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Hello again from Ireland where barely a week goes by without a report of one of the country's senior politicians being confronted by protesters, angry at being forced to pay a new water charge. The controversial water bill was introduced by the Irish Government despite widespread opposition.
The scale and ferocity of the protests has taken may observers by surprise while the Government is definitely on the back-foot regarding the issue. With a General Election looming they will have to play their hand very carefully as this matter has the potential to take them down.
In your free newsletter this month we have another 'Conan from Tirdevlin' story. Many thanks to those of you who emailed us expressing your enjoyment of the stories so far. Please, tell your friends!
Until next month,
BACKUP PASSPORT FOR IRISH CITIZENS
A 5-year supplementary Passport card will become available later this year that will allow travel within the European Union. It is thought that the document would serve as a useful backup to the main Passport held by citizens in situations where they either do not have in their possession or do not want to use their main Passport.
For example, a Passport that is held by an Embassy during a Visa application would previously have prevented the Passport's owner form travelling abroad. Younger people might also find the New Card useful as a means of identification. Having to offer a full Passport document in a busy night-Club and then worry about the document for the rest of the evening is also a situation that could be avoided by using the new card.
American, Australian and Canadian nationals who are also Irish citizens might find the card useful when traveling back to their homeland.
Fiona Penollar is a spokesperson for the Irish Passport Office:
'This is a credit card sized passport that can fit easily in your wallet. It's an additional extra to the actual passport book. The Passport Card has very advanced security features, including an embedded hologram photo on the strip on the reverse of the card.'
20% MORTGAGE DEPOSIT TO BECOME A REALITY
Despite the watering down of recently proposed rules by the Irish Central Bank it seems that the new regulations will indeed have some bite. First-time buyers who want to borrow up to 220,00 Euro will be required to produce a 10% deposit. Borrowings above that amount will require a 20% deposit.
The current situation before these new rules is that anyone borrowing up to 300,000 Euro can do so with a 10% deposit. The rules are designed to prevent situations where borrowers get in above their heads or borrow too much, possibly end up in negative equity and have their home repossessed.
Borrowers who are intending to rent out the properties they buy will be required to furnish a 30% deposit, a move that is certain to dampen the supply of rental properties, driving prices upwards.
An average three-bed semi-detached Dublin home is now selling for 320,00 Euro. Similar homes in rural location are selling for 100,000 Euro.
The Central Statistics Office (CSO) data for December 2014 showed that house prices in Ireland rose by a massive 16.3%. The previous year saw a 6.4% rise nationwide. The numbers in Dublin were even higher with an increase of 22.3% in 2014. While this still represents an overall drop of 37.7% in Dublin since the peak in 2007 the massive price leap in 2014 is reminiscent of the years of the 'Celtic Tiger'.
GREEK DRAMA MAY BECOME AN IRISH TRAGEDY
The spectacular developments in Greece where a left-wing Government has swept to power may have long-lasting effects in Ireland.
The Greek regime is headed by Alexis Tsipras who has vowed to renegotiate the loan agreements that kept the country afloat after the 2008 economic crash. The new Greek Prime Minister has promised that he is on a path to 'national salvation' and insisted that significant debt write-offs must be provided to the embattled Mediterranean country. Unemployment in Greece is currently over 26%.
The response from the hierarchy of the European Union (Germany) has been predictable with cold-water poured over the Greek revolution. It remains to be seen if Greece will stay within the Eurozone or whether it will re-form its own Central Bank and start printing its own cash.
For the Irish Government the consequences could be severe. If the EU decides to try to keep the Greeks within the Eurozone at any cost then the new Athens Government will be celebrating having achieved the write-down of much of its debts, a feat not accomplished by the Irish. At the very least that country will have maneuvered itself into a much better financial position.
With a General Election looming in Ireland it is difficult to see how Enda Kenny and his Fine Gael Party could go to the Irish electorate and claim that they got the best possible deal for Ireland in the wake of the 2008 crash. Why were better terms given to Greece when it was Ireland that suffered the most in terms of debt burden, in the name of propping up the Eurozone banking infrastructure. Surely some kind of retrospective deal must be struck with the Irish Government if the Greeks are given concessions?
Fine Gael have thus far been able to blame the last Fianna Fail Government for all of the recent Irish economic woes. They were elected on a platform of 'burning the bondholder' and getting a better deal for Ireland. They claimed that they would do things differently if elected but in reality they have merely carried on the policies of their predecessors.
The Greek drama could yet turn into an Irish tragedy for certain politicians here.
IRISH PRESIDENT HECKLED AND CHASED BY PROTESTERS
The degree to which some Irish political campaigns have been emboldened by recent successes was demonstrated when the Irish President, Michael O'Higgins was verbally assaulted and his car chased by protesters angry at his perceived betrayal.
The role of President in Ireland is largely ceremonial. The President is required to sign legislation that enacts laws and did just that when the 'Water Services' Act was signed into law, effectively rubber-stamping the provision of water meters to every home in Ireland.
O'Higgins is a former Labour Party T.D. so it came as a surprise to many when he did not forward the legislation to the Irish Council of State to determine the constitutionality of the laws. Clearly he felt that the laws were in fact constitutional, but many of his former Labour Party and left-wing comrades had hoped that he would have symbolically at least delayed the proposals.
Leaving an event in Finglas the President felt the full fury from his previous supporters. 'Parasite', 'Sell-Out' and 'Traitor' were among the cat-calls hurled at the figurehead of the Irish Government who had to run the gauntlet of the protesters, under heavy Garda protection.
The scenes were reminiscent of the recent protests levelled at the Irish Deputy Prime Minister Joan Burton, who was physically jostled, had water thrown at her, and was locked into her car for over three hours by a mob of angry demonstrators.
The campaign against the water charges seems to be waning as the combination of Irish Government concessions on the amount that will be payable together with national indifference from a beleaguered and tired citizenry collude to get the laws enacted and the job done.
Leo Varadkar is an Irish Government Minister:
'What strikes me, is that as the water protesters get fewer, they're getting nastier.'
STEPHANIE'S STUNNING STRIKE NOT ENOUGH FOR FIFA
When Stephanie Roche turned and volleyed into the back of the net in an Irish Women's Football League game for Peamount United in October 2013 she can hardly have expected where she would end up as a consequence.
Our nomination for photo of the year (yes we know it is only January) is the photo showing the Irish footballer as she made her way to the stage to accept the runners-up prize in the FIFA 'best goal of 2014' competition.
The sheepish-looking gentleman in the purple suit is none other than superstar Lionel Messi of Barcelona while the bow-tied chap to his right is 'World Player of the Year' Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid. We are certain that their thoughts were on footballing matters as the Irish player walked by.
The FIFA Puskas Award eventually went to Colombian James Rodriquez for his fine strike at the World Cup. There is little doubt though that the best goal of the competition was in fact that scored by the Dubliner. Alas the politics of FIFA decreed that the surroundings of the World Cup Finals in Brazil should triumph over Ferrycarrig Park in Wexford where an estimated 95 spectators were in attendance on that cold October day.
The affable Roche was gracious in defeat:
'Being the first Irish person to get here, and also being the first female, has been fantastic. Colombia is an awful lot bigger than Ireland, so to have got that close means a lot to me. So, again, thank you to everyone who did vote.'
The goal Stephanie Roche scored has certainly done a lot to bring Women's football in Ireland into the spotlight and hopefully will encourage more Irish girls to take up the sport at a young age because, as Stephanie as shown, you never know where football can lead you!
You can view Stephanie's fantastic goal here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c0L0WIK2Ync
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CONAN AND HIS SENSE OF CIVIC PRIDE
From 'The Adventures of Conan From Tirdevlin'
Peggy Devlin was of such a vintage that it had become impolite to even ask. Her surname suggested that her family connections had ancient roots in the townland and although she never supported any such claims she never denied them either.
She was reserved. Quiet even.
Except when it came to the subject of the Castle.
Tirdevlin Castle was a magnificent Norman Tower that had been added to over the centuries but which had now fallen into disrepair. Peggy had formed the 'Protect Tirdevlin Heritage' Group and they protested weekly but to no avail. There was little public interest and even less media appetite for the story of the Castle, but she fought on regardless.
'Will you be joining the protest Sunday Conan?'
She had cornered Conan outside Tirdevlin Post Office just as the skies were about to open. That sudden darkness that envelopes all of humanity as the Sun is covered by heavy clouds seemed to wrap around Conan in an instant.
'We are expecting a big crowd! Something has to be done to preserve our heritage Conan - for our children's sake!'
Conan eyed her carefully. This sounded like a well rehearsed gambit - and delivered with such enthusiasm.
'Playing the 'save the children' card a bit early aren't you Peggy? I would have thought you'd appeal to my sense of civic pride first.'
'What sense of civic pride would that be Conan?'
Dispirited now. Many times she had tried to coax the citizenry of Tirdevlin into action only to be met with this kind of apathy.
Conan noticed her frustration.
'Easy does it Peggy. You know I support you in principle but on Sunday I have to visit my wifes' mother in Beltubbet. You know - it is one of those unintended consequences that you read about. In my case this is an unintended consequence of being married.'
'I see Conan. But the only unintended consequence of our not doing something now is that the Castle site will be over-run by Builders and Developers. Centuries of history could be lost forever!'
A few seconds of silence followed.
'Gotta go Peggy - all the best.'
'Yes you go Conan.'
Peggy didn't usually give people such a hard time. And she wasn't pleased that she had done so now.
Conan glanced back briefly at her long face before he disappeared into the rainy mist.
Conan didn't like doing business with 'The Dancer' Driscoll. The Dancer was the local Thrift Store owner who bought and sold everything. He was also the big-shot on the local Town Council which put him in a very good position to fend off attacks from his many enemies who accused him of dealing in stolen goods, or goods whose providence was, at the very least, suspect.
Driscoll was an operator for sure. His warehouse-like premises just off the Tirdevlin Main Street at times resembled both a Methadone Clinic and a Parish Centre, such was the wide variety of clientele who visited the shop. It was here that the local Priest would pick up a second hand lap-top for use by the Sacristant while in the next moment a biker from the 'Sawdust Saloon' down the back-alley might offer a pair of boots off his feet for sale.
There was no beating the prices though. Driscoll was notorious for striking a hard bargain and even more well-known for padding his profit. Still though. The shop had everything. Everything except wallpaper and class.
Conan got there early so as to avoid the local yokels observing him at his business. He had been aware that a Music Festival had been planned for some time in the grounds of Tirdevlin Castle and when he heard that it was only for the Council to rubber-stamp the grant of a licence in order for the project to proceed he decided to act. He spent a day and a half scouring the Internet for camper tents. Cheap tents, but not too cheap. Good quality, but not too good quality. The sort of affair that would get a drunken raver through the night dry but not the sort to drop behind enemy lines with.
And what a deal he got! Two hundred and fifty of the most pristine and compact mini-tents you could imagine and for only five Pounds a pop. It was Pounds and not Euros because Conan had sourced them from a liquidation store near Luton in the UK. Even with the extra fifty Pounds for shipping Conan reckoned he could sell the lot for at least fifteen to twenty Euro each, pocketing a tidy sum.
Nice. Very Nice.
All was well in Conan's universe until his new purchase arrived at his door in the still darkness of a Tuesday morning. Two hundred and fifty tents takes up a lot of room. Conan had not envisaged carting the Container-load of heavy-enough tents into the garden shed in the freezing cold with the balance stored in the living room. His wife was not pleased. One glare from her bleary eyes had convinced him to move them off-site and sharpish. He called in a favour from Tommo Morgan who stashed the lot in his barn. Under a pile of loose hay for safety.
Reflecting further on his position Conan decided to try to cash out by offering the lot to 'The Dancer'. Sure it would be a shoe-in. Driscoll would take the tents knowing that the Music Festival was going to go ahead and Conan would offload them to him for a tenner a piece, leaving scope for a mark-up for Driscoll. Easy money.
'Cant do it Conan'.
Conan fixed his gaze on the man behind the counter. Driscoll had a reputation for meanness but his position on the Council meant that he had to preserve at least an air of decorum, especially with voters in the vicinity and an election in the near future.
'I cant do it Conan - the Festival wont be going ahead.'
What do you mean the gig is cancelled? What happened? I have all my spare cash invested in these tents.'
Desperation never sounded good to anyone and Conan recognized the instant he had uttered the words that he had just weakened his own position.
'Bryant O'Donovan has put in an objection to the Festival and I am agreeing with him. The Council will go along with me and that is all there is to it.'
'What is O'Donovan's problem then?'
'He wants to renovate his farmhouse that is adjacent to the Castle grounds and is worried that the grant of a licence will put the spotlight on the possibility of any ancient remains being found in the area. As if there is anything under that cow-field anyway!'
The issue of the Castle grounds had been rumbling on for years. O'Donovan wanted to develop his land while Peggy Devlin and her band of protesters had lobbied the Council and had even blocked the roadways in and out of Tirdevlin to highlight their concerns. If the Festival went ahead then the Central Heritage Authority would demand assurances that no historical part of the site would be disturbed. It would require a site survey by a team of archaeologists and possibly mean the end of O'Donovans ambitions for his own land.
'But the gig is being held at the far end of the Castle grounds, away from where there are supposed to be unearthed treasures!' Conan sounded even more desperate.
'Makes no difference. O'Donovan has objected and I agree. In fact I had a wee chat with him only last night about it.....'
The penny dropped. Elections in October. Candidates need cash to run a campaign. O'Donovan was minted.
Conan looked down forlornly at the tent encased in tight cellophane wrapping.
'What am I to do with two hundred and fifty of these then?'
The Dancer smirked briefly and then offered his insult.
'You could try the 'Buy and Sell'?'
Peggy Devlin was joined at the weekly protest outside the Council building by as ragtag a bunch as could ever be imagined. A local architect, the post-mistress, several senior schoolgirls, the manager of the local football team, some housewives and a Garda Reservist assembled outside the impressive Council offices.
Peggy grimaced as she faced the building. Plenty of money for double-glazing and eco-insulation here. Nothing left for saving our history up the road. A dull background sound from the other side of town caught her attention briefly. The local GAA football team must be have a game this morning.
The small group of protesters wiped the rain off their battered placards and prepared for the march that would take them up around the town square, across to the shopping mall, back down by the rail station and finishing where they started, outside the Council building. It was a well-worn journey. Peggy and the architect had completed every single circuit, every week for three years.
'Do you know Dermot, this week marks our third anniversary!' she offered with a twinkle in her eye.
Dermot Delaney was old enough to remember Peggy when she was in her prime, and well able to recognize the brightness in her face that the wrinkles of the years could not yet disguise.
He smiled back at her.
'So it is Peggy! I hope we dont have to walk this route for another three years!'
'Hah! she barked loudly - lets see if we can shake them up today then!'
The dwindling troops were well used to her rallying calls but had clearly lost heart. Attendance at the marches had never topped thirty souls and today there was just nine. Peggy could already envision a future when it would be just her and Dermot trudging along. Just two old fools carrying placards in the Tirdevlin rain.
They set off.
Now, Peggy had been around long enough not to expect miracles but she also knew that it was often when you least expected it that unusual events occurred.
Today was to be such a day.
The background noise in the distance had suddenly become louder, decibel by decibel, until it could no longer be ignored. Suddenly it was so close as to seem surreal at just the moment before its authors came into view.
Peggy stared in utter amazement.
It was Conan marching towards them with at least fifty more behind, chanting slogans loudly, berating the Council, supporting the campaign!
'What do we want?
To Save the Castle
When do we want it?
The twenty junior members of the local GAA club were particularly loud, belting out the slogans in the way that only twelve-year-olds can. People who Peggy had tried again and again to recruit to the cause followed in their wake, blocking the side-roads, dodging cars, causing mayhem.
'How are you today Peggy? Are we marching or what?'
Off they set but not along the usual route. Conan steered them to the Office of the Tirdevlin Chronicle where they invaded the reception area and all but dragged a Photographer out with them. The held an impromptu sit-down in the Town Square.
'Forget Occupy Wall Street - Occupy Tirdevlin.' Tremendous cheers followed.
They attracted a large crowd of teenagers who took delight in recording the antics on their Smart-Phones, emailing their friends. Conan made sure they passed by the Driscoll Thrift Store and, as it happened, at just the exact moment that the Proprietor was taking delivery of a truckload of merchandise, causing traffic chaos.
Conan managed not to smile as he marched by.
Peggy caught up with Conan.
'How on earth did this happen Conan? Is this your 'civic pride' coming to the fore?'
'Dont know what you mean Peggy. This is just an unintended consequence of the Satellite Dish not working in the Hotel Bar. The local football team were attending a birthday party in the function room next door and the lights went out. So I suggested to all and sundry that we go for a quick march around the town with you desperadoes while we waited for the TV link to come back.'
Peggy Beamed. The years falling from her face.
'Marvellous Conan! Marvellous!'
The 'Occupy Tirdevlin' march, as it had become known, was all over the County Newspapers and Radio the following week. Peggy had even been interviewed by RTE and had attracted media attention from abroad.
A campaign that has been going on for years!
The march held every single week!
Such was the interest now that the event was packed out every week.
Conan left her to it. Peggy caught up with him a few weeks later. He was in his usual position in the Hotel Bar, sipping a pint of Carlsberg while the world passed him by.
'Well Conan how are things with you?'
Conan looked up to find Peggy staring at him intently.
'Fine Peggy. I see the campaign has really taken off.'
'It sure has and thanks is due to you I hear?'
Conan paused a moment while he composed his reply.
'Not me Peggy. All I did was encourage a few of the lads to go for a walk on a Sunday afternoon. It was more exercise than some of them have had in years. And anyway, the TV was broken.'
'Now then Conan, I heard that you offered every man, woman and child a free drink if they would join you in the march - must have cost you a pretty penny?'
'That's not the way I remember it Peggy. I may have bought a few of the guys a beer after the walk but no harm in that is there?'
'And the TV was broken that day?'
'I hear you are a wizard with all things electrical - could you not fix it, so to speak.'
Conan darted his eyes to Peggy's quickly and then resumed his gaze at the sports page.
'Yes Peggy - I did fix it in the end.'
Peggy let the reply linger before changing the subject.
'I hear that Driscoll wont be running for the Council again. Some of the teenage girls who were following the march posted video on YouTube of some iffy goods being delivered to his shop. I hear the An Garda Siochana are looking into it.'
'Ah thats a shame for him, I guess. But that sort of thing will happen if you deal in dodgy merchandise.'
A long sup of the Carlsberg.
Peggy grinned at him and turned to go but paused as she passed the cork noticeboard beside the front door, spinning around to face Conan again.
'Hey Conan, I see the Music Festival is back on and that it is being held in the local show-grounds instead of the Castle.'
'I heard that too Peggy. The Government Heritage Authority are going to do a full archeological survey of the Castle grounds and all the surrounding fields thanks to your campaign.'
'More trouble for 'The Dancer' then?'
'Just another unintended consequence Peggy!'
'And with the Festival back on those tents I heard you bought should sell like hot-cakes now Conan.'
Conan turned, looked directly into her sparkling eyes, and smiled mildly.
'I guess you're right Peggy. I hadn't thought of that'
THE ALTERNATIVE RING OF KERRY
by Nathan Kingerlee
The Ring of Kerry with its classic stops and view points is of world renown, but here are some alternative hidden gems along the way.
Visit Kerry Bog Village on the main road between Killorglin and Glenbeigh. Here you can explore a traditional 1800s replica thatched bog village, complete with Irish wolf hounds and rare Kerry bog ponies - a great family trip.
Entering into Caherciveen take a right turn down past the old army Barracks, across the river to Cahergal Fort, an impressive Bronze Age stone fort with great views over Valencia Harbour. There is a second even more interesting fort nearby and also the ivy-clad crumbling ruins of fifteenth century Ballycarbery Castle, once the home of the McCarthy Mor's, now home only to jackdaws...
Back on the main road detour to the sleepy village of Portmagee. A must-see is the Skellig Interpretive Centre, dedicated to the history and stories of the sixth century monastic settlement of Skellig Michael. It's told by some that this was one of the last pagan sites in Ireland and one of the reasons it was inhabited for 600 years by monks was to drive out the last of the pagans.
Portmagee is named after an infamous pirate, Magee, who was shipwrecked on the coastline, met a local girl and settled down in the village to a life of married contentment and dangerous smuggling. The Bridge Bar serves delicious food and is a great lunch spot. On a fine day you can sit outside at the water's edge, watching the coming and goings of the brightly coloured fishing boats.
From Portmagee follow the narrow road over the top of Coonanaspig Pass and down to Saint Finan's Bay. Here you can swim in the fresh crashing surf at the sandy beach and call into Skellig Chocolate Factory where you'll be rewarded with sensational smells and free samples of delicious chocolates.
Continue to Derrynane Beach. Here long golden beaches, Daniel O Connell's family home, wetsuit and snorkeling hire from Derrynane Sea Sports and the ruined Abbey on Abbey Island are all calling to be explored. If you're into hiking, best of all, is a hidden mass path and secretive smugglers trail beginning at the pier and twisting along the side of Derrynane Harbour, through thick encroaching rhododendrons.
Finish your day with a homemade ice-cream from 'The Green House' in Sneem!
This article was written by Nathan Kingerlee who organises Singles Adventure Weekends and much more at:
SEVEN LITTLE-KNOWN BUT AMAZING IRISH PEOPLE FROM HISTORY
THE IRISHMAN WHO STOLE THE ENGLISH CROWN JEWELS
Colonel Thomas Blood (1618-1680), recorded a feat in 1671 that has never been repeated: he stole the English Crown Jewels. The County Meath Adventurer was already well known for his exploits when he attempted his most daring feat yet.
It was in April of 1671 that the self-styled Colonel arrived at the Tower of London, dressed as a Parson and with a female companion posing as his wife. The impostor feigned illness and was offered comfort in the private quarters of the Custodian of the Jewels, a 77-year-old gentleman named Talbot Edward.
Over the next few days Blood was able to ingratiate himself with the Edward's and even offered up his imaginary nephew to marry a daughter of the household. A meeting of the young suitor was arranged, the pretense of which provided access for the gang to the Jewel Room whereupon Edward was accosted and covered with a cloak.
The plan was going smoothly. Two of the Crown Jewels (St. Edward's Crown and the 'Sceptre within a Cross') were flattened and mangled by the thieves in order that they could be easily spirited out of the well-guarded Tower.
The plan was foiled though when the spirited Edward fulfilled his duty and let out a yell of 'Treason! Murder! The crown is stolen!' The gang fled along Tower Wharf before being captured by Captain Beckman, the brother-in-law of one of the younger Edwards.
Blood was unrepentant: 'It was a gallant attempt, however unsuccessful! It was for a crown!'
To everyone's amazement the charming Colonel Blood was not only pardoned by King Charles II but also given substantial land in Ireland worth 500 pounds a year. Theories still abound regarding the reasons for his lenient treatment.
DANIEL MALCOLM AND HIS BULLET-RIDDLED GRAVESTONE
Captain Daniel Malcolm was a Merchant of Irish descent prior to the America Revolution. He had settled in Boston and embarked on a career of tax-evasion, among other activities. He was renowned for hating the British regime of taxation ('without representation') that would eventually spark the American War of Independence. He died just prior to the Battle of Bunker Hill in 1769 but his defiance did not end there.
Malcolm had insisted that his gravestone record his opposition to the unfair taxation imposed by the faraway British. When the graveyard was occupied by British Troops just prior to the Bunker Hill battle the soldiers took particular delight in targeting his grave for shooting practice.
IT'S A LONG WAY TO CONNEMARA
The famous song 'It's a Long Way to Tipperary' was composed by Jack Judge and Harry Williams in the year 1912. On foot of a bet the two Actors met their challenge of composing and performing a song within 24 hours. The original title was 'It's a Long Way to Connemara' but the verse was changed by Judge, much to his companions fury.
Williams forgave his friend however, as the change from Connemara to Tipperary had made the song an instant worldwide hit. The tune was widely used by marching troops in the first World War.
KIT CAVANAGH AND THE ROYAL DRAGOONS
Christian 'Kit' Cavanagh (1667-1739), was the daughter of a wealthy Dublin Brewer who was to achieve fame in British Military circles.
Determined to find her husband who had been pressed into military action the gallant lady disguised herself as a soldier and fought with distinction at the Battle of Ramilles against the French in 1706. She served as an Infantryman and later as a Dragoon during which duty she was wounded and her secret discovered.
The Writer Marian Broderick noted that 'Amazingly, she managed to do this without being discovered: she ate with them, drank with them, slept with them, played cards with them, even urinated alongside them by using what she describes as a 'silver tube with leather straps'. No one was ever the wiser.'
She eventually found husband after 13 years, recognizing him just as he attempted to pick up a Dutch woman, their relationship now doomed. She eventually returned to Dublin, remarried and traveled widely.
THE RUSSIAN SPY AND THE IRISH CHIPPER
Perhaps the most famous 'Fish and Chips' restaurant in Ireland, if not the world, is Beshoff's of Dublin. Situated just yards away from the GPO on O'Connell Street and a short walk from Trinity College, a visit to the premises is a Dublin ritual for tourists and locals alike.
The original owner was Ivan Beshoff who died in 1987, aged 104 years. He was the last surviving participant of the famous 'Mutiny of the Potemkin' in 1905. He arrived in Dublin in 1913 with a letter of introduction from Lenin which he gave to Jim Larkin, the Irish Labour Leader. He was later interred in the Curragh Army prison during the Great War, on suspicion of being a Russian spy.
In 1922 he set up the famous eatery which still bears his name to this very day.
ARTHUR MACMURROUGH KAVANAGH
Surely one of the most remarkable Irishmen of recent centuries is Arthur MacMurrough Kavanagh (1831-1889). He had been born with severe physical disabilities including having only rudimentary limbs serving as arms and legs. He was essentially armless and legless.
Under the supervision of a caring Doctor, Francis Boxwell, Kavanagh managed to have a fantastic life and career that included horse-riding, fishing, shooting and eventually Politics. He was the son of Thomas Kavanagh of Borris House of County Carlow who also was an Irish politician. He followed the path of his father but not before he had traveled extensively throughout Russia, Sweden, Egypt, Asia, India and beyond.
In 1851 he inherited the family estates and married a cousin in 1855, the marriage producing seven children. He served as the High Sheriff of Counties Kilkenny and Carlow and represented Counties Wexford and Carlow in the British Parliament.
THE IRISH INVENTOR OF THE EJECTOR SEAT
The ejector seat that is such a central feature in so many James Bond and action movies was invented by an Irishman, Sir James Martin (1893-1981).
Born in County Down in Ulster Martin established an engineering firm in 1929. It is estimated that the ejector seat he designed has been responsible for saving perhaps as many as 5000 lives.
|PHRASE:||Cá bhfuil mo sheomra leaba?|
|PRONOUNCED:||kaw will muh shom-reh labbah|
|MEANING:||Where is my bedroom|
|PHRASE:||Tá sé thuas an staighre.|
|PRONOUNCED:||taw shay su-iss on sty-reh|
|MEANING:||It is upstairs|