IN THIS ISSUE
~~~~~ Keep us Free!
~~~~~ New Free resources at the site
~~~~~ News Snaps from Ireland
~~~~~ The Life of Saint Patrick
~~~~~ Smilin' Irish-American Eyes in Savannah by Suzie Covington
~~~~~ Irish Quotations of the Month
~~~~~ With love to my Ancestors by Leonie Roach
~~~~~ Irish Film Review: The Quiet Man by Dawn Hayden
~~~~~ Grace Connor by Letitia MacLintock
~~~~~ Gaelic Phrases of the Month
~~~~~ Readers Noticeboard
~~~~~ Shamrock Site of the Month: Armagh Planetarium
~~~~~ Searcher Site of the Month: Genealogy Detective
~~~~~ Monthly free competition result
HAPPY SAINT PATRICK'S DAY!
Lets get straight to the point - we have a great free resource
this month: Lyrics AND Music to 74 of the best traditional
Irish songs. Print them off and use them at your Saint
Patrick's day party! See below.
It is a real shame that the Saint Patrick's day parade in
Dublin has been cancelled because of the Foot and Mouth animal
disease (see the News Snaps below) but then again, it never
rains in the pub.
Enough said - this is a packed issue and time is getting on.
Come on then - let's get to it!
BEANNACHTAI NA LAE FEILE PADRAIG!
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NEW FREE RESOURCES AT THE SITE
IRISH MUSIC: FREE SONGS AND LYRICS
We are now showcasing a major new free resource at the site.
You can view the lyrics to 74 of Ireland's most popular
traditional, drinking and folk songs AND you can listen to
the music online too.
The music tune is supplied in MIDI files that are easily
understood by the majority of Internet Browsers so:
* Make sure that your PC speakers are connected and working
* Turn the Volume up
* Select the song you want
* All together now....
'in Dublin's fair city
where the girl's are so pretty,
I first set my eyes on
sweet Molloy Malone...'
You can download ALL of the Music files and ALL of the
Lyrics onto your PC in the form of a free 'ebook' that you
can print off and keep forever! You can even send the ebook
to your friends and relatives or offer it at your website.
ALL COMPLETELY FREE!
Here are some of the songs available:
* Amhran na bhFiann (the Irish National Anthem)
* She Moved Through the Fair
(Julia Roberts sang this in the film 'Michael Collins')
* Back Home in Derry (Bobby Sands)
* Black is the Colour (of my true love's hair)
* An Irish Lullaby
(Barney Gumble sang this in 'The Simpsons')
* Cockles and Mussels (alive-alive-oh!)
* Erin Go Bragh
* I'll Take You Home Again Kathleen
* Rocky Road to Dublin
* The Fields of Athenry
* The Rose of Tralee
* When Irish Eyes are Smiling
* Whiskey in the Jar (Thin Lizzy classic)
........and over 60 more!
View and Listen here:
NEW COATS OF ARMS ADDED TO THE GALLERY:
The following 10 coats of arms images and family history
details have been added to the Gallery:
F: Foster, Foran
R: Reed, Russell
View the Gallery here:
We now have over 20,000 worldwide names available.
Get the Coat of Arms Print, Screensaver, Watch, T-Shirt
Transfer, Clock or Claddagh Ring for your name at:
NEWS SNAPS FROM IRELAND
FOOT AND MOUTH DISEASE DISASTER
It could be worse, and it will be a lot worse if a case of
Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) is found in the Republic. So
far over 230 cases of the animal disease have been found in
England with one case in each of Northern Ireland and
France. A ring of steel has been established along the
Northern Ireland border with Garda and Civil Defence manning
the border crossings to ensure that no cattle, sheep or
horses are moved South.
Already a complete ban on all animal movement has been
imposed in Ireland and a multitude of sports and social
gatherings have been cancelled. The annual Saint Patrick's
Day parade in Dublin has been cancelled in a move which
has seen tourism chiefs wonder if the Government is
over-reacting. The Cheltenham annual racing festival in
England has similarly been postponed whilst Ireland's good
start in the Six-Nations Rugby tournament may have been in
vain as their participation in the tournament is in question
following the postponement of the most recent fixture with
The measures taken by the Government seem to many to be a
case of window dressing. Every week over 10,000 people
travel from Ireland by air and boat in and out of Britain
and the only measure imposed on them is to have them walk on
a disinfectant mat! The devastation that is being imposed
on the Irish tourist industry is getting worse.
An easing of the restrictions is on the cards especially
since not one case of FMD has yet been found here, but the
Agriculture Minister, Joe Walshe, has said that the
restrictions will not be completely lifted until a full 30
days after the final case has been confirmed in Britain.
There have been criticisms of the manner in which the
British Government is handling the epidemic there.
Agriculture accounts for only 1% of the British Economy
whereas it accounts for more than 10% of the Irish economy,
a similar figure to that which Tourism contributes here.
The French are Europe's largest agricultural provider so
the discovery of the first case there has done nothing to
improve the permanently fragile Anglo-French relations.
The United States, and 90 other non-EU countries worldwide,
has banned livestock and raw meat imports from the European
Union. The majority of Irish food imports have escaped the
ban however, especially the likes of confectionery and
processed foods. Irish Taoiseach Bertie Ahearn is to meet
with President Bush and will assure him of Ireland's
continued 'FMD-free' status. The fact that all EU countries
have had their produce banned by over 90 other countries
seems to many to be excessive especially since FMD is
confined to only two member states in the EU.
As for the disease itself, there are fears that a second
outbreak could be on the way in Britain if the authorities
there do not get to grips with the issue. Already there
have been problems disposing of the hundreds of thousands
of carcasses of animals that have been slaughtered as a
precaution to prevent the spread of this devastating animal
IRISH TEACHERS CONTINUE STRIKE ACTION
An Irish Teachers union is seeking a 30% pay hike that has
been refused by the government. The Teachers have already
gone on one-day strikes and the dispute looks certain to
escalate as the Government refuses to break the terms of
the recently negotiated pay deal.
The national state examinations are now under severe
pressure as both sides 'dig-in'.
TECH WORRIES HIT IRELAND
Technology giant Intel has shown a further indication of
how reliant Ireland is on foreign investment when it
announced that it would be halting development of a US$2BN
extension to its major plant in Leixlip, in County Kildare.
Intel recently issued a profits warning to the USSEC stating
that it would be cutting 5000 jobs worldwide. Ireland is
unlikely to escape its share of the losses.
IRA RESUME TALKS WITH DECOMMISSIONING BODY
The IRA has issued a statement that it intends to resume
talks with the decommissioning body chaired by General John
de Chastelain. This is the body that was established to
facilitate the 'putting beyond use' of the weaponry of the
IRA and the Loyalist paramilitary organisations.
Irish Taoiseach Bertie Ahearn has welcomed the move but the
Unionist's led by David Thrimble are more sceptical and have
maintained their ban on Sinn Fein participation in the
President Bush has nominated millionaire businessman Richard
Egan, founder of EMC Inc., to be the next US Ambassador to
BRITISH BASED BLOOD DONORS BANNED
In a move to prevent the spread of variant CJD (vCJD), which
is the human form of 'mad cow' disease, the Irish Blood
Transfusion Service has banned contributions from anyone who
has continually lived in Britain between 1980 and 1996. This
ban will result in a loss of 12% of donors to the Board and
will thus have a very serious effect on the blood supply
IRISH SOCCER STADIUM IS SCRAPPED!
The battle between the Football Association of Ireland and
the Irish Government is over. The proposed 'Eircom Park'
Irish soccer stadium has been abandoned in favour of
'Stadium Ireland' (or the 'Bertie-dome' as some critics
like to call it).
Bertie Ahearn's Government dangled a very large financial
carrot in front of the FAI and in the end they deserted
their supremo Bernard O'Byrne, who was the motivating
force behind the soccer stadium.
The new national stadium will be built in Abbotstown with
the FAI as chief tenants.
BALLYKISSANGEL IS AXED
Another rural Irish drama is set for the chop. Hot on the
heels of the demise of the long running Irish soap Glenroe
comes the news that the BBC series Ballykissangel is to be
discontinued. The sixth series has just been completed and
includes some episodes with Irish actor Mick Lally who had
just joined the series after finding himself unemployed
after Glenroe was shelved.
The series was set in Avoca in County Wicklow and offered a
gentle and sometimes stereotyped view of rural Ireland.
Perhaps this explains why the series was much more popular
in England and America than ever it was in Ireland.
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THE LIFE OF SAINT PATRICK
The Patron Saint of Ireland was born into either a Scottish
or English family in the fourth century. He was captured as
a teenager by Niall of the Nine Hostages who was to become
a King of all Ireland.
He was sold into slavery in Ireland and put to work as a
shepherd. He worked in terrible conditions for six years
drawing comfort in the Christian faith that so many of his
people had abandoned under Roman rule.
Patrick had a dream that encouraged him to flee his
captivity and to head South where a ship was to be waiting
for him. He traveled over 200 miles from his Northern
captivity to Wexford town where, sure enough, a ship was
waiting to enable his escape.
Upon arrival in England he was captured by brigands and
returned to slavery. He escaped after two months and spent
the next seven years traveling Europe seeking his destiny.
During this time he furthered his education and studied
Christianity in the Lerin Monastery in France. He returned
to England as a priest. Again a dream greatly influenced
him when he became convinced that the Irish people were
calling out to him to return to the land of his servitude.
He went to the Monastery in Auxerre where it was decided
that a mission should be sent to Ireland. Patrick was not
selected for this task to his great disappointment. The monk
that was selected was called Paladius, but he died before
he could reach Ireland and a second mission was decided upon.
Patrick was made a Bishop by Pope Celestine in the year 432
and, together with a small band of followers, he traveled
to Ireland to commence the conversion.
Patrick confronted the most powerful man in Ireland,
Laoghaire, The High King of Tara, as he knew that if he could
gain his support that he would be safe to spread the word
throughout Ireland. To get his attention Patrick and his
followers lit a huge fire to mark the commencement of Spring.
Tradition had it that no fire was to be lit until the Kings
fire was complete, but Patrick defied this rule and courted
the confrontation with the King.
The King rushed into action and traveled with the intention
of making war on the holy delegation. Patrick calmed the
King and with quiet composure impressed the King that he had
no other intention than that of spreading the word of the
Gospel. The King accepted the missionary, much to the dismay
of the Druids who feared for their own power and position in
the face of this new threat. They commanded that he make snow
fall. Patrick declined to do so stating that this was Gods
work. Immediately it began to snow, only stopping when
Patrick blessed himself.
Still trying to convince the King of his religion Patrick
grasped at some Shamrock growing on the ground. He explained
that there was but one stem on the plant, but three branches
of the leaf, representing the Blessed Trinity. The King was
impressed with his sincerity and granted him permission to
spread the word of his faith, although he did not convert to
Patrick and his followers were free to spread their faith
throughout Ireland and did so to great effect. He drove
paganism (symbolised by the snake) from the lands of Eireann.
Patrick was tempted by the Devil whilst on a pilgrimage at
Croagh Patrick. For his refusal to be tempted, God rewarded
him with a wish. Patrick asked that the Irish be spared the
horror of Judgment Day and that he himself be allowed to
judge his flock. Thus, the legend that Ireland will
disappear under a sea of water seven years before the final
judgment, was born.
Patrick died on March 17th in the year 461 at the age of 76.
It is not known for sure where his remains were laid
although Downpatrick in County Down in the North of Ireland
is thought to be his final resting place.
His influence is still felt to this day as Nations the world
over commemorate him on March 17th of every year.
Saint Patrick screensavers, pictures to color and more can
be found here:
SMILIN' IRISH-AMERICAN EYES IN SAVANNAH, GEORGIA
by Suzie (Roberts-Creech) Covington
What is it about those Irish genes anyway? No matter where
we may move we always remember the Motherland and think of
ourselves as dual citizens with enormous pride.
Edna O'Brien, author of 'Mother Ireland', says Ireland 'is
a place and a people that one can leave, but never leave
behind' and I agree wholeheartedly. I myself have never
had the honor of returning to the place of my ancestors,
though I hope to someday, but even if I never return, that
will not deter me one iota of the pride I take in my Irish
In America, St Patrick's Day is a wonderful opportunity for
Irish-Americans (and even wannabes) to celebrate our ties
to the Motherland. As a previous article here stated, many
Southerners have an Irish heritage. Savannah's celebrations
of St. Patrick's Day and Irish heritage dates back to 1813
with the formation of the Hibernian Society, the oldest Irish
society in the U.S. The annual parade, scheduled for March
17th, is the second-largest in the country.
The 3-day St. Patrick's Day Festival on the River, March
16-18, is expected to draw 300,000 to 500,000 people.
'Promoting Irish heritage, preserving Irish culture and
traditions, and educating people of the significant
accomplishments of our Irish ancestors' became the mission
statement of the Savannah Irish Festival. Activities include
live music and entertainment, food and drink, shopping and
And what is it about those Irish genes? Actually, I think
I can answer that. It's the ability to get back up when
you've been kicked down, it's the living done with grace,
it's the charm, it's the music, it's the magic, and it's
the sparkle in the Irish eyes that is a reflection of the
smile in the Irish soul. It's what we have in common and
what we celebrate.
Suzie (Roberts-Creech) Covington
IRISH QUOTATIONS OF THE MONTH
An Irishman's heart is nothing but his imagination.
George Bernard Shaw, 1856-1950 'John Bull's Other Island'
A people without a language of its own is only half
a nation. To lose your native tongue and learn that
of an alien, is the worst badge of conquest - it is
the chain on the soul.
Thomas Davis 1814-45 'The National Language'
Every man desires to live long
but no man would be old.
Jonathan Swift 1667-1745 'Thoughts on Various Subjects'
WITH LOVE TO MY ANCESTORS by Leonie Roach
A verse I learnt at school 50 years ago:
Have you ever heard the story of how Ireland got it's name?
If you haven't well I'll tell from whence old Ireland came.
No wonder that we're proud of that dear land across the sea.
For here's the way me dear old mother told the tale to me.
Sure a little bit of heaven fell from out the sky one day.
And nestled in the ocean in a spot so far away.
And when the Angels found it, sure it looked so sweet and fair,
They said 'suppose we leave it for it looks so peaceful there.'
So they sprinkled it with stardust just to make the shamrocks grow,
'tis the only place you'll find them, no matter where you go.
Then they dotted it with silver to make it's lakes so grand.
And when they had it finished sure they called it 'Ireland'
I love this verse so very much and often repeat it
and think of my courageous ancestors who made that
perilous journey to Australia 156 years ago.
Leonie Roach, Grafton, NSW, Australia.
IRISH MOVIE REVIEW: THE QUIET MAN by Dawn Hayden
Quite simply put, 'The Quiet Man' is a classic.
That is not to say that everyone is obliged to like it but
at the same time it is easy enough to find plenty to like.
This film is set in rural Ireland and was filmed in the
depths of Connemara. Sean Thornton is a returning emigrant
who had previously been a boxer. He is haunted by his last
fight when his opponent had died at his hands. He longs to
return to the place of his birth and eventually fulfils the
dream of countless generations when he restores his old
family thatched cottage to pristine condition and soon
settles down to his new life.
Romance soon blossoms in the form of Mary Kate Danaher who
is every bit the image of Irish red-headed fierce-tempered
feistiness that is typical of so many Irish women to this
Trouble brews when the issue of a 'dowry' divides the couple
who ultimately reconcile after the grandstand fight scene
which stretches over several acres.
There are some memorable comic scenes in this film provided
mainly by the village matchmaker, played by Barry Fitzgerald.
The relationship between the Catholic and Protestant churches
in the village is made light off. An old English gentleman
sits easily in the bar whilst chaos reigns about him,
oblivious to all but his newspaper! The IRA soldier is
presented in traditional clothing, acknowledged but not
This may smack of stereotyping and there is a reason for
this: They are stereotypes! The film is riddled with
stereotypes, from the cute coniving matchmaker to the helpful
villagers discussing the whereabouts of a man who knows the
answer to a question but who isn't there to answer it! The
ability of the Irish to laugh at themselves is well known
- and it is just as well.
John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara are fantastic in the lead
roles. It is surprising the ease with which John Wayne played
the role of 'Trooper Thornton' and Maureen O'Hara is simply
fierce as the bride to be. 'God bless all in this house'
her brother says as he is about to enter her new home,
'WIPE YOUR FEET!' she barks back in reply.
Great stuff - but be warned. This is fantasy. The reality of
Irish rural life can be better observed in other films such
as 'The Field' which, like 'The Quiet Man', also deals with
the issue of money and property in Irish life. I always
recommend to people who wax lyrical about 'The Quiet Man' that
they simply MUST also view 'The Field' - its exact opposite,
and yet containing the exact same characters.
GRACE CONNOR By Letitia MacLintock
Reproduced by permission from http://www.louthonline.com
Thady and Grace Connor lived on the borders of a large turf
bog, in the parish of Clondevaddock, where they could hear
the Atlantic surges thunder in upon the shore, and see the
wild storms of winter sweep over the Muckish mountain, and
his rugged neighbors. Even in summer the cabin by the bog
was dull and dreary enough.
Thady Connor worked in the fields, and Grace made a
livelihood as a peddler, carrying a basket of remnants of
cloth, calico, drugget, and frieze about the country. The
people rarely visited any large town, and found it
convenient to buy from Grace, who was welcomed in many a
lonely house, where a table was hastily cleared, that she
might display her wares. Being considered a very honest
woman, she was frequently entrusted with commission to the
shops in Letterkenny and Ramelton. As she set out towards
home, her basket was generally laden with little gifts for
'Grace, dear,' would one of the kind housewives say,
'here’s a farrel of oaten cake, wi’ a taste o’ butter on it,
tak’ it wi’ you for the weans' or, 'Here’s a half-a-dozen
of eggs; you’ve a big family to support.'
Small Connors of all ages crowded round the weary mother,
to rifle her basket of these gifts. But her thrifty, hard
life came suddenly to an end. She died after an illness of
a few hours, and was waked and buried as handsomely as Thady
Thady was in bed the night after the funeral, and the fire
still burned brightly, when he saw his departed wife cross
the room and bend over the cradle. Terrified, he muttered
rapid prayers, covered his face with the blanket, and on
looking up again the appearance was gone.
Next night, he lifted the infant out of the cradle, and laid
it behind him in the bed, hoping thus to escape his ghostly
visitor; but Grace was presently in the room, and stretching
over him to wrap up her child. Shrinking and shuddering, the
poor man exclaimed, 'Grace, woman, what is it brings you
back? What is it you want wi’ me?'
'I want naethink frae you, Thady, but to put thon wean back
in her cradle,' replied the specter, in a tone of scorn.
'You’re too feared for me, but my sister Rose willna be
feared for me - tell her to meet me tomorrow evening, in
the old wallsteads.'
Rose lived with her mother, about a mile off. But she obeyed
her sister’s summons without the least fear, and kept the
strange tryst in due time.
'Rose, dear,' she said, as she appeared, before her sister
in the old wallsteads, 'my mind’s uneasy about them twa’ red
shawls that’s in the basket. Matty Hunter and Jane Taggart
paid me for them an’ I bought them wi’ their money, Friday
was eight days. Gie them the shawls the morrow. An’ old Mosey
McCorkell gied me the the price o’ a wiley coat; it’s in
under the other things in the basket. An’ now farewell, I can
get to my rest.'
'Grace, Grace, bide a wee minute,' cried the faithful sister,
as the dear voice grew fainter, and the dear face began to
fade - 'Grace, darlin! Thady? The children? One word mair!'
but neither cries nor tears could further detain the spirit
hastening to it’s rest!
GAELIC PHRASES OF THE MONTH
PHRASE: Cad ba mhaith leat?
PRONOUNCED: cod buh watt lat
MEANING: What would you like?
PHRASE: Ba mhaith liom tae/bainne/uisce beatha/beoir
PRONOUNCED: buh watt lum tay/bonn-ye/ishka ba-ha/bee-yore
MEANING: I would like tea/milk/whiskey/beer
PHRASE: Ni maith liom /bricfeasta/lon/suipear
PRONOUNCED: knee mawt lum brick/fasta/loan/sue-pear
MEANING: I would not like breakfast/lunch/supper
View the archive of phrases here:
HOW KILDARE REALLY GOT ITS NAME
editors foreword: Last month we included
an excellent article by Andrea Santillo about the
derivation of placenames but we typed in an error
(it was our error - not Andrea's!). We subsequently
received a number of emails from people living in
County Kildare. Of those received, here is the
From Mary Critchley -
I really enjoy receiving this newsletter. It's a breath of
Irish fresh air over the Internet! Each item more
interesting than the previous one.
However, tonight I stopped short and my eyes refused to
believe what I was reading! Probably it is because I am a
Kildare person that I was shocked by the mistake - or was
it just a misprint? Cill or coill does not mean oak
forest. Cill is the ancient Irish word for Church whereas
coill does in fact mean wood or even forest and dara means
oak. So the correct derivation of Kildare is Cill Dara
i.e. Church of Oak, a reference to the first church
built on the site by St Brigid.
Ah! I do feel better having cleared my native county of
the error imposed on it!
Keep up the good work. You are providing a wonderful
service to us Irish living abroad. However, do be careful
when making any references to Kildare or the county, you
are being watched!
editors footnote: We're sorry! - we're really sorry!
- please leave us alone now. We promise never to
annoy Kildare people again!
Only joking, thanks to all who pointed out the error.
SHAMROCK SITE OF THE MONTH
Over the last month Armagh Planetarium in the North of
Ireland has been inundated with calls enquiring about the
'bright light in the south-western sky'. Everyone wants to
know if it's in fact a star, or perhaps the International
Space Station, or indeed even a UFO.
Well, it's not something from an alien world - it is an
The very bright object visible in the southwest after sunset
is the neighbouring world (and only planet with a female
Every feature on Venus (mountain, valley and crater) is
either named after a famous woman or carries a feminine
name selected from one of the cultures of the Earth. There
is even a crater on Venus named in honour of Lady Isabella
Gregory (1852-1932), the Irish playwright and founder of
the Abbey Theatre, Dublin.
Armagh Planetarium opened its doors on May 1st 1968 and was
the first Planetarium to be established in Ireland and one
of the first in the United Kingdom.
Built on the same premises as the prestigious and
internationally-renowned Armagh Observatory (established in
1790 and one of the oldest functional observatories in
Europe), the role of the Planetarium has been to provide
up-to-date information on current research in astronomy and
Mario Di Maggio
Science Education Officer
SEARCHER SITE OF THE MONTH
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