================================================= The Information about Ireland Site Newsletter September 2005 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) 2005 ================================================= IN THIS ISSUE === Foreword === News Snaps from Ireland === New free resources at the site === Play the Irish Lotto === Fungi The Dolphin by Elizabeth Macomber === The Blacksmith Legacy by Margaret Finn Hochberg === Unusual things to do on your Irish Vacation #4 === A Muddy Colour & the Flag of Ireland by Maureen Hawkins === A little bit of Dublin - #6 === Gaelic Phrases of the Month === Monthly free competition result =================================================== FOREWORD ======== Greetings again from Ireland where the weather has taken a turn for the worse - Autumn is here for sure! Many thanks to all who have sent in encouragement as well as stories and poems - most welcome 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/sep05.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 ======================= IRA DESTROYS ITS WEAPONS The long awaited decommissioning of weapons by the IRA has taken place and has been witnessed by the International Monitoring Commission and several clergy. Despite the reports of the weapons being put beyond use the Unionist DUP are treating the claims with skepticism and are thus far refusing to enter into talks with a view to having the power-sharing Assembly reinstated. Both the Irish and UK Governments are urging the various political parties to being negotiations so that the peace process can be moved forward and so that the opportunity presented by the historic events of recent times are not squandered. IRISH ECONOMY CONTINUES TO GROW The Irish economy continues to grow with a GDP figure of 3.1% being reported for the 12 months to end of June 2005. The overall volume of sales and goods increased by 4.7% during the same period. Jobs in the construction industry continues to be at the heart of the record levels of employment. Workers from the new EU states continue to arrive into Ireland where many take up employment in the construction sector. The Irish population is growing at a rate of 2.2% which is a huge number when compared to the EU average of 0.2%. Demand for mortgages continues to grow despite the now annual warnings from foreign agencies about the possibility of an over-inflated housing market. Nearly 2bn Euro in loans were issued in August alone, the second highest monthly total since records began. IRISH OBESITY LEVELS CAUSE CONCERN The problem of obesity in children has reached record levels in Ireland with some reports claiming that as many as 10% of all children in the country are now clinically obese. One in 8 Irish people are classed as obese. The Irish Government may consider copying the UK Governments decision to ban vending machines in schools to help tackle the problem. IRISH AGRICULTURE SUFFERS WEATHER EXTREMES The global changes in weather patterns look set to affect Irish farming. A recent conference in Dublin has reported that the next 50 years will being severe weather disruption including an overall 11% rainfall increase by 2050. Heatwaves and freezing winters will become the norm. Agriculture will certainly suffer these ill effects with the potato possibly being the biggest casualty, being replace by barley as the staple crop. Stocks of fish in Irish waters are also likely to change as the waters warm. Flooding has already increased in recent years, particularly in Galway and other western Counties. GUINNESS TO INTRODUCE NEW BEERS Despite the spectacular failure of its 'Guinness Light' beer a quarter of a century ago, Guinness is again attempting to introduce new beers based on its famous black brew. Sales of Guinness have fallen in recent years as new younger drinkers are attracted to trendier alcopops and lagers. The attempt to provide Guinness draught in a also bottle failed to ignite the interest of the younger consumer. The company now intends to introduce a number of different 'limited edition' beers which will be avialable for 6 months at a time and then replaced with another 'limited edition'. IRELAND STUMBLE IN WORLD CUP QUALIFIERS A 1-0 defeat to France at Landsdowne Road has put a severe dent in Ireland's hope of qualifying for the World Cup finals in Germany in 2006. Israel provided some solace for the Irish by drawing with Switzerland and giving them a very good chance of finishing in second place and gaining a 'play-off ' slot. The Irish can still qualify but must beat Cyprus away and Switzerland in the final game in Dublin if they are to progress. Voice your opinion on these news issues here: http://www.ireland-information.com/cgi-bin/newsletterboardindex.cgi ================================================= NEW FREE RESOURCES AT THE SITE ============================== NEW COATS OF ARMS ADDED TO THE GALLERY: The following 6 coats of arms images and family history details have been added to the Gallery: B: Begg C: Cushley H: Hyland M: McMurdo, Mulrooney N: Nunn 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 ================================================= PLAY THE IRISH LOTTERY ====================== 34 Millionaires were created by the Irish lottery in 2003! 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Email the friendly staff at email@example.com or visit the website at: http://www.irishlotto.net ================================================= FUNGI THE DOLPHIN by Elizabeth Macomber ================= ~~~ editors note: Fungi is perhaps the most famous celebrity dolphin in the world. He lives in the waters around Dingle in County Kerry, home to the famous Blasket Islands and the forbidding Skellig monastery. Daily sight-seeing tours into the bay with the sole purpose of seeing Fungi continue to grow in popularity, much to the amazement of the locals! ~~~ In Dingle Bay where we saw Fungi playing along the shore. We went out in a boat hoping to see more. The boat tour said free if he does not show. So in the boat we went ready to go. Then Came this dive to the right of the boat as though he was laughing in the air. That unforgettable minute of the ten second stare. Again and again he came by our boat playing games and hiding for a while. It is one of my fondest memories ever of visiting the 'Emerald Isle.' Elizabeth Macomber ================================================= 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 =================================================== THE BLACKSMITH LEGACY SCEAL AR CHLANN, STORIES OF AN IRISH FAMILY =========================================== by Margaret Finn Hochberg, Ed.D. ~~~ This is the story of a family spanning three generations over a century. It begins in County Cavan and follows the exploits of two brothers, one of whom settles for the traditional way of life, the other who seeks adventure, culminating in New York. It is available by mail order from: http://xlibris.com/bookstore/bookdisplay.asp?bookid=17560 ~~~ Clareboy Cottage 1927 Larry stood on the earthen floor in his bare feet and quickly scanned the cottage for his shoes. Last night he had kicked them off before he nodded off to sleep in front of the fire. He could vaguely recall his father lifting him into the sleeping loft he shared with his three brothers, Patrick, John and Barney. Today, he was anxious to get into the forge to finish the surprise. He spotted his shoes under his sisters' settle bed and smiled as he remembered the fun of the evening before. There had been several neighbors in to the cottage to chat with the folks. Before long, the singing had started and then the stories. Stories of the Black and Tans, the local gossip and always the stories of those who had left, the leaving was painful. It had been a grand time and Larry had fallen asleep somewhere in the middle of the shipwreck story, where even the desire to hear the ending couldn't fight the weight of his eyelids. 'Larry, want some porridge?' called his mother from her place at the side of the hearth. She had already been up for hours. The cows had been handled, chickens fed and the eggs collected. Now she was busy skimming the cream off the top of the freshly collected milk. 'Aye, Mam, that would be good. But, I've got to hurry, got some work to do in the forge.' 'You know your father doesn't like you in there by yourself and he's gone to town this morning.' 'But that's exactly why I have to hurry, Mam. It's a surprise, for Da, for his birthday. I can only do it when he's not here.' 'I'm not sure I like the sounds of this' replied his Mother. Before Larry could respond, his sister Bridgie poked her head over the cottage half door and complained loudly that Patrick and John wouldn't let Maggie have a turn on the donkey. Mam bent over and picked up Barney who had been toddling around between her legs. 'Come, Barney, let's go see what the others are about.' Realizing his mother was distracted, Larry wolfed down the porridge, laced up his shoes and ran into the forge. Mam saw his back as he ducked into the forge and decided to say nothing. This story can be read in the online edition and can be viewed here: http://www.ireland-information.com/sep05.htm#story A-O-L USERS GO HERE
Larry was a sensitive kid who always seemed to care about things more than his brothers and sisters. He was easy going with a generous nature. Larry was the one to mend a broken doll for his younger sister Rose, or complete extra chores so his older brother John could go to the football match. He had sandy colored hair, blue eyes and a huge grin that made you wonder what he knew that you did not.
But childhood wasn't always easy for the ten-year-old boy who was one of eight. He was a sickly child with a constant cough and often suffered from fevers and chills. His parents worried about his health and frequently checked on him. This habit of his parents embarrassed Larry and caused all kinds of teasing from the others. They accused him of being Mam's favorite.
Right now, what Larry wanted more than anything else in the world was to finish the forge sign he had been working on for weeks. He stoked the fire in the forge until it raged with the heat he needed to bend the strong metal bars. He hammered each stroke with care and paused often to suck some air into his lungs. He could feel the muscles in his forearms getting stronger each week, but they weren't growing fast enough for Larry. He wanted muscles like his father and his brothers, John and Patrick. He was convinced that one day he would be as strong as the rest of them.
He moved the glowing metal from the fire to the pail of cold water. The steam rose up and surrounded his entire head with fog. He loved this part the best and hesitated for a moment before removing the newly shaped metal. His thoughts wandered to the power of fire. Fire over iron. He used to think there was nothing stronger than iron.
Just then, the metal bar slipped through the tongs to the earthen floor and instinctively, he bent to pick it up.
Everyone heard the scream and came running. Patrick, the oldest, arrived first. He grabbed Larry's wrist and pushed the burned hand into the bucket of water. His Mam came next and called out for Mollie to get some clean cloth and the healing salve. For the next few moments no one spoke. Larry grit his teeth and held his breath. He did not want to cry. He would prove to them all that he was strong.
Later that day, Larry and Mam sat together by the hearth. Mam amazed Larry. How did she always know what do? She was gentle with the bandaging and gentle with the reprimand.
'What will we tell your father?' she asked Larry as he sipped a cup of tea. Mam's tea was always good but today, it was especially soothing.
'Don't know,' replied Larry in a whispered voice.
'How about the truth?' asked Mam.
'It's bad enough that I've burned me hand, Mam. Please don't ask me to tell the whole story. It'll spoil the surprise.' Larry's eyes were pleading. His mother thought about the situation before responding.
'I don't like to lie to anyone, not to mention your father''
'Maybe we could just tell him that I burned me hand in the hearth. Please don't tell him I burned it in the forge,' begged Larry.
'Well, I am not going to make the decision for you. You think about it for awhile. Father won't be home until dark and by then you'll know the right thing to say.'
Da had been like a raging bull when he heard. What was Larry doing in the forge? By himself? No one with a logical answer? And Larry not able to look him in the eye with a good explanation.
'Can't leave this farm for a day without something going wrong.'
That night, Da helped change the bandage. The anger that had been so consuming disappeared when he saw the condition of his son's hand. He silently admired the boy for not whimpering and gave him a nod that said all is forgiven.
After the children were asleep, Johnny looked at his wife, and asked, 'Bridget, did you not see the smoke rising from the forge and know someone was about in there?'
Bridget busied herself with a pot to avoid his look and answered carefully. 'No, Johnny, I never saw the smoke this morning.'
It took about a week for Larry's burn to begin to heal. On this rainy morning, Mam announced that Larry's school holiday was over. He should hurry and be ready for school with the others. There was the usual morning commotion in the small cottage. With Mollie and Patrick helping at home, there were five to get off to school, Bridgie, John, Larry, Maggie and Rose. Barney, only two, would watch with wide blue eyes as the morning ritual took place.
Father was already lighting the fire in the forge. He would grab his cup of tea each morning before the children were under foot and disappear to the early morning calm across the yard. This was his favorite time of day. He would light the fire and slowly coax it to a roar with the bellows. Then, while the fire expanded itself, he would walk, teacup in hand, to survey his fields. It wasn't a large farm by village standards but it was adequate for him and his family. His father Paddy had seen to that, like his father before him. 'A man needs to have his land,' his father would tell him. 'It is good to be a smithy, but never lose the land.' And so it had been, through the generations, that this farm and forge was Lynch land. He could feel it under his boots and crumble the earth between his fingers and know with certainty that it was his. Sometimes he thought of his brother, Pat, in New York. He wondered how different things might have been if Pat had never left. After all these years, he still missed his brother.
This morning, the rain was a gentle kind of mist. It didn't lash at you like most rain. Instead, it fell softly, silently and smelled sweet from the hay. It was the reason for the emerald hills in the distance and the rushing streams leading to Lake Sheelan.
Johnny was contemplating which field to use for hay and which for potatoes when he heard the children call to him across the distance, 'Bye, Da, the eggs are collected, see you later.' Johnny responded with his usual message, 'Mind the teacher, children.' And they were off!
The children walked to school the way most children do, half skipping and walking, running sometimes. They wore no shoes and were delighted. Winter would come soon enough and with it the restraining leather shoes that cramped your toes and slowed your freedom. Rose, the youngest going to school, was called Dodie and because of her size, always trailed a bit behind the others. As usual, it was Larry who circled back to hustle her along.
The teacher, Mrs. Nell Reilly, was just beginning to assemble her flock of students as the Lynch children arrived at the gate of the one room schoolhouse. It was the custom for the younger children to sit on the right side of the room while the older children took their positions on the left. The room was heated with a small stove that was placed midway between the front and back of the small area. During the winter, its warmth was provided through the generosity of the families who took turns contributing a block or two of turf each day. Forward and to the right of this stove was a second doorway, which led outside to a short path and eventually, the outhouse.
Once the morning assembly activities were completed, the teacher took attendance. When Larry's name was called, he reached over to Mrs. Reilly with his good hand and delivered the note from Da explaining his injury. The note also requested that Larry be allowed to stay inside during lunch to soak his hand and reapply the gauze. Mrs. Reilly nodded her head and Larry returned to his place on the bench. It was an uneventful morning and the instruction followed the expected routine. The young group would do sums and math while the older students would read with the teacher. After an hour, the groups switched activities and the teacher would move to the opposite side of the room. Sometimes, the older children would be dispersed among the younger ones and they would read in pairs. The children relished this activity and it never came often enough for them. On this day, it was not part of the plan.
Larry bit his lip through most of the morning; his hand was beginning to grow warm beneath the bandage. He tried to concentrate on his work. He wanted to last until lunch. At noon, the class was dismissed. Mrs. Reilly prepared the bucket for Larry and had some chitchat with him as his hand found relief in the cool well water. Bridgie brought Larry his lunch and John poked his head around the doorway, 'How're ya doin', lad?'
But the calm of the morning was not to last. As the afternoon session got underway, Mrs. Reilly's patience began to wane. Two of the older boys were reprimanded for laughing and a third was corrected for not knowing the lesson. The scene was set for trouble when Larry made the mistake of talking when he should have been listening. Mrs. Reilly took the sally rod that was handy and lashed out at Larry. She hit him ten lashes across his outstretched hands. Larry didn't make a sound but the searing pain on his injured hand made his face contort and his throat tighten.
John watched in horror as his younger brother took the beating. John's fists clenched and his eyes narrowed with disgust from the other side of the room.
Time stood still for Larry. The room was spinning and there was a roar in his ears. Suddenly, his stomach began to lurch and everything he had eaten earlier came pouring out of his mouth in convulsive spurts.
The children sitting near him began to howl with sounds of disgust. John took advantage of all the commotion. He sprung from his seat, jumped over the benches in his way, ducked his head under Larry's armpit and in one swift movement had Larry over his shoulder. He ran for the door and in a moment, both boys were gone.