IN THIS ISSUE
~~~ News Snaps from Ireland
~~~ New free resources at the site
~~~ Getting Married in Ireland by Anne Lanier
~~~ Retiring in Ireland
~~~ Going Home - a poem by Charlene Cason
~~~ Gaelic Phrases of the Month
~~~ Monthly free competition result
I hope you all had a happy and peaceful Saint
Patrick's Day! The celebrations in Ireland were
huge again with festivities going on for an
Many thanks to Anne Lanier for her article about
getting married in Ireland. We have also reprinted
our article about retiring in Ireland, which is
also relevant if you want to relocate here to
Why don't YOU submit an article, story or poem
for the next edition!
until next time,
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NEWS SNAPS FROM IRELAND
SMOKING BAN IS IMPLEMENTED IN IRELAND
March 29th saw the introduction in Ireland of a
country-wide ban on smoking in the workplace.
The ban includes all premises where work is
carried out including pubs, hotels and
restaurants. Despite prolonge lobbying from Pub
owners and hoteliers the Government has pressed
ahead with the innovative health measure that it
claims will save up to 150 lives annually. Similar
measures have already been implemented in
California and New York. Dublin was inundated
with news correspondents and media staff from
around the world to report on the Irish smoking
ban. Norway and Finland are among the other EU
states who are likely to follow the Irish example.
Informal polls in Britain suggest that as many
as 75% of the people living there would support
a similar ban in the UK.
A new Office of Tobacco Control has been set up
to monitor compliance with the new laws. Pub
owners who consistently flout the new regulations
risk having their pub licence revoked.
DRAMATIC FALL IN ASYLUM APPLICATIONS
New laws that have recently been introduced appear
to be having the effect of reducing the number of
applications for asylum in Ireland. Recent
legislation removed the right of parents of
children born in Ireland to automatic citizenship.
Restrictions on the ability of asylum seekers to
claim welfare have also received EU backing.
Applications for asylum during January and February
of 2004 are 60% less than those of 2003. 755
applications were made in this period in 2004
compared with 1926 in 2003. 161 illegal immigrants
have been deported so far in 2004, compared with
590 for the 12 months of 2003.
POSTAL STRIKE CAUSES CHAOS
A dispute between workers and management at An
Post, the Irish Post Office, has caused chaos
with the non-delivery of local mail as well as
the complete cessation of the delivery of
international mail in and out of the country. An
Post is in a poor financial situation and faces
insolvency later this year unless it can
dramatically improve its trading position.
IRISH PRESIDENCY OF THE EU FOCUSES ON CONSTITUTION
Hopes are rising that a new EU constitution may
be agreed during the Irish term of office as
President of the EU. Germany and Poland have
agreed to end a feud over voting rights that was
blocking progress. France are now also on-board.
US President George Bush is expected to visit
Ireland for an EU-US summit in June. Intensive
security arrangements are already under way.
EU TO ORDER SELLAFIELD INSPECTIONS
The British Government is facing an order to
clean up Sellafield, the controversial nuclear
processing plant at Cumbria, on the north-west
coast of England. Britain will now face an order
from the EU to allow inspectors to visit the
plant, to try to ascertain just how much
radioactive material is stored there.
Radioactivity is so high in the area surrounding
the storage facility that staff are only allowed
to work there for up to one hour per day.
Ireland is among several EU states that are
campaigning for the closure of the facility.
DUBLIN IS SIXTH BEST CITY IN EUROPE
A survey of the cities of the world has ranked
Dublin in 30th place in the world, and as 8th in
the EU. In the EU only Vienna, Copenhagen,
Amsterdam, Brussels, Berlin, Luxembourg and
Stockholm rate as having a better quality of life
than Dublin City. Top of the entire list are the
Swiss cities of Zurich and Geneva with Baghdad
being rated at the bottom of the list for obvious
The survey is based on the availability of public
transport, health services, housing and
SAINT PATRICK'S DAY CELEBRATED WORLDWIDE
More than 1.2 Million people in Ireland are
estimated to have participated in the Saint
Patrick's day celebrations this year, making it
one of the biggest in recent years. Parades in
New York and Chicago were mirrored in Sydney,
Newfoundland and around the world.
IRISH RUGBY TEAM CLAIMS TRIPLE CROWN
The Irish rugby team defeated Wales, Scotland
and world-champions England to claim its first
'triple-crown' in nearly two decades.
Voice your opinion on these news issues here:
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NEW COATS OF ARMS ADDED TO THE GALLERY:
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C: Callon, Crowe, MacConmara
View the Gallery here:
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GETTING MARRIED IN IRELAND by Anne Lanier
Have you ever considered having your dream
wedding in Ireland?
You are not alone. The days of quickie Vegas
weddings, cookie-cutter ceremonies and the boring,
corporate hotel reception are on the way out.
Modern couples want a unique wedding location and
vacation they can enjoy together with their
intimate circle of family and close friends.
While the average American wedding can easily cost
US$20,000 for just one evening, couples are
finding they can spend four days celebrating with
their guests in Ireland for half of that cost.
It is no surprise that so many American couples
and international celebrities are opting to escape
to Ireland for their dream weddings. The short,
five hour flight from the US makes it both
accessible and irresistible. And a destination
wedding takes the pressure off the couple and
their families because no one is hosting from
their home or hometown, so local distractions are
immediately eliminated setting the scene for a
dream vacation for everyone in attendance.
If you intend to have a wedding with more than
10 guests traveling to Ireland, I would strongly
suggest you get some professional assistance.
Assistance may include a specialized travel agent
or an Irish wedding coordinator. Although it can
be hard work if you pursue planning without
professional help, it can be done. Some
coordinators like myself offer a vendor and
locations list for a minimal fee. This is great
option for couples with experience in planning or
who may be working with a tight budget because you
have access to the top Irish vendors and you get
the pre-negotiated rates.
However, most couples have little or no experience
in planning an event or wedding and finding the
perfect location, hiring the top local vendors and
organizing a wedding in another country may seem
daunting. But with the skills and experience of a
good coordinator, planning your wedding in Ireland
will be easy and even fun. When shopping for a
coordinator, look for a company that works on a
flat fee system to protect yourself from inflated
'estimate work' (hourly rates and percentages).
Be sure to get a written contract that states
exactly what you will be paying. You don't want
to be surprised by the bill on your special day.
Hiring a wedding coordinator could be one of the
best decisions you make for peace of mind as well
as making your budget go further.
All legal marriages in Ireland are recognized in
the United States. Legal marriages may be either
religious or civil. Couples must make notification
of the intended marriage to the local registrar in
Ireland 90 days before the ceremony either by
mail or in person.
In order to marry legally in the Catholic Church
in Ireland, the couple must be Catholic. There is
NO residency requirement for a religious ceremony
In order to marry legally in a civil ceremony the
couple must meet a residency requirement.
There are two ways to meet this residency
1. By License - Requires that the couple be in
the district area for 15 days before.
2. By Certificate - Requires that the couple be
in the district area for 7 days and then return
to Ireland after 21 days and no later than one
year for the ceremony (2 visits to Ireland).
Many couples are opting to marry legally in their
local city hall in the USA, considering this
portion as paperwork, and having a formal,
non-legal ceremony in Ireland at the location of
their choice. This works well because the couple
does not have to meet residency, legal or
Whether you are married in an ancient 16th century
castle tower or in a quaint chapel next to the
crashing Atlantic Ocean, the Irish will embrace
your desire to experience their rich and vibrant
culture. As the Irish have a fierce pride in their
heritage, there is an abundance of information on
tradition, art, poetry, music and language that
can play an essential role in your Irish wedding.
Good Luck in your planning!
Founder of Anne Lanier Weddings - Ireland Weddings
Visit Anne's website at: www.AnneLanierWeddings.com
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RETIRING IN IRELAND
It is a well known fact that if you ask an Irish
man or woman where they are from, they will tell
you where they were born! The fact that they
haven't lived in that place for most of their
lives, indeed the fact that they haven't lived
in Ireland for most of their lives is, to them,
irrelevant. They seem to have mastered the art
of 'living in two places at once' as the Irish
psychologist Maureen Gaffney says. And it was the
fervent wish of every Irish emigrant to return
to live in Ireland.
An ever increasing number of people are opting to
spend their retirement in Ireland, and not all of
them have any family connections here. They may
give many reasons for this - the relaxed pace of
life in many parts of this country (particularly
away from the cities and large towns), the low
crime rate in the more rural areas, and the fact
that it is cheaper to live in Ireland with a
fixed income for many of them.
These are valid and prudent considerations when
contemplating a move to retire to Ireland, but
there are other important considerations which
must be taken into account as well. Most people
who work outside the home have up to 80% of
their acquaintances there and on retirement these
will disappear - a fact that may cause us great
joy! The other 20% are family, close friends and
the people we interact with in our social life.
Before you move permanently, ask yourself the
* How often will you see family again?
* Will you miss too many of the great family
* Will your grandchildren have children of their
own by the time you return or meet them again?
* How good are you at making friends? We Irish
have a reputation for being friendly, but
there's a big difference in being friendly and
* Do you know anyone in Ireland - other than
If you hesitate about the answers to any of these
questions, you must be careful about making a
permanent move. TRY IT OUT FOR SIX MONTHS FIRST.
Then if everything is working out, make the move
permanent, if not, think again. Many people who
transfer to Ireland do so for the better months
- April to October - and change to warmer
climates for winter months.
Here are some important considerations you have
to take account of in making your decision:
As far as the Irish government is concerned, you
can hold dual citizenship if you wish. However,
your own government may take a different view so
it is vital that you check with them before you
do anything to start the process of taking out
Irish Citizenship. You would not want to lose
your own citizenship in the process.
What are the benefits of taking out Irish
* You can vote in all Irish elections and
Referenda, i.e. Presidential elections, various
referenda, elections to the Dail - the Irish
parliament - to the European parliament and in
local government elections.
* You have all the privileges enshrined in the
Constitution and all the duties of citizens
listed there and in law.
* You can have virtually unrestricted travel to
any part of the world - the Irish government
places no obstacles in the travel plans of its
citizens so much so that you will probably bump
into an Irish person in the most unlikely places.
No one likes paying taxes, but just like the
weather they are always with us. Details of the
treatment of people residing in Ireland and their
tax liability are covered in 'Leaflet RES 1' from
the Revenue Commissioners, at +353 1 8780100.
The following conditions apply to you if you set
up residence permanently in Ireland:
* All income arising from sources in Ireland
except for certain exempt government stocks is
liable to Irish income tax.
* No part of a visitor's income from sources
outside Ireland is subject to income tax unless
that person is deemed to be resident in Ireland,
i.e. they spend 183 days in the State in a tax
year or 280 days in the State, combining the
number of days in the current tax year and the
preceding tax year. The tax year starts on 1st
January each year.
* You would do well to consult an accountant or
a lawyer versed in tax law if you feel you might
have problems with this. This would be
particularly important in the area of inheritance
* Ireland operates a double taxation agreement
with many countries and you will receive a tax
credit on the tax paid in your country of origin
when calculating your tax liability in Ireland.
You should have proof of the tax deducted from
your country of origin.
Most of us will live on pensions of one sort or
another when we reach retirement age. Most
countries allow their citizens to transfer their
pensions to where they are living. Company
pensions can normally be paid into a bank and
transferred to you without any trouble.
Social Security pensions from the USA will suffer
a 15% withholding tax from the IRS, but can be
paid outside the USA. Just give three to six
months' notice of your intention to move.
If you are entitled to a Social Security pension
from Australia, you can have it paid in Ireland.
The pensions are distributed from England to
addresses all over Europe and are posted on a
If you are entitled to a pension from Veterans
Affairs it must be paid into an Australian bank
first, and then transferred. PAYE ('Pay As You
Earn tax') will be deducted at source on all
Ireland has reciprocal agreements with several
countries including Austria, Canada, Australia
and the United States. These agreements protect
the pension entitlements of Irish people who go
to work in these countries and they protect people
from those countries who work in Ireland. They
cover pensions only, i.e., Old Age Contributory
Pension, Retirement Pension, Invalidity Pension
and the Widowed Person's Contributory Pensions.
They allow periods of insurance and or residence
which were completed in one country to be taken
into account by the other country so that the
worker may qualify for a pension. It is even
possible for some people to qualify for payments
from both countries at the same time.
The good news is that if you do qualify for a
payment under any of these Social Security schemes,
you may also qualify for the following free
benefits in Ireland from the Irish Department
of Social, Community and Family Affairs when
the pensioner reaches age 66:
* Free electricity allowance (1500 units per year)
or you can opt for an equivalent Natural Gas
Allowance or a Bottled Gas Refill allowance
* Free Television licence
* Telephone Rental Allowance
* Fuel Allowance
* Free Travel (open to everyone resident in
Ireland...see explanation below)
For these you must be residing permanently in
Ireland and fulfil the conditions. For further
information and to see if you would qualify write
to: International Operations Section, Department
of Social, Community & Family Affairs, Floor 1,
O'Connell Bridge House, D'Olier Street, Dublin 1,
Telephone: ++353 1 874 8444
Free travel: Everyone residing in Ireland is
entitled to Free Travel within the state if they
are over the age of 66. It entitles you to travel,
without charge, on all the trains and buses of
the state transport companies. Some private bus
operators are also involved in the scheme. There
are some restrictions. You must use the commuter
buses and trains outside rush hour times and
during specific hours. One downside - if you live
in a remote area there may be no bus/train
available to you. Application forms are available
from post offices or local Social Welfare Services
offices. One other benefit of the Free Travel Pass
is that you can use it for reduced entry charges
to race meetings, cinemas and theatres on
specified occasions. Always ask!
REGISTERING WITH THE ALIENS OFFICE
If you are a citizen of Ireland you do not have
to register. If you were able to obtain Irish
Citizenship because either you, one of your
parents, or one of your grandparents was born on
the island of Ireland before 1921, or in the
Republic of Ireland if born after 1921,
(great-grandparents no longer count since the law
was changed in 1984), but your spouse does not
qualify, then it will take your spouse some years,
before he or she can apply to become a citizen.
If you are not an Irish citizen then you must
register during office hours with the Aliens
Office, Harcourt Square, Dublin 2, if you are
living in Dublin. If you are living outside
Dublin you must register with the local Garda
Station. You must register after three months
to seek permission to stay longer, then on a
Can I hire a car in Ireland? Yes, if you are
under 75 years of age. If you are older you will
not be able to buy car insurance and will be
unable to drive legally. Remember to bring an
International Driving licence with you.
Can I bring my dog or other pet with me? Yes, but
it will be subject to six months quarantine at
your expense). There are no exceptions and if you
arrive without the necessary arrangements made,
you will be sent back at your own expense.
Recently a lady made arrangements to set up a
private quarantine kennel near her own home for
her dog, but it was costly. You must contact the
Department of Agriculture, Kildare Street, Dublin 2
before you arrive, to find out the necessary
requirements and obtain a licence to bring the
animal into the country. The reason for the
strictness on pets is that Ireland and the
United Kingdom are free of rabies. The U.K. has
introduced a Pet Passport scheme but there is no
such scheme in Ireland currently.
Can I get free medical attention in Ireland? The
short answer is yes. Emergency treatment is free
after payment of an initial hospital charge of
EURO 30 in all hospitals; however, non emergency
treatment could mean a very long wait, sometimes
months. Private medical insurance is a virtual
If you have medical insurance now, check if you
can transfer it to one of the health care insurers
in Ireland (VHI or BUPA). VHI (the Voluntary Health
Insurance board - a semi-state company) will
continue to give you medical cover after the age of
65 (there is no upper age limit for EXISTING
subscribers), but will not take on NEW members if
they are aged 65 or over. BUPA International - the
other main medical insurer operating in Ireland -
has similar conditions.
Normally you pay for all visits to your doctor,
and for all prescribed drugs. But if your total
income is modest, and you are residing permanently
in Ireland, then you may qualify for a medical
card which will entitle you to free medical
treatment in Ireland. This means you would not have
to pay for any prescribed drug, visit to a doctor
on the medical card panel, or a consultant's public
hospital clinic. Contact the Health Board in your
area to learn the current earnings limits and for
an application form. If you come to Ireland from
another European Union (EU) country, and have a
Social Security pension from that country, you
will receive a medical card as of right.
Perhaps the greatest challenge you will encounter
when considering your retirement in Ireland is where
to live! The huge increases in the cost of property
over the last decade has been well documented with
most properties more than doubling in value over
that time. Some have trebled or even more in value.
If you intend to live in a city, especially Dublin,
then be prepared to pay at least EURO 250,000 for
a 3 bedroom house. Prices decrease and value for
money increases greatly the further into the
countryside you are willing to travel. It is still
possible to buy 'fixer-upper' bungalows and cottages
for EURO 100,000 or less.
The poor performance of the EURO versus the US
Dollar and other currencies has recently been of
great advantage to foreign people wanting to buy
property in Ireland. This trend has been bucked in
recent times with the EURO enjoying parity with
the US Dollar. The exchange rate changes on a
daily basis and by the time you do decide to move
the pendulum may have swung back the other way! One
advantage of the EURO is that it can be used in
France, Germany, Spain and other European countries
without having to visit a bank first and pay those
annoying Bureau de Change charges!
If you intend to rent accommodation then stick to
your budget. Renting a modest 3-bedroom house in
Dublin can cost EURO 1200 per month or more
depending on the area. Renting the same house but
1 hour outside the city can cost EURO 450 or less!
This article has been adapted from an article
written by Hilary Shannon for the 'Inside Ireland'
This is a simple 2-colour production which usually
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Hardly any ads – just plenty of fascinating
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YOU CAN HELP TO KEEP THIS FREE NEWSLETTER ALIVE!
where you can get great Irish gifts, prints,
claddagh jewellery, engraved glassware and
Anne MacDonald 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
Again, my hearty thanks for this
Best wishes for happy holiday season.
Sincerely, Anne MacDonald
View family crest plaques here:
GOING HOME by Charlene Cason
I am homesick for
a place I've never lived.
I am in love
with a wild and rocky island.
My grandmother's grandmother,
Catherine Brown, whispers to me
from deep inside County Clare,
'It's time to come home, child,
we're missin' ye so.'
And my heart aches from a pull
so strong, I sometimes think
it will snap right out of my chest.
Long, long ago, some soul of mine
lived a poor and happy life in
the West of Ireland.
I've seen home twice and,
there, I was warmed
by the breath of maternal ghosts,
who murmured directions back
to the places I had forgotten,
who took my hand on cold,
black nights and
led me quietly to all that
who urged me not to be afraid
I had missed home all my life.
Norfolk, VA, USA
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where you can get great Irish gifts, prints,
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Claire Latevola ordered an engraved ring:
I did want to let you know the watch I ordered
for my Sister's birthday, with the Nugent crest,
She received it in short order and was delighted.
I recently saw it and was very happy with it.
Sometimes you feel you are taking a chance placing
such an order, but I would not hesitate to place an
order again thru your system.
Again, thank you.
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GAELIC PHRASES OF THE MONTH
PHRASE: Iuil/Lunasa/Mean Fomhair
PHRASE: Deireadh Fomhair/Samhain/Nollaig
PHRASE: Seacht, Ocht, Naoi Deich
PRONOUNCED: shocked, ucked, knee, deh
View the archive of phrases here:
MARCH COMPETITION RESULT
The winner was: email@example.com
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.
I hope that you have enjoyed this issue.
Until next time,
STAY OUT OF THE COLD!
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