IN THIS ISSUE
~~~~~ Keep us Free!
~~~~~ New Free resources at the site
~~~~~ News Snaps from Ireland
~~~~~ Irish Film Review: Hear My Song by Dawn Hayden
~~~~~ Irish Quotations of the Month
~~~~~ Emblems of Ireland: The Shamrock by Bridget Haggerty
~~~~~ Gaelic Phrases of the Month
~~~~~ Shamrock Site of the Month: Irish Government
~~~~~ Searcher Site of the Month: Irish Townland Database
~~~~~ Monthly free competition result
Hello again from Ireland!
The pace of change in Ireland in the last ten years takes
some believing. It is hard to become modern and developed
without losing some innocence and charm and this is
precisely what is happening in Ireland today.
If you have ever thought of visiting Ireland then do it
soon because the old Ireland is disappearing fast.
Enough of the nostalgia and on with business! We have a
great issue for you this month as well as a great new free
facility that allows you send a coat of arms electronic
postcard to anyone you choose - over 1000 to choose from.
You do know someone that has an Irish name don't you!
BEST WISHES FROM IRELAND!
PLEASE - send this newsletter on to your friend's or
relatives who you think are interested in Ireland. By
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NEW FREE RESOURCES AT THE SITE
SEND AN ELECTRONIC POSTCARD WITH THE FAMILY CREST - FREE!
Our programmers have been at it again. Not content with
letting you view the 1000 family crests with historical
information that reside in the Gallery you can now send them
as electronic postcards to as many people as you like.
Know any Murphys's, Doyle's, Smith's or Kelly's - send them
their family crest postcard! It's free!
View the Gallery here and then choose the name you want
to send. Click the postbox in the bottom right of the
screen and away you go!
NEW COATS OF ARMS ADDED TO THE GALLERY:
The following 12 coats of arms images and family history
details have been added to the Gallery:
C: McConnell McCrirrick
D: Dawson Donahue Dwyer
T: Tharp Twamley
View the Gallery here:
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:
NEW IRISH RECIPES ARCHIVE
The archive has just been started. We will be offering a
downloadable ebook soon with all of the recipes. Here
are the second five to keep you going!
Boiled Bacon And Cabbage
Dublin Corned Beef and Cabbage
Irish Brown Bread
Irish Parsnip and Apple Soup
NEWS SNAPS FROM IRELAND
IRELAND REJECTS EXPANSION OF EU
The Treaty of Nice was finalised in the French city that
gave it it's name after weeks of tortuous negotiations.
It agreed to an enlargement of the European Union (the EU)
from 15 member states to 27 as well as an adjustment of the
voting rights of members that would have given the larger
economies more of a say in the affairs of the Union.
All of the main political parties in Ireland backed the
Treaty when it was put to a vote by the Irish people in one
of three referenda that were held in June and political
leaders were confident that the Irish people would say
'Yes' to the treaty.
In a dramatic turn of events the treaty has been rejected
by the Irish electorate by a margin of 54% to 46%. In a
stunning defeat of Bertie Ahearn's government and of the
political establishment as a whole, the treaty, including
the enlargement clauses, received an unexpected 'No' from
the few voters who actually voted.
In the aftermath, the low turnout of only 35% of those
entitled to vote is being blamed as one of the reasons for
the defeat. The 'No' voters were more motivated claim the
'Yes' campaign. But the fact still remains that Ireland is
in danger of becoming the outcasts of Europe because of the
rejection. Ireland has benefitted more than most from the
EU and the vote that results in keeping the likes of Poland,
Czechoslovakia, Latvia and others out of the Union has
prompted anger in those countries and disbelief at home.
Some observers in Ireland have indicated that the 'No' vote
was merely a 'protest' vote against the political
establishment that tried to expedite the treaty into law
without their being sufficient debate. The fact that the
Irish electorate chose this referendum to demonstrate their
contempt for the political establishment has resulted in
what Church leaders have described as 'an act of supreme
selfishness by Ireland'.
It is very likely that a second referendum will be put
before the people next year but only after the Fianna Fail
led Government have had time to recover from the bruising
they received this time around.
Two other referenda were held on the same day as the Nice
Treaty vote. The complete removal of Capital Punishment
(the death penalty) from the Irish Constitution was enabled
by a majority of nearly 2 to 1. The death penalty has not
been used in Ireland since 1954 and it had already been
abolished in 1964 for all but crimes relating to treason,
capital murder and certain military offences.
The same margin saw an acceptance of the ratification of
the international criminal court which was set up to deal
with war crimes and genocide.
NORTHERN IRELAND PEACE PROCESS IS ON THE EDGE
The recent General Election in England that saw the Tony
Blair Labour government easily sweep back into power meant
that there had to be elections in Northern Ireland too. The
main opponent of the 'Good Friday agreement' is the DUP who
made significant gains against the pro-agreement UUP party
led by David Trimble. The moderate nationalist SDLP party
also lost heavily against Sinn Fein who gained more than
20% of the vote for the first time.
David Trimble is the 'First Minister' of the Northern
Assembly and he has said that he will resign by the end of
June unless there is substantial progress in the
decommissioning of IRA weapons. It is very possible that the
Assembly will be suspended and direct rule from London
reimposed if this deadline is not met.
IRISH GOVERNMENT TO TAKE LEGAL ACTION OVER SELLAFIELD
Sellafield is a nuclear power plant located in Cumbria
directly across the Irish sea. The plant regularly disposes
of nuclear waste into the Irish sea and the result is that
certain parts of the South-Eastern seaboard of Ireland are
deemed unsuitable for swimming and sea-sports.
The Irish government has given the go ahead to take legal
action against the UK government in a move that is sure to
strain relations between Dublin and London.
EIRCOM TO BE SOLD
Anthony O'Reilly's Valentia consortium have won the battle
for Eircom after seeing off Dennis O'Brien's eIsland bid.
The shares recovered some of their lost stock market value
on foot of the news but are still languishing well below
their IPO value.
The bad experience had by the tens of thousands of Irish
investors have made the proposed IPO of Aer Lingus, the
State Airline, seem less likely. The Government has even
mooted the possibility of a private sale in a move which
has seen the very active Aer Lingus staff Unions warn
against such an idea.
'HELP WANTED - FOREIGN APPLICANTS WELCOME!'
The Irish economic miracle continues to cause employment
shortfalls. With the country at 'full employment'
(unemployment is around 3%) foreign workers are being
wooed to this country to fill the large number of vacancies
that exist, particularly in the Tourist and Service
industries. It is estimated that about 40% of Irish firms
now have staff vacancies.
IRISH TOURISM HIT BY US CANCELLATIONS
The fact that the Foot and Mouth scare appears to be
receding is little comfort to the Irish tourist industry
which has seen losses of over IR£300 caused by the
cancellation of over half of the lucrative US 'coach
A major advertising campaign is under way by Irish tourism
chiefs who are desperate to get international visitors back
into Ireland. Visiting to Ireland is especially good value
at the moment for people from the US as the Irish pound
(the punt) has again collapsed against the US dollar making
it a very economic time to visit the Emerald Isle.
IRELAND DRAW AND WIN IN WORLD CUP QUALIFIERS
Ireland's soccer team have the goal of runners-up spot (and
a 'play-off' place) in their own hands after a 1-1 home
draw against Portugal and a 2-0 victory away to Estonia.
For much of the home game the Portugal team demonstrated
their superiority and should have been a couple of goals
ahead at half-time. It was Ireland's Roy Keane however who
popped up with a goal that was eventually equalised by Luis
Figo. The result suits Portugal much more than Ireland and
it now seems virtually certain that Portugal will top the
group and qualify automatically for the World Cup Finals
in Japan and Korea next year.
Ireland must avoid defeat against Holland at home in
September to keep their hopes of reaching the 'play-off'
alive. A Holland victory would almost certainly allow the
Dutch to pip Ireland for second place and condemn Mick
McCarthy's men to yet another 'hard-luck' story.
The game against Holland is easily Ireland's most important
game since the successive defeats in play-offs for
France 98 and Euro 2000.
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IRISH MOVIE REVIEW: HEAR MY SONG by Dawn Hayden
Hear my Song is terrific!
The film is based loosely on the life of famed Irish singer
Josef Locke who escaped the taxman in England. Locke could
make women cry with his singing!
Mickey O'Neill (played by Adrian Dunbar) is the owner of a
working class nightclub that caters to the older generation
by booking such dubious acts as Frank Cinatra. He has a line
of Blarney for every situation but cannot commit to his
girlfriend played by Tara Fitzgerald.
Desperate to boost his flagging business he books 'Mr. X'
who is popularly believed to be the famous tax-exiled
singer. He plays to a packed house but is exposed as a
fraud, a cheap imitation, much to the chagrin of Mickey
O'Neill and his investors who close the club down.
Prompted by the loss of his girlfriend and his club he sets
off for Ireland to track down the genuine article to try
to convince him to return for one last performance. He has
trouble finding the real singer (played by Ned Beatty) but
when he does he has even more trouble convincing him to
return as the taxman (played by David McCallum) is still
waiting to get his hands on him.
Will he return? Will he be caught? Can O'Neill do it?
Rent it and see!
'Hear My Song' is riddled with gentle comedy and backed up
by the wonderful songs of the day. It is a forgiveable and
unoffensive collection of blarney, stereotypes and good
humour that is just perfect for a dreary cold wet night
when you need cheering up. Very enjoyable!
IRISH QUOTATIONS OF THE MONTH
It is next to impossible, I believe, to toss a brick
in the air anywhere in County Galway without it
landing on the head of some musician.
James Galway, An Autobiography, 1978
Hell is full of musical amateurs:
music is the brandy of the damned.
George Bernard Shaw: Man and Superman, 1903
My father and mother were Irish,
and I am Irish too,
I bought a wee fidil for ninepence,
and it is Irish too.
Joseph Campbell, 1879-1944, The Ninepenny Fidil
EMBLEMS OF IRELAND: THE SHAMROCK by Bridget Haggerty
According to the Concise Columbia Encyclopedia, the identity
of the true shamrock has long been debated, but the plants
most often designated as the emblem of Ireland are the white
clover, the small hop clover, and the wood sorrel, or oxalis.
It's likely that some or all of this information was
provided by the botanist, Nathaniel Colgan, who endeavored
to identify "the real shamrock" at the turn of the 20th
He asked people all over Ireland to send him living, rooted
specimens which he carefully planted and labeled. When the
plants matured and blossomed, he was able to identify four
different types - the three already mentioned and one called
Black Medick. Compared to the American plant, which is
oxalis, the leaves on the sprigs from Ireland were tiny and
featured a dark stain on the green. Undoubtedly, whatever
the botanists call it, this was, and still is, the shamrock
that the majority of Irish people wear in their lapels on
Saint Patrick's Day.
So how did the shamrock become an emblem of Ireland? It may
surprise many readers to learn that the plant's international
association with the Emerald Isle is relatively recent.
It wasn't until the 17th century that it became the custom
to wear the shamrock on the feast of Ireland's patron saint.
Until then, the Irish wore a special St. Patrick's cross,
made just for the occasion. Then, in the late 18th century,
the shamrock was adopted as an emblem by the Volunteers of
1777. But it didn't really become widely popular until the
19th century, when the emerging Nationalist movements took
the shamrock, along with the harp, as their emblems.
Viewed as an act of rebellion in Victorian England, Irish
regiments were forbidden to display it. This one single act
may have done more to establish the shamrock as Ireland's
national emblem than anything else. It was also the catalyst
for the creation of the famous ballad that became known as
'The Wearin' O' The Green':
'Oh Paddy dear, and did ye hear the news that's going round?
The shamrock is forbid by law to grow on Irish ground!
No more St. Patrick's Day we'll keep,
his color can't be seen,
For there's a cruel law agin' the wearing o' the Green!'
While the lyrics may have stirred the souls and hearts of
rebellious Irishmen, there are a couple of strange
contradictions in this verse: it's very likely that Saint
Patrick wore vestments of blue, not green and since the
plant wasn't cultivated but grew wild, there was no way
the Crown could have successfully banned its growth!
As for Saint Patrick using it to teach us the mystery of
the Holy Trinity, it was never mentioned in any of his
writings. So, that of itself, remains a mystery. On the
other hand, Triads, or groups of three, were of major
significance in ancient Ireland so it is quite possible
that the shamrock may have been used by early Christian
teachers because, not only could it instantly illustrate
and explain an important belief, it would also have been
But that was then.
Today, the shamrock is firmly established as the most
instantly recognizable emblem of Ireland. For good luck,
it's usually included in the bouquet of an Irish bride, and
also in the boutonniere of the groom. It's the symbol of a
quality B & B that's earned the right to display it. It's
part of the Aer Lingus logo, as well as those of many other
companies, sports teams and organizations. It is also an
integral part of an old tradition called 'drowning the
This takes place on Saint Patrick's Day, when the shamrock
that has been worn in the hat or lapel is removed and put
into the last drink of the evening. A toast is proposed and
then, when the toast has been honored, the shamrock is taken
from the bottom of the glass and thrown over the left
Bridget Haggerty is the author of 'The Traditional Irish
Wedding', visit here for more:
GAELIC PHRASES OF THE MONTH
PHRASE: Breith lá Sona Duit!
PRONOUNCED: breht law sunna dwit!
MEANING: Happy birthday to you!
PHRASE: Go maire tú an lá!
PRONOUNCED: go marra two on law
MEANING: Many happy returns! (Congratulations!)
PHRASE: Sláinte agus saol chugat!
PRONOUNCED: slawn/che ogg/us sail koo/gut!
MEANING: Health and long life to you!
View the archive of phrases here:
SHAMROCK SITE OF THE MONTH
Irish Government website: All the information about Irish
SEARCHER SITE OF THE MONTH
Irish Townland Database: Know the name of a townland that
your descendants are from but cannot find it on a map? Use
this free search facility to find out where in Ireland the
townland is. Visit at:
SUPPORT THE INFORMATION ABOUT IRELAND SITE
HELP US TO CONTINUE TO PROVIDE FREE RESOURCES
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JUNE COMPETITION RESULT
The winner was: firstname.lastname@example.org
who will receive the following:
A Single Family Crest Print (decorative) (US$19.99 value)
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.
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Until the next time,
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