IN THIS ISSUE
~~~ Keep us Free!
~~~ News Snaps from Ireland
~~~ The Life of Saint Patrick
~~~ Longing - A poem by Scarlett Joyce
~~~ Irish Penpals Success Story
~~~ Retiring in Ireland
~~~ Play the Irish Draw
~~~ About Saint Patrick's Day by P.D. Dunlap
~~~ Gaelic phrases of the month
~~~ Monthly free competition result
Happy Saint Patrick's Day from Ireland!
Many thanks to all who have contributed to this
month's newsletter. We have included two of our
most popular recent articles in this edition.
The first is 'The Life of Saint Patrick'.
The second is a guide to 'Living in Ireland'.
If you are looking for Saint Patrick's Day kids
games and puzzles to print and color, etc. then
Until next time, WEAR SOME GREEN!!!!
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NEWS SNAPS FROM IRELAND
IRA SET TO DECOMMISSION MORE WEAPONS
After hours of intensive talks between Irish
and British leaders it has emerged that there
is a prospect of a major decommissioning of
weapons by the IRA. The Northern Ireland peace
process has stalled in recent months and the
power sharing executive has been suspended. It
is hoped that a major destruction of weapons by
the IRA will pave the way for new elections
and the re-establishment of the executive.
ALCOHOL ADVERTISING TO BE FURTHER CURBED
Advertising of alcohol products are not to be
allowed on Irish television before 8pm in the
evening. Sporting events will be similarly treated
with advertising on shirts and equipment by
drinks companies also banned.
The new measures follow on from the recent outcry
over the level of underage drinking and the
expansion of a 'drinks culture' in Ireland.
Reports from hospital chiefs now estimate that
as many as 1 in every 4 admission to the Hospital
Accident and Emergency wards are alcohol related.
The ban on smoking in Irish pubs that serve
food is due to be implemented from next January.
GOOGLE TO LOCATE IN IRELAND
The world's biggest internet search engine is
to create 200 jobs when it locates its European
base in Ireland. Ireland won the deal despite
facing stern competition from Geneva.
This success has implications beyond the 200
jobs as it portrays Ireland as viable place
for hi-tech companies to locate.
IRISH RUGBY STAR WANTED BY MIAMI DOLPHINS
Irish international rugby kicker, Ronan O'Gara,
has been offered a lucrative 4 year deal with the
Miami Dolphins. The penalty kicker has opted
to defer a decision on the offer until after
the Six Nations Championships are concluded.
Voice your opinion on these news issues here:
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THE LIFE OF SAINT PATRICK
The Patron Saint of Ireland was born into either
a Scottish or English family in the fourth
century. He was captured as a teenager by Niall
of the Nine Hostages who was to become a King of
He was sold into slavery in Ireland and put to
work as a shepherd. He worked in terrible
conditions for six years drawing comfort in the
Christian faith that so many of his people had
abandoned under Roman rule.
Patrick had a dream that encouraged him to flee
his captivity and to head South where a ship was
to be waiting for him. He traveled over 200
miles from his Northern captivity to Wexford
town where, sure enough, a ship was waiting to
enable his escape.
Upon arrival in England he was captured by
brigands and returned to slavery. He escaped
after two months and spent the next seven years
traveling Europe seeking his destiny.
During this time he furthered his education and
studied Christianity in the Lerin Monastery in
France. He returned to England as a priest.
Again a dream greatly influenced him when he
became convinced that the Irish people were
calling out to him to return to the land of
He went to the Monastery in Auxerre where it
was decided that a mission should be sent to
Ireland. Patrick was not selected for this task
to his great disappointment. The monk that was
selected was called Paladius, but he died before
he could reach Ireland and a second mission was
Patrick was made a Bishop by Pope Celestine in
the year 432 and, together with a small band of
followers, he traveled to Ireland to commence
Patrick confronted the most powerful man in
Ireland, Laoghaire, The High King of Tara, as
he knew that if he could gain his support then
he would be safe to spread the word throughout
Ireland. To get his attention Patrick and his
followers lit a huge fire to mark the commencement
of Spring. Tradition had it that no fire was to
be lit until the King's fire was complete, but
Patrick defied this rule and courted the
confrontation with the King.
The King rushed into action and traveled with the
intention of making war on the holy delegation.
Patrick calmed the King and with quiet composure
impressed upon him that he had no intention other
than that of spreading the word of the Gospel.
The King accepted the missionary, much to the
dismay of the Druids who feared for their own
power and position in the face of this new threat.
They commanded that he make snow fall. Patrick
declined to do so stating that this was God's
work. Immediately it began to snow, only stopping
when Patrick blessed himself.
Still trying to convince the King of his religion
Patrick grasped at some Shamrock growing on the
ground. He explained that there was but one stem
on the plant, but three branches of the leaf,
representing the Blessed Trinity. The King was
impressed with his sincerity and granted him
permission to spread the word of his faith,
although he did not convert to Christianity
Patrick and his followers were free to spread
their faith throughout Ireland and did so to great
effect. He drove paganism (symbolised by the
snake) from the lands of Eireann.
Patrick was tempted by the Devil whilst on a
pilgrimage at Croagh Patrick. For his refusal to
be tempted, God rewarded him with a wish. Patrick
asked that the Irish be spared the horror of
Judgment Day and that he himself be allowed to
judge his flock. Thus, the legend that Ireland
will disappear under a sea of water seven years
before the final judgment, was born.
Patrick died on March 17th in the year 461 at the
age of 76. It is not known for sure where his
remains were laid although Downpatrick in County
Down in the North of Ireland is thought to be
his final resting place.
His influence is still felt to this day as Nations
the world over commemorate him on March 17th of
Saint Patrick screensavers, pictures to color and more can
be found here:
LONGING by Scarlett Joyce
reaches out to embrace the future
Is God's hand in this?
Will sorrow be avenged?
Faith calls to the lonely
Grieve no more
Believe your time has come
Ireland, lovely home of the ancients
Poets, mystics, souls burned with pain
Cry out! Thy God will deliver
Rise up! for the least of you
will become a mighty fortress
Pain comes before Glory
Tears pave the way for Joy
No more the exile
Contentment is home
CARA IRISH PENPALS SUCCESS STORY
May I congratulate you, once more, on an
exceptional newsletter. I especially enjoyed the
two stories of penpals who had met and corresponded
through Cara. Imagine, you being responsible in
part, for true love! I too have a wonderful Irish
penpal. She lives in Cork, where my ancestors came
from. She is like a daughter to me and we have
kept in touch for well over a year now. I live in
Canada myself but have been to Ireland once and
just loved the country and its people. I am so
grateful to have such a wonderful penpal. Her
name is Tara. She and I enjoy the gift of a good
sense of humor. We have fun trying to make each
other laugh! We share many of our thoughts and
feelings with each other. Thanks to Cara penpals,
you help to create some wonderful friendships.
You can join Cara Irish Penpals for free here:
RETIRING IN IRELAND
It is a well known fact that if you ask an Irish
man or woman where they are from, they will tell
you where they were born! The fact that they
haven't lived in that place for most of their
lives, indeed the fact that they haven't lived
in Ireland for most of their lives is, to them,
irrelevant. They seem to have mastered the art
of 'living in two places at once' as the Irish
psychologist Maureen Gaffney says. And it was the
fervent wish of every Irish emigrant to return
to live in Ireland.
An ever increasing number of people are opting to
spend their retirement in Ireland, and not all of
them have any family connections here. They may
give many reasons for this - the relaxed pace of
life in many parts of this country (particularly
away from the cities and large towns), the low
crime rate in the more rural areas, and the fact
that it is cheaper to live in Ireland with a
fixed income for many of them.
These are valid and prudent considerations when
contemplating a move to retire to Ireland, but
there are other important considerations which
must be taken into account as well. Most people
who work outside the home have up to 80% of
their acquaintances there and on retirement these
will disappear - a fact that may cause us great
joy! The other 20% are family, close friends and
the people we interact with in our social life.
Before you move permanently, ask yourself the
* How often will you see family again?
* Will you miss too many of the great family
* Will your grandchildren have children of their
own by the time you return or meet them again?
* How good are you at making friends? We Irish
have a reputation for being friendly, but
there's a big difference in being friendly and
* Do you know anyone in Ireland - other than
If you hesitate about the answers to any of these
questions, you must be careful about making a
permanent move. TRY IT OUT FOR SIX MONTHS FIRST.
Then if everything is working out, make the move
permanent, if not, think again. Many people who
transfer to Ireland do so for the better months
- April to October - and change to warmer
climates for winter months.
Here are some important considerations you have
to take account of in making your decision:
As far as the Irish government is concerned, you
can hold dual citizenship if you wish. However,
your own government may take a different view so
it is vital that you check with them before you
do anything to start the process of taking out
Irish Citizenship. You would not want to lose
your own citizenship in the process.
What are the benefits of taking out Irish
* You can vote in all Irish elections and
Referenda, i.e. Presidential elections, various
referenda, elections to the Dail - the Irish
parliament - to the European parliament and in
local government elections.
* You have all the privileges enshrined in the
Constitution and all the duties of citizens
listed there and in law.
* You can have virtually unrestricted travel to
any part of the world - the Irish government
places no obstacles in the travel plans of its
citizens so much so that you will probably bump
into an Irish person in the most unlikely places.
No one likes paying taxes, but just like the
weather they are always with us. Details of the
treatment of people residing in Ireland and their
tax liability are covered in 'Leaflet RES 1' from
the Revenue Commissioners, at +353 1 8780100.
The following conditions apply to you if you set
up residence permanently in Ireland:
* All income arising from sources in Ireland
except for certain exempt government stocks is
liable to Irish income tax.
* No part of a visitor's income from sources
outside Ireland is subject to income tax unless
that person is deemed to be resident in Ireland,
i.e. they spend 183 days in the State in a tax
year or 280 days in the State, combining the
number of days in the current tax year and the
preceding tax year. The tax year starts on 1st
January each year.
* You would do well to consult an accountant or
a lawyer versed in tax law if you feel you might
have problems with this. This would be
particularly important in the area of inheritance
* Ireland operates a double taxation agreement
with many countries and you will receive a tax
credit on the tax paid in your country of origin
when calculating your tax liability in Ireland.
You should have proof of the tax deducted from
your country of origin.
Most of us will live on pensions of one sort or
another when we reach retirement age. Most
countries allow their citizens to transfer their
pensions to where they are living. Company
pensions can normally be paid into a bank and
transferred to you without any trouble.
Social Security pensions from the USA will suffer
a 15% withholding tax from the IRS, but can be
paid outside the USA. Just give three to six
months' notice of your intention to move.
If you are entitled to a Social Security pension
from Australia, you can have it paid in Ireland.
The pensions are distributed from England to
addresses all over Europe and are posted on a
If you are entitled to a pension from Veterans
Affairs it must be paid into an Australian bank
first, and then transferred. PAYE ('Pay As You
Earn tax') will be deducted at source on all
Ireland has reciprocal agreements with several
countries including Austria, Canada, Australia
and the United States. These agreements protect
the pension entitlements of Irish people who go
to work in these countries and they protect people
from those countries who work in Ireland. They
cover pensions only, i.e., Old Age Contributory
Pension, Retirement Pension, Invalidity Pension
and the Widowed Person's Contributory Pensions.
They allow periods of insurance and or residence
which were completed in one country to be taken
into account by the other country so that the
worker may qualify for a pension. It is even
possible for some people to qualify for payments
from both countries at the same time.
The good news is that if you do qualify for a
payment under any of these Social Security schemes,
you may also qualify for the following free
benefits in Ireland from the Irish Department
of Social, Community and Family Affairs when
the pensioner reaches age 66:
* Free electricity allowance (1500 units per year)
or you can opt for an equivalent Natural Gas
Allowance or a Bottled Gas Refill allowance
* Free Television licence
* Telephone Rental Allowance
* Fuel Allowance
* Free Travel (open to everyone resident in
Ireland...see explanation below)
For these you must be residing permanently in
Ireland and fulfil the conditions. For further
information and to see if you would qualify write
to: International Operations Section, Department
of Social, Community & Family Affairs, Floor 1,
O'Connell Bridge House, D'Olier Street, Dublin 1,
Telephone: ++353 1 874 8444
Free travel: Everyone residing in Ireland is
entitled to Free Travel within the state if they
are over the age of 66. It entitles you to travel,
without charge, on all the trains and buses of
the state transport companies. Some private bus
operators are also involved in the scheme. There
are some restrictions. You must use the commuter
buses and trains outside rush hour times and
during specific hours. One downside - if you live
in a remote area there may be no bus/train
available to you. Application forms are available
from post offices or local Social Welfare Services
offices. One other benefit of the Free Travel Pass
is that you can use it for reduced entry charges
to race meetings, cinemas and theatres on
specified occasions. Always ask!
REGISTERING WITH THE ALIENS OFFICE
If you are a citizen of Ireland you do not have
to register. If you were able to obtain Irish
Citizenship because either you, one of your
parents, or one of your grandparents was born on
the island of Ireland before 1921, or in the
Republic of Ireland if born after 1921,
(great-grandparents no longer count since the law
was changed in 1984), but your spouse does not
qualify, then it will take your spouse some years,
before he or she can apply to become a citizen.
If you are not an Irish citizen then you must
register during office hours with the Aliens
Office, Harcourt Square, Dublin 2, if you are
living in Dublin. If you are living outside
Dublin you must register with the local Garda
Station. You must register after three months
to seek permission to stay longer, then on a
Can I hire a car in Ireland? Yes, if you are
under 75 years of age. If you are older you will
not be able to buy car insurance and will be
unable to drive legally. Remember to bring an
International Driving licence with you.
Can I bring my dog or other pet with me? Yes, but
it will be subject to six months quarantine at
your expense). There are no exceptions and if you
arrive without the necessary arrangements made,
you will be sent back at your own expense.
Recently a lady made arrangements to set up a
private quarantine kennel near her own home for
her dog, but it was costly. You must contact the
Department of Agriculture, Kildare Street, Dublin 2
before you arrive, to find out the necessary
requirements and obtain a licence to bring the
animal into the country. The reason for the
strictness on pets is that Ireland and the
United Kingdom are free of rabies. The U.K. has
introduced a Pet Passport scheme but there is no
such scheme in Ireland currently.
Can I get free medical attention in Ireland? The
short answer is yes. Emergency treatment is free
after payment of an initial hospital charge of
EURO 30 in all hospitals; however, non emergency
treatment could mean a very long wait, sometimes
months. Private medical insurance is a virtual
If you have medical insurance now, check if you
can transfer it to one of the health care insurers
in Ireland (VHI or BUPA). VHI (the Voluntary Health
Insurance board - a semi-state company) will
continue to give you medical cover after the age of
65 (there is no upper age limit for EXISTING
subscribers), but will not take on NEW members if
they are aged 65 or over. BUPA International - the
other main medical insurer operating in Ireland -
has similar conditions.
Normally you pay for all visits to your doctor,
and for all prescribed drugs. But if your total
income is modest, and you are residing permanently
in Ireland, then you may qualify for a medical
card which will entitle you to free medical
treatment in Ireland. This means you would not have
to pay for any prescribed drug, visit to a doctor
on the medical card panel, or a consultant's public
hospital clinic. Contact the Health Board in your
area to learn the current earnings limits and for
an application form. If you come to Ireland from
another European Union (EU) country, and have a
Social Security pension from that country, you
will receive a medical card as of right.
Perhaps the greatest challenge you will encounter
when considering your retirement in Ireland is where
to live! The huge increases in the cost of property
over the last decade has been well documented with
most properties more than doubling in value over
that time. Some have trebled or even more in value.
If you intend to live in a city, especially Dublin,
then be prepared to pay at least EURO 250,000 for
a 3 bedroom house. Prices decrease and value for
money increases greatly the further into the
countryside you are willing to travel. It is still
possible to buy 'fixer-upper' bungalows and cottages
for EURO 100,000 or less.
The poor performance of the EURO versus the US
Dollar and other currencies has recently been of
great advantage to foreign people wanting to buy
property in Ireland. This trend has been bucked in
recent times with the EURO enjoying parity with
the US Dollar. The exchange rate changes on a
daily basis and by the time you do decide to move
the pendulum may have swung back the other way! One
advantage of the EURO is that it can be used in
France, Germany, Spain and other European countries
without having to visit a bank first and pay those
annoying Bureau de Change charges!
If you intend to rent accommodation then stick to
your budget. Renting a modest 3-bedroom house in
Dublin can cost EURO 1200 per month or more
depending on the area. Renting the same house but
1 hour outside the city can cost EURO 450 or less!
This article has been adapted from an article
written by Hilary Shannon for the 'Inside Ireland'
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ABOUT SAINT PATRICK'S DAY
by Patricia Donovan Dunlap
This was written by Mai O'Higgins. I thought you
might like to use it in your St. Pats day edition.
It says it all.
Patricia Donovan Dunlap
On this day it is music, not the music of marching
bands but the deep music in tune with countless
generations that only an Irish heart will know.
It is to live the history of our ancient race
between a dawn and a dawn.
The wrongs, the hurts, the joy, the victory.
It is the heart and hand reaching out across the
world in joyful harmony on St. Patrick's Day to
Is to know more glory, magic, gratitude than any
other man can experience in a lifetime.
It is to walk in mystic understanding with God
and Patrick for twenty four wonderful hours.
GAELIC PHRASES OF THE MONTH
PHRASE: Beannachtai na Feile Padraig
PRONOUNCED: bann/ockt/tee nih fail/eh pawd/rig
MEANING: Happy Saint Patrick's Day
PHRASE: Siochan leat
PRONOUNCED: shee/oh/con lat
MEANING: Peace be with you
PHRASE: Slán agus beannacht leat
PRONOUNCED: slawn og/us ban/ockt lat
MEANING: Goodbye and blessings on you
MARCH 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 prize, and well
done! Remember that all subscribers to this
newsletter are automatically entered into the
competition every time.
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I hope that you have enjoyed this issue.
Until next time,
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