================================================= The Information about Ireland Site Newsletter August 2008 The Newsletter for people interested in Ireland Now received by over 50,000 people worldwide http://www.ireland-information.com http://www.irishnation.com Copyright (C) 2008 ================================================= IN THIS ISSUE === Foreword === News Snaps from Ireland === New free resources at the site === 'The Diary of a Scullery Maid' by Joe Rogers === The origin of Irish Whiskey and other matters by J Herbert Silverman === The origin of Irish Pub-Signs === Mother Moore and her Summerhill Drainage Gang by Pat Watson === Ireland House-Swap === Gaelic Phrases of the Month === Shamrock Site of the Month: Celticattic.com === Monthly free competition result ================================================= FOREWORD ======== Ireland has been very wet this month! Perhaps the wettest on record. Flooding is once again a problem with calls being made for new drainage systems to prevent this becoming an annual event. Many thanks again to Pat Watson for another of his 'lyrical yarns' which happens to tell the tale of a drainage gang. We could use them now! Until next month, Michael Help keep this newsletter alive at www.irishnation.com WE NEED YOUR HELP! PLEASE - send this newsletter on to your friends or relatives who you think are interested in Ireland. By doing this you are helping to keep us 'free'. Got something to say? Don't keep it to yourself! Why don't you submit an article for inclusion in the next edition? Go here for more information: http://www.ireland-information.com/newsletter.htm Do you have access to a website? You can help to keep this newsletter alive by adding a link to any of our websites below: http://www.irishnation.com http://www.irishsurnames.com http://www.ireland-information.com http://www.allfamilycrests.com http://www.irishpenpals.com If you have an AOL or HOTMAIL account then you will get much better results by viewing this newsletter online here: http://www.ireland-information.com/aug08.htm The only way that you could have been subscribed to this newsletter is by filling out a subscription form at the site whereupon a confirmation notice would have been issued. If you wish to unsubscribe then go here: http://www.ireland-information.com/newsletter.htm ======================= NEWS SNAPS FROM IRELAND ======================= DUBLIN CITY CENTRE BEING CLEANED UP Recent reports have highlighted the progress being made in cleaning up the Irish capital city. An intensive anti-litter campaign on billboards and television has also proved successful in reducing the once awful litter problem that plagued Dublin's streets. City centre businesses are getting in on the act too with a contribution of 3 M.illion euro to assist the Council in removing graffitti and installing landscaping. The novel initiative also provides a number of 'street ambassadors' who will clean up litter and graffitti within an hour of the problem being reported. 15 M.illion euro will be contributed over the next 5 years by 200 businesses who have been hurt by the expansion in the number of suburban retail centres such as those located at Liffey Valley and Blanchardstown. AN IRISH SUMMER: FREAK WEATHER AND LANDSLIDES One of the wettest Irish Summers ever has produced flooding and landslides in vulnerable parts of the country. Dublin city was spared the worst of the flooding but several country towns including Carlow suffered badly as local rivers broke their banks and ancient underground drainage pipes proved unable to handle the huge amount of rainwater. Landslides in County Kerry polluted drinking water sources to further complicate the misery. DROP IN THE RATE OF IMMIGRATION The rate of immigration has dropped by 26,000 in the year to the end of April according to the Central Statistics Office. Anecdotal evidence of eastern European workers heading back home in the wake of the economic downturn appears to be backed up the numbers. Nearly 84,000 people settled in the country during the period mentioned compared with nearly 100,000 the previous year. 45,000 emigrated during this timespan leaving the population at 4.42 M.illion. Australia has emerged as the new destination of choice for Irish emigrants with over 11,000 moving 'down under'. HOUSE PRICES CONTINUE TO SLIDE The combination of an overheated market, an economic downturn and the 'credit crunch' has combined to provide a 'perfect storm' for the Irish housing market. Already reeling from the huge reduction in construction activity as a result of falling demand, the lack of credit being made available by banks has thus far hampered any possibility of a recovery in the ailing housing market. There is hope for the market however as well as for the Irish economy. The recent fall in the cost of oil has combined with an increase in the value of the US Dollar (a huge issue for Ireland). The shock news that Germany (the worlds fourth largest economy) may be heading into a recession has prompted speculation that the European Central Bank will be forced to abandon its anti-inflation high interest rate policy in favour of cutting the 4.25% rate in order to stimulate the economy. With the possibility that the US Federal Reserve may actually increase rates to combat inflation on that side of the Atlantic, the convergence of the two interest rates will surely help the ailing dollar relative to the stronger euro. This will help the Irish economy and thus the construction sector, if it happens. House prices have now fallen for 16 months in a row although the rate of decline has slowed (0.6% decline in June). House prices are down 5% in 2008 to date and 10% in the last year. While this is a serious decline by any standard it is not quite the utter collapse that some economic commentators had predicted, prompting speculation that the bottom of the trough may be near. The law of 'supply and demand' rules in economics however and once any unsold housing units are disposed of then the market is bound to recover. Some brave speculators are already using the current downturn to seek out bargains in the expectation of a recovery by the end of 2009. 3 MEDALS FOR IRELAND AT OLYMPIC GAMES Ireland's boxers have once again fought their way to the rescue of the Irish Olympic team with 2 bronze medals and 1 silver medal. The silver might well have been gold for Dubliner Ken Egan but for some erratic scoring by the ringside judges. Although delighted with his medal the Neilstown man agreed with independent observers that he should have been awarded more scores than he was actually given in the 11-7 defeat he suffered at the hands of his Chinese opponent in the final. Darren Sutherland and Paddy Barnes were both well beaten in their quarter-final bouts but still did their sport and their country proud. The trio arrived back in Dublin airport to a great welcome. Voice your opinion on these news issues here: http://www.ireland-information.com/newsletterboard/wwwboard.html ============================== NEW FREE RESOURCES AT THE SITE ============================== IRELAND HOUSE-SWAP LISTING Our new free service lets you find or list a home for a house-swap: http://www.ireland-information.com/irelandhouseswap.htm 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: C: McClean H: Hampsey I: McIntyre V: Vance, Vaughan View the Gallery here: http://www.irishsurnames.com/coatsofarms/gm.htm 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: http://www.irishnation.com/familycrestgifts.htm =========================================== EXTRACT FROM 'THE DIARY OF A SCULLERY MAID' by Joe Rogers =========================================== This is extract from my book set in the early 1900s when recruiting for the GAA was in full swing leading on to the formation of the Irish Republican Brotherhood and the 1916 Dublin Rising. Joe Rogers === The colours of a June evening set fire to the landscape as fiery orange hues ignited the sky, clearing the last clouds from the simmering Slieve Bloom Mountains and replacing them with pigments of purplish pink. The year was 1901 and here and there towards the high moors tree tops glinted in the sinking sun but the people entering Ballyfin's community hall paid scant attention to nature's magnificent work of art. They were much more concerned with what had been billed as an opportunity to meet neighbours, partake of an evening's jollification and enjoy a little repose from the usual bustle and preoccupations of everyday life. Scarcely were they all seated when the honourable branch secretary, Ralph Downey, nervously transferring the weight of his ample form from one foot to the other, declared, 'Ladies and gentlemen, on behalf of Ballyfin Cumann I bid ye welcome, and it gives me great pleasure, so it does, to see such a great turnout. As ye know there'll be a few drinks and a bite to eat later, and the floor will be cleared and made ready for the dancing, so it will. But right now, I want to introduce ye to someone who has come to Ballyfin this evening to honour us with his presence. Ladies and gentlemen, put your hands together for the man from headquarters himself, Commandant Herbert Hume.' Coming briskly forward, Herbert joined the rostrum, shook the departing Ralph Downey's hand, bowed to the audience and adopting a wry smile, glanced slowly around the packed hall. Having associated from an early age with performers and performances, he had that unique accomplishment of being able to convince his listeners that each and every one of them was a personal friend and individually very important to him. 'I am delighted to see you here,' he enthused, his eyes seeming to search out each person in turn. 'My dear friends ....you ....and you ....and you,' he said, being careful to glance north, south, east and west of the rostrum so that no corner of the hall was missed, 'believe me when I tell you there is noone I'd rather see and noone else in the whole, wide world would suffice as the devil's envoy said when he came for Doctor Faust.' Peels of laughter greeted his witticism as the listeners warmed to the man from Dublin whom most of them knew to be a disciple of the militant socialist, James Connolly, and an ardent enthusiast for all things Irish. 'Bail o Dhia oraibh go leir agus cead mile failte romhat,' (God's blessing on all of you and a hundred thousand welcomes) he welcomed them in Irish and then continued in English, ' I think you'll agree with me when I say how very salubrious the language of our fathers' sounds.' There were nods of agreement all around and a lady near the front called out, 'Agus ta failte romhat freisin.' (And you are welcome too). 'Go raibh maith agat,' (Thank you) he smiled his thanks before continuing in a more serious vein. 'I'd like to speak to you, if I may, about this slave nation of ours Ireland and the chains that have bound it for seven-hundred years, and how we intend to set about breaking those chains.' His eyes, perpetually in motion, wandering the hall, paused briefly to bid welcome to Helen and Arthur Morrison seated together three rows from the front, and very pleased he was to see them. 'Let me remind everybody here how the Irish language has been oppressed during the last two centuries, with English taking over as the official language of church and state. Nowadays, the famine gets the blame for the demise of Irish, but the fact is that for fifty years before the famine the decline was already under way. Emigrants to America or Britain soon discovered that if they were to succeed in their new surroundings, they would have to embrace English. The Catholic Church back in the eighteenth century installed English as the first language of its new Maynooth seminary. Even Daniel O'Connell, the Liberator, born and reared among Irish speakers, disassociated himself from the language when he said 'I am sufficiently utilitarian not to regret its gradual passing.' All his work for Catholic emancipation and the repeal of the union with Britain the mass meetings, the general agitations all carried out in English even though the first language of many present was Irish. A major factor in the decline was that from 1830 onwards almost twenty years before the Famine primary education in Ireland decreed that to make every student a happy 'English' child the teaching of English to Irish pupils must be intensified. Herbert paused to take a drink of water, more than pleased that his listeners were paying attention, and continued. 'Yes, my friends, you heard correctly a happy English child! Proves how arrogant our conquerors are to deny us our separate identity in this land of slaves, as Dean Swift called us. Which is exactly what we are ...and so often dehumanized by our masters. We have all seen the cartoons in the English press making us out as fools with pig-like features. And so many times when they have likened us to animals. Charles Kingsley was, in his own words, 'haunted by the human chimpanzees' he saw in what he termed a horrible country, and went on, 'I don't believe they are our fault ...they are happier, better, more comfortably fed and lodged under our rule than they ever were.' Thomas Carlyle, on a visit to Westport in County Mayo, called the workhouse there the acme of human swinery - and to Carlyle's friend, James Froude, our fellow countrymen and women were more like tribes of squalid apes than human beings. And what did Major-General Gordon otherwise known as Chinese Gordon think of us? He thought we were in a worse state than any other people in the world, living on the verge of starvation in places where they would not keep their cattle.' Herbert his knuckles white where he gripped the rostrum paused for a moment, then having wiped his brow, resumed, anger highlighting his tone. 'Well then, that's all we are to them swine, chimpanzees, squalid apes, cattle. Their words, ladies and gentlemen, not mine. They all think of us as less than human. Yet none of them dared mention the monuments created during the seven-hundred years of English rule. Convict ships, evictions, workhouses, famine, death, coffin ships. No mention of those. Only lies! Lies dating back to our conquest in an effort to justify it we were nothing short of barbarians and savages, while they, the conquerors were civilized people. But we are not deceived by such lies! For let us ask ourselves, which of these Islands became the Island of Saints and Scholars? Loud applause and cries of 'Ireland greeted these remarks, and Herbert, taking heart, continued. 'Friends, there is a new determination abroad in the land which has been best described as the onward march of the nation. New recruits are flocking to our banner - clubs and associations across the country are flourishing - the Gaelic League, from two-hundred branches six years ago, has now grown to six hundred, which I am delighted to say is typical of other affiliated groups. With this encouraging news I am delighted to tell you that we have reached a decision at the highest level I might add to arm ourselves forthwith and take back the nation they stole!' The hush that had gripped the hall was suddenly rent asunder by loud cheering as Herbert's words struck home. Then as the cheers subsided, he continued. 'I implore any of you who have not already listed, to join here tonight. Home Rule is not going to happen and even if it did make its way to the statute book, it would not give us the Republic we want and are prepared to fight for. === The above is taken 'The Diary of a Scullery Maid', a historical novel by Joe Rogers which recounts in graphic detail the excesses of the British Empire leading up to the Irish Fight for Freedom. Get your copy from here: http://www.joerogers.co.uk/synopsis.html ========================== KEEP THIS NEWSLETTER ALIVE! Visit: http://www.irishnation.com ========================== ============================================= THE ORIGIN OF IRISH WHISKEY AND OTHER MATTERS ============================================= by J Herbert Silverman The Irish have a unique way of recalling past glories. They create whiskey, proceed to brew beer and then name the results after glorious battles, famous men and enduring castles. Following tradition, one should raise a glass of Irish whiskey (uisce beatha or water of life) or down a pint of stout during celebrations of St. Patrick's Day. But then learn something more about Ireland's mostly unsung heroes by investigating the lives of the colorful personalities behind the founders' names. Example: according to Irish whiskey lore, monks learned the art of distillation from missionaries who had served in the Middle East where they had been busily engaged in spreading Christianity to the infidel. Along with those pioneers it was said that St. Patrick deserves some of the credit for spreading the distilling technique. Never a saint but a mere bishop, Patrick was antedated by one of Ireland's greatest heroes, Brian Boru, the High King of Eire, whose memory is preserved today by newcomer Boru Vodka, a five-times distilled premium spirit from Dublin. That legendary hero led the Irish to defeat Viking invaders in 1014 at the Battle of Clontarf a monumental victory which unified Ireland 1000 years ago and also became another proud piece of Irish history. This unforgettable battle was honored centuries later in the form of a spirit named called Clontarf Irish Whiskey. The Battle of Clontarf (Cath Chluana Tarbh) took place on Good Friday 1014(April 23rd) between the forces of Brian Boru and those led by the King of Leinster, Mael Morda mac Murchada: mainly his own men as well as Viking mercenaries from Dublin and the Orkney Islands led by his cousin Sigtrygg, It ended in a rout of the Mael Morda's forces, along with the death of Brian, who was killed by a few Norsemen who were fleeing the battle and stumbled upon his tent. In their debacle, the Vikings would turn to England and Scotland, eventually taking power when Canute the Great was installed as King in 1015. 'We named our super premium vodkas as a tribute to Brian Boru,' said distillery spokesperson Roseann Sessa. She added patriotically, 'His bold attitude and uncompromising spirit are attributes that underscore our own brand profiles.' Over the centuries, myth has been replaced by real people. Ireland's contribution to man's well being got off to a flying start in 1608 when Sir Thomas Phillips, the king's deputy at the plantation of Ulster, was granted the world's first license to distill whiskey by James I. He chose a site in the tiny village of Bushmills along the waters of St. Columb's Rill between Tara, the ancient royal capital of Ireland, and Dunseverick, a great pre-Christian fortress on the River Bush. By coincidence, Sir Thomas happened to be the local licensing authority in County Antrim. In 1780, one John Jameson arrived in Ireland to start up a distillery on Bow Street, Dublin, thus creating an infusion of Highland expertise. His career was aided by his marriage to Margaret Haig, a member of the illustrious Scots whisky family. 'Old John', as he was known, created not only a majestic brand but also generations of Jamesons to come with his progeny of 16 children. Proof positive of the family's social position is the extensive listing today in the annals of Burke's Irish Family Record, the closest thing there is to a blue book of Irish high society. James Power, an innkeeper from Dublin established his John's Lane Distillery in 1791. At the turn of the 19th century James' son John joined the business, and the company ultimately became known as John Power & Son. By 1823, with the help of a 500 gallon still, the annual output had grown to 33,000 gallons. A decade later, this had increased tenfold to approximately 330,000 gallons per annum. As the distillery grew so, too, did the stature of the family. John Power was knighted and later made High Sheriff of Dublin. Power is known for two innovations. === This article is continued in the online edition of this newsletter: http://www.ireland-information.com/aug08.htm#article
In 1866, the distiller began bottling its own whiskey, Until then, distilleries usually sold whiskey by the cask. A gold label adorned each bottle and it was from these that the whiskey got the name Powers Gold Label.
James Power's son achieved a kind of immortality in the world of drinking by inventing the "miniature" whiskey bottle, calling it the "Baby Power." The concept of the miniature was simplicity itself. John Power reasoned that Irish women would form a new market for his distillate. But custom dictated that women could enter a pub only via a "snug" an enclosed area separated from the bar and that had obvious limitations. He also believed that since Irishmen rarely, if ever, stocked whiskey at home preferring to drink with their cronies in pubs, women were being dealt "a bad hand."
By creating the "miniatures," he enabled the countryman with the ability to provide for his wife without being spied upon by the neighbors who could clearly identify a large, obviously visible bottle.'
Tullamore Dew was first distilled in 1829 Created in Tullamore, County Offaly, by one Michael Malloy. Today, it is the only Irish whiskey packaged in a handsome"jar" or ceramic crock (as well as glass) and reminiscent of the days when it was a "standard" fireplace ornament.
Eventually the distillery passed to a grandnephew, Captain Bernard Daly. Since the officer had most of his time was taken by such interests as horseracing, in turn he passed the mantle to an employee D.E. Williams, who used the acronym of his initials for an early and memorable advertising slogan "Give Every Man His Dew."
In the waning years of the last century, the late American spirits importer, Sidney Frank became fascinated with a movie about the Irish patriot Michael Collins, the iconic leader of the forces in the 1921 Civil War. With the permission of the patriot's descendants, Frank launched its Michael Collins Irish Whiskey with a picture of the War of Independence veteran on the label.
Introduced last year in the U.S., to date, more than 50,000 cases of the whiskey have been sold since the launch. Made at the independent Cooley Distillery in the outskirts of Dublin, the bottle features a copy of Collins' signature from the 1921 Treaty on the bottle neck.
Collins was one of the most prominent IRA leaders during the War of Independence. He signed the treaty with the British government which led to the creation of the Irish Free State but split the republican movement. In agreeing to the treaty, Collins famously said he was "signing my own death warrant." His eventual assassination, during the subsequent civil war, saw him become one of Irish nationalism's most famous figures.
One doesn't have to confine nomenclature to mankind. Take Tyrconnell, named after a horse that won the 1876 Queen Victoria Plate at 100 to 1 odds.
New to the American market it is one of two Irish malts produced by the Cooley Distillery.. Actually, Tyrconnell was an ancient kingdom of Ireland. Conall Gulban, a son of Niall of the Nine Hostages, king of Ireland, acquired the wild territory in the northwest of Ulster (the modern Co. Donegal), and founded the kingdom about the middle of the 5th century. Of the several branches of his family, the O'Connells, O'Cannanans and O'Dohertys may be mentioned. The kings of Tyrconnell maintained their position until 1071.
A potable is also be memorialized as a swan by the poet William Butler Yeats who wrote The Wilde Swans at Coole: "The trees are in their autumn beauty/The woodland paths are dry/Under the October twilight the water/Mirrors a still sky; Upon the brimming water among the stones are nine-and-fifty swans."
Now the 60th swan exists in the persona of Coole Swan, an expensive and handsomely bottled cream liqueur just introduced to America.
Ireland is noted for the beautiful castles that reside in the countryside, among them, the magnificent Knappogue Castle, in County Clare which also lends its name to a vintage single malt.
Built in 1497 by Sean MacNamara, Knappogue Castle has a long and varied history, serving from battlefield to dwelling place. In 1571 Knappogue became the Seat of the MacNamara Clan who actually descended from Brian Boru. In fact, one of the castle's stained glass windows features the legendary high king. The bar pours Knappogue single malt.
Over time, the castle exchanged hands many times, and after falling to disrepair in the 1920s, it was later purchased and restored by Mark Edwin Andrews and his wife of Houston, TX. During this time Andrews began buying casks of fine pot still whiskey from the top distilleries in Ireland. He aged and bottled them under the Knappogue Castle label.. His last batch of Knappogue 1951 is now the oldest and rarest Irish whiskey.
By 1966, the leading whiskey families in Ireland, decided to amalgamate as Irish Distillers Ltd., in order to end financially expensive competition and to join in a mutual fight to regain what they regarded as a fair share of the American market.
Some years ago, in the world-wide takeover trend of privately-held companies, France's Pernod Ricard acquired the group, and ownership passed into foreign hands for the first time in history. The contemporary distillery is located in rural Midleton, Co. Cork and is considered the world's largest.
Turning away from spirits and towards beer, The Irish might be considered far sighted. What other country in the world would welcome a man so sure of his product that in 1759 he would sign a 9,000 lease for a brewery along the River Liffey in Dublin. His prescience has been justified.
That man, of course, was Arthur Guinness who came to Ireland from England with a 100- pound legacy from the Archbishop of Cashel scarcely a fortune even in those days to set up his good works. Today, the once family-owned business is part of the giant Diageo spirits group still producing stout and lager. More than 10 million glasses of Guinness beer are poured every single day around the world, and 1.8 billion pints are sold every year. The beer is available in well over 100 countries worldwide and is brewed in almost 50.
Although it was sold by Diageo some years ago, the Guinness Book of Records, now called the World Record Book adds to the luster of the brewery and contains an internationally recognized collection of world records. The book itself holds a world record, as the best-selling copyrighted series.
By way of background. In 1951, Sir Hugh Beaver, then the managing director of the Brewery, went on a shooting party in the North Slob,alongside the River Slaney in County Wexford.. He became involved in an argument: which was the fastest game bird in Europe, the golden plover or the grouse?
That evening at Castlebridge House, he realized that it was impossible to confirm in reference books whether or not the golden plover was Europe's fastest game bird. Beaver thought that there must be numerous other questions debated nightly in the 81,400 pubs in Britain and Ireland, but there was no book with which to settle arguments about records. He realized then that a book supplying the answers to this sort of question might prove popular. One thousand copies were printed and given away. The first 198-page edition was bound in 1955 and went to the top of the British best seller lists by Christmas. "It was a marketing give away-it wasn't supposed to be a money maker," said Beaver. The following year it was launched in the U.S., and it sold 70,000 copies. After the book became a surprise hit, many further editions were printed, eventually settling into a pattern of one revision a year.
The Welsh have their own saint and saint's day, March 1, and their own whisky. But ironically Penderyn single malt is named after Saint David or Dewi Sant, the patron saint of Wales who drank nothing but water. And in fact Dewi is known in Welsh as David the water drinker.
Dewi died in the sixth century, so nearly five hundred years elapsed between his death and the first manuscripts recording his life. Dewi is said to have been of royal lineage. His father, Sant, was the son of Ceredig, who was Ddyfrwr s prince of Ceredigion, a region in Southwest Wales. His mother, Non, was the daughter of a local chieftain. Legend has it that Non was also a niece of King Arthur.
Sometimes Dewi as a self-imposed penance would stand up to his neck in a lake of cold water, reciting Scripture. Little wonder, then, that some authors have seen Dewi as an early Puritan!
J Herbert Silverman