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
=== Great Irish Families: The O'Connors
=== My Tour of Ireland by Julie Crum
=== The New York Irish and the Police
=== An Irish Leader: Sean Lemass
=== Mothers of the Celtic Tigers by Pat Watson
=== The Irish Coins Proof Set
=== Gaelic Phrases of the Month
=== Monthly free competition result
Hello again from Ireland where all the talk is of
the ongoing recession and the upcoming elections.
The current government looks set to be punished!
Our limited time offering of a proof set of Irish
coins have proved popular. We do have a few left
though (see below), so why not grab yours before
they are all gone.
Until next month
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NEWS SNAPS FROM IRELAND
ELECTION WIPEOUT BECKONS FOR FIANNA FAIL
Th mid-term European and local elections due to
be staged in June will give the Irish electorate
a chance to show their feelings towards the
government, and the omens are not good for
An opinion poll has put support for the party
at 20%, down by more than 50% from the general
election. The Labour party polled at 23% with
Fine Gael at 36%. The 'satisfaction rating' of
the government is at 12%.
While it is clear that any ruling party would be
unpopular during a recession with the attendant
job losses and tax increases, the depth of the
likely disaster that awaits Fianna Fail will surely
raise questions about the leadership of Taoiseach
A scenario where both Labour and Fine Gael have
made huge gains at the expense of Fianna Fail
would increase calls for a General Election to be
held. Such calls are unlikely to be heeded however,
as it seems the only chance Fianna Fail has of
avoiding a decade of oblivion is to hold on to
power through these mid-terms elections while
hoping that the economy recovers in time for the
next national poll, due in 3 years time.
DRAMATIC PROPERTY PRICE REDUCTIONS CONTINUE
An examination of world property markets has put
Ireland in tenth worst place in the Knight Frank
Global House Price Survey. Prices here have fallen
by 10% in the first quarter of 2009 with certain
sectors of the market showing much steeper
reverses. Dubai showed the steepest decline - a
massive 40% in 4 months! Singapore was next with
16%, with the US, the UK and Spain not far behind.
Thailand, Israel, the Czech Republic and
Switzerland actually showed gains.
These price surveys vary however depending on who
is compiling the figures, with the Permanent
TSB/ESRI index showing an overall fall of 20% in
the Irish property market since the February 2007
peak. The average price of a house in Ireland is
now 248,000 Euro, down over 60,000 Euro from 2007.
RECESSION HITS ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION
Further job losses are expected in the drinks and
hospitality trade with a huge 13% decline in
sales in the first quarter of 2009. Suppliers have
pointed out that although consumption has
certainly declined the fact that visits by southern
Irish shoppers across the Northern border have
dramatically increased is the real cause of their
problems. The big fall in the value of Sterling
relative to the Euro has made Ulster a much more
attractive place to shop.
SALES OF USED CARS INCREASES
The recession has provided a boost to the trade in
used cars which has perked up considerably with
34,000 used vehicles sold in the first half of
2009, compared with 31,000 in the same period of
2008. The importation of cheap used-car is its
highest level since 1973. Sales of new cars are
expected to be down by 66% according to the
Society of the Irish Motor Industry.
ITS OFFICIAL: THE IRISH ARE A NATION OF MOANERS
It has long been suspected that the Irish are
both begrudgers as well as being world-class
moaners and now their is proof to back up that
suspicion. A recent study by Uniroyal Tyres
involved 4000 European citizens of various
nationalities. The study found that Ireland was
second only to Britain in the griping stakes.
The weather, traffic and work topped the list of
things the Irish love to complain about. 59% of
those surveyed agreed that women complain more
HOUSE ALARMS AND NOISY PARTYS TO BE TACKLED
In a long overdue 'quality of life' exercise the
Green Party Minister for the Environment, John
Gormley, has proposed legislation that will enable
Gardai to enter premises and manually disconnect
noisy alarms that are left ringing excessively.
The hosts of noisy parties will also be targeted
and fined for their anti-social behaviour.
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: Frend, Fee
L: Ling, Loftus
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:
GREAT IRISH FAMILIES: THE O'CONNORS
The great families of O'Connor have their
descendants spread throughout the world,
disguised under various spellings of their
original name. The Conners, Connors, Conors and
Coners all trace their heritage to one of the
most illustrious of all of the Irish families.
The name was borne by six distinct septs. 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. The O'Connors of Connaught
were the most powerful with three separate branches
of the sept developing: O'Conor Don, O'Connor Roe
and O'Conor Sligo. These were all descended from
Conchobhar who was King of Connaught in the tenth
century. One of his descendants was Roderick
O'Connor (1116-1198) who was the last High King
The Munster O'Connors were led by O'Connor Kerry
who took his name from a different Conchobhar than
the originator of the Connaught septs. He held
vast lands in Kerry but was forced northwards
after the 1172 Anglo-Norman invasion led by
Strongbow. A renowned descendant of this sept was
Arthur O'Connor (1763-1852) who was a United
Irishman and later a general in Napoleons army.
Patrick Edward O'Connor (1820-1871) was a pioneer
and Indian fighter who also fought in the US Civil
War on the Confederate side.
The O'Connors of Corcomroe, located in County
Clare separately evolved from Conchobhar, Lord of
Corcomroe who died in the year 1002.
O'Connor Faly was the Chief of the Offaly sept and
was a descendant of Cathaoir Mor who was King of
Ireland in the second century. These were a
fighting sept who constantly battled the English
invaders before being all but wiped out in the
A further sept of O'Conor was that of Keenaght
located in Derry in the very north of the country.
They were defeated in battle by the O'Kanes in the
twelfth century. Modern day O'Connors in Ulster
are often descended from the O'Connors of
Glengiven who were descended from Cian, son of the
King of Munster in the third century.
In modern times the Kerry sept is much more
prominent than the Munster sept. There are over
30,000 people of the name in Ireland, most located
in Kerry and Cork.
The history of the O'Connors could fill volumes.
It is worth noting the degree to which the septs
of O'Connor have heritage dating back to the
times of ancient Irish royalty. High Kings
dominate their ancestry. A truly 'royal' Irish
View the O'Connor family crests here:
Get the O'Connor plaque, print, signet ring and
MY TOUR OF IRELAND by Julie Crum
In April of 2008 I took my long awaited trip to
Ireland to the land where my grandparents came
from. I had dreamed all my life of getting to
Ireland and it finally came true. When we started
to plan the trip their were five of us going but
the day we left it was just myself, my daughter
Cami and my Granddaughter Breanna.
We started our trip in Dublin with the CIE tour
group. Our first night their my granddaughter
and I got picked up so to speak. That was a first
for me. We enjoyed our dinner at O'Neels pub and
walking all around the city. We traveled from
Dublin south and around the west coast and up to
Northern Ireland where we had such a great
experience. We met two of the most wonderful
people in all of Ireland: the Watersons. I had
spoken once to Mae online about my ancestors and
while in Galway my daughter got online and there
was a note for us to call Mae when in Derry.
Upon our arrival we called and they offered to
pick us up and drive to the towns of Knockcloghrim
and Maghere where my grandparents were born. We
visited many Presbyterian church's where we found
many grave sites of Ewings and Scott's. My
grandfather was Thomas Ewing and my grandmother
was Agnes Scott. My grandparents came to the USA
around 1900. I will remember meeting Arnold and
Mae that day forever. We had dinner together and
a cuppa and I never dreamed I would have such an
experience. We have remained very good friends
and I can say they are family to us. We write
back and forth every week and find we are so much
alike. Who knows maybe we are related!
It was sad to leave that next day but we had more
to see and places to go. On our trip we saw Dublin,
Newgrange and Knowth tomb, then traveled south to
the Rock of Cashel and on to Cobh where we had a
lovely tour. We stayed in Cork and then on to
Blarney Castle and of course we did some shopping
at Blarney Woolen Mills. Then on to see the
Muckross House within Killarney Park and spent two
nights in Killarney. The next day was spent seeing
the Dingle Peninsula and the Blasket Center. Next
we were off to the west coast to see the Cliffs of
Moher and stopped in the lovely village of Adair.
We went through the Burren and into Galway. One
evening in Galway we were invited to a friend of a
friend of my daughters for dinner and lovely
evening. We had also never met Morie and we just
were amazed how wonderful and friendly the Irish
people are. Both encounters gave us a chance to
know something about the people and not just the
country. Morie gave me a beautiful tablecloth made
by her late Aunt to remember my trip to Ireland.
We then went on to Connemara Crystal and Connemera
Marble and traveled through the Connemore
Mountains to Kylemore Abby. Back to Galway and
touring the city.
We set off North to the Museum of Country life and
then to Drumclift to Yeats grave sight. Traveling
through the beautiful Blue Stack mountains we
arrived in Derry where we walked through the
walled City and went out to Giants Causeway. After
spending the day with the Watersons we traveled
south to the Ulster Folk Park and our final night
at the Cabra Castle. What a treat that was with a
five course meal and Irish dancing afterwards
which I had to try.
I hated to leave the next day but when I arrived
in Ireland I felt like I had come home but now
had to get back to my family.
It was a trip of a lifetime for me and to enjoy
it with my daughter and granddaughter was extra
special. My daughter later became ill but is now
doing well and it helps to look at our pictures
and talk about our trip. My husband says I have !
developed the 'gift of the gab' but we found a
greater gift in Ireland through the people we
met everywhere we went.
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THE NEW YORK IRISH AND THE POLICE
One of the enduring images of the New York Irish
community is their representation in the New York
City Police Department. During the past hundred
years, the NYPD has been led by an almost unbroken
chain of command of Irish-American Police
Commissioners. The current NYPD Police Commissioner
is Ray Kelly. Few Irish New Yorkers have not had a
relative in the department, and the NYPD continues
to evoke a positive response among them.
The popularity of the NYPD among the Irish can be
traced to the police department's establishment in
1844. It was created on Sir. Robert Peel's 1829
model of the London Metropolitan Police. The new
department was to replace the ineffective watch
system that was incapable of dealing with
increasing crime and disorder in New York City
that was exacerbated by an influx of poverty
stricken Irish immigrants fleeing the Famine in
Although these impoverished Irish immigrants
contributed to the crime problem, they also
became part of the solution as they vied for
appointments to the newly formed police
department. The first police officer killed in
the line of duty was an Irish New Yorker named
James Cahill who was shot by a burglar at Tenth
Street and Avenue B on September 29, 1854.
However, with the changing ethnic composition of
the metropolitan New york City area, today, less
than 50% of new NYPD officers are of Irish
(The above was excerpted from an article written
by Dr. Hugh O'Rourke, a retired NYPD Captain, for
the NYPD Superior Officers Association Retired
Jack Coughlan, Retired NYPD Det/Sgt.
NYPD Superior Officers Association Retired
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AN IRISH LEADER: SEAN LEMASS
Sean Lemass was Taoiseach (leader) of Ireland
from 1959 to 1966. He is regarded by many
historians as the greatest of all political
leaders of Ireland and is credited with laying
the foundations of the modern economic success
Born in Dublin in 1899 Lemass was a veteran of the
Easter Rising in 1916. He fought in the War of
Independence and was imprisoned in Ballykinlar in
County Down for a year. He opposed the Anglo-Irish
Treaty and fought against the Michael Collins Free
State in the subsequent Civil War. He was among
the rebels who occupied the Four Courts which
were famously bombed by the Free State forces. He
was again interned in Mountjoy and the Curragh.
He was first elected to the Irish parliament in
1924 as member of Sinn Fein and was re-elected
from his Dublin South constituency at every
election that followed, up until his retirement
in 1969. With DeValera he was a founder member of
the new Fianna Fail party in 1926 which had
abandoned armed struggle in favour of using
political means to achieve its goals. He served
as Minister for Commerce, Minister for Supplies
and finally as Tanaiste (Deputy-Taoiseach) before
being elected leader in 1959. His dealings in
economic matters on behalf of the State were to
serve him well.
Ireland during the 1950s and 1960s was an economic
wasteland with little industry and huge
emigration. Costello worked incessantly to develop
industry and trade. His Programme for Economic
Development saw the creation of Bord na Mona, Aer
Lingus and the Irish Shipping industry. He worked
to develop and expand the tourist industry, to
extend the supply of electricity countrywide, to
develop the sugar industry, and a myriad of other
schemes and developments.
Irish society was changing at a rapid pace, with
RTE being set up in 1961. The old conservatism
was being challenged as never before. Ireland had
applied for membership of the EEC and was becoming
part of the wider modern European society.
Lemass favoured an attitude of co-operation with
the new political entity that was Northern Ireland.
In 1965 he became the first Irish leader to visit
Stormont for talks with Prime Minister Terence
O'Neill. The subsequent controversy as well as
failing health may have convinced him that it was
time to step down.
Sean Lemass retired as Taoiseach in 1966 and
eventually retired from politics in 1969.
He died in 1971.
His legacy of economic reform in Ireland is
perhaps his greatest achievement and is being
evidenced in the economic boom which began in
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MOTHERS OF THE CELTIC TIGERS by Pat Watson
It was just my luck to arrive in Carrignaros on
pig fair day. The entire main street was full
of tractors and trailers and a few horse carts
full of pigs. This was a normal small town
setting in nineteen seventy-four. I had to park
my car two hundred yards from the hotel where I
had a lunch appointment and walk through the
fair. Luckily I was used to farm situations so
I was not nauseated by the smell.
As I picked my steps through the throng, I noticed
two tractor-trailers backed up to a dealer's
lorry. There was a litter of finished pigs in each
trailer, ten in one and eleven in the other. I was
well aware that it took considerable skill and
dedicated husbandry to bring those numbers to
maturity. At the time the average litter would
have been about eight. The floor of the lorry was
three feet higher than the trailer's. Two men of
advancing years were endeavouring, with little
success, to lift the first of the fifteen-stone
pigs onto the lorry.
Just then two red-haired women hopped up on the
trailer, said 'stand back men', and took over the
loading. They both grabbed a front leg below the
knee and a back leg above the knee and before the
pig knew what hit him he had been thrown into the
lorry. These were fine well built, well-padded,
elegant women, perhaps early forties. They were
evidently sisters and appeared to be spouses of
the two much older men. No doubt they had married
them in the depressed fifties when they were
strong farmers financially, though physically past
their peak. As they continued the work a small
crowd gathered to admire.
I proceeded to my appointment while surmising
their situation. Those animals had probably been
brought to maturity with produce laboriously
grafted from the stony grew soil of Monaghan. A
lucky sow treated with tender loving care could
produce two litters a year. It would supplement
the children's allowance, the turkey money and
other farm income. Even an aging man could manage
a farm, operate a tractor, buy and sell things and
keep a woman company, no use letting him strain
Just as we were finishing our lunch in the pub,
the two men came in, followed a little way behind
by the women. As he reached the bar one of the
men turned and said,
'Well women, what will ye have?'
The reply came in unison, 'Whiskey'.
'Mothers of the Celtic Tigers'
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: Cad is ainm duit?
PRONOUNCED: coad iss annim dwit
MEANING: What is your name?
PHRASE: An bhfuil tu damhsa liom?
PRONOUNCED: On will two dowsa lum
MEANING: Would you like to dance with me?
PHRASE: Iocfaidh mise don gach rud!
PRONOUNCED: uck-igg misha dun gock rud
MEANING: I will pay for everything!
View the archive of phrases here:
MAY COMPETITION RESULT
The winner was: email@example.com
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.