IN THIS ISSUE
~~~ Keep us Free!
~~~ News Snaps from Ireland
~~~ New free resources at the site
~~~ Play the Irish Lottery with irishlotto.net
~~~ Cara Irish Penpals news
~~~ A Letter from America - a story
~~~ An Irish Dirge of Battle and King - a poem
~~~ The Irish at Gettysburg
~~~ Isle of Mist - a poem
~~~ Gaelic phrases of the month
~~~ Shamrock site of the month
~~~ Monthly free competition result
Hello again from Ireland where the sun is trying
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NEWS SNAPS FROM IRELAND
WELFARE FRAUD BY ASYLUM SEEKERS TO BE TACKLED
Welfare and housing claims made by asylum seekers
are to be curtailed in new legislation to be
introduced by the Government. Fraud on a massive
scale has been uncovered by the Garda National
Immigration Bureau (GNIB) who have seized dozens
of forged documents and passports. The head of the
GNIB has called for fingerprinting of all
non-nationals in Ireland, of which there are over
200,000, or 5% of the overall population.
Asylum seekers currently receive lodgings, food
and a weekly allowance of EURO 19.
FALL IN THE DOLLAR IS GOOD FOR IRISH TOURISTS
While the fall in the value of the US dollar is
very bad for Irish tourism, the consequent
strength of the EURO is excellent news for Irish
visitors to America. Holidays
The cost of some US package tours have been
slashed by as much as one third with bookings on
the increase, despite the SARS epidemic and the
Iraq war. Many Irish holiday-makers now feel it
is cheaper to travel abroad than it is to holiday
IRISH HEALTH SYSTEM TO BE HUGELY REORGANISED
The well documented accounts of patients waiting
on hospital trolleys for days and waiting lists
for operations growing at an alarming rate have
prompted the Government into action.
The Health system in Ireland is to be completely
overhauled. A new Health Service Executive is to
be established which will oversee the day-to-day
running of the service. A new National Hospitals
Office will also be set up to manage the
The Health Boards will be replaced by four health
executives. This is an attempt to reduce the
massive duplication of work that currently exists
and to reduce the administration costs of
running local health services which has spiralled
in recent years.
More than 32 of the existing health agencies will
be wither abolished or amalgamated. Hospital
consultants will be held financially responsible
for decisions which affect hospital costs.
The bold plan will take years to implement and is
already under fire from several vested interests
in the Health Service.
NORTHERN IRELAND PEACE PROCESS AT A STANDSTILL
A date for new Elections in Northern Ireland has
still not been set and the Assembly remains
Ulster Unionist leader saw off another challenge
to his leadership from rebels led by Jefferey
Donaldson and will now seek to have them expelled
from the party.
INTRODUCTION OF THE EURO IS PROFITABLE
The introduction of the EURO has resulted in a 2
Billion Euro windfall fore the Government. The
Central Bank has contributed this amount over the
last 2 years with over 300 Million Irish Punts
not being converted into the new currency.
The economic growth forecast from the bank has
been reduced to 1.5% down from the previous
estimate of 1.75%. Irish prices in some 12% above
the Eurozone average and inflation in Ireland is
nearly double the European average.
Recent reports of an imminent fall in house prices
have been dismissed by economists in Ireland who
have cited the fact that since the supply of
housing lags behind the demand then prices will
EUROPEAN AGRICULTURE POLICY IS REFORMED
The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) which decrees
the amount of aid to be given to Europe's farmers
has been reformed. No longer will farmers be paid
to produce good s which are stored in warehouses,
never to be used,
The reforms are expected to cause an overall
reduction in the price of food. Dairy farmers
claim that their livelihoods will be ruined and
that they will see their income reduced by one
SPECIAL OLYMPICS ARE HAILED A SUCCESS
The largest sporting event in the world this year,
The Special Olympics, have been hailed as a
success by organisers and spectators alike. the
opening ceremony that was held in Croke Park has
been mooted as one of the most spectacular displays
in the history of the country. Over 7000 athletes
from 160 countries participated in the various
events. Over 30,000 volunteers helped to make the
games a great success.
IRISH SCIENTIST JOINS NASA
An Irish scientist is to join the NASA team that
is seeking to colonise Mars. Michelle McKeon is
an environmental lecturer from Limerick Institute
of technology and has been studying hydroponics,
the growing of plants without soil. She hopes to
become Ireland's first ever astronaut.
IRISH REALITY SHOW SINKS
The Irish television take on the phenomenon that
is 'reality TV' hit the headlines recently for all
the wrong reasons. The unique format of the Irish
offering saw nine contestants aboard a boat, with
cameras recording their every move and with the
contestants to be whittled down to an eventual
winner in the usual way.
All seemed well with the 'Cabin Fever' show in the
beginning with good interest from sponsors and
promising viewing figures for the launch of the
Production soon had to be halted however, as the
Thankfully no loss of life was incurred and RTE
are hoping they can yet raise the venture from
its watery grave.
Voice your opinion on these news issues here:
NEW FREE RESOURCES AT THE SITE
NEW COATS OF ARMS ADDED TO THE GALLERY:
The following 4 coats of arms images and family
history details have been added to the Gallery:
View the Gallery here:
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:
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CARA IRISH PENPALS NEWS
The listings of members have been purged!
The database is up to date. Only members who
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Another Success Story:
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A LETTER FROM AMERICA
by John B.Mc Cabe
One day the postman brought a letter from America.
This was not an unusual event since my uncle Pat
lived there, twice married and had two families
with whom we ritually corresponded at Christmas
and Patrick's day. This day the letter was
different as it announced that one of our cousins,
Mary Jane and her husband John would call to visit
us for a day in August of that year. It was 1959
and my parents were struggling with bad health,
bills and the crushing bondage of small farming
life, not counting the liability of two children
aged seven and nine.
I was very excited. I thought it was wonderful to
have 'Yankees' come to see us. There was a sense
of romance in those far off places where people
acquired fancy accents, drove big cars and seemed
to have no end of money to spend when they came
For my parents the letter brought a mixture of
excitement and panic. Panic was the dominant
feeling and it rose, slowly at first, until it
became a huge wave that engulfed the whole
household. It washed away the every-day disguises
of living and revealed the family, the house and
the farm in their most tattered rags of inadequacy.
My mother looked at her pale face in the mirror,
at daddy's patched corduroys, at the bare cement
floor, the blackened range, the shortage of proper
cups and saucers. She felt the shame of the
enamelled chamber pot and the lack of running
In desperation she sighed and said: 'What are we
going to do?' My father muttered to himself and
began mixing paint.
Our house was not a bad home. It was just never
The kitchen walls were layered with great coats
of whitewash - frantically applied by my mother
for the annual visit of the priest for the
The room off the kitchen was very damp and
remained unused except as a dumping ground for
unwanted items, a safe place for bicycles and
the storage of animal medicines. It was furnished
with two large chests - the forlorn trousseaus
of departed bridal ancestors.
To this day I do not know where daddy purchased
the paint with which he intended to adorn our
home. Wherever he found it, it was cheap and the
colours of such a mad variety as to be more
suited to the enhancement of a circus than to the
decoration of a dwelling house. Maybe, perhaps,
he was affected by the popular perception that
Yankees have a penchant for flamboyant and garish
colours but whatever the reason mammy was not
The front door wore a new coat of screeching
yellow that I have only since seen on the
glorious apparel of tropical parakeets. It looked
awful. It had to be changed.
'Waste not, want not', he said, and proceeded to
mix the remaining yellow with signal red to
produce a colour that found no echo in the normal
range of the spectrum - an off-chocolate pink
which was less offensive on the eye and adorned
the door for most of a generation.
When the painting was finished, my mother surveyed
the cutlery. She went to town and arrived home
with a new set of cups and saucers and a matching
milk jug. These were very pretty, made of white
china with blue and gold bands on the rims of both
cups and saucers. We were not allowed to touch
them in case they got damaged and she placed them
lovingly on the dresser with as many admonitions
as would befit the protection of a Pharaoh's tomb.
A new oilcloth for the table was also purchased
along with some smaller items of necessity.
Finally, when all the preparations were made our
cousins were invited so that both my mother's and
my father's families were met together to welcome
and fete the arrival of the Yanks.
They arrived. They talked. They took pictures.
It was a terrible let down. My mother was so
crestfallen, when, at the end of the day, the
Yanks called for us, the children and said they
would like to give us 'a coin'! They placed a
two-shilling piece in each of our hands. Not even
the scent of a single dollar!
I still look at the strained faces of my parents
in the fading photographs and feel the awful pain
of a vanishing dream.
The Yanks were, of course, very nice and plain and
friendly. They were on a package tour and made the
effort to come and see us and we were glad. I
suppose deep down, we all expected some reward,
some gift of money or presents from these, to us,
exotic and wealthy people. We did not imagine in
all our poverty and penury that they too were but
young struggling people with little or no means
either, who made an effort to say hello from
across the world - reflecting the homesick eyes
of a father looking at the home he had left half
a century before.
The visit of these American cousins became a
reference point in the inner circle of our world
and from then on time was reckoned by that event
as before and after the Yankees arrived.
John B. McCabe
AN IRISH DIRGE OF BATTLE AND KING
by: Sharon L.(Westbrook) Brown
RR1, Box 11B-1
Saint Jo, TX 76265
A dirge from olden days has filtered
Like a stream into my soul,
Otherwise, I know not how to tell you
From whence it came or it shall go.
Just that the spirit has prevailed
And bid I take pen in hand,
As bagpipes resound in my mind
And upon green, hills - I see a man.
He is singing, 'I tried to leave the battle
But freedom forbade I get away,
Until death took the matter from me
Standing me atop this mountain high to play:
A final, sad, sad, song for Ireland
Bonnie lasses and better days,
'Lest blood shed - bring them here
And there are then two of us to say:
“Yes, I have loved my beloved Ireland
But before me, shines a greater crown,
Having little to do with politics
Or of mortal justice seldom found,
Me' Lord smiles beyond the days behind
His angels ever near,
O! My beloved Ireland
He wants to come and dry ye tears.'
'I've but a short time to play for you,'
He told, between the words in his song,
'O! Wee Ireland, be not dismayed
With the dust of ash before the dawn.'
I saw him sing as the masses assembled
Though I, with pen in hand,
Thinking they had heard him playing
Till they looked and saw but a vanished man.
Knowing nothing of his life - no naught
Except of the words, he left to sing,
'O! God Bless my beloved Ireland
For I leave, to serve - a greater King.'
Sharon L.(Westbrook) Brown
Keep this newsletter alive!
THE IRISH AT GETTYSBURG
by Kevin O'Beirne, Kevin P. Gorman,
and Joseph E. Gannon
The story of Gettysburg in many ways represents
the struggle to define America in the mid-19th
century. In many ways, too, those three bloody
days in July 1863 helped to define the nature of
several ethnic groups in this country,
particularly the Germans and the Irish. In the
hour of need of the two struggling nations, at
Gettysburg and many other Civil War battlefields,
the Irish nobly fulfilled their duty.
Among the battle's casualties were many sons of
Erin, who served in large numbers in both armies.
More than a million Irish immigrants had come to
America during the preceding four decades, seeking
an opportunity to rise above the poverty they
faced in Ireland. While most remained in
Northern ports of arrival, hundreds of thousands
originally emigrated to or moved to the South,
drawn by better pay, a generally warmer welcome,
and an ample supply of jobs. When war broke out,
they flocked to the colors of their adopted
For the boys in blue, the Philadelphia Brigade's
69th Pennsylvania Infantry, which was almost
entirely Irish and marched under a green
regimental flag, was in the eye of the storm on
July 3 directly in front of the famous Copse of
Trees that was the objective of Pickett's Division.
The 69th was like a rock as that high tide of the
Confederacy lapped around it and was still in
place when the tide rolled back. The men of the
69th lost their commander, Col. Dennis O'Kane,
that day but, before he died of his wounds two
days later, he managed to keep his regiment in
place and fighting when other regiments ran and
the battle appeared to be in doubt. O'Kane's
Irishmen lost half their number on that terrible
One of the regiments that helped the 69th
Pennsylvania repulse Pickett's men was the 42nd
New York. The 'Tammany Regiment', as the 42nd was
called, was more than half-Irish. Their monument
stands near The High Water Mark, not far from the
69th Pennsylvania's harp-adorned granite obelisk.
Like the Tammany Regiment, the 40th New York, the
'Mozart Regiment', had its roots in New York City
Democratic circles. Led by 'Fighting Tommy Egan',
the 40th had been recently reinforced by
three-year recruits from the former 37th New York
Infantry, a.k.a. the 'The Irish Rifles' and three
other regiments, Egan's men helped stem the
Confederate advance on Little Round Top by
charging down into 'The Valley of Death' near Plum
Run. The regiment's monument and a rock carved by
the men of the 40th to mark their position that
day, can be seen from the access road to Devil's
Also on the Federal side, the tiny remnant - only
530 men - of the famous Irish Brigade, fought in
the killing ground of Rose's Wheatfield on July 2,
led by Galway-born Colonel Patrick Kelly. The
brigade emerged from its gallant delaying action
in the Wheatfield and Rose's Woods minus 40
percent of its men, but with all its flags and
its honor intact.
Boston's hard-fighting Irish 9th Massachusetts
regiment, under County Tipperary-born Col. Patrick
Guiney, was part of the Fifth Corps. The 'Irish
Ninth' fought well against the Stonewall Brigade
on Brinkerhoff's Ridge but managed to avoid heavy
casualties in the battle.
A brave Irish colonel, Patrick O'Rorke, of the
140th New York, of Rochester, N.Y., died with many
of his men defending the west side of Little Round
Top on July 2. O'Rorke, for whom Gettysburg's
well-known, modern-day Irish tavern is named, hailed
from County Cavan and his regiment included two
companies that were predominantly Irish.
Capt. James McKay Rorty, of Donegal, who had once
made a daring escape from a Confederate prison, was
killed while desperately trying to keep one of the
guns of his Battery B, 1st New York Artillery, in
action during Pickett's Charge. Derry-born Col.
James F.X. Huston was killed on July 2, while
trying to rally his 82nd New York near the Peach
Orchard as the assault of Longstreet's Corps
rolled over it.
Cork-born Col. Thomas Smyth commanded the Second
Brigade, Third Division, of the Second Corps at
Gettysburg where his men distinguished themselves
in fighting at the Bliss Farm on the second day
and in the defense of Cemetery Ridge during the
Pickett/ Pettigrew Charge. Smyth, who would briefly
command the Irish Brigade in the spring of 1864,
would die the same day as Lee's surrender at
Appomattox, April 9, 1865, succumbing to a head
wound suffered two days earlier from a
On the Confederate side, Irish patriot John
Mitchel's son Willie fell with the color guard of
the 1st Virginia as his regiment assaulted the
position held by the 69th Pennsylvania during
There were a number of Irish companies in various
Confederate regiments on the field, especially
among the two Louisiana brigades in Richard S.
Ewell's Second Corps, and in several Georgia
regiments. The State of Louisiana, New Orleans in
particular, had a large Irish population, which
was well-represented in the gray ranks at
Gettysburg. Similarly, many Irish immigrated to
the Savannah, Georgia, area and fought in the
Peachtree State's ranks in Pennsylvania.
The 6th Louisiana, of General Harry Hays'
'Louisiana Tigers' brigade, in Jubal Early's
division, was largely Irish in its make-up. The
6th Louisiana fought well on July 1, 1863 and
suffered heavily when it participated in Early's
twilight assault on Cemetery Hill the next day.
The 6th left fully one-quarter of the 222 men it
took into the fight on the fields near Gettysburg.
Similarly, the 10th Louisiana, which was about 40
percent Irish, suffered heavily in its attacks on
Culp's Hill on July 2 and 3. The 10th Louisiana
was part of Williams' Louisiana Brigade in Edward
Johnson's division. The regiment suffered 91
killed and wounded, with no figures officially
recorded for 'Missing'.
The Irish Brigade Monument at Gettysburg
County Tyrone-born Colonel Robert McMillan's 24th
Georgia Regiment, which had a large number of
Irishmen, was part of Wofford's Brigade (McLaws's
Division, James Longstreet's First Corps). It
fought well in the area of Gettysburg's Wheatfield.
Seven months earlier, the 24th Georgia had helped
to defend Fredericksburg's famous stonewall
against the Irish Brigade. At Gettysburg, they
once again helped to drive the Irish Brigade from
the field, losing 36 men in the process.
Like the rest of the nation, the Irish-American
community bound up its wounds after the end of
the war. In one of the more poignant and ironic
coincidences in the history of the Irish at
Gettysburg, the famous Celtic cross monument to
the three New York battalions of Kelly's Irish
Brigade, which stands today in the woods near the
Wheatfield, was sculpted in 1888 by an Irish
immigrant from Louisiana who fought in the
Confederate ranks at Gettysburg.
This article has been adapted from an
article at the 'Wild Geese Today' Webzine,
a leading Irish history and heritage Internet
site, established in 1997 with the purpose of
sharing 'The Epic History and Heritage of the
Irish' with the immense number of individuals
of Irish ancestry found worldwide.
ISLE OF MIST by Carole Kenney
I'm enclosing a poem I wrote about Ireland upon
return from a trip there to visit my cousins near
Bunratty Castle. Hope you like it!
Isle of Mist
All the shades of lavender and gray
Drift in water color - run
Down purple slopes, and offer up to day
Young maidens formed from mist,
Their veils afloat, their hair undone,
Rising ghostly and by heather kissed.
These virgins who have never seen the sun
Gather tufts of purple, sprigs of gold
Within their gauzy robes; do not delay
To gather so much more than they can hold,
They stumble, roll down hills and on the way,
Let fall some dabs of gold and purple flame,
And who could blame these wood nymphs
for their zeal
In hiding from the eye, that we might feel.
GAELIC PHRASES OF THE MONTH
PHRASE: Ta ocras orm.
PRONOUNCED: taw uck/russ urm
MEANING: I am hungry
PHRASE: Ta tart orm.
PRONOUNCED: taw tart urm
MEANING: I am thirsty
PHRASE: Ba mhaith liom cupan tae
PRONOUNCED: buh wah lum cup/onn tay
MEANING: I would like a cup of tea
SHAMROCK SITE OF THE MONTH: CELTICATTIC.COM
Shop online for everything you need to decorate
your home and life with a Celtic Twist: Art,
Crafts, Irish & Scottish Baskets, Suncatchers,
Wind-Chimes, Music and Celtic Gifts. We offer a
delightful variety of Celtic Jewelry: Pendants,
Crosses, Rings, Hair Ties & more. All your
Irish Bath, Beauty and Herbal needs are in one
convenient location! The Majority of our products
are Irish, Scottish, Welsh made.
Phone orders 360-765-0186
JUNE COMPETITION RESULT
The winner was: firstname.lastname@example.org
who will receive the following:
A Single Family Crest Print (decorative)
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.
Keep us alive! - visit http://www.irishnation.com
I hope that you have enjoyed this issue.
Until next time,
Enjoy the Summer!
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