================================================= The Information about Ireland Site Newsletter April 2005 The Newsletter for people interested in Ireland Now received by over 50,000 people worldwide http://www.ireland-information.com http://www.irishnation.com Copyright (C) 2005 ================================================= IN THIS ISSUE === Foreword === News Snaps from Ireland === New free resources at the site === Eamon DeValera: an Irish Leader === Eire - A Poem by Anna Faustmann === Cover the Butter by Carrie Kabak === Erin - A Poem by Pam Lainhart === 15 Days in Ireland by Tina Loflin === A little bit of Dublin - #1 === Travelling Heavy - A poem by Geraldine Rimmer === Gaelic Phrases of the Month === Monthly free competition result ================================================= FOREWORD ======== Many thanks to all the good wishes we received on Patricks Day - it is great to know this newsletter is read by so many people around the world! The talk here in Ireland is about delays at Dublin airport and the ever increasing cost of living - see the news snaps below. Ireland has changed beyond recognition in the last decade... Enjoy this months newsletter! Michael WE NEED YOUR HELP! PLEASE - send this newsletter on to your friends or relatives who you think are interested in Ireland. By doing this you are helping to keep us 'free'. Got something to say? Don't keep it to yourself! Why don't you submit an article for inclusion in the next edition? Go here for more information: http://www.ireland-information.com/newsletter.htm Do you have access to a website? You can help to keep this newsletter alive by adding a link to any of our websites below: http://www.irishnation.com http://www.irishsurnames.com http://www.ireland-information.com http://www.allfamilycrests.com http://www.irishpenpals.com If you have an AOL or HOTMAIL account then you will get much better results by viewing this newsletter online here: http://www.ireland-information.com/apr05.htm The only way that you could have been subscribed to this newsletter is by filling out a subscription form at the site whereupon a confirmation notice would have been issued. If you wish to unsubscribe then go here: http://www.ireland-information.com/newsletter.htm http://www.ireland-information.com/newsletter.htm ================================================= NEWS SNAPS FROM IRELAND ======================= IRISH PEOPLE WORK HARDER AND LONGER A recent report has found that Irish employees work the longest hours in Europe. The report found that 6% of male and 4% of female staff work more than 60 hours per week. Britain and Portugal are next in the rankings. Workers in Belgium and The Netherlands work the least number of hours. A new EU directive is seeking to limit the working week to a maximum of 48 hours. SMOKING BAN PROMPTS PUNTERS TO STAY AT HOME The ban on smoking in pubs and restaurants that was introduced last year has had the effect of encouraging former pub 'regulars' to stay at home more often. A recent report into Irish drinking habits has revealed that over one fifth of drinkers are drinking more often at home, due largely to the smoking ban. The overall consumption of alcohol is down as a result of the recently introduced law. The hospitality trade have claimed that over 200 pubs have close din the last year since the smoking ban was introduced, and that over 7,6000 jobs have been lost. The Government remains unimpressed however, and plans to introduce several new kinds of licence to allow cafes to serve alcohol. HUGE DELAYS AT DUBLIN AIRPORT AFTER SECURITY TEST Recent security tests carried out by the European Civil Aviation Council have highlighted the slack security at Dublin Airport. Inspectors for the Council were able to smuggle 3 knives, a replica bomb and a replica gun past the security measures that were in place. Airport authorities have responded with much stricter security checks which in turn have caused huge delays for passengers while checking-in and have also resulted in a huge increase in the number of passengers missing their flights. HEALTH SERVICE REFORMS TO CONTINUE The Government has set out is plans to continue the modernisation of the Health Service. The main areas to be targeted include: * reduction of long waiting times for admittance * provision of more long-term elderly patient care * the speedier building of health facilities * more services for the disabled * reduction in waiting time for operations UNEMPLOYMENT REMAINS HISTORICALLY LOW Unemployment jumped by 3,100 people in March, although there has been a 6.6% drop in the numbers of unemployed people in the last year. The rate of unemployment is now 4.3%, equating to just over 170,000 people. DUBLIN IS GETTING MORE EXPENSIVE Dublin is now ranked 21st in the overall list of the most expensive cities in the world, up 4 places. The bi-annual survey measures the cost of living and working and has concluded that Dublin is now more expensive than New York, Rome or Beijing. Tokyo continues to top the list, followed by Osaka Kobe, Oslo and then Paris. London was placed seventh. The continuing weakness of the US DOllar when compared to the EURO has certainly contributed to the relative expensiveness of the major European capitals when compared to their North American counterparts. No USA city featured in the top 20. Tehran is the worlds most inexpensive major city to work and live. SOCCER AND RUGBY MAY BE ALLOWED INTO CROKE PARK The GAA has recently voted by 227 votes to 97 to allow the opening up of Croke Park to Soccer and Rugby. Doubts still remain however. It is possible that the GAA may make yet make it economically unviable for any prospective sporting organisations to use the facility. Landsdowne Road is due to be redeveloped so the prospect of the Irish soccer team playing home international matches in England or Scotland is still very much a possibility. Voice your opinion on these news issues here: http://www.ireland-information.com/cgi-bin/newsletterboardindex.cgi http://www.ireland-information.com/cgi-bin/newsletterboardindex.cgi ================================================= NEW FREE RESOURCES AT THE SITE ============================== NEW COATS OF ARMS ADDED TO THE GALLERY: The following 6 coats of arms images and family history details have been added to the Gallery: B: Baldwin C: Cantwell K: Kincaid M: O'Meara P: Pell S: Seay View the Gallery here: http://www.irishsurnames.com/coatsofarms/gm.htm THE PERFECT WEDDING, ANNIVERSARY OR BIRTHDAY GIFT! We now have over 100,000 worldwide names available. Get the Coat of Arms Print, Claddagh Ring, Screensaver, Watch, T-Shirt Transfer or Clock for your name at: http://www.irishnation.com/familycrestgifts.htm ================================================= EAMON DEVALERA: AN IRISH LEADER =============================== Foreword: Eamon DeValera was one of the most important figures in the history of Ireland. His relationship with the people of the country was often strained and his attitude and motives have frequently puzzled historians. The fact remains however, that without his involvement in the Irish Nationalist movement the course of Irish history would have been radically different. He was born in New York on the 14th of October in 1882 to Catherine Coll (a young Irish immigrant from County Limerick) and Juan Vivion DeValera (an immigrant of Spanish origin). Little is known of his early childhood except that his family moved from America in 1885 to Ireland where the young Eamon studied at Blackrock College in Dublin and was largely reared by his Grandmother. He studied languages and mathematics and was, like Michael Collins, a student of English Rule in Ireland. The early 1900s was a time of the great Gaelic cultural revival in Ireland as literature, drama, sport and the language of the Gaelic nation were all revived. The main spearhead of the revival was The Gaelic League which he joined in 1908. He was greatly influenced by the League and learned the Irish language whilst immersing himself in the Gaelic culture. The Gaelic League was an obvious recruiting ground for the various revolutionary organisations of the time and it was not long before DeValera became a member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood. DeValera was second in command to Thomas MacDonagh of the Dublin Brigade during the Easter Rising of 1916. The Rising failed and the seven leaders, MacDonagh and Pearse among them, were executed, along with 9 other rebels. DeValera was also sentenced to death as an organiser of the revolt but was to escape the firing squad because of the confusion surrounding his ancestry (the English authorities did not want to risk the execution of an American citizen). DeValera was elected as the leader of Sinn Fein upon his release and set about the formation of an Irish parliament (the Dail). He was arrested in 1918 for subversion and imprisoned in England in Lincoln prison. With the help of Michael Collins he escaped to America to raise both funds for and consciousness about, the Irish plight. In his absence the War of Independence was being waged by Collins. The English Prime Minister of the time was Lloyd George who wanted to see an end to the violence. DeValera returned to negotiate with Lloyd George and soon realised that his ambition of a free and independent Ireland would not be granted. He returned home and sent a delegation led by Michael Collins to negotiate a settlement. The subsequent Anglo-Irish Treaty was ratified by the Dail in 1922 but DeValera opposed both the partition of the country and the Oath of Allegiance to the English crown that the Treaty required. A bloody Civil War followed which saw both the defeat of the Anti-Treaty side, led by DeValera, and the death of Michael Collins. DeValera was again imprisoned but released in 1926 when he formed the Fianna Fail party. He now attempted to achieve his aims by the use of constitutional politics. By 1932 he had removed the Oath of Allegiance and sought about establishing an independent Ireland. He created an Irish Constitution in 1937 but an Irish Republic was not declared because of the partition of the country. DeValera resisted both bribes and threats from Churchill during the war years, ('the emergency'), and it was not until the Costello led Government declared a Republic in 1949 that the effects of the Anglo-Irish Treaty were finally removed from the Southern part of Ireland. Partition remained. DeValera was Taoiseach of Ireland for much of the fifties and on 25 June, 1959 he was inaugurated as President of Ireland, a position he held for 14 years. He retired in 1973 and died shortly afterwards, on 29th August 1975 at the age of 92. ================================================= ================================================= EIRE - A POEM by Anna Faustmann ============= Many years ago my heart flew away. And I know it still lies on this place. In my dreams it´s so near to me. There in a country across the sea. There where my heart was suddenly free and history whispers in every tree. They told us legends and things of creatures and mystical happenings. And often they spoke about the little one's traces. Here in this country on mysterious places. My heart is still there and waits for me in this country called Eire across the sea Anna Faustmann ================================================= COVER THE BUTTER by Carrie Kabak ================ Carrie Kabak is a former children's book illustrator. Born and raised in the United Kingdom, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, with her husband where she lives with her husband and five sons. The following excerpt is taken from 'Cover the Butter', her first novel. Publication Date: June 20, 2005 Available from Amazon and all good bookstores COVER THE BUTTER Thursday, November 22nd Longshank Farm, Cloondray 'Good morning, Katie, aren't you the early bird? Did you sleep well? Will I fetch you some breakfast?' 'That would be great. Thanks, Oona.' She wipes her hands on a chequered apron and holds out her arms, so I respond by taking two steps closer. 'You're very welcome,' she says, hugging me. 'It's grand meeting you at last, Katie. Pity it has to be at such a sad time. Last night it was too dark to see, but it's clear you're Bernadette Geraghty's grandchild.' I slide onto a long bench and rest my elbows on the table, my head in my hands. And that's when I see a neat pile of kittens sleeping in a cardboard box. 'Where's their mother?' I ask. 'Prudence will be after a drink in the parlour, she's always there at milking time.' I watch Oona slicing bread and putting eggs to boil. 'I plan to get a cat,' I tell her. 'I'll probably call her Dinah.' Oona bends down to lift one of the kittens. She spreads a tiny paw between her finger and thumb. 'Will you look at this?' 'Wow, six toes!' Oona kisses the squirming bundle before placing it in my lap. 'Only one girl in this litter, and she's for you. Take her home.' I gather the tiny limbs and body in my hands and ask Oona if she's sure? 'A gift from me,' she says. 'Thank you!' 'I'll get Barney to find a wooden box for your Dinah. Sure, it'll be no trouble taking her back to England.' She pushes a strand of damp hair from her forehead, and I see the shine of perspiration above her green eyes. 'Well, Katie, I've cooked two roasts and a leg of ham, and I have a churn of fresh butter ready. With all the bread and cakes and beer, let's hope we have enough for the visitors and mourners.' She wipes a tear from her cheek with the back of a hand. 'God rest your grandmother's soul.' Oona's a lump of a woman, as lazy as they come, and didn't she always have her eye on every penny of Mammy's money, let alone the land? 'Oh, here are the cows now,' she says. 'The milking is done. Now Barney will want his breakfast.' She works flour and cold potatoes together in a bowl to form a dough. 'Potato cakes?' I ask. 'Will you try some?' I put Dinah back with her brothers and smile a yes, and Oona waddles to the sink to swill her hands. Then I hear a shuffle, a clatter, a squelch and Barney's yip-yip. Black and white cows sway past the open door, lowing softly. There's a pungent odour of milk and hay and a few of the cows step out of line to gaze into the kitchen. They flare pink nostrils, roll their eyes and swish their tails before they're moved on with more yip-yips. 'Now, aren't they nosy?' says Oona, setting my breakfast down. I watch the procession until Barney slaps the last cow on the rump to send her through the gate to the field. I love it here. 'How did you get on with my grandmother?' I ask Oona. 'Well now, Kate, I'll tell you the truth. She had a vicious tongue, and she controlled with an iron fist. So strange. She'd love me one minute, despise me the next. And then the sweet would follow the sour again.' So like Biddy. Oona laughs, but it's a sad laugh. 'You're Mam doesn't like me much, either.' She freezes. 'Oh, Katie, I'm sorry, I shouldn't have said that.' Covering her mouth with a plump hand, she sits at the table. I dip a spoonful of egg into the tiny heap of salt on my plate, then eat it with a bite of toast. Here goes. 'I don't think my mother likes me much, either. But why, Oona?' 'Where exactly is your father's heart?' whispers Oona. 'It's obvious he's obsessed with you, Katie.' Our eyes meet. She's jealous? But no more can be said, because Josie walks in. Oona squeezes my arm and nods, then strokes the back of my head. A sinister wail intrudes our silence. 'What the hell was that?' asks Josie. Oona scrapes her chair on the stone floor as she jumps to put the kettle on. 'Take no heed, that will be old Mrs. Rooney.' Mrs. Rooney started keening after our poor Gran was laid out on Monday, says Oona, as she rolls out the potato dough, then cuts circles with an old jam jar. Keening's not done much around these parts any more, but the old lady insisted. She's been at our Gran's side all night. She must have had a little sleep in the armchair and just woken up to start her wailing again. Oona had better take her a cup of tea and a slice of something as soon as she's browned these potato cakes on the griddle. She leaves the kitchen. Her skirt is a mass of gathers, and her brown hair, a haphazard mess, is strung together with a ribbon. How in the world could anyone dislike her? Josie has her backside to me, warming her hands over the Aga. 'Aunt Biddy says Barney and Oona could give me a few items of furniture, at least. After all, Colin and me are getting married soon,' she says. I ignore the silly bitch and when I finish eating, I leave to get dressed. I'll help Oona get things ready for the funeral. I don't think she slept at all last night. I meet her in the hallway. 'Old Mrs. Rooney will start the lamentation again soon, so don't be alarmed,' she whispers. 'Will you help me feed the chickens and calves when you're dressed?' As I'm saying, 'I'd love to,' Biddy appears, fully dressed. 'Morning Kate,' she says, offering me a brief smile. 'Morning, Oona,' she says, not offering her a glance.
We feed the calves from buckets, and I help Oona mix a meal-mash for the hens. And it's above the clucking as they feed that she tells me Biddy can be a cruel woman. How many a time she would watch Oona cry when she made it obvious she didn't want her a member of the Geraghty family, when she and Barney were engaged. Go home, she said, to your seventeen brothers and sisters, do you think Mammy can help you support squads of children when you give birth to them?
'Well, Oona, Biddy only had me,' I say. 'What do you think she did? Abstain? She's a staunch Roman Catholic.' 'Here's the sad thing, though,' says Oona, scraping out the last of the mash to the floor. 'I can't have children. God didn't even grant me one wee baby of my own.'
Poor Oona. And dear God, I hope I haven't been granted one. That would be so unfair.
At twelve o'clock, the visitors and mourners file into the dark bedroom to pay their last respects. Biddy is there, stroking the solid oak casket with its superior quality linings, raised lid, and fitted die-cast brassed furniture complete with hand-painted nameplate. Yes, it is a lovely casket, she says. She and Shauna decided only the best was good enough for Mammy, who would have chosen the very same one herself.
I go to the kitchen to help pass out rolls filled with slices of beef and ham. Josie's fiancé Colin is having a hard time pouring the drinks. His face is a flushed tomato as he tries to keep up the pace.
'A whiskey, Sir? Right away.'
'Ah now, will you give us a decent measure?' asks a toothless character, nudging the neck of the bottle with his glass.
'Keep your ice,' says a massive bear stuffed in a black suit. 'Are you trying to spoil a good drink?'
'A large Guinness will do nicely,' whispers the frail Mrs. Rooney.
'Sweet sherry here.'
'A drop of Scotch.'
'One red, three white wines.'
'Another Guinness over here. Do we need a new bartender, boys? Sure, aren't we standing in line dying of thirst?' Poor Colin.
When I say I'm family, sympathy is expressed, condolences are offered, and I'm left with words that build a picture, teach me a little more about my grandmother. She had the thickest hair, the rosiest of cheeks, the deepest eyes for miles around. She cooked a fine roast, could dig a field of potatoes in one day. Could raise turf in the bog along with the most burly of workers, help bale hay, man a tractor. A strong soul, a tough soul-no one would dare cross her, may she rest in peace.
Cheers, Kate, and don't you have your grandmother's eyes? She does, doesn't she, Oona? Will you just look? Longshank House is soon milling with people celebrating the full and fiery life Bernadette Geraghty enjoyed on this earth.
When Father Rafferty arrives, each decade of the rosary is recited en masse, ending with -et lux perpétua lúceat ei. Requiéscat in pace. Amen.
My grandmother is carried to the sterility of a hearse. And that's when I cry.
Biddy adjusts my black hat, a little pillbox with a feather, and steps back.
'Pull you're skirt down, it's rising up at the back. Do you have a spot of red lipstick? You look as pale as paper. Let me see now. Good. Pull your shoulders back. Shauna, will you bring a box of tissues for the church?'
Dad is all starched and upright. His hair is neatly plastered, and he sports a new side parting. Biddy licks her finger and rubs at something on his collar, then says, 'Tom, lead me out.'
Uncle Frank and Aunt Shauna follow, then Josie and Colin, and when I look around, there's Barney with his hands on his hips. 'Take my arms, girls,' he tells me and Oona. 'It's time to say goodbye to Mammy.'
We pass the musicians on our way out, who sit on a stone bench in the yard, drinking stout. 'We'll put on a good show,' they assure Barney, raising their tankards.
'Mammy always loved a decent jig,' says Barney.
After the service, when we stand in the graveyard for the burial, I take Biddy's gloved hand. 'Kate,' she whispers, 'you must let go. I need both my hands to pray.'
I watch as she fingers her rosary beads with a quiet ferocity, mouthing a silent prayer. The authority, the discipline. I cling to the belief that this translates to love and her need to protect. Whatever it is, there's an odd security about it all.
'O God, by Your mercy rest is given to the souls of the faithful,' says the priest, 'please bless this grave. Appoint Your holy angels to guard it and set free from all the chains of sin the soul of Bernadette Geraghty whose body is buried here, so that with all Thy saints she may rejoice in Thee forever. Per Christum Dóminum nostrum.'