Michael Green

About Michael Green

Michael Green is Manager of The Information about Ireland Site

Economic Recovery In Ireland Is Under Way

Recently released statistics have revealed that 3653 new businesses were started in Ireland during May 2015, which is a 24% increase on the same month in 2014. There were 79 insolvencies registered during May, which is a 38% drop on the previous year.

Unemployment Rate in Ireland

These numbers are a sure indicator that the Irish economy is on the way back. Combined with the reduction in the rate of unemployment to 9.9%, down from over 15% at its worst and under 10% for the first time since 2009, the indications are good. Long term unemployment fell back from 7.3% to 5.9% during the last year, which is an incredible reduction by any standard. Unemployment has fallen in Ireland by over 2.2% in the space of one year. Of course these bare statistics do not account for the massive numbers of young Irish people who have been forced to emigrate since the financial collapse of 2008.

Government Minister Richard Bruton commented:
‘There are still many people around the country who are not yet feeling the benefits yet, and there is still a long way to go before we can say we have replaced all the jobs that were lost, before we can attract young emigrants home in large numbers, before we can have jobs available for all the unemployed.’

Labour Party Attempts to Buy Votes By Squandering Millions

The Labour Party has announced its intention to squander over 566 Million Euro of taxpayers money in an attempt to buy votes in the next General Election. State employees are to receive an average of 2000 Euro each over the next two years.

In an obvious throw-back to the politics of the past the blatant bribery is being criticized in many quarters, but not apparently by those who are to receive the cash. Despite this appalling wastage of public money in the interest of political salvation, the giveaway is unlikely to help the ailing Labour Party who look set to be destroyed at the next election.

Bizarre Rant Against Ireland On Australian TV

An incredible and perhaps even racist attack by Grahame Morris, a former advisor to the ruling Liberal party in Australian has been reported around the world. The politician was discussing the possibility of a gay marriage vote taking place in Australia and remarked that the Irish…

‘…are people who can’t grow potatoes….. They’ve got a mutant lawn weed as their national symbol and they can’t verbalize the difference between tree and the number three. But, and then all of a sudden, Australia has to follow suit’ (to hold a gay marriage referendum).

Irish Shamrocks

It is unclear if the reference to potatoes is an insult to the memory of those Million people who died during the 1845-1849 Great Famine in Ireland or if the insulter was lamenting the current ability of Irish people to grow potatoes. His reference to the Irish Shamrock as a ‘mutant lawn weed’ perhaps reveals more about his own anti-Irish bias than it does about his knowledge of gardening.

(Dont worry Australia, we know you aren’t all like this idiot.)

Phone Boxes May Be Removed From Irish Streets

For years the telephone boxes that were about the size of a large wardrobe dotted the streets of Ireland.

Irish Telephone Box

On rainy days (it does sometimes rain in Ireland) they provided a safe haven for a minimum of two people (depending on stature) and it was no surprise to see as many as three adults squashed into these tiny apartments, away from the torrential downpour outside.

Many have already been replaced by wall-mounted kiosks and it seems that the days of the remaining telephone boxes are numbered. Due to anti-social activity and the wide-spread usage of mobile phones there have been calls for these relics of a previous iteration of the data communication revolution to be dismantled forever.

The decline has already begun. According to Eircom, the telephone network provider, there were 836 payphones in Dublin in 2006. Less than ten years later there are now only 353.

21 Funny Quotes About Ireland

Hal Roach

‘If there were only three Irishmen in the world you’d find two of them in a corner talking about the other.

Maria Brandan Araoz (Argentine writer)

The History of Ireland in two words: Ah well.

The Invasion by the Vikings: Ah well.
The Invasion by the Normans. Ah well.
The Flight of the Earls, Mr Oliver Cromwell.

Daniel O’Connell, Robert Emmett, The Famine, Charles Stewart Parnell, Easter Rising, Michael Collins, Éamon De Valera, Éamon De Valera again (Dear Germany, so sorry to learn of the death of your Mr Hitler), Éamon De Valera again, the Troubles, the Tribunals, the Fianna Fáil Party, The Church, the Banks, the eight hundred years of rain:
Ah well.

Niall Williams, Irish author, born 1958, from ‘History of the Rain’

One was definitely Irish…. The second man was unmistakably American. It wasn’t so much his tan or dark hair that gave him away as how he held himself. He had an eager air, as though the world was full of possibility. Irish people never looked like that.

Rachael English, Irish broadcaster and writer, from ‘Going Back’

I think being a woman is like being Irish. Everyone says you’re important and nice, but you take second place all the same.

Iris Murdoch, Novelist and Philosopher, (1919-1999)

I am married to Beatrice Salkeld, a painter. We have no children, except me.

Brendan Behan
Brendan Behan

I think the Irish woman was freed from slavery by bingo…. They can go out now, dressed up, with their handbags and have a drink and play bingo. And they deserve it.

John B. Keane, Irish writer, (1928-2002)

I still hold two truths with equal and fundamental certainty. One: the British did terrible things to the Irish. Two: the Irish, had they the power, would have done equally terrible things to the British. And so also for any other paired adversaries I can imagine. The difficulty is to hold on to both truths with equal intensity, not let either one negate the other, and know when to emphasize one without forgetting the other. Our humanity is probably lost and gained in the necessary tension between them both. I hope, by the way, that I do not sound anti-British. It is impossible not to admire a people who gave up India and held on to Northern Ireland. That shows a truly Celtic sense of humor.

John Dominic Crossan, Irish-American scholar and writer (born 1934)

The Irish ignore anything they can’t drink or punch.

James Boswell, Scottish writer, (1740-1795)

I formed a new group called Alcoholics-Unanimous. If you don’t feel like a drink, you ring another member and he comes over to persuade you.

Richard Harris, Irish actor, (1930-2002)

It’s not that the Irish are cynical. It’s rather that they have a wonderful lack of respect for everything and everybody.

Brendan Behan, Irish writer (1923-1964)

I’m an atheist and I thank God for it.

George Bernard Shaw, Irish writer (1856-1950)

A Garda recruit was asked during the exam: ‘What would you do if you had to arrest your own mother?’ He answered: ‘Call for reinforcements.’


If this humor be the safety of our race, then it is due largely to the infusion into the American people of the Irish brain.

William Howard Taft, 27th US President (1857-1930)

When anyone asks me about the Irish character, I say look at the trees. Maimed, stark and misshapen, but ferociously tenacious.

Edna O’Brien, Irish writer, (born in 1930)

An Irishman will always soften bad news, so that a major coronary is no more than ‘a bad turn’ and a near hurricane that leaves thousands homeless is ‘good drying weather’.

Hugh Leonard, Irish writer, (1926-2009)

The English are not happy unless they are miserable, the Irish are not at peace unless they are at war, and the Scots are not at home unless they are abroad.

George Orwell, English Writer (1903-1950)

Dublin University contains the cream of Ireland – rich and thick.

Samuel Beckett, Irish writer, (1926-1989)

He knows nothing and he thinks he knows everything. That points clearly to a political career.

George Bernard Shaw, Irish writer, (1856-1950)

Joseph O'Connor

The most important thing I would learn in school was that almost everything I would learn in school would be utterly useless. When I was fifteen I knew the principal industries of the Ruhr Valley, the underlying causes of World War One and what Peig Sayers had for her dinner every day…What I wanted to know when I was fifteen was the best way to chat up girls. That is what I still want to know.

Joseph O’Connor,Irish writer, from ‘The Secret World of the Irish Male’

by Michael Green
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Funny Irish Road Signs Found in Ireland

Funny Irish Sign
A candidate for the best sign ever! (love the parachute guy)

Spotted outside a lunchtime Restaurant in Dublin

Funny Irish Sign
Someone had too much time on their hands

Political Poster not quite up to the job

Funny Irish Sign
County Leitrim. We agree – dont shoot tourists

Dont stand on… something ??

Funny Irish Sign
100KM on this road/dirt-track! Please disobey this road sign

Dont walk on the water? Good advice!

Funny Irish Sign
You wait there. I’ll be out in a minute

Typical Tourist Town Blarney

Funny Irish Sign

It’s not easy being a sheep in Ireland

Funny Irish Sign
The Irish entrepreneurial spirit in action

Kids will love this one

Funny Irish Sign
Someone got busy with Photoshop!

Love’s Young Dream

Funny Irish Sign
Here is a DIY building situation that certainly does need a few warning signs!

No Latte or other Fancy Coffee!

Funny Irish Sign
Who says the European Union does not have a sense of humor!

Funny Irish Sign
Some things in Ireland are free!

Funny Irish Sign
Someone in this Church is taking things a bit literally

Funny Irish Sign
A Dublin Church at Booterstown gets with the times.

Funny Irish Sign
The Russian community in Ireland is very active!

Funny Irish Sign
All together now: “….you cant touch this…”

Funny Irish Sign
Cant imagine why this Chinese Restaurant in Dublin went out of business.

Funny Irish Sign
Another musical one – sing this to the tune of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ by Queen.

Funny Irish Sign
Creepy looking ‘kids crossing’ sign – must have been Halloween.

Funny Irish Sign
You get fined more if you dont have the exact amount! Make sure you have the 74 cents!

Funny Irish Sign
The sudden arrival of Summer causes consternation and panic among Irish citizenry.

Funny Irish Sign
Anyone who has a brother or sister can relate.
‘I wouldn’t do it again’ …..brilliant!

by Michael Green
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Some Irish Quotes about Christmas

Christmas Quote

‘A Turkey never voted for an early Christmas’

‘On St. Patrick’s Day I to pretend to be Irish. At Christmas I pretend to be good.’

‘I think after Christmas would be better for publication: I am hardly a Christmas present.’
Oscar Wilde

‘There is a remarkable breakdown of taste and intelligence at Christmastime. Mature, responsible grown men wear neckties made of holly leaves and drink alcoholic beverages with raw egg yolks in them.’
P.J. O’Rourke

‘I stopped believing in Santa Claus when I was six. Mother took me to see him in a department store and he asked for my autograph.’
Shirley Temple

‘Our children await Christmas presents like politicians getting in election returns: there’s the Uncle Fred precinct and the Aunt Ruth district still to come in.’
Marcelene Cox

The Holidays are the one time you get to experience all the excitement of rush hour traffic in the mall parking lot.
Melanie White

‘The principal advantage of the non-parental lifestyle is that on Christmas Eve you need not be struck dumb by the three most terrifying words that the Government allows to be printed on any product: Some assembly required.’
John Leo

‘Sending Christmas cards is a good way to let your friends and family know that you think they’re worth the price of a stamp.
Melanie White

‘Once again, we come to the Holiday Season, a deeply religious time that each of us observes, in his own way, by going to the mall of his choice.’
Dave Barry’

‘There are 17 more shopping days until Christmas. So, guys, that means 16 more days till we start shopping, right?’
Conan O’Brien

Zen Christmas: the gift of nothingness.

by Michael Green
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14 Year Old Waterford Boy Was The Youngest Solider Killed In World War 1

Irish in World War One

During the 1970’s and 1980’s in Ireland the annual remembrance of those tens of thousands of Irish who gave their lives in the Great War was met with a kind of muted national indifference.

Certainly there was laying of wreaths and some elderly people would wear a poppy (before the poppy symbolism was hijacked by the British establishment in an effort to promote their own particular brand of nationalism).

But once the brief RTE television news report had been played the Irish people continued on without much acknowledgement of the anniversary, with younger people especially indifferent to what seemed like a quaint pre-independence ritual.

After all, the ‘real’ heroes of the Irish republic were the men of 1916, Pearse and Connolly, the men and women who had fought the War of Independence and the subsequent Civil War, deValera and Collins, plunging Ireland into a scarring divide that would hold the economically bankrupt country back for generations to come.

The Civil War divide still remains in Ireland, but it is very much on its last knees. At last a left-wing Labour movement has emerged (although not necessarily via the Labour Party). Incredibly that may even necessitate a union of the two former political enemies. Even twenty years ago this would have seemed like a fanciful proposition. It was just impossible to conceive that Fianna Fail and Fine Gael would form a coalition together. But now the electoral arithmetic makes that outcome a very real possibility.

What of the 50,000 who perished in the war? What is their legacy following the march of time.

First World War Recruiting Poster from Ireland

Finally it seems that their sacrifice is being realized. It was in 1966 that Sean Lemass, the Irish Taoiseach who is credited with dragging the country into the developed economic world remarked:

‘In later years, it was common – and I also was guilty in this respect – to question the motives of those men who joined the new British armies formed at the outbreak of the war, but it must, in their honour and in fairness to their memory, be said that they were motivated by the highest purpose, and died in their tens of thousands in Flanders believing they were giving their lives in the cause of human liberty everywhere, not excluding Ireland.’

It would be nearly a half century though before an admiration, or at least an acknowledgement, of those Irish troops who joined the British army could co-exist with a similar admiration (even worship in many cases) of those men and women who had fought in the cause of Irish freedom in the ruins of the GPO on Easter Sunday in 1916, or in the fields of Ireland against the Black and Tans in 1921.

Why did they do it? Why did the Irish volunteer for the British Army?

The motivation of soldiers in any age, including today, who are often impervious to any criticism, such is the level of bombast in certain places, is rarely easy to grasp.

Many initially volunteered for the money. This was the Ireland of ‘Strumpet City’ and ‘The Lockout’. Jobs were very hard to find and when found, paid poorly. Poverty, especially in the main Irish cities of Dublin and Cork was extraordinary, even by modern day standards.

Today there are various definitions of poverty, the most often used in Ireland is that anyone with an income of 60% of the average national wage is ‘in poverty’. In the decade leading up to the great war such a definition would have been much more relevant. In modern Ireland the lack of a TV satellite dish is regarded as a symbol of poverty. Everything is relative.

Most however, joined to represent their country and to fight for freedom. When the all but forgotten Irish nationalist John Redmond encouraged and even demanded that his Irish followers enlist in the British army to fight the German menace he did so in the hope that the service of the Irish would be remembered and rewarded. It is easy to look back now and lament at how naive he must have been.

Francis Ledwidge was an Irish volunteer who was to die in preparation of the Third battle of Ypres in 1917:

‘I joined the British Army because she stood between Ireland and an enemy of civilisation and I would not have her say that she defended us while we did nothing but pass resolutions.’

John Condon - the Boy Soldier

The stage was set in Ireland for another dramatic failure, as that what the Easter Rising was from a military standing. But the British over-reacted, executed the Irish rebel leaders. Their martyrdom ensured that the die was cast and the Irish journey to independence was unstoppable.

What might those Irish trapped in the blood-filled trenches of Belgium and France have thought now?

Francis Ledwidge again:

‘If someone were to tell me now that the Germans were coming in over our back wall, I wouldn’t lift a finger to stop them. They could come!’

Poelcapelle Cemetery in Flanders is the final resting place of Private John Condon who hailed from Waterford and was known as the ‘Boy Soldier’. He had worked as a bottler in Sullivan’s Bottling Stores in Waterford before, aged 13 years, he lied his way into the British army. He is recorded as the youngest military casualty of the first World War.

He died at the second battle of Ypres in May 1915, killed in action at Bellevarde Ridge on a day when ‘a strange greenish mist crept across from the enemy position, to attack the eyes and throat and burn out the lungs.’

So many Irish soldiers returned to their country with damage to their lungs from the poison they had breathed, many to suffer for decades with their injuries.

As many as 206,000 Irish soldiers served in the British army during the first world war.

Over 50,000 perished.

On this Remembrance Day nearly a century later should we not ask: Is Private John Condon any less of a martyr in the cause of Irish freedom than Pearse or Connolly?

by Michael Green
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11 Unusual Facts About Ireland You May Not Have Known

Irish Creations


The White House – 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20500, USA might look like any typical US address until you realize that it is the abode of the US President. The White House (perhaps the most photographed house in the history of humanity?) was designed by Irish architect James Hoban who was born in Kilkenny in 1758.

The Titanic – Surely the worlds most famous ship was built in Belfast at the Harland and Wolff shipyard. The mighty vessel sank on her maiden voyage with the loss of over 1500 lives.

The Hypodermic Needle – In 1844 Doctor Francis Rynd, a Dublin-based doctor, invented the hypodermic syringe which has been used as an instrument of curing and terror millions of times since. The world’s very first subcutaneous injection was administered in Dublin’s Meath hospital.

The Submarine – In 1900 the US Navy purchased a submarine called the ‘Holland VI’ renaming it the ‘USS Holland’ and the modern submarine age began. It was invented by John Philip Holland from County Clare who was the first to use battery power for submerged conditions in a submarine.

The Oscar – That most coveted of pieces of metal was designed by Austin Cedric Gibbons (1893 – 1960), the Irish art director and film production designer in 1928. The design represent sa Knight standing on top of a Film Reel gripping a sword.

Birthday Bumps


A tradition that is very familiar to those who grew up in 1970’s Ireland is that of the ‘bumps’. If it was your birthday and that fact became known among your schoolmates then you had better watch out! If you were grabbed in the schoolyard then you would be subjected to a succession of lifts and drops with your back either gently hitting grass or bouncing off hard concrete via the feet of your captors, depending on their mood. Counting upwards to the number of years the grand finale was an especially extravagant throw into the air at which point those among the mob who were most afraid of repercussions might try to catch you on the way down. Or not.

With the advent of law suits, school ‘codes of conduct’ and a general civilizing of the population the practice seems to have all but died out in Ireland but is still popular in English boarding schools and in India, apparently.

Saint Valentine is in Dublin


Completely true. Whitefriar Street Church in Dublin is the unlikely resting place of the relics of Saint Valentine that were presented by Pope Gregory XVI to an Irish Carmelite named John Spratt in the year 1835. In 1836 the remains were received by Archbishop Murray of Dublin and have been displayed in Whitefriar Street Church ever since. Engaged couples even attend the special mass held there on February 14th to bless their impending union.

Dublin City


The Gaelic words ‘dubh linn’ meaning a black pool or mire describe an ancient natural treacle lake located within the confines of Dublin Zoo in the Phoenix Park. The merging of these two words into Dublin clearly occurred before the practice of anglicizing names based on their English meaning took hold, else the fair city might have been known as Blackpool (or Blacklake, or Blackmire!).

National Symbol of Ireland


After years of leprechauns and blarney on television and film it is no wonder that most people the world over think that the Shamrock is the national symbol of Ireland. It is not. The Harp is. It adorned every Irish coin (before we gave away our sovereignty to the European Central bank, and see how that ended up) and is the official flag of the President of Ireland.

The reason for the prominence of the Shamrock in Irish culture is of course Saint Patrick, who, as explained by countless thousands of Irish school teachers over the last century, used the Shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity.

Saint Patrick was not Irish


And the national Saint of Ireland is…. a Briton. That’s right, the person responsible for the creation of more shamrocks, shillelaghs and green-foolery than anyone else was captured by Irish raiders from Britain (likely Wales but perhaps Cumbria) when he was about 16 years old.

It has also been suggested by Irish academic T. F. O’Rahilly that there may in fact have been two Patricks with many of the traditions associated with Saint Patrick more accurately belonging to Paladius who was the first Bishop of the Christians of Ireland sent by Rome, and who preceded Saint Patrick.

Thomas Francis Meagher


Ok lets get this straight. The Irish flag is not green, white and gold – it is green, white and orange! The orange is quite important to those in Ulster representing as it does the Protestant tradition there. The Green represents the Gaelic Irish. The white is a place in the middle where the two traditions can co-exist.

A very elegant design that was presented to the ‘Young Irelander’ Thomas Francis Meagher in 1848 by some French women who were sympathetic to the plight of famine-ravaged Ireland at that time. It was not until the 1916 Easter Rising that the flag became universally accepted as the flag of a free Ireland.

Irish Halloween Quotes

Including Some Irish Halloween Quotes

Halloween Quote

‘Nothing on Earth so beautiful as the final haul on Halloween night!’
US writer Steve Almond

‘Death leaves a heartache no one can heal,
Love leaves a memory no one can steal.’

From a headstone in Ireland

‘This Halloween I’m going as the ghost of our federal government.’

Lindsay Lohan

‘I have friends who wear Star Wars costumes and act like the characters all day. I may not be that deep into it, but there’s something great about loving what you love and not caring if it’s unpopular.’
US Actress Kristen Bell

‘If a man harbors any sort of fear, it makes him landlord to a ghost.’
US Writer Lloyd Douglas

Horror films are where women can shine and have a chance to lead. They always save the day in these films.
Actress Sarah Michelle Gellar

‘My daughter said she’s gonna be a hoe for Halloween. I think it’s cute that she likes gardening.’

‘True love is like ghosts, which everyone talks about but few have seen’
Author Unknown

‘May your Halloween be scarier than what’s actually going on with our country.’

‘Remember my friend, that knowledge is stronger than memory, and we should not trust the weaker’
Irish author Bram Stoker, from ‘Dracula’

‘Loneliness will sit over our roofs with brooding wings.’
Bram Stoker, from ‘Dracula’

But dreams come through stone walls, light up dark rooms, or darken light ones, and their persons make their exits and their entrances as they please, and laugh at locksmiths.
Famed Irish horror writer Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, from ‘Carmilla’

Quote about Halloween

The farther we’ve gotten from the magic and mystery of our past, the more we’ve come to need Halloween.
Writer Paula Curran, from ‘October Dreams: A celebration of Halloween’

‘One need not be a chamber to be haunted,
One need not be a house,
The brain has corridors surpassing,
Material place.’

US Poet Emily Dickinson

‘To suffering there is a limit – to fearing, none.’
English Writer Sir Francis Bacon, Essays, from ‘Of Seditions and Troubles’

‘The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.’
US Writer, H. P. Lovecraft

Tabhair féirín dom nó buailfidh mé bob ort!
PRONOUNCED: tour ferr-een dum no booligg may bob urt
MEANING: Trick or Treat
(give me a treat or I will play a trick on you!)

Find out about Irish Halloween Traditions

by Michael Green
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