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
=== The History of the Irish Chipper
=== Biography of Daniel O'Connell: 'The Liberator'
=== Ireland Tourist Tip: Wheelchair Access
=== The Rabbit by Pat Watson
=== Shamrock Site of the Month: celticattic.com
=== Gaelic Phrases of the Month
=== Monthly free competition result
Never happy unless complaining some sections of
the populace are starting to complain about the
extended warm weather. Already there is talk of
drought with water supplies being rationed in
Well, we have had the worst recession in the
history of the Irish State followed by a big
freeze in January, then tons of Icelandic
volcanic ash falling on us and now the
possibility of a drought. Never a dull moment....
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NEWS SNAPS FROM IRELAND
HOPES FOR ECONOMIC RECOVERY INCREASE
Several reports have been issued recently which
indicate that an economic recovery in Ireland is
already under way and that Ireland will have the
best recovery among the euro-zone countries. GDP
is expected to be nearly 3% in 2011 and as much
as 7% in 2012 with a slowed contraction of 1% in
2010. The painful and wide-ranging government
cutbacks (accounting for 9% of GDP since 2008)
have been cited as the main reason why the economy
will be able to return to growth sooner rather
than later. The reduction in staff costs and wages,
as well as a fall in the value of the Euro have
all helped Irish businesses.
Consumer sentiment is at its highest level in
Ireland since 2008, a further indication that
people can see light at the end of the economic
tunnel. Unemployment is forecast to remain
stubbornly high though and will be at least 12%
for a number of years.
WATER RATIONING INTRODUCED AS HOT SPELL CONTINUES
The long spell of dry and warm weather may be a
great boost to locals and tourists alike but also
brings with it the problem of water rationing.
Supplies in reservoirs are 40% down on last years
levels with some Counties already imposing a
'dusk to dawn' ban on water, effectively cutting
off the supply at night. Sligo, Galway, Clare and
Donegal have been particularly affected although,
if the warm weather continues the rationing is
likely to be introduced country-wide.
DRINK DRIVING LIMIT FURTHER REDUCED
Despite intense lobbying from rural pub-owners the
government has further reduced the blood alcohol
limit for drivers to 50mg, which is about the
equivalent of 1 pint of beer. Compulsory
breath-testing for all parties to a road traffic
accident has also been introduced in the new laws.
ANCIENT NECKLACE SAVED FROM THE RUBBISH DUMP
The National Museum of Ireland has put on display
the 4000-year-old necklace that was nearly thrown
away with the thrash. The priceless necklace is
called a 'Lunula' and was recovered from an old
safe that was being disposed of in a waste-skip.
Originally the Lunula was found by Roscommon
farmer Hubert Lannon when he was cutting turf from
a bog in 1945. He gave it to the local chemist, a
man named Patrick Sheehan who secured it in a safe
where it stayed until last year when the entire
safe was stolen in a burglary. The National Museum
contacted the police and am intensive search was
launched. The thieves must have realised that there
was no way they could sell the 'one of a kind'
artefact and dumped the entire safe in a skip.
Amazingly it has been recovered just hours before
it was to be hauled to a dump and likely lost for
another 4000 years.
1901 CENSUS OF IRELAND IS NOW ONLINE
Another great boost to researchers of genealogy
has been announced by the National Archives of
Ireland with the release of the 1901 census
online. The 1911 census is already available for
online viewing. The impressive archive displays
the actual census document that was completed by
people over a century ago.
Visit www.census.nationalarchives.ie for more.
Voice your opinion on these news issues here:
NEW FREE RESOURCES AT THE SITE
IRELAND HOUSE-SWAP LISTING
We are working on the online program to allow you
to freely add and view details of other people who
are interested in this service.
You can add your home-swap details to our new free
listing service at:
IRISH HOLIDAY AND TOURIST BOARD
Post a question about holidaying in Ireland
and we guarantee an answer will be posted on
NEW COATS OF ARMS ADDED TO THE GALLERY:
The following 5 coats of arms images and family
history details have been added to the Gallery:
M: Moody, Mulrooney
T: Toohey, Turley
View the Gallery here:
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:
THE HISTORY OF THE IRISH CHIPPER
It is a well know fact in Ireland that the
majority of chippers are run not by the Irish but
by Italians! The first of his countrymen to set up
in Ireland was Giuseppe Cervi who arrived in
Dublin late in the 1880s. He worked as a labourer
until he had saved enough to buy a hand-cart and
cooker on which he could prepare and sell chips
to the many locals leaving pubs at night. With his
wife he established the first ever Dublin
chipper on Pearse Street and is even credited with
being the originator of the famous Dublin saying:
'a one and one' (meaning 1 fish and 1 chips portion).
By the year 1909 there were 20 fish and chip shops
in Dublin alone.
This new industry was certainly not confined to
Ireland with the north of England having many more
chippers than Dublin. Scotland became the undisputed
centre of the trade with thousands of Italian
chippers operating there by the time of the first
war. Immigration from Scotland into Ireland and
especially in to Ulster had continued during the
eighteenth century and of course the Italian
chippers arrived with them.
It should be noted that the most famous chipper in
Ireland, Beshoffs, was set up by the Ukranaian
Ivan Beshov who arrived in Ireland in the 1940s,
and who was originally arrested upon suspicion of
being a German spy! He proved his innocence of that
charge and in a salt and vinegar covered irony his
first chipper was destroyed by the German Luftwaffe
who accidentally bombed the North Strand area of
Fairview in Dublin in 1941. He relocated to the
city centre and became a Dublin institution!
KEEP THIS NEWSLETTER ALIVE!
DANIEL O'CONNELL BIOGRAPHY - THE LIBERATOR
Daniel O'Connell was born in 1775 in Cahirciveen,
County Kerry. Although he was born into the native
ascendancy, he was raised among the Catholic
peasantry and thus learned not only the Gaelic
language, but also the many tribulations faced by
the poorer class.
As a teenager he was sent to France for further
education but travelled to London in 1793 on
foot of the French revolution. His experience of
the violence that was part of the revolution
forged his lifelong commitment to peaceful means
to achieve social change.
He qualified as a barrister and built a successful
practice in Dublin. O'Connell abhorred the
violence of the Wolfe Tone led 1798 rebellion but
agreed with the overall aims of thr United
In 1802 O'Connell married his cousin Mary. The
marriage was a good one with 12 children being
born, although only 7 survived.
The 1800 Act of Union had raised hopes of Catholic
emancipation but these remained unfulfilled.
O'Connell soon got involved in political
activities and in 1823 founded the Catholic
Association with the express aim of securing
O'Connell was known a famous orator, debater and
a sharp wit. He was a regular thorn in the side of
the Dublin authorities and when in 1815, he called
Dublin Corporation a 'beggarly corporation', the
authorities thought they had a chance to discredit
him. One member of the Corporation, D'Esterre, a
noted duelist, challenged him to a duel. If
O'Connell accepted the challenge then it was
thought he would certainly be killed. If he backed
down then he would be politically damaged and
To everyone's surprise O'Connell accepted the
challenge and fatally wounded D'Esterre. O'Connell
always regretted his death, and later assisted the
D'Estere family financially.
With the backing of the clergy O'Connell stood
for election to the English parliament in County
Clare in 1828. A massive victory for O'Connell
followed as the momentum for reform gathered pace.
O'Connell refused to take the Oath of Allegiance
to the English crown and the crisis point had
been reached. With 6 M-illion supporters backing
O'Connell the English government feared an
uprising was on the cards and eventually granted
Catholic emancipation in 1829. O'Connell was
now the undisputed hero of Ireland and a year
later became the first Catholic in modern history
to be take his seat at the English parliament.
By this time O'Connell had given up his legal
practice and was concentrating fully on politics.
He set his sight on repealing the Act of Union
and the establishment of an Irish parliament. His
Repeal Association organised monster meetings that
attracted hundreds of thousands. An estimated
three-quarters of a m-illion people attended the
Hill of Tara meeting. The authorities responded
by banning a similar meeting scheduled for
Clontarf in 1843. Despite cancelling the meeting
O'Connell was arrested and charged with conspiracy.
He served 3 months in prison before being released
but the damage had been done. The tactics that
had achieved emancipation could not be used to
achieve an Irish parliament. His stay in prison
had also adversely affected his health.
The more radical 'Young Irelanders' withdrew from
the Repeal Association. In the countryside the
potato crop was already beginning to fail. The
Great Famine of 1847 devastated the Irish
countryside. O'Connell tried to help and spoke
in the London parliament, appealing for aid for
his desperate starving countrymen.
O'Connell will always be known as the 'Liberator'
and Catholic emancipation was indeed his greatest
success. It is unknown if his peaceful mass
protests could have achieved any further
concessions on the road to Irish independence. The
famine that resulted in over 1 million deaths from
starvation and a further million taking the
emigrants boat stopped any political momentum
dead in its tracks.
At 70 years of age O'Connell was advised to move
to a warmer climate to placate his ailing health.
He set off for Rome but only made it as far as
Genoa. He died in May 1847 and was buried in
Glasnevin cemetery in Dublin. His funeral was
among the largest ever seen in Ireland.
IRELAND TOURIST TIP: WHEELCHAIR ACCESS
The recent building boom in Ireland has seen a vast
improvement in the facilities for wheelchair bound
visitors. The updated building regulations made it
compulsory for access ramps and sunken walkways to
be included into all planning applications for
publicly accessible new buildings.
The Irish Wheelchair Association is available at
http://www.iwa.ie and provides a lot of information
on this subject including where to hire a wheelchair
KEEP THIS NEWSLETTER ALIVE!
by Pat Watson
With our sheepdog Bruno, we chased rabbits every
day. The war was on and there was money in
rabbits. Of course we never caught any. After all
I was only six years old and my brother Frank,
just eight. The same thing happened every day.
All three of us arrived in the field where the
rabbits were. Bruno charged after them, barking
loudly, followed by the two of us, shouting
skulla-hulla. The rabbits scampered off and
disappeared down their burrow at the far end of
the field. Bruno tore at the mouth of the burrow,
then snorted down it as if to say; that will
teach you a lesson. We went home empty handed,
hoping for better luck next time.
One day Frank had a brain-wave. He ordered me to
wait a quarter of an hour, while he took a
circuitous route and entered the field from the
far end, where he snuck in and sat in the mouth
of the burrow. When I arrived with the dog the
rabbits ran for cover as usual but when they
reached the burrow they ran every way in
confusion. Bruno grabbed and killed one. We were
shocked, elated and ecstatic all at once. Rabbits
were worth a half a crown each, we were rich.
We dressed up and headed for town, three miles
away. Frank carried the rabbit and I walked
'You walk the other side,' he ordered.
'It's my rabbit and I don't want anybody to think
that you had anything to do with catching him,'
'If you don't go round the other side you can
go home,' he said.
It was better to walk the other side of a lad
with a rabbit than not walk at all, so I
obeyed, reluctantly, well, not so much obeyed
After a while he changed the rabbit to the other
hand and I had to change sides again. The
farther we went the oftener this happened.
'Do you want me to take one leg?' I asked.
'Well just for a while,' he said,
'But if we meet anyone, you must let go
immediately' I agreed, it was better to carry a
rabbit a bit than not carry him at all and
someone might come round a corner before he got
a chance to reclaim both legs. Then, wouldn't I
be a big fellow? Just then a man put his head
over a wall and said,
'Good gossens! Are ye off to town with yer
'It's my rabbit I'm only letting him hold one
leg for a bit.'
'And take a bit of the weight,' he smiled.
'I felt very grown up and important' The man
could see that I was carrying half the rabbit
and indeed he probably thought I was part
owner. After all seeing is believing.
Shortly after I realised why I was allowed to
help. We were small boys and the rabbit was big
and long. While holding his paws, we had to keep
our arms bent in order to keep his head off the
ground. We tried to overcome this problem by
catching him above the knees but this was harder
on little fingers as the legs were fat and slanty.
Having covered over a mile, we reached the Spring
Well road. It was a quiet, mile long road running
beside the railway and there was a grass verge on
Out of necessity, we were now working as a team,
swapping sides as arms tired. To conserve energy
we decided to walk on the verge and let the head
drag on the grass. This worked well enough but by
the end of the mile the head was looking the worse
for the wear. We got a drink at the spring well
and sat a little while. Now for the last half-mile
through the town to the butcher's shop, we had to
keep the head off the road and it was very
difficult, only the vision of the half crown kept
The butcher was standing at the door with a knife
in his hand and saw us coming. He took the rabbit,
slit him with the knife, threw the entrails to a
passing dog, who wolfed them down, then turned to
'Did ye see that? That's how you gut a rabbit and
ye should have gutted him hot. Because ye didn't
so he is only worth eighteen pence' He handed Frank
one and six and disappeared with the rabbit. There
were thirty pence in a half-a-crown. We turned
away devastated, the tears overflowing in spite of
manly efforts. It was a long way home. We only got
just over half the money after all our struggles.
What could two small boys do?
Then luck struck. Big Peter happened to be passing.
'Why are ye crying?' He asked. We told him our
story. The butcher heard the commotion and
reappeared explaining the gutting problem.
Big Peter said nothing, just caught him by the
lapels and began to hop him up and down. He turned
very pale, his explanation died away and he handed
me the missing shilling.
Frank said I could keep it.
All is well that ends well.
is one of sixty lyrical yarns from
'Original Irish Stories' by Pat Watson,
Creagh, Bealnamulla, Athlone, Ireland.
First published in May 2006.
or you can email the author here:
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SHAMROCK SITE OF THE MONTH: CELTICATTIC.COM
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GAELIC PHRASES OF THE MONTH
PHRASE: Iuil/Lunasa/Mean Fomhair
PHRASE: Deireadh Fomhair/Samhain/Nollaig
PRONOUNCED: derr-ihh foe-irr/zoew-inn/null-igg
View the archive of phrases here:
JUNE COMPETITION RESULT
The winner was: firstname.lastname@example.org
who will receive the following:
A Single Family Crest Print (decorative)
Send us an email to claim your print, and 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.
Until next month,
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