Ireland Newsletter - The Huguenots in Ireland
(C) Copyright - The Information about Ireland Site, 2010
The Information about
Ireland Site Newsletter
The Newsletter for people interested in Ireland
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Copyright (C) 2010
IN THIS ISSUE
=== News Snaps from Ireland
=== New free resources at the site
=== The Huguenots in Ireland
=== 'Whispers' by Pat Watson
=== Ireland Tourist Tip: Irish Road-Signs
=== Irish Festival & Clan Gathering Noticeboard
=== Gaelic Phrases of the Month
=== Monthly free competition result
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NEWS SNAPS FROM IRELAND
Economy Still Some Way From Recovery
The Irish economy continues to struggle despite
the brighter mood among the larger world
economies. The unemployment rate continues to
rise albeit it at a much slower rate than last
year. The hangover from the construction boom
is still being felt with thousands of workers
either now on the dole or contemplating
The Irish government and in particular the
Finance Minister Brian Lenihan have been praised
in some quarters for their handling of the
economic crisis and particularly for the big
cutbacks in expenditure implemented. Taxation has
increased and continues to make the government
very unpopular but perhaps the biggest problem
is the banks. Huge discounted loans have been
taken over by the government agency NAMA. The
cost to the Irish exchequer has been punitive
though with the continuing rescue of the Irish
banks costing billions. The uncertainty
surrounding the bank bailout plan has resulted
in credit agencies downgrading Ireland's credit
worthiness, resulting in more expensive borrowing
costs for the country at precisely the time it
can least afford it.
The ultimate cost of the bank bailout should be
known by the end of this year at which time NAMA
will have taken responsibility for most of the
dodgy loans. If this is handled correctly and if
the banks are able to source their own financing
(rather than be government funded) then the worst
of the crisis will have passed. Two very big 'if's.
'Work For Welfare' Scheme Announced
Unemployed people will be forced to carry out
community work for 19.5 hours per week or risk
losing their welfare payments. The new scheme will
place the unemployed into community projects,
child-minding facilities, sports clubs and various
other occupations but will not prevent them from
also taking up part time work to supplement their
welfare income. As well as providing new
opportunities for the unemployed it is expected
that the new plan will discourage welfare fraud
and likely see many fraudsters abandon their
Optimism In Property Market Touted Again
Real Estate agents are pointing to an upturn in
sales and to the reluctant acceptance of realism
by sellers as an indication that the bottom of
the Irish property market has finally been reached.
Property prices in Ireland have fallen back to
2002 levels but there is anecdotal evidence that
the bottom has been reached, or is at least quite
Germany Would Have Invaded Ireland
Files released by the British National Archive
have revealed that Ireland would certainly have
been invaded by the Nazis during World War 2 had
an invasion of England been attempted. The RAF
victory in the 'Battle of Britain' meant that the
German plan to land troops at Dover, Scotland and
Ireland was abandoned as they would have been an
easy target for the British air force who had
just asserted their authority in the air.
Irish Student On Dyson Inventions Shortlist
Corkman James D'Arcy is Ireland's only
representative on the 20-strong shortlist for the
James Dyson Design Award. The famous inventor of
the Dyson cyclonic vacuum cleaner sponsors the
competition in the hope of encouraging inventors
and engineers worldwide. This years competition
attracted 500 entries from 21 countries. The
Irish invention is an oxygen delivery system for
medical patients who have to wear tubing around
their face to assist breathing. The new system
is a much more comfortable delivery system
designed to minimise the impact of the tubing on
a patient which, if worn constantly, can be a
cause of great irritation. The competition winner
will be announced in October.
Central Applications Office Cyber-Attacked
The Central Applications Office in Ireland is
responsible for offering 48,000 college and
university places every year. The computer
system that displays the offers to applicant
students was attacked by unknown computer vandals
using a 'denial of service' program. The
entire system had to be shut down causing great
anxiety for students and their parents alike.
Computer experts have warned that, other than
setting up mirror websites in different locations
at a cost of millions, that there is little that
can be done to prevent such attacks.
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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:
N: Neilan, Norman
R: Ralph, Ridge
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Anne MacDonald of Massachusetts, USA ordered
a family crest plaque:
Received my plaque, carefully wrapped,
in good order. It is splendid! I am
thrilled, and I know that my dad, for whose
81st birthday this was ordered, will love
it. I would like to order another one!
Everyone who has seen the plaque has been
really impressed, even those who, as my
daughter says are 'not into ancestor
worship!'Again, my hearty thanks for this
Sincerely, Anne MacDonald
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THE HUGUENOTS IN IRELAND
The Huguenots were French Protestants of the
Calvinist tradition who existed from the
sixteenth to eighteenth centuries. By the end
of the seventeenth century over 200,000
Huguenots had been driven out of Catholic
France as a new wave of religious persecution
and sectarianism swept through Europe. They
settled mainly in England, Switzerland and The
Netherlands, but also moved in significant
numbers to Ireland.
The Huguenots were very vociferous in their
criticism of the Catholic Church and in
particular were critical of the Catholic
sacraments which they believed focused on death
and the dead and did not provide a pathway to
redemption. They were deeply critical of the
Papacy with the inevitable consequence of a
violent backlash reaction from European
It is estimated that as many of two of the sixteen
million of the French population were Huguenots
by the middle of the sixteenth century. The Edict
of Orleans supposedly marked an end to their
persecution with a recognition of the rights of
the Huguenots but still tension between the two
religious groups continued. Eight civil wars
erupted between 1562 and 1598. The St. Bartholomew's
Day massacre of 1572 resulted in tens of thousands
of Huguenot deaths and crucially, the death of
many of the Huguenot hierarchy. Despite
retaliating and even capturing several Catholic
cities by the force of arms, the Huguenot movement
in France was crippled. The Edict of Nantes of 1598
established Catholicism as the state religion of
France but also gave the Huguenots equal rights and
a degree of political freedom. The enforcement of
the Edict of Nantes wavered over time however with
renewed persecution of the minority resulting in
such huge numbers fleeing the county that, by 1660,
only 850,000 remained. By 1685 Louis XIV had revoked
the Edict of Nantes and declared Protestantism
illegal in France. A further 180,000 Huguenots
escaped France in what was to prove an economic
disaster for the country, given that many of the
emigres were very skilled professionals.
It is estimated that 50,000 Protestant Huguenots
arrived in England of which 10,000 settled in
Ireland as part of the English crowns policy of
plantation of the country. The Huguenots were
clearly the minority in their new homeland and thus
sided with William of Orange at the Battle of the
Boyne in 1690, a crucial juncture in Irish history.
The well-known Huguenot Frederick Duke of Schomberg,
a former Marshal of France, was killed at this
The usual Huguenot modus operandi was to establish
themselves as a separate minority within their
new country, self-sufficient as much as possible
and certainly confident enough in their own
culture and religion to remain distinct from
the general populace. Since the southern part of
Ireland was predominantly Catholic it was perhaps
inevitable that, as the decades passed the Huguenots
integrated more and more into Gaelic and then
They had initially settled mainly at Dublin, Cork,
Kilkenny, Waterford and Portarlington, but also at
Lisburn in Ulster where they helped to establish the
linen industry. Their influence in Ireland was
remarkable given their relatively small number.
They were very influential in the aristocratic
and military classes of the country with Henri
de Massue de Ruvigny becoming commander-in-chief
in Ireland, he being victorious at the battle of
Aughrim in 1691. He was later made Earl of Galway
and granted lands at Portarlington. The majority
of the settlers were merchants or craftspeople.
Linen in Lisburn and silk in Innishannon in Cork
were just two of the many industries established
by the Huguenots. Cloth for the manufacture of
ship-sails was manufactured in Waterford and
Wexford, both of which were southern ports with
easy access back to the French market if required.
Huguenot influence in Cork city was huge with a
religious congregation lasting in that city until
1813. At one stage there were four religious
congregations in Dublin city where they again
were well represented among the ruling classes,
the aristocracy and professional bodies of the
It is in Dublin that perhaps their greatest
contribution was made. D'Olier Street in
the city centre is named after a Jeremiah D'Olier
(1745-1817), a Huguenot goldsmith and Sheriff of
the city. La Touche's private bank of Dublin was
established by a Huguenot. Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu
(1814-1873) was a famous writer of Gothic mysteries
and stories. Elie Bouhereau (born 1643) was a
famous scholar and librarian. David La Touche
(died 1785) was the first governor of the Bank of
Ireland in 1783. Thomas LeFroy (1776-1869) was
Lord Chief Justice of Ireland and was the
inspiration for Jane Austen's 'Mr. Darcy' in
'Pride and Prejudice'. James Gandon (1743–1823)
was the famous architect who designed the Custom
House and the Four Courts. Huguenots all.
Sean Lemass (1899-1971), Taoiseach of Ireland
from 1959–1966 and often regarded as the
instigator of the modern Irish economy was also
of Huguenot origin.
Perhaps it is true of mass refugee migrations
throughout history that, long after the religious
or political reasons for the migration have faded
that the economic and cultural aspects remain.
This is at least partially true of the Huguenots in
Ireland where, although as a religious force they
faded, their economic contribution to the Irish
economy and to Irish culture continues to defy
the passage of time.
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'WHISPERS' by Pat Watson
Having just qualified as a national teacher,
Jimmy applied for a number of jobs, permanent
and temporary. In the nineteen thirties jobs were
scarce and all he got was a temporary post in a
two-teacher country school. The Master, who was
also the principle, had got a heart attack. The
aging female assistant taught the infant classes
so he took third, fourth, fifth and sixth classes,
six to thirteen-year-olds. The mixed school
worried him a bit as he had only ever attended
all boys schools.
The management board, which consisted of the
Old Parish Priest, assured him that good digs
had been booked for him adjacent to the school.
On the Sunday evening, having taken himself, his
luggage and his bicycle off the Dublin train at
Athlone, he cycled the ten miles to Coolmore
parochial house that was beside the school.
'Just a mile up the byroad there,' the Parish
Priest said after he showed him the school. The
Widow Malone's house is the one with the slated
room. The poor woman's husband died last year
and she needs the money and of course she has
the slated room. At that time whenever a legacy
came from America people who lived in thatched
houses would build a two-story-slated room on
to the end of the house.
Having cycled for a few miles he arrived for the
evening meal. The widow, a buxom woman in her
forties introduced him to her seven daughters,
all striking redheads ranging in ages from nine
to nineteen. Starting with the youngest she gave
their names as, Mary, Third Class, Meabh, Fourth
Class, Mina, Fifth Class, Maureen, Sixth Class,
Nance, Delia and Lorna who worked in the local
pub. She had auburn hair, huge brown eyes and
the most dazzling smile he had ever seen.
Where were they all going to sleep? Not to worry,
Upstairs in the slated room was his. It was en
suite, that is, it had a wooden washstand,
complete with basin, ewer full of water and
waste bucket. The privy was out behind the
cowshed. As well as underwear she would wash
three shirts and seven collars weekly for him.
Shirt collars were held on with studs in those
days. Jimmy had grown up in Dublin with all
modern conveniences, electricity, running water
and proper bathroom. He and his younger brother
had their own rooms. He had been thrown in at
the deep end a week before his twenty-first
School went grand even though he had four children
with whom he lived. As they sat down for the
evening meal, Mary announced that the turkey was
lying. From the glances that ran round the table
he felt he should say something.
'Is she sick?' Peels of laughter followed. He
felt his face redden.
'Stud' said Delia from under the laughter.
'Did she swallow a stud'?
This time the laughter went totally out of
'Is that how they do it in Dublin?' followed by
'Leave the poor man alone,' said the widow.
'He's from Dublin and doesn't understand those
At this time every rural village had a strong
farmers wife who held a turkey cock at stud.
Noticing his extreme embarrassment, Lorna tried
to smother the laughter. For five years now she
had been ogled by beer swilling, bar stool
boors, none of whom enhanced her view of men.
Now she had her very own tall, tame, tanned,
teetotal teacher living in her house, she was
not about to let him escape. She was sure she
would have the support of her mother and sisters,
except perhaps, Nance and Delia who might fancy
their own chances. She would ask her mothers
'Take him to the whispering arch at Seven
Churches' her mother said but 'Don't tell him
anything about it, just start a little whispering
and take it from there.' Seven Churches was the
local name for Clonmacnoise.
In the fifteenth century Dean Odo Malone of
Clonmacnoise commissioned a great sculptor to
carve and fit a new stone door surround on the
north side of the cathedral. Into this surround
he cut several half pipes going right over the
top and down both sides. If words are whispered
into one of those half pipes on one side, a
listener with an ear to the other side can pick
up the whisper clearly. However a voice will not
carry in the pipes. The speaker has to face the
wall but the listener has a rear view of the
whisperer. A conversation between a young couple
is much more romantic when whispered through
ancient stone pipes even if one party didn't
realise that the chat was meant to be romantic
in the first place.
They would cycle there after school. He always
wanted to visit Saint Kieran's holy city.
The ruins of the cathedral that was burned down
by the British hundreds of years ago stand in the
middle of a walled graveyard. There are the
various superstitions that have grown since.
That's why the mother advised the special visit.
When he had climbed to the four steps to the top
of the stile he turned and took her outstretched
hand to help her up. As there was very little
space on the top step and she was afraid of
heights he had to hold on to her as he helped her
down. She giggled and he blushed. As the ground
was uneven across the graves they had to hold
hands for balance. There was nobody about only
old Mary Martin down in the new graveyard tending
her husband's grave. By the time they reached the
doorway Lorna thought she had a midge in her eye.
While bending over her upturned face he thought
he removed it with his handkerchief. Again she
giggled and again he blushed.
Jimmy was enthralled by the complete round tower
and even more so by the incomplete round tower.
'Why is it incomplete' he asked.
'Put your ear to the wall and you'll hear what
When he did he heard her whispered reply,
'A lovers tiff, when his lover jilted him for the
builder he climbed up and started knocking the
tower. All efforts to stop him failed until the
lover promised to come back to him but then the
builder refused to repair the damage and so it
remains to this day.'
'Is this true?'
'Many people round Seven Churches think so.'
'Do you believe it?'
'It's a good romantic story and I love romance.'
'Have you much experience?'
'Very little, where would it come from in a
place like this, but sure we live in hope, what
'Totally lacking experience but now that I'm
working I might make up for lost time.' Every
time he turned his head to listen and watch, she
became more desirable. Little did he know that
her mind was made up since Sunday evening when
first she set eyes on him? Then again, hadn't
he been completely bowled over by her beauty
from the start?
That was how their conversation continued over
the next half hour, each whispering their piece
to the wall then watching the back of the others
head while listening to the reply.
They didn't notice old Mary approaching from
'It's grand to see young lovers using the arch',
'Fifty seven years ago my Paddy whispered his
proposal and I whispered my yes. Fifty seven
years of love and contentment we've had, thank
you Dean Odo' she said looking up at the arch.
'How long is he dead now?'
'He went with the daffodils, he's making a straw
sugan chair for me in heaven, he'll have it ready
for me for Christmas.' She then turned to Jimmy,
placed a bony hand on his arm and with the
slanting September sun from Connaught shining on
her face, she looked him straight in the eye and
'This is the most important day in your life,
don't let it slip away.' This time they both
blushed. After she left Jimmy found himself saying
to the stone, 'Give me a kiss!' as he turned to
seek reaction instead of answering she was smiling
up at him in gorgeous, glowing, glorious
Before she rounded the corner of the cathedral
old Mary looked back at the embracing couple,
smiled a wrinkly smile, turned and shuffled off
'Whispers' is one of sixty lyrical yarns from
'Original Irish Stories' by Pat Watson,
Creagh, Bealnamulla, Athlone, Ireland.
First published in May 2006.
or you can email the author here:
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IRELAND TOURIST TIP: IRISH ROAD-SIGNS
Most Irish road signs are now rendered in both
Irish and English language. If you are travelling
in an Irish-language Gaeltacht area you may
encounter Irish-only signs but more modern signs
have both languages. Regardless of the city or
town you are in, wherever you see 'An Lar' it
means 'center' as in 'city center' or 'town
center'. Most distance signs are now rendered in
kilometers but the older variety will indicate
miles only. Green signs show kilometers with
white signs showing miles. Blue signs refer to
Regulatory signs (stop, no parking,
etc.) are in rad, warning signs (t-junction
ahead, roundabout ahead, etc.) in yellow,
roadwork signs in orange, information signs
(hotel nearby, fishing area approaching, etc.)
in blue, green or white.
IRISH FESTIVAL & CLAN GATHERING NOTICEBOARD
Australia O'Mahony Clan Get-Together
An Australian O'Mahony Clan Get-Together is
being held in Cairns, Queensland on Saturday
16th October 2010 at the Qld Railway Portsmith
Bar and Rooms, Aumuller Street. Mary Mahony
Hooper is the contact for accommodation, etc.,
at 07 4034 1190.
The day is one to meet Clan members, discuss
your family history and bring forth missing
family tree information for comparison,
discussion and awareness, plus an enjoyable
Send family history and/or register names for
attendance to: Greg Mahony, Unit 74 Tea Tree
Grove, 139 Pring Street, Hendra, Qld 4011,
Australia. email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone: 07 3868 1612 .
If you have an Irish festival or
event or a clan gathering notice
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GAELIC PHRASES OF THE MONTH
PHRASE: Níl agam ach beagáinín Gaeilge.
PRONOUNCED: kneel ah-gum ock byug-aneen gayle-geh
MEANING: I speak only a little Irish
PHRASE: An miste leat labhairt níos moille?
PRONOUNCED: on mishteh lat low-art neice mwille
MEANING: Can you speak a little slower
PHRASE: Ní thuigim
PRONOUNCED: knee higimm
MEANING: I dont understand
View the archive of phrases here:
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A Single Family Crest Print (decorative)
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