IN THIS ISSUE
~~~ News Snaps from Ireland
~~~ New free resources at the site
~~~ Irish Christmas Traditions
~~~ Famous Irish Legends: Cuchulainn
~~~ Christmas Gift Ideas
~~~ Gaelic Phrases of the Month
~~~ Shamrock Site of the Month: vibeforphilo.com
~~~ Monthly free competition result
Hello again from a freezing Dublin! Christmas is
of course in everyone's mind so we have again set
up the free festive postcard service at the site
- see below.
We have also republished the article about Irish
Christmas traditions which has proved ever popular.
Many thanks to all who have supported this
newsletter and helped us to survive,
Until next year,
HAVE A JOYOUS AND SAFE CHRISTMAS!
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NEWS SNAPS FROM IRELAND
IRISH GIRL WINS MISS WORLD CONTEST
Rosanna Davison, the daughter of Chris De Burgh,
the internationally renowned singer songwriter,
has won the Miss World contest that was held
recently in China. It is the first time that
Ireland has ever scooped the coveted title and
it opens up the possibility that the beauty
pageant may be held in Ireland in two years time.
CIVIL SERVANTS TO BE MOVED DOWN THE COUNTRY
The most recent budget announced by Finance
Minister Charlie McCreevy had few surprises.
The rates of income tax and VAT remained
unchanged, although an extra 5 cents was added
to the cost of a lire of petrol. The real
surprise was the announcement of an
acceleration of Government plans to decentralise
up to 10,000 Civil Servants to various locations
around the country.
Decentralisation is usually a major boost to the
economy of a country town and the Government to
send Government offices to those local economies
that need them most.
UNEMPLOYMENT FIGURES FALL AGAIN
A further sign that the Irish economy is
recovering from difficult recent times has been
announced in the form of the monthly unemployment
figures. The total out of work fell by 2,200 in
November, the fourth month in a row that the
unemployment statistic has fallen. There are
currently just over 170,000 people making
unemployment claims, or 4.3% of the workforce.
GENETIC EXPERTS DECLARE THE IRISH A BREED APART
A research team in Trinity College Dublin have
declared that it is possible to confirm the Irish
are of Celtic origin by examining their DNA. Irish
people have very similar genetic traits to those
of the Welsh and Scottish. Inhabitants of the West
of Ireland have an even stronger direct genetic
link to the Celts, probably due to the fact that
there has historically been very little migration
into the Western parts of Ireland.
EUROPEAN UNION EXAMINES IRISH ANTI-SMOKING LAWS
The ban on smoking in public places, restaurants,
hotels and pubs in Ireland will now come into
effect in February. The ban has raised the
interest of some other European countries. Both
Germany and Austria have lodged comments with the
EU about a separate law relating to the advertising
and sale of cigarettes through vending machines.
It is not expected that the EU will intervene in
Ireland's right to impose this new law. Indeed,
both Belgium and The Netherlands have indicated
that they may implement similar smoking bans.
UK ADMITS SELLAFIELD IS A SOURCE OF PLUTONIUM
A British Health Minister has admitted that the
Sellafield Nuclear facility in Cumbria is a
source of plutonium poisoning in children's
teeth in Ireland and Britain. The long running
campaign by the Irish Government to have the
plant closed has been boosted by the revelations.
Tests on more than 300 teeth that were extracted
by dentists showed that the rate of poisoning
increased in proportion to the proximity of
children living near Sellafield.
IRISH TO FACE FRANCE AND SWITZERLAND IN WORLD CUP
The draw for the 2006 Soccer World Cup that is to
be held in Germany has been made. Ireland are in
Group four together with France, Switzerland,
Israel, Cyprus and the Faroe Islands. The winners
of the group will qualify for the finals. The best
three runners-up across the groups will go straight
into the finals, thus avoiding the dreaded
play-offs that await the remainder of those teams
that finished second in their group.
Voice your opinion on these news issues here:
NEW FREE RESOURCES AT THE SITE
SEND A FESTIVE ELECTRONIC POSTCARD FOR FREE!
Send a friend or relative a free postcard of
the Irish Dancing Santa or dozens of other
great images! See here:
NEW COATS OF ARMS ADDED TO THE GALLERY:
The following 8 coats of arms images and family
history details have been added to the Gallery:
C: McCallion McCombs
View the Gallery here:
We now have over 100,000 worldwide names available.
Get the Coat of Arms Print, Claddagh Ring,
Screensaver, Watch, T-Shirt Transfer or Clock for
your name at:
IRISH CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS
Ireland, like most countries, has a number of Christmas
traditions that are all of its own. Many of these customs
have their root in the time when the Gaelic culture and
religion of the country were being suppressed and it is
perhaps because of that they have survived into modern
THE CANDLE IN THE WINDOW
The placing of a lighted candle in the window of a house
on Christmas eve is still practised today. It has a number
of purposes but primarily it was an symbol of welcome to
Mary and Joseph as they travelled looking for shelter.
The candle also indicated a safe place for priests to
perform mass as, during Penal Times this was not allowed.
A further element of the tradition is that the candle should
be lit by the youngest member of the household and only be
extinguished by a girl bearing the name 'Mary'.
THE LADEN TABLE
After evening meal on Christmas eve the kitchen table was
again set and on it were placed a loaf of bread filled with
caraway seeds and raisins, a pitcher of milk and a large
lit candle. The door to the house was left unlatched so that
Mary and Joseph, or any wandering traveller, could avail of
THE WREN BOY PROCESSION
During Penal Times there was once a plot in a village against
the local soldiers. They were surrounded and were about to
be ambushed when a group of wrens pecked on their drums and
awakened the soldiers. The plot failed and the wren became
known as 'The Devil's bird'.
On St. Stephens day a procession takes place where a pole
with a holly bush is carried from house to house and
families dress up in old clothes and with blackened faces.
In olden times an actual wren would be killed and placed on
top of the pole.
This custom has to a large degree disappeared but the
tradition of visiting from house to house on St. Stephens
Day has survived and is very much part of Christmas.
The placing of a ring of Holly on doors originated in
Ireland as Holly was one of the main plants that flourished
at Christmas time and which gave the poor ample means with
which to decorate their dwellings.
All decorations are traditionally taken down on Little
Christmas (January 6th.) and it is considered to be bad luck
to take them down beforehand.
TRADITIONAL GAELIC SALUTATION
The Gaelic greeting for 'Merry Christmas' is:
'Nollaig Shona Duit'
......which is pronounced as 'null-ig hun-a dit'.
YOU CAN HELP TO KEEP THIS FREE NEWSLETTER ALIVE!
where you can get great Irish gifts, prints,
claddagh jewellery, engraved glassware and
FAMOUS IRISH LEGENDS: CUCHULAINN
There was a time in Irelands history when chivalry
and chieftainry ruled the land. When the country
was occupied by bands of warriors who spoke only
their native tongue and who cherished their
heritage and civilisation. This was the time of
Conor McNessa and the High Kings of Ireland, of
the Gamanraide and the Red Branch Knights of the
Emania. It was the time of Cuchullain.
All of the warrior bands had their own Seanachie,
a person responsible for recounting the deeds of
times past, a chronicler of the ages. Cuchullain
was their most famous subject and hundreds of
tales of his heroic deeds, both real and
imagined, have survived to this day.
Cuchullain was the nephew and foster son of King
Conor of Emania, and was originally named Setanta.
He arrived at the Court to find the youths
playing Caman (hurling) and, having with him his
red bronze hurley he so outplayed the other
youths that his future greatness could be seen
by all of the Court. The warriors of the Red
Branch acknowledged him as a blood relative of
the King and heard him proclaim before the
Druids in the Hall of Heroes:
'I care not whether I die tomorrow or next year,
if only my deeds live after me'.
Cuchulainns greatest deed was perhaps when he
alone held back the forces of Connaught and had
to fight his friend, Ferdiad, who was the
champion and chief of the Connaught Knights of
the Sword. Ferdiad and Cuchullain had trained
together in arms in their youth and it was
displeasing to Cuchullain to have to fight his
friend of old. He tried to dissuade Ferdiad
against fighting by reminding him of their days
in training, when they were both subjects of
the great female champion, Scathach, in Alba.
'We were heart companions, We were companions in
the woods, We were fellows of the same bed, where
we used to sleep the balmy sleep. After mortal
battles abroad, In countries many and far distant,
together we used to practice, and go through each
forest, learning with Scathach'.
Ferdiad would not be swayed. Lest he weaken under
Cuchullains pleas he responded only with taunts
against his friend, now foe.
So they fought. They fought for four days and
eventually, after a tremendous effort, Cuchullain
laid Ferdiad down and then fell into a trance of
sorrow and weakness after the epic duel.
As is the way with such heroes, Cuchulainn died
on the battlefield. He was propped against a large
rock whilst dead, with a spear in his hand and a
buckler on his arm, and with such a defiant
attitude was able to strike fear into his enemies
even after death.
CHRISTMAS GIFT IDEAS
STILL AVAILABLE FOR CHRISTMAS DELIVERY!
GIFT IDEA #1: Pint Glasses, Shooter Glasses and more
Our new engraved pub pint glasses, shooter glasses,
wine goblets and much more ornament has the family
crest for your family name engraved on it.
GIFT IDEA #2: Engraved Cigarette Case and Tankard
For the person who has everything! Engraved with
the family crest of your choice our cigarette
cases, hip flasks and pewter tankards are perfect
GIFT IDEA #3: Get us to send a Family Crest
Screensaver to a friend or relative.
For these and many other great gift ideas visit
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:
SHAMROCK SITE OF THE MONTH: VIBEFORPHILO.COM
Get all the info about the 18th tribute to
Ireland's greatest ever rocker: Phil Lynott.
The commemoration gig for the Thin Lizzy hero is
in Vicar Street in Dublin on 4th January next.
See you there!
DECEMBER COMPETITION RESULT
The winner was: firstname.lastname@example.org
who will receive the following:
A Single Family Crest Print (decorative)
Send us an email to claim your prize, and well
done! Remember that all subscribers to this
newsletter are automatically entered into the
competition every time.
I hope that you have enjoyed this issue.
Until next time,
HAVE A GREAT CHRISTMAS AND A GREAT NEW YEAR!
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