There are few things the Irish take more seriously than their heritage and their ale.
Once upon another life I was in the US NAVY and in this life a born and bread Irishman was stationed on my boat about a year after myself. Patrick Pearce Coursey he was called. Can’t get anymore Irish than that. In Ireland his name was probably Padraig but America stripped his name if it’s root form and it was Patrick. It was perchance this bastardization of his first name he preferred to be called Pearce.
Good name Pearce. In fact I liked it so much the Homerun Kid proudly bears it as his middle name. Coursey quickly became one of the dearest friends of Mr. Rough Draft and mine. There were, however, very few people on the boat that didn’t love the pieces out of that crazy Irishman.
Let me tell you a little bit about Pierce.
He was side-splitting funny and the more he drank the funnier he got. He was incredibly smart, quite mischievous, terrible at the guitar (although he believed otherwise, not) and from the moment he met me was fiercely defensive and protective over the proper pronunciation of my name. See most people pronounce my name “Tera” like Terror or “Tarra” like in rat. ( single consonant, long vowel; double consonant , short vowel). Of course those from the Bronx or Brooklyn tend to call me “Tora”.
It is actually none of these. It’s pronounced “Tara” like in Tarzan or Tar-baby and as Pearce would tell you , once he corrected and chided you for the abuse of my name, it is
The Irish way.
The O’Hara plantation in “Gone With The Wind”, ya don’t even speak it in earshot of Pearce. The fact he couldn’t correct Ms.Mitchell for her aggregious error drove him insane. Those Irish roots go deep I tell ya.
In fact Pearce told me my name has its roots in old Gaelic and comes from a famous and sacred place in Ireland called “The Hill of Tara” which was the seat of power in The Emerald Isle. The Biblical Arc of the Covenant was once believed to be buried there and it is also suggested Tara was the capital of the lost continent of Atlantis.
The Hill of Tara also has quite a few monuments, none more famous than the “Lia Fail” or “Stone Of Destiny”. It was used during the coronation ceremony to crown the next monarch and is said to roar when the rightful king or queen touched it.
As for the meaning, it is most commonly known as “tower” or also “queen”. I kinda dig that. I was told it meant “Earth” and that is what I understood as the meaning of my name until a crazy Irishman corrected it. The meaning “Earth” refers to the Latin pronunciation and spelling, Terra, from terra cotta.
It was the spelling of the name that caused Pearce to pick up his proverbial sword in such defense of both the pronunciation and meaning. He said, had my parents chosen the same spelling but a different utterance (or vice versa), they would have been wrong.
But alas Ireland doesn’t hold exclusive rights to the name and spelling. Tara Buddha is also one of the highest female Buddhas ( there are actually two, the Green Tara and the White Tara). As well as there is Tara, the Hindu goddess.
I hated my name for most of my adolescence; due to the fact it was so different and didn’t sound as pretty as, Michelle, Jennifer, Christina or Rebecca. I was the only one with my name all through my school career which included, one elementary, two junior high and one high school. I felt like and oddball.
It wasn’t until I met Pearce and learned the significance of my name that I grew to like it.
I’ve always had an unusual draw to Ireland and Mr. Sweet Butter will tell you if asked, other than France it’s the only other place on Earth I have dreamed to visit in my lifetime.
Ironically it was the 43rd most popular name the year of my birth in 1970 due in part to a popular British show “The Avengers”. There was a character named Tara King that my father just happened to have a total boy crush on. So my completely Irish name, with Irish spelling stemmed from completely non Irish roots.
As it happens, at the last minute (like right after I was born) my parents decided to name me Deana Marie. (don’t ask) and I was legally so named for the first four days of my birth. My Grandfather found out about the switcher-oo and threw a fit, demanded my parents come to their senses and march right back to hospital records to change my name to what was originally decided, Tara Lee ( yep even ended up with an Irish middle name inadvertently). The paperwork took four days to redo.
As the tale goes, I lost Pearce sometime after the NAVY. To this day, with all that is available to us through the Internet, I’ve never been able to locate him, nor anyones who’s heard of him, seen him or even where he came from. And short of breaking into sealed military records I suppose I never will.
I would have liked him to meet Homerun Kid and I know he would have made Mr. Sweet Butter laugh until he bust a gut.
I knew at one point Pearce had gone home to his green isle and I hope he found a pretty Irish girl to settle down and have a gaggle of little kids. It’s nice to think he told them stories of their Irish heritage and fables of legends; and that perhaps they had a little girl and named her Tara.
Does your name have special meaning in its origin or how you came to be named as such? I would love to know.
- 2½ sticks Butter, unsalted
- 6 oz Bittersweet chocolate, chopped (good quality 60-70% cacao)
- 6 oz Bitter or unsweetened chocolate, chopped (unsweet or 85% cacao)
- 6 large eggs
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup Sugar
- ¼ cup Guinness beer or strong ale
- 1 teaspoon Irish cream liqueur or vanilla
- 2 oz Bittersweet chocolate, 60% cocao (or dark semi-sweet)
- 2 tablespoons Butter, unsalted
- 2 tablespoons Light corn syrup
- 1 cup Powdered sugar
- 3 egg whites
- ⅓ cup water
- ¼ teaspoon Cream of tartar
- 2 teaspoons Irish Cream liqueur
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Liberally butter the side of a 9 inch springform pan & line the bottom w/ parchment paper.
- Over a double boiler or even better, place a mixing bowl over a pan of simmering water, melt both chocolates stirring constantly. Set aside
- Add eggs, salt & sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer. Place the bowl over the same pan of simmering water and whisking constantly, carefully just warm the mixture. BE CAREFUL HERE You do NOT want the eggs to start cooking.
- Place the bowl in the mixer and using the whisk attachement, beat on medium speed until tripled.
- While eggs and sugar are mixing, bring the beer and irish cream (or vanilla) to a low boil in a saucepan.
- Slow the mixer to low and add beer, melted chocolate and mis until combined.
- Gradually add butter in small increments until completely incorporated.
- Pour the batter into the pan and bake 35-45 minutes or until thin knife or toothpick comes out slightly crumbly.
- Cool the pan on a rack for 1 hour then remove the ring and cool completely.
- In a small bowl, melt the chocolate, butter and corn syrup in the microwave or over a pan of simmering water.
- Whisk in the sugar, egg whites, cream of tartar, sat and water in a bowl over simmering water until warm.
- Transfer bowl to stand mixer and whisk until soft peaks form.
- NOTE: be patient, this will take awhile since the meringue needs to cool before it begins to rise. Could take 15-20 minutes. Meringue will have soft peaks and have a gorgeous glossy shine to it.
- Fold in the Irish Cream followed by the melted chocolate. Fold gently just until chocolate is swirled.
- Spread meringue over the cake in a shiny gorgeous heap.
- Can serve immediately but best served chilled.