IN THIS ISSUE
~~~ Keep us Free!
~~~ News Snaps from Ireland
~~~ New Free Resources at the Site
~~~ Inspired by Magic by Jade Fire
~~~ Ned Devine and the Irish Draw
~~~ Cara Irish Penpals News
~~~ Irish Halloween Traditions
~~~ Gaelic Phrases of the Month
~~~ Monthly free competition result
Hello again from Ireland where winter has hit hard!
The talk here is of the Nice Treaty which will
allow 10 more countries to join the European Union.
There sure are interesting times ahead!
There is a free screensaver to download this month,
a US$8 value, so make sure you grab it soon.
Until next time, HAPPY HALLOWEEN!
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NEWS SNAPS FROM IRELAND
CATHOLIC CHURCH IN IRELAND IN CRISIS
Revelations made on an RTE television programme
that the Church faces over 450 claims by
victims of child abuse have rocked the Catholic
Church in Ireland. The claim that Cardinal
Connell knew of the abuse being committed by
some of his clergy but did nothing more than
transfer the abusing priests from one parish to
another has led to calls for his resignation.
The State is to conduct a full enquiry into the
matter which may result in charges being made
against church officials. The Minister for
Justice has made it clear that State law is
superior to Church law.
The Irish Survivors of Child Abuse is trying to
get an injunction against the Church to prevent
them from disposing of their assets prior to any
civil claim being made against the Church. The
organiser of ISCA has claimed that there is
evidence from other countries that the Catholic
Church moved its assets abroad as soon as
litigation against them became inevitable.
EUROPEAN UNION NICE TREATY IS PASSED
The French town of Nice was the venue for the
meetings to discuss the enlargement of Europe and
the reorganisation of the European Union (the EU).
All of the other member states of the EU had
ratified the Treaty of Nice by 2001 but the Irish
electorate rejected the treaty last year amid
voter apathy and confusion about the issues.
The second referendum just completed has seen the
Treaty passed by 63% to 37%. This paves the way
for Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary,
Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, and
Slovenia to be admitted to the EU, commencing
The proposed addition of the new countries to the
EU is not without its problems. The Russian
enclave of Kaliningrad will be isolated from the
rest of Russia should Lithuania and Poland be
admitted. Citizens travelling from that territory
may need Visas to travel the short distance back
to Russia. The island of Cyprus is divided and has
been the subject of conflict between Turkey and
Greece for decades. Turkey has already expressed
an interest in joining the EU and has recently
removed the death sentence from its law books in
an effort to improve its poor human rights image.
Ireland is set to become a contributor to the EU
instead of a beneficiary which may have some
short term financial downsides. However, the
expansion of the free market by millions of
people is seen as a balancing financial
opportunity for those countries who are willing
to fully engage in the European Union experience.
NORTHERN IRELAND PEACE PROCESS NEARS COLLAPSE
The Northern Ireland Assembly has again been
suspended and direct rule imposed from London.
Despite the recent decommissioning of weapons
by the IRA the Ulster Unionist party, led by
David Trimble, has insisted that the IRA
completely disband before it will continue its
power-sharing arrangement with Sinn Fein and
the SDLP nationalist parties.
The disbandment of the IRA is very unlikely to
happen so it appears that new elections to the
Northern Ireland Assembly will be called. It
remains to be seen if the representatives of
any newly elected Assembly will take their
seats or if the new Assembly would again be
suspended, perhaps bringing an end to the
'Good Friday' Peace Process.
IRISH GOVERNMENT CONTINUES SELLAFIELD CLOSURE BID
The British government has accused the Irish
government of attempting to cause public alarm by
its statements regarding Sellafield. The Nuclear
facility in Cumbria in England is seen as a
potential terrorist target but, the British
Government has claimed, is less likely to be a
target for terrorists who want to build a nuclear
device because of the nature of the Plutonium
Ireland is taking legal action to try to force
the British government to hand over documents
which it considers are vital in its efforts to
close Sellfaield and which have so far been
AER LINGUS BOUNCES BACK
Aer Lingus, the national Irish airline, is on the
road to recovery after its recent difficult year
and has announced that it is to restart its
flights to Baltimore/Washington from Dublin and
Shannon from next March, having shelved the
routes in the wake of global uncertainty
The company may well become a hot target for a
sell-off by the Government if it's situation
continues to improve.
COMPENSATION DISEASE STRIKES
Recent reports have shown that, after America,
Ireland is the country whose citizens are most
likely to sue given the slightest opportunity.
The outbreak of Foot and Mouth disease last
year resulted in airports, ferries and train
stations placing disinfectant mats outside
their premises in an effort to prevent the
spread of the disease.
A new disease has taken the place of Foot and
Mouth disease however - Foot and Mat disease!
So far twelve Irish citizens have made claims
against the State resulting from trips and
falls made in or around the disinfectant mats.
The willingness of the Irish to sue is a cause
of great concern for the government who are
trying to crack down on those who make false
claims, and who raise the cost of insurance
for everyone else as a consequence.
One Limerick family have no less than 16
different family members who are involved in
claims against various State agencies. It is
the main source of income for the family. An
official in one such office that is being sued
by this family, for the umpteenth time, has
suggested that the family does not need a
solicitor but in fact would be better served
by an exorcist, given their propensity to be
victims of an accident!
The Government is setting up an independent board
to assess personal injury compensation claims.
Under the new plans, if a claimant exaggerates
their claim then they will lose all of their
entitlements to compensation and possibly face a
prison term of up to 5 years.
NATIONAL STADIUM MAY GO AHEAD
The national stadium which the Government
recently withdrew funding from may go ahead after
all as 23 'expressions of interest' to build the
stadium have been received by the Government from
the private sector.
Ireland is preparing a joint bid with Scotland
to host the 2008 European Soccer Championships
and the final decision by UEFA to award the
championships is to be reached in December. The
provision of a new stadium is seen as crucial
although the Government is still trying to
persuade the GAA to allow Croke Park to be used
on a once-off basis.
SPORT: EUROPE REGAINS THE RYDER CUP
Golf's premier team event was landed by the
unfancied Europeans by 15.5 to 12.5 recently with
Ireland's very own Paul McGinley sinking the putt
that clinched the cup. A dip in the lake beside
the eighteenth green on the Belfry course was in
order afterwards for the affable Irishman but
only after the result was certain.
Unlike the last time, there were no repeats of the
disgraceful scenes when supporters ran onto the
green before the event was concluded. Curtis
Strange, the US captain, was generous in defeat.
Sam Torrance has since declared that he will not
be captaining Europe the next time out as his
charges attempt to retain the trophy. The Ryder
Cup takes place in the K-club in Ireland in 2005.
SPORT: IRISH SOCCER TEAM SUFFERS SUCCESSIVE DEFEATS
Mick McCarthy's Irish soccer team have suffered a
major World Cup hangover as they lost 4-2 to Russia
in Moscow and 2-1 to Switzerland in Dublin to make
qualification for Portugal 2004 a very difficult
Inevitably there were calls for Mick McCarthy to
resign, despite the fact that he has just lead the
team to the World Cup finals in Japan and Korea,
only exiting the competition on penalties to Spain
in the last 16 stage.
Voice your opinion on these news issues here:
NEW FREE RESOURCES AT THE SITE
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:
B: Breheny, O'Boyle,
View the Gallery here:
Visit our new site where you can view thousands of
family crests from around the world:
We now have over 20,000 worldwide names available.
Get the Coat of Arms Print, Claddagh Ring,
Screensaver, Watch, T-Shirt Transfer or Clock for
your name at:
Download our 'Irish Authors from the Past'
Screensaver for free! This screensaver was
previously offered for US$8 at our website but
you can get it for free until the end of October
INSPIRED BY MAGIC by Jade Fire
Like most young Americans, I have seen my fair
share of movies and have been caught up in the
story that the writer weaves through pictures.
When I saw the film, 'The Matchmaker with David
O'Hara and Jeanne Garofolo, not only did I enjoy
the story but I seemed caught fast by the beauty
and magic of Ireland.
I watched the movie many times until I purchased
my own copy. I found myself checking the planes
fares, inquiring about accommodation, looking at
train and bus schedules but never actually booking
anything. The dream of actually going seemed as
far away as my home in southern California was to
Ireland and being a college student made it seem
even farther away.
By some odd twist of luck, I came into a small sum
of money and I decided to take the plunge and
actually go on holiday to Ireland. It happened to
be September of last year that I made this
decision that would forever leave an impression on
both my spirit and heart, I purchased my plane
tickets and my younger brother and I were set.
A week later September 11th happened and my family
tried to persuade me and my brother not to go but
there was just something pulling me to Ireland that
I couldn't ignore. It was the history and most of
all the magic that ensnared me. Being from the land
of perpetual sun and beaches, people thought that
we were totally crazy to go to Ireland in the
middle of winter and arriving to temperatures in
the low 30s I was beginning to think I was crazy
We arrived at our accommodation at the B&B in
Ballyconneely in the late evening from Galway City
and when I awoke the next morning, I really thought
I was dreaming because the scene outside my window
could only be the product of a dream and was far
removed from anything that looked like the reality
of my normal life.
The magic once again astounded me. We spent a
short but wonderful 8 days in County Galway,
visiting Clifden, Roundstone and Galway City.
Everyday since then I dream of being back again in
Ireland, seeing the great people and taking in the
beauty of the country. Someday I will go back to
the place that has become such a fixed point in my
heart, I will once again feel like I'm home when
home is really thousands of miles away to the west
and until then I'll keep my memories close at hand
and never far from my thoughts.
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CARA IRISH PENPALS NEWS
We have added a new feature that enables you to
indicate if you are interested in a possible
relationship or marriage. Log-in to your Control
Panel to find out how! Become an upgraded member
and get 6 screensavers absolutely free!
The following CARA Irish Penpals are among those
who upgraded their membership this month:
Name: David (full name available at website)
City, Country: Dublin, Ireland
Interests: I enjoy going for a drink with friends,
the cinema, going to a show or Sometimes just
doing the simple things in life such as walks
along a beach or in the countryside, I value
family and friends.
Message: I am a happy - easygoing person, I am
hoping to meet a nice down to earth girl who
appreciates, and values good friendship....
Name: Marguerite (full name available at website)
City, Country: Cork, Ireland
Interests: Holistic living, spiritual growth,
walking, wining & dining, music & dancing
Message: I am interested in communicating with
someone with similar interests
Name: John (full name available at website)
City, Country: Monterey, CA, USA
Interests: Dancing, travel to Lourdes, visiting
churches, family , some bridge, cosy nights in.
Message: I would love to correspond with a
mature lady with a view to companionship or
Name: Cheryl (full name available at the website)
City, Country: New Freedom, USA
Interests: Outdoors, gardening, music, cooking,
Message: I am interested in chatting with people
all over the world with the same interests for
friendship or possibly more.
Looking for a penpal to communicate with, either
by email or 'snail-mail'? If you are then the
first thing you need to do is to sign up for
our FREE penpal service at:
IRISH HALLOWEEN TRADITIONS
The Celts celebrated Halloween as Samhain, 'All
Hallowtide' - the 'Feast of the Dead', when the
dead revisited the mortal world. The celebration
marked the end of Summer and the start of the
During the eighth century the Catholic Church
designated the first day of November as 'All
Saints Day' ('All Hallows') - a day of
commemoration for those Saints that did not have
a specific day of remembrance. The night before
was known as 'All Hallows Eve' which, over time,
became known as Halloween.
Here are the most notable Irish Halloween
Colcannon for Dinner: Boiled Potato, Curly Kale
(a cabbage) and raw Onions are provided as the
traditional Irish Halloween dinner. Clean coins
are wrapped in baking paper and placed in the
potato for children to find and keep.
The Barnbrack Cake: The traditional Halloween
cake in Ireland is the barnbrack which is a
fruit bread. Each member of the family gets a
slice. Great interest is taken in the outcome as
there is a piece of rag, a coin and a ring in
each cake. If you get the rag then your financial
future is doubtful. If you get the coin then you
can look forward to a prosperous year. Getting
the ring is a sure sign of impending romance
or continued happiness.
The Ivy Leaf: Each member of the family places a
perfect ivy leaf into a cup of water and it is
then left undisturbed overnight. If, in the
morning, a leaf is still perfect and has not
developed any spots then the person who placed the
leaf in the cup can be sure of 12 months health
until the following Halloween. If not.....
The Pumpkin: Carving Pumpkins dates back to the
eighteenth century and to an Irish blacksmith
named Jack who colluded with the Devil and was
denied entry to Heaven. He was condemned to
wander the earth but asked the Devil for some
light. He was given a burning coal ember which he
placed inside a turnip that he had gouged out.
Thus, the tradition of Jack O'Lanterns was born
- the bearer being the wandering blacksmith - a
damned soul. Villagers in Ireland hoped that the
lantern in their window would keep the wanderer
away. When the Irish emigrated in their millions
to America there was not a great supply of turnips
so pumpkins were used instead.
Halloween Costumes: On Halloween night children
would dress up in scary costumes and go house to
house. 'Help the Halloween Party' and 'Trick or
Treat' were the cries to be heard at each door.
This tradition of wearing costumes also dates back
to Celtic times. On the special night when the
living and the dead were at their closest the
Celtic Druids would dress up in elaborate costumes
to disguise themselves as spirits and devils in
case they encountered other devils and spirits
during the night. By disguising they hoped that
they would be able to avoid being carried away at
the end of the night. This explains why witches,
goblins and ghosts remain the most popular
choices for the costumes.
Snap Apple: After the visits to the neighbours the
Halloween games begin, the most popular of which
is Snap Apple. An apple is suspended from a string
and children are blindfolded. The first child to
get a decent bite of the apple gets to keep their
prize. The same game can be played by placing
apples in a basin of water and trying to get a
grip on the apple without too much mess!
The Bonfire: The Halloween bonfire is a tradition
to encourage dreams of who your future husband or
wife is going to be. The idea was to drop a
cutting of your hair into the burning embers and
then dream of you future loved one. Halloween was
one of the Celt 'fire' celebrations.
Blind Date: Blindfolded local girls would go out
into the fields and pull up the first cabbage they
could find. If their cabbage had a substantial
amount of earth attached to the roots then their
future loved one would have money. Eating the
cabbage would reveal the nature of their future
husband - bitter or sweet!
Another way of finding your future spouse is to
peel an apple in one go. If done successfully the
single apple peel could be dropped on the floor
to reveal the initials of the future-intended.
Anti-Fairy Measures: Fairies and goblins try to
collect as many souls as they can at Halloween but
if they met a person who threw the dust from under
their feet at the Fairy then they would be obliged
to release any souls that they held captive.
Holy water was sometimes anointed on farm animals
to keep them safe during the night. If the animals
were showing signs of ill health on All Hallows
Eve then they would be spat on to try to ward off
any evil spirits.
Happy Halloween from Ireland!
THE PERFECT CHRISTMAS GIFT
Claddagh Chains, Rings and Crosses - see here:
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GAELIC PHRASES OF THE MONTH
PHRASE: Go hifreann leat!
PRONOUNCED: guh hiff-irr-in lat
MEANING: To hell with you!
PHRASE: Go dtachta an diabhal tu!
PRONOUNCED: guh dock-tah on dee-veal two
MEANING: May the devil choke you!
PHRASE: Imigh sa diabhal!
PRONOUNCED: im-ihh sah dee-veal
MEANING: Go to the devil!
View the archive of phrases here:
OCTOBER 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.
I hope that you have enjoyed this issue.
Please keep the feedback coming!
Until the next time,
The Information about Ireland Site.
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