by James A. McQuiston
Celtic Guide magazine
Just when you think there is nothing new to write about, where the Irish are concerned, two new news articles crop up.
Soil from an area of Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, has been used for centuries as a healing agent. Except for the believers, the idea that there could be anything special about this soil was written off as an old wives' tale.
However, according to Newsweek magazine, recently it has been found that soil from the area called the Boho Highlands may just prove this wives' tale to be true.
This area was previously occupied by the Druids (1,500 years ago) and by the Neolithic people (4,000 years ago).
According to Newsweek, "The area is mostly composed of limestone rock, which imparts an alkaline character to the soil with a faint release of radon gas."
One of the paper's authors, Dr. Gerry Quinn, a previous resident of Boho, had been aware of the healing traditions of the area for many years.
Traditionally, a small amount of soil wrapped in cotton cloth was used against many ailments including toothache, throat and neck infections.
Why this is of interest now is that colleagues from the Ruđer Bošković Institute, Croatia, and Ulster University, Northern Ireland have discovered eight different Streptomyces-like bacteria in this soil.
Streptomyces are true bacteria and are the source of two thirds of the various frontline antibiotics used in medicine — for example, it was Streptomycin, derived from Streptomyces, that finally provided an effective treatment for tuberculosis.
This discovery is an important step forward in the fight against antibiotic resistance.
The next step for this research is to purify and identify these antibiotics. They have already begun to identify additional antibacterial organisms from the same soil cure which may cover other multi-resistant pathogens.
More broadly, these results show that folklore and traditional medicines are definitely worth investigating in the search for new antibiotics.
A man obviously of Irish descent, by the name of Colin O'Brady, set a world's record by walking across Antarctica alone and unaided. Yes, you heard me right.
What makes this even more interesting is that Colin was severly burned in a fire, in 2006, with injuries covering about 25% of his body, and with extreme damage to his legs and feet.
Determined to recover, Colin eventually began competing in triathlons and eventually represented the United States in these events all over the world.
In addition to physical training, Colin engages in daily meditation, which came in handy on his world record walk.
According to NBC news as of Janueary 10, 2019 – (quote)
An American endurance athlete who became the first person to cross Antarctica solo unassisted — a feat some had deemed impossible — said the 54-day trek was as much a mental challenge as physical.
"I would, without a doubt, say that the mental part is harder. The physical part I would say is required," Colin O'Brady, 33, said in an exclusive interview with NBC News.
"The fortitude to keep going every day through those conditions no matter what was happening. ... At the end of the day the mental is really crucial in achieving this," he said.
O'Brady completed his trip on Dec. 26 by crossing the point he had set as his finish line, the Ross Ice Shelf, the largest ice shelf on the frozen continent. He began the trip on Nov. 3 at the Ronne Ice Shelf, and trekked 930 miles to the end.
O'Brady, who said he had trained diligently for the trek across Antarctica, had to battle storms, frigid temperatures and wind gusts that sometimes reached 50 miles per hour, all while pulling a sled packed with food, fuel and supplies.
Well, isn't that just like the Irish! Take on the challenge, never give up, beat back the odds, and claim the prize.
It just goes to show that perseverance and a positive attitude can help us work wonders in our lives, and maybe set our own smaller world records.
I sometimes feel like we are setting records here at Celtic Guide.
We have worked with people of Celtic culture from 18 different countries.
We have given a leg up to many wannabe writers who have come into their own in the pages of Celtic Guide.
We've published a fair amount of Celtic music from around the world that most Americans, at least, would not otherwise have heard.
And we've collected a ton of great articles both in our older style PDF files, and in our newer, searchable postings.
The hope is to eventually get all articles posted digitally, by author, so that they can all be searched.
Meanwhile, you might find it fun to poke around this site a little and see what treasures you can find.
Speaking of treasures, my new book Oak Island Knights should be out in a month or so.
I have been told by the Oak Island folks that mine is one of the best theories they have ever received, and in my book I unveil some never before seen historical evidence and a new artifact or two.
I'm dying for people to be able to read the book, and as soon as I get word that my NDA is no longer in force, I'm hitting the publish button.
I'll be sure to announce it on this site, too.
Hope you all have a happy and prosperous 2019.