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
=== Play the Irish Lotto
=== Great Irish Families: O'Sullivan
=== Great New Gift Ideas for Christmas
=== Two Trips to Ireland
=== 'The Summer of '43' by Pat Watson
=== 'In Ireland' by William Wasson
=== The Life of Padraig Pearse
=== Gaelic Phrases of the Month
=== Monthly free competition result
Welcome to this November newsletter from Ireland.
This month we have another lyrical yarn from Pat
Watson, a biography of Padraig Pearse, a history
of the famous O'Sullivan septs of Ireland and
If you have an article, poem or story about
Ireland or the Irish do send it in - we would
love to receive it!
The December issue will be sent you in the next
week, so until then,
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NEWS SNAPS FROM IRELAND
FLOODING DISASTER HITS IRELAND
Counties Cork and Galway have borne the brunt of
some of the most severe weather and flooding
witnessed in Ireland in living memory. Indeed the
dramatic fall of water has been described as a
'once in 800 years event'. The National Emergency
Coordination Committee has been attempting to
co-ordinate relief efforts but the sheer scale of
the problem threatens to overwhelm the emergency
services and army troops who have been called in
to assist in shoring up river banks, evacuating
residents and protecting vital installations such
as hospitals and power-generating facilities.
Supply stations for the distribution of drinking
water to beleaguered residents have been set up
by county councils in the affected areas. Supplies
of water in parts of Cork have been disrupted for
over a week. Rail, bus and motorway transport
links have all been hit by the deluge.
The Electricity Supply Board was forced to release
535 tons of water to reduce pressure on its dam.
This controversial move worsened the situation for
the tens of thousands of Cork residents who have
seen their homes and businesses destroyed.
The art gallery at University College Cork was at
one stage under five feet of water with frantic
attempts being made to salvage the priceless
artwork with many pieces suffering severe water
Amazingly, there have been no direct fatalities
caused by the flooding, but with more severe
weather predicted the threat of the loss of life
remains very high.
GOVERNMENT TO FORCE BANK MERGER
The Irish Nationwide Building Society is to be
merged with the Educational Building Society in a
further rationalization of the Irish banking
sector. Having proceeded with the 'bad bank'
option of NAMA, the Irish government is now
forcing the INBS to merge with the EBS in an
effort to create a larger banking entity in the
The government is also working on its next 'budget'
announcements which are likely to see severe
reductions in pay for the public service. It is
speculated that the pay cuts will mirror the near
12% reverse suffered by the private sector.
Taxation is expected to be increased also.
Strikes by the public sector unions are inevitable
but their membership will get little or no sympathy
from those in the private sector who have lost
their jobs in droves.
NEW COURTS BUILDING OPENED
A new Courts building has been opened at a cost
of 140M Euro which is the largest state-built
building constructed since James Gandon designed
the Four Courts in the year 1796. All criminal
cases will be held in the new building, some
250,000 cases annually. The building is unique
in that it has been designed to allow separate
entrances and receptions for defendants and the
accused, so that the previous ordeal of victims
of crime having to wait outside a courtroom with
their accused assailant seated nearby will no
longer be the case.
A BITTER PILL TO SWALLOW
The Irish soccer team was eliminated from
qualification for the World Cup Finals in South
Africa next year in dramatic fashion.
Against all the odds the 'boys in green' scored a
famous 1-0 victory in Paris to force the match
into extra time. Despite having had the better of
the chances the Irish team had failed to punish
their French hosts and were made to pay in
A disputed free-kick was taken and despite several
French players being offside play was allowed to
continue. The ball was not cleared by the Irish
defence but ran on to Thierry Henry who handled
the ball not once but twice before crossing for
William Gallas to tap in the winner. That it was
a handball and that the goal should have been
disallowed is not in dispute. What is amazing is
that the match officials did not see, or chose not
to act upon this most obvious infringement of the
rules. It had been speculated before the game that
a strong set of officials would be needed if
Ireland had any hope of progressing. In Paris
these fears were realized in front of the sporting
world when the referee and linesman failed
miserably both the game of football in particular
and sport in general.
The reaction of the Irish players told it all with
tears and expressions of disbelief all round.
Thierry Henry sat on the ground beside Richard
Dunne. He apologised the following day for his
handball describing the French victory as
'embarrassing'. After another day of severe
criticism he even suggested that the fairest thing
to do would be to replay the match. Of course this
was never going to happen, despite the protests by
the Football Association of Ireland. Football's
governing body (FIFA), not once but twice asserted
that the decision by the referee was final. Had the
French football association offered a replay then
it would have been very interesting to see what
the reaction of FIFA would have been.
It was not to be. The French had their victory and
were already planning for South Africa.
Perhaps some good will come of this debacle. If it
encourages the implementation of video-replay
technology then so much the better. It seems
certain that FIFA will now hasten the introduction
of more match officials at each goal in time for
the World Cup. Not enough, but a step in the right
For the Irish team it was a familiar case of
'nearly'. Lost among the protests was the fact
that the 1-0 victory against the recent world
cup winners was arguably the teams greatest result
ever. Suggesting that the Irish should not feel
aggrieved simply because they had their chances
during the game and failed to take them is
infantile, given the blatant cheating that
occurred to secure the French win.
The reputation of both FIFA and of the FAI has once
again been hammered. Why did the Irish association
protest so vehemently after the game in Paris when
they should have protested at the way the play-off
matches were seeded it the first place! The
reputation of Thierry Henry and the French team
has also been tarnished. Henry is one of the great
players of the modern game but this incident will
haunt him for the rest of his life.
It will be a tough experience for Irish
soccer fans to have to watch the French line out
in the World Cup next year. A very bitter pill to
Voice your opinion on these news issues here:
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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: O'SULLIVAN
The famous Irish surname O'Sullivan has a number
of variants including Sullivan and Sulivan. These
names are all anglicized forms of the Gaelic
O'Suileabhain sept that takes its origin from the
word 'suil' meaning 'eye'. The full meaning of
the name is in some dispute with both 'hawk eyed'
and 'one-eyed' suggested.
Their ancient history stretches back to the first
millennium AD when they were one of the leading
families of the Munster Eoghanacht. Their
prominent ancestor at this time was Eoghan Mor,
the father of Oilioll Olum, who was the King of
Munster in the third century AD. After the twelfth
century Anglo-Norman invasion led by Strongbow,
the septs of O'Suileabhain began to dominate in
the very south-western part of the country, in
modern Counties Cork and Kerry. They divided into
a number of septs, the most prominent of which was
that of O'Sullivan Mor who was seated at Dunkerron
castle, and O'Sullivan Beare who was based near
Bantry and Beare.
Perhaps the most famous of the O'Sullivans of this
time was Donal O'Sullivan Beare (1560-1618) who is
renowned for his exploits at the battle of Dunboy
and for the now-famous march northwards to Ulster
after the disastrous defeat of the Irish at the
battle of Kinsale in 1602. After the battle he
retreated to Dunboy Castle but after a long siege
his army was slaughtered and the castle lost to
the enemy. He gathered his remaining followers and
with women and children in tow marched towards
Ulster, seeking assistance along the way. Apart
from being constantly harassed by the English in
constant pursuit the O'Sullivans were mistreated
by other Gaelic septs who resented their claim on
food and shelter. The O'Sullivans were reduced to
raiding local villages for food along the way with
inevitable conflict. Upon arrival at O'Rourke's
castle in County Leitrim a mere 35 of the original
force of 1000 had survived with many succumbing to
hunger, war, or abandoning their journey and
settling along the way. Donal O'Sullivan attempted
to join with the other Gaelic chiefs to renew their
war effort but when Hugh O'Neill settled for
peace O'Sullivan was forced to flee to Spain where
he was welcomed by King Philip III. He was
assassinated in 1618 by an English spy.
O'Sullivan's nephew was Philip O'Sullivan Beare
(1590-1660) who was a famed historian. Owen Roe
O'Sullivan (1748-1784) was a famous Gaelic poet.
Major General John Sullivan (1740-1795 fought in
the US war of Independence under Washington and
served as Governor of New Hampshire. Barry Sullivan
(1821-1891) was an actor of renown. In modern times
Maureen O'Sulivan (1911-1998) is equally regarded
in the field of acting. Sir Arthur O'Sullivan was
one half of the famed Gilbert and O'Sullivan opera
partnership. John L. Sullivan (1858-1918) is famous
in boxing circles as the first heavyweight champion
of gloved boxing in 1881. Louis Henri Sullivan
(1856 – 1924) was an American architect who is
considered as the creator of the modern skyscraper.
Edward Vincent Sullivan (1901-1974) was a legendary
television figure in the US during the fifties
and sixties. Kathryn Dwyer Sullivan (born 1951) was
the first American woman to walk in space. The
feats of the widespread members of the O'Sullivan
septs are merely touched upon here!
The name still ranks as the third most frequently
found in Ireland, with the vast majority being
found in Counties Cork and Kerry.
View the O'Sullivan family crest here:
Get the O'Sullivan plaque, print, signet ring and
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KEEP THIS NEWSLETTER ALIVE!
TWO TRIPS TO IRELAND
I spent two weeks in Kerry in August and had a
wonderful time. My sister and cousins and I
stayed in a lovely home we rented on a dairy
farm. The area was beautiful and despite the
rain we had a great time. The rain contributes
to a beautiful countryside and very clean roads.
It was very obvious that the Irish do not litter
nor write graffitti all over the place as it is
done here in the US. Shop keepers were helpful
and welcoming and we loved buying our Irish
mementos to bring home. The pictures we took
look wonderful as Mother Nature was very
accommodating. The mountains, sky, water, flowers,
rocks and abundance of green were lovely and
many times breath taking to see. We had some
fierce weather to accompany us on the Dingle
peninsula that was very fitting and soft rain
on the Ring of Kerry so we could still see the
sights but appreciate the many shades of green.
Sorry to say not one rainbow the entire visit
- surprising when there was so much rain but
oh well! We still felt lucky to be there and
have so much fun. We lucked out with lovely new
friends who showed us around and they were
unselfishly kind in treating us to every lovely
view from the forests in Kerry to the Ocean in
Kinsale. We must come back to see many other
areas that we just could not make in our short
visit and we look forward to that. We are proud
of our Irish heritage and loved being in Ireland.
Wishing all our Irish friends all the best
especially during these tough times. We tried to
spend what we could afford to help out! It was my
first trip to Ireland and I cannot wait to come
back. Erin go Bragh & Slainte!
There are no words to express my love of and for
Ireland.I have been to Ireland 4 times, and will
be back in 2010. I have been asked why I never go
to other countries and my answer is always the
same: there is only Ireland! I have been to
other countries, and I have a desire only for
Ireland. The first time I visited Ireland, I felt
like I was home. I didn't feel as if I was a
visitor. My family name is Coyle, and my dad was
always proud of being Irish, although he and I
were not born in Ireland. There is an atmosphere
in Ireland that I have never felt in any other
place that I have been, including my own country.
Could I live in Ireland and be happy? Oh yes!! I
love the people. I know that there is crime and
rude people in all countries, BUT ,GIVE ME IRELAND
ANYTIME! I never have had any health issues
whenever I am in Ireland. I breathe better, etc.
I will never get tired of Ireland. I know that
people from all the world, sooner or later will
feel like they need to get away from their own
home, and although I am blessed to be from America,
I will always long for Ireland. Ireland to me is
the most wonderful place on earth.
KEEP THIS NEWSLETTER ALIVE!
THE SUMMER OF '43
by Pat Watson
'It looks like the war is turning against the
Germans,' that's what the men said after Mammy
read the paper last night. They were talking in
the firelight as Mammy blew out the lamp as soon
as she finished reading in order to spare the
paraffin oil. As always she stood up on a chair,
put her hand sideways at the top of the globe
and blew. It seemed very dark for a minute but
when your eyes got used to the darkness you could
see well enough by the flickering firelight.
Stories about the war were scarier in the dark
but not as scary as ghost stories. As long as I
can remember, Germany was always winning and
they were able to run through other countries in
a few weeks, isn't that very strange? Or maybe
James was right when he said 'Russia would stop
them just like it stopped Napoleon.'
'Who the hell was Napoleon?' asked Jim,
'Or what has he to do with the war?'
'He was a French man who like Hitler thought he
would take over the world. He was going great
until he brought his army of over a million
soldiers to Russia where most of them died with
the cold. History repeats itself they say.'
'That was before the panzer car was invented,
it would not happen now,' said Peter. James was
very old. He told me he was seventy-six years
older than me and he remembered back to the
eighteen sixties. Peter says that old man is
doting half the time and not to give him any
heed but he had good stories and he knew about
'Your father, Larry, was a great orator' that's
what James said. 'In nineteen eighteen after the
British had executed the men of nineteen sixteen,
the Sinn Fein party was formed to fight the
general election. The party people at that time
asked me and your father to write suitable
speeches to convince everybody to take courage
and vote out the British altogether. All those
standing were new people many of them were
wanted by the police, indeed half of them were
in jail, put there by the 'Sassenach'. When big
meetings took place and they were very big,
because the British had turned everyone against
them with the 1916 executions, the speakers
would be watched by the peelers and might be
arrested or harassed some time later. Many of
them were arrested and held on some charge or
other, just to keep them out of circulation
until after the election. The peelers wouldn't
dare step in while the crowd was there but a
day or two later when all was quiet that's
when they'd pounce. They were very sneaky
After a while Sinn Fein got round this by sending
their orators to other constituencies where they
would not be recognized. Good speakers were
scarce and the message had to be got to everybody
in Ireland within a few weeks. This could only be
done by orators speaking loud and clear to large
crowds for up to an hour at a time to get the
message across. The whole idea was new. Only
dreamer's thought of a free Ireland before this
time and if Sinn Fein failed at this election
while the people's blood was up they would never
get the chance again. That's why speakers were
prepared to go on the run in a strange part of
the country and sleep in a different safe house
O'Nael was involved in organizing this. His real
name was William O'Neill but everybody called
him O'Nael. He had a very fast pony and sidecar
and on this he took your father on a three week
speaking tour of Galway seeking votes for Kevin
O'Higgins. He brought his little son Christy
with him as well so that people would think they
were local. They went the coach road through
Ballinasloe. In Clonark they met the gentry, the
Naghtens, taking the crown of the road and it
went very hard on O'Nael to give way.
'Keep your cool William' Said Larry,
'After we win this election they will come to know
their place.' After the three weeks travelling
through Galway the peelers were watching for them
so they decided to come home by Ballyforan. A
friend of theirs took the sidecar and child across
the bridge together with a few of his own children,
just to fool the watching peelers. After dark the
two men crossed by boat a mile downriver. From
there locals led them through fields of rocks and
ferns 'till they reached Fallons in Coolderry near
Dysart where their sidecar and child and a great
feed were waiting, served by Liza and Mariah. They
stayed there for the night and came home very
early the following morning, Election Day. They
came through Drum to avoid the barracks in
Bealnamulla. Your father got off at Killians and
came home the Mass path while O'Nael returned to
Mounthussey. Later that day both men went to vote
in Drum school as if they were there all the time.
Sinn Fein won the election and declared Ireland a
free state and that's how we finally got rid of
the British. They still have the six counties but
we will get them back as well, if not in my time,
certainly in yours.'
Old James died in 1941 and while his prophecy
has not yet come to pass, things have changed
for the better and hopefully I have a little
'The Summer of'43' 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:
KEEP THIS NEWSLETTER ALIVE!
by William Wasson
In Ireland... the air is fresher there
and happiness abounds
breezes sing soulful songs
that soothe and hypnotize
Once your feet touch the green
you won't be the same
wild stories and laughter
in your heart remain
Friends and acquaintances
are one and the same
everyone gets a smile
tourists get a wink
Such a tiny country
like a giant looms
casting a huge shadow
filled with rainbow dreams
bog to mountaintop
love, peace and contentment
like shamrocks they grow
Some say it is heaven
right here on this earth
don't know if that is true
but it sure comes close
Just like the leprechauns
you'll swear you have seen
will warm every dream
In Ireland...as long as the sun shines
everyone's eyes are green
and the only thing that's blue
is the sky up above.
by William Wasson
WRW (C) 2009
KEEP THIS NEWSLETTER ALIVE!
THE LIFE OF PADRAIG PEARSE
Patrick Pearse was born in Dublin, on November 10,
1879 to an English father (he was a sculptor) and
an Irish mother.
Pearse became interested in the heritage and
history of Ireland at a very early age and joined
the Gaelic League when 21 years old. The purpose
of the league was to promote Irish tradition and
language and it was very much part of the revival
of Gaelic consciousness that took place at the
turn of the century. Pearse was an enthusiastic
member and became editor of the leagues newspaper:
An Claidheamh Solais ('The Sword of Light').
Pearse tried to use knowledge and education to
defeat the English and insisted on the use of the
native Irish language and founded St. Enda's
College near Dublin in 1908. St Enda's structured
its curriculum around Irish traditions and
culture and tutored in both the Irish and English
Pearse was a pioneer of Irish writing and
published poems, stories, articles and essays to
further the identification of Ireland as a
The Gaelic League inevitably attracted militant
nationalists and Pearse soon realised that it
would take more than education and tradition to
break the link with England.
In July 1914, Pearse was made a member of the
Supreme Council of the Irish Republican
Brotherhood (IRB), a militant group that
believed in using force to throw the British
out of Ireland.
When England entered the First World War Irish
nationalism split between those who wanted to
take advantage of England's plight and those
(including John Redmond) who wanted to assist
England in the war in the hope of getting
concessions when it was over.
John Redmond, a member of Parliament fighting
for Home Rule, took a pro-British stance during
the war. This alienated many Irish citizens and
support for the Brotherhood grew. Shortly before
1915, the Irish Republican Brotherhood had plans
for a full military revolution in Ireland.
Pearse was a believer in a revolution while the
British were occupied fighting a war in Europe.
Pearse was opposed to Redmond's stance and felt
that the only way to liberate Ireland was by
insurrection. His famous oration at the funeral
of Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa (an Irish
revolutionary) in August 1915 demonstrates this:
'We stand at Rossa's grave not in sadness, but
in exultation of spirit... This is a place of
peace sacred to the dead, where men should speak
with all charity and all restraint, but I hold it
a Christian thing... to hate evil, to hate
untruth, to hate oppression, and hating them to
strive to overthrow them... while Ireland holds
these graves, Ireland unfree, shall never be
Pearse was heavily involved with the planning of
the 1916 Easter Rising which was the catalyst for
the subsequent War of Independence, Civil War and
eventual declaration of a Republic in 1949.
The Rising failed as Pearse must have known it
would. He was executed on May 3, 1916 with
fourteen other rebels.
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GAELIC PHRASES OF THE MONTH
PHRASE: Ni mor a admhail...
PRONOUNCED: knee moor ah ad-voll
MEANING: I has to be admitted....
PHRASE: Is baolach...
PRONOUNCED: iss bwail-ock
PHRASE: de reir dealramh
PRONOUNCED: day rare deall-ruv
View the archive of phrases here:
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I hope that you have enjoyed this issue.
Until next month,
The Information about Ireland Site.