IN THIS ISSUE
~~~ Keep us Free!
~~~ News Snaps from Ireland
~~~ New Free Resources at the Site
~~~ A Dublin Tale by Geraldine Flanagan
~~~ Farewell Lovely Erin by Jeannine Barrett
~~~ Five Unusual Christmas Gift Ideas
~~~ Castle Matrix by Vicky Laurienzo
~~~ Gaelic Phrases of the Month
~~~ Monthly free competition result
Hello again where Dublin has suffered the worst
city floods since the 1950s with the River Tolka
bursting its banks and wreaking the homes of many
people. Hopefully the poor weather will clear up
because we need some good news after the economic
forecasts of cutbacks and inflation.
You can help to keep this newsletter alive and
take care of your Christmas shopping by having
a look at the 5 unusual Christmas gift items
listed in an article below.
Until next time, STAY DRY!
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NEWS SNAPS FROM IRELAND
GOVERNMENT UNDER PRESSURE OVER CUTBACKS
Widescale cutbacks have been announced by the
Government amid the deterioration of the public
finances. A sharp decline in the intake of tax
revenue has followed the slowdown in the world
economy in general. Industrial unrest and job
losses have further given cause for concern and
the Government has reacted, over-reacted some
commentators have claimed, by slashing
expenditure in almost every area.
Despite the billions that have been cut from
huge capital schemes such as road building
projects, the focus of the cuts is very much on
the EURO 38 Million that Charlie McCreevy has
attempted to save by abolishing the 'first-time
buyers' grant. This Euro 3810 grant was paid
to new buyers of houses in an attempt to
encourage them to get onto the property ladder.
Opposition party outrage has been echoed by some
politicians from the ranks of the ruling Fianna
BAN ON SMOKING IS EXTENDED
Smoking on Trains and in Pubs when food is being
served is to be banned by the Government from next
year. Smoking in Restaurants is to be completely
The Government proposals have stopped short of a
complete ban on smoking in pubs as the powerful
Vintners lobby have repeatedly claimed that to
do so would seriously affect the tourist industry
and ultimately result in job losses.
DUBLIN BUS ROUTES TO BE OPENED UP TO COMPETITION
The monopoly by CIE on the operation of Dublin
Bus routes is to end. By 2004 private operators
will be allowed to compete for 25% of all routes.
Profitable and unprofitable routes are to be
bundled together to ensure that competition is
fair and that the needs of remote communities are
met. The scheme is to be introduced on certain
rural routes in the near future. CIE is to be
abolished and the Rail, Dublin Bus and National
Bus Companies to be independently mandated.
BACK GARDEN BUILDERS REAP THE REWARDS
The continuing shortage of housing in Ireland has
led to an expansion of a previously rare occurrence.
People who happen to have large gardens are
dividing their lot and building a new house on
what previously had been their flower beds!
Experts estimate that the average profit from such
an exercise is about EURO 400,000 per development.
Over 1600 such plans are expected to be approved
ACTOR RICHARD HARRIS DIES
Irish actor Richard Harris has died of Hodgkin's
disease in London, aged 72.
He was born in Limerick where he suffered a bout
of Tuberculosis as a teenager which scuppered
his promising career as a rugby player. He moved
to London, initially intending to become a
director but was soon drawn to acting and studied
at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art
After touring Europe and completing several small
acting roles in films he received some acclaim for
his minor role as a mutinous sailor in 'Mutiny on
the Bounty', starring Marlon Brando. His first film
lead in 'This Sporting Life' established him as
one of the top actors of his generation and he was
recognised for his performance with the award for
best actor at the Cannes Film Festival in 1963.
His performance in 'A Man Called Horse' was
Despite a number of subsequent outings that failed
to inspire he bounced back to great effect as
'Bull McCabe' in John B. Keane's wonderfully dark
'The Field'. He won a Golden Globe nomination for
his memorable performance.
Commercial success in films such as 'Patriot Games'
and 'Unforgiven' followed and his most recent
displays have been in the 'Harry Potter' movies
where he portrayed 'Professor Dumbledore'.
He is survived by his three sons.
IRISH SOCCER MANAGER MICK MCCARTHY IS SACKED
Only a few short months after the great display
by his team in the World Cup, Irish soccer manager
Mick McCarthy has been forced to resign from his
post after two poor results in the European
Championships qualifiers and a concerted effort
by sections of the Irish media to oust him.
McCarthy was Europe's longest serving international
soccer manager before agreeing his payout deal
with the FAI who have since lost their Chief
Executive, Brendan Menton, in the wake of the poor
preparations made by the Association, prior to
Ireland's participation in the World Cup.
McCarthy is expected to be offered a job in the
English Premiership, given his excellent record
as Irish manager. Replacements for his job that
have been mentioned so far include Kenny Dalglish,
Joe Kinnear and Brian Kerr.
IRISH RUGBY ON THE MEND
Irish Rugby continued its rejuvenation after back
to back wins against world champions Australia
and Fiji. Eddie O'Sullivan's charges can look
forward to the Six-Nations championships with
Voice your opinion on these news issues here:
NEW FREE RESOURCES AT THE SITE
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:
D: Denton, McDevitt
N: McNeice, Nunley
View the Gallery here:
Visit our new site where you can view thousands of
family crests from around the world:
We now have over 20,000 worldwide names available.
Get the Coat of Arms Print, Claddagh Ring,
Screensaver, Watch, T-Shirt Transfer or Clock for
your name at:
THE MILK ROBBERS - A DUBLIN TALE
by Geraldine Flanagan
One cold November morning as I was leaving for
school with my siblings, I noticed that all five
of our milk bottles had two even round holes in
each cap and a little cream, which sat heavily on
top of the milk, had been sipped out. The bottles,
undisturbed in their usual position, stood in
military line to the right of our red-polished
doorstep. Who could have had the patience or the
necessity to do this! At first, we all surmised
that some bold ruffian got a straw and had some
fun slurping, though it was hard to imagine.
Later, we found out, by way of the Breadman who
heard it from the Milkman, that Blackbirds were
hungry in the mornings too. In the cold weather,
it was usual to see dozens and dozens of
Blackbirds sitting on rooftop aerials in
classroom style. This particular morning,
huddled together against the wind, we giggled
as we peeped up at them while holding on to
the hoods of our black school coats. Where did
they get their cleverness and their love of
milk, we wondered.
One time for several weeks our milk bottles were
four instead of five, although, my mother
continued to pay for five. I thought I'd ask the
Breadman but was forbidden to do so. Mother told
us that if someone in the neighbourhood needed a
daily pint of milk for his family it was best
that he took it from a five-bottled doorstep
rather than a two-bottled one and no doubt it
would stop in due course. It did. The Milkman,
who must have been aware of this arrangement,
would occasionally, in his silent fashion, leave
us a half-pint of cream whenever he found some
leftover on his wagon. My mother accepted his
kind gesture graciously even though no words
were ever exchanged between them.
I spied our milk robber one morning while peering
through the bedroom curtains to see if it had
snowed. Normally one would never check on the
weather in Ireland so predictably is its rainy
miserableness but I always hoped for snow whenever
my feet were cold. On this occasion, I saw the
white scrawny legs of a young fair-haired boy in
short trousers. He was jumping over the garden
wall with a pint of milk in one hand; the other
hand was all he used to propel himself. He wore
a ragged sky blue pullover, no coat or jacket at
all and all I could think of was how cold his
legs must be and why his Mammy hadn't made him
change into his long winter trousers. He was
about eleven. He didn't notice me and I was glad
of that because I recognized him as Jimmy from
two roads away. We liked his big family because
the children were friendly and given to quick and
easy laughter. Besides Jimmy was the only boy who
didn't torment us younger girls on our way to
school in the mornings with sling-shots. Indeed
he often protected us. I came to the conclusion
that he must be taking the milk for the baby in
his house. Babies needed so much milk, after all,
and my mother would never let a baby go hungry.
It all made sense. I was tempted to invite him
to take two bottles on the way home from school
the next day but something in the scared look on
his face as he jumped over the wall made me feel
it was not something one should approach him
about. And so I didn't. In hindsight, my mother,
had she known of my magnanimity, would have
As time moved along, I noticed Jimmy always
looking out for his younger siblings. His mother
referred to him as her right-hand man. Although
all his attentiveness and kindness towards her
never changed the forever-worried expression on
her drawn face. His eyes would light up like a
headlamp when he met his mother on her way home
from work but the delight shining in his eyes
was not reciprocated in hers. The father had
died. Jimmy's mother, for many years, would allow
this sad fact to overshadow all the good-times
that was also allotted to them.
We all envied Jimmy helping the Baker for a few
bob on Saturday mornings because that was the day
the Baker sold cream cakes. On Saturday afternoons,
Jimmy would take bags of coal off the Coalman's
horse-drawn wagon for sixpence and delivered them
doubly quick saving our elderly Coalman soreness
and time. In the evenings, in an effort to sell
leftover newspapers, he would shout at the top of
his lungs: 'Evening Herald, Irish Press', and in
doing so would mimic the facial expressions of the
professional newspaper boys outside the GPO in
town center. This activity made him look ugly
because his mouth would go in all sorts of
directions. But he always appeared to be enjoying
himself, nonetheless. Eventually his pale freckled
skin assumed a weather-beaten redness much like
the complexion of a Fisherman from the Aran
Islands. My mother would shake her head and
murmur: 'Is that boy ever at home!'.
Then one day he was gone. Australia at age
eighteen. The way life goes we never heard much
more about him after that or how he fared. But
I, having secret knowledge of his resourcefulness,
knew in my heart he would do well. To this day,
I picture him shining in a big city on the other
side of the world much needed and much loved.
November 8, 2002
FAREWELL LOVELY ERIN by Jeannine Barrett
I wrote this poem the day I was leaving Ireland.
I had just spent 10 glorious days traveling
throughout the country with my mother and cousins.
It was my first trip to Ireland and I knew the
minute I landed that I was destined to be there
and I will be back some day. The country, the
people the beauty and the history touched my
Farewell Lovely Erin
Farewell to my lovely Erin
the isle of hopes and dreams
the forever ancestral home
My home so far away
Never will I forget
The mist that caressed my cheek
The fury of your winds that blew my
The green hills and valleys,
the red of the berries
are memories in my heart.
A sight to behold
Oh... the stories that you told...
Your music and your songs
The gentle brogue in your voice
The laughter and the joy I felt all those days
Ring true in my heart Today and
There is a strong smell of freedom
the scent of my heritage
Will forever be in my soul.
I have felt your spirit
Your power and your Love
Farewell my lovely Erin
In my heart you will stay strong.
FIVE UNUSUAL CHRISTMAS GIFT IDEAS
Finding an unusual Christmas gift can be a time
consuming chore so we have provided 5 of the best
below. All include free worldwide shipping.
**1** If you are furnishing a House, Apartment or
Office then you will appreciate our Celtic Plaques
that show designs based on the world-famous Book
of Kells as well as easily recognised symbols such
as the Harp, the Celtic Cross and the Shamrock.
Hand crafted using beaten copper and mounted on
hardwood or framed these make are very unusual
gifts that look just great.
**2** A new addition to our host of products that
include hand engraved rings, cuff links, watches
and much more include our superb Celtic Cross
Pendant and Chain which has the family crest for
your family name engraved on it.
**3** Our glass engraver has been very busy lately
and you will be able to see why when you view the
superb Wine Goblets, Pint Glasses, Shooter sets
and much more that are all hand engraved.
**4** Ancestral Maps of Ireland that are perfect
for framing and look great!
**5** No Time to shop? Not sure what to give? Let
your chosen recipient decide with our 'friendly
CASTLE MATRIX by Vicky Laurienzo
Castle Matrix is the headquarters of the Irish
International Arts Centre and the Heraldry Society
of Ireland. Located 29 kms (18 miles) south-west
of Limerick on the main Killarney Road, the castle
was in ruins for years until 1964, when American
Col. John J. O'Driscoll undertook its restoration.
After years of painstaking work and research,
the castle was completed. Unfortunately, Col.
O'Driscoll died in 1991. The castle is now
operated by his family.
This Castle was built on a sanctuary of the Celtic
Goddess of love and poetry, Matres. Castle Matrix
('matres' is a celtic word meaning 'of mother', and
was changed to 'matrix' because it sounded too
much like mattress) was built in 1440 by the 7th
Earl of Desmond, the renowned Norman-Irish poet.
The square castle was built in the mid 15th
century. It has entered the history books several
times. In the 1600's it was owned by Sir Thomas
Southwell, of the family of Robert Southwell, the
metaphysical poet, and it was here that Edmund
Spenser and Walter Raleigh first met. The castle
is said to have inspired 'The Faerie Queene'.
Besieged by Cromwell, the castle escaped complete
devastation, and was quickly repaired.
At the time my husband and I visited on October
30th, Col. O'Driscoll's widow, Elizabeth, was in
Dublin with their 18-year-old son, recently
diagnosed with leukemia. Though the son is in
remission and given a promising prognosis, the
preoccupation of dealing with the disease,
coupled with the responsibility of caring for
her 88 year-old father prevents the family from
maintaining the castle as it should be. A younger
sister has come over from England to assist with
the running of the castle and the care of the
It was this sister who gave us the tour. Not
expecting visitors at this time of year, she
graciously showed us the castle anyway. I owe
her an apology, because I learned only after
we left that tours are scheduled only through
This little castle tower deserves to retain its
place in history. Beautifully situated on the
River Deel, it is furnished with priceless and
fascinating pieces of furniture and historic
objects. The mantle of the great fireplace is
adorned with crossbows and other weaponry. The
second floor houses massive bookcases which hold
the colonel's personal library. These bookcases
are particularly significant in that they brought
unexpected good fortune for the colonel. This may
sound like a romantic fantasy, but after
purchasing the bookcases for the castle, a secret
compartment was discovered which held a very old
and very valuable book. The proceeds from the
book assisted significantly the restoration
Still, more restoration and upkeep is needed. Our
hostess estimated that approximately half a
million is needed to do it justice. The Irish
government will match whatever funds are raised,
so the O'Driscolls need to come up with a quarter
million. I am writing this article to increase
awareness of the castle, which also provides B&B.
More visitors means more revenue. For the sake of
this lovely castle tower, go visit it for yourself.
Hopefully, you will become as enchanted as we have.
The castle is located just south of Rathkeale, just
off the main Limerick-Killarney road, on the west
side. There is one sign post at the edge of town,
and one small sign standing on the ground facing
north just at the entrance way by the road. If you
are approaching Rathkeale from the south as we
were, you will never see this one. Signage is
apparently quite expensive, and since this castle
is privately owned, the government will not provide
it. You will not see the castle until you are down
the entrance road a way, as it is surrounded by
tall trees. Make the effort to find this treasure
and you will not be disappointed.
GAELIC PHRASES OF THE MONTH
PHRASE: Ta cupla focail Gaeilge agam
PRONOUNCED: taw koo-pluh fuk-ill gale-geh ah/gum
MEANING: I have a couple of words of Irish
PHRASE: Nil aon sceal eile orm
PRONOUNCED: kneel ayne skale ella urm
MEANING: I don't have any other story
PHRASE: Oiche mhaith, codladh samh
PRONOUNCED: eehah wot, culla sovh
MEANING: Good night, sleep well
View the archive of phrases here:
NOVEMBER COMPETITION RESULT
The winner was: firstname.lastname@example.org
who will receive the following:
A Single Family Crest Print (decorative)
Send us an email to claim your prize, and well
done! Remember that all subscribers to this
newsletter are automatically entered into the
competition every time.
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Until the next time,
Keep your feet above water!
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