The Information about Ireland Site Newsletter
February 2000

The Newsletter for people interested in Ireland
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    ~~~~~ Foreword
    ~~~~~ Support us for free
    ~~~~~ New free resources at the site
    ~~~~~ News Snaps from Ireland
    ~~~~~ Recommended Gift: The Ancestral Heraldic Map
    ~~~~~ The Traditional Irish Wedding     by Bridget Haggerty
    ~~~~~ The Kerry Patch in Saint Louis    by John B. McGinnis
    ~~~~~ Ireland - a poem                  by Rebecca Flores
    ~~~~~ Readers Noticeboard: Magdalen Laundries, Artshapes
    ~~~~~ Shamrock Site of the Month: Irish Eyes
    ~~~~~ Searcher Site of the Month: Fianna Irish Genealogy
    ~~~~~ Monthly free competition result
    An updated 'Maps' resource as well as 50 new Irish coats
    of arms for you to explore are among this month's main
    additions to your favourite Ireland site. This newsletter
    also has an extensive article about 'Irish Wedding Traditions'
    - a much requested item.
    We have moved the entire web-site to a newer and faster
    Service Provider and I have to say that it would have been
    easier to move house than to move the web-site!
    Readers have again contributed to this newsletter this month
    so once again a genuine 'thanks' to all.
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    and PLEASE...tell a friend by clicking here:
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    The following coats of arms images and family history details
    have been added to the gallery:
    A: Abbott
    B: Bannon
    C: Cloney Croke Cronin Crowley Cullen Cusack McCourt
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    L: Law Lawrence
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    R: Reid Rowe
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    View them at:
    Get the screensaver featuring YOUR family name (or send it
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    The English Northern Ireland Secretary, Peter Mandelson,
    has suspended the newly formed executive because of the
    lack of progress made by the IRA with regard to the
    decommissioning of its arsenal of weapons.
    This is despite an eleventh hour bid by Sinn Fein who claim
    that significant progress has been made and who challenged
    the English Government to publish the second of the reports
    by the head of the decommissioning body, John de Chastelain.
    In the second report, the Canadian General said the IRA
    representatives had told the decommissioning body that 'the
    IRA will consider how to put arms and explosives beyond use,
    in the context of the full implementation of the Good Friday
    Agreement, and in the context of the removal of the causes
    of conflict'. 
    All parties are now working to try to have the Executive
    reinstated as it had been a considered success during its
    brief existence.
    The newly appointed health Minister, Michel Martin is
    examining a number of measures with the aim of creating a
    'a tobacco free society'. 
    The new initiative includes the following:
    * A new Tobacco Act, legislating for the toughest action
      ever taken here against smoking. 
    * A new central tobacco control office to make sure the
      legislation works. 
    * Full support for the Dail's Health and Social Affairs
      Committee probe into the tobacco industry. 
    * State endorsement for law suits targeting the tobacco
      industry in cases where health problems are clearly
      linked to smoking. 
    The new moves are against a backdrop of greatly increased
    tax on cigarettes and a clampdown on the sale of stolen
    cigarettes in city centre streets. 
    A 23 Cork student named Cormac Burke hopes to make a fortune
    by selling a number of Internet domain names that he was
    quick to register.
    With the news that Ireland is to have not one but possibly
    two new sports stadia the student registered both and . He claims to have
    already rejected a IR45,000 bid for and
    is looking for IR100,000 for (Eircom Park is
    to be the name of the new FAI football stadium).
    In a development that is sure to amuse Irish men and shock
    Irish women, Dublin has just been voted the third most
    romantic capital city in the world, trailing in the
    love-stakes only to Paris and Amsterdam.
    The increased Garda action against  speeding motorists in 
    Ireland has reaped in over eight million Irish pounds to
    the exchequer, as the number of 'on-the-spot' fines more
    than doubled in the last two years. 170,000 drivers were
    fined in 1999 compared to 71,000 in 1997.
    The fatality toll for 1999 on the roads was 413, compared
    to 458 the previous year, showing a decrease of 45 deaths.
    Ranelagh based snooker player Ken Doherty, who was world
    snooker champion in 1998, broke the hearts of players and
    spectators alike by failing to capture the IR80,000 prize
    for recording a televised maximum 147 break.
    Doherty was competing in the final of the 'Masters'
    tournament at Wembley Conference centre in the event which
    is considered as second only to the world championships
    Trailing by 9 frames to 5 in the 'first to 10' shootout
    the Dubliner produced his best moment of the final by
    potting 15 red balls, 15 blacks, and displayed remarkable
    nerve to pot the 5 coloured balls to leave himself with a
    'sitter' of a black ball.
    In the kind of nightmare that professional sports-people
    must dread Doherty fluffed the final black ball which was
    the easiest shot of the entire break.
    His compensation for achieving this high break of 140 was
    IR19000 and this, together with the runners up prize,
    brought his tournament earnings to over IR100000.
    Still though....but for that simple last ball!
    The Ancestral Map of Ireland shows the location of hundreds
    of Irish Septs and families, some of which go back over a
    thousand years.
    The map is BIG! and can be the focus of a room or office -
    measuring 14 x 23 inches. Also featured are miniature
    illustrations of St. Patrick, and the castles of Bunratty
    and Dunluce. 
    If you need a Saint Patrick's Day gift for a friend or
    relative OR if you are interested in Irish Genealogy OR if
    you want to show off your Irish heritage, then this superb
    high quality map is the answer for you!
    You can view the map and take advantage of the limited time
    offer of FREE worldwide delivery, by visiting here:
    THE TRADITIONAL IRISH WEDDING     	by Bridget Haggerty
    There is one wedding Irish tradition that states: 'Marry
    in May and Rue The Day' while another states: 'Marry in
    April if you can, joy for maiden and for man'. 
    When I told my daughter about this Irish superstition, she
    changed her wedding date so that she'd be married in April!
    What began as a search for Irish traditions and customs
    that she could incorporate into her celebration ended up as
    an incredible pile of notes that eventually took on a life
    of its own. Long after her wedding, I was still obsessed
    with delving into history and folklore, looking for
    everything I could find on how weddings were celebrated in
    Ireland long ago.
    I am convinced that if couples make the effort, they can
    have a totally Irish celebration from beginning to end -
    even to the pre-wedding parties. There's one quaint custom
    where the groom was invited to the bride's house right
    before the wedding and they cooked a goose in his honor.
    It was called Aitin' the gander  it has to be where we get
    the expression 'his goose is cooked!'  We threw one of
    these dinner parties for my daughter and everyone had a
    great time. (The apple-potato stuffing has become a family
    There are so many other traditions, customs and just an
    incredible amount of folklore to draw upon, that it would be
    remiss to be of Irish descent and not take advantage of all
    the possibilities. Here are just a few ideas culled from
    what eventually has become a 200-plus page book called 'The
    Traditional Irish Wedding' and it is now available in the
    United States and will be released in Ireland this spring.
    As complete as I could make it, the book covers attire,
    decor, menus, recipes, music, toasts, vows, and perhaps of
    most value, a resource listing that will help you find
    everything from Irish wedding gowns and tiaras to sheet
    music for a Celtic Mass. 
    Here are some more:
    * Bunratty Meade is a honey wine that's served at the
    Bunratty Castle medieval banquet. It's from a recipe based
    on the oldest drink in Ireland and if you've never tasted
    it, it's well worth trying. In the old days, it was consumed
    at weddings because it was thought that it promoted
    virility. (If a baby was born nine months after the wedding,
    it was attributed to the mead!)  Couples also drank it from
    special goblets for a full month following the wedding,
    which is supposedly where we get the word honeymoon. This
    was to protect the couple from the fairies coming to spirit
    the bride away.  
    * Lucky horseshoe. Irish brides used to carry a real
    horseshoe for good luck. (Turned up so the luck won't run
    out). You can get porcelain horseshoes which most Irish
    brides carry these days, or one made of fabric which is worn
    on the wrist.  
    * Magic Hanky. This charming custom involves having the
    bride carry a special hanky that with a few stitches can be
    turned into a christening bonnet for the first baby. With a
    couple of snips it can be turned back into a hanky that
    your child can carry on his/her wedding day.  
    * Make-up bells. The chime of bells is thought to keep evil
    spirits away, restore harmony if a couple is fighting, and
    also remind a couple of their wedding vows. Giving a bell as
    a gift has become an Irish tradition. You could also have
    your greeters hand out tiny bells to your guests to ring
    as you process. (You might want to let them know when
    they're supposed to be rung - perhaps mention it in your
    program along with an explanation of the custom). Guests
    could also ring their little bells at the reception in lieu
    of clinking glasses.  
    * Irish Dancers. Consider hiring a group of Irish dancers to
    hand out your programs before the ceremony. Dressed in their
    full regalia, it would add a wonderful touch of of pageantry
    and color. They could also dance at the reception later. We
    did this at my daughter's reception and it was a major hit. 
    * Music. There's so much wonderful Irish music available,
    you'll have no problems in finding appropriate selections
    for both the ceremony and the reception. The difficulty will
    be in deciding which pieces to play! 
    * Readings: My daughter had the following Irish wedding vow
    on the front of her program:
    By the power that Christ brought from heaven, mayst thou love me. 
    As the sun follows its course, mayst thou follow me.
    As light to the eye, as bread to the hungry, as joy to the heart,
    may thy presence be with me, oh one that I love, 
    'til death comes to part us asunder. 
    On the back of the program, she had this old Irish proverb:
    Don't walk in front of me, I may not follow.
    Don't walk behind me, I may not lead.
    Walk beside me and just be my friend. 
    * The Irish Wedding Song. Very popular at contemporary Irish
    weddings. We had two friends sing this at my daughter's
    reception while the newlyweds cut the cake. (Afterwards I
    thought we should have had the lyrics typed up and placed on
    the tables so that everyone could join in).  
    * Flowers. In the old days, many Irish brides wore a wreath
    of wildflowers in their hair; they also carried them in
    bouquets. For my daughter's wedding, our florist designed
    gorgeous bouquets that included a flower called Bells of
    Ireland.  In Wales, brides carried live myrtle and gave a
    sprig to each bridesmaid which they planted. If it grew, the
    bridesmaid would marry within the year. If you're planning a
    more general Celtic celebration, this might be worth
    * Ancient custom: In the old days, couples ate salt and
    oatmeal at the beginning of their reception: Each of them
    took three mouthfuls as a protection against the power of
    the evil eye. Also, when a couple is dancing, the bride
    can't take both feet off the floor because the fairies
    will get the upper hand. Fairies love beautiful things and
    one of their favorites is a bride. There's many an Irish
    legend about brides being spirited away by the little
    people!  For the same reason, it's bad luck for a bride to
    wear green. I've also heard that it's bad luck for
    anyone to wear green at an Irish wedding - but I  think it
    really only applies to the bride. It's also bad luck for a
    bride or the groom to sing at their own wedding. 
    Portents and omens: 
    * A fine day meant good luck, especially if the sun shone
    on the bride. If you're a Roman Catholic, one way to make
    certain that it won't rain is to put a statue of the Infant
    of Prague outside the church before your ceremony. 
    * It was unlucky to marry on a Saturday.
    * Those who married in harvest would spend all their lives
    * A man should always be the first to wish joy to the bride,
    never a woman 
    *It was lucky to hear a cuckoo on the wedding morning, or to
    see three magpies
    * To meet a funeral on the road meant bad luck and if there
    was a funeral procession planned for that day, the wedding
    party always took a different road
    * The wedding party should always take the longest road home
    from the church
    * It was bad luck if a glass or cup were broken on the
    wedding day
    *A bride and groom should never wash their hands in the same
    sink at the same timeit's courting disaster if they do
    * It was said to be lucky if you married during a 'growing
    moon and a flowing tide'
    * When leaving the church, someone must throw an old shoe
    over the bride's head so she will have good luck
    * If the bride's mother-in-law breaks a piece of wedding
    cake on the bride's head as she enters the house after the
    ceremony, they will be friends for life.
    Many other customs are interspersed throughout the book,
    e.g. (from the reception section) the top tier of your
    wedding cake should be an Irish whiskey cake which is saved
    for the christening of your first baby. I've also heard of
    another custom which just came to my attention and will be
    included in the next edition: a bottle of champagne is saved
    from the reception so that it can be used to 'wet the baby's
    head' at the christening. 
    In finally making this book a reality, my hope is that when
    he says to you 'would you like to be buried with my people',
    or you say to him 'would you like to hang your washing next
    to mine', you'll say yes, and then use the suggestions to
    help you plan an Irish celebration reflective of your roots
    and as romantic as your heritage.  
    And for all engaged couples and their families in the midst
    of pre-wedding chaos, I raise a parting glass: May all your
    joys be pure joy and all your pain champagne. 
    Bridget Haggerty
    Get this book by visiting here: AMAZON BOOKSTORE
    By 1842, a group of Irish immigrants from County Kerry,
    Ireland named and settled in the area known as the 'Kerry
    Patch' just North of downtown St. Louis, MO.
    Other Irish immigrant neighborhoods that once existed in
    the surrounding area included 'Clabber Alley', 'Poverty
    Pocket', 'Wild Cat Chute', 'Castle Thunder', and 'Battle
    The Irish immigrants who lived in these areas were
    ridiculed and discriminated against in housing and jobs.
    They were left the with no choices in employment and forced
    to take jobs that were dangerous, dirty and socially
    frowned upon. Examples: policemen, firefighters, firemen
    that stoked engines,etc. According to the book 'The Streets
    of St. Louis' by Wm. and Marcella Magnan, It was understood
    in business that 'a good slave was worth about $1700.00'.
    'Companies preferred hiring an Irishman whose wages were
    often less than 1 dollar a week'. 'There was no use risking
    the life of a valuable slave on a dangerous project when an
    Irish worker could do it.
    However, there were a few socially acceptable Irish families
    who rose to power in business and government such as the
    Mullanphy's who were probably the most notable due to their
    They helped fund Irish immigration from Ireland to the US
    among other numerous charities. They furthermore, established
    a house, called 'The Mullanphy House' on the corner of Howard
    and N.14th in the 'Kerry Patch' neighborhood to help newly
    arriving Irish immigrants get the help needed to establish a
    place in society.
    Like most ethnic ghettoes the Patch had its 'king', and one
    such was named Sheehan. The City of St. Louis had a City
    Alderman Sheehan in the 1990's, the name is not a very
    common one, I assume he was related to the 'King of the Patch'
    if his family was from St. Louis.
    I became interested in the 'Kerry Patch' neighborhood when I
    discovered that my family, after immigrating from County
    Mayo in Ireland, lived there. Although, I don't know the
    history of my family's place in the neighborhood, I feel an
    attachment and desire to discover as much history about the
    area. as I can
    As a new St. Louis Firefighter, stationed at Engine house 9
    located at N.9th and LaBeaume my still district included the
    'Kerry Patch' neighborhood. I fought my first structure fire
    on N. 15th St. in the 'Patch'. I wasn't aware of my kindred
    connection to this area until transferring to another
    Most of the houses and structures of 'Kerry Patch' are no
    longer standing and are now vacant lots and run down
    One newer apartment complex called 'The O'Fallon Place
    Apartments' is located right in the heart of this area.
    All of the Irish Churches are now razed and there is very
    little sign of a former Irish neighborhood except the school
    and some Irish street names although I did notice a nearby
    business that I'm certain has Irish roots just because of
    its name, 'Sligo Steel'.
    Bibliography: Most of this information was taken from 3
    1. 'The streets of St. Louis' by Wm. B. and Marcella C. Magnan
    2. 'Gateway Heritage' reference 1988-90 Vol. 9-10    
    3. Internet address:
    John B. McGinnis
    IRELAND - A POEM		by Rebecca Flores
    I wrote this poem around a year ago remembering my visit to
    the Emerald Island on the summer of 1993. I was there for only
    a month and for the first time ever. I was 15 years old then
    and those were the images that stuck in my mind through the
    I hope you enjoy it!
    Rebecca F. - Mexico city, Mexico.
    I seek for your timeless silence tonight 
    I seek for the only peaceful place I've ever been 
    It's my Ireland, lying mythic and holy 
    it's my heart redeeming to it. 
    How I miss you, my land... 
    How I miss you tonight.  
    Surprise me at the end of the day 
    Sing me a tune with your lonely-crying flute. 
    Let me hear your harp and drums echoing beneath 
    let me drop some tears and shiver...and weep. 
    How I miss you, my spirit... 
    How I miss you my Eire.  
    Let your wind and sea bathe me in salt 
    let your mountains and cliffs tire me in stones. 
    I'm all alone in this moonfull fantasy 
    I'm all alone in this homeland cry. 
    For why I miss you my darling... 
    Why I miss you tonight?  
    How blind was I and could not see 
    when you offered your truths and spells to me. 
    When I stepped into your quiet fields of green 
    when I walked through your suburb Dublin streets, 
    when I smelled your morning bread 
    when I tasted your evening beer, 
    when was all of me ever so clear and complete? 
    How blind was I and could not see!  
    What you gave to me.. I'll never know 
    what enchanted me since then, easying my dawns. 
    How I long your sight again, one day when I wake up 
    Oh my Ireland! it was just a miserable month 
    and you stole my heart.. 
    yes you did! you stole my soul.  
    If I could literally hold my heart in my fist 
    while staring at a sunset from your cliffs 
    down with the breaking waves and sea I'd smile 
    for sea and heart will meet at last. 
    And in the wind I'd call your name 
    for you to come and find me... take me away. 
    I'd sleep forever happy by your side 
    my all time magic little piece of land.  
    And these are just a few words I can speak 
    of what this Island means to me. 
    Through all my joy and all my fears 
    these Irish memories stood beside me. 
    And all I'm left after her rain 
    is the hope of getting wet, all over... please again! 
    But this time for ever and never to part 
    And wake up for each day 
    in this Emerald Island of mine.  
    I am writing from Canada. For the past four months I have
    been working on a novelisation of the events in Dublin's
    St. Mary's High Park convent, where 'penitents' were sent
    to wash laundry from dawn until dusk for years at a time,
    many having done nothing to deserve this.
    Others had become prostitutes or become pregnant in their
    teenage years or outside of marriage and were sentenced to
    this horrible life.  I am looking for women who have
    experienced this tragic episode in Irish history to share
    their stories with me--completely anonymously--so that
    together we can unveil the horrific events that took place
    for over a hundred years.  Please help me as I work on this
    book, to bring these things to light.  Please e-mail me
    at: if you have any information--all
    is valuable.
    Lisa. Skinner.
    ARTSHAPES: Ireland has partnered with Yahoo! to produce
    a series of on-line chats with Irish artists called '7 Weeks
    to St. Patrick's Day'.
    The series of chats begin on Thursday, February 3rd at 8pm
    (EST) and continue twice a week for the next seven weeks.
    Confirmed participants include:
    Frank McCourt - Author (Angela's Ashes, Tis)
    Patrick McCabe- Author (The Butcher Boy, Breakfast on Pluto)
    Jack Lukeman - Musician
    Aidan Quinn - Actor/Director (This is My Father, Playboys)
    Alan Parker - Director (Angela's Ashes, The Commitments)
    Colm Toibin - Author (The Heather Blazing)
    Gavin Friday - Musician (The Boxer)
    Emer Martin - Author (Breakfast in Babylon)
    Jimmy Smallhorne - Actor/Director (2 x 4, The General)
    Colum McCann - Author (This Side of Brightness)
    and a Special Guest (to be announced)
    Please visit for details:
    If you're interested in up-to-the-minute news about the
    North of Ireland, point your browser to Irish Eyes Online
    Newspaper at
    Irish Eyes Online features comprehensive daily news updates
    on the unfolding peace process, plus thought-provoking
    commentary you just don't get in the national media. Also
    featured are articles on every subject of interest to the
    Irish American community, links to a host of other Irish
    sites on the web, and a shopping section devoted exclusively
    to Irish merchandise. There are several dozen stories for 
    children, based on traditional favorites. Best of all, access
    is completely free.
    Irish Eyes began as a traditional print newspaper in 1993, 
    distributed mostly in the American southwest. In 1997 the
    internet, made it possible to reach more people, in a more
    immediate way, at less cost, so printing on paper was
    Irish Eyes will publish press releases free of charge for
    non-profit organizations. Commercial ad rates are very
    For more information contact Michele at
    Visit us at:
    Fianna Guide to Irish Genealogy:
    ' The legendary Fianna of Ireland were a band of mighty
    noble warriors. Entrance was governed by strict tests and
    codes of honour. Yet the Fianna also had to be
    knowledgeable of culture, and more specifically they had
    to be poets. The Fianna Study Group for Irish Genealogy
    tries to bring the finest values to you through this
    web site. '
    Visit at:
    * Get YOUR Irish family name Screensaver:
      Kelly, Murphy, Sullivan.... over 750 names now available
      Only US$10 with free bonuses
      To order visit here:
    * Get the Ancestral Heraldic Map of Ireland and get FREE
      worldwide delivery
      To order visit here:
    * Report: How to start the search for your Irish roots,
      Only US$9
      To order visit here:
    * Tourist Report: Ireland, 100 Places to See, 500 Places to
      Stay. Only US$9
      To order visit here:
    or visit our Gift Shop at:
    The winner was:
    who will receive the following:
    Our 6-Pack of Irish Screensavers (US$42 value)
    AND our Irish Genealogy Report (US$9 value)
    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.
    Please keep the feedback coming!
    Until the next time,
    Have a great month!
    Michael Green,
    The Information about Ireland Site.


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