Posted by Lewis on February 09, 2005
In Reply to: O' Carolyn Skull ??? posted by Word Camel on February 08, 2005
: : : : : I have an English assignment to learn the definition and origin of this word/phrase. I cannot find ANY reference to it or any thing like it on the WWW, or in any encyclopedia or dictionary, etymology or otherwise. I've tried different spellings : O. Carolyn Skull,
: : : : : O'Carolyn Skull, O' Carolyn's Skull, etc... I have even looked in Gaelic dictionaries.
: : : : : Has anyone out there heard of this? If so, where can I find the definition and origin of it? Thank you so much in advance,
: : : : : Cindy
: : : : I suspected that your spelling was wrong and I knew of a drink called Carolans, so I googled skull + carolans and found the following page which I think you will find useful.
: : : : http://www.folkworld.de/20/e/toms.html
: : : : A great academic may not know everything, but they know where to look...
: : : : L
: : : Very interesting and very informative, Sir Knight. But English assignment? Where, in graduate school? Possibly in college, but certainly not in high school. Anyway, congratulations to Lewis for figuring this out. SS
: : O'Carolan was probably the last of the Irish Bards. His best known composition is his 'concerto.' Visit http://www.irishpage.com/songs/carolan/concnote.htm to get a modernist flavour of his music.
: : As regards his skull, there is a long established tradition in Ireland, and possibly elsewhere, whereby water drunk from the the skull-cap of a saint or bishop was supposed to cure various ailments. O'Carolan isn't a saint but maybe his skull was believed to provide musical inspiration.
: Quick, let's corner the market for O'Carolan skull goblets.
His epilepsy-curing skull is missing - perhaps the actual assignment was to find it!
"The O'Carolan Code" a new novel by Danny Boy Brown. A bard is dead in mysterious circumstances. Did he leave a secret message in his tunes when translated into binary? Do his sometimes cumbersome words hide another message?
Was he out of his skull before he died?
Enigmatic experienced mystery solvers known as "The Phrase Heads" are called in - it may look like a simple essay assignment, but will there be a trail of bodies left behind by a senior figure in the secret services by the end of the tale? Will the trail of corruption involve the Jesuits, The Garda and the Dial before landing on the plate of the Teashop?
Is there a clue in Holbein's "The Ambassadors"? and why was it mysteriously absent from the National Gallery of London whilst it was being "restored"?
Does Dali's "The Persistence of Memory" have hidden clues relating to the whereabouts of the skull?
The Phrase Heads find themselves in the Emerald Isle, England, Israel, the United States and in the Blue Mountains of Australia in this formulaic, but strangely engaging tale of mystery and suspense.
Buy Lewis's guide "Unlocking the O'Carolan Code" soon to be published by some potboiling print-house.