Annotations and comments

Michael Sheehan has posted one annotation/comment since 27 January 2014.


Second Reading

About Sunday 12 April 1663

Michael Sheehan  •  Link

Where I'm from (Limerick ,Ireland) the word was in common usage when I was a boy and it meant to give money,usually a coin, to somebody to give them good luck. If you were to give a girl or woman a new purse for example then you had to "hansel" it with a coin inside. Children were also "hanselled" at significant times (on their birth, first communion, etc.) by friends ,family or neighbours by giving them coins.
The word is commonly thought to come from Middle English by way of the Old Norse word "Handsal" referring to a legal transfer, such as a transfer of land.
Interestingly, in Limerick, until fairly recently there was an area called Park which was almost exclusively given over to the production of vegetables on small plots or allotments by a coterie of families that had been associated with the area since quite ancient times. Local legend had it that these small market gardening families had descended from the Vikings who had once conquered large parts of Ireland, including Limerick. The men that worked these plots were referred to locally as the "Park Danes". They also had a peculiar way of marking out their plots of land with the use of a single stone known as a bound-stone instead of the much more common and traditional use of stone walls or ditches favoured throughout Ireland. This single stone practice some believe is connected to similar practices of demarcation in Denmark.