The Information about Ireland Site Newsletter
The Newsletter for people interested in Ireland
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Copyright (C) 2006
IN THIS ISSUE
=== News Snaps from Ireland
=== New free resources at the site
=== 35 things you never knew about Dublin
=== Edmund Burke: Political Thinker
=== Famous Irish Legends: Cuchulainn
=== Gaelic Phrases of the Month
=== Monthly free competition result
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NEWS SNAPS FROM IRELAND
FORMER TAOISEACH CHARLES HAUGHEY DIES
The death has taken place of former Taoiseach
Charles Haughey. Born in County Mayo in 1925 he
was first elected to the Irish Parliament in 1957
and held his seat until his retirement in 1992.
He first served in Government as Minister for
Justice and then as Minister for Agriculture. He
later took up office as Minister for FInance and
it was at this time that he was controversially
dismissed from his post when he was accused of
attempting to smuggle arms in to Northern Ireland.
His career looked to be in ruins but he staged a
remarkable comeback as was elected as Taoiseach in
1979. Over the course of the next 13 years he
served 3 terms as Taoiseach and leader of the
Fianna Fail dominated coalition governments. He is
credited with kick-starting the Irish economy in
the late 1980s and early 1990s and pioneered the
'partnership' plans between employers and unions
which were to yield great dividends for the Irish
economy in the 1990s. Earlier smaller schemes such
as free travel for Pensioners earlier ensured his
popularity, especially among his Dublin
Revelations regarding financial corruption and
tax evasion seriously damaged his reputation
and his appearance of a Tribunal of Enquiry did
little to stem the flow of criticism of his
His advocates estimate that history will be
kinder in the remembrance of one of the most
controversial of all Irish leaders.
CHRISTIAN BROTHERS TO LEAVE EDUCATION IN IRELAND
The Christian Brothers are set to end over two
centuries of involvement in the Irish educational
system. Control of 29 Primary and 109 Secondary
schools are to be established in a charitable
trust to be run by lay people outside of the
INTEREST RATES ON THE UP AND UP
The EU Central Bank has again raised interest
rates across the eurozone, which includes
Ireland, to 2.75%. Further increases are expected
as the bank tries to head off inflationary
pressures. Inflation in Ireland has risen to a
three-year high of 3.9%. Price increases in
energy, food and mortgage costs are being blamed
for the rise.
Irish author Colm Toibin has scooped the
International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award prize
of EURO 100,000 for his novel about Henry James,
'The Master'. Nominations for the IMPAC award
are received from 180 libraries from 43
countries worldwide. The winning novel had
previously been shortlisted for the Booker
Prize in 2004.
GOVERNMENT TO TARGET SCIENCE EDUCATION
The Irish Government plans to boost the spending
on Research and Development from the current 1%
to 2.5% of GDP by the year 2013. It aims to
double the number of PHDs to 1000 annually and
to add over 300 post-graduates to the field of
humanities and social sciences. By comparison,
the worlds most developed economies such as USA
and Japan spend in excess of 4% on R&D.
In what is being seen as a massive push to
further enhance Ireland's reputation as a
scientific and Information technology haven
for employers, work permit legislation for
scientists willing to work in Ireland is to
be amended to further encourage location by
talented staff here.
IRISH HOUSE PRICES INCREASE BY 270% IN 10 YEARS
A recent Irish bank study has concluded that house
prices in Ireland have jumped by 270% in the last
decade. Forecasts for the next 10 years estimate
an increase of 55%, with the rate of increase
slowing down once the supply of housing begins
to meet the demand.
Voice your opinion on these news issues here:
NEW FREE RESOURCES AT THE SITE
NEW COATS OF ARMS ADDED TO THE GALLERY:
The following 7 coats of arms images and family
history details have been added to the Gallery:
H: Humphrey, Hough
M: Martell, Massey
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35 THINGS YOU NEVER KNEW ABOUT DUBLIN by David Carey
1. Dublin's O'Connell Bridge was originally made
of rope and could only carry one man and a donkey
at a time. It was replaced with a wooden
structure in 1801. The current concrete bridge was
built in 1863 and was first called 'Carlisle
2. O'Connell Bridge is the only traffic bridge in
Europe which is wider than it is long and Dublin's
second O'Connell Bridge is across the pond in
St. Stephen's Green.
3. Dublin Corporation planted 43,765 deciduous
trees in the Greater Dublin area in 1998.
4. Dublin's oldest workhouse closed its doors for
the last time in July 1969. Based in Smithfield,
the premises housed 10,037 orphan children during
the one hundred and seventy years it operated.
5. Dublin was originally called 'Dubh Linn'
meaning 'Black Pool'. The pool to which the name
referred is the oldest known natural treacle lake
in Northern Europe and currently forms the
centrepiece of the penguin enclosure in Dublin
6. None of the so-called Dublin Mountains are high
enough to meet the criteria required to claim
mountain status. The Sugarloaf is the tallest
'Dublin Mountain' yet measures a mere 1389 feet
above sea level.
7. The headquarters of the national television
broadcaster, RTE, in Montrose, was originally built
for use as an abattoir.
8. Dublin's oldest traffic lights are situated
beside the Renault garage in Clontarf. The lights,
which are still in full working order, were
installed in 1893 outside the home of Fergus
Mitchell who was the owner of the first car in
9. The Temple Bar area is so called because it
housed the first Jewish temple built in Ireland.
The word 'bar' refers to the refusal of Catholics
to allow the Jewish community to enter any of the
adjoining commercial premises.
10. Tiny Coliemore Harbour beside the Dalkey
Island Hotel was the main harbour for Dublin from
the fifteenth to the seventeenth century.
11. Dublin is the IT Call Centre capital of Europe
with over 100,000 people employed in the industry.
12. In 1761 a family of itinerants from Navan
were refused entry to Dublin. The family settled
on the outskirts of the city and created the town
of Rush. Two hundred and fifty years later, a
large percentage of the population of Rush can
still trace their roots back to this one family.
13. Dubliners drink a total of 9800 pints an hour
between the hours of 5.30pm on a Friday and 3.00am
the following Monday.
14. Dublin is Europe's most popular destination
with traveling stag and hen parties.
15. Harold's Cross got it's name because a tribe
called the 'Harolds' lived in the Wicklow
Mountains and the Archbishop of Dublin would
not let them come any nearer to the city than
16. Leopardstown was once known as Leperstown.
17. The average 25-year-old Dubliner still lives
with his/her parents.
18. Three radio stations attract over 90% of all
listeners in the Dublin area.
19. There are twelve places called Dublin in the
United States and six in Australia.
20. Buck Whaley was an extremely wealthy gambler
who lived in Dublin in the seventeen hundreds.
Due to inheritances, he had an income of seven
thousand pounds per year (not far off seven
million a year at today's prices). He lived in a
huge house near Stephen's Green which is now the
Catholic University of Ireland. He went broke and
he had to leave Ireland due to gambling debts.
He swore he'd be buried in Irish soil but is in
fact buried in the Isle of Man in a shipload of
Irish soil which he imported for the purpose.
21. The converted Ford Transit used for the Pope's
visit in 1976 was upholstered using the most
expensive carpet ever made in Dublin. The carpet
was a silk and Teflon weave and rumoured to have
cost over IR£950.00 per square meter.
22. There was once a large statue of Queen
Victoria in the Garden outside Leinster House. It
was taken away when the Republic of Ireland
became independent and in 1988 was given
as a present to the city of Sydney, Australia to
mark that city's 200th anniversary.
23. The largest cake ever baked in Dublin weighed
a whopping 190 lb's and was made to celebrate the
1988 city millennium. The cake stood untouched in
the Mansion House until 1991 when it was thrown
24. Strangers are more likely to receive a drink
from Dubliners than from a native of any other
25. There are forty six rivers in Dublin city. The
river flowing through Rathmines is called the River
Swan (beside the Swan Centre). The Poddle was once
known as the 'Tiber' and was also known as the
River Salach (dirty river), which is the origin of
the children's song 'Down by the river Saile'. It
is also the river whose peaty, mountain water
causes the Black Pool mentioned above.
26. Saint Valentine was martyred in Rome on
February 28th eighteen centuries ago. He was the
Bishop of Terni. His remains are in a Cask in White
Friar Street Church, Dublin. He is no longer
recognised as a Saint By the Vatican.
27. The statue originally in Dublin's O'Connell
Street (but now moved to the Phoenix Park) is
commonly known as the 'Floozy in the Jacuzzi'
while the one at the bottom of Grafton Street is
best known as the 'Tart with the Cart'. The women
at the Ha'Penny bridge are the 'Hags
with the bags' and the Chimney Stack with the new
lift in Smithfield Village's now called the 'Flue
with the View'. The short lived millennium clock
that was placed in the River Liffey in 1999 was
known as 'the chime in the slime'.
28. Montgomery Street was once the biggest
red-light district in Europe with an estimated
1600 prostitutes. It was known locally as the
'Monto' and this is the origin of the song 'Take
me up to Monto'.
29. Henry Moore, Earl of Drogheda lived in Dublin
in the Eighteenth century. His job was naming
streets. He called several after himself. Henry
Street, Moore Street, Earl Street, Drogheda
Street. Drogheda Street later became
Sackville Street and is now O'Connell Street.
30. Nelson's Pillar was blown up in 1966 to mark
the fiftieth anniversary of the 1916 rising. It now
lies in a heap in a valley in County Wicklow.
31. Leinster House in Dublin was originally built
as a private home for the Duke of Leinster. At
that time, the most fashionable part of Dublin was
the North Side and he was asked why he was
building on the South Side. He said 'Where I go,
fashion follows me!' .....and to this day the most
fashionable part of Dublin is the South Side.
32. Tallaght is one of the oldest placenames in
Ireland and it means 'The Plague cemetery'.
33. There are seven areas in Dublin whose names
end in the letter 'O'. Fewer than one Dubliner
in 20,000 can name them off by heart. They are:
Rialto, Marino, Portobello, Phibsboro, Monto,
Casino and Pimlico.
34. Kevin Street Garda Station was once the Palace
of the Archbishop Of Dublin.
35. The original name of Trinity College was
'Trinity College Near Dublin'. The capital was
a lot smaller then.
Best wishes from Van Demons Land!
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EDMUND BURKE By Joseph E. Gannon
'The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil
is for good men to do nothing.'
Edmund Burke was one of the most famous political
thinkers of the 18th century. Through his
speeches and writings, he raised the level of
political debate in England, attempting to make
moral principles a part of English politics. A
champion of Catholic emancipation, Burke wielded
his influence to weaken the heinous Penal Laws.
He was born on January 12th, 1729, at Arran Quay,
Burke was the son of a mixed marriage, his mother
Catholic and his father Protestant. He would
later marry an Irish Catholic woman. Perhaps it
was these two factors which led him to advocate a
compassionate policy toward Ireland for most of
his life. Burke graduated from Trinity College in
1748 and studied law at Middle Temple in London.
He failed, however, to secure a call to the bar
and instead began a literary career.
In 1756, Burke published his first book,
'A Vindication of Natural Society' and an essay
titled 'A Philosophical Inquiry into the Origin of
Our Ideas of the Sublime and the Beautiful'. In
1757, he married June Nugent, the daughter of a
Catholic physician, and in 1759 he became editor
of the Annual Register.
By 1761, Burke had begun to involve himself with
politics. That year, after living in England, he
returned to Dublin as secretary to W.G. Hamilton,
chief secretary for Ireland. He left that post
two years later to become secretary to the new
prime minister, Lord Rockingham.
In 1765, Earl Verney brought him into the House
of Commons as a member for Wendover. His first
speeches in the early months of 1766 impressed
the members of Parliament. In the space of a
few short weeks, Burke rose from obscurity to
being recognized as one of the leading figures in
the House of Commons. He now began to make his
own mark in politics through his writing and
Burke had come to Parliament just as the
controversy over the Stamp Act was beginning. He
urged repeal of the act and consistently supported
a policy of reconciliation with the American
colonies. Burke wrote four well-known pamphlets
on the America question from 1770 to 1777:
'Thoughts on the Present Discontents' (1770),
'American Taxation' (1774), 'Conciliation with the
Colonies' (1775), and 'A Letter to the Sheriffs of
Burke's colleagues in Parliament never took his
advice on the American colonies, but many since
have recognized the wisdom of the policy he
advanced. In commenting on Burke's writings on
the American question, John Morley, the Liberal
politician and writer, said that 'taken together
they compose the most perfect manual in our
literature, or in any literature, for one who
approaches the study of public affairs, whether
for knowledge or practice'. After Yorktown, it
was Burke and the Whigs who would eventually force
King George III to recognize the futility of
continuing the war in America.
Burke was the leading Parliamentary proponent of
civil rights for Catholics in Ireland. Since the
late 17th century, Catholics in Ireland had been
barred from full citizenship and the vast majority
forced into abject poverty by the Penal Laws.
During the last part of the 18th century, the
threat of French intervention in Ireland and
Burke's efforts together forced the passage of
several reductions of the severe restrictions
of the Penal Laws.
The championing of that cause would cost Burke
his MP seat in 1780, but he returned to Parliament
as the member from Malton and became Paymaster of
Forces when a Whig, Lord Rockingham, became
prime minister again. When Lord Rockingham died
in July 1786, Burke resigned and never held public
office again, but he continued his involvement
with British politics and writing for the rest of
Burke was a constant critic of British colonial
policies, and, in the 1780s, his investigation
into The East India Company led to the impeachment
of Warren Hastings, governor general of India.
Although Hastings would eventually be acquitted
of all charges, the entire affair led to reforms
in England's administration in India and helped
bring the inequities of England's colonial system
before the public. Burke believed this was the
most important political contribution of his
Burke is often remembered for his vehement
opposition to the French Revolution, which he
expounded in 1790 in what is, perhaps, his best
known work: 'Reflections on the Revolution in
France'. The work was widely published and read
all over Europe, and his articulation of what he
viewed as the dangers of the Revolution caused a
sensation in England. It caused him to break with
many of his longtime friends and colleagues in
the Whig party and invoked replies from many
English writers, the most famous one being Thomas
Paine's 'Rights of Man'.
In what might seem a contradiction, given his
support of the civil rights of Irish Catholics,
Burke was opposed to the Volunteer movement in
Ireland and to the establishing of Henry Grattan's
Irish Parliament. Burke's opposition to these
movements may well have been his fear that
Grattan's Parliament would not be a government of
all the Irish people but merely one that continued,
and perhaps even strengthened, the long tradition
of Irish Protestant rule and Irish Catholic
subservience. Burke was never an advocate of any
form of Irish independence, though he supported
the emancipation of Irish Catholics within the
Burke's writings on the Irish question are less
known than those of his on the American and the
French Revolutions, but he left behind several
that would have served the British well, had they
ever been heeded. In his 'Speech at the Guildhall'
(1780), 'To a Peer of Ireland on the Penal Laws'
(1782), and 'To Sir Hercules Langrishe' (1792),
he sends them a clear message: Your foolish
colonial policies have lost America and your
foolish policies will lose Ireland. His counsel
was ignored but the correctness of his theme has
been proved by history.
Burke died in London on July 9, 1797, one year
before Ireland erupted in revolution. That revolt
might have been avoided if some of Burke's ideas
on Catholic emancipation and other legislative
reforms had been more fully implemented by the
English government. Then, as ever, the country's
rulers seemed to suffer from a complete inability
to make the compromises that could avoid repeated
disasters on that long-suffering island. As Burke
once said, in words that should echo down to those
debating Ireland's future today: 'All government,
indeed every human benefit and enjoyment, every
virtue, and every prudent act, is founded on
compromise and barter'.
Burke is not a hero of Irish nationalists, nor
should he be, for he never was a proponent of
Irish republicanism. But he did help put the
corruption of England's colonial system before
the English people. Most of all, he started the
process that would eventually bring the despised
malignancy known as the Penal Laws to an end. For
this, he should be well remembered in the land of
Joseph E. Gannon
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Anne MacDonald ordered a family crest plaque:
Received my plaque, carefully wrapped,
in good order. It is splendid! I am
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81st birthday this was ordered, will love
it. I would like to order another one!
Everyone who has seen the plaque has been
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daughter says are 'not into ancestor
Again, my hearty thanks for this
Best wishes for happy holiday season.
Sincerely, Anne MacDonald
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FAMOUS IRISH LEGENDS: CUCHULAINN
There was a time in Irelands history when chivalry
and chieftainry ruled the land. When the country
was occupied by bands of warriors who spoke only
their native tongue and who cherished their
heritage and civilisation. This was the time of
Conor McNessa and the High Kings of Ireland, of
the Gamanraide and the Red Branch Knights of the
Emania. It was the time of Cuchullain.
All of the warrior bands had their own Seanachie,
a person responsible for recounting the deeds of
times past, a chronicler of the ages. Cuchullain
was their most famous subject and hundreds of
tales of his heroic deeds, both real and
imagined, have survived to this day.
Cuchullain was the nephew and foster son of King
Conor of Emania, and was originally named Setanta.
He arrived at the Court to find the youths
playing Caman (hurling) and, having with him his
red bronze hurley he so outplayed the other
youths that his future greatness could be seen
by all of the Court. The warriors of the Red
Branch acknowledged him as a blood relative of
the King and heard him proclaim before the
Druids in the Hall of Heroes:
'I care not whether I die tomorrow or next year,
if only my deeds live after me'.
Cuchulainns greatest deed was perhaps when he
alone held back the forces of Connaught and had
to fight his friend, Ferdiad, who was the
champion and chief of the Connaught Knights of
the Sword. Ferdiad and Cuchullain had trained
together in arms in their youth and it was
displeasing to Cuchullain to have to fight his
friend of old. He tried to dissuade Ferdiad
against fighting by reminding him of their days
in training, when they were both subjects of
the great female champion, Scathach, in Alba.
'We were heart companions, We were companions in
the woods, We were fellows of the same bed, where
we used to sleep the balmy sleep. After mortal
battles abroad, In countries many and far distant,
together we used to practice, and go through each
forest, learning with Scathach'.
Ferdiad would not be swayed. Lest he weaken under
Cuchullains pleas he responded only with taunts
against his friend, now foe.
So they fought. They fought for four days and
eventually, after a tremendous effort, Cuchullain
laid Ferdiad down and then fell into a trance of
sorrow and weakness after the epic duel.
As is the way with such heroes, Cuchulainn died
on the battlefield. He was propped against a large
rock whilst dead, with a spear in his hand and a
buckler on his arm, and with such a defiant
attitude was able to strike fear into his enemies
even after death.
GAELIC PHRASES OF THE MONTH
PHRASE: Is e do bhaile do chaislean
PRONOUNCED: iss a duh boll-yah duh kosh-lonn
MEANING: Your house is your castle
PHRASE: Coimhead fearg fhear na foighde
PRONOUNCED: koe-vade varrig farr nah foe-ih-geh
MEANING: Beware the anger of a patient man
PHRASE: Maireann croi eadrom i bhfad
PRONOUNCED: marr-inn kree aid-drum ih bodd
MEANING: A light heart lives longest
View the archive of phrases here:
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