The Information about Ireland Site Newsletter
The Newsletter for people interested in Ireland
Now received by over 50,000 people worldwide
Copyright (C) 2007
IN THIS ISSUE
=== News Snaps from Ireland
=== New free resources at the site
=== Ireland's Greatest Natural Resource by Mike Ryan
=== Reading the Irish landscape by Andrea Santillo
=== A Lament for Padraig Pearse by Amanda McFadden
=== Gaelic Phrases of the Month
=== Shamrock Site of the month: Celticattic.com
=== Monthly free competition result
Happy Spring from Ireland where General Election
fever is just starting. The polling date has been
set and our lampposts are set to be covered in
every shade of poster imaginable - it should be
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NEWS SNAPS FROM IRELAND
NORTHERN IRELAND PARLIAMENT TO BE RECONVENED
In yet another historic landmark the Northern
Ireland Assembly is to be reconvened on May
8th after a deal between the Unionist DUP and
Nationalist Sinn Fein was finally struck. Prior
to the announcement the DUP had never directly
negotiated with Sinn Fein. Ian Paisley and
Gerry Adams had never actually spoken to each
other! The significance of the renewal of the
Northern parliament in the context of recent
Irish history cannot be overstated. Irish leader
Bertie Ahern was quoted as saying that the
agreement had 'the potential to transform the
future of this island'.
GENERAL ELECTION TO BE HELD ON MAY 24
Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has finally set the date
for the general election which will be held on
May 24th. Recent polls have made very bad reading
for the current Government coalition of Fianna
Fail and the PDs. Of course anything can happen
in the next few weeks and it is expected that
campaigning will be fierce as the most expensive
election in Irish history gets under way.
Fianna Fail: under pressure from several angles
but have a booming economy, the release of the
SSIA funds and their experience of being in
government to present to the electorate. Are
Bertie Ahern's teflon coat-tails as long as
they use to be?
Fine Gael: looking to make big gains and are
predicted to do so after the disastrous outing
in the last election. Doubts still remain however
about the choice of Enda Kenny as a prospective
Labour: seem to be stagnant in the polls but are
likely to be 'king-makers' when the ballots are
finally counted. Labour have repeatedly stated
that they will not share power with Fianna Fail but
it remains to be seen if the alternative 'rainbow'
coalition of which they are an integral part can
muster an overall parliamentary majority.
The Green Party: Surely the Green Party can ride
the eco-wave to more seats. A Fianna Fail and
Green Party government cannot be ruled out.
Sinn Fein: after being predicted to make big
gains according to successive polls the Sinn Fein
vote seems to have stalled in recent months. They
should still make gains but their overall
unpopularity with the other parties may yet
exclude them from any coalition.
The Progressive Democrats: The PDs must be the
most worried of all of the political parties.
Their outstanding performance in the last election
staggered commentators but they are going to have
to do some serious canvassing if they want a
Independents: Local issues always dominate
elections so there will undoubtedly be a good
representation of independents after the next
poll. Quite a few of these have leanings towards
Fianna Fail and their vote could yet be crucial
to Bertie Ahern's ambition of staying in power.
PROPERTY PRICES BEGIN TO FALL BACK
The inevitable end to the Irish property
phenomenon looks to be finally in sight. For half
a decade various economic bodies and magazines
have forecast the end of the huge growth in Irish
house prices. It looks as if the corner is about
to be turned. It is expected that the tipping
point of supply meeting demand may be met in 2007
but this depends on a number of factors, including
overall economic performance, EU interest rates
and the willingness of foreign workers to live and
earn their wages in Ireland.
With 10% of the entire population now being
classed as 'foreign national' the effect of a
large number of these leaving Ireland to return to
their homeland (and thus not needing rented
accommodation) remains to be seen.
It is estimated that there are now as many as
120,000 unoccupied investment and holiday
'second-homes' lying idle. With construction at
an all-time high (up to 80,000 units annually in
recent years), it remains to be seen if the
slowdown will develop into a full-scale 'bust' or
if there will be a gradual 'soft-landing'.
The Political establishment is not helping. All of
the parties had made promises to reform the
punitive stamp duty that occurs every time a
property is sold. On the sale of a EURO 400,000
property (approx US$528,000), the Government pockets
EURO 24,000 in stamp duty (US$ 32,000 approx), every
time the house is sold. There is little doubt that
part of the reason for the slowdown in activity in
the property market is that builders and investors
are waiting to see which political parties form
the next government and what their policy on
stamp duty will be.
It would not come as not much surprise however, if
the market took off again after the general
election especially if interest rates were to
moderate at about 4.5% or even fall back. On the
other hand if investors bail out of the property
market and the slowdown in construction sees an
exodus of foreign workers then the pain could be
very severe indeed
IRISH ECONOMIC GROWTH TO CONTINUE
The Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI)
has forecast growth in the Irish economy by as
much as 5.4% in 2007 but expected this growth
rate to slow in subsequent years. It forecasts
inflation of 4.6% which will ease to 2.6%. One of
the main reasons why the ESRI is so optimistic in
regard to economic growth is the release of the
SSIA funds into the overall economy. The
government sponsored SSIA scheme will pump
billions of consumer spending power into the
economy which should keep it progressing well
OPEN SKIES DEAL TO BENEFIT IRELAND
The new arrangements negotiated between the
EU and the US will allow for greater access
to a greater number of cities on both sides
of the Atlantic. Already Aer Lingus have
announced new routes with the direct flights
from Dublin to San Francisco, Washington and
Orlando certain to be among the most popular.
The deal will also likely see the entry into
the long-haul market of Ryanair and the other
The controversial 'Shannon stopover' will be
ended as part of the deal. Previously all
flights from the US to Ireland had to stop at
Shannon airport in the west of the country.
The new deal is also likely to facilitate
smaller airports around the country getting
a piece of the action.
DECLINE IN ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION IN IRELAND
A report commissioned by the drinks industry has
shown that consumption of alcohol in Ireland has
fallen back by 7% since 2001. The Business School
at Dublin City University conducted the research.
The findings would seem to give merit to the view
that Irish attitudes to drinking and especially to
attending pubs is beginning to change. The smoking
ban has long been suspected of having an adverse
effect on alcohol consumption in pubs and, together
with a much tougher regime of enforcement in
respect of drink-driving, it is clear that many
people are going out a lot less and thus drinking
PADRAIG PEARSE LETTER TO REMAIN IN IRELAND
The last letter written by Padraig Pearse from his
Kilmainham Jail cell has been sold for EURO
120,000. Pearse was one of the architects of the
famous Easter Rising in 1916. He was executed
shortly after the letter was written. The letter
was purchased by an anonymous benefactor on behalf
of the state and will be displayed in the National
Museum of Ireland.
IRISH CRICKET TEAM CAUSE SENSATION
The very English game of cricket has proved to be
the latest playground for the display of Irish
sporting prowess. Participating in the World Cup
in Jamaica and the West Indies the Irish team were
regarded as no-hopers. A surprising draw against
Zimbabwe was followed by a sensational victory over
Pakistan which saw the Irish team progress to the
final stages of the competition. Australia were the
eventual tournament winners.
Voice your opinion on these news issues here:
NEW FREE RESOURCES AT THE SITE
FREE KIDS GAMES TO PRINT:
Go here to print off some simple games to teach
kids about Ireland:
NEW COATS OF ARMS ADDED TO THE GALLERY:
The following 5 coats of arms images and family
history details have been added to the Gallery:
S: Sherwin, Sutherland
View the Gallery here:
THE PERFECT WEDDING, ANNIVERSARY OR BIRTHDAY GIFT!
We now have over 100,000 worldwide names available.
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IRELAND'S GREATEST NATURAL RESOURCE by Mike Ryan
In 1995, my cousin John Joseph Ryan, from Tuam,
County Galway died. I was in the country at the
time and was actually a day late to have seen him
alive. The entire town of Tuam treated my wife,
her aunt and cousin and myself so very graciously.
Junie Loftus, owner and operator of Loftus Pub in
Tuam, arranged for our B & B, told me where to get
the flowers, where to get the black tie and made
sure that everyone I was to meet knew of my
relationship to the deceased. The restaurant
opened early to facilitate us so that we might
eat before going to the funeral parlour. I wrote
a letter to the Tuam Herald in 1995 and didn't
they print the entire letter in their paper, so
that all could know the great appreciation that my
family and I had for all that was done for us while
in Tuam. And each person when I thanked them would
only say 'sure it's the Irish way'.
I have been to Italy, Germany, England, France,
Israel, occupied Jordan, Canada and of course
Ireland. And I can say that there were many
wondrous things to see and experience in all of
the countries. BUT none can compare to Ireland's
greatest natural resource, her people! Nowhere on
earth are the people as nice and considerate as
they are in Ireland. I always say that the worse
part of going to Ireland is leaving to come back to
the States. I am an American, a veteran of military
service (1965-69) and former police officer and I
am very proud of America, but I am also very proud
to be second generation Irish in America.
Thank you for allowing me to express my thoughts
on your fine site.
KEEP THIS NEWSLETTER ALIVE!
READING THE IRISH LANDSCAPE by Andrea Santillo
As an American with no Irish ancestry you might
wonder what I am doing here in Sligo. I have the
best of landscape with Knocknear in the back yard
and Ben Bulben up the road but surely, the history
of Ireland is 'write' in the names of the towns
The prefix 'drum' in a name indicates a 'fort' and
there were plenty of forts in Ireland. For example,
near Cookstown are Drummond, Drumard, Drumgarrell,
Drumearn, Drumcarn, Drumraw and Drumballyhugh. In
Dublin we have Drumcondra and Dundrum.
Leitrim which is also known for its ridges has its
Drumshanbo and Drumahair which is where I went to
visit the famous abbey.
But see how much more the name can tell us about
Donegal is the fort of the foreigner
('gall' in Irish means foreigner)
Kildare is the church of oak
('cill' in Irish means 'church', 'dara' means
Kilkenny is the church of St. Candice.
Sligo is named after the Shelly River.
Dublin has its black pool in the Phoenix Park
(Dubh-Linn, from Gaelic, 'the black mire')
Derry is Doire, the oak again.
Ardboe in the North means 'hill of the cow'
(from the Irish word 'bo' meaning cow).
Lissan means 'Anne's Lis' who was a Fairy Queen and
guardian spirit of the O'Connor family.
The Irish word for Ulster is 'ulidia' meaning
'the land east of the river Bann'.
Tyrone is from 'tir Eoin' - the land of Owen.
(in Irish 'tir' means 'land')
Lough Swilly is the lake of shadows.
Tulluhogue is the hill of youth
(in Irish og, ogue, means 'young')
Howth in Dublin is derived from the Danish hoved
or head (The Vikings landed here!)
Glendalough in Wicklow is the valley of the
Naas in Kildare is really 'Nas Na Ri', Naas of
Meath, a central county is 'Midhe'- the middle,
Dowth is from the Irish for 'darkness', found
Cork is from 'Coraigh', a marshy place
Killarney is from 'Cill Airne', the church of
Omagh is the seat of the chiefs
Belmullet in Mayo is 'Beal a Mhuirthead',
the mouth of the Mullet.
Reading the landscape can give one an insight into
what has gone before. I urge all people coming to
Ireland to get off the beaten path and look into
the least traveled sections of this, my adopted
home - somewhere where you can have your
own personal link with the past.
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A LAMENT FOR PADRAIG PEARSE by Amanda McFadden
I read the poem Padraig Pearse wrote on the night of
his execution, and so in response I wrote this:
Sorrowfuly, you went upon your way,
For a shadow casted over your dream,
Things young and happy ceased to exist, the beauty
Like an eclipse, darkness descended upon your soul,
Sorrowfully you accepted your fate.
Dreams live in the soul, your soul survived,
The rising of the sun lifted the shadow from your
Things young and happy blossomed in the light.
Like the sun, energy radiated from your dream.
Transcending time, your dream lived on,
I feel the beauty of your soul in my heart.
Your aspirations, intellect, and courage inspired me,
You are a hero, my hero.
GAELIC PHRASES OF THE MONTH
PHRASE: Ta me Tuirseach
PRONOUNCED: thaw may tir/shock
MEANING: I am tired
PHRASE: Ta me ar buille
PRONOUNCED: thaw may air boo/ill/ya
MEANING: I am angry
PHRASE: Ta me air meisce
PRONOUNCED: Thaw may air mesh/kah
MEANING: I am drunk
View the archive of phrases here:
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APRIL COMPETITION RESULT
The winner was: email@example.com
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A Single Family Crest Print (decorative)
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I hope that you have enjoyed this issue.
Until next month,
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