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
=== Most Popular Festivals in Ireland 2010
=== Countess Markievicz - a Biography
=== The Part Time Farmer by Pat Watson
=== Gaelic Phrases of the Month
=== Shamrock Site of the Month: IrishGathering.ie
=== Monthly free competition result
Well the dust has finally cleared from our skies
and planes have started flying again. It was a
surreal few weeks here in Ireland with all air
travel grounded and visitors stranded. This
unlikely boost to the hotel trade is sure to be
tempered by a reluctance by travellers to visit
Ireland at all in the future with tourist numbers
being already well down for this year.
The economy here is still in some turmoil with
just the hint that there may be an improvement
later this year - here's hoping,
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NEWS SNAPS FROM IRELAND
STRIKE CHAOS MAY BE AVERTED IF NEW DEAL IS AGREED
The recent cutbacks in pay and pension conditions
for the public sector have been strongly resisted
by staff unions with the possibility of an all-out
strike on the horizon. Unions and officials from
the Government have now hammered out a deal which
they hope will be endorsed by the union membership
and thus avoid any strike action.
The deal involves a number of painful concessions
by the unions including the retention of the
current round of pay cuts, longer hours, a
reduction in overtime and greater flexibility by
staff in respect of redeployment and outsourcing.
In return for these concessions the unions have
been assured that there will be no more
immediate pay cuts with lower paid workers
possibly having their pay increased in 2011.
There will be no compulsory redundancies.
It is far from certain if this deal will be
accepted by the staff membership and it seems
likely that some unions will agree to the deal
while others will not. The Government has
already engaged in some sabre-rattling by
suggesting that further pay cuts will be
necessary if the deal is not accepted.
VOLCANO IN ICELAND CAUSES HAVOC
The recent eruption of a volcano in Iceland caused
dramatic travel chaos in Ireland and western
Europe. All flights were grounded while aviation
experts considered the safety issues involved by
flying in a dust-filled sky. Stranded tourist and
business visitors resorted to a variety of means
to exit the country with ferry services booming
and helicopter trips from Ulster to Scotland also
providing an escape route for some travellers.
Transatlantic tourists scrambled to book onto the
QM2 cruise liner leaving from Southampton with
other international ferry and cruise ships
reporting a big increase in business.
Ryanair and Aer Lingus suffered badly especially
as they are legally obliged to compensate
passengers for expenses they incur due to the
grounded flights. It seems likely that this
legislation will now be re-visited. The European
Union recommended that the Irish State assist the
airlines financially but the Irish Government
has refused to do so. A legal battle seems
LEGAL DRUG SHOPS TO BE TARGETED
So called 'head shops' that sell legal drugs
are to be targeted in new legislation being
prepared by Government. These shops have
sprouted up all over Ireland in recent years
and offer legal alternatives to banned drugs
such as cannabis, cocaine and ecstasy. They have
been the subject of much media interest of late
with some community groups actually marching on
the premises demanding that they be closed.
PROPOSAL TO LIMIT PASSENGERS IN NEW DRIVERS CARS
The high rate of accidents involving newly
qualified drivers who have passengers in their
car is to be addressed. Despite passing a
driving test these new drivers are still
relatively inexperienced and are therefore
86% more likely to be involved in a fatal car
accident if they have passengers in the car
with them. The proposal is to ban all passengers
for up to a year in a car driven by a new
GARDA SEEK BAN ON PART-TIME JOBS TO BE LIFTED
It is a sign of the economic times that the
rank and file of the Irish police force are
now demanding the removal of the ban on their
holding a second job. Many police (Garda) are
offered part-time jobs as bouncers, security
staff or barmen but are prevented from taking
up these positions due to laws which prevents
them from doing so. This law is now under
pressure as the financial squeeze continues.
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: Meanwell, Mobley
S: Scullin, Sexton
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:
MOST POPULAR FESTIVALS IN IRELAND 2010
There is an abundance of festivals held throughout
Ireland every year, especially during the Summer
months. They generally involve a gathering of
talent of a particular variety or a celebration of
some particular cultural or historical aspect.
Among the most popular are the following:
FESTIVAL OF WORLD CULTURES - DUN LAOGHAIRE, DUBLIN
23rd to 25th July 2010
This very popular annual event is held in Dun
Laoghaire town which is just outside of Dublin
City and is very accessible by the DART train
service. Exhibits and performers from every corner
of the globe offer displays and events.
See www.festivalofworldcultures.com for more.
CAT LAUGHS COMEDY FESTIVAL - KILKENNY
3rd to 7th June 2010
National and international stars of comedy flock
to the medieval city of Kilkenny every June for
the well regarded festival of comedy.
See www.carlsbergcatlaughs.com for more.
CORK JAZZ FESTIVAL
22nd to 25th October 2010
The annual jazz festival held in Cork is renowned
as one of the top jazz festivals in the world.
See www.guinnessjazzfestival.com for more.
FLEADH CEOIL FESTIVAL - COUNTY CAVAN
The Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann (Festival of Music
in Ireland) has been held annually since 1951 and
is the premier event in the Irish traditional
music calendar. See www.fleadh2010.ie for more.
GALWAY ARTS FESTIVAL
12th to 25th July 2010
The annual Galway arts festival features hundreds
of writers, entertainers, artists, musicians and
performers from every genre.
See www.galwayartsfestival.com for more.
WATERFORD SPRAOI FESTIVAL
July 390th to August 1st
The Spraoi Festival showcases top quality national
and international street art and world music.
See www.spraoi.com for more.
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COUNTESS MARKIEVICZ - A BIOGRAPHY
The famous Irish revolutionary known as Countess
Markiewicz was born Constance Gore-Booth in 1868.
She was born in London to Sir Henry Gore-Booth,
the famous arctic explorer. As an Anglo-Irish
landlord, her father was not typical of his type
and administered his lands with a degree of
compassion for the peasantry who farmed it.
He is reported to have provided famine relief at
his estate in Sligo during the famine of 1879.
This act of compassion undoubtedly inspired
humanity and concern for the poor in his daughter.
Living in Sligo the family were friends with the
family of W.B. Yeats, the romantic Irish poet.
He later wrote the poem 'In Memory Of Eva
Gore-Booth and Con Markievicz'.
Constance initially studied painting in London in
1893 where she became involved in the issue of
suffrage for women, joining the 'National Union
of Women's Suffrage Societies'. She continued her
artistic studies in Paris in 1898 where she met
Count Markiewicz, who was a Ukrainian aristocrat
of Polish origin. They wed in 1901 after which she
assumed the title Countess Markievicz. The couple
settled in Dublin in 1903 where the Countess
co-founded the 'United Artists Club' which was a
cultural and artistic organisation. It was perhaps
inevitable that while circulating in such society
she would be exposed to the revolutionary ideas
that were being swept along with the Gaelic
revival of the time. In 1908 she joined Sinn Fein
and Inghinidhe na hEireann - 'The Daughters of
Ireland', which was a revolutionary group
established by Maud Gonne, with whom she later
acted at the fledgling Abbey Theatre. She
continued to participate in the Suffragette
movement in England and by standing for election
she helped to defeat Winston Churchill in a 1908
In 1909 she established the radical 'Fianna
Eireann' which was aimed at instructing a youth
army in the use of firearms. She was jailed by the
British authorities in 1913 after speaking at an
IRB rally to protest the visit of George V to
Dublin. She had also joined the Irish Citizen Army
(ICA) established by James Connolly in response to
the 1913 'lockout' of workers. She established soup
kitchens and aid for the Dublin poor, often using
her own funds. Her marriage had by now
disintegrated with her husband returning to Europe
As a Lieutenant in the ICA the Countess
participated in the Easter Rising of 1916 where she
was second-in-command at the fight on St. Stephens
Green. Initially the rebels dug trenches in the
green but soon retreated from this position once
they were became vulnerable to snipers positioned
on the high buildings around the enclosed green.
Under the command of fellow ICA member Michael
Mallin they occupied the Royal College of Surgeons,
rebelling for a total of 6 days. They surrendered
only when they received a copy of Padraig Pearse's
surrender order. The Countess was jailed in
Kilmainham and sentenced to death but her sentence
was commuted on grounds of her gender. 'I do wish
your lot had the decency to shoot me' she retorted.
She was released from prison in 1917 by which time
the tide of support had turned in favour of the
rebels and the path to independence was set.
In 1918 she was again jailed for her
anti-conscription campaigning but upon release was
elected to the English parliament, refusing to
take her seat. She was the first woman to be
elected to the House of Commons. She was a member
of the first 'Dail' (Irish Parliament) in 1919 and
became the first Irish (and indeed European)
Cabinet Minister, serving as Minister for Labour
from 1919 to 1922.
She joined DeValera in opposition to the
Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1922 which partitioned the
country and fought in Dublin in the ensuing civil
war. She was again imprisoned but this time by her
former comrades-in-arms. Upon her release she
became a founder member of Fianna Fail and was
elected to the fifth Dail in 1927. DeValera had by
this time changed tactics and intended to
participate in the parliament. The Countess
however, never got her chance when, at the age of
59, she died of tuberculosis (or possibly
appendicitis) in July of 1927. She likely caught
the disease while working in the Dublin slums.
Her husband and family were by her side.
She was buried in Glasnevin Cemetery, the final
resting place of so many Irish patriots with a
farewell crowd of 300,000 in attendance.
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A PART TIME FARMER
by Pat Watson
As I had a ten o'clock appointment in the morning
in Dungarvan, a long way from my home in
Roscommon, we retired early and I was soon in
slumber land. I dreamt of some one running down a
stairs and making tapping noises getting louder
and more annoying. Then the tapping was on the
window and was no longer a dream. The clock read
'The head is coming and no feet' came the reply.
'Get hot water and soap and I'll be with you in
I pulled on an old pair of pants over my pyjamas,
donned an ancient crombie coat saved for such an
occasion and hurried to the scene of the problem.
Having discarded the crombie and pyjama top, I
scrubbed up with tepid water and carbolic soap,
right to the top of my arms. This was a big cow.
Birth canals are designed for things to go down
and things can only be pushed in the other
direction in extreme emergency and amid great
pain and suffering. However, needs must and there
were two lives at stake here, so with great
difficulty I pushed the head back and went
searching for the legs. They lay along the belly
of the calf and I had to reach the knee before I
could start a rolling movement of the leg and
shoulder to get it in the right direction and do
the same again with the fetlock. At last I got
one foot out. Having secured it with a rope I now
had to repeat the performance in even tighter
conditions for the second leg. Finally, when feet
and head were lined up, the delivery was
relatively easy. The big charolais bull calf
We caught him by the hind legs and swung him
around until he cried out in pain. We then
presented him to his exhausted mother who
enthusiastically licked dry his poor swollen head
and went into ecstasies of happy little moos when
he responded with a slimy sneeze. Her pain and
suffering were forgotten. Everything seemed to be
all right but I knew that after all that handling
she was almost certain to get a sickening,
debilitating, rotten and life threatening
infection. God knows she had suffered enough so
I gave her an injection of twenty cubic
centimetres of 'Penstrep.' (Penicillin
Streptomycin). I would give her another tomorrow
night. As I dried myself after scrubbing down I
'God Bless Your Gifted Hands and May you pass
them on to the next generation!'
As a youth I had gained a reputation for being
handy and lucky so I catered for the whole
Coming home along the lane way, I was treated to
the dawn chorus mingled with the enchanting
aroma of the whitethorn blossom. The old people
used to say, it was an echo of the heavenly
refrain. Man had built this lane and the
stonewalls enclosing it, but the bushes, the
briars, the birds, the bees and a myriad of
creepy-crawlies had ribbon built its full length
in a most higgledy-piggledy fashion and without
planning permission. Then I met a fox. I looked
at him and he looked at me as if to say, 'What
the hell are you doing here at this hour of the
morning, invading my space?' His family and my
family had grudgingly shared those lands for
three hundred years, of course his family and the
families of the ribbon builders were probably
here twenty times that long. There was also The
Right Honourable RamPotts family, absentee English
landlords, who for a few hundred years extracted
penal rents and thought they owned estates in
Having showered shaved and downed a good
breakfast, I set off for Dungarvan. I crossed the
Shannon at Shannonbridge, the Brosna and the
Grand Canal at Clonony, the Camcor at Birr and
the river Mall at Roscrea before crossing the
River Suir for the first time at Thurles. I
followed the Suir valley all the way to Clonmel
where I turned right and crossed the river for
the last time. I then went the scenic route,
round the hills to where the 'old oak tree' of
song overlooks Dungarvan. To me, an inlander, it
was breathtakingly beautiful nestling in the great
sea that stretched away to the horizon and beyond
This is where I called into a country shop, one
of those places that sell everything. A department
inspector was just prosecuting the owner for
selling country eggs.
'It is an EEC regulation,' he said
'That all eggs have to go through proper channels
and be officially weighed, graded and stamped
before being offered for sale. Otherwise, we have
no way of knowing where those eggs might have come
I tentatively suggested that they probably came
from a hen.
Well! He turned on me like a soot drop,
'Do you realise that it is illegal to interfere
with an EEC official in the course of his duty?'
He then requested a heavily pregnant young Ban
Garda to arrest me. I apologised profusely as I
did not want my delivery services called on twice
in one day. Enough said.
'A Part Time Farmer'
is one of sixty lyrical yarns from
'Original Irish Stories' by Pat Watson,
Creagh, Bealnamulla, Athlone, Ireland.
First published in April 2006.
To get your copy email the author here:
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GAELIC PHRASES OF THE MONTH
PHRASE: an Samhradh, an Fhomhair, an Geimhreadh, an tEarrach
PRONOUNCED: on sow-rah, on o-wirr, on geh-rahh, on tarrack
MEANING: Summer, Autumn, Winter, Spring
PHRASE: ta se gaofar/fuar/ag cur baisti
PRONOUNCED: taw shay gayfur/foor/egg curr bah-stee
MEANING: It is windy/cold/raining
PHRASE: La brea ata ann
PRONOUNCED: lah brah ahtaw ow-inn
MEANING: It's a lovely day
View the archive of phrases here:
SHAMROCK SITE OF THE MONTH: IRISHGATHERING.IE
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both here and abroad to connect across the global
internet and re-establish Ireland and its Clans
as the land of a 1,000 welcomes where people
still know the value of family, friendship, fun
and above all belonging – You are in the Irish
IrishGathering.ie is free to all those who
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While it is a serious site, it is a fun site
easy to use as a tool to document your family
APRIL COMPETITION RESULT
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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
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competition every time.
I hope that you have enjoyed this issue.
Until next month,
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