Culture & Reference
Dermot, Strongbow and the Invasion of Ireland
The Titanic and Ireland
The Vikings in Ireland
The Ancient Ogham language
Charles Stewart Parnell
IN THIS ISSUE
This month we also feature a remarkable true tale from Joe Rogers about how he tracked down a piece of Irish Aviation history that was created in 1912!
If you have an article or story you would like to share then please do send it in.
Until next time,
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DESPICABLE NURSES AND THEIR TERRIBLE STRIKE!
Opinion: Nurses are treated differently in Ireland, and not for the better.
That fact that Irish Nurses are currently engaged in strike action is not surprising. For years/decades they have been underpaid, overworked and mistreated. They have been pushed around and not taken seriously. And of course, now that they have acted the propaganda machine has been wheeled out:
While it is not unreasonable for news and television outlets to report on the effects that employee strike actions are having, the way in which the narrative around this particular strike is being framed is especially repugnant.
'There is chaos in Hospital Accident and Emergency services because of the Nurses Strike.'
'Cancer victims appointments were cancelled because of the Nurses strike.'
'People will die because of the Nurses strike!'
Public support started off strongly in favor of the Nurses. Just about everyone in Ireland has had a personal experience of dealing with the them. But of course the longer the strike action goes on and the more often the Nurses are demonized in the media for their actions then the more public support will wear out. Such is human nature.
But the real issue here (apart from the Nurses legitimate claims about pay, overwork and under-staffing), is the way that this mostly female occupation are utterly taken for granted.
(approximately 92.5% of Nurses and Midwives are female per the NMBI).
It goes against the grain for Nurses to leave their post and not show up for work. It goes against the grain for Nurses to leave their patients, knowing full well that hospital appointments will be cancelled and that people may in fact suffer.
And it is this reticence (and compassionate attitude), that has held back the Nurses for so many decades. In this moment of increased awareness of disparity of pay for women in the age of the '#MeToo' movement it is apt that Irish Nurses have finally had enough.
Male workers in other vital public employments in Ireland would not hesitate to strike and walk out if their rights were threatened. It is no coincidence that some of the most privileged and ridiculously paid public servants in this country are also among the most militant. And male.
Nurses are at the very coal-face of our society, dealing with the distressed and sick, the bleeding and the dying. They deserve far more respect than they receive.
It is long past the time for Irish Nurses to make their stand.
Crisis in Irish Hospitals is a National Disgrace
Some Striking Public Servants Need To Get Real While Others Deserve A Big Pay Raise
STALEMATE AS BREXIT DAY APPROACHES
March 29th 2019 is the date that the UK will leave the European Union. So goes the plan anyway although in the absence of any kind of a deal between the EU and the UK there remains a very real possibility of a 'hard Brexit', or put another way, a massive crash out of the financial, economic, legal and political institutions that currently bind the EU countries together to the UK.
British Prime Minister Theresa May has gone back to the European Union seeking changes to the deal that she had previously negotiated. Her own Parliament and Party would not back it. Of course the big sticking point is the 'Backstop'. This is the special arrangement that would have come into effect to allow the six Counties in Ulster in the Northern part of Ireland to remain in the EU Customs Union, despite those six Counties politically being part of the United Kingdom.
Tory hard-liners were outraged at the thought that part of their empire might be treated differently from the rest by being tied to the EU. They continue to ignore the fact that Northern Ireland and Scotland both voted to remain in the EU in the 2016 Referendum.
England: 53% voted to leave
Northern Ireland: 44%
UK overall: 52%
Having faced down a vote of no confidence in her Government the British Prime Minister has started yet another round of diplomacy. Thus far she has received little encouragement from the EU who have made all the right soundings about the agreed deal being the only game in town, and that the 'Backstop' must remain in place. Thus, no hard border in Ulster.
However, this is quite the game of 'chicken' that the Tories are playing. Many believe that the EU will blink once they realize that the economic consequences for the European economies would be just as disastrous for them as for Britain. The Tories may believe that they can hold out until the very last few days at which point the EU will throw the Irish 'Backstop' under a bus and the Irish Peace Process with it. Money talks in this world they argue, and the EU will buckle.
They may yet be proven right.
FIND YOUR NAME IN OUR
GALLERY OF IRISH COATS OF ARMS
I chose my wife, as she did her wedding gown, for qualities that would wear well.
Women are made to be loved, not understood
The most important things in the world to do are to get something to eat, something to drink, and somebody to love you.
They lived and laughed and loved and left.
You dont love someone for their looks, or their clothes, or for their fancy car, but because they sing a song only you can hear.
Whatever else is unsure in this stinking dunghill of a world, a mother's love is not.
Love will heal what language fails to know.
It often occurs to me that we love most what makes us miserable. In my opinion the damned are damned because they enjoy being damned.
How can a woman be expected to be happy with a man who insists on treating her as if she was a perfectly normal human being.
Seamus Heaney - meaning 'dont be afraid'. These were the last words the poet sent to his wife, just before he passed away.
Gravitation can't be held responsible for people falling in love.
Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. That's relativity.
I haven't spoken to my wife in years. I didn't want to interrupt her.
Ok, he was not really Irish but in the true Irish tradition of claiming association to just about anything that is good we Irish are claiming the Saint as our own.
We do have some grounds for this assertion - bear with me.
Whitefriar Street Church in Dublin is the unlikely resting place for the relics of Saint Valentine. That's right! While desperate men the world over rush to their nearest Garage fore-court to buy half-battered bunches of red roses in the hope that it will get them out of jail, the knowledge that there is an Irish connection to Saint Valentine still escapes the masses.
Pope Gregory XVI presented the remains of Saint Valentine to an Irish Carmelite named John Spratt in the year 1835. He had been visiting Rome and preaching at the famous Jesuit Church there to much acclaim. In 1836 the remains were received by Archbishop Murray of Dublin and have remained in Whitefriar Street Church ever since. An Altar and Shrine were installed in the 1950's depicting the Saint as a martyr. An inscription on the Altar reads:
This shrine contains the sacred body of Saint Valentinus the Martyr, together with a small vessel tinged with his blood.
The annual mass on February 14th includes a ceremony to bless wedding rings of those betrothed, in the hope that such a blessing will help secure a successful union.
There may have even been two Saints named Valentine. Valentine of Rome died about the year 269 during the persecution of Claudius the Goth. The other Valentine was allegedly Bishop of Terni. It is possible that the two memories are in fact of the same person.
There are several legends regarding his martyrdom. The first suggests that he was beheaded for illegally marrying young Christians in opposition to Roman rules. Another suggests that Valentine was imprisoned for helping a young blind girl named Julia, again contrary to Roman law. Knowing he was about to die he wrote a final note to the young girl and signed it 'From Your Valentine'. The note contained a crocus flower and upon opening it for the first time the young girl's sight was restored. In the year 496 Pope Gelasius I named February 14th as Saint Valentine's Day and ever since that day has been associated with flowers, note-giving and all things romantic.
So there you have it - Saint Valentine was Irish. Ok, it is not an open and shut case but we do posses his relics and that is good enough for us. Did you know that Saint Nicholas (Santa!) is buried in Kilkenny?
More about that in December.
HELP KEEP THIS NEWSLETTER ALIVE!
by Joe Rogers
The 'Portlaoise Plane' is the first aeroplane to be manufactured and flown in Ireland. It was created in 1912, survived two world wars, went missing for 40 years, only to be rediscovered at a 'Museum for Firsts' in East Sussex alongside Malcolm Campbell's famous Bluebird K3 in which he created the world water-speed record on Lake Maggiore in 1937.
During a recent holiday in the south of England I joined a party of enthusiasts on a visit to Filching Manor Motor Museum, Jevington Road, Near Polegate, East Sussex. At the start of the tour, over coffee in the Medieval Manor, the proprietor, Karl Foulkes-Halbard, explained that his museum exhibits were rather extraordinary in that without exception they were all record breakers, winners or historical firsts of one type or another.
And what a magnificent collection we were then privileged to see and, amazingly, there among Sir Malcolm Campbell's Bluebird K3 in which he took the water-speed record on Lake Maggiore on 1st September 1937; several Campbell cars; Fangio's very own racing car; a selection of other cars including Bugattis, Mercedes and a Formula 1 winner; various record-breaking motor cycles and boats was the exhibit that really set my pulse racing. In the collection was the 1912 Portlaoise Aeroplane on which my father, William Rogers, had worked, the FIRST Plane to be manufactured and flown in the now Republic of Ireland by Aldritts of Portlaoise or Maryborough as it was 100 years ago in 1912.
What a thrill it was for me to see the massive wings with the two main spars in each wing consisting of rather large round bamboo poles to which a total of 15 cross-members or ribs of a lightweight timber are attached - the canvas covering having long since gone. The fuselage too, minus its outer covering of course , is in remarkably good condition, complete with tail assembly, cockpit, seat, rudder bar and pedals. The complete aircraft including both large wings and fuselage well preserved after 100 years and would be easy to restore to its original condition.
As I come from Portlaoise this was a wonderful sight to behold. I remember as a schoolboy at CBS Tower Hill seeing daily a propeller over the entrance to the old Aldritt works, corner of Railway St & Tower Hill. My father (William Rogers) told me to what it related and now I've seen the aircraft to which it belonged, a craft powered by an engine also designed by Aldritts, the history-making flight recorded as having taken place over the Great Heath of Maryborough.
Karl Foulkes-Halbard recalled the aeroplane arriving on a big lorry from Portlaoighise, as he termed it, about 35 years ago to their then abode at Crowborough, between Tunbridge Wells and Eastbourne, Sussex. His late father, Paul Foulkes-Halbard, had a keen interest in early aviation, and in answer to questions from the party, Karl reckoned that they had actually saved the plane and he would personally love to restore it, time and money permitting, and all other on-going restorations completed.
The party wondered, as indeed I did, as to why this rare craft which had put Portlaoise on the map as the birthplace of Southern Irish aviation, had not been restored there and put on show as a memento of bygone achievements.
related video: The Portlaoise Plane
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by Michael Green,
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