IN THIS ISSUE
~~~ Keep us Free!
~~~ News Snaps from Ireland
~~~ New Free Resources at the Site
~~~ My Tenth Trip to Ireland by Carol Martin
~~~ Gaelic Phrases of the Month
~~~ Ode to a Celtic Prince by Christine Bode
~~~ Irish Quotations of the Month
~~~ Monthly free competition result
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NEWS SNAPS FROM IRELAND
AIB LOSES US$691 MILLION IN SHARE-DEALING FRAUD
Ireland's leading financial institution, Allied
Irish Bank, has been rocked by the loss of over
US$691 Million in a Foreign Exchange dealing fraud
in its American Subsidiary, All First Financial
Inc., based in Maryland.
The Royal Bank of Scotland are being tipped to
takeover AIB, given the weakness the Bank has
suffered as a result of the scandal.
GENERAL ELECTION FEVER HOTS UP
Despite the date for the next election not having
been announced all of the political parties are in
full election gearing as the life of the Fianna
Fail led Government ticks away.
Fine Gael have already promised to compensate
shareholders who lost out in the Eircom floatation
but the move does not seem to be have been well
received by the public. Party leader Michael Noonan
also had to apologise for his handling of the
Bridget McCole affair which triggered the current
Lindsay Tribunal to investigate how Irish
hemophiliacs were given infected blood products
by the Irish Blood Transfusion Board.
Sinn Fein has received a boost in a number of
opinion polls. The opposition by Taoiseach Bertie
Ahearn to Sinn Fein being part of any Government
coalition is not echoed by the public at large.
The Fianna Fail leader has already pledged that
his party will not go into Government with Sinn
Fein given that party's current association
with the IRA.
Despite the prospect of a national poll within
months, the current political and public focus
is on the upcoming Abortion referendum.
ABORTION REFERENDUM CAUSES CONFUSION
Abortion is illegal in Ireland. Despite the
thousands of Irish women who travel to England
for abortions every year successive Governments
have failed to tackle the issue.
A new referendum is being held which will
effectively reverse the 'X-Case', in which a
teenage girl was given permission to travel to
England for an abortion because she was suicidal.
Thus the 'right to travel' became inextricably
entwined with the right, or not, to an abortion.
The hastily announced referendum has caused much
confusion as both the main Anti-Abortion lobby
and the Pro-Choice lobby are seeking rejection of
the amendment. The Anti-Abortion group claim that
the proposed amendment to the constitution does not
do enough to protect the unborn fetus. The
Pro-Choice group however, maintain that the very
right to travel by citizens will be affected and
that the life of a mother will be placed below
that of an unborn child.
Thus, posters by both groups advocating a 'No'
vote have appeared side by side. The Government is
seeking a 'Yes' vote and has rejected the claims
made by both of the 'No' advocates.
Pre-Referendum surveys indicate that the outcome
is so close as to be impossible to call.
ABBEY THEATRE TO BE REBUILT
The famous Abbey Theatre, the home of Joyce,
Yeats, Synge and O'Casey is to be demolished and
rebuilt on its original site. The decision made
by the Government is not the preferred choice of
the Theatre directors who wanted to relocate the
National Theatre to a nearby site in the Dublin
Docklands. The estimated three year timescale
for the project will mean that a temporary venue
will have to be found in the interim.
JEANIE JOHNSTON FAMINE SHIP TO BE COMPLETED
The replica Famine ship being built in Kerry,
the 'Jeanie Johnston', is finally to be completed
after running nearly four times over its original
estimated cost of EURO 3.8 Million. The ship was
originally to have been sailed to America during
the 2000 millennium year but ran into
difficulties when the costs spiraled out of
control. It is not yet clear whether the vessel
will ever take to the water.
One suggested use for the ship is to convert it
into a temporary youth detention centre!
THE EURO, THE FARMER AND THE BICYCLE
A County Monaghan farmer set off on his bike with
over fifty thousand punts in a plastic bag hitched
to the back. He was making his way to his local
bank to convert the money into EUROs before the
deadline for conversion of the now defunct money
Alas, a tumble on the notorious Monaghan country
roads meant the farmer had to remount his bike,
unaware that the fall had ripped the thin plastic
covering his life savings. Fives, tens, twenties
and fifties littered the countryside for nearly
3 miles before a good Samaritan motorist stopped
the farmer and informed him of the commotion that
he was causing behind him. Motorists, pedestrians
and cyclists alike could be seen clambering into
ditches and hedgerows to claim their share of the
The farmer eventually lodged thirty thousand of
his original fifty thousand into his bank account.
The Gardai (police) retrieved a further ten
thousand from honest fortune seekers who heard of
his plight and surrendered the money they had
collected. Ten thousand still remains outstanding,
perhaps much of which is still floating around
the Monaghan countryside in the February high
IRISH SOCCER STAR IN MAGNIFICENT GESTURE
Irish soccer star Niall Quinn has announced that
the takings from his May testimonial soccer match,
estimated to be worth in excess of STG$1 Million,
will be given to charity, to be divided between
two children's hospitals, one in Dublin and the
other in Sunderland, where Quinn plies his trade.
The gesture has been welcomed in all quarters of
the press and public. Even the English Prime
Minister, Tony Blair, commended Quinn for his
Support has been forthcoming also from players,
stewards and officials who will officiate
at the match, and who have all agreed to give
of their services free of charge.
NEW FREE RESOURCES AT THE SITE
NEW COATS OF ARMS ADDED TO THE GALLERY:
The following 22 coats of arms images and family
history details have been added to the Gallery:
B: Breeden, O'Brannigan
C: Callahan, McCormack, McCrudden, McCorkell
D: Dobson, Dorrian
G: Geran, McGonagle
H: Haseltine, Head, Hinchcliffe
M: Magee, Mulcare, Munnelly
W: Waite, Worrall, Worrell
View the Gallery here:
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SAINT PATRICK'S DAY
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MY TENTH TRIP TO IRELAND by CAROL MARTIN
I made my first trip to Ireland in 1985 with a
group of 18 people including my mother and my
sister. It was the thrill of a lifetime for my
sister and I. We knew our father's mother was
born in Ballyjamesduff in County Cavan and we
remembered her telling us stories about banshees
and the wee folk when we were very young. Our
father had died 11 years before we made our trip
and we felt this trip was as much for him as it
was for us. He was afraid to fly so it was a trip
he never would have made himself, although he
would have loved to visit Ireland.
A friend of ours arranged the tour and we knew
some of the other people, but not all of them.
By the end of the trip we all knew each other
very well and I had made some lasting friendships.
I thought this would be my one and only trip to
Ireland and I planned to savor every moment.
I don't know what I was expecting to see in
Ireland other than lots of green fields and old,
rundown houses. I had no way of knowing that this
trip would change my life forever. From the moment
my foot stepped onto the ground at Shannon Airport
I felt like I had come home. It was a very real,
physical feeling, not just a sentimental emotion,
although it did make me cry. I felt like my soul
belonged there. I have felt that same way each
time I return to Ireland. I have made ten trips so
far since 1985 and am planning my eleventh one for
August of this year. I have also planned many
itineraries for friends and co-workers. I have
become the local 'Irish guru'.
Ireland is so much more than I imagined it would
be. There are thousands of fields made up of so
many shades of green. There are abandoned houses
with their own eerie beauty and there are also
beautiful old and new homes. There are fields of
flowers, and the heather and gorse growing
entwined together create breathtaking hillsides
of purple and yellow. The natural beauty amazes
you with every turn in the road. The ancient ruins
like Newgrange and the Gallarus Oratory make you
feel insignificant when you consider their
construction and the ages they have withstood. The
magnificent beauty of the Cliffs of Moher, the
Ring of Kerry, Donegal, the Dingle Peninsula and
Connemara cannot be described in mere words. Even
pictures cannot convey the true splendor you
witness in person - they can only be a pleasant
reminder of your visit. The architecture and
history of Dublin, Cork and Galway invite you to
delve further and learn about the events that
took place in those cities. The harbors of
Kinsale, Dingle, Roundtree, Clifden and so many
other towns and villages just cry out to be
explored and enjoyed. The thatched roofs on the
lovely cottages of Adare make it a place you want
to keep visiting over and over. When I have
trouble falling asleep at night, I picture myself
in Glendalough in County Wicklow. It is the most
peaceful place I have ever been in my life. The
monastic ruins, round tower, and natural beauty
of the 'Glen of the two lakes' are almost
mystical to experience.
When people who have never been to Ireland ask me
about the food, they expect me to tell them how
awful it is. I tell them that they are confusing
Ireland's food with England's. Ireland has
wonderful food. I have been to quite a number of
excellent restaurants and especially love the
'pub grub'. I always tell people that they don't
need to spend a fortune on good food. They can if
they want to, but they can also eat very well for
moderate prices in some very good pubs. The
creamed soups, scones and Irish coffee are to die
for. On my last trip in November several people
were with me who had never been to Ireland. They
raved about how delicious the food was. In fact
they commented that they had some of the best
meals they had ever had anywhere.
The Irish people are extremely friendly and warm
to Americans. So many of them have family who
have emigrated to the United States and American
tourists help the Irish economy more than tourists
from anywhere else in the world. An Irish friend
owns a shop told me that European tourists buy
items that they know are the best value for their
money. Americans buy everything in sight! They
are amazed, and grateful, at how freely Americans
spend their money. There is nothing more hypnotic
than to sit and listen to an Irish old timer tell
stories, even if you don't know whether they are
true or not, it doesn't really matter. The lyrical
sound of the Irish voice and their gift at story
telling is unique and leaves you wanting more.
Visiting Ireland in 1985 had a profound effect on
my life. I made the most difficult decision of my
life sitting in the Pro Cathedral in Dublin that
year and walked out of that Church with the weight
of the world lifted from my shoulders. I went home
and began amassing a library of Irish books and
music. I have studied the history of Ireland.
In 1999 I ran a trip to Ireland with seven members
of my family plus friends. We visited the town of
Ballyjamesduff where my grandmother was born. We
stopped at the Boyne (my maiden name) River and
gathered water from it to bring home. My sister
and I felt the presence of our father and my
grandmother at that moment when my daughters
scooped up that water and knew our ancestors were
smiling down on us.
In September of 2000 I was diagnosed with cancer.
I accepted this as God's plan for me. The only
thing that made me cry over that diagnosis was that
I might not live or ever be well enough to visit
Ireland again. I knew my children and family would
survive without me and I didn't cry over them, but
I did cry when I thought I might never see
Glendalough or the other places I love so much. I
am grateful to say that I have made a full
recovery from my cancer after chemotherapy,
radiation and surgery. God has truly blessed me
and rewarded me with my tenth trip to Ireland in
2001. It was a very special trip for me, one that
a year before I could not say would ever happen.
I wish everyone could visit Ireland and experience
the beauty of the country and her people.
It might change their life as it has mine.
GAELIC PHRASES OF THE MONTH
PHRASE: aon, do, tri, ceithir, cuig
se, seacht, ocht, naoi, deich
PRONOUNCED: ain, dough, tree, kerr/ih, koo/igg
shay, shocht, uck/th, knee, deh
PHRASE: Mir a haon ar an gClar Gno
PRONOUNCED: mere ah hain air on glar gh/no
MEANING: Item one on the agenda
PHRASE: Iadsan go leir ata i bhfabhar?
PRONOUNCED: eed/sun go lair ah/taw ih vow/arr
MEANING: All those in favour?
PHRASE: Iadsan go leir ata in aghaidh?
PRONOUNCED: eed/sun go lair ah/taw in eye/gh
MEANING: All those against?
PHRASE: Cruinniu ar Athlo!
PRONOUNCED: krin/u air ott/low
MEANING: Meeting adjourned!
View the archive of phrases here:
IRISH BANKNOTES AND COINS SOUVENIRS FROM IRELAND
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the Irish Punt?
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ODE TO A CELTIC PRINCE by Christine Bode
Twas a lass with emerald eyes and hair of
who dreamt time and again of an exotic island
where the wee faeries' magic could hush her
and be still her anxious spirit so she n'er again
Weary lass sank to her knees 'neath a weeping
to take a shady break from her life-long urgent
She closed her eyes, smelled the breeze and
the lowly, plaintive sigh of a lonesome angel's
'Oh dear Conor, you sweet thing, where have you
I have longed for you all of my life.
One touch of my hand and your essence revealed,
put an end to my heartache and strife.'
A more beautiful place she could never have seen,
though she's traveled far and wide for this
And was led to a magic, ancient land of green,
by her search for a fabled Celtic prince.
The music of Ireland 'tis home for a poet's
the country fiddle, it will quiver, whine and
The Gaelic harp can charm the most tortured of
and the bodhran's beat tells its own haunted
'Oh dear Conor, you sweet thing, where have you
I have longed for you all of my life.
And come so very far just to hear your sad song,
serenade me love, into the night.'
In yonder glen stood his Lord's noble castle'
thought she heard his footsteps through the bog.
He'd whisk her off to a proud sailing vessel,
while Gabriel's horn sounded shrill in the fog.
Alas, her prince was a phantom, elusive,
the spectre vanished o'er the cool, placid lake.
Not a limerick nor song could appease her,
her heart broke as she fathomed her fate.
'Oh dear Conor, you sweet thing, where you have
I have longed for you all of my life.
And I will surely cry when ye go away,
why'd you leave me to manage this plight?'
June 20, 1995
IRISH QUOTATIONS OF THE MONTH
Every Political Party in Ireland was founded
on the gun.
John Hume, attributed in 1995
Politics is the chloroform of the Irish people,
or, rather, the hashish.
Oliver St. John Gogarty, 1878-1957
Our ancestors believed in magic, prayers,
trickery, browbeating and bullying. I think it
would be fair to sum that list up as
Flann O'Brien, 1911-66
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I hope that you have enjoyed this issue.
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Until the next time,
May the roads rise to meet you, and
may the wind be at your back.
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