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IN THIS ISSUE
=== News Snaps from Ireland
=== Countess Markievicz - The Rebel Countess
=== The Origin of the Ogham Language
=== Gaelic Phrases of the Month
=== Monthly Free Competition Result
Popular Articles from Recent Newsletters:
Conan and the Great March of O'Sullivan Beare - A Conan Story
'Conan Pays His Debts' - a story
Inventions You Never Knew Were Irish
Hello again from Ireland where this month we have a timely reminder of the life of the famous Irish rebel, Countess Markievicz. With the 1916 anniversary looming there are going to be a lot of retrospectives on the lives of those involved in the rebellion that eventually led to Irish independence.
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NEWS SNAPS FROM IRELAND
IRELAND'S TOP TOURIST TOWNS REVEALED
With Dublin, Cork and Galway dominating the tourist scene in terms of 'big cities' the focus has turned to smaller towns that offer the most to visitors.
It comes as no surprise that five of these towns are in County Kerry with the south-western County continuing its reputation as the tourist capital of the country (in the opinion of many people).
Fifteen towns have been short-listed to win the 'Failte Ireland Tourism Town Awards' with the winner to be announced later this year.
The 2014 winners were Westport and Kinsale but neither of those towns were short-listed this time around. Noticeable absentees also include such tourist hot-spots as Dingle, Kenmare, Lahinch, Bundoran, Donegal, Sligo and Clifden, to name but a few.
Read more about this Story at the Ireland News Bldg
AMAZING ARCHIVE OF IRISH VIDEO RELEASED
An amazing collection of vintage newsreels and reports have been released by British Movietone and the Associated Press and uploaded to Youtube for public viewing.
Among the AP collection are over half a million video clips with one million minutes of Irish-related content.
The truly fascinating footage provides an incredible insight into life in Ireland as far back as 1895.
To access Irish coverage in the British Movietone collection:
To access Irish coverage in the Associated Press:
IRISH FOOTBALLER TURNS HIS BACK ON BRITISH NATIONAL ANTHEM
It is either a storm in a tea-cup or a national insult. Both attitudes to the actions of West Brom footballer James McClean are certainly in evidence within the British and Irish media coverage.
The 26-year-old Irish international footballer had only just joined English club West Bromwich Albion when he made the headlines by turning his back when the British national anthem was played at a friendly match in Charleston, South Carolina. It is not usual for the anthem to be played before football matches in England, although the tradition of playing the US anthem at major sporting events is extant.
McClean, who hails from Derry, has been subjected to a tirade of abuse from many quarters for this stand with his Team Manager, Tony Pulis, warning him against any such future demonstrations.
It is not the first time that the speedy winger has hit the headlines for his political beliefs. In 2012 he famously refused to wear a poppy flower as a symbol of Remembrance for those who died in the first World War. Many feel that the act of wearing a poppy has been hijacked as a symbol of British nationalism with one commentator, the Channel 4 television presenter Jon Snow, famously labelling the compulsion/obligation to wear the poppy as 'poppy fascism'.
In an age when so many sportsmen and sportswomen are seen as little more than money-grabbers with zero loyalty to anyone it is on the one hand refreshing to see a young man stand up for his beliefs, regardless of political persuasion.
On the other hand it will be interesting to see what might happen if West Brom should reach a Wembley Cup final where the British national anthem is always played and where the players are often greeted by the British Royal Family.
LONDONDERRY TO BE RENAMED DERRY
In Ulster symbols matter a whole lot more than they matter in other parts of the world. The decision therefore by Derry City and Strabane District Council to change the official name of the town from Londonderry to Derry has been met with predictable anger by Unionist politicians in Ulster who are outraged at the proposal.
The council have now made an approach to the Northern Ireland Environment Minister, Mark H. Durkan of the SDLP, for instruction as to how best to proceed with the name change. The proposal is certain to be enthusiastically opposed by those loyal to the English Crown.
The 'London' prefix was added to the town name in 1613 as a means of exerting dominance by the English and Scot settlers who had defeated the Gaelic order.
DUP councillor David Ramsey expressed the Unionist viewpoint more calmly than most:
'If republican and nationalists politicians in the city are serious about equality and a shared future we should be celebrating our connection with London. We should also be celebrating our diversity of our British and Irish cultures and history which includes the historical name Londonderry after the stonemasons who built the city. It creates sectarian tension and how does this reflect upon the nationalist republican goal to achieve a shared future?'
It remains to be seen if the latest attempt to have the name of the town changed back to its original form is successful. All previous attempts have failed.
DECENT WORLD CUP DRAW FOR IRISH SOCCER TEAM
There was some relief at last for embattled Irish manager Martin O'Neill with the announcement of the qualifying groups for the 2018 world cup to be held in Russia.
Ireland was drawn in Group D with Wales, Austria, Serbia, Moldova and Georgia.
The progress of the Welsh team with their talismatic forward Gareth Bale spearheading their attack has seen the tiny nation promoted as one of the top seeds in the competition.
Not the easiest group imaginable but certainly not the worst either. Although the Welsh are flying high at the moment and look certain to qualify for next years European Championships a lot can happen over the course of the next two years. Austria, Serbia and Ireland will all fancy their chances agains the Welsh although it has to be conceded that the Irish team do not currently instill fear in anyone.
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COUNTESS MARKIEVICZ - THE REBEL COUNTESS
Of the many stories of revolutionaries that emerged from the early
part of the twentieth century in Ireland one of the most remarkable
involves the woman who was born Constance Gore-Booth in 1868.
She was born in London to Sir Henry Gore-Booth,
the famous arctic explorer, who was an Anglo-Irish
landlord. Her father was not typical of his type
and administered his lands with a degree of
compassion for the peasantry who farmed it.
Such was his mercy that he is reported to have provided famine relief at
his estate in Sligo during the famine of 1879.
This act undoubtedly inspired
humanity and concern for the poor in his daughter.
Living in Sligo the family were friends with the
family of W.B. Yeats, the romantic Irish poet.
He later wrote the poem 'In Memory Of Eva
Gore-Booth and Con Markievicz'.
The young Constance initially studied painting in London in
1893 where she became involved in the issue of
suffrage for women, joining the 'National Union
of Women's Suffrage Societies'. She continued her
artistic studies in Paris in 1898 where she met
Count Markiewicz, who was a Ukrainian aristocrat
of Polish origin. They wed in 1901 after which she
assumed the title Countess Markievicz. The couple
settled in Dublin in 1903 where the Countess
co-founded the 'United Artists Club' which was a
cultural and artistic organization. It was perhaps
inevitable that while circulating in such society
she would be exposed to the revolutionary ideas
that were being swept along with the Gaelic
revival of the time.
In 1908 she joined Sinn Fein
and Inghinidhe na hEireann - 'The Daughters of
Ireland', which was a revolutionary group
established by Maud Gonne, with whom she later
acted at the fledgling Abbey Theatre. She
continued to participate in the Suffragette
movement in England and by standing for election
she helped to defeat Winston Churchill in a 1908
It was in 1909 that she established the radical 'Fianna
Eireann' which was aimed at instructing a youth
army in the use of firearms. She was jailed by the
British authorities in 1913 after speaking at an
IRB rally to protest the visit of George V to
Dublin. She had also joined the Irish Citizen Army
(ICA) established by James Connolly in response to
the 1913 'lockout' of workers. She established soup
kitchens and aid for the Dublin poor, often using
her own funds. Her marriage had by now
disintegrated with her husband returning to Europe
The Countess became a Lieutenant in the ICA and participated in the Easter Rising of 1916 where she
was second-in-command at the fight on St. Stephens
Green. Initially the rebels dug trenches in the
green but soon retreated from this position once
they were became vulnerable to snipers positioned
on the high buildings around the enclosed green.
Under the command of fellow ICA member Michael
Mallin they occupied the Royal College of Surgeons,
rebelling for a total of 6 days. They surrendered
only when they received a copy of Padraig Pearse's
The Countess was jailed in
Kilmainham and sentenced to death but her sentence
was commuted on grounds of her gender. 'I do wish
your lot had the decency to shoot me' she retorted.
She was released from prison in 1917 by which time
the tide of support had turned in favour of the
rebels and the path to independence was set.
In 1918 she was again jailed for her
anti-conscription campaigning but upon release was
elected to the English parliament, refusing to
take her seat. She was the first woman to be
elected to the House of Commons. She was a member
of the first 'Dail' (Irish Parliament) in 1919 and
became the first Irish (and indeed European)
Cabinet Minister, serving as Minister for Labour
from 1919 to 1922.
Countess Markievicz joined deValera in opposition to the
Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1922 which partitioned the
country and fought in Dublin in the ensuing civil
war. She was again imprisoned but this time by her
former comrades-in-arms. Upon her release she
became a founder member of Fianna Fail and was
elected to the fifth Dail in 1927. deValera had by
this time changed tactics and intended to
participate in the parliament.
however, never got her chance when, at the age of
59, she died of tuberculosis (or possibly
appendicitis) in July of 1927. She likely caught
the disease while working in the Dublin slums.
Her husband and family were by her side.
The famous Rebel Countess was buried in Glasnevin Cemetery with a
huge farewell crowd of 300,000 in attendance at the north Dublin graveyard, the final
resting place of so many of Ireland's great patriots.
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THE ORIGIN OF THE OGHAM LANGUAGE
Ogham is an ancient medieval alphabet that was used in Ireland. It is estimated that there are at least 400 inscribed Ogham stones, most of which contain a persons name.
The ancient Ogham script (pronounced 'oh-am') is most often found on Ogham stones that date back to the third century. Most examples of the writing are found in southern Ireland as well as in Scotland, the Isle of Man, Cornwall and Wales.
The transition to the use of the Roman alphabet took place about the sixth century. Most examples of Ogham writing confer the name of person that they represent, thus the stones are often memorial symbols.
When carved on stones the first letter was at the base and the inscription read from the bottom up. Ogham is occasionally called the 'Celtic Tree alphabet' as many of the letters of Ogham refer to trees.
The origin of Ogham is unclear with some scholars suggesting that the language was invented to allow the native Irish communicate in code that the Roman Britons would not understand. Other scholars contend that the language is of Christian origin and exists as a means of religious communication.
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GAELIC PHRASES OF THE MONTH
||Ba mhaith liom cupan tae
||Buh wah lum cup-onn tay
||I would like a cup of tea|
||Le bainne agus siucra?
||Leh bonn-yeh ogg-us shu-kreh
||With milk and sugar?
||Ta se ro-lag/ro-laidir/an dheas
||Taw shay ro-logg/ro-law-dirr/on djas
||It is too weak/too strong/just nice
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I hope that you have enjoyed this issue.
by Michael Green,
The Information about Ireland Site.
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