The Information about Ireland Site Newsletter
The Newsletter for people interested in Ireland
Now received by over 50,000 people worldwide
Copyright (C) 2006
IN THIS ISSUE
=== News Snaps from Ireland
=== New free resources at the site
=== Play the Irish Lotto
=== The Gift-bearer from Dublin's College of Surgeons
by Geraldine Flanagan
=== The Hand that Rocks the Cradle
by Anthony Valentino
=== A September Trip to Ireland by Dick Redmond
=== A little bit of Dublin - #10
=== Gaelic Phrases of the Month
=== Monthly free competition result
A belated Happy New Year to you and yours from
a freezing cold Ireland! As this is the time for
resolutions how about finally penning that Irish
history article, story or poem that you have been
putting off and sending it in for inclusion in
Until next month, stay warm!
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NEWS SNAPS FROM IRELAND
RESERVE POLICE FORCE TO BE SET UP IN IRELAND
A voluntary reserve police force to complement
the Garda Siochana presence on the streets has
been announced by the Minister for Justice. Up
to 900 volunteer reservists are expected to be
recruited during 2006.
Garda senior officials have big doubts about the
scheme and are especially worried that the reserve
force could be infiltrated by subversives and
criminals. It has been speculated that the measure
is in response to Sinn Fein attempts to introduce
community policing in Catholic areas of Northern
Ireland, and that similar moves may be made in
EARLY ELECTION SEEMS UNLIKELY
The Fianna Fail and PD coalition looks set to run
it terms with an election likely to be held in the
early part of 2007. Recent opinion polls have been
very good news for Bertie Ahearn's government who
took a hammering in the recent local and European
elections. The imminent maturity of the
part-government funded special savings accounts
(SSIAs) over the next 15 months will further add
to the 'feel good' factor among the Irish
The opposition Labour and Fine Gael parties have
already signalled their intent to present their
parties as a potential alternative to the current
government. Labour in particular have been
recently modifying their stance on immigration
with a view to wooing those moderate voters who
may be disillusioned with the current setup.
Sinn Fein continue to do well in the opinion polls
although quite how this will translate into
parliament seats won remains to be seen. The party
has been criticized recently for its proposals to
increase corporate tax from 12% to 17.5% (a move
which would hamper foreign investment in Ireland)
and the implementation of a 50% income tax rate on
earners of over EURO 100,000 per annum.
ILLEGAL MUSIC DOWNLOADING TACKLED
A judge has ordered several Irish internet service
providers to release the names and addresses of 49
Irish people who are suspected of illegally
sharing and downloading music from the internet.
Thousands of songs have been uploaded and
downloaded without any payment being made to the
copyright owners of the music. Legal action by the
music companies against the named individuals is
M50 MOTORWAY TO BE UPGRADED
Work on the upgrade to the notorious M50 ring-road
around Dublin is to get underway this year. An
extra 24km of traffic lanes as well as a revamping
of the most heavily used interchanges are to be
provided by the year 2010 at a cost of EURO 1.5bn.
The government is expected to 'buy out' the
company who operate the toll-plaza near the
Blanchardstown exit and replace it with some form
of automatic tolling. peak-time congestion on the
motorway is now so heavy that Dubliners commonly
refer to the motorway as 'Europe's largest
NEW IRISH SOCCER MANAGER IS UNVEILED
In a surprise move by the Football Association of
Ireland Steve Staunton has been unveiled as the
new manager of the Irish soccer team. He will
be assisted by former England manager Bobby Robson
who was most recently involved in football as
manager of Newcastle United. He also brought
England to the brink of world cup success in 1991
before his team were beaten on penalties in the
Staunton is Ireland's most capped player and is
quite popular among the Irish public. The main
concern with his appointment however is his lack
of managerial experience. His only previous
managerial role is that of assistant manager at
lowly Walsall. How he copes with the big-earning
and big ego Premiership players who were recently
his teammates remains to be seen.
TOUGH DRAW FOR IRELAND IN EURO 2008 QUALIFIERS
Ireland have been handed a tough task if they are
to qualify for the 2008 European championships to
be held in Austria and Switzerland.
Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Wales,
Cyprus and San Marino join Ireland in Group D with
the top two teams certain of qualification.
Croke Park has been made available by the GAA for
2 rugby and 3 Soccer internationals during 2007.
The ground will be rented out to the FAI and the
IRFU for 25% of the gate receipts. The prospect of
up to 75,000 Irish fans cheering on the boys in
green against Germany and the Czechs is eagerly
OBESITY CRISIS IN IRELAND
The modern obesity crisis that has hit the Western
world has not bypassed Ireland. It is estimated
that there are now over 300,000 overweight and
obese children in this country.
AER ARANN TAKES ON RYANAIR
The Irish airline Aer Arann is taking on Ryanair
in the budget airfares stakes. It is expanding its
fleet by EURO 150M which represents the third
largest aircraft order ever by an Irish airline.
The airline currently operates flights to 13 UK,
3 French and 5 Irish destinations.
MICHAEL COLLINS WHISKEY TO BE LAUNCHED
A new whiskey bearing the name of the famous Irish
revolutionary leader is to be launched into the US
market. The Independent distiller Cooley is to
market the product complete with a signature on the
bottle of 'the big fella', similar to that which
appears on the 1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty.
Voice your opinion on these news issues here:
NEW FREE RESOURCES AT THE SITE
NEW COATS OF ARMS ADDED TO THE GALLERY:
The following 6 coats of arms images and family
history details have been added to the Gallery:
View the Gallery here:
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:
PLAY THE IRISH LOTTERY
34 M-illionaires were created by the Irish lottery
in 2003! You could be next - especially if you use
the service provided by http://www.irishlotto.net
http://www.irishlotto.net has been in operation
since 1988 and is one of the oldest online
lottery sites in the world. With subscribers in
89 countries it is easy to see why so this site
is considered as being among the most reliable
lottery sites on the web.
Their website is now totally revamped!
The Irish lotto jackpot is never lower than
US$1,500,000 and is frequently worth in excess of
US$5,000,000. It can rise to $12,000,000 and more.
You don't have to live in Ireland to play and all
winnings are Tax Free!
The draw takes place every Wednesday and Saturday
night on national television (RTE). The jackpot
is won by matching the first six numbers
drawn (1 to 42).
A seventh number is also drawn and is called the
'bonus' number. Money can also be won by matching
five numbers, five numbers plus the bonus number,
four numbers, four numbers plus the bonus number
or three numbers plus the bonus number.
Although people tend to pick their own lucky
numbers, a 'quick pick' option is available which
instructs the Lotto computer to select the entry
numbers. Winnings are tax-free and are paid out in
one lump sum.
The service offered by irishlotto.net includes:
* Entering your numbers in the Irish Lottery and
immediately sending you official confirmation
of your entry.
* Double-checking your numbers after each draw.
* Immediately notifying you, in confidence, of
any winnings. Payment is made according to your
* Sending you details of the winning numbers for
the draws in which you participate.
Total confidentiality is assured. No one will know
that you have bought a ticket and no one will know
that you have won - except you!
The entry fees include all postage, handling and
Got a question? Email the friendly staff at
email@example.com or visit the website at:
THE GIFT-BEARER FROM DUBLIN'S COLLEGE OF SURGEONS
by Geraldine Flanagan
Here I was going about my chores doing what most
people do in the hectic weeks before Christmas,
when, in a whisper, my childhood muse arrived
draping about me like a soft pink shawl. I hadn't
the time for musing but no matter; shaking her off
was not right as she visits so rarely, guides so
gently and leaves sadly. Christmas stories are
always so welcoming and I knew there was a memory,
long-lost in the attic of my mind, that would
rattle and shake until it was uncovered, dusted,
and held up to the light for value and appraisal.
And there I was, in a black and white fragile
film clip, aged six, sitting up in a tightly made
steel hospital bed in Dublin city. It was during
the time of the year when dusk arrives prematurely.
My mother and good neighbour wrapped me in a
blanket one shiny grey evening and carried me, by
way of two double-decker buses, to a hospital on
the far side of Dublin city. First, they treaded
to a hospital closer to home but were informed
there was no room, on that night, for someone who
didn't arrive via the emergency entrance. The
second hospital took pity on the exhausted women
and relieved them of my burden.
It did not seem to me my illness was grave: To
this day I have no details of it. You see my
mother had been widowed not so very long
beforehand and really can't remember much except
that I wouldn't eat, was losing weight and was
too weak to talk. All I remember is that I felt
no pain and my family had abandoned me to a huge,
imposing building in a faraway place. My first
sensation was that of a starched white sheet
cascading around my body like an ocean wave-an
Irish one. While my teeth chattered, I viewed the
high-ceilinged ward and the two rows of steel beds
placed, obediently in attention, on either side.
All was devoid of colour, save white. A parade of
young starched nurses, strictly trained as though
they were nuns, moved determinedly their eyes
focusing only on the exact whereabouts of the
Matron. It was not a children's place. My eyes
counted twelve of us.
Weeks would pass until I thought, incorrectly,
that I was there for a whole year. In my mind's
eye my life has changed permanently. Out of
sheer fright I shunned the world, even Santa
himself, who must have been working nearby because
he found the time to drop in twice to take pity
of us poor orphans.
All us children were orphans all through the long
day until visiting hours. In the evening an array
of doting adults, greyly attired, materialized and
claimed an individual bed and its occupant. I
noticed a Mammy and Daddy for every bed and
surmised that all the other children were spoiled
rotten when they were not orphans. You have no
idea how many brown packages and sweets were
bestowed on them. I took comfort in knowing their
teeth would be rotten by age eleven.
Because I had siblings, my mother could not take
two long bus journeys over to my orphanage
regularly. My granny came twice, once huffing and
puffing with exhaustion and thirst while proudly
holding a Christmas present: a lovely doll. God
bless her soul. That night I offered her a glass
of Lukazade, which is a sugary drink, thought to
be good for children. This bottle of fizzy,
orange water was often left on my bedside table
at night for morning time. There is something
wonderful about the colour of orange in winter
and in the morning. It puzzled me, though,
because I knew this drink had to be purchased.
One day a young, friendly nurse mentioned that it
was she who was instructed to place it there for
me by a special person. I mouthed the words:
It is hard to say, sometimes, exactly when one
takes stock of another but I know it was gradual
and not intrusive. He came when I was dozing off
in the evening using up time until other parents
went home. He would sit by my bed. At first I
was silent and so was he. To me, he was a giant
man, with enormous shoulders, soft hands and
fascinating white teeth. There was a stillness
to him that is uncommon. His hands never
fluttered. He would not come if I had a visitor,
which wasn't very often.
As time past, I came to see that he was one of
the doctors. In those days, and I think it
remains the same today, the College of Surgeons
trained young doctors from all over the world.
Dublin was truly homogenous in the past and any
foreigner who was working in our country usually
was undergoing training as a pilot with Aer Lingus
or as a doctor with The College of Surgeons. This
special doctor was from Africa, he must have told
me which country but this piece of data is lost to
me, and sadly, also is his name. As we became
friendlier, he would talk about Africa, the hot
sun, and how much he missed his family, and his
own way of life while drizzling rain on the tall,
cold windowpane behind me made a forlorn backdrop
for his orange bottle. He questioned me about my
family. I remember telling him they lived miles
and miles away too, but the weather was the same.
We became friends; best friends and I started to
sit up straight at visiting hour and wait for him.
Everyone in the ward knew he was only coming to
see me. He never stopped at other beds even if
they beckoned to him and sometimes he would ask
the nurses to fetch something for me, such as,
a hot-water bottle or a little extra pillow and
One evening he came looking very sad. He told me
it was time for him to return to Africa and that
evening would be the last time we would ever see
each other. I withdrew into silence. As he took
his leave I flung my arms around him and said:
'I don't want you to go, please stay in Dublin.'
These words moistened his eyes but he continued
to speak to me slowly and in compassionate,
fatherly tones. He said I was to think of my
family and that I would be going home soon, like
him, and that he would always remember my brave
pale face and my golden hair.
'Brave' and 'Golden.'
Shortly afterwards I was well enough to return to
my old bright world. In a way I had become
accustomed to the orderly life and the awful smell
of cabbage at dinnertime. Strangely, I now had to
adjust to a lively home and to the life-affirming
aroma of my mother's baking. To my delight, the
Christmas I had missed was kept under lock and key
in the parlour. Santa had left me a blackboard and
easel with long white pieces of chalk. For the
first few days, in between two worlds, I drew and
dusted and dusted and drew, whitening the red sofa
in the small room with soft chalk dust. I tried to
draw my African doctor and explain to my mother
and granny, in a know-it-all chatty way, that it
was he who left the orange drink so that they
could quench their thirst after the long bus rides
and after climbing all those huge steps up to my
ward to see me. They smiled. I smiled. I really
didn't know if that were true but in my heart it
was fitting that some tribute be returned to my
Copyright, December, 2005
You can contact the author via our forum:
YOU CAN HELP TO KEEP THIS FREE NEWSLETTER ALIVE!
where you can get great Irish gifts, prints,
claddagh jewellery, engraved glassware and
Anne MacDonald ordered a family crest plaque:
Received my plaque, carefully wrapped,
in good order. It is splendid! I am
thrilled, and I know that my dad, for whose
81st birthday this was ordered, will love
it. I would like to order another one!
Everyone who has seen the plaque has been
really impressed, even those who, as my
daughter says are 'not into ancestor
Again, my hearty thanks for this
Best wishes for happy holiday season.
Sincerely, Anne MacDonald
THE PERFECT WEDDING OR ANNIVERSARY GIFT!
View family crest plaques here:
THE HAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE
by Anthony Valentino
In my years of studying the Irish language I have
become more and more convinced that preserving a
language is at the heart of saving a culture.
It is more important than wars, legislation or
even self-governance (even though those are
important). People sometimes doubt they can be
effective patriots in their quiet, daily lives
- but those who realize they can are the most
effective saviors of their own culture.
Go raibh maith agat,
An Lámh a Luascann an Cliabhán
Bhí an fear óg ag troid
Leis an gclaíomh ‘s leis an ngunna.
Dhíshealbhaigh sé an rí gallda
Ach fuair sé bás.
Tá an seanfhear ag troid
Leis an vóta ‘s le focail.
Cuireann sé a fhear don Dáil
Anam an Phobail a shábháil.
Ach is fearr an ógbhean a dhéanamh
Le focail Ghaeilge a rá i gcogar le leanbh
Ná na claímhte ‘s na gunnaí go léir
‘S dlíthe ‘s óráidí mórga.
The Hand that Rocks the Cradle
The young man fought
With the sword and the gun.
He evicted the foreign king
But gave his life.
The old man fights
With the vote and words.
He sends his man to the Assembly
To save the country’s soul.
But the young woman does more
With Gaelic words whispered to a babe
Than all the swords and guns
And laws and lofty speeches.
KEEP THIS NEWSLETTER ALIVE!
A SEPTEMBER TRIP TO IRELAND by Dick Redmond
After years of telling my mother we were going
to take her to Ireland we finally decided to make
the trip in September 1983. My mother was 80 years
old at the time and in pretty good health.
We left Portland, Maine early in the morning and
arrived at Newark, New Jersey, where we took a
helicopter (a first for the three of us) to JFK.
We left for Shannon at 9.00 p.m. and arrived at
daylight. Without any plans or reservations we
rented a car and headed for Galway. My mother
turned on the radio and got a French station.
She looked at me and said 'are you sure we're in
the right country.'
When we got to Spiddal I pointed to a building
across the street and asked my mother if she
remembered it? It was the Spiddal Post Office
and my mother used to tell us about sending
letters to Ireland care of the Spiddal Post
We visited several relatives on our first full
day in Galway. My mother's cousin Joe Coyne asked
to stop in and see Granny Coyne in Creduft. We
couldn't find Creduft on the map so we stopped at
a store. The teenage girls didn't know were
Creduft was, but the father came in and confirmed
we were in Creduft and Granny Coyne lived across
the street. He also gave us directions to Nora
Naughton's house down the road towards Galway. We
met Nora and her granddaughter Luisne later the
same day. I met Luisne again 13 years later when
she and her family was staying at my brother
Dave's place on Little Diamond Island in Casco
Bay in Maine. Luisne and her sister Aisling are
both teachers in Ireland and their father is an
author and appears on a television program. Their
uncle Padraic is a priest in South Africa.
Later the same day we found where Nora Faherty
lived in Darrylaughan East. This was the original
homestead of the Flaherty family where my mother's
father grew up. The original house looked awful
small for such a large family, but Nora pointed
out that they had a loft.
We stayed at Park Lodge Spiddal for the first few
days and went to Ashford Castle in Cong, County
Mayo. Later we drove over to Connemera and visited
Kylemore Abby, a private school for girls. We
talked with an Indian girl and a girl from Kenya.
We then made a cross-country trip to Dublin hoping
to stay a few days there. We only stayed one day
because we couldn't find a room. Someone told us
they had an international conference taking place
in Dublin. With no reservations we had to find a
place to stay so we went to Wicklow for a few
days. We visited Mount Usher Gardens; Glendalough,
the Meeting of the Waters; and the home of Charles
Stewart Parnell (Avondale).
We stopped in Gorey for a few hours where my
father's father lived before he came to the United
States. There were an awful lot of Redmonds in
Gorey if you went by the names on the storefronts.
At Wexford we spent a few days at White's Hotel,
whose original owners daughter married Thomas
Moore. One night as we were heading back to our
hotel we met some people coming out of a pub. My
mother said to them 'the top of the morning to
you' and one of them replied 'and the rest of the
day to you'.
As we were leaving Wexford heading for Waterford
we came to a crossroad with no signs. I asked my
mother to roll down the window and ask that guy
on the corner if he knows the road to Waterford.
When she rolled up the window I asked her what
he said. She replied 'he said he was from
Before heading for Shannon we visited The Rock of
Cashel, JFK Park in New Ross, Reginald's Tower in
Waterford and Bunratty Castle.
In all we spent 10 days in Ireland and we never
met a disagreeable person. My mother lived for
another 17 years after this trip and she never
tired of talking about the great time she had.
YOU CAN HELP TO KEEP THIS FREE NEWSLETTER ALIVE!
where you can get great Irish gifts, prints,
claddagh jewellery, engraved glassware and
Wendy Walker of Columbia, Missouri got a
family crest signet ring with the Donnelly family
crest engraved on it for her son
I received by registered mail today the ring I
ordered for my son with the Donnelly family crest.
I am very impressed and thrilled with the ring.
It is beautiful and the service I received
throughout the whole process of ordering and
receiving this unique gift has been superb. Thank
you for all your assistance and prompt responses
to my questions.
I will most certainly order other items from you
and will highly recommend you.
THE PERFECT WEDDING, ANNIVERSARY OR BIRTHDAY GIFT!
See here for family crest gifts:
A LITTLE BIT OF DUBLIN - #10
The famous 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
GAELIC PHRASES OF THE MONTH
PHRASE: Slainte agus tainte!
PRONOUNCED: slawn-che oggus tinn-che
MEANING: Health and Wealth!
PHRASE: Go mbeire muid beo ar an am seo aris!
PRONOUNCED: guh mware-eh mwid beow air on omm shuh ah-rish
MEANING: May we be alive this time next year!
PHRASE: Athbhliain faoi mhaise dhuit!
PRONOUNCED: ought-bleen fwee may-sheh dwit
MEANING: A prosperous new year to you!
View the archive of phrases here:
SHAMROCK SITE OF THE MONTH: CHAD'S IRISH TOURS
Chad's Irish Tours is a Certified Ireland
Specialist with Tourism Ireland. Plan a group
trip or self-drive vacation.
Call today 1-877-6-IRELAND.
Click to Visit:
JANUARY 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 print, 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,
The Information about Ireland Site.
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