Oh how I love magic hour. Look at that light…it is just like fire. There is something about sunset that sunrise can not equal. Maybe it is the impending darkness as opposed to the promise of midday that makes the last of the daylight sparkle all the more.
I have had many people asking me where “The Red Hand” comes from, so I thought it was about time I explained. The name is a symbol of my Irish heritage and my family’s clan name, O’Neill. My ancestry can be traced back to the warrior and chieftain Niáll, who was the Irish “High King” at Tara, the ancient center of Ireland from A.D. 379 to A.D. 405. The name O’Neill derives from “uá Niáll,” which means “the descendants of the champion.”
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The image of the crimson hand is known as the Red Hand of Ulster. It is featured on that county’s coat-of-arms and is part of the O’Neill family crest. The legend goes that rival Celtic chieftains were rowing across the northern Atlantic in their boats when they caught sight of a beautiful green coastline…the land now called Ireland. They could not decide who would become lord of the land, but after a conference at sea, they decided that the first of them to touch the land with his hand would claim the kingship of Ireland.
The race began. In one of the leading boats was Niáll. But as the race narrowed, he saw his rival edging ahead. In that moment, he made a decision. He pulled out his axe, cut off his left hand, and with his right hand threw it to shore, thereby claiming the land for him and his descendants. Thus, the hand in the O’Neill crest is most likely red to represent the fact that it would have been covered in blood. I know it is a gory tale, but to me The Red Hand symbolizes perseverance, stubbornness against the odds, and a connection to my fiery ancestors. And also…I like the color red. 🙂