Culture & Reference
Lough Corrib in Galway image from Free Photos Of Ireland
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Hello again from Ireland where the talk is all about Irish boxer Katie Taylor and her exploits at Madison Square Garden in New York - see the news articles below.
This month we have a short story that anyone who has ever attended an Irish school in the 50's, 60's or 70's can definitely relate too. We also feature some timely quotes for Father's Day, which is nearly upon us.
If you have an article or story you would like to share then please do send it in.
Until next time,
P.S. Please Do Forward this Newsletter to a friend or relative. If you have a website or Facebook page or Blog (or whatever!) then you can help us out by putting a link on it to our website: www.ireland-information.com
Ireland's premier sports-person, Katie Taylor, has reinforced her status as the dominant force in women's boxing by unifying four world titles.
Her narrow victory over the Belgian Delfine Persoon was not without controversy however, with some commentators and experienced boxers proclaiming that the verdict should not have gone to the Irish boxer and that the Belgian actually won the fight. The judges scorecards illustrated the narrowness of the Bray boxers victory, scoring the fight as 95-95, 96-94, 96-94.
Already there is talk of a re-match with Katie Taylor herself describing a repeat fight as inevitable.
For now though, Katie Taylor is being widely lauded as the undisputed four-belt world champion in the lightweight division.
Latest figures from the Irish Central Statistics Office (CSO) have revealed that the current unemployment rate in the country is 4.4%.
This is a full 11.5% less than the 15.9% that was recorded when the country was on its knees after the 2009 financial collapse. The average unemployment rate in the Eurozone is 7.6%.
The dramatic fall in the rate of unemployment is another sign that the Irish economy is in a very good place, despite persistent rain-clouds hovering, including the accommodation rental crisis, the huge property price increases, shortage of skilled staff in certain fields, and the never-ending uncertainty surrounding Brexit.
Despite a big upsurge in support for 'Green Party' candidates in the recent Local and European Elections, Ireland is still failing to meet its targets vis-a-vis reducing carbon emissions.
The recent wave of support for environmentally aware candidates in the national elections took many commentators by surprise, especially as the Green Party were all but wiped out in the 2011 General Election. The Party had been in coalition with Fianna Fail who were also pummeled in that national vote with the public blaming both parties for the financial crash that had enveloped the country.
Environmental matters are very much in vogue at the moment but it remains to be seen if support for the Greens extends to potential increases in taxes to fund the Green agenda.
A report by the Irish Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has revealed that the current plans by the Irish Government are simply insufficient to enable Ireland to meet its obligations under EU agreements. The European Union has agreed a target reduction of 20% reduction of the greenhouse gas emissions of the year 2005 by 2020. The EPA reports that Irish reductions may only reach 6% and not 20%.
Agriculture and transport are reported to be the largest polluters in Ireland, which is a huge problem given the economic reliance that the country has on agriculture in particular.
FIND YOUR NAME IN OUR
GALLERY OF IRISH COATS OF ARMS
May you die in bed at 95, shot by a jealous wife!
An Old Irish Toast
My father had a profound influence on me. He was a lunatic.
Spike Milligan (Irish Comedian)
No man ever wore a cravat as nice, as his own child's arm around his neck.
You've got to do your own growing, no matter how tall your father was
Old Irish Saying
Fathers are biological necessities, but social accidents.
Margaret Mead (US Anthropologist)
Having children is like living in a frat house - nobody sleeps, everything's broken, and there's a lot of throwing up.
Ray Romano (US Comedian)
I have always had the feeling I could do anything and my dad told me I could. I was in college before I found out he might be wrong.
Ann Richards (45th Governor of Texas)
There should be a children's song 'If you’re happy and you know it, keep it to yourself and let your dad sleep'.
Jim Gaffigan (US Comedian)
The place of the father in the modern suburban family is a very small one, particularly if he plays golf.
Bertrand Russell (British Philosopher)
To be a successful father there's one absolute rule: when you have a kid, don't look at it for the first two years.
Ernest Hemingway (Writer)
The older I get, the smarter my father seems to get.
Tim Russert (US Broadcaster)
When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.
Mark Twain (Writer)
There is no such thing as fun for the whole family.
Jerry Seinfeld (Comedian)
Forget about surviving 40 years in the music business. Just surviving 27 years of Nicole Richie has been a struggle-and-a-half, I want to tell you. I stand here as a survivor, I want you to know, for all the parents out there.
Lionel Richie (US Singer)
My father was a statesman; I'm a political woman. My father was a saint. I'm not.
Indira Gandhi (Third Prime Minister of India)
A good father is one of the most unsung, unpraised, unnoticed, and yet one of the most valuable assets in our society.
Billy Graham (Evangelist)
You don't have to deserve your mother's love. You have to deserve your father's. He's more particular.
Robert Frost (Poet)
My father always used to say that when you die, if you've got five real friends, then you've had a great life.
Lee Iacocca (US Businessman)
A king, realizing his incompetence, can either delegate or abdicate his duties. A father can do neither. If only sons could see the paradox... they would understand the dilemma.
Marlene Dietrich (Actress)
A father is a man who expects his children to be as good as he meant to be.
Fatherhood is great because you can ruin someone from scratch.
Jon Stewart (US Broadcaster)
I have found the best way to give advice to your children is to find out what they want and then advise them to do it.
Harry S. Truman (33rd President of the United States)
A father carries pictures where his money used to be.
find out more
by Shaun Ivory
Dermot McCann sneaked another look, fascinated by the way the slight wavy bits in the old glass pane made the hills – purple and blue in the distance – shift and ripple with the merest head movement.
The chalk dust trapped in the afternoon sunlight seemed to shiver in time to the chant of next door's multiplication tables. But he knew it was really the headmaster, Slugger Sullivan, beating his hand against the supply cupboard. A cough from behind the copy of the Irish Times made him remember where he was and he sighed, returned to his exercise book. He was good at most subjects; geography, arithmetic, history, English, his catechism and the six precepts of the church. But Irish translation was beyond him, he just couldn't get the hang of it. And at home his Da was no help.
'Irish, is it? I tell ye, it's a waste o' time...total! A dead language, like Latin, but at least there the doctors have some use for it – even if it's on'y to baffle the patients, haw!'
His Mam would mildly chip in, as always, trying not to upset one by denying the other.
'Leave the boy alone, Daddy, he has his work to do, just like you.'
Da would sniff, then wink at him before going back to the racing paper.
He slowly turned the pages of his exercise book, counting how many in Exercise Six: Donachie's Dog. Oh, Janey Mack, four of them! I'll never get through this lot before the bell. What's the stupid animal got up to this time? He began laboriously to pick at the words, doubly difficult for him after a late night spent under the bedclothes following the adventures of Jimmy and his Magic Patch or The Shipwrecked Circus.
...chuir se dhe...he made off...brog...that's shoe...oh, the eejit, I think I can guess the rest. He began laboriously to scratch away with his nib.
The loud, hypnotic TICK of the clock lulled his unwilling senses once more, the same clock whose pendulum Mashie Reilly had so hilariously stopped once with a paper pellet from his finger catapult until the teacher announced that '...as time now stands still we can all remain here until the culprit or some divine power intervenes to restart it.'
The hills drew him back, as they always did, seeming to recede if you stared too hard. The old lead mine with its ruined smelter chimney was up there, derelict and deadly dangerous, as they were forever being warned. Last used in the nineteenth century, with great hardship and sometimes loss of life, there wasn't even one family member in the whole town who could claim a descendant now. Maybe they were too ashamed, for the terrible illness that ruined their lungs and drove some people mad, they said. It must have been their own fault, they would whisper in the snug of Donegan's Bar, his Da said, when the ould Biddys crouched over their port and lemons. It baffled him. How the heavy soft metal that made such colourful toy soldiers and kept the rain from coming through the church roof could do that sort of thing was beyond him but he believed what the old people said.
But where else could you pretend you were on the trail of Blackbeard's treasure, with its echoing tunnels and crumbling walls? He dreaded the thought of maybe having to sit in a different seat next week and not be able to see that far horizon, shimmering in the distance like some mirage from his favourite book, Beau Geste.
Beeswax O'Hair – who had precious little of it and what there was only a sort of gingery colour and always smarmed down with something his Da called pomade – had this notion that if they all changed places every week it would equip them better for the ‘vicissitudes of life'... whatever that was. Nobody ever had the nerve to ask him... even if they could say it without tripping over their tongue.
His Da scoffed at this one, saying a person should '...always know his place in the scheme o' things, be it life, work or wimmin, and not be forever driftin' around like bits o' flotsam an' jetsam.' The bit about women got Mam really angry till even his Da gave in with a mumbled apology. But he winked at the boy as he went over to the Sunday Express wall map of Europe, there to move some flags with swastikas and Union Jacks from one place to another.
This got his Mam going again.
'When that ungodly war is over that eyesore will go in the dustbin where it belongs and all those pinholes in my best anaglypta filled in by you-know-who!'
He loved his Da. His Da could fix anything, make anything. He would sit and watch as he mended their shoes; after soaking the leather to soften it, then tracing the sole and cutting the correct shape before nailing it on – all the while talking with a mouthful of nails. And fretwork! He could hardly wait till the weekly magazine arrived with the latest pattern, always hoping it would be a sailing ship or an aeroplane but more usually a farmyard scene. Then his Da would get out his pipe, study the plan before placing the plywood on the jig and starting with his amazing little saw, carefully following each curling line. Or maybe a letter rack that actually said LETTERS when he'd finished. Not that they got that much through the post but still...
Frankie Loveridge, the itinerant who arrived each summer season with his family to plague the tourists, hissed at him but the boy tried to ignore it. He was always getting the others in trouble whilst somehow avoiding it himself, with his ideas and wonders – like the ‘world's largest ladybird' he brought in for a bet that turned out to be actually a painted dung beetle. Or the ‘Mexican Jumping Bean' made out of silver paper and ball bearings.
Frankie leaned over and nudged him. 'Look, Sean, this is how they useta make fire in the ould days,' he whispered. He had some cotton wool in a matchbox and was chipping at a piece of flint with a horseshoe nail. His grunted efforts alerted Squibbles Murphy, who twisted round and grinned. To Squibbles everything was great gas.
'Hey, Frankie, d'ye wanta match, haw?'
'Please, sir, someone's spit in me inkwell an'- an' me copybook's all –'
'Oh, go and get another from the cupboard, you stupid boy!'
Beeswax signaled his displeasure by elaborately opening and closing the newspaper pages with a great flapping sound... just like the sails in ‘The Sea Hawk' when Errol Flynn tells the crew to ‘bring her about, lads, and we'll give them a taste of their own medicine.'
They all tittered at the antics of Paudge Farrell but it wasn't enough to keep them from Donachie's Dog for long. The scratching of pen nibs sounded like an army of pigeons working their way through a stubbled wheat field. The boy went back to his exercise. The dopey thing's gone and knocked over a buttermilk churn now. The farmer who would put up with such an omadawn of a dog deserves to lose his buttermilk. Why can't they make it more interesting... maybe about Hopalong Cassidy or The Cisco Kid. Everybody at the Saturday matinee lapped them up.
I wonder what Mam will have for my tea? Hope it's soda bread anyhow, with lashings of salty butter. It was the best part of the day, running in from school, out of the bright sun and into the warm, smelly dimness of their back kitchen. She would always be there, nearly invisible in her dark clothes and head bent over the table, her flour-dusted forearms ghostly white as she kneaded and rolled the dough. But then she would look up and smile, tired but happy to see him home safely.
Y'know, if I squint ju-u-ust so, them hills –
The boy looked up in alarm. Beeswax was standing over him, the smooth high brow and sneering expression looking just like the Emperor Ming in Flash Gordon except for the starched collar and black tie.
'Finished already, are we, Mister Rooney? I wasn't aware we were so proficient in our native language. Last exam we got...what...seventeen percent? Someone coaching us at home, hmm? Rooney senior, perhaps? I believe he's something to do with the council. Is that right? Been making sweeping changes, going to clean up our town, etcetera...'
The blackthorn stick, shiny with the fear-sweat of a thousand palms, slammed down on the copybook.
'What's his official title again... road sweeper?'
The boy looked away, his eyes stinging, the hurt so deep it seemed to drag him down. And the hills... he couldn't see them anymore.
The Cavan Observer
August 23, 1862
RAHILL THE ILL-DISPOSED VAGABOND
Mrs. BUCHANAN, whose nose and eyes were quite blackened by a blow from RAHILL, deposed as follows:
'On Tuesday morning I was going down to Mr. DOUGLAS's for some things, and on coming back I found RAHILL in the garden; I went up and he hid under a thorn bush in the "slough"; I threw in a stone thinking he might come out, but he abused me and called me names; the next day I was on the road when Mrs. KELLY's men were going into the garden;
RAHILL was there and 'cheered' me; he came down and said, 'how dare you go and tell your man that I took your beans and peas? I will summon you.' I told him to 'go along out of that,' and then he said he would 'double me in the shough' and struck me on the eyes.'
RAHILL called a witness to prove that Mrs. BUCHANAN threw a stone at him before he struck her. The witness, however, could not swear whether the stone was thrown before or after.
The Chairman Decided:
'I think, sir, every one in this Court has had a good specimen of your conduct during the last five minutes. You are an ill-disposed vagabond, not inclined to earn your bread by industry or honesty, but going prowling about the place.
You first trespassed upon this woman's garden; but there is no evidence to prove the larceny, if there were we should deal with you very summarily. When the woman remonstrated with you, you used ill language to her, and after that, in a cowardly manner, lifted your hand and struck her. You shall be imprisoned for one month.
View the Archive of Irish Phrases here:
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I hope that you have enjoyed this issue!
by Michael Green,
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