IN THIS ISSUE
~~~~~ Keep us Free!
~~~~~ New Free resources at the site
~~~~~ News Snaps from Ireland
~~~~~ Stuck for a Christmas Gift Idea?
~~~~~ The Irish in the American Civil War by Ed McManus
~~~~~ Irish Christmas Traditions
~~~~~ Gaelic Phrases of the Month
~~~~~ Readers Noticeboard: William N Porter
~~~~~ Shamrock Site of the Month: afreeb.com
~~~~~ Searcher Site of the Month: Geneva
~~~~~ Monthly free competition result
Happy Christmas from Ireland! The atmosphere in Dublin is
building up nicely with incredible scenes of shopping in
city centre and suburban stores alike. The American
tradition of placing lights on the outside of houses has
really exploded this year with certain streets seemingly
in competition with each other to see which can be the
Traffic is, of course, impossible and if you were to arrive
in a supermarket this week for your groceries then you could
expect at least a 1 to 2 hour wait just to queue to pay for
We have set up a number of festive postcards that you can
send from the site that include Gaelic language greetings,
see below. We have also republished the article about Irish
Finally, a word of sincere thanks to all those who have
supported and encouraged us over the last year.
HAVE A GREAT CHRISTMAS AND A SAFE NEW YEAR!
PLEASE - send this newsletter on to your friends or
relatives who you think are interested in Ireland. By
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NEW FREE RESOURCES AT THE SITE
SEND A CHRISTMAS POSTCARD FROM IRELAND:
Check out the Irish Christmas postcards that you can send
to your friends. Six to choose from including:
* Nollaig Shona
* An Irish Candle
* Have a Great Christmas!
* The Dancing Santa
* An bhfuil tu go maith?
* Nollaig Shona (again!)
Get sending! Go here:
NEW COATS OF ARMS ADDED TO THE GALLERY:
The following 14 coats of arms images and family history
details have been added to the Gallery:
B: Behan, Bennett
D: Daily, Downey
S: Shahan, Shanahan, Shannon, Shea
View the Gallery here:
We now have over 20,000 worldwide names available.
Get the Coat of Arms Print, Screensaver, Watch, T-Shirt
Transfer, Clock or Claddagh Ring for your name at:
NEWS SNAPS FROM IRELAND
IR£4 BILLION BUDGET BONANZA
The annual announcement of Government financial policy
(called 'the budget') involved a 4 billion pound giveaway
as the Irish taxpayer finally reaped some of the rewards
of the booming economy.
Finance Minister Charlie McCreevy detailed measures that
were on the one hand designed to keep the public happy,
whilst on the other trying to keep the rate of inflation
down. The current rate of inflation has grown to 7% and it
is seen as imperative that this is reduced in order to
maintain the pay agreements that have been the foundation
of the countries economic success.
The main measures of the budget were:
* 2% cut in the each of the 22% and 44% income tax bands
* VAT (a sales tax) has been reduced from 21% to 20%
* Diesel and unleaded petrol prices are down by 7.3p
and 2.4p per litre
* Old Age Pensions to rise by IR£10 pushing them over the
£100 per week barrier
Mr. McCreevy is determined that the current Government will
see out its term of office to include the next budget which
is due in October 2001. He is committed to further reducing
VAT and to making the national minimum wage of IR£170 per
week completely free of any tax.
TAXI DRIVERS BLOCKADE DAIL EIREANN AND DUBLIN AIRPORT
In a response to the decision by Minister Bobby Molloy to
deregulate the Taxi industry, allowing anyone to apply for
a taxi licence, the various Taxi organisations blockaded
Dail Eireann in Dublin City Centre as well as Dublin
The lack of taxi service was greeted with dismay by tourists
who arrived into Dublin after their long journey only to
find that a crowded bus was their only means of transport to
their final destination.
The Taxi groups have taken the government to court to try
to prevent the deregulation of the Taxi industry but it
appears unlikely that they will be successful and further
Taxi strikes appear inevitable.
GOVERNMENT TO CALL REFERENDUM ON EU TREATY OF NICE
5 Days of tortuous negotiations among EU leaders finally
saw Ireland's influence decreased but allowed Ireland to
maintain control over it's own tax regime. Britain's Tony
Blair and Ireland's Bertie Ahearn had both been adamant
that their countries should not have their taxation policy
dictated by the EU as France in particular had wanted.
12 new countries are expected to join the EU in the next
10 years including Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic
who could join as early as 2004. Bertie Ahearn has indicated
that the arrival into the EU market of over 120 Million
people presents tremendous trading opportunities for Ireland.
FIRE STRIKES TRINITY COLLEGE
A major fire has struck the Trinity College complex in the
heart of Dublin City. The Graduates Memorial Building was
severely damaged in the blaze and may have to be demolished
as a result of damage sustained to its roof. Fortunately
there were no injuries and the important works of art that
were housed in the building have been saved. The College
has launched an investigation into the cause of the
US PRESIDENT CLINTON GIVEN WARM WELCOME
President Bill Clinton visited Ireland for the third time
amidst promises that he is willing to become a 'guardian'
of the northern peace process when he leaves office early
next year. The President was greeted by cheering crowds
wherever he went and was even whisked off to visit Bertie
Ahearn's local pub in Drumcondra, Fagans, where bemused
local residents were surprised to find Hilary and Chelsea
wandering the streets shaking hands and generally
demonstrating the charm that they have become famous for.
Bertie Ahearn had earlier paid a glowing tribute to the
work of the President in helping the Northern Peace Process.
He cited the President's ever willingness to become involved
and caused an unintentional laugh in the packed auditorium
when he mentioned that Mr. Clinton 'had never seemed to be
too busy' to try to help out. Even Hilary saw the funny side.
SPORT: O'LEARY TO MOVE TO ITALY?
Italian footballing giants Lazio and Inter Milan are reputed
to be tracking the progress of Dubliner David O'Leary who is
the current manager of English side Leeds United. Leeds
recently defeated Lazio 1-0 in a Champions League qualifier
and look well placed to progress to the quarter finals.
O'Leary has made steady progress with his young team and has
been very active in the transfer market with the pre-season
capture of Mark Viduka from Celtic for STG£6 Million and of
defender Rio Ferdinand from West Ham United for STG£18
SPORT: ROBBIE KEANE TO LEAVE ITALY?
Speculation is mounting that Irish striker Robbie Keane is
set to leave Italian team Inter Milan. Approaches from
Chelsea, West Ham and Manchester City have already been
rejected with Leeds United emerging as the most likely to
capture the signature of Ireland's most valuable footballing
SPORT: BOXER WAYNE McCULLOUGH GIVEN LICENCE BACK
Irish boxer Wayne McCullough has been given back his boxing
licence two months after it had been taken away from him on
the eve of his Belfast homecoming fight. Confusion has
existed surrounding the exact nature of the cyst that was
said to be present in McCullogh's brain with doctors not only
unable to agree over the danger it is likely to cause but
even if it is present at all.
McCullough won a Commonwealth Games gold medal in 1990, was
an Olympic silver medalist in 1992 and a world champion in
1995. It remains to be seen if he will ever box again.
STUCK FOR A CHRISTMAS GIFT IDEA?
In a spot of bother for a 'hard to buy for' friend or
relative? Let them choose their own gift with an Irish
Nation gift certificate. You can even print it directly
from the web. Problem solved!
THE IRISH IN THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR by Ed McManus
When Abraham Lincoln was elected president, some Americans
of that time thought that with his presidency certain rights
they were holding onto would be threatened. Their main
right was slavery, and it would be this that would tear
this country apart. With his election states seceded from
the United States, the first being South Carolina. Ten
states would follow, totaling eleven in all.
On April 12, 1861, the Army of the Confederacy fired shots
on Fort Sumpter, South Carolina in the harbor of Charleston.
Lincoln ordered up the military of the day. He asked for
75,000 volunteers for a period of ninety days. His guess
was that the war would be short lived. The Civil War would
lead to many battles and subsequent deaths, and it would end
four years almost to the day with the death of our great
American President, Abraham Lincoln.
Shortly after Sumpter, surnames unfamiliar at the time would
begin to emerge, such as McClellan, Reynolds, Meade,
McPherson, Shaw and Meagher, at places from Bull Run to
Appomattox. These were the commanders. Many of these men
would go on into the history of their new chosen country,
America, as winners of our highest medal awarded for
bravery. The Irish would earn a major portion of the
Congressional Medals of Honor issued for their moments of
bravery as they fought on to places that also would have
very unfamiliar names.
Ireland's boys traveled throughout the war visiting places
with names we as Americans hold dear such as Antietam,
Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, The Wilderness, Cold Harbor and
others. These would be the towns that they would fight and
die for and earn the love and respect of a fellow soldier.
They would die on the field of battle. Many would face the
hell of Andersonville Prison Camp miles from Ireland where
they or their parents once fled oppression and hunger.
Soldiers such as Thomas Meagher of County Waterford, Ireland,
the son of a Mayor, was charged with sedition. Faced with
being hanged, drawn and quartered a reduced sentence for his
charges was now to be shipped to Tasmania by England. While
on board ship and off the coast of Australia, he escaped and
found his way to America. He organized the famed Irish
Brigade and led its 63rd, 69th and 88 Regiments into battle.
These military units were all New York based. The deadly
gunfire at Antietam in 1862 would cost Meagher a sixty per
cent casualty rate. Meagher died in. He won the
Congressional Medal of Honor.
John Reynolds, honor graduate of West Point was a young
soldier in the Mexican war of 1847. His First Corps was first
on the scene to assist General John Buford whose cavalry was
in danger of being crippled by an early advance of southern
troops at the initial staging at Gettysburg on July 1, 1863.
He died shortly after his arrival there, leading his men in
a charge. The Iron Brigade with Meagher leading his Brigade
was riding right behind Reynolds.
George B. McClellan was the soldier's general. His nickname,
Little Mac was given him by his troops. Considered too slow
to act by Lincoln, his strategy often confused the enemy
confederates. He would go on to run for the presidency
against Lincoln in 1865.
Robert G. Shaw of Massachusetts would be the only white
officer given command of all black troops by Lincoln. His
love of his men and their cause lead him to victory as he
attacked Fort Wagner off the coast of Charleston, North
Carolina. He died at Fort Wagner along with half of his
men, with a bullet in the heart. Shaw won the medal
George G. Meade would command the Union Army at Gettysburg.
For three days his army would see more than 55,000 men on
both sides perish, almost the total of American servicemen
in eleven years in Vietnam.
George McPherson, a dear friend to all who knew him, died
on his horse after riding into Confederate troops vowing
never to surrender. A hero of Vicksburg and Atlanta. He too
was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously.
The war ended on April 14, 1865. It seems so odd to some
people that while Lincoln's election caused the start of
the war, Abraham Lincoln would later die from an assassin's
bullet the same month the war ended. The descendants of the
Irish who fought in the Civil War would go on to lead
America through many other wars in foreign lands. Because
of the love they share of freedom, America remains free.
IRISH QUOTATIONS OF THE MONTH
Let schoolmasters puzzle their brain,
With grammar, and nonsense, and learning,
Good liquor, I stoutly maintain,
Gives genius a better discerning
Oliver Goldsmith, 1728-74 'She Stoops to Conquer'
'There are two kinds of priests', he declared.
'There are priests who made themselves and the
kind who are made by their mothers'.
John B. Keane, 1928- 'Letters of an Irish Parish Priest'
No longer shall our children, like our cattle,
be brought up for export.
Eamon de Valera, 1882-1975 speech in Dail Eireann, 1934
GAELIC PHRASES OF THE MONTH
PHRASE: Nollaig faoi shéan is faoi mhaise duit!
PRONOUNCED: Nullig fwee yan iss fwee mway/shih dwit
MEANING: A prosperous and enjoyable Christmas!
PHRASE: Nollaig Shona duit
PRONOUNCED: nullig hunna dwit
MEANING: Happy Christmas to you
PHRASE: Athblian shona duit
PRONOUNCED: ought/bleen hunna dwit
MEANING: Happy new year to you
View the archive of phrases here:
JAPANESE RESEARCH PROJECT SEARCHING FOR WILLIAM N PORTER
Can anyone help Peter Flaherty in Japan with a research
' His name was William N Porter. Apart from his name, all
other data about him is in Japanese. The transliteration
in Japanese of his birthplace says 'Wohrinton' or
'Wellington'. He was born in 1863. He is supposed to have
graduated from a college called 'Mohbura' or 'Moghbourgh'.
He worked in the shipyard in Belfast, etc. Eventually he
came to Japan around 1915 and taught at the local university
here and then disappeared from the face of the earth as
far as records here are concerned. So far, all our efforts
to complete the details have hit a wall. '
Peter Flaherty, Associate Professor, Sojo University, Japan
Contact at: firstname.lastname@example.org
SHAMROCK SITE OF THE MONTH
afreeb.com: Free Competitions, sweeps and more!
SEARCHER SITE OF THE MONTH
An online calendar of GENealogical EVents and Activities
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I hope that you have enjoyed this issue.
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Until the next time,
HAVE A GREAT CHRISTMAS!
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