the story took shape in my mind.

My children are growing up in a different era. They are very much children of the digital age and they have experienced media in many different forms even at the young ages of two and four.

My children know their way around an iPad and recently we read our very first iBook together and to say that my children were full of wonder as I read was an understatement.

The book we read was called The Sunbeam Path by a very talented author called Marion-Rose McFadden.

The book follows the journey of a wonderfully authentic little girl called Nora as she embarks on an adventure which introduces her to the Demifay. The story is steeped in rich and evocative language which pulls the reader further into the magic.

The iBook gives you the option to read the story or to have the story read to you and we have tried both options numerous times.

As I read the story to my children they were mesmerized by the interactive nature of the book and became very excited as they burst the bubbles that Nora blew and touched the little beams of light that danced across the page.

Interactive Faerie Book

The illustration is magical and brought the book to life as the story progressed.

The Demifay in the story appealed to me greatly as a parent. Too often the manner in which faeries are depicted in stories are too adult in nature and I prefer characters that I can relate to.

TI want my children to have real expectations in life and I want them to be exposed to characters in stories with whom they can find a common ground.

The Demifay in The Sunbeam Path are not dressed in overly sexualized costumes. They are not society’s portrayal of what is beautiful. They are real, they are different and they come to life all the more because of this.

This iBook has become a firm favorite for my children and it is regularly requested throughout the day and at bedtime.

Demifay the faerie

My daughter can relate to Nora because she just looks like an ordinary little girl. The first time we read the story my daughter said ‘oh she does the same things as me – maybe I’ll see faeries too’.

My children have truly been touched by the magic of this iBook and I am sure that many more children will be filled with wonder as they enter the world of Nora and the Demifay.

 

 Digital Media Choices

 

“The Sunbeam Path” by Marion Rose McFadden in a cross-border collaboration with Digital Media Choices.

DMC, a non-profit group of social entrepreneurs, is a company based on the outskirts of Belfast, offering a wide range of expertise in developing digital media.

The Sunbeam Path beautifully illustrated Michael Murray utilises the latest iBook technologies to create a delightful, digital faerie-story experience.

Animation transforms the pages into a dynamic and fun experience, using interactive touch screen technologies, with a narration feature offering an engagin story-telling aspect.

 

Marion Rose McFadden

 

Marion Rose is an Irish artist who lives on the wild Atlantic coast in County Donegal. 

Here’s how she describes her work on her website:

 

“Resonating with ancestral memory,

the magic of light and half-light,

these paintings celebrate the echoes of what once was,

and is yet evidenced by land and by character.”

 

Wishing Marion every success as a writer and artist.

 

More Information:

 

This book is also available in Irish. It’s simply beautiful.

Irish Version of The Sunbeam Path

You can order the book on iTunes in an Irish language or English language version.

It is also available for the Kindle through Amazon.

A big thank you to Maggie Green and Marion Rose McFadden for this wonderful introduction to the world of the demifay.

Slán agus beannacht,

(Goodbye and blessings)

Irish American Mom

 

P.S. Irish American Mom does not have a business relationship with Digital Media Choices. This is not a sponsored post. I fell in love with this little story and simply wished to help spread the word about this lovely interactive children’s book through this blog post.

Living In Ireland, Then And Now

Life in Ireland has changed significantly over the past 150 years.  Old images relate stories of the past to us, but have you ever wondered how specific locations in Ireland might have changed with the passing of time?

In today’s post a Cork Photographer tells of his experiences in recreating some of the region’s most iconic images from days gone by.

A big thank you to James Walsh from My Ireland Tour in Cork, detailing his amazing work. And so I’ll hand you over to James to tell his story.

 

Ireland Then And Now

 

Grand Parade, Cork

Grand Parade, Cork, circa 1948

 Image Credit

 

For the first 30 years of my life, living in Cork, I had never noticed any real changes taking place in the city.

I guess when you see a place every day the little differences don’t tend to resonate as much. But I recently moved back to the city after spending a year in the UK and, returning home, I couldn’t believe what I saw.

Cork had changed. It must have been all the small, subtle changes I’d never taken note of before.

A paint job on my favorite pub, a new coffee shop, different road layouts, a juice bar next to the War Memorial on the Grand Parade. It felt as though I’d traveled into the future, even if really I’d been left in the past.

After a few days back I started to adjust to my surroundings and it started to feel like the Cork I know and love.

At the same time I kept thinking about the change, wondering if it had changed that much in a year how much had it changed in the last 5 or 10 years.

Knowing about my background in film and photography, a local tourism company called My Ireland Tour asked me to produce a photographic resource based in Cork and I immediately knew the pitch should be “the changing face of Cork city” – an article showing photos of Cork as it was and recreating those same iconic images today.

mit monument

Grand Parade, Cork, as it is today.

Image Credit

I started by researching old archive photos of Cork (some dating back as far as the 1880’s) and marking out the ones that I could recreate from the same location. The results, when put side by side, were fascinating. The cars, clothes, shop fronts had all drastically changed over time but the essence of the city was still there. It was still Cork. It was still Cork people going about their day.

The little story-telling nuances really brought each image to life for me and, bringing in a web-design specialist, I added a ‘magnifying glass’ tool which allows visitors to see every detail up close.

Whether you want to have a closer look at the mysterious woman dashing across Patrick’s Street in 1902 or the license plates of the cars parked across the Grand Parade in 1948 the magnifying glass really adds an extra level of enjoyment to the page. I hope you enjoy browsing through it as much as I enjoyed making it.

Ireland Then and Now : Images of Cork, past and present was conceived, captured and shared by James Walsh on behalf of My Ireland Tour. 

 

A big thank you to James for his amazing work and this guest post. I hope you all enjoy the pictures of Cork, both old and new, which can be accessed through the links above. I loved using the magnifying tool to appreciate details of the pictures from the past.

 

Slán agus beannacht,

(Goodbye and blessings),

 

Irish American Mom