The Information about Ireland Site Newsletter
The Newsletter for people interested in Ireland
Now received by over 50,000 people worldwide
Copyright (C) 2005
IN THIS ISSUE
=== News Snaps from Ireland
=== New free resources at the site
=== Dermot, Strongbow, and the Invasion of Ireland
=== The Irish-American Thanksgiving Day
by Patrick Kevin Quinn
=== 10 Great Christmas Gift Ideas
=== A little bit of Dublin - #8
=== Gaelic Phrases of the Month
=== Monthly free competition result
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NEWS SNAPS FROM IRELAND
IRISH ECONOMIC BOOM CONTINUES
Recent statistics have revealed that there are
300 PAYE (ordinary tax-payers) who earn over 1
M-illion Euro annually. This is 3 times the number
who earned that much in 2001. The continuing
shortage of skilled staff is the most likely
explanation for the boom in wages.
Irish house prices continue to rise, despite the
annual predictions of an imminent decline. Some
commentators are predicting a 15% gain over the
next 2 years, despite repeated warnings from the
Irish Central Bank.
Since joining the Euro currency, control over
interest rates now rests with the European Central
Bank. The ECB has kept rates at record low levels
for years, primarily because of sluggishness in
the German, French and Italian economies. This is
good news for Irish mortgage-holders who continue
to see the value of their property rise.
The ingrained Irish desire to own property is well
known but it is unlikely that previous generations
could have envisaged the distance their descendants
would be willing to go. Not content with snapping
up property in the UK, France and Spain, Irish
investors are now targeting Canada, Africa, New
Zealand, Croatia and even Thailand. Investors from
Ireland recently spent nearly 3 M-illion Euro in a
Las Vegas development while over 4.5 M-illion Euro
has been spent on a Thai property scheme. It is
estimated that more than 600,000 Irish people now
own property abroad.
EXCESSIVE NUMBER OF KIPPERS IN IRELAND
The Irish obsession with owning their own home
has bred a new generation who are refusing to
leave their parents' house until well into their
20s, 30s, 40s and beyond. Spiralling property
prices have caused the number of KIPPERS (Kids
in Parents' Pads Eroding Retirement Savings) to
soar. It is likely that the majority of KIPPERS
are saving to invest in a property of their own.
A recent Central Statistics Office study has
found that over 450,000 adults still reside
with their parents. This figure represents 12%
of the entire population of the country.
As one commentator remarked 'Irish mammies don't
have apron strings, they have steel cables.'
34 BILLION EURO TRANSPORT PLAN UNVEILED
The most ambitious and expensive transport
infrastructure plan in the history of the State has
been unveiled by the Government. Over 34 B-illion
Euro will be spent over the next decade on various
schemes which will have a dramatic effect
transport in Ireland.
The plan includes:
* Linking up the 2 LUAS (light rial) city lines
* 6 other Luas projects
* An 'Atlantic Corridor' road network linking
Donegal, Galway, Limerick, Cork and Waterford
* 2 metro lines including a link to Dublin Airport
* An underground station at St. Stephens Green.
* Completion of the Dublin Port Tunnel
* Upgrading of the M50
* A new rail link to Navan
Critics of the plan point to previous projects
that fell behind schedule as well as running
over-budget. The Government plans to implement
strict financial controls to ensure no such
over-runs occur in the future.
COST OF LIVING IN IRELAND FOR FOREIGNERS SOARS
A recent survey has recorded Ireland as the third
most expensive place in the EU, and sixth
worldwide, for foreign people to live in. Norway
is the most expensive followed by Denmark and
IRISH POTATO IMPORTS CONTINUE TO GROW
Despite the historical image of Ireland relying
heavily on the consumption of potatoes as a
dietary staple, the importation of potatoes from
the U.K. and beyond. Most of the imports are
being used in fast-food restaurants and take-aways
as the quality of home-grown potatoes is not
regarded as sufficiently high for producing
The Irish Government agency concerned with food
development is seeking to develop a potato that
can be more readily used by restaurants, such
POLISH WOMAN LIVED AT AIRPORT FOR WEEKS
In an episode similar to the Tom Hanks movie 'The
Terminal' a 26 year-old Polish woman has been
found living at Dublin Airport for three weeks.
An airport policeman noticed the young Polish
woman who had arrived to meet up with her
boyfriend but who had no money or food and who
could not speak the language. He immediately
assisted the bewildered arrival who had survived
by sleeping on waiting seats and eating restaurant
scraps. He bought her a meal and contacted the
authorities who are now arranging for her return
IRISH AUTHOR WINS THE BOOKER PRIZE
Irish author John Banville has won the prestigious
'Booker Prize' with his 14th novel 'The Sea'.
Manville was born in Wexford in 1945. His first
title, 'Nightspawn' was published in 1971. He
previously worked as literary editor at 'The Irish
Voice your opinion on these news issues here:
NEW FREE RESOURCES AT THE SITE
NEW COATS OF ARMS ADDED TO THE GALLERY:
The following 8 coats of arms images and family
history details have been added to the Gallery:
B: Barron, Bainbridge
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:
DERMOT AND STRONGBOW, AND THE INVASION OF IRELAND
Dermot MacMurrough was the King of Leinster during
the twelfth century and is most remembered as the
man who invited the English into Ireland.
He was born circa 1100 and succeeded to the throne
of his father, Enna, in 1126. He was a ruthless
leader and demonstrated the ferocity of the times
by killing or blinding 17 rivals in 1141. He became
involved in a dispute with the King of Breffney,
Tiernan O'Ruark, whose wife he kidnapped in 1153.
O'Ruark formed an alliance with Rory O'Connor who
was the recognised High King of Ireland at the
time. In 1166 this long-running and bitter feud
resulted in MacMurrough being driven into exile
by the Gaelic Chieftains. He fled to France.
Dermot MacMurrough was a deeply ambitious man who
refused to accept his exile. He made his way to
the Court of Henry II of England and offered to
become a vassal to the King in return for military
aid in retaking his kingdom. The king did not
directly provide assistance but allowed MacMurrough
to petition the Anglo-Norman lords. It was at this
time that the Earl of Pembroke, Richard de Clare,
later known as 'Strongbow', agreed to lead an army
to Ireland. MacMurrough brought an advance party
of adventurers back to Ireland in 1167,
recaptured Wexford, and waited for Strongbow to
From his base in Wales Strongbow launched an
offensive in 1170, capturing Waterford and Dublin,
taking control of the East coast, much to the
dismay of the Gaelic Chieftains and O'Connor. To
cement the alliance, MacMurrough married his
daughter Aoife to Strongbow, in Christchurch
Cathedral in Dublin 1170.
The Irish Chieftains did not allow the invaders
to settle however and they were continually
attacked and harassed. At one stage it seemed
likely that they would be driven from the country
if it were not for the support given by Henry II,
who had become concerned with the amount of power
and influence that Strongbow was amassing across
the Irish sea. It is speculated that Henry II
feared that Ireland might be used as a base by
the Saxons to launch an offensive back into England
in the wake of their defeat at Hastings in 1066.
The subsequent domination of South Wales by the
Normans was a result of the need to keep supply
lines into Eastern Ireland open.
Dermot MacMurrough died in 1170 leaving Strongbow
to declare himself King of Leinster. His later
support for Henry II in France led to his being
named Governor of Ireland. He died in 1176
suffering an infection during a raid by Irish
Much of Ireland was still under local influence
and it only was the East coast, known as 'the Pale',
that remained in Norman control. Henry granted
these lands to his son 'Jean Sans-terre' (or John
Lackland) in 1185 creating the 'Lordship of
Ireland'. It seemed likely that Ireland would
remain a minor Kingdom except that fate intervened.
The death of his elder brothers allowed Jean
Sans-terre to succeed to the English throne,
becoming King John of England and the Pale
becoming part of English dominated territories.
Demot MacMurrough has for centuries been blamed
as the man who caused, or at least facilitated
the invasion and subsequent subjugation of Ireland
by outsiders. Recent revision of this history
however, have been less critical of his actions.
It is likely that the island would have eventually
been dominated by its larger neighbour even
without Dermot MacMurroughs prompting. The
unwillingness of the Gaelic Chiefs to form a
Kingship with defined rights of succession
certainly made invasion and domination easier. It
was also not uncommon of the times for Gaelic
Chiefs to seek help from foreigners in combatting
their local enemies.
Despite this more generous interpretation of his
actions, it will always be Dermot MacMurroughs
lust for power, bringing the English into Ireland,
for which he will be most remembered.
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!
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THE IRISH-AMERICAN THANKSGIVING DAY
by Patrick Kevin Quinn
Foreword: Patrick Quinn was born Saint Louis Irish,
the fourth generation of his family in the United
States. His family were all policemen, firemen,
plumbers or priests, and for fifteen years he was
one of the policemen.
He and his family moved to Lee's Summit twenty
years ago and he has since been very involved with
the Kansas City Irish Community.
He is currently a member of the Heart of America
Police Emerald Society, and has been a member of
the Committee that is in the process of creating
an Irish Cultural Center in Kansas City. He was
Grand Marshal of Kansas City's Brookside St.
Patrick's Parade in 1993, and was an organizer
and the Chief Marshal of the parade for the first
fourteen years of it's existence.
His reflection on the meaning of St. Patrick's Day
to the Irish-American community was originally
written as an invocation for a program at
Greenwood Elementary School in the Kansas City
suburb of Greenwood, Missouri.
The Irish-American Thanksgiving Day
Cead Mile Failte! or in American, 'A Hundred
Most often, when one thinks of St. Patrick's Day
they think of the parade, which is the largest
single day event held each year in Kansas City,
and they think some of the very Americanized
stereotypes such as Corned Beef and Cabbage and
green beer. But to Irish-Americans, St. Patrick's
Day is a special day of thanksgiving. The
following are just a few of the special things for
which we Irish-Americans in Jackson County are
We started these remarks with a Gaelic greeting,
and are thankful for the survival of that language
in spite of the attempts to eradicate it.
We are thankful that in spite of many of the first
Irish-Americans being brought to this country as
slaves (they called us 'involuntary servants') that
our forefathers desire and ability to escape made
the proposition unprofitable, and it quickly came
to an end.
We are thankful that when it came time to stand up
for the United States, more Irish-Americans signed
the Declaration of Independence than any other
We are thankful that our forefathers and mothers
took a very active role in fighting to free our
country, such as Henry Knox, the first Secretary
of War and Commodore Jack Barry, who organized the
United States Navy, as well as several generals
and thousands of soldiers and sailors. In fact,
one half of the Continental Army and three-fourths
of George Washington's regiments at the decisive
battle of Yorktown consisted of Irish-American
soldiers and officers.
We are thankful for the Irish-Americans who
explored this great country, identifying its
potential and guiding its pioneers. Men like Daniel
Boone and Davey Crockett, whose parents came from
We are thankful and proud that no less than 38
regiments of the Union Army in the War Between the
States, the war to end slavery in the U.S., were
manned totally by Irish-Americans.
We are thankful for the service of no less than
nineteen Irish-Americans who have been elected to
the Office of President of the United States,
including Andrew Jackson for whom Jackson County was
named. His parents came to this country from
Carrickfergus in County Antrim.
We are thankful for an Irishman from Galway by the
name of Charles Kearney, who pledged his fortune,
and convinced others to do the same to build the
first bridge across the Missouri River at Kansas
City. Thus transforming a sleepy, dusty river town
into the third largest rail hub in the nation, and
the metropolis we are today.
We are thankful for the courage of our great
grandparents who persevered during the times in our
country when Irish-American children were refused
an education in public schools because of rampant
bigotry, and signs were openly posted in windows
stating 'Help Wanted - No Irish Need Apply'.
We are thankful for the courage of our grandparents
and parents who endured threats and assaults from
mobs, because of their nationality. In 1922, one
stated reason that some 14,000 members of the Ku
Klux Klan assembled here in Jackson County was to
drive Irish Catholics out of Kansas City. One week,
a whole lot of hate speeches, a whole lot of
marching and a whole lot of whiskey later, they
left town having failed at their mission.
And finally, we are thankful that our parents and
grandparents took the time to teach us the history
of our families and our heritage.
So today, we would like to extend to you one of
our special Irish blessings, that we seem to have
for just about any occasion:
'May there always be work for your hands to do,
may your purse always hold a coin or two.
May the sun always shine on your windowpane,
may a rainbow be certain to follow each rain.
May the hand of a friend be always near you,
And may God fill your heart with gladness to
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To avail of these special discounts simply place
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A LITTLE BIT OF DUBLIN - #8
The famous Atmospheric Railway was opened in 1844.
The line ran from Dalkey to nearby Kingstown (now
Dun Laoghaire) on the southside of the city. This
unique system relied on atmospheric pressure to
force the railway carriage up the hill to Dalkey
and then relied on gravity for the return to
A 483 yard pipe ran the length of the track from
which air was extracted by a steam-driven pump at
the Dalkey end. The resulting vacuum caused a
piston to move along the pipe, to which was
connected the train. Wax-covered flaps in the pipe
opened and closed allowing the piston to move
along its length. As the train moved along a wheel
pressed down on the pipe sealing in the vacuum as
progress was made. Problems with this system meant
a man had to follow the train to manually seal
Momentum from the journey would allow the train to
travel the final part of its journey when the pump
had been stopped. The piston was then hooked onto
the train for the return journey back to Kingstown.
If the train stopped short of the station the
third-class passengers were required to push the
carriage the final part home. Occasionally the
train would fly past the Dalkey station and off
the tracks at the far end.
The system worked well for a decade but was
eventually abandoned because of the problems with
sealing the vacuum flaps and because of
developments with steam-driven engines. The grease
and wax that was used on the flaps was also a great
attraction for rats who caused repeated damage to
the line. The tunnel that was constructed along the
line only offered 3 inches of head clearance making
it a tricky proposition passengers sticking their
heads out of the windows!
GAELIC PHRASES OF THE MONTH
PHRASE: Fainne oir ort!
PRONOUNCED: fawn-yeh ore urt
MEANING: A gold ring on you
(Bravo! or Well Done!)
PHRASE: Go dte tu an cead
PRONOUNCED: guh day two on kade
MEANING: May you live to be 100
PHRASE: Go maire tu!
PRONOUNCED: guh mire-ehh two
MEANING: May you live
(Congratulations! or Live long!)
View the archive of phrases here:
SHAMROCK SITE OF THE MONTH: IRISHNATION.COM
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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 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 time,
The Information about Ireland Site.
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