================================================= The Information about Ireland Site Newsletter February 2008 The Newsletter for people interested in Ireland Now received by over 50,000 people worldwide http://www.ireland-information.com http://www.irishnation.com Copyright (C) 2008 ================================================= IN THIS ISSUE === Foreword === Write an Article - get a prize! === News Snaps from Ireland === New free resources at the site === Tourist Tip #1: Getting around Ireland === Another Cara Penpals Success Story === When Gaelic Spirits Wake by Andrea Scholer === With Love to my Ancestors by Leonie Roach === Gaelic Phrases of the Month === Monthly free competition result ================================================= FOREWORD ======== Hello again from an Ireland that is finally beginning to show signs of shaking off the worst of the Winter. Ireland in March and April can be a really great time to visit: not too many crowds and the weather can be a surprise. If you are thinking of visiting the Emerald Isle then be sure to check out our series of Travel Tips that start in this issue. Until next month, Michael Help keep this newsletter alive at www.irishnation.com WE NEED YOUR HELP! PLEASE - send this newsletter on to your friends or relatives who you think are interested in Ireland. By doing this you are helping to keep us 'free'. Got something to say? Don't keep it to yourself! Why don't you submit an article for inclusion in the next edition? Go here for more information: http://www.ireland-information.com/newsletter.htm Do you have access to a website? You can help to keep this newsletter alive by adding a link to any of our websites below: http://www.irishnation.com http://www.irishsurnames.com http://www.ireland-information.com http://www.allfamilycrests.com http://www.irishpenpals.com If you have an AOL or HOTMAIL account then you will get much better results by viewing this newsletter online here: http://www.ireland-information.com/feb08.htm The only way that you could have been subscribed to this newsletter is by filling out a subscription form at the site whereupon a confirmation notice would have been issued. If you wish to unsubscribe then go here: http://www.ireland-information.com/newsletter.htm =============================== WRITE AN ARTICLE - GET A PRIZE! =============================== The Information about Ireland website is seeking original articles about Ireland or the Irish. ALL original articles, biographies, poems and stories will receive a researched family crest print worth US$19.99 mailed to you free (see here: http://www.irishnation.com/familycrestprints.htm ) Choose a character or subject that interests you - once it relates to an Irish people or is about Irish history or culture then send we will likely publish it in the newsletter. Here is an example of a past biography article: http://www.ireland-information.com/articles/eamondevalera.htm Here is an example of an article about the links the Titanic had to Ireland; http://www.ireland-information.com/articles/titanicandireland.htm Here is an example article about Irish painters: http://www.ireland-information.com/articles/irishpainters.htm Your writing does not have to be W.B. Yeats or James Joyce in style - just keep it simple. Got something to say? Send it in at: http://www.ireland-information.com/aboutus.htm ======================= NEWS SNAPS FROM IRELAND ======================= DUBLIN UNDERGROUND TO BE COMPLETED BY 2015 The extension of the Dublin DART train system underground through the centre of the city is to be completed by 2015. The 2-B.illion Euro scheme will connect the Docklands to Heuston Station. A second underground link will connect the DART rail service to Maynooth in County Kildare. An existing plan to create a partially underground Metro link to Dublin Airport is also planned. OSCAR SUCCESS FOR IRELAND There was success at the double for Ireland in the recent Oscars. Irish citizen Daniel Day-Lewis won the award for best actor in the movie while Dubliner Glen Hansard and Czech musician Marketa Irglova won the prize for their song 'Falling Slowly' rom the film 'Once' in the best original song category. Hansard remarked: 'This has made our night. We made this film two years ago and shot it on two Handycams. It took us three weeks to make. We made it for a hundred grand!" PROPERTY MARKET WOES CONTINUE Despite the best efforts of real estate agents and those with a vested interest in the construction industry the slowdown in sales and decline in property prices is continuing. It has not all been gloom and doom however with queues of buyers lining up to buy discounted apartments in certain Dublin suburbs. It has been speculated that property developers are holding back on their impending projects until prices stabilise. This is certainly borne out by the vast reduction in the number of housing units likely to be completed in Ireland this year. However, as the Irish Government has estimated that Ireland needs at least 60,000 units annually and that the population of Dublin will double by 2020, it would not be a major surprise if the slump is relatively short-lived. There can be little doubt however that the Irish property market is currently still overvalued. 2007 saw an overall 7% decline with a similar number expected in 2008. Growth in property mortgages in 2006 actually rose by 13.4% in 2006, down from 24.2% in 2005. The fact that these huge increases in the amounts lent for property purchase can be viewed as offering negative prospects perhaps shows just how quickly the Irish property market had expanded and how expectations in Ireland have changed. INFLATION ON THE WAY DOWN The stubbornly high rate of inflation in Ireland has finally started to decline, down to 4.3% from 4.7%, and below the Euro area average. Foodstuffs were among the items that bucked this trend and continued their inexorable movement upwards, in line with the experience of other countries worldwide. The ECB is refusing to reduce interest rates, unlike their US counterpart. The ECB is worried about inflation in Germany, the largest economy in the eurozone. The overall outlook for interest rates though, in on the downwards side, which should further help reduce Irish inflation numbers as a large part of Irish income is spent on mortgage repayments. Inflation will be very much on the agenda when the Irish government meets with employers and unions in the coming weeks to sort out a new national pay deal. Media speculation intimates that a deal in 2008 will be very hard to broker. NEW IRISH SOCCER MANAGER APPOINTED Giovanni Trapattoni has been unveiled as the new manager of the ailing Irish international soccer team. At a packed press conference the FAI announced the appointment of the vastly experienced Italian who will take charge of the Irish team for the first time at Croke park on May 24th when Serbia are the visitors. He immediately assured the gathering that Ireland would qualify for the 2010 World Cup finals, despite being in the same qualifying group as the current world champions, none other than Italy. Voice your opinion on these news issues here: http://www.ireland-information.com/newsletterboard/wwwboard.html ============================== NEW FREE RESOURCES AT THE SITE ============================== NEW COATS OF ARMS ADDED TO THE GALLERY: The following 5 coats of arms images and family history details have been added to the Gallery: B: Bermingham, Beegan G: Garvan H: Haran T: Toohey View the Gallery here: http://www.irishsurnames.com/coatsofarms/gm.htm THE PERFECT WEDDING, ANNIVERSARY OR BIRTHDAY GIFT! 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: http://www.irishnation.com/familycrestgifts.htm ====================================== TOURIST TIP #1: GETTING AROUND IRELAND ====================================== The Irish public transport network is overseen by CIE who run Dublin Bus, Bus Eireann (the national bus service) and Iarnrod Eireann (controlling the Irish national rail network as well as the Dublin DART train service). The Railway Procurement Agency is responsible for the LUAS light-rail system. All of these services have online timetables and maps to view and you can even buy your tickets online in advance of your journey. RUSH-HOUR: Dublin is like most major capital cities and suffers badly in terms of traffic from 8am to 10am in the morning and from 4:30 to 7pm in the evening. Being trapped in a bus or DART during these times can be a frustrating experience and is one to be avoided if at all possible. Plan your route in advance! Other cities such as Galway, Cork and Limerick also suffer during these times. DRIVING IN DUBLIN: If you are a first-time visitor to Ireland and are thinking of hiring a car to get around the major cities then we have only 4 words for you: do not do it! By all means hire a car if you want to meander around the countryside from town to town and set your own agenda. Choosing to drive in Dublin city traffic on your vacation however if a really bad idea. The city is a mire of one-way systems and blockages, road-works and endless traffic-jams. Unless you know exactly where you are going and the route to take then you are best advised to give the whole 'driving in Dublin' experience a miss. GETTING AWAY FROM DUBLIN AIRPORT: There is no train service from Dublin Airport into the city centre although one is being built at the moment. There are several bus operators who operate services as well as Dublin Bus. Some bus services will connect with the local DART station while most head straight for the city centre. See www.dublinairport.com/to-and-from/by-bus/ for more. Taxis are in good supply at the airport and are probably the easiest way of getting to your hotel. When planning your arrival into Dublin Airport try to arrive outside of the main traffic rush-hours so that when you do get a bus or taxi, or hire a car, then you wont be caught up too badly. If you are driving then a quick way to bypass the city centre is to use the M50 motorway which runs adjacent to the Airport. This is a ring-road around the city which allows you to make exits for Sligo, Galway, Limerick, Kerry and Cork. Travelling the entire length of the M50 would bring you to the south coast of the city with exits to Blackrock, Dun Laoghaire, Bray and then onwards to the south-east of the country towards Wexford and Waterford. See www.m50.ie for more. It should be noted that the M50 suffers very badly during rush-hour times. If you are driving from the airport into the city centre then you should consider using the Port Tunnel. This is a tolled link that can be a bit expensive depending on the time it is used. It is a very good way however, of getting you straight into the city centre by bypassing the worst of northside traffic. See www.dublinporttunnel.ie for more. There are a number of domestic flights available from Dublin Airport. www.aerarann.com can fly you to Cork, Galway and Kerry, Donegal and Sligo. DUBLIN BUS: The Dublin bus service is an extensive service that covers most parts of the city and beyond. It even serves several locations that are not even based in County Dublin, running as far as Maynooth in County Kildare, Clonee in County Meath, and Blessington and Bray in County Wicklow. While the Dublin Bus fleet has the run of 'bus lanes', travelling during the main rush-hours can be a painful experience. See www.dublinbus.ie for more. BUS EIREAN: Bus Eireann is the long-haul bus service and is a good alternative to the train service depending on your travel requirements. Most major locations are served. The main Dublin terminus is located at Busaras which is in the heart of the city and only yards from the terminus of the Luas Red Line at Connolly Station where the DART also stops. The bus service is generally a cheaper option than the train service. See www.buseireann.ie for more. IARNROD EIREANN: The Irish Rail network serves all major destinations in Ireland and runs from two main Dublin stations. Connolly station is located in the heart of the city while Heuston station is a few miles away to the west. The Luas Red Line runs from Connolly and has a stop at Heuston. The Rail network suffers badly during rush-hour times with over-crowding common. For short day-trips out of Dublin to the likes of Kilkenny, or down the coast to Wexford, or even as far as Galway for a overnight stay, then the rail service can be pretty good, once you plan your departure time! DART: The Dublin Area Rapid Transport is a rail system that runs along the coast of County Dublin. Serving Bray and Greystones in County Wicklow and running via the city centre as far as Howth and Malahide on the northside, the DART is a pretty reliable way of seeing Dublin beyond the main tourist sites. Each of the four towns just mentioned have nice pier-side walkways and are frequent destinations for Dubliners who want to go for a jaunt along the sea-front on a Sunday afternoon. The DART, like the LUAS, is useful for visitors who want to stay in suburban locations where the hotel bills are cheaper while having an easy way to get in and out of the city. If your accommodation is located near a DART or a LUAS station then you can make big savings on that hotel bill by using the public transport system to get around. See www.irishrail.ie for more. LUAS: The Luas is a light-rail system that runs on the streets of Dublin alongside regular traffic. The Red Line runs 14Km via 23 stops from Connolly station in the heart of Dublin City to the western suburb of Tallaght. The Green Line runs 9Km via 9 stops from St. Stephens Green to the southern suburb of Sandyford. Roughly speaking the Red Line runs westwards from the city centre while the Green Line runs southwards from the city centre. Ticket vending machines are available at major stops. The Luas is regarded as a very reliable and frequent service. It also facilitates tourists who want to stay in hotels further out from the city centre and still be able to easily make it into the main Dublin attractions. See www.luas.ie for more. You can get more Ireland Travel Information here: http://www.ireland-information.com/irishtouristinformation.htm ================================================= KEEP THIS NEWSLETTER ALIVE! Visit: http://www.irishnation.com ================================================= ================================== ANOTHER CARA PENPALS SUCCESS STORY ================================== Three and a half years ago a friend was browsing through CARA PENPALS at www.irishpenpals.com and suggested I correspond with a gentleman who was listed there. Although I was very skeptical and had not done anything like this before I thought why not give it a try since I had nothing to lose. I sent a letter introducing myself and asking if he wanted to write to a lady from the United States. Well this past Saturday, the 23rd February 2008 we celebrated our first wedding anniversary and I could not be happier. We corresponded for about six months before talking on the phone and about one and a half years before I flew to Ireland to meet with him. A lot of my family and friends were worried but I felt by then I knew him so well. I found through his emails and our frequent telephone conversations a true soul mate, someone who made me laugh and I could laugh with, a fellow kindred spirit who like myself had nothing to lose. We were together for six weeks and then I returned to the States to finish out my employment and take early retirement so I could move back to Ireland and we could be together. Nothing is ever as easy as it sounds or appears but there is nothing too difficult when you know that you are doing the right thing and sometimes you just have to trust your feelings and throw caution to the wind. So, I want to thank CARA PENPALS very much for creating a website where two people living thousands of miles apart were able to write, meet and marry. When you think about the possibility of this happening without your help I truly believe we would still be looking for that soulmate. Best wishes and regards, Geoff & Linda, Dublin 6, Ireland. Join CARA PENPALS for free here: http://www.irishpenpals.com ================================================= KEEP THIS NEWSLETTER ALIVE! Visit: http://www.irishnation.com ================================================= ======================== WHEN GAELIC SPIRITS WAKE by Andrea Scholer ======================== A free ebook version of this novel is available at: www.irishnovel.com One traveler. One footballer. One scholar. Three Destinies that Collide. Synopsis On assignment for an estates firm in Seattle, Audrey Ray spends her days in Ireland exploring ancient archaeological sites instead of completing the requirements of her job. Her time abroad is limited, and she wants to embrace all she can of the isle during her stay, hoping to find an inner peace she has never known, burdened by a secret that could ruin her chances of happiness forever. Liam O'Neill, a Gaelic footballer, is plagued with crippling doubts about his team. The nation anticipates championship glory for them, but he is unconvinced they have enough talent to win the title. If he's not careful, the uncertainty will cost him more than just a victory. At the National Museum, Friel Nolan is commissioned to write a book on the Iron-Age Celts. A young scholar, he recognizes the sacrifices of his career, spending all of his time on research, his only leisure a traditional pint with the lads on the weekend. Unknown to the traveler, footballer, and scholar is an ancestral connection they share that spans nearly two centuries, when tragedy devastated the land Liam calls home, a time of war when friendships were divided and lovers ripped apart. A consequence of destiny, Audrey must make a choice to stay in Ireland where she knows she belongs but where hardships await, or return to the comfort of America. Her decision could correct the indiscretions of the past and lead her to the miracle she has always longed for. Or will plunge her, and the two men, straight into damnation. === Short Excerpt: 'All counties around Ireland joined the fans in the stadium with their applause, as did those of their brothers and sisters watching by satellite around the world. For the first time in many years, maybe since the days of war, the Irish stood together, giving their last thanks to a football team that had inspired more than just the nation. Though only for the smallest moment, during a breath in time on a casual evening in Croke Park, Eire's people united with an unbreakable Gaelic spirit.' === Chapter Excerpt: The next afternoon, Audrey ran alongside the parked cars of a nearly empty street in Sligo, heeding the revelled shouts of the crowd inside Markievicz Park, which loomed before her, vassals of the Gaelic sport consumed within. She assumed she was late for the start of the match. She'd been a teen the last time she'd run this fast. Her side ached so intensely she thought her spleen was going to burst. Almost there, she thought to herself. The gates of the park came into view. A catchy hand beat that reminded her of her high school days erupted from the Sligo crowd inside. 'Lets Go Sligo!' they yelled in obnoxious unison. 'Up the Ros!' their opponents countered in an uproar with just as much magnificent odiousness. Crossing the street, Audrey spied Richie restlessly waiting for her at the gate, two tickets in his hand. 'I'm so sorry I'm late,' she puffed when she reached him. Sweat dripped from the top of her lip. Slight amusement counteracted Richie's annoyance. 'No worries, you're here now. Frank's just inside.' Sligo and Roscommon competed against each other in another round of cheers. 'Don't know why they started that already. The Galway and Mayo juniors are still playing.' Richie picked up a flattened can and threw it over the wall, hoping it'd hit a fan from Sligo right against the noggin. He stuck a ticket out for her to grab. 'Thanks.' Audrey reached for her ticket but he jerked it away teasingly. 'Oh, just give me the ticket,' she complained. She stomped her foot. Her feelings were mixed for Liam's leering pal. Honestly, she didn't understand how Liam could find friendship in such an jerk. This story is continued in the online edition of this newsletter: http://www.ireland-information.com/feb08.htm#story
'Hold on.' From his back pocket, Richie pulled out a braid of yarn in periwinkle and gold, Roscommon's colours, and he tied it around Audrey's neck. 'This is so you know what team you're cheering for,' he said.
Surprised by the innocent gesture, Audrey ran her fingers through the yarn. 'Thanks.' She beamed, pleased with the gift. Maybe there was more to Richie than she'd originally accounted for. 'But I think it's more than obvious what team I'm cheering for.'
'I just want to make sure. I know how lax the American education system is.'
She ignored his jibe. 'Does this make me an official Ros fan then?'
'Adopted Ross fan.' He handed her the ticket. 'We'll leave it at that for now.'
She took it and examined it tentatively. 'You know this is a student ticket?' she asked.
Richie shrugged his shoulders and walked towards the gate. 'Look youthful!'
Audrey followed closely behind. At the gate, the security guard took both their tickets. He held them up, inspecting the tickets suspiciously, his moustache turning down in irritation. Audrey couldn't think of any other Irishman she'd seen with a moustache.
'Where did you buy these?' he demanded.
Her heart stopped and she lost her speech. Cursing Richie, she apprehensively reached into her purse to extract the difference for an adult ticket, furious at the incompetence of her companion. Richie placed a hand over hers, indicating for her to stop, and leaned back coolly. 'At the counter,' he said smugly.
'Well, there's a problem,' the security guard imparted.
Richie folded his arms. 'They're bought and paid for. You can't be changing them now.'
The security guard leaned forward with menace. 'Don't act the bullocks. This is regular admission. Student's queue down there.' He jerked his thumb to the left.
Richie didn't hide his excitement as he took back the tickets. 'Thanks bud. Her first match.' He pointed at Audrey. 'She's American.'
'An exchange student,' Audrey piped in, playing along.
'Right.' The security guard didn't buy it, but he didn't protest. 'Enjoy yourself so.'
Holding back their laughter, Richie and Audrey ran to the student queue and entered the stadium. Scanning the mass jumble of fans for Frank was like searching for congruency in a Picasso painting. Richie eventually spotted him near the front stands.
'Hey lads, about bloody time,' Frank said when they joined him. He didn't seem annoyed though, Audrey noted.
Richie took Frank's chocolate bar from his hand. 'Audrey was late. Typical bird.' She silently hugged Frank in apology then took her seat, which amounted to a spot on the hard step-like concrete that composed the stands. There were no actual seats. Tickets merely allowed entry into the stadium, leaving the fans to fight for the better views of the pitch. On this half at least. From what Audrey could see, part of the stadium had seats. It seemed to be a common architectural theme of the Gaelic parks in the country. The stadium in Roscommon was similar, she noted. She knew from the last match that she'd be on her feet most of the game.
On the pitch, Galway and Mayo junior hurlers were in the middle of a mighty battle. A Galway hurler struck the ball down the pitch where it was picked up by the Mayo goalkeeper.
'I thought this was a football game,' Audrey said, accepting a can of coke from Frank. 'What's this?'
'It's a hurling match and it's almost over.'
'Have you not seen hurling before?' Richie asked, bowled over.
'No,' she admitted bluntly.
'It's the other of the Gaelic games,' he informed her. 'This is the junior Connacht championship.'
Audrey thought back to the day she found the antique ball. 'I saw some women playing the other day.'
'That'd be camogie. Same difference.'
Galway took possession of the ball near Mayo's gaol. Number 15 struck it over the crossbar for a point.
'Hurling is one if not thee fastest game in the world,' Frank began, swallowing the last of his chocolate bar that he had rescued from Richie. 'And probably the oldest. The heroes of Irish mythology are said to have played it, stories that date back almost two thousand years.'
Audrey sighed. 'That's one thing you never see at home. The ancient. Here, you have kids that run around in the ruins of castles centuries upon centuries old. In America, we find an old house less than two hundred years old and slap on a ten dollar admission fee saying it's history.'
'It is history,' Frank reminded her.
'Compared to Europe, it's only yesterday,' Audrey said, turning her attention back to the hurling match. Mayo scored a goal past Galway, but it was futile as the clock ran out and Galway led.
Maigh Eo 1-4
After an allowed intermission of celebrations, the junior hurlers left the field. Immediately, bag pipers lined the front of the stands.
Richie clapped his hands in anticipation. 'Here we go lads. The hour of judgement.'
As the bag pipers began their melody, the Sligo and Roscommon footballers entered the field. 'There's John,' Audrey pointed excitedly. 'And Liam!'
Each team lined parallel to the other. They followed the bag pipers in a parade around the pitch. As each section of stands and sidelines were approached, the crowds clapped ferociously and waved their flags so rough the cloth nearly fell off their sticks. Noisemakers were blown loud enough to awaken the dead. It was a clashing musical of the vengeance of county pride.
'Don't worry Ros, the day Sligo wins a match is the day the boys of the Dáil decide to wipe each other's arses!' one Ros fan yelled with such boisterous banter his face turned red from the effort.
When the parade stopped at the centre of the pitch, the crowd immediately fell quiet. Audrey marvelled at the speed in which the silence elapsed. It went from deafening to soundless in less than a second.
Then the national anthem began to play. That's why, she thought. The fans lucky enough to have purchased seats stood with those in the stands. Some put hands on their hearts, some swayed to the music, and almost all sang along with near hushed reverence.
When the anthem finished, the referee threw the ball in to start the match. The Sligo midfielder won the advantage and passed the ball to the Sligo left half-forward, but the ball landed on the ground. The Ros right half-back ran to it and kicked it to the Ros centre-forward. He kicked it over the crossbars for an early point.
Many points followed. Roscommon never let up, their only trial when a dog ran out into the middle of the pitch and snatched the ball away before a possible goal was scored. Dogs were often a complaint in country football. The players easily scooped the beast up and took it away from the pitch. Seventy minutes later with a few extra minutes added for injury time, the match was over and Ros had another victory under its belt.
After Roscommon town drunk itself to sleep under a bath of moonlight and caresses, the morning rays too soon glistened against sore eyes. A shopkeeper stood on top a ladder proudly painting his building primrose and gold. Elsewhere around town, new chequered flags replaced the old. Scarves, jackets, and jumpers, all in Roscommon colours, were sold at the stores. The county had a new pride for their footballers. A beat pulsed through Roscommon town, its veins ravenous to bring home the Sam McGuire cup. Ros was no longer the prey when it came to football. It was the predator.
A free ebook version of this novel is available at www.irishnovel.com