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Cathleen Ni Hoolihan

by Camala M. Ryan
The female personification of Ireland is known as Cathleen Ni Hoolihan, and she is a symbol of Irish patriotism. During times of trouble, especially war, Cathleen walks across Ireland to gather the support of men and boys to aid her in battle. As she gathers her supporters, she has the appearance of an old woman. Yet when she has gained her followers, she takes the shape of a fresh, high-spirited young woman. Initially, she appears to be weak and haggard because she is under great duress. The death of the soldiers gives life to Ireland. In the connotation of a vampiress, she regains her health and youth by feeding upon the blood of the brave soldiers who give their lives for her. These deaths should not be looked upon as tragic or needless, because they have died as heroes and they will always be remembered.

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