The Information about Ireland Site Newsletter
The Newsletter for people interested in Ireland
Now received by over 50,000 people worldwide
Copyright (C) 2009
IN THIS ISSUE
=== News Snaps from Ireland
=== New free resources at the site
=== Charles Stewart Parnell - An Irish Hero
=== Great Irish Families: Murphy
=== Remembering Glenn by Linda Marie Fratello
=== Honeymoon in Ireland by Michael Ryan
=== Woollen Mills Fire by Pat Watson
=== The Irish Coins Proof Set
=== Gaelic Phrases of the Month
=== Shamrock site of the month: celticattic.com
=== Monthly free competition result
Hello again from Ireland where my musings on the
good weather in June had the inevitable result.
Rain. The economic woes of the country are still
the subject of the moment but with the US
seemingly emerging from the recession it is hoped
that 2010 will be a better year all round.
Thanks again to our contributors for their
articles and stories - why dont YOU send in a
story, poem or biography of an Irish figure!
Until next month
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NEWS SNAPS FROM IRELAND
GOVERNMENT TO SET UP A BANK FOR TOXIC DEBTS
In a high risk strategy the Irish government is to
establish a bank to assume responsibility for the
billions of euro in toxic loans currently on the
books of the main Irish banks. The National Assets
Management Agency (NAMA) will buy the dodgy loans
at a big discount and, should it lose out in the
long run, seek to recover its losses from the
banks in the future.
It is expected that the effective nationalisation
of the toxic property debts will make the Irish
government the single biggest property owner in
the world. The overall investment is expected to
be it the region of 60 billion euro. The current
national debt is expected to be 70 billion euro
by years end so it is clear that nearly doubling
the national debt is a very risky strategy.
Credit rating agencies are likely to be
unimpressed with the plan and will probably
further downgrade Ireland's credit worthiness,
making it harder and more expensive for the Irish
government to borrow.
HOUSE PRICES CONTINUE TO FALL
The latest permanent TSB/ESRI survey has shown a
further decline in the value of property in
Ireland. The average price of a house is now
241,000 euro which is a 22% decline when compared
to the February 2007 peak of 311,000 euro. Prices
have fallen by 8% in the first half of 2009 and
although the rate of decline has stabilised
somewhat property market observers still maintain
that there is some way to go before the bottom is
MORE TAXATION ON THE WAY
The much anticipated report of the Commission on
Taxation is to be published within weeks and is
likely to add further to the taxation burden being
faced by Irish households. High on the list is
expected to be some manner of carbon tax, followed
by a property tax and a likely water charge.
Currently Irish households do no pay for the water
they use but those days seem to be numbered. A
property tax of up to 1000 euro per property per
year is also on the cards which is very bad news
for owners of multiple properties or holiday homes.
The carbon tax is likely to significantly increase
the cost of petrol and gas and is being pursued by
the Green Party as a condition of their staying in
coalition government with Fianna Fail.
IRISH POLICE TO BE ISSUED WITH PEPPER SPRAY
Gardai are to be issued with pepper spray
cannisters with training in the use of the
deterrent weapon already underway. The number of
assaults on Gardai has more than doubled in the
last 3 years but it is hoped that the provision of
the pepper spray will reduce the number of assaults,
as it has done in other countries.
IRELAND TO TAKE 2 GUANTANAMO DETAINEES
Two men from Uzbekistan are to be housed in
Ireland as part of an agreement with the US
governments plan to close Guantanamo Bay prison.
SPIKE ISLAND TO BE OPENED AS THE IRISH ALCATRAZ
The ancient prison on Spike Island in Cork
harbour is to be re-opened as a tourist
attraction in a development similar to that
achieved with the notorious Alcatraz prison in
San Francisco. The prison housed 2000 inmates in
the 1850s and catered for over 100 at the time
of the infamous riot in 1985 when prisoners
briefly took control. It has been closed since
2004 but now looks set to get a new lease of
life as a visitor centre.
Voice your opinion on these news issues here:
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.
You can add your home-swap details to our new free
listing service at:
IRISH HOLIDAY AND TOURIST BOARD
Post a question about holidaying in Ireland
and we guarantee an answer will be posted on
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:
F: Fleming, Flood
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:
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:
CHARLES STEWART PARNELL - AN IRISH HERO
The Great Famine of 1845 to 1849 left over 1
million dead with a further 1 million emigrating
over the following 10 years. One of the effects
of the disaster was to demonstrate to ordinary
Irish people that the English Government had
failed them in their time of need and that they
must seize control of their own destiny.
Out of the Famine grew several revolutionary
movements which culminated in the 1916 Easter
Rising. In the second half of the nineteenth
century the main concern of the Irish people was
their land and the fact that they had no control
whatsoever over it ownership.
Charles Stewart Parnell was the son of a
Protestant landowner who organised the rural
masses into agitation against the ruling Landlord
class to seek the 3 Fs: Fixity of Tenure, Freedom
to Sell and Fair Rent.
Violence flared in the countryside but Parnell
preferred to use parliamentary means to achieve
his objectives and the result was a series of
Land Acts which greatly improved the conditions
under which the Irish agricultural class toiled.
Parnell's main ambition was Home Rule for Ireland
(local Government) and he led the Irish Party,
deposing Isaac Butt in the process to achieve this
aim. He and colleagues such as Joseph Biggar made
a science out of 'fillibustering' and delayed the
English parliament by introducing amendments to
every clause of every Bill and then discussing
each aspect at length. His popularity in Ireland
soared to great heights.
Trouble loomed for Parnell however, in his private
life. He had secretly courted a married woman,
Kathleen O'Shea, the husband of whom filed for
divorce, naming Parnell as the co-respondent. He
tried to ignore the scandal and continued his
public life. Public pressure in Ireland and from
Gladstone in England eventually brought his
downfall and he died shortly afterwards, in 1891.
The Home Rule Bill that he had forced Gladstone
into introducing was passed in the House of
Commons, but was defeated in the House of Lords.
In his last speech in Kilkenny in 1891 he said:
'I donít pretend that I had not moments of trial
and of temptation, but I do claim that never in
thought, word, or deed, have I been false to the
trust which Irishmen have confided in me'.
But perhaps he will be most remembered for the
quotation that can be found on his statue at the
junction of O'Connell Street and Parnell Street
in Dublin City Centre:
'No man shall have the right to fix the
boundary to the march of a Nation'.
KEEP THIS NEWSLETTER ALIVE!
GREAT IRISH FAMILIES: MURPHY
Murphy is by far the most frequently found
surname of Irish origin with well over 50,000
bearers of the name in Ireland alone. This name
is derived from two distinct Gaelic septs. The
first of these was O'Murchadha and the second was
MacMurchadha. The name is taken from words that
translate as 'sea warrior'. Murphy is only very
occasionally rendered as O'Murphy or MacMurphy.
Other variants of this widespread name include
Murphey, Murfee, Morphy and O'Morchoe.
There were septs in Counties Tyrone and Sligo but
by far the most important sept was located in
Leinster Province, and especially in County
Wexford. A sept is similar to a clan, and refers
to a group of people who inhabited the same
locality and who shared the same name. In modern
times the name has become even more associated
with the Munster Counties of Cork and Kerry than
its originating County of Wexford. The Munster
sept of Murphy is a branch of the Kinsellas who
also hail from the Wexford Murphys. The northern
Murphys are today most often found in Counties
Tyrone and Armagh.
It is impossible to discuss the origin of the
Murphys without also mentioning the MacMurroughs.
The most famous (or infamous) was Dermot
MacMurrough who was partly responsible for the
Strongbow Anglo-Norman invasion of 1170. Dermots
grandfather was Murchadha whose original sept
split into three branches giving the MacMurroughs,
the Kinsellas and the Kavanaghs. His brothers are
the origin of the O'Morchoes and MacDavie Mores,
who changed their original names to Murphy and
Davis respectively. All of these families are most
associated with County Wexford.
The Wexford Murphys held territory in the barony
of Ballaghkeen, formerly known as Hy Felimy from
one of the sons of Eanna Cinnseallaigh, the
fourth century ruler of Leinster. Their chief
seats were located at Morriscastle, Toberlamina,
Oulart and Oularteigh. The last chief to be
elected by the ancient Gaelic method of tanistry
was Murtagh who in the year 1461 adopted English
law entitling him to leave his lands and property
to his descendants. His ancestor Donal Mor
O'Morchoe was overthrown at the end of the
sixteenth century and his lands confiscated. The
Murphys of Oularteigh retained their lands and
remained there up to modern times. A Tipperary
branch of the Murphys had their land confiscated
Famous Murphys throughout history include Domhnall
Dall Ua Murchadha who was 'chief sage of Leinster'
in the year 1127. Two Catholic priests were killed
during the Wolfe Tone 1798 rebellion, they being
Rev John Murphy (1753-1798) and Rev Michael
Murphy (1767-1798). Sean O'Murchadha (1700-1770)
was the last chief of the Blarney bards in Cork.
Marie Louise O'Murphy (1737-1814) was a daughter
of an Irish soldier at Rouen and became mistress
to Louis XV. Patrick Murphy (1834-1862) was
remarkable for his height of eight feet one inch.
The Ladys Well brewery that produces Murphys Stout
was founded in 1856 by James Murphy. William
Martin Murphy (1844-1921) was the leader of the
employers against the strikers in Dublin in 1913.
Michael Murphy (cir 1837-1893 in County Tipperary)
was an Irish recipient of the Victoria Cross, the
highest British award for gallantry. Audie Murphy
(1924-1971) was the recipient of America's
highest award known as the Medal of Honor and
remains one of the most decorated soldiers
in US history.
Over the centuries the name Murphy has been
spread by emigration to England, Australia,
Canada, America and beyond with the influence
of bearers of the name being found in every
sphere of life.
View the Murphy family crest here:
Get the Murphy plaque, print, signet ring and
KEEP THIS NEWSLETTER ALIVE!
REMEMBERING GLENN by Linda Marie Fratello
Glenn Quinn (1970-2002) was an Irish actor
well known for his role as Mark Healy in
the hit US comedy 'Roseanne' and for staring
in the first series of 'Angel'.
It was twenty years ago last year since you came
to the U.S. From Cabinteely Ireland. A long and
coal-black haired youth, with piercing blue eyes
and porcelain-fair skin.
The charming, devilishly handsome middle child
and sole son and brother to Sonya and Louise, with
a mischievous hint in those lovely, alluring,
piercing, ocean-blue eyes.
Charismatic and vulnerable, like a young Elvis or
James Dean, you found your niche in Hollywood but
NEVER forgot your proud Irish roots.
A gifted actor remembered as a pool shark for
Richard Marx, dim-witted son-in-law, medieval
warrior, demon do-gooder investigator, and victim
of Hollywood's graphic-horror's hell.
Yet in the midst of fame's fantasy, the demon
despair gained the upper hand. In the last,
painful years, I am struck by the haunting
photographs of your absorbing, dimpled smile now
replaced by a faraway, lost vacant stare and a
weary sadness in your lovely, sparkless eyes - or
a rare frown at the unwelcome camera-intruder as
the burden of your many secrets began their fatal
Still - O, Glenn! we were stunned at your sudden
passing, taken totally unawares! A bright star
dimmed too soon - the family's inconsolable keen
could not be stilled!
Beloved for eternity, by family and friends, and
fans throughout the world-more than you know!
Recorded in your online guest book are the
precious tributes of countless souls you have
touched in your brief but memorable life.
We are comforted in your God-given peaceful
sleep, your soul is at rest forever. Alive in
heaven, remembered in daily and yearly masses
Glenn Martin Christopher Francis Quinn!
KEEP THIS NEWSLETTER ALIVE!
HONEYMOON IN IRELAND by Michael Ryan
When we got married in 1984 we agreed that Ireland
would be great for a honeymoon (we did not know of
the origin of the word from the honey mead of
Ireland). I had a mailing address and I wrote and
stated that we would be coming over sometime in
June and asked if I could stop by and perhaps take
a photo of the family I had never met. We were
able to get directions to the farm just outside
of Tuam, County Galway. I suggested to my wife,
Kathleen that she might want to stay in the car
until I made sure we were at the right place. I
knocked on the door and a man about five foot
seven inches and about 12 stone answered the door.
He put his hand out to me and I shook his hand. He
drew me into him and put his arms around me,
hugging me and said, Ye need not say a word. I
know ye are me Ryan. I could feel his tears on the
side of my face. He then put me back at arms
length with his hands still on my shoulders - he
had tears freely flowing down his cheeks. He then
said to me, 'in me front and out the back'. I
thought that I had just been told to leave - what
did I know? The he called for his wife and he
asked if the ginger haired woman in the 'care' was
me wife and I said yes. He walked toward the car
and waved to her beckoning her to come out. She
exited and he immediately hugged her and kissed
her on both cheeks. Then he was saying to her
'Welcome, welcome. Ah Jaysus you are a lovely
woman now aren't ye!' He called again for his
wife and Bridie came into the doorway wearing
her apron and fussing with her hair. He said to
her 'Look at them now Bridie - proper Yanks they
are. And our family from Amerikay. Come in, come
in.' Bridie turned to Kathleen and said, 'Ah mind
your man around Angie - she loves the beard you
know.' At this point I am thinking that maybe my
Irish family is a bit 'touched'. I found out later
that 'in me front and out the back' is the Irish
way of saying 'mi casa su casa' or 'you have the
run of my house'. The bit about the beard was
still a bit puzzling. So John Joe Ryan asked if I
would care for a wee bit of drink and of course
I didn't want to hurt his feelings by saying no!
So the bottle of Powers comes off the shelf and two
glasses are put on the table and about 3 inches of
whiskey was poured into the two of them. Then he
said to me 'Ah being the proper Yank I would think
ye would want some soda with that.' My answer was
'What and ruin that fine uisce beatha.' John Joe's
eyes widened and the smile spread from ear to ear
and then I said, 'A wee drop of the holy water if
you don't mind.' He was calling to his wife again
'Bridie, do ye hear the Yank? Speaking the language
like he was born in the back.'
What a truly fantastic first 5 minutes spent with
these total strangers! I found out that Angie is
the wife of John Joe's son, Peter (that would make
him my second cousin). Angie had won the title of
Miss Galway in a beauty pageant in her younger
years. And when I first got to meet her husband,
my cousin Peter, it was a bit unsettling. We could
easily pass as brothers, the resemblance was so
acute! And when I met Angie all I could do was
smile and stroke my beard! She is a drop dead
knock out! My cousin is a lucky man. Then it all
made sense what Bridie had said about Kathleen
minding me because of the beard. I knew that these
were family members that I would love and cherish.
And thanks be to God I was able to do just that
until 1995 when both Bridie and then John Joe
passed on. We had made several trips to Ireland
and were able to meet all of the kids of John Joe
and Bridie, Jerry, Mary, Peter, Theresa and Sarah
and their spouses. I spoke so much and highly of
my Irish family that my wife's aunt and cousin
made a trip with us to Ireland, just to prove
that I was lying. And now didn't they cry like
babies where it was time for us to leave and come
back to the States!
It has been 14 years since they made that trip
with us, and they still tell stories about 'Mike's
family back home.' We all got together and went to
the Shamrock Pub in Tuam for a night out. It was
about 10 of my family and Kathleen and I. When we
went in I was told that there was no fun in the
pub this night. I turned to John Joe and told him
'Ah but there are the Ryans here and sure there
will be fun in the pub this night!' There was a
trio of musicians and the first number they played
was a reel and Kathleen and I did the House Around
from the Clare set. And they played for over 5
minutes. I finally gave them the sign to stop and
after they motioned for me to approach their small
stage and the leader asked me what team did we
dance with and I told him we weren't good enough
to dance with any team. He then yelled out 'Aren't
all ye Paddy's proud of ye selves tonight. It takes
a Yank to show ye the dance.' We had been the only
people on the dance floor. I thought to myself
'Oh good, now all these people are ready to kick my
arse.' But that was the start of a brilliant night
with my new found family. We danced and sang and
drank and by Jaysus THERE WAS LIFE IN THE PUB THAT
NIGHT! That was our first night in Tuam (of course
we had to stay at the farm that night) and one of
the best memories a man and his wife could have
from their honeymoon.
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WOOLLEN MILLS FIRE by Pat Watson
When I awoke in the middle of the night the light
was jumping on the walls. I jumped out of bed.
Mammy was missing from her bed. I ran down to the
kitchen where I met Delia who had come back for me.
'The war has started,' she said
'And the town is on fire. Put on your boots and
coat and come out to look.' I got dressed and we
were on our way in an instant. The rest of the
family were all up on the hill looking at the fire
in town. That's the lights I saw jumping on the
'Bring the child here to me' Mammy said, as she
put her arm round me. The seven of us were all
close together, watching and praying for the
people in the town.
'The aeroplanes must be very high up as we cannot
hear them' Mammy said.
'But I suppose they're gone now that the damage
is done.' After a while Peter came back from
Lennon's shop where he had gone for news of how
things were in town.
'It's not the Germans at all,' he said,
'It's the woollen mills that's on fire and they
say it will burn the whole town.'
'Have they no way to quench it?'
'Only buckets of water from the river Shannon.
The army is helping the town's people but they
haven't got enough buckets. They're using every
vessel in the town.'
'See there, the fire is the far side of the new
church.' We could see that he was right.
'Thanks be to God it's not the war,' Mammy said.
Just then we heard the bombs.
'Oh glory be to God it is the war, don't you hear
the bombs, why can't we see the aeroplanes? They
must be too high up - you couldn't be up to the
Germans. What will happen now? Will there be
conscription? They will have to leave some men to
work the land. Sure Germany will overrun the
country in a few days anyway. What will happen
'The man on the bike that cycled from town must
be mistaken' said Peter.
'I suppose they bombed the woollen mills because
they were sending woollens to England for the
army. What will we do with the wool now?
'It's a wonder they didn't bomb the new church,'
'No they're keeping that as a marker for the
'Why didn't they bomb the barracks now?'
'Maybe they think the Irish army will join them
'They wouldn't, would they?'
'You'd never know; it might be the safest thing
to do. Germany ran through Poland and the other
countries without any bother. It's not two years
yet since the war started and they're here, it's
probably no use fighting them. We have no tanks
or aeroplanes. I'll go back to Lennon's to see
if there is more news'
When he was gone we started the rosary. Although
there were no more bombs the fire burned as bright
as ever with the flames going as high at the twin
steeples of the new church. After a long time
Peter returned with the news that it was not the
Germans at all, only a fire in the woollen mills.
'But we heard the bombs' said Mammy.
'The Irish army had to blow up all the buildings
round the mill in order to stop the fire. Luckily
nobody was killed or injured. Everybody in the
town is in there now throwing water on the rubble
to stop the fire.'
'Thank God it's not the war but with the mills
gone, where will all the people work?'
'If they go to England they will have to go to
the war or down the mines.'
'Sure they might build the mills again.'
'That will take years. What will they do in the
' I suppose some might get jobs building it.'
'We can only pray for them.'
This we did as the fire continued and then went
back to bed.
'Woollen Mills Fire'
is one of sixty lyrical yarns from
'Original Irish Stories' by Pat Watson,
Creagh, Bealnamulla, Athlone, Ireland.
First published in May 2006.
To get your copy email the author here:
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THE IRISH COINS PROOF SET
The recent limited edition proof set of Irish
coins produced by the Irish government is now
available. We have a very small supply of these
fantastic items which you can get from here:
GAELIC PHRASES OF THE MONTH
PHRASE: Thar gach ni eile
PRONOUNCED: har gock knee ellya
MEANING: Above all else
PHRASE: Ni mor a admhail
PRONOUNCED: knee moor ah advile
MEANING: it must be admitted
PHRASE: Ar an iomlŠn
PRONOUNCED: air on umlawn
MEANING: on the whole
View the archive of phrases here:
SHAMROCK SITE OF THE MONTH: CELTICATTIC.COM
Shop online for everything you need to decorate
your home and life with a Celtic Twist: Art,
Crafts, Irish & Scottish Baskets, Suncatchers,
Wind-Chimes, Music and Celtic Gifts. We offer a
delightful variety of Celtic Jewelry: Pendants,
Crosses, Rings, Hair Ties & more. All your
Irish Bath, Beauty and Herbal needs are in one
convenient location! The Majority of our products
are Irish, Scottish, Welsh made.
Get Free Shipping on most orders! Get a Free Gift
with each and every order. Shop Christmas Now!
Phone orders 360-765-0186
JULY COMPETITION RESULT
The winner was:
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 month,
The Information about Ireland Site.