================================================= The Information about Ireland Site Newsletter November 2007 The Newsletter for people interested in Ireland Now received by over 50,000 people worldwide http://www.ireland-information.com http://www.irishnation.com Copyright (C) 2007 ================================================= IN THIS ISSUE === Foreword === News Snaps from Ireland === New free resources at the site === 10 Little Bits of Dublin === Bonagee - My Donegal Home by Kay Duckworth === Death of an Exile by Tom O'Hara === Ireland - a Place to Visit Again and Again === Eamon DeValera: An Irish Leader === Gaelic Phrases of the Month === Shamrock Site of the Month: Celticattic.com === Monthly free competition result ================================================= FOREWORD ======== Hello again from Ireland where the Christmas rush has started in earnest (it seems to start earlier every year). Be sure to check out our website for some great new Christmas gift ideas including: * Family Crest Flags * Irish Music C.D.s * Posters of Ireland * Family Crest Cufflinks and dozens of other great Christmas gift ideas. Help keep this newsletter alive at www.irishnation.com Please DO send us in your stories, poems or articles about Ireland for the next edition - we love including reader contributions, until next month, Michael WE NEED YOUR HELP! PLEASE - send this newsletter on to your friends or relatives who you think are interested in Ireland. By doing this you are helping to keep us 'free'. Got something to say? Don't keep it to yourself! Why don't you submit an article for inclusion in the next edition? Go here for more information: http://www.ireland-information.com/newsletter.htm Do you have access to a website? You can help to keep this newsletter alive by adding a link to any of our websites below: http://www.irishnation.com http://www.irishsurnames.com http://www.ireland-information.com http://www.allfamilycrests.com http://www.irishpenpals.com If you have an AOL or HOTMAIL account then you will get much better results by viewing this newsletter online here: http://www.ireland-information.com/nov07.htm The only way that you could have been subscribed to this newsletter is by filling out a subscription form at the site whereupon a confirmation notice would have been issued. If you wish to unsubscribe then go here: http://www.ireland-information.com/newsletter.htm ================================================= NEWS SNAPS FROM IRELAND ======================= LOW TAX REGIME HELPED FOUND THE CELTIC TIGER Forecasts of a slowdown in the Irish economy have prompted lots of speculation that the 'Celtic Tiger' is dead. It has also initiated a lot of retrospection about how exactly Ireland emerged from the economic wasteland that was the 1980s to eventually take its place among the prosperous countries of this world. There is no doubt that the 'social partnership' model initiated by, among others, Charles Haughey, was a good start. In return for set pay increases the various trade unions basically agreed not to strike. It is easy looking back now to forget just how much industrial strife there had been during the 1970s and 1980s in Ireland. This new deal between employers and unions provided much needed stability in the labour market just as economic growth was about to happen. The rate of corporation tax in Ireland in 1987 was a staggering 50%! The decision to gradually reduce the rate at which companies were taxed to 12.5% over the course of the following decade was to have a huge impact on the attractiveness of Ireland as a base for multinationals. This low-tax model is being copied by several of the new EU countries in eastern Europe. A relatively well educated workforce and a government that was increasingly reducing income tax (which also had the effect of making it more attractive for emigrants to return to their homeland), meant that the foundations for economic prosperity were all in place. Unemployment plummeted, mass immigration became a reality, the property market soared and all of the excesses of a successful capitalist society became evident. It is certainly true that something of the past (the 'soul') has been lost, but given the huge progress in the standards of living in this country it is easy to see why so many Irish citizens do not lament that price being paid. NO APPARENT PROBLEMS IN IRISH BANKING SECTOR Despite the stock-market jitters and concerns over the stability of banks around the world the Irish banking system looks to be in good shape. It is true that the stock prices of the main banks in Ireland have taken a hammering in recent months (most are down approximately 40% since the start of the year), but the underlying fundamentals of the banks continue to be touted by bank officials and economists alike. The main casualty here of the US sub-prime debacle that has spread throughout world markets has been Northern Rock who, although a British bank, has seen tens of millions of Euros held in its Irish branch withdrawn in a period of frenzied activity. The British Government intervened to effectively guarantee the deposits of the bank to bring that particular crisis to an end. Recent statements by the Irish Central Bank confirm the good health of the countries biggest financial institutions. Irish banks appear to have little exposure to the sub-prime debts that have rocked so many other banks worldwide and are also well-capitalized, relatively speaking. It is not all good news though with the impact of any possible recession in the US likely to have a major impact on Irish economic activity, given the huge importance that the likes of Intel, Goggle and other multi-nationals play in the Irish economy. The high cost of energy, the low value of the dollar and stubborn inflation of nearly 5% in Ireland are all genuine risks to future growth. INFLATION ON THE MARCH AGAIN Inflation in Ireland has jumped to 4.8% with the cost of oil and food being the main culprits. Employers fear that labour unions will be seeking big pay increases to keep ahead of inflation. They fear that this will greatly reduce competitiveness and increase unemployment. Inflation is up by 3% since the start of 2007, compared with a European average of 2.2% NUMBER OF OLD AGE PENSIONERS TO NEARLY DOUBLE The number of people aged over 65 years of age is expected to increase by 80% by the year 2025. This huge shift in age demographic will place a big demand on the government pension fund that was established recently. Added to this is the fact that life expectancy has increased in Ireland to 80 years for women and 75 years for men. A reduction in the rate of heart disease deaths (by a massive 38% in the last decade) is at least partly responsible for the improved longevity. Advocates of the recently introduced smoking ban are quick to quote this statistic. SUICIDE RATE CONTINUES TO INCREASE Figures released by the Central Statistics Office have revealed that suicide has overtaken road deaths as a principal cause of death in Ireland. Alcohol consumption has no doubt played a part in that sad statistic with Irish consumption of alcohol still putting the country at or near the top of the European drinking league in various categories. Overall alcohol consumption in Ireland is the third highest in Europe, trailing only Luxembourg and Hungary. Voice your opinion on these news issues here: http://www.ireland-information.com/newsletterboard/wwwboard.html ================================================= NEW FREE RESOURCES AT THE SITE ============================== 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: D: Doby I: McIlwee, Ireland M: Mangan S: Shank View the Gallery here: http://www.irishsurnames.com/coatsofarms/gm.htm 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: http://www.irishnation.com/familycrestgifts.htm ================================================= ================================================= 10 LITTLE BITS OF DUBLIN ======================== HOW DID DUBLIN GET ITS NAME? The Gaelic name for Dublin is 'Baile Atha Cliath' which translates literally as 'town of the hurdle ford', a description of the bank of wooden hurdles built up across the river Liffey by the Vikings. The word 'Dublin' is actually a composition of two Gaelic words: 'dubh' meaning 'black' and 'linn' means 'pool' (or 'mire'). Thus the literal translation of the words from which Dublin gets its name is Black pool! Crossing the 'hurdle ford' was not without its dangers. In 770 AD a band of Bon Valley raiders were drowned crossing the Liffey at the hurdle ford. ORIGIN OF THE PHRASE 'CHANCE YOUR ARM' The sixteenth century saw a fierce rivalry develop between the Butlers and Fitzgeralds. Violent clashes between the two groups were commonplace with once such melee occurring in 1512. Butler, the Earl of Ormond retreated and was forced to take refuge in Saint Patrick's Cathedral. He barricaded himself behind a stout wooden door and refused to leave until he got assurances for his safety. After some negotiation a deal was struck. In order to seal the deal a hole was hacked through the wooden door so that the two leaders could shake hands. It is thought that the modern expression 'chancing your arm' originated from this event. From that time on a 'chancer' was someone who took a risk or a gamble. The hole in the door can still be seen to this day. KILMAINHAM JAIL Kilmainham Jail near Inchicore in Dublin was originally built on a site known as 'Gallows Hill'. A jail had existed on the site since the year 1210 but was in such neglect that it was demolished and rebuilt in 1796. By the time of the 1798 rebellion the jail was overcrowded but further development did not take place until 1863. Many famous Irish famous historical figures were imprisoned there including Robert Emmett, Charles Stewart Parnell, Padraig Pearse, Countess Markievicz and Eamon DeValera. The prison was closed down in 1924 and is now a museum heritage site, a national monument. O'CONNELL STREET In 1924 the main street in Dublin City had its name changed from Sackville Street to O'Connell Street, in honour of 'The Liberator'. This change had for long been resisted by the English Vice-Chancellor, Chatterton, who prevented Dublin Corporation from granting the wish of the vast majority of Dubliners. Not to be outdone, the local citizenry opted to use the new name in spite of the lack of official recognition. Dublin Corporation joined into the spirit of things by allowing the 'Sackville' street signs to deteriorate and even threatened to rename a street where prostitutes were known to frequent as 'Chatterton Street'. The creation of the Free State in 1922 finally allowed for the official transformation of Sackville Street into O'Connell Street. FAMOUS DUBLIN WRITERS The early part of the twentieth century was a magical time for Irish literature. Yeats, O'Casey and Synge were prominent in the famous Abbey Theatre while Dublin provided no less than three Nobel prizewinners. James Joyce was born in Rathgar although there are twenty houses in Dublin city that claim him as an occupant, owing to his family constantly moving about during his early years. His most famous work is Ulysses. Dubliners still celebrate 'Bloomsday' every year, named after his most famous fictional character Leopold Bloom. George Bernard Shaw was another Dubliner who won the famous Novel prize, renowned for 'Pygmalion' on which the movie 'My Fair Lady' is based. Dubliner Samuel Beckett also won a Nobel, and is perhaps most remembered for writing 'Waiting for Godot'. THE THEFT OF THE IRISH CROWN JEWELS The 1907 theft of the 'Irish Crown Jewels' still remains a mystery nearly a century later. The famous regalia of the 'Order of Saint Patrick' were to be placed in a safe in a strongroom in Dublin Castle but, when it was found that the new safe was too large to fit into the strongroom the safe was located in the Library instead. An inspection of the safe in July revealed that the treasure had disappeared. The haul was valued at 30,000 pounds, a huge sum at the time and has never been recovered. THE VIKINGS BECOME IRISH The famous victory by Brian Boru over the Vikings at Clontarf in the year 1014 marked the end of the Viking raids on Ireland. By this time however, the Vikings had already begun to assimilate into, and make their mark on Gaelic society. One such Viking was Sitric Silkenbeard, the King of Dublin. Despite the reputation of the Vikings Silkenbeard was a devout Christian and was responsible for the founding of the famous Christchurch Cathedral at the top of Dame Street in Dublin City Centre. His reign saw the first coins ever minted in Ireland. They bore his image on one side and a cross on the other. He remained in power until 1036 and spent the last of his days on the island of Iona, Scotland. THE ATMOSPHERIC RAILWAY 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 Kingstown. 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 the flaps. Momentum from the initial journey would allow the train to travel the final part of its trip 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 for passengers sticking their heads out of the windows! THE BLACKPITS The part of Dublin city just off Clanbrasil Street has for centuries been known as 'The Blackpits'. The origin of this name is unclear. One theory suggests it is so named because of the large number of dead who were placed there during the 'Black Death'. Another suggestion alludes to the black vats used by tanners during the eighteenth century. THE GPO The famous General Post Office in Dublin was first opened in 1818. A suggestion that the building be used as a Catholic Cathedral was rejected by the authorities as they did not want a religious institution in such a prominent place in the city. The building was to gain international prominence however, when it was seized during the 'Easter Rising' of 1916. The rebellion, which was led by Padraig Pearse, was very much centered at the GPO which was gutted during the battle that ensued. It was rebuilt during the 1920's but several of the original bullet-holes from the Rising were left untouched, as a reminder of the turbulent history of perhaps the worlds most famous post office. ================================================= YOU CAN HELP TO KEEP THIS FREE NEWSLETTER ALIVE! Visit: http://www.irishnation.com where you can get great Irish gifts, prints, claddagh jewellery, engraved glassware and much more. Anne MacDonald ordered a family crest plaque: Hello, Michael, 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 worship!' Again, my hearty thanks for this first-class product. Best wishes for happy holiday season. Sincerely, Anne MacDonald THE PERFECT WEDDING OR ANNIVERSARY GIFT! View family crest plaques here: http://www.irishnation.com/familycrestplaques.htm ================================================= BONAGEE - MY DONEGAL HOME by Kay Duckworth ========================= I was born in dear old Donegal in a lovely house of dreams. Bonagee a place of winds, all around were cherry trees. Home of my Fathers I lived in it was like heaven to me. I left it many years ago my home in Bonagee. The walls were built with Irish stone they stood tall through the years. The floors had felt my tiny feet and soaked up my baby tears. I pressed my little snub nose against the window pane to see, the lush green grass, the tall green trees of my home in Bonagee. I've seen many homes in many lands and no matter where I'll be, I know that they can't compare with my lovely Bonagee. The Taj Mahal in India, the Vatican in Rome. Will never have the riches of my lovely Irish home. A far off look comes in my eye and people wonder why, the cause of all this wondering, my thoughts and fancies fly, back to dear old Donegal the house that I was born in, to live and die in Bonagee is the cause of all this longing. ~~~ K Duckworth Sept,30th 2007 (Seventy two years I was born in this ! house. I now live in San Diego CA, USA) ================================================= KEEP THIS NEWSLETTER ALIVE! Visit: http://www.irishnation.com ================================================= DEATH OF AN EXILE by TOM D O'HARA ================= As I read the local paper I see a man died at Ninety Four Way out in New York City Far away from his native shore He was my father's best friend Over seventy years ago As they ploughed the fields together Around Aclare in Co Sligo Well time and tide them parted As it did with many more Way back in the twenties When people emigrated by the score Many tales my father told me Of their exploits in the glen Of salmon fishing on The Inagh When the season was in swing But then times were a changing And help was there once more So he said goodbye in twenty nine Leaving hearts both sad and sore The other day just after dinner I passed by the old house standing there And I prayed for John who has gone on Far away from old Aclare And after Church next Sunday To the Priest I'll go along And I'll give him a Mass Offering For Dad and his good friend John TOM D O'HARA ================================================= IRELAND - A PLACE TO VISIT AGAIN AND AGAIN ========================================== by Karen Martin My Husband was born in Belfast, Ireland and came out to Australia in 1965. It took another 40 years before my husband decided to return to Ireland after much pressure from our daughter who was living and working in London at the time, and myself, as my ancestors came from the Roscommon area in the 1800's. It was always a place I wanted to see and experience. We finally got to see your wonderful Ireland in 2005 and again in July this year. I have so many wonderful, funny, crazy memories of the time we spent during our holidays. Our first trip was a self drive one, starting in London so we could spend some time with our daughter before her return to Australia after spending 5 years living and working in London. The plan was to stay in B & B's when ever we could. We drove up thru the midlands staying a few days in Nottingham, Liverpool & Glasgow. Seeing everything in between like the wonderful Winderemere Lakes district & Gretna Green etc. We enjoyed driving to Edinburgh, St Andrews and the wonderful scenery around the lochs. We drove down to Stranraer to get the ferry over to Belfast where we caught up with family that hubby had not seen in forty years! ~~~ This article is continued in the online edition of this newsletter: http://www.ireland-information.com/nov07.htm#article
We were spoilt rotten of course while hubby showed me where he grew up, went to school etc. He showed me Bangor, Belfast Castle, the Bon bridge & Shaw's Bridge. We drove around Lough Neogh and Strangford Lough to Portaferry and Dromore. It was finally time to say goodbye and it was very sad, but we had to move on. We drove up the coast and did the coast rd with its amazing views at Tor Head then up to stay at Ballycastle, We checked out the amazing Carrick-a Rede Rope Bridge and the Giants Causeway. Our next stop was at Castlerock then down the west coast thru fantastic scenery towards Donegal. We decided to stay at Killybegs and check out the Cliffs of Moher. Reminds me of the steep cliffs of our Great Ocean Road in the Great Australian Bight. Breathtaking. I could have just sat there for hours. Definitely worth all the walking. Our next stop was near Westport at Lecanvey where I climbed Croagh Patrick. That was scary and exhilarating at the same time. I knew once I started that I would not turn back till I got to the top, and the views, phew! I was sore for days after but was well worth the pain. We then pushed onward,s staying in Galway and Limerick then down to Blarney where we kissed the Blarney Stone then to Kinsale where we stayed a few days during their fishing festival before moving onto Tramore. The south of Ireland is beautiful and the Irish folk are so friendly and hospitable. We love the music and the gaiety of the little pubs and villages, wonderful!
Our next stop was up to Bray via Hollywood and the famous Wicklow Gap. We had a lovely B & B on the foreshore at Bray. I climbed Bray Head to admire the views. We also walked along the promenade enjoying the lovely sunny day. We got the train into Dublin to visit the Guinness Brewery which is huge and well worth the tour. It was then finally time to leave Ireland so we drove down to Rosslare for a few days before getting the ferry to Fishguard. We drove towards London thru Wales hoping to stay in Bath but had no luck getting a B & B, will just have to go back one day as it is truly an amazing city the way it is all laid out. Because of the weathe,r which at the time was very, very wet, we drove on and came to the nice little town of Calne where we stayed the night in a warm and cosy room above the barn behind the local pub, wonderful. Then it was back to London for a few days, over to Paris for a few days, Wow! That place is huge! Another place to go back to one day. Then it was time to fly back to Oz after being on the road for 6 wonderful weeks.
2007 saw us back again to do it a little different this time. We decided to stay in cottages for a week at a time and ticky tour the surrounding areas by car. We started in London again, and then decided to get the train to Hollyhead and ferry to Dun Laoghaire then train up to Belfast. We were there this time for the 12th July march, what an experience that was! We stayed with family in Belfast and caught up with everyone again. While there, we drove around the Mourne Mts to Newcastle, Kilkeel, Cranfield Pt and the Burren. Now that is a place to wander through. Was even harder leaving family this time..
The drive up the coast road to Cushendun is lovely. Our first cottage stay was amazing, Wow! we had views of the ocean, Cushendun and the beach. We had sheep for company out the back and one pet sheep (we nicknames lamikins) that kept getting out to pay us a visit. I think our new cottage must have been in what was once his paddock. While in Cushendun we toured the rugged but beautiful Glens of Antrim, went back to Ballycastle, the Giants Causeway, up to Portrush and did the Bushmills tour. We were fascinated with the Loughareema Vanishing Lake on the Ballycastle/Cushendun Rd. We were lucky enough to see it full in the morning and empty in the afternoon. We left Cushendun driving through Omagh, Enniskillen, Cavan and Longford to our next cottage in a nice little town called Srokestown where we stayed in a lovely old cottage that has been in the same family for over 200 years. It had all the mod cons to make our stay comfortable. We had a few cows and a bull for company, wonderful. We toured the area from Roscommon, Athlone, Carrick, Castlerea and Galway. Did a lovely cruise on the Shannon in Carrick and went on a lovely drive thru Keadow and up to Arigna to the amazing underground coal mine. That tour was definitely an eye opener to the conditions folk had to endure to put food on the table. So different to the open cut mine and conditions of the town where we live in Australia today.
After an enjoyable stay in Strokestown, it was off to Tullamore where we paid a visit to the brewery and sampled their wares, very nice. Then through to Carlow towards Enniscorthy where we turned left up to our next cottage in Wicklow. While there we toured all the area from Arklow to Dublin and down to Avoca, Baltinglass and through the Wicklow Gap from Hollywood back to Wicklow. Was cold, wet, windy and wonderful. When it was time to leave Wicklow, we decided to go through Sally's Gap on the way up to Dublin. I thought the Wicklow Gap was amazing but Sally's Gap is even better, the views were to die for, windy but lovely. If you were to worry about the weather while traveling you would never get to see anything, ever!
Once back in Belfast we booked our ferry back to the UK via Stranraer then train down through the countryside to Euston then London. This time we went to Italy for a week by train, staying in Roma, (Firenze) Florence and (Venezia) Venice. The weather was amazing, hot and sunny the whole week. Just like back home! Definitely another place we will be going back to. Finally it was back to London and home to Oz after 8 wonderful weeks away. We are already planning another trip ......mmmmm
Sunny Pilbara, Australia