Irish Property Market May Rebound

The part that the collapse in the Irish property market played in destroying the Irish economy has been well documented. The 2007 height of the market now seems like an eternity ago with prices falling by as much as 47% according to the Irish Central Statistics Office (CSO).

The market collapsed, the banks collapsed, the economy collapsed. The EU, IMF and ECB provided loans to Ireland to keep the country running on condition that part of these loans was used to pay back bondholders in Europe, many of whom were based in Germany and France. The punitive rate of interest being charged for these loans is also the subject of ongoing negotiations between the Irish government and the European ‘troika’.

Nevertheless there are signs that 2012 may have marked the actual bottom of the property market. Figures from the CSO have revealed that house prices actually rose in November by 1.1%, despite showing an overall annual decline of just under 10%.

The news that US bank Wells Fargo has located four senior bank officials in London for the express purpose of examining the Irish property market is a further sign that there may still be some life in the housing market in Ireland. Irish banks are very reluctant to lend at the moment to anyone other than the most financially secure. Despite their protestations it has become nearly impossible for young first-time buyers to get a mortgage and buy a property.

A scenario whereby the economy recovers somewhat in tandem with the arrival of a new banking force could cause a significant upwards bounce for the ailing Irish construction industry that has always been one of the country’s biggest employers.

Memories of an Irish Christmas by Marie O’Byrne

‘Hurry today love, there’s a lot that needs to get done. We have to catch the early bus into Bray to pick up the turkey!’

My mother spoke fast and very excitedly as she handed me the empty milk pail. It was early in the morning on Christmas Eve. I put on my wool coat and hat, grabbed the milk pail and ran out the door. I was about twelve years old. Running across the fields to the Massey Farm, I could see the small footprints I made in the frosty morning grass, and I could feel the hard ground beneath my feet. My breath felt bitter cold in the thick veil of foggy dew that was rising slowly from the ground all around me. Not a sound could be heard from the robins or the sparrows this morning – the air was far too cold for any birdsong. The handle from the metal pail left red marks on my bare hands and I ran as fast as I could to stay warm until I reached the old milk parlor. I dropped off the empty pail, picked up the full one, and walked carefully back home across the fields making sure I did not spill any milk along the way. I knew my mother would know, somehow she always knew if I had spilled any of the milk.

She had her purse out and her list ready. At the top of the list were the turkey and the ham, then the brussels sprouts and the carrots and parsnips. The turkey had been on order at the butcher’s shop for weeks, but she liked to have it in her hands early on Christmas Eve as she had to make sure there was enough stuffing prepared to feed our large family of thirteen and Aunt Peggy. After we had picked up the turkey and the ham and the vegetables and a big box of Christmas crackers we headed back down the busy street towards the bus stop, both of us with our arms full of shopping bags. On the journey home as I chomped on a bar of Dairy Milk Chocolate, she chatted away to me in nervous anticipation of the big day ahead, It was like she was running through in her mind all the preparations that needed to be done.

‘I’ll make the stuffing once I get in, and you and Pauline can peel all the potatoes and vegetables and put them in pots of water on the stove top. The cake and the pudding are ready and Dad has the whiskey and the Guinness. Angela will whip up the cream tomorrow so it will be nice and fresh and then we’ll be all set’ she went on, sometimes repeating herself. ‘Do you think it will snow for Christmas Day, Ma?’ I asked her again. ‘Well, it sure feels like it love, it’s certainly cold enough but we’ll have to wait and see’ she replied matter of factly. The Christmas tree was already up and decorated. My brothers had collected plenty of holly and firewood from the local forest and the fireplace mantle had been decorated festively with lots of red berried holly and red candles. The holly was also placed on top of all the picture frames throughout the house.

I remember walking to Midnight Mass with my family. Over the road we all went and up the hill to St. Killians as the familiar church bells rang out across the dark, cold village. It was the one night of the year I was never afraid to be out in the dark. My five sisters and I were dressed in new red wool tights and matching red ribbons in our hair. Even though our coats and shoes were old and worn, on that night all we saw were the new red tights and the new ribbons in our hair. My father, a very proud ex-military man from the Irish Army, insisted on all of us having clean shoes for Mass and every Saturday night his job was to clean and polish all the shoes. He laid out thirteen pairs of shining, polished shoes on the back doorstep ready for us all for Sunday morning’s Mass.

I remember the priest placing baby Jesus in the manger and lighting the red candle in the hanging lantern by the straw. The choir sang out the familiar carols to the sound of the beautiful old church organ, and it was like the whole world had lit up. Our family filled the whole pew, my mother smiled over at me and my father smiled and nodded his head back at my mother. All seemed well with the world that night.

After Mass, my mother placed a large candle in the front window as was the custom back then, to symbolize a warm welcome in our home to the baby Jesus, and to any strangers or neighbors that would be out on that holy night. The lighted candle in the window and the handmade holly wreath on the green front door will forever remain etched in my memory.
My father, who was a very good cook, put the turkey in the oven and sat by the fire with a glass of whiskey. He basted the big plump turkey throughout the night with a large metal spoon. He had just the lights of the Christmas tree and the blazing fire glowing in the room as he nodded off and on in his armchair. Back then cooking a turkey was an all night affair, and I remember him saying that it had to be cooked ‘easy and slow’. There was never a complaint from him even though he knew he had a long days work ahead in the kitchen the next day.

With great wonderment and delight I awoke very early in the morning to a small doll with black hair and a frilly blue bonnet at the end of my bed. There was a big pop-out book called ‘Pinky and Perky’ and some chocolates and crayons wrapped up in red Santa paper. Santa had come! My sisters and I immediately began to eat the chocolates. Mid-morning, our elderly neighbors Joe and Molly, who had no children of their own, came over for their Christmas glass of whiskey and a slice of mothers Christmas cake. As they all sat on the sofa by the fire they raised their glasses.

‘To your good health Jim and Carmel’ they toasted. ‘And to you too! May we all be around this time next year! Please God!’ replied my father as he raised his glass and smiled. To this day the smell of Jameson’s whiskey reminds me of Christmas morning.

Since we only had the one room for entertaining and dining we had to wait for Joe and Molly to leave before we six girls got very busy setting the table with all kinds of good things: slices of ham and turkey, roast potatoes and colorful vegetables, and a big jug of gravy. There was an extra wooden section of the table inserted to accommodate fourteen people, our family of thirteen and my Aunt Peggy who lived with us. A Christmas cracker was placed on each plate. With red and green paper hats on our heads and a full glass of lemonade or wine in our hands we all shouted ‘Happy Christmas!’ and toasted one another.

‘Sure this is great,’ my father always said as he carved the big turkey. ‘What more could we ask for? I mean it, what more could any of us ask for?’ He discreetly kissed my mother on the cheek. This was the one day of the year when there was food and drink aplenty and you could eat away to your heart’s content. Amidst great chatter and joke telling we sat around and ate our fill by the big blazing fire. We paused after dinner to hand out our presents to each other that we had bought with our saved money. They were small gifts: candy or chocolates, mittens, scarves, or my sister Eileen’s handmade handkerchiefs and tea cozies.

With record speed the girls cleared off the table and washed all the dishes to get ready for dessert. My mother and father heated up the slices of plum pudding and prepared the whipped cream and custard – a great ending to our Christmas dinner.

Neighbors and friends dropped in and out to say hello in the afternoon and to have a drink by the fire and to tell a joke or two. We would often break into song as we played with our toys and board games and the boy’s played cards and read books that they had received from Santa.
Later in the evening my mother made a big pot of tea and we all had a slice of Christmas cake and a warm mince pie. Christmas day was winding down now, soon to be over for another year.

Now that I am older I often reflect on my simpler, childhood Christmas’s and I believe my father was so right. ‘What more could we have asked for?’ We did indeed have it all! We had each other, a big loving family living in a three bed roomed cottage; not rich by any standards, but we had lots of food and a big glowing warm fire. The sights and sounds of Christmas past will always remain with me in my heart.

I hope you all have a joyful Christmas with the one’s you love, wherever you may be and I wish you all a very happy and peaceful New Year, full of goodness and blessings.

Marie O’Byrne. Kingsburg, California.
www.marieobyrne.com

Trouble Continues in Ulster Over Flag Restrictions

The decision by Belfast City Council to restrict the number of days that the British Union Jack flag can be flown above Belfast City Hall from 365 days to 17 has been greeted with an escalating amount of violent protest in Belfast and beyond.

At least 27 police officers have so far been injured in the violence that has followed several protests by loyalists who oppose the decision. Bricks and petrol bombs have been thrown at security forces, cars burned and death threats made to Councillors.

Despite appeals by the North’s First Minister Peter Robinson,himself a loyalist, for the violence to cease, it has been reported that loyalist paramilitary influence may be driving the protests.

The violence has coincided with the visit by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who was warmly greeted by both Peter Robinson and his Sinn Fein counterpart Martin McGuinness. The former first-lady and her husband Bill Clinton were pivotal figures in the fledgling peace process and became the first US President and first-lady to visit the province in 1995.

Osborne, Lavery and Leech – A Trio Of Irish Painters

Walter Osborne was born in 1859. He painted mainly in the French Brittany region of Quimperle but moved to England in 1884. His paintings of rural scenes that dominated his early years gradually gave way to an ‘impressionistic’ interpretation of those subjects that he had great empathy for, namely women, small children and old people. His superb images of young girls at play are still cherished by the National Gallery of Ireland: The Dolls School, The House Builders.

John Lavery was born in Belfast but was educated in Glasgow, London and Paris. He originally worked as an apprentice photographer but harboured ambitions to be a portrait artist. He became an official war artist and eventually a chronicler of his times with paintings such as ‘The Ratification of the Irish Treaty in the English House of Lords, 1921′ and ‘Blessing of the Colors: A Revolutionary Soldier Kneeling to be Blessed’. His most famous work was perhaps that of his wife, Lady Lavery, ‘The Red Rose’ which was a painting that had a number of incarnations before it forever bore the face of the woman who was to adorn the Irish Pound note for half a century.

William John Leech was born in Dublin in 1881 and studied under Walter Osborne at the Royal Hibernian Academy Schools. He became increasingly interested in sunlight and shadow and this perhaps might explain why the famous painting ‘The Goose Girl’ was accredited to him. So proud of this wonderful interpretation of a girl in a bluebell field was the National Gallery of Ireland that it adopted the image as their logo, only to finally have to accept that the painting was in fact completed by the Englishman Stanley Royle. He can be regarded as one of the great Irish ‘colorists’ as can be seen by his superb image: ‘Les Soeurs du Saint-Esprit, Concarneau’, c. 1910-1912 which has to be one of the finest of all Irish paintings.

Sixth Successive Austerity Budget May Be The Final Straw

The annual budget announced by the Irish Government has been received with a greater degree of anger and protest than previous announcements. This is the sixth successive austerity budget that Irish Governments have enacted. All have been unpopular but this latest budget may represent a tipping point.

Already reeling from years of tax hikes and cuts in services the Irish public had elected Fine Gael and the Labour Party on the basis that a new direction would be taken. A very different direction from that followed by the previous Fianna Fail administration.

It is not that the Irish people expected a sudden end to the financial pain that the country has endured – far from it. But they were entitled to expect that Fine Gael and Labour would not simply continue to enact Fianna Fail’s policies. These were the very policies that caused Fianna Fail to be trounced so convincingly at the last general election.

Fine Gael promised a new direction while Labour promised to protect the less well-off and vulnerable. These latest budget announcements have clearly made a lie of those promises.

Cuts to child benefit, a new property tax, increases in social insurance payments, cuts to services to pensioners! 3.5 Billion euro in cuts and tax hikes were announced which will result in just about every family being hit by an average of at least an extra 1000 euro annually. The important word in that last sentence is ‘extra’. The property tax alone will take hundreds from every household on top of the other taxes.

‘You cannot tax your way out of a recession’ is a tenet that clearly the current Government does not agree with. It is just impossible to quantify the amount of cash that is being taken out of the Irish economy, both in terms of actual currency and in terms of consumer and investor confidence, at precisely the time when that economy needs to be stimulated.

It seems that Fine Gael are playing a long game. Get the pain over with now. Take the hit and hope things turn around in the next couple of years before the next election. If all fails then blame the last Fianna Fail Government for getting us into this mess. If the economy turns the corner and things improve then they can claim the credit. Pretty cynical stuff.

And what of the Labour Party – the protector of the vulnerable. By introducing a property tax in Ireland they have likely provided Sinn Fein with the final nail to pound into their coffin. The property tax will be an annual tax and it is almost certain to be one of the big issues that may even decide the next general election. Labour look certain to be decimated. Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein can offer to scrap the tax if they are installed in power – that would be a sure vote-grabber. Pretty cynical stuff.

The next few days and weeks will show if the Irish people still have some fight left. Is this really a tipping point or have the Irish simply given up and succumbed to the weight of recession and austerity? And cynicism.

Ireland Ranked 25th Most Corrupt Country in 2012

The Berlin based watchdog ‘Transparency International’ has released its latest report regarding national public sector corruption.

The new study uses metrics such as the independence and efficiency of the state judicial system as well as the effectiveness of oversight of public spending to compile the list. According to the latest results Ireland has fallen from 19th place last year to 25th place in 2012. The study measures the perception of corruption, given that most corrupt dealings are secret or never detected.

Of the 176 countries that were analyzed Greece ranked in 94th place, the worst of any EU country. Widescale corruption and tax evasion continue to compound the problems of this bankrupt country, already reeling from years of austerity and facing into perhaps decades more.

New Zealand, Denmark and Finland were ranked as the least corrupt countries. It is perhaps no coincidence that these three countries are also among the top countries to be born in according to a recent study by the Economist Intelligence Unit. Somalia, North Korea and Afghanistan were listed as the most corrupt countries.

The US was ranked in 19th place with Germany in 13th, Britain and Japan in 17th place, and France in 22nd. With China in 80th place and Russia in 133rd place the report clearly cites the need for sustained political action in order for a country to improve its perception of corruptness.

Italy in 72nd place, Bulgaria in 75th, and Romania in 66th place demonstrates the problems facing those EU countries and especially so in the light of the current plans to install a new European-wide banking supervisor.

10 Things You May Never Have Known About Dublin

HOW DUBLIN GOT ITS NAME

The Gaelic name for Dublin is ‘Baile Atha Cliath’ which translates literally as ‘town of the hurdle ford’, a description of the bank of wooden hurdles built up across the river Liffey by the Vikings. The word ‘Dublin’ is actually a composition of two Gaelic words: ‘dubh’ meaning ‘black’ and ‘linn’ means ‘pool’ (or ‘mire’). Thus the literal translation of the words from which Dublin gets its name is Black pool!
Crossing the ‘hurdle ford’ was not without its dangers. In 770 AD a band of Bon Valley raiders were drowned crossing the Liffey at the hurdle ford.

END OF THE VIKINGS IN IRELAND

The famous victory by Brian Boru over the Vikings at Clontarf in the year 1014 marked the end of the Viking raids on Ireland. By this time however, the Vikings had already begun to assimilate into, and make their mark on Gaelic society.

One such Viking was Sitric Silkenbeard, the King of Dublin. Despite the reputation of the Vikings Silkenbeard was a devout Christian and was responsible for the founding of the famous Christchurch Cathedral at the top of Dame Street in Dublin City Centre. His reign saw the first coins ever minted in Ireland. They bore his image on one side and a cross on the other. He remained in power until 1036 and spent the last of his days on the island of Iona, Scotland.

ORIGIN OF THE WORD ‘CHANCER’

The sixteenth century saw a fierce rivalry develop between the Butlers and Fitzgeralds. Violent clashes between the two groups were commonplace with one such melee occurring in 1512. Butler, the Earl of Ormond retreated and was forced to take refuge in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral. He barricaded himself behind a stout wooden door and refused to leave until he got assurances for his safety. After some negotiation a deal was struck. In order to seal the deal a hole was hacked through the wooden door so that the two leaders could shake hands. It is thought that the modern expression ‘chancing your arm’ originated from this event. From that time on a ‘chancer’ was someone who took a risk or a gamble. The hole in the door can still be seen to this day.

O’CONNELL STREET

In 1924 the main street in Dublin City had its name changed from Sackville Street to O’Connell Street, in honour of ‘The Liberator’. This change had for long been resisted by the English Vice-Chancellor, Chatterton, who prevented Dublin Corporation from granting the wish of the vast majority of Dubliners. Not to be outdone, the local citizenry opted to use the new name in spite of the lack of official recognition.
Dublin Corporation joined into the spirit of things by allowing the ‘Sackville’ street signs to deteriorate and even threatened to rename a street where prostitutes were known to frequent as ‘Chatterton Street’.
The creation of the Free State in 1922 finally allowed for the official transformation of Sackville Street into O’Connell Street.

KILMAINHAM JAIL

Kilmainham Jail near Inchicore in Dublin was originally built on a site known as ‘Gallows Hill’. A jail had existed on the site since the year 1210 but was in such neglect that it was demolished and rebuilt in 1796. By the time of the 1798 rebellion the jail was overcrowded but further development did not take place until 1863. Many famous Irish famous historical figures were imprisoned there including Robert Emmett, Charles Stewart Parnell, Padraig Pearse, Countess Markievicz and Eamon DeValera. The prison was closed down in 1924 and is now a museum heritage site, a national monument.

DUBLIN AUTHORS

The early part of the twentieth century was a magical time for Irish literature. Yeats, O’Casey and Synge were prominent in the famous Abbey Theatre while Dublin provided no less than three Nobel prizewinners. James Joyce was born in Rathgar although there are twenty houses in Dublin city that claim him as an occupant, owing to his family constantly moving about during his early years. His most famous work is Ulysses. Dubliners still celebrate ‘Bloomsday’ every year, named after his most famous fictional character Leopold  Bloom. George Bernard Shaw was another Dubliner who won the famous Novel prize, renowned for ‘Pygmalion’ on which the movie ‘My Fair Lady’ is based. Dubliner Samuel Beckett also won a Nobel, and is perhaps most remembered for writing ‘Waiting for Godot’.

THEFT OF THE ‘IRISH CROWN JEWELS’

The 1907 theft of the ‘Irish Crown Jewels’ still remains a mystery nearly a century later. The famous regalia of the ‘Order of Saint Patrick’ were to be placed in a safe in a strongroom in Dublin Castle but, when it was found that the new safe was too large to fit into the strongroom the safe was located in the Library instead.
An inspection of the safe in July revealed that the treasure had disappeared. The haul was valued at 30,000 pounds, a huge sum at the time and has never been recovered.

THE ATMOSPHERIC RAILWAY

The famous Atmospheric Railway was opened in 1844. The line ran from Dalkey to nearby Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire) on the southside of the city. This unique system relied on atmospheric pressure to force the railway carriage up the hill to Dalkey and then relied on gravity for the return to Kingstown.

A 483 yard pipe ran the length of the track from which air was extracted by a steam-driven pump at the Dalkey end. The resulting vacuum caused a piston to move along the pipe, to which was connected the train. Wax-covered flaps in the pipe opened and closed allowing the piston to move along its length. As the train moved along a wheel pressed down on the pipe sealing in the vacuum as progress was made. Problems with this system meant a man had to follow the train to manually seal the flaps.

Momentum from the journey would allow the train to travel the final part of its journey when the pump had been stopped. The piston was then hooked onto the train for the return journey back to Kingstown.  If the train stopped short of the station the third-class passengers were required to push the carriage the final part home. Occasionally the train would fly past the Dalkey station and off the tracks at the far end.

The system worked well for a decade but was eventually abandoned because of the problems with sealing the vacuum flaps and because of developments with steam-driven engines. The grease and wax that was used on the flaps was also a great attraction for rats who caused repeated damage to the line. The tunnel that was constructed along the line only offered 3 inches of head clearance making it a tricky proposition passengers sticking their heads out of the windows!

THE BLACKPITS

The part of Dublin city just off Clanbrasil Street has for centuries been known as ‘The Blackpits’. The origin of this name is unclear. One theory suggests it is so named because of the large number of dead who were placed there during the ‘Black Death’. Another suggestion alludes to the black vats used by tanners during the eighteenth century.

THE GPO

The General Post Office in Dublin was first opened in 1818. A suggestion that the building be used as a Catholic Cathedral was rejected by the authorities as they did not want a religious institution in such a prominent place in the city.

The building was to gain international prominence however, when it was seized during the ‘Easter Rising’ of 1916. The rebellion, which was led by Padraig Pearse, was very much centered at the GPO which was gutted during the battle that ensued.

It was rebuilt during the 1920′s but several of the original bullet-holes from the Rising were left untouched, as a reminder of the turbulent history of perhaps the worlds most famous post office.

Irish Among the Busiest Texters as World Marks Twentieth Anniversary

The twentieth anniversary of the first ever text message being sent has now passed. It is a mere two decades since UK engineer Neil Papworth sent his ‘Merry Christmas’ message to a colleague.

It is hard to imagine that the telecom companies knew what would follow. Hundreds of Billions of messages later and the Irish are among the most prodigious texters in the world, sending over a billion messages every month in 2012 so far. It is an astonishing statistic that the Irish send an average of at least 142 message per person every month.

So the next time you are on a bus or train and the person next to you is contorting their fingers and thumbs as if their life depends on it or….
…the next time you are at the theatre or cinema only to hear the unmistakable drone of a mobile phone or…
…the next time you read some text speak (lol omg lmho l8r, etc. etc.) and despair then…
…you will know who started it all.

Thanks Neil

Huge Public Support in Ireland for Abortion Legislation in X-Case

The X-case in Ireland refers to an Irish Supreme Court case that established that Irish women are entitled to an abortion if their life is in danger, including in danger from the risk of suicide. The 1992 ruling caused decades of controversy and although the decision was handed down by the Court successive Irish Governments have never provided legislation to specifically detail how the judgment may be used.

Abortion is illegal in Ireland unless the life of the mother is in peril. For the last two decades it has been left to medical staff to make individual judgements on a case-by-case basis. The recent death of Savita Halappanavar in a Galway hospital has brought this emotive issue to a head. Mrs. Halappanavar died after a complications due to a miscarriage and apparently after being refused an abortion to hasten that miscarriage. Her death prompted street rallies in Dublin and elsewhere.

A recent poll by the ‘Sunday Business Post’ newspaper has revealed that 85% of the Irish public now favours legislation in this area, allowing abortion where the mother’s life is in danger, including the risk of suicide. Some campaigners may hail this as a first step on the road to greater access to abortion in Ireland, while those opposed to abortion will likely attempt to block the legislation.

The issue will certainly cause real problems for the Irish Government that currently consists of two parties: Fine Gael and Labour. Several Fine Gael T.D.s (members of the Irish parliament) are much more conservative than their Labour Party colleagues and given the emotion attached to this issue it could potentially cause a real rift in the Government.

35 things you never knew about Dublin

by David Carey

1. Dublin’s O’Connell Bridge was originally made of rope and could only carry one man and a donkey at a time. It was replaced with a wooden structure in 1801. The current concrete bridge was built in 1863 and was first called ‘Carlisle Bridge’. 2. O’Connell Bridge is the only traffic bridge in Europe which is wider than it is long and Dublin’s second O’Connell Bridge is across the pond in St. Stephen’s Green.

3. Dublin Corporation planted 43,765 deciduous trees in the Greater Dublin area in 1998.
4. Dublin’s oldest workhouse closed its doors for the last time in July 1969. Based in Smithfield, the premises housed 10,037 orphan children during the one hundred and seventy years it operated. 

 5. Dublin was originally called ‘Dubh Linn’ meaning ‘Black Pool’. The pool to which the name referred is the oldest known natural treacle lake in Northern Europe and currently forms the centrepiece of the penguin enclosure in Dublin Zoo.

6. None of the so-called Dublin Mountains are high enough to meet the criteria required to claim mountain status. The Sugarloaf is the tallest ‘Dublin Mountain’ yet measures a mere 1389 feet above sea level. 

 7. The headquarters of the national television broadcaster, RTE, in Montrose, was originally built for use as an abattoir.

8. Dublin’s oldest traffic lights are situated beside the Renault garage in Clontarf. The lights, which are still in full working order, were installed in 1893 outside the home of Fergus Mitchell who was the owner of the first car in Ireland. 

 9. The Temple Bar area is so called because it housed the first Jewish temple built in Ireland. The word ‘bar’ refers to the refusal of Catholics to allow the Jewish community to enter any of the adjoining commercial premises. 

 10. Tiny Coliemore Harbour beside the Dalkey Island Hotel was the main harbour for Dublin from the fifteenth to the seventeenth century.

11. Dublin is the IT Call Centre capital of Europe with over 100,000 people employed in the industry.

12. In 1761 a family of itinerants from Navan were refused entry to Dublin. The family settled on the outskirts of the city and created the town of Rush. Two hundred and fifty years later, a large percentage of the population of Rush can still trace their roots back to this one family. 

 13. Dubliners drink a total of 9800 pints an hour between the hours of 5.30pm on a Friday and 3.00am the following Monday.

14. Dublin is Europe’s most popular destination with traveling stag and hen parties. 

 15. Harold’s Cross got it’s name because a tribe called the ‘Harolds’ lived in the Wicklow Mountains and the Archbishop of Dublin would not let them come any nearer to the city than that point.

16. Leopardstown was once known as Leperstown.

17. The average 25-year-old Dubliner still lives with his/her parents.

18. Three radio stations attract over 90% of all listeners in the Dublin area.

19. There are twelve places called Dublin in the United States and six in Australia.

 

20. Buck Whaley was an extremely wealthy gambler who lived in Dublin in the seventeen hundreds. Due to inheritances, he had an income of seven thousand pounds per year (not far off seven million a year at today’s prices). He lived in a huge house near Stephen’s Green which is now the Catholic University of Ireland. He went broke and he had to leave Ireland due to gambling debts. He swore he’d be buried in Irish soil but is in fact buried in the Isle of Man in a shipload of Irish soil which he imported for the purpose. 

 21. The converted Ford Transit used for the Pope’s visit in 1976 was upholstered using the most expensive carpet ever made in Dublin. The carpet was a silk and Teflon weave and rumoured to have cost over IR£950.00 per square meter.

22. There was once a large statue of Queen Victoria in the Garden outside Leinster House. It was taken away when the Republic of Ireland became independent and in 1988 was given as a present to the city of Sydney, Australia to mark that city’s 200th anniversary.

23. The largest cake ever baked in Dublin weighed a whopping 190 lb’s and was made to celebrate the 1988 city millennium. The cake stood untouched in the Mansion House until 1991 when it was thrown out.

24. Strangers are more likely to receive a drink from Dubliners than from a native of any other County.

25. There are forty-six rivers in Dublin city. The river flowing through Rathmines is called the River Swan (beside the Swan Centre). The Poddle was once known as the ‘Tiber’ and was also known as the River Salach (dirty river), which is the origin of the children’s song ‘Down by the river Saile’. It is also the river whose peaty, mountain water causes the Black Pool mentioned above.

26. Saint Valentine was martyred in Rome on February 28th eighteen centuries ago. He was the Bishop of Terni. His remains are in a Cask in White Friar Street Church, Dublin. He is no longer recognised as a Saint By the Vatican.

 

27. The statue originally in Dublin’s O’Connell Street (but now moved to the Phoenix Park) is commonly known as the ‘Floozy in the Jacuzzi’ while the one at the bottom of Grafton Street is best known as the ‘Tart with the Cart’. The women at the Ha’Penny bridge are the ‘Hags with the bags’ and the Chimney Stack with the new lift in Smithfield Village’s now called the ‘Flue with the View’. The short lived millennium clock that was placed in the River Liffey in 1999 was known as ‘the chime in the slime’.

28. Montgomery Street was once the biggest red-light district in Europe with an estimated 1600 prostitutes. It was known locally as the ‘Monto’ and this is the origin of the song ‘Take me up to Monto’.

29. Henry Moore, Earl of Drogheda lived in Dublin in the Eighteenth century. His job was naming streets. He called several after himself. Henry Street, Moore Street, Earl Street, Drogheda Street. Drogheda Street later became Sackville Street and is now O’Connell Street.

30. Nelson’s Pillar was blown up in 1966 to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the 1916 rising. It now lies in a heap in a valley in County Wicklow.

31. Leinster House in Dublin was originally built as a private home for the Duke of Leinster. At that time, the most fashionable part of Dublin was the North Side and he was asked why he was building on the South Side. He said ‘Where I go, fashion follows me!’ …..and to this day the most fashionable part of Dublin is the South Side.

32. Tallaght is one of the oldest placenames in Ireland and it means ‘The Plague cemetery’.

33. There are seven areas in Dublin whose names end in the letter ‘O’. Fewer than one Dubliner in 20,000 can name them off by heart. They are: Rialto, Marino, Portobello, Phibsboro, Monto, Casino and Pimlico.

34. Kevin Street Garda Station was once the Palace of the Archbishop Of Dublin.

35. The original name of Trinity College was ‘Trinity College Near Dublin’. The capital was a lot smaller then.

Best wishes from Van Demons Land!
David Carey. (In Australia but from Limerick!)