IN THIS ISSUE
~~~ Keep us Free!
~~~ News Snaps from Ireland
~~~ New Free Resources at the Site
~~~ A Fine Soft Morning by Peter D. Jones
~~~ How to find a Cara Irish Penpal
~~~ In Every Country by Cindy Brandner
~~~ Famous Irish Songs: Danny Boy
~~~ Gaelic Phrases of the Month
~~~ Irish Quotations of the Month
~~~ Monthly free competition result
Hello again from Ireland. I hope you enjoyed your
Saint Patrick's day. The celebrations went on for
4 days here in Ireland!
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until next month, enjoy Spring!
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NEWS SNAPS FROM IRELAND
CATHOLIC CHURCH IN CRISIS
The Catholic Church in Ireland has been left
reeling by a series of scandals that has resulted
in the resignation of a Bishop and pressure being
put on Cardinal Connell to resign.
The scandal centres on the way the Church has
dealt with clergy who are accused or convicted of
sexual abuse. The anniversary celebration of the
founding of the Christian Brothers was marked by
a demonstration outside the RDS by victims and
their supporters who are appalled at the lack of
compassion that they have been shown by their
religious leaders. The problems mirror those being
currently experienced by the Catholic Church in
America. Over 3% of all sex offenders in Ireland's
prisons are members of the clergy or of a
The effect of these scandals in recent years has
been devastating for the Church. Attendance at Mass
is at an all time low. New recruits to the
priesthood and religious orders have fallen away
dramatically. The Bishop of Killaloe, Willie Walsh,
has indicated that the closure of churches and the
reduction in the number of Masses is inevitable.
HOUSE PRICES ON THE UP AND UP AS ECONOMY RECOVERS
House prices in Ireland are again on the increase
as the recent slump in the residential market
shows signs of ending. There was never really any
doubt that house prices would resume their upward
climb as the supply of new housing is still far
below that of the demand. Annual growth so far in
2002 has been 2.6% nationally. Increases in
certain parts of the property market may even be
as much as 6% for the first quarter of the year.
The relaxation of the government tax regime for
investors as well as a recovery in the US economy
have been cited as major contributing factors to
A report by 'The Economist' magazine however has
stated that the housing market in Ireland could
collapse if house price inflation continues. House
prices in Dublin have trebled in the last 20
years. Irish mortgage holders use up 31% of all of
their income on paying their mortgage. A rise in
interest rates could have a very serious effect on
this economy the report warned. Of 13 countries
surveyed Ireland has the largest proportion of
home ownership with over 80% owning or mortgaging
their own home. In Germany the figure is less
Economic growth for 2002 is expected to reach 3%
while unemployment is expected to stabilise at
4.6%, with 158,000 people on the live register.
Growth in 2003 is expected to expand to 5%.
SHUT SELLAFIELD CAMPAIGN CONTINUES
More than 1 Million 'Shut Sellafield' postcards
have been sent to the British Prime Minister,
Tony Blair, to Prince Charles and to the head of
British Nuclear Fuels Ltd. by Irish citizens to
mark the anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster.
Sellafield is considered to be the number one
target of a possible terrorist attack on mainland
Britain. Any major problem at the Cumbria plant
could have disastrous effects for Ireland and
CRACKDOWN ON ALCOHOL ADVERTISING
New advertising rules for food and drink have
been introduced in Ireland. From now on actors in
advertisements for alcoholic drink must not only
LOOK over 25 but must actually BE over 25. Any
implication in such advertising that drinking
alcohol leads to success in business, romance
or social life has been banned also.
The crackdown on teenage drinking is continuing
with the possibility of a compulsory identity
card for under 20 years olds being discussed by
NEW LAW PASSED TO PREVENT TRESPASSING BY TRAVELLERS
A new law has been passed which makes it a criminal
offence for Travellers or any other group to move
onto privately owned lands with their caravans and
cars. Prior to the passing of this new law
trespassing was not a criminal offence but a civil
one and thus it was very easy for Traveller groups
to extort money from landowners on foot of a
promise to vacate their land.
Garda forces have repeatedly complained that their
hands have been tied in such matters despite the
huge damage caused by the travellers. In one recent
case in County Kildare a Traveller group left 75
tonnes of rubbish behind them before vacating a
field owned by a private company.
The influx of Traveller families from England
during the Summer months further exacerbates the
Despite claims by Travellers that the new
legislation is racist and against their way of life
the new law will make it much harder for errant
traveller groups to extort money from landowners
and county councils. Traveller representatives
continue to complain that they have been
marginalised by society and that successive
Governments have failed to provide adequate
transient accommodation of them.
IRELAND DEFEATS USA
As the build up to the World Cup in Japan and
Korea continues, Ireland has defeated the USA 2-0
in a friendly soccer match in Landsdowne Road.
Goals from Mark Kinsella and Gary Doherty were
enough to ensure victory for the home side against
a strong American team who have also qualified for
the world's biggest sporting event which begins on
There was increased security for the US team.
Usually at the end of a match the pitch is
surrounded by a handful of stewards to ensure
that no fans try to get onto the pitch. On this
occasion however, a bemused Irish crowd witnessed
hundreds of security staff completely surround the
entire pitch as the teams made their way off.
Clearly security is going to be a big issue for
all of the teams travelling to Japan and Korea.
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A FINE SOFT MORNING by Peter D. Jones
My recent visit to Ireland was mainly spent in the
Connemara, Mayo and Galway regions. Since my first
visit in 1995 I have fallen in love with the country
and have read up on it’s history. The beauty of
the country and the history inspired me to write
this piece below.
A Fine Soft Morning
It was a fine soft morning
And the salmon leapt like acrobats
Out of the crystal clear Lough
As the sun rose and gently spread it’s warmth
Over the twelve Ben’s in the distance.
It was a fine soft morning
And the tower of the solitary tin mine
Gazed down over the stone walled fields
At the galleon like Castle Kirke
Moored calmly below
All around was peace and tranquillity.
All around was stillness and quietude.
All around was beauty and the colour of God’s
It was a fine soft morning
And the magnificent splendour
Was marred only by the sound of weeping
As the famine starved people lay dying.
Peter D Jones
HOW TO FIND A CARA IRISH PENPAL
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first thing you need to do is to signup for
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members can get access to the up-to the minute
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Thousands of penpals are waiting for you so join
up today- it's free!
IN EVERY COUNTRY by Cindy Brandner
It is the Spring of 1968 in Belfast, Northern
Ireland and James Kirkpatrick has just lost his
father under suspicious circumstances, Casey
Riordan is released from prison after five years
and Pamela O'Flaherty has crossed an ocean and a
lifetime of memories to find the man she fell in
love with as a little girl. All three lives are
on a collision course with each other against
the backdrop of the burgeoning civil rights
movement and a nation on the brink of revolution.
They come from disparate backgrounds - Jamie a
wealthy industrialist whose life is like an
imperfect but many faceted jewel - brilliant,
flawed and with a glitter that is designed to
distract the observer. Casey - a card carrying
member of the Irish Republican Army, who must
face the fact that five years away has left him
a stranger, a misfit in his own neighbourhood
where not everyone is sympathetic to a convicted
rebel. Pamela - who has come to Ireland in
search of a memory and a man who may not have
existed in the first place.
Through it all runs the ribbon of a love story
- love of country, the beginning love of two
people unable to resist the pull of each another
regardless of the cost to themselves and those
around them and the selfless love of one man who
no longer believes himself capable of such
emotion. Ultimately this is the story of Ireland
herself, of how nation is bound to one's identity,
woven into the weft of all we become. And whether,
finally, freedom and peace can walk down the same
road, hand in hand.
In Every Country
(excerpted from the novel 'Exit Unicorns'
by Cindy Brandner)
In every country with a rebel past or a rebel
future there are similar rooms for similar men
with different faces. Cramped, dark, dirty rooms.
Cold with damp, cold with snow, cold with pain.
The only real warmth coming from the internal fuel
of idealism, the belief that their moment in
history has come.
In Russia there will be a bottle of vodka on the
table, a dog-eared copy of 'The State and
Revolution', tattered slogans adorning the walls
from last season, last year, last century.
In Beirut, qahveh, lemons and the Koran will grace
the table, a fine scree of sand under the bed. In
El Salvador a picture of Che beside a statue of the
bleeding Christ, priests who disrobe in order to
serve God more clearly, martyrs who die in foreign
lands fighting for lost causes. They will travel
everywhere in search of a hope, a prayer.
Men with delicate amber faces working the kitchens
of white hotels in cold, chattering cities. Tall
straight-backed ebony princes trudging through the
snow and indifference of the northern hemisphere's
great bloody swathe of industry. Cities built on
the backs of their ancestry, cities where they must
now beg, borrow, steal time and money, where the
past is prologue and prologue past.
In Belfast there is tea, tepid and scummy, a bottle
of Powers whiskey half drunk in a doorless cupboard,
a nicotine stained copy of the Proclamation of 1916
lining a drawer in a desk rarely used. Paint
peeling walls, a cot without sheets for men on the
run, men who sleep briefly during the brightest
hours of day and flee at night with messages, with
guns, with the hope of a nation in their hands. Men
on intimate terms with fear, exhaustion, dirt, a
rebel Celt version of the White Rabbit, running,
running, forever madly running, with the vision of a
cell in the not too distant future. Not a job for
the easily disillusioned or the romantic of heart,
not a job for a human being.
Hope skips a generation and returns in the form of
a strong back and even stronger mind, idealism
stripped down to a bare bone and left in a corner
of the soul for the knacker's cart. The men vary
and there will be the odd woman thrown in but for
the most part they will be working-class, raised
on bleakness, poor diets, piety and fear of the
Other. There will be a few from the upper classes,
well educated, maybe bored, maybe afflicted with
true idealism, waiting to be crushed by the great
slow grind of social change.
The question, regardless of country, will always
be the same. How to inspire hope, naked and raw,
in the minds, hearts and bellies of the general
population? How to pull a people up off their
knees and remind them as they clutch their
rosaries and plaster saints that God helps only
those who help themselves. Blood, their own and
that of The Other will often be the answer, the
only answer that demands certain attention.
Casey Riordan knew such rooms. Knew that hope
sometimes was as simple as washing the cups,
keeping the tea hot, the whiskey bottle full, the
walls painted and a warm blanket on the bed.
Taking the proclamation, the ghostly ideals out,
shaking off the dust and pinning it back on the
wall where it can be seen. As simple as being
ready, regardless of the mindless fear, to bleed
and die for a thought, a breath of words spoken
generations ago. As simple as a lit candle in a
dark window, even if the comfort of light was
only for yourself and your memories.
He sat down on the edge of the freshly blanketed
bed, eyeing the new white paint, the clean cups,
the re-hinged cupboard, the polished desk with
satisfaction. He looked then into the clear heart
of the candle flame and whispered to the night
and it's ghosts,
'I'm home daddy.'
('Exit Unicorns' is available at Amazon.com,
barnesandnoble.com, as well as most bookstores)
FAMOUS IRISH SONGS: DANNY BOY
Oh Danny boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling
From glen to glen, and down the mountain side
The summer's gone, and all the flowers are dying
'Tis you, 'tis you must go and I must bide.
But come ye back when summer's in the meadow
Or when the valley's hushed and white with snow
'Tis I'll be here in sunshine or in shadow
Oh Danny boy, oh Danny boy, I love you so.
And if you come, when all the flowers are dying
And I am dead, as dead I well may be
You'll come and find the place where I am lying
And kneel and say an 'Ave' there for me.
And I shall hear, tho' soft you tread above me
And all my dreams will warm and sweeter be
If you'll not fail to tell me that you love me
I'll simply sleep in peace until you come to me.
I'll simply sleep in peace until you come to me.
Listen to the tune to this and other famous Irish
GAELIC PHRASES OF THE MONTH
PHRASE: Ta me/Ta Tu/Ta se/Ta si/Taimid
PRONOUNCED: Taw may/Taw two/Taw shay/Taw she/Tom-eed
MEANING: I am/You are/He is/She is/We are
PHRASE: Ta me in a gconai in aice on siopa
PRONOUNCED: Taw may inn ah goin-ee inn ack-ah on shup-ah
MEANING: I am living beside the shop
PHRASE: Ta si ag leamh on paipear
PRONOUNCED: Taw she egg lave on paw/pear
MEANING: She is reading the paper
View the archive of phrases here:
IRISH BANKNOTES AND COINS SOUVENIRS FROM IRELAND
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IRISH QUOTATIONS OF THE MONTH
'There are two kinds of priests', he declared.
'There are the priests who made themselves and
the kind who are made by their mothers'
John B. Keane, Letters of an Irish Parish Priest
I never saw, heard, nor read, that the clergy
were beloved in any nation where Christianity
was the religion of the country. Nothing can
render them popular, but some degree of
Jonathan Swift, Thoughts on Religion, 1765
Anonymous, standard abbreviations in the
'Marriage' section of personal ads meaning:
Would like to meet/ Roman Catholic/ with
good sense of humour/ with view to above
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