Origin of the ‘Black Irish’

There are a number of theories about the origin of the term ‘Black Irish’. Almost all were intended as a form of insult or as a means of differentiating one particular group from another. The theories regarding the origin of the phrase ‘Black Irish’ include: 1. Descendants of Viking and Norman invaders who eventually settled in Ireland may have been referred to as ‘Black Irish’. This is more likely because of the dark intentions of the invaders rather than their physical appearance. 2. One of the consequences of the disastrous ‘Spanish Armada’ in the year 1588 was that groups of … Continue reading Origin of the ‘Black Irish’

Grandma’s Gramophone – a story by Michael Collins

The wheelchair was uncomfortable and the retirement home smelt musty. Martin settled himself into the seat as best he could, trying to find the most favourable position for his withered and bony bottom and thighs. Ahead of him stretched another long day of inactivity. Since the stroke had paralysed his body but had left his mind intact he had had a long string of such days. Make the best of it, he thought. Use your mind. Think long and hard of good things and bad things. Spin the day out. So what’s today’s story that I’m going to re-tell myself? … Continue reading Grandma’s Gramophone – a story by Michael Collins

Unexpected Chinese Boost for Irish Tourism

In the wake of the unexpected blossoming of the Irish whale-watching business the Irish tourist industry is today celebrating another notable boost. In a surprising boost for Irish tourism the Chinese ‘Oriental Morning Post’ newspaper has declared that Ireland is the world’s best travel destination. A poll conducted by the newspaper was announced at the ‘World Travel Awards’ in Shanghai. The vote of confidence for the Irish tourist experience follows on from the 2012 ‘most charming destination’ award from the Beijing ‘Life Style’ magazine. As many as two million Chinese tourists visit Europe every year but clearly Irish Tourist businesses … Continue reading Unexpected Chinese Boost for Irish Tourism

Whale-Watching Season begins off Irish Coast

Perhaps it is a sign of global warming or maybe it is just the natural cycle of the seas but in recent years an unlikely tourist activity has begun in the Irish sea: Whale-Watching. Several humpback and fin whales have arrived in Irish waters about 5km from the County Wexford coastline. An abundance of herring fish in the area has attracted the massive creatures with a ‘super-pod’ of dolphins also being reported. The arrival of the whales is sure to boost the local economy with fishing and tourist boats able to bring visitors and photographers out onto the water for … Continue reading Whale-Watching Season begins off Irish Coast

Increase in Support for Fianna Fail as Government Parties Suffer

A recent opinion poll of Irish voters has shown a further increase in support for Fianna Fail. The party that has been blamed for the current economic downturn was pummeled in the last General Election but is now beginning to show signs of recovery. Perhaps part of the reason for Fianna Fail’s rebound is the failure of Fine Gael to introduce a ‘new kind of politics’ as they promised. At the last General Election Enda Kenny’s party asked Fianna Fail supporters to ‘lend us your vote’ while they got the country back on track. Many voters did and it seems … Continue reading Increase in Support for Fianna Fail as Government Parties Suffer

Big Increase in Smoking Among Irish Women

There has been a big increase in the number of Irish women who smoke cigarettes. One in three Irish women now smoke regularly with lung cancer now overtaking breast cancer as the main cause of cancer death among women in Ireland. Tobacco companies have been blamed for targeting women, depicting their products as glamorous and buying high-profile endorsements in television programs such as ‘Sex in the City’, among others. The desire of younger women especially to curb their weight has also led to an increase in smoking since the use of cigarettes curbs appetite. Perhaps most depressing is the statistic … Continue reading Big Increase in Smoking Among Irish Women

Flag Protests Continue in Ulster

The demonstrations by Ulster Unionists over the Union Jack Flag controversy have continued with no end in sight. The protests were sparked by the recent decision by Belfast City Council to restrict the number of days that the British Union Jack flag would be flown above Belfast City Hall from 365 days to 17. Increasingly violent protests have been taking place with Belfast business owners despairing at the loss of revenue and warning of possible job losses. Unionist protesters are even planning to demonstrate outside the Irish parliament building (DailĀ Eireann) in an event that is certain to be met with … Continue reading Flag Protests Continue in Ulster