================================================= The Information about Ireland Site Newsletter January 2010 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) 2010 ================================================= IN THIS ISSUE === News Snaps from Ireland === New free resources at the site === Play the Irish Lotto === William Clarke - The Ballybay Piper, by Peadar Murnane === Edmund Burke - Political Thinker, by Joseph E. Gannon === Walking the Past by Brendan Forde === Tricky Dubh by Pat Watson === Killarney by Peter Carter === Gaelic Phrases of the Month === Monthly free competition result ================================================= FOREWORD ======== A belated happy new year from Ireland where the great flood gave way to the big freeze. Rarely has the country been brought to such a shuddering halt as happened in the early weeks of this year. Surely things can only get better with more optimism evident. Maybe people have just had enough of the gloom... Until next month Michael ================================================== 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/jan10.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 ======================= NEWS SNAPS FROM IRELAND ======================= FLOODS FOLLOWED BY THE BIG FREEZE It has been called the biggest freeze in 30 years although some observers are citing it as a 'once in a century' event. The devastating floods that hit many business and homes in the west and south of Ireland were quickly followed by heavy snowfalls and a prolonged freeze. Ireland is not used to weather like this and although snow and sleet are a regular occurrence the prolonged nature of the recent cold snap caused no end of problems. Supplies of salt and grit that had been built up to last for a few days were suddenly depleted as the entire transport network was gridlocked with ice causing chaos at airports and roads. Schools were closed down, businesses suffered as staff and customers stayed away. Residents of isolated rural homes had to be airlifted to safety in scenes more reminiscent of a country under siege than a modern western economy. Government agencies were criticised for their response but were ultimately saved when the thaw arrived earlier than expected. Schools and businesses re-opened and the damage was assessed. Melting snow and ice again flooded some businesses and homes, their despairing owners only having just recovered from the first deluge. The big flood and freeze had a huge impact on recession-hit Ireland with most retailers and shopping malls reporting a big reduction in trade due to the extreme weather. This is not the sort of thing that is needed to boost economic recover. Perhaps this beating by the weather marks the very bottom of the trough and the recovery is on the way? Lets hope so. WATER DELIVERY SYSTEM EXPOSED AS INADEQUATE One of the most inconvenient effects of the recent bad weather has been the disruption to the supply of fresh water to residents and businesses. The big freeze has highlighted the poor state of the country's network of water-pipes with up to 40% of water being lost due to leakage from the system. An estimated 300 Million euro is to be spent repairing the broken pipes in an effort to prevent a repeat of this poor performance in the future. With the public so focused on the water problems it was an ideal opportunity for the government to again advance their proposals for water metering. An annual charge for water usage is to be introduced by the government next year, initially in 1.1 Million homes. Businesses already pay for water usage. The initial charge to householders is expected to be about 175 euro annually although this is expected to rise to as much as 400 euro. NEW TERMINAL TO OPEN AT DUBLIN AIRPORT The Dublin Airport Authority has allowed the public to view the new 19-gate terminal 'T2' at Dublin airport for the first time. The fully operational new terminal due to be opened in November of this year is where all 'long-haul' traffic will be accommodated. US customs and immigration can be cleared in the new terminal before flights are boarded. BANKING DISASTER TO BE PROBED A Banking Commission of Inquiry is to be established to examine the near collapse of the Irish banking system. The government had originally balked at the idea of establishing an investigation into how Bank of Ireland and Allied Irish Bank nearly joined Anglo Irish Bank on the scrapheap, but later agreed to a wide-ranging investigation that looks set to be established in the coming months. WELFARE CARD OR NATIONAL IDENTITY CARD? A new public services identity card is to be introduced in an attempt to reduce benefit fraud and to speed up applications for welfare and other public services. The new cards will be able to retain biological identifiers such as fingerprints and eyescans. It is expected that every adult in the country will have the card within 3 to 4 years. The government is not citing the new welfare card as a national identity card although it is hard to see how it is not exactly that. Despite reservations by civil liberty groups the scheme has been met with an overall positive reaction. LIFESPAN GREATLY INCREASED SINCE 1920 The average lifespan for men and women in Ireland has been greatly increased due to better health care, nutrition and lifestyle and a big reduction in infant mortality. 76.8 years for a man and 81.6 years for woman are an increase of 20 and 25 years respectively since 1920. The number of people over the age of 60 is expected to nearly treble by the year 2041, highlighting the urgent need for future-planning of pension and health-care requirements. Voice your opinion on these news issues here: http://www.ireland-information.com/newsletter.htm ============================== NEW FREE RESOURCES AT THE SITE ============================== IRELAND HOUSE-SWAP LISTING We are working on the online program to allow you to freely add and view details of other people who are interested in this service. 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View family crest plaques here: http://www.irishnation.com/familycrestplaques.htm ================================== WILLIAM CLARKE, THE BALLYBAY PIPER by Peadar Murnane ================================== The son of a third generation Scottish Presbyterian family who settled in Cornahoe, near Ballybay, Co. Monaghan where Robert William Clarke was born on 29th. October 1889. The family moved to the townland of Carga and later to Dunmaurice where the family was reared. The probability is that they all attended the National School at Cornanure until they were old enough to walk to the town school. in Hall Street. His sister Agnes was a registered pupil at Cornanure in 1886 when she was four years of age. At this time Cornanure was an interdenominational school. Although the only son and the one best entitled to inherit and work the farm, young Willie opted for a less laborious and more interesting occupation. On leaving school, he 'went to serve his time' to the Ballybay jeweller and watchmaker, Patrick Duffy. He finished his apprenticeship with Mercers of Enniskillen and returned to Ballybay to commence business in Main St. in premises formerly occupied by Marcella Brown. He married Margaret Johnston from Clontibret and they had a family of two boys, Thomas and William and a daughter, Nancy. Thomas (Tom) joined the RAF during World War Two and was killed in action. William (Willie) is a Minister of the Presbyterian Church, now retired in Eglinton, Derry. Nancy is married and lives in England. There was no musical tradition in the Dunmaurice Clarkes but when young Willie by chance met up with 'The Piper Ward' from Oghill, his latent talent soon surfaced. Ward introduced Clarke to the Uilleann pipes and Highland Bagpipes and gave him a sound grinding on the rudiments of both instruments and taught him the skills of reading and writing music. Pipe bands and fife and drum bands were a common feature of parish life in Co. Monaghan in the early 1900's. The Orange Lodges, the Hibernians, the Foresters, Land Leaguers and Home Rulers sustained their faith and enthusiasm through their bands and banners.
Ballybay district had a long tradition of bands be they Fife and Drum or Brass and Reed. Willie Clarke thought that Ballybay should have a good Pipe Band capable of competing with others from Doohamlet, Clontibret, Lisnagrieve, Oghill, Corduff and Lough Egish. No doubt, Clarke got every encouragement from Ward, his old mentor who had founded the Pipe bands at Oghill and Doohamlet. |
Willie Clarke was responsible for the formation of the Ballybay Pipe Band in 1919. It was he who brought the recruits together, trained them and raised the funds to procure instruments and uniforms. One of their first public appearances was at the Peace Celebrations held in Leslie Demesne in August 1919. Their band room was in Church St., opposite the old National School which later became their headquarters. This was also the meeting place of the local Orange Lodge No. 211. It was inevitable that amalgamation would take place. Not every member of the band was an Orangeman. Many like Fred Braden, were members of the band for the sheer love of pipe music. Fred was a Methodist. It was very appropriate that when Willie Clarke died in 1934 the name of the band was changed to the "William Clarke Memorial Pipe Band".
During his short life, Willie soon attracted the company of such noted Uilleann and Warpipe players as the Carolans of Dopey Mills, near Newbliss; Michael Keenan of Glassleck, near Shercock; Philip Martin of Kilturk, near Newtownbutler who used to cycle to Ballybay for piping sessions with Clarke and the Moorheads from Doohamlet.
Brother Gildas (Patrick O'Shea) was a native Irish speaker from Kerry and taught in the De La Salle schools in Downpatrick. He was a well known figure in the piping world and is remembered for his large collection of Egan chanters. He was a regular and welcomed visitor to the Clarke home in Ballybay where he stayed overnight on many occasions. Another acquaintance of Clarke who sampled his hospitality was James Ennis of Finglas, the father of the late Seamus Ennis, piper, singer, collector, raconteur and broadcaster. Two Belfast pipers, Frank McFadden and Francis McPeake and Leo Rowsome, well known piper and pipe maker from Dublin enjoyed many sessions in the Clarke homestead. There they exchanged tunes and techniques and became lifelong friends.
Every man who played pipe music was a friend of Willie Clarke. Many townspeople will remember an old 'tramp' piper who visited Ballybay on occasions. He was known to the locals as "Caoch O'Leary". His ensemble was no more than an Uilleann chanter and a 'goose' but he had a vast repertoire of pipe tunes. As often as he would appear in town Clarke would invite him in for a meal after he had played and collected the town. There would be an exchange of memories and tunes between them. Clarke would do the necessary repairs on his equipment and would bid him goodbye with a packed meal and a couple of shillings . This was the type of man Willie Clarke was. A man with no social or religious barrier but 'a man for all pipers'.
He was an enthusiastic competitor, taking first place at Monaghan County Feis in 1927. The following is an extract from an article written by Harry Bradshaw of Radio/Telefís Éireann for the "Heart of Breifne", with grateful acknowledgement:
"Willie Clarke's name, like that of many another musician, would probably be long forgotten now if it were not for his recordings. The story of how these records came about goes back to 1928 and an imaginative record company executive in London who decided to present on record the various piping traditions existing within these islands. Ireland would contribute the Uilleann Pipes, England the Northumbrian Pipes and Scotland the Highland Bagpipes -- the series of three records to be entitled: "The Pipes of Three Nations". Since the early 1920's, Clarke had been attending an annual piping gathering held in Bellingham, a small town in Northumberland and it was here that the Columbia Record Company of London looked to promote pipers for their planned records. Willie was asked to play the Uilleann Pipes. Pipe Major James Robertson of Edinburgh played the Bagpipes and Anthony Charlton of Northumberland played on the small pipes of Northumbria. In the Summer of 1928, all three travelled to London and made the recordings which were selected that year. George McCullagh (of Derryvalley and a pupil of Clarke's) remembered how Willie proudly returned to Ballybay with an advance copy of the record. 'Well I mind the record played in Clarke's own house after he came back: he was happy enough with it. That was the year 1928'." The tunes recorded by Willie were:- 'Father O'Flynn'; 'Down the Broom'; 'The Star of Munster'; 'McLeod o' Raasay' and 'The Swallow's Tail'.
George McCullagh, won a gold medal in the Ulster championship on the ancient pipes in Portadown in December 1945.
Willie Clarke's expertise extended to the making of pipes. His training in clock making and watch repairs called for the utmost precision and stood to him in the 'manufacture' of the real article. A customer or visitor to his shop premises would find him 'turning' the wood on a small foot-operated lathe to his own planned design. Fashioning the pipes was one thing but their tuning or toning was another and this was Willie's speciality. He was the official local agent for Band Instruments and War Pipes produced by McFadden, foreman Pipe Maker to Denis McCullagh of Belfast.
Robert William Clarke died in 1934 at the age of 45. His mortal remains lie buried in the graveyard of Second Ballybay Presbyterian Church. His memory is still alive in the archives of Radio/Telifís Éireann and in the hearts and minds of the people of Ballybay. "The Irish Phonograph" radio programme on his life and recordings was transmitted over the airwaves in September 1986.
Peadar Murnane, local historian, Ballybay, Co.Monaghan.