We scoured the world's collected knowledge to compile these facts and legends about St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland.
Born: around 385 to 387 AD in England
Died: March 17, year 461, at Saul, Downpatrick, Ireland (source)
Patrick was born in England, in an area under Roman control. His father, Calpornius, was a deacon and his grandfather was a priest. This was before the Church began requiring vows of celibacy from their clergy. While on his mission in Ireland, he missed his father and mother, Conchessa, but felt he couldn’t return. “God knows what I would dearly like to do. But I am bound in the Spirit, who assures me that if I were to do this, I would be held guilty,” he writes in one of two surviving documents confirmed to be written by Patrick. (source)
Patrick was taken from his home at a young age and sold as a slave. He was sent to County Down, Ireland, where he tended sheep and swine. After six years as a slave, he escaped to France. Tradition states Patrick had a vision in which he was told to return to Ireland. After the vision he began the process of becoming ordained, returning to Ireland as a bishop in 432. St. Patrick’s Cathedral is built on the site of a church Patrick built in the year 445. (source)
Things you thought you knew about St. Patrick
The legend of St. Patrick using the shamrock to teach about the Catholic concept of the Holy Trinity – the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost – dates to the early 1700s. There is no evidence that Patrick actually used a shamrock as a prop while converting people to Christianity.
Patrick is credited with driving all the snakes from Ireland. The truth of the matter is there were never any snakes in Ireland to begin with. One theory explains the source of this legend as figurative, rather than literal. The serpent represents either paganism or evil, which Patrick was on a mission to drive from the land
In 1931, four years after recorded dialogue first appeared in film, Newfoundland and Labrador became the setting for Canada’s first “talkie,” The Viking. Centred around the seal hunt, the film tells the story of two sealers, one brave and one “jinxed,” who begin the hunt as enemies and end up as friends.
In addition to filming on location in Quidi Vidi, the director and producer accompanied actual sealers on a Grand Banks expedition in order to add a sense of realism to their film. After showing the completed movie to a private audience at the Nickel Theatre in St. John’s, director George Melford was dissatisfied with the Grand Banks scenes and decided to shoot new footage of a second hunt – this time aboard the SS Viking, the film’s namesake.
On March 15, 1931, while attempting to film a scene involving exploding icebergs, Varick Frissell, the film’s producer; Alexander Penrod, the cinematographer; and 25 other crew members and sealers were killed when dynamite brought by the film crew exploded, destroying the ship’s stern and ultimately sinking the vessel. Despite the tragic accident, The Viking was completed and released only three months later.
Reader Eric Quinlan of Tiverton, Ontario recently sent in this photo of a mystery object that was found in Newfoundland more than 70 years ago. He writes, "My sister-in-law’s father found it on the beach in Botwood in 1942. It’s a hollow brass cylinder approximately 3.5 inches in length and just over 0.5 inch in diameter. The item on the left screws into the hollow of the cylinder. The item on the left also has what seems like a miniature spoon on its end, albeit the 'spoon' is quite shallow. It appears this item was manufactured in England and may have something to do with the Second World War."
If you recognize this object as something you once used or owned - or even if you have a good guess as to what it may be - please help solve the mystery by leaving a comment on this article, or by calling 1-866-640-1999. We’ll share what we learn from you in a future issue.
We were overwhelmed with responses to our last "mystery object" (pictured below), which turned out to be a component of a seaman's hammock. Have a listen to some of the interesting responses we received via our toll-free submission phone line.
Courtesy Lloyd Pretty
Jonathan Seaward, retired chief petty officer with the Royal Canadian Navy, offered the following explanation.
Watson Strong wasn't long figuring out our mystery.
Wayne Grasser explains why he is more than a little familiar with "hammock clews."
For those of you who'd like to see how hammock clews are made, reader Orville Reeves sent us a link to this video.
Are you in possession of some object that defies explanation? Submit a photo of it here, along with a description of where and when you found it, and with the help of our readers we'll try our best to solve another mystery.
Valentine’s Day, a time of love and tenderness and fond thoughts of cherished ones. But imagine it’s 500 years ago, and you’re a lonely sailor thousands of miles from your homeland, exploring the far reaches of the world. You’ve got land in your sights and love in your heart. So it would make sense then, that these long-ago, possibly lovesick, folk might have been moved to christen our towns, coves and bays with tender-sounding names – wouldn't it?
Take Cupids, for instance. Upon entering this historic town on the Baccalieu Trail, we imagine the average tourist visiting from upalong might mistakenly assume the place owes its romantic name to that adorable arrow-weilding cherub. After all, the scenery here looks like a fitting home for the ultimate matchmaker. The truth is though, the town shares no connection with Cupid. In fact, in the early 1600s John Guy brought settlers to a place called Cuper’s Cove. Over the years the name took on many variations – Cubbit’s Cove, Cuperts Cove, Copers, etc. – and finally the present-day name, Cupids.
Doting Cove. Based on the name, some lonely fella might stroll into this cove waiting to be tended on hand and foot by the most loving and attentive women in the world.
The truth behind the name: This scenic cove near Musgrave Harbour is actually named after a doater, a Newfoundland term meaning an “old seal”…which is probably not loving and attentive – and definitely not what any lonely fella has on his mind.
Flowers Cove. It sounds like a heavenly place where the land is carpeted in a beautiful wash of colourful flowers each summer.
The truth behind the name: Located near the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula, the beauty of this seaside town really does make it heavenly, and yes, flowers do grow here! But the name, given by Captain Cook in the 1700s, is actually derived from flour – not flowers. However it wasn’t Cook’s fondness for baked goods that led to the naming of this cove. Rather, back then, “flour” was the name for the white scum of breaking waves. Ahh, the romance of the sea.
St. Bride’s. Could this pretty town on the southern Avalon Peninsula really be named after the little known patron saint of the newly wed? Think again.
The truth behind the name: St. Bride’s is named after Bridget, one of Ireland’s patron saints.
L’Anse Amour. This French name for the picturesque community on the southern Labrador coast translates to “Cove of Love” in English.
The truth behind the name: The above description is the truth – just not the whole truth. According to the website Labrador Coastal Drive, that’s a romanticized version of the original, slightly less warm and fuzzy-sounding, name “Anse aux Morts” – or Cove of the Dead – likely named for the many shipwrecks in the area.
Heart’s Delight & Heart’s Desire. In the case of these neighbouring Avalon Peninsula communities, reality is sweeter than fiction. According to the book Newfoundland and Labrador Place Names by David E. Scott, Heart’s Delight was named by “weary travellers who were ‘delighted’ with the beauty of the place.” Of nearby Heart’s Desire, Scott goes on to say, “Tradition has it that early travellers, after first seeing Heart’s Delight, desired to keep on hiking up the shore to see what they then named Heart’s Desire.”
Source: Newfoundland and Labrador Place Names by David E. Scott
Most of us realize that diet and exercise play an important part in keeping us healthy. But did you know that a healthy mouth is also an important part of a healthy body?
Poor oral health can affect a person's quality of life. Oral pain, missing teeth or oral infections can influence the way a person speaks, eats and socializes. These oral health problems can reduce a person's quality of life by affecting their physical, mental and social well-being.
Oral disease, like any other disease, needs to be treated. A chronic infection, including one in the mouth, is a serious problem that should not be ignored. Yet bleeding or tender gums are often overlooked.
Research has shown there is an association between oral disease and other health problems such as diabetes, heart disease and stroke, as well as pre-term and low-birth-weight babies. Although researchers are just beginning to understand this relationship, evidence shows that oral disease can aggravate other health problems and that keeping a healthy mouth is an important part of leading a healthy life.
5 Steps to Good Oral Health
As part of a healthy lifestyle and to help reduce the risk of oral disease, follow these five steps to good oral health.
1. See your dentist regularly
Regular checkups and professional cleanings are the best way to prevent problems or to stop small problems from getting worse. Your dentist will look for signs of oral disease. (Oral diseases often go unnoticed and may lead to or be a sign of serious health problems in other parts of the body.) Only your dentist has the training, skill and expertise to diagnose and treat oral health diseases and to meet all your oral health care needs.
2. Keep your mouth clean
Brush your teeth and tongue at least twice a day with a soft-bristle toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste to remove plaque and bacteria that cause cavities and periodontal disease (gum disease).
Floss every day. If you don't floss, you are missing more than a third of your tooth surface.
Your dentist may also recommend that you use a fluoride or antimicrobial mouth rinse to help prevent cavities or gum disease.
When choosing oral care products, look for the Canadian Dental Association (CDA) Seal of Recognition, which means they have been reviewed by CDA and will effectively contribute to your oral health.
3. Eat, drink, but be wary
Healthy food is good for your general health and your oral health. The nutrients that come from healthy foods help you to fight cavities and gum disease.
Limit how much and how often you consume foods and beverages that contain sugar. Sugar is one of the main causes of dental problems. And limit your consumption of foods and beverages that are high in acid; the acid may play a part in causing dental erosion.
4. Check your mouth regularly
Look for warning signs of periodontal disease (gum disease) such as red, shiny, puffy, sore or sensitive gums; bleeding when you brush or floss; or bad breath that won't go away. Gum disease is one of the main reasons why adults lose their teeth.
Look for warning signs of tooth decay. The possible warning signs include teeth that are sensitive to hot, cold, sweetness or pressure.
Look for warning signs of oral cancer. The three most common sites for oral cancer are the sides and bottom of your tongue and the floor of your mouth. The warning signs include:
• bleeding that you can't explain;
• open sores that don't heal in 7-10 days;
• white or red patches;
• numbness or tingling;
• small lumps and thickening on the sides or bottom of your tongue, the floor or roof of your mouth, the inside of your cheeks or on your gums.
Report any of these warning signs to your dentist.
5. Avoid all tobacco products
Stained and missing teeth, infected gums and bad breath are just some of the ways smoking can affect your oral health. Besides ruining your smile, smoking can cause oral cancer, heart disease and a variety of other cancers, all of which can kill you.
All forms of tobacco are dangerous to your oral health and your overall health, not just cigarettes. Smokeless tobacco such as chewing tobacco, snuff and snus can cause mouth, tongue and lip cancer and can be more addictive than cigarettes.
If you use tobacco products, ask your dentist and your family doctor for advice on how to quit.
If you take care of your teeth and gums at home and visit your dentist regularly, your smile should last you a lifetime. You and your dentist are partners in keeping your oral health good for life.
April Fool's Day gives licence to practical jokers of all sorts to embarrass their more gullible friends (and enemies). Whether or not I instigate or fall for an April Fool's gag, every year this tradition reminds me that a good joke contains a balance of truth and pain.
I first heard this description of humour from cartoonist Tim Peckham, who finds inspiration for his jokes in everyday truths and painful realities. Tim is the creator of the cartoon series "TimWit," which ran in the Toronto Sun newspaper in the 1990s. I used to read the Sun when I lived in Ontario, and I always enjoyed the subtle humour of "TimWit," not knowing that the creator was from "down home." I was surprised and delighted when Tim contacted me and offered "TimWit" to Downhomer, free of charge (important for our budget in the early days). We ran two cartoons each month, and they were a wonderful addition that was appreciated by our readers.
Tim and I spoke on the phone recently, and he explained his philosophy of humour in more detail. "There are two types of laughter. One is where people will nod their heads, clap their hands and say, 'You got that right!' That's a response to a joke heavy on truth. The other is a response to a joke heavy on pain. It's a violent outburst of laughter. The best joke has both, an even mix of truth and pain," Tim said. He added, "To write a joke, I find some truth about something, 'snowmen melt,' for example, then figure out a way to present that truth in a painful way. Maybe, give the snowman a hairdryer. Show him with no head. His friend asks, 'How's the new hairdryer?'"
Tim believes that pain is an important ingredient because laughter is a sound we make when we realize we narrowly missed some terrible fate. "Remember in school when someone made the mistake of calling the teacher 'Mommy'? It's funny because it wasn't you," he told me.
Tim's parents, Judy (nee Garland) and Jim Peckham, were childhood sweethearts who eloped in 1958 (when Judy was 17, and Jim was 19 and two years into an air force career). The couple moved to Nottingham, England, where Tim was born, their first and only child. Later the Peckhams lived in Summerside, P.E.I., and Petawawa, Ontario, before moving to Winterton, Trinity Bay, where young Tim started fourth grade. By that time Tim was already drawing cartoons.
"Even before I was school-age, I was analyzing the newspaper comics," he said. "I remember understanding where the artist’s pen stroke started and ended by the thickness of the line. I was passionate about learning how to do this. I gave it some effort."
His earlier drawings were copies of known characters such as Yogi Bear, but over the years Tim taught himself the finer points of cartooning. "Once I spent a whole day drawing hands. I was learning the symbols of cartooning, like learning the ABCs. A 'hand' is not a 'realistic hand' but a symbol of a hand. The symbol for 'door' is a rectangle and a small circle...for the doorknob, of course."
The Peckham family moved to St. John's while Tim was in Grade 11. After high school Tim attended Memorial University. There he created a weekly cartoon called "Captain Leisure" for the Muse, a university student publication. It was while working for the Muse that Tim developed an interest in page layout and design.
After university, Tim travelled across Canada before finally settling in Toronto. At that time the Financial Post, which was owned by the Toronto Sun, was going from a weekly to a daily paper. Hoping to get a job in layout, Tim began working in the Sun's mailroom, to "get his foot in the door," as his father advised. Several weeks later, on February 29, 1988, Tim became a layout composer for the Toronto Sun.
It wasn't long before Tim's artistic ability was discovered, when some graphic art was needed in a layout and Tim did the drawings to illustrate the story. Soon, the paper was using Tim's editorial cartoons whenever the regular cartoonist, Andy Donato, was away. For many years the Sun ran regular "Punch" magazine cartoons and they were about to be discontinued, so Tim submitted some of his cartoons for consideration. They were accepted, and "TimWit" was born. His funny drawings ran five or six times a week for six years.
Three years ago, Tim and his wife Natalie, who married in 1990, were blessed with a son, Leo, who is the delight of Tim's life. He says he can't wait to get home from work to be with his son. Although his family now takes up too much time for him to create "TimWit" on a daily basis, he still does some editorial cartooning and graphics work for the Sun.
I haven't seen any of Tim's editorial cartoons, but I'm sure they have the proper balance of pain and truth so they tickle funny bones the way "TimWit" did.
Newfoundland at the turn of the 19th century was heavily Irish, and its inhabitants were deeply in debt to wealthy merchants who used a system of credit that kept the working class in virtual slavery. Discontent was particularly strong among soldiers garrisoned in St. John’s, who were mistreated by their officers.
In 1799, the colony’s chief justice estimated 400 people had become United Irishmen, a secret society plotting Irish independence from Great Britain. Many of the Newfoundland Irish came from Wexford, a region that strongly supported a rebellion there in 1798.
On April 24, 1800 a group of soldiers, intent on mutiny and led by James Murphy and Sgt. Kelly, met at the powder shed behind Fort Townsend. Unfortunately for them, only 19 soldiers of the expected 80 men showed up. The commanders quickly discovered the men were missing and chased the rebellious soldiers into the woods outside St. John’s.
The entire group was captured within weeks, except Murphy and Kelly, whose fates are unknown. Five soldiers were hanged by the powder shed where the ill-fated mutiny began. Edward Power, Garrett Fitzgerald and Pierce Ivory were hanged in Halifax, and the rest were sent to prisons in Australia.