================================================= The Information about Ireland Site Newsletter March 2005 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) 2005 ================================================= IN THIS ISSUE === Foreword === News Snaps from Ireland === New free resources at the site === The Life of Saint Patrick === Eire - A Poem by Anna Faustmann === Satin Green Shutters - A Story by Bree Donovan === Bridget - A Poem by Seamus P. O' Cuinn === St. Patrick's Day in Belarus by Viktar Stsiapanau === Inishmoor - A Poem by Lisa Bertram === Gaelic Phrases of the Month === Monthly free competition result ================================================= FOREWORD ======== Happy Saint Patrick's Day to you from Dublin where, as I write this note, the annual Parade is making its way down O'Connell street, pass the famous GPO where Padraig Pearse read the Proclamation of Independence. It is impossible to measure the ways in which Ireland has changed since 1916 and even how much it has changed since 1996! Although I am sure the seven signatories of that famous Proclamation would not have approved of some of the results of our 'progress', there can be no doubt that the emergence of Ireland from the economic slumber of centuries into the modern burgeoning nation that now exists would have been beyond even their dreams. Have a great Saint Patrick's day, Michael 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/mar05.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 http://www.ireland-information.com/newsletter.htm ================================================= NEWS SNAPS FROM IRELAND ======================= IRISH ECONOMY TO BE FUELLED BY SPENDING SPREE The Irish economy is expected to benefit from a surge in consumerism on an unprecedented scale. The booming economy and the release of EURO 15 BN from the SSIAs (savings scheme) over the next 3 years will fuel the spending spree with new cars and exotic holidays set to top the list. The growth in prosperity has not gone unnoticed by retailers such as House of Fraser and Harvey Nichols who have set up shop in Ireland for the first time in the brand new Dundrum shopping centre, one of the largest in the country. Irish people also continue to borrow at record levels with interest rates being historically low. Paradoxically, the Irish still have an excellent saving mentality, depositing about 12% of disposable income in savings accounts and pension schemes compare to 5% in the UK and 2% in the US. The rate of inflation in Ireland has fallen slightly to 2.2%. Housing and fuel costs continue to rise with the cost of health-care and education also notable. Spending in pubs is down by over 15% since the introduction of the smoking ban in 2004. DIY and home improvement stores have send their bottom lines increase by the same 15%. In 2004 over 75,000 jobs were created within the Irish economy pay increasing by an average of over 6.5%. ECONOMIST MAGAZINE AGAIN PREDICTS HOUSING DOWNTURN The fall in rental income in Ireland has been cited by the Economist Magazine that the Irish property market is set for a collapse. The publication has argued for over 5 years that the Irish Property market is artificially inflated and will fall back dramatically. A moderation in price increases in Ireland over the last 2 years has seen a levelling off of price increases but despite this overall prices rose by 8.5% in 2004, down from 13.3% in 2003. Critics of the Economist report point out that the dire predictions are as a result of an overview of the entire EU market rather than the very specific circumstances that control the Irish housing market. With the German economy in the doldrums interest rates in the EU (and thus in Ireland) will continue to remain at very low levels. Add this to the Irish tradition of home ownership, as opposed to the European tradition of renting, and it is easy to see while Irish property experts are optimistic about future growth. QUICKIE DIVORCE NOW POSSIBLE IN IRELAND The Irish divorce legislation that was introduced in 1995 required for couples to be separated for at least 4 years before a divorce would be granted. A new EU ruling allows for divorce to be granted in 1 year if one of the parties to the failed marriage establish residency in a foreign country (even Northern Ireland). An average of just over 1700 divorces per year have been granted in Ireland since the new laws were introduced after a national referendum. BANK OF SCOTLAND EXPANDS IRISH BANK INTEREST In a dramatic and unexpected move, the Bank of Scotland has bought 54 retail outlets from ESB that are currently being used to sell electrical appliances. The 120 M deal will give BOS a very significant retail banking presence in the Irish market, making it the fourth largest bank in Ireland, in terms of retail outlets. The company have announced that all of the outlets will be converted into bank branches offering a wide range of services. BOS has promised to cut bank account fees, offer cheaper loans and to develop an attractive credit card service. IRISH SPORT LAGS BEHIND Despite recent successes in the European Indoor Athletics Championship in Madrid, a recent report has found that Irish Sport is still under-funded and suffers in the face of competition from Soccer, GAA and Rugby. Two medals were won in the indoor championships in Madrid, in the 400 Metres and 3000 Metres, by David Gillick and Alistair Cragg respectively. IRISH SOCCER MATCH IN ISRAEL TO GO AHEAD Despite recent bombings in Tel Aviv the World Cup qualifier in Israel will still go ahead on March 26th. The crucial soccer match will be one of the biggest sporting events ever staged in Israel and will represent the largest influx of tourists there since the Madonna concert in 2004. Voice your opinion on these news issues here: http://www.ireland-information.com/cgi-bin/newsletterboardindex.cgi http://www.ireland-information.com/cgi-bin/newsletterboardindex.cgi ================================================= NEW FREE RESOURCES AT THE SITE ============================== 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: F: Frawley L: Lambert M: Motley R: Rooney S: Studdert View the Gallery here: http://www.irishsurnames.com/coatsofarms/gm.htm THE PERFECT SAINT PATRICK'S DAY 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 ================================================= THE LIFE OF SAINT PATRICK ========================= The Patron Saint of Ireland was born into either a Scottish or English family in the fourth century. He was captured as a teenager by Niall of the Nine Hostages who was to become a King of all Ireland. He was sold into slavery in Ireland and put to work as a shepherd. He worked in terrible conditions for six years drawing comfort in the Christian faith that so many of his people had abandoned under Roman rule. Patrick had a dream that encouraged him to flee his captivity and to head South where a ship was to be waiting for him. He traveled over 200 miles from his Northern captivity to Wexford town where, sure enough, a ship was waiting to enable his escape. Upon arrival in England he was captured by brigands and returned to slavery. He escaped after two months and spent the next seven years traveling Europe seeking his destiny. During this time he furthered his education and studied Christianity in the Lerin Monastery in France. He returned to England as a priest. Again a dream greatly influenced him when he became convinced that the Irish people were calling out to him to return to the land of his servitude. He went to the Monastery in Auxerre where it was decided that a mission should be sent to Ireland. Patrick was not selected for this task to his great disappointment. The monk that was selected was called Paladius, but he died before he could reach Ireland and a second mission was decided upon. Patrick was made a Bishop by Pope Celestine in the year 432 and, together with a small band of followers, he traveled to Ireland to commence the conversion. Patrick confronted the most powerful man in Ireland, Laoghaire, The High King of Tara, as he knew that if he could gain his support then he would be safe to spread the word throughout Ireland. To get his attention Patrick and his followers lit a huge fire to mark the commencement of Spring. Tradition had it that no fire was to be lit until the King's fire was complete, but Patrick defied this rule and courted the confrontation with the King. The King rushed into action and traveled with the intention of making war on the holy delegation. Patrick calmed the King and with quiet composure impressed upon him that he had no intention other than that of spreading the word of the Gospel. The King accepted the missionary, much to the dismay of the Druids who feared for their own power and position in the face of this new threat. They commanded that he make snow fall. Patrick declined to do so stating that this was God's work. Immediately it began to snow, only stopping when Patrick blessed himself. Still trying to convince the King of his religion Patrick grasped at some Shamrock growing on the ground. He explained that there was but one stem on the plant, but three branches of the leaf, representing the Blessed Trinity. The King was impressed with his sincerity and granted him permission to spread the word of his faith, although he did not convert to Christianity himself. Patrick and his followers were free to spread their faith throughout Ireland and did so to great effect. He drove paganism (symbolised by the snake) from the lands of Eireann. Patrick was tempted by the Devil whilst on a pilgrimage at Croagh Patrick. For his refusal to be tempted, God rewarded him with a wish. Patrick asked that the Irish be spared the horror of Judgment Day and that he himself be allowed to judge his flock. Thus, the legend that Ireland will disappear under a sea of water seven years before the final judgment, was born. Patrick died on March 17th in the year 461 at the age of 76. It is not known for sure where his remains were laid although Downpatrick in County Down in the North of Ireland is thought to be his final resting place. His influence is still felt to this day as Nations the world over commemorate him on March 17th of every year. ~~~ Saint Patrick screensavers, pictures to color and more can be found here: http://www.ireland-information.com/saintpatricksday.htm ================================================= ================================================= EIRE - A POEM by Anna Faustmann ============= Many years ago my heart flew away. And I know it still lies on this place. In my dreams it´s so near to me. There in a country across the sea. There where my heart was suddenly free and history whispers in every tree. They told us legends and things of creatures and mystical happenings. And often they spoke about the little one's traces. Here in this country on mysterious places. My heart is still there and waits for me in this country called Eire across the sea Anna Faustmann ================================================= SATIN GREEN SHUTTERS by Bree Donovan ==================== The following excerpt is taken from the novel 'Satin Green Shutters' (title taken from a song by Irish singer-songwriter, Chris de Burgh) - by Bree T. Donovan. The author would appreciate any and all feedback. Prologue 18th Century County Mayo, Ireland A little boy raced under the endless Irish sky. His breath coming in short spurts. His strong colt-like legs were trying to stride as much of the soft rain soaked ground as possible. He could hear the sturdy footsteps of his pursuer coming ever closer. Soon the large, familiar form was at his back, then at his side and he was swept up into the powerful, loving arms of his father. They fell to the ground, laughing and gasping for air. 'Ah, I've got you!' His father exclaimed, hugging the child close. They rolled over on the moist earth in happy exhaustion. 'May your spirit always be as free, my Christopher.' The man looked into the green eyes that were so much like his own. Many times as he caught the glance of his son, he felt he truly understood the mysteries of time. How much I admire him, he thought. I am counting on him to erase these dark shades of green. He found himself retreating once again into his thoughts. His son was still looking at him, the quizzical smile asking, Da, what are you thinking? His father smiled back in acknowledgement, the signal to his son that he once again had his full attention Then the boy spoke, 'What is it you want most, da?' He asked it without hesitation, as he did all of his questions to his father. He enjoyed the comfort of being able to discuss so many things with him. The boy had great fortune in having a father such as his. His father was a most unusual man. He held dearly to the precepts of the Catholic Church, something his mother always argued about with him. The arguments were never mean spirited. They were more a mutual incredulity at the other's beliefs. His mother was a Celt, a woodsy, earthy, and joyous woman. Her eyes reflected a deep blue possessing a quality of mystery, of far off places and of the spirits that walked with her. 'Out of all things?' His father asked. 'Out of all things! Out of all of Eire!' The boy exclaimed as he stretched his arms in the air attempting to encompass all that he was speaking of. 'Ya ask such difficult questions, my son, but I will try my best to answer.' The little boy looked into his father's face with unbridled anticipation. His father reflected, turning over such a large question that only a child could make so simple in the asking. He let out a long sigh, and began to speak. 'What I want most, Christopher, is the sun and rain equally as we need them, the moon to light our nights and move the tides but, most of all, I wish for you, and all my children to come after, that you always know love.' 'Like the way you love me, da?' the boy asked. The man smiled. 'Well, that is one kind of love Christopher, perhaps the greatest, the love a father and mother have for their children, but there are other, powerful loves as well.' 'Like what?' the child asked squinting in the light of the afternoon sun. 'There is the love a man has for his country, the love he has for the land, the love he has for his God, and the love he shares with his wife, who is the fountain from which all these other loves spring.' The boy looked confused. 'Ya mean you love God, because ya love mam?' His father let out one of his familiar, uninhibited laughs. 'Well, yes, Christopher, I guess that's what I said!' He continued, still seeing the questions in his son's eyes. 'What I'm tryin' to tell ya is, if ya love another human being so much as to give yer life to, trust that person enough with yer very life, then you are able to trust and be open to all the other beautiful mysteries of this world.' He looked his son's face to see if he could glean some acknowledgement of understanding. The child was very quiet, then replied, 'That is what I want too, da.' and he rolled over hugging his father tight. ~~~ The Family County Mayo, Ireland 14 Years Later Christopher reined the horse to a stop and took a moment to wipe his brow. He had been out in the fields since early morning. He stood and surveyed the day's progress, finding it to have been a productive few hours of work. Suddenly he was taken over by a feeling he often experienced. His heart beat fast and erratic within his chest. He leaned towards the ground to quiet the spinning in his head. 'Hold on man, steady!' This story is continued in the online edition and can be viewed here: http://www.ireland-information.com/mar05.htm#story
He tried to reassure himself. Christopher was familiar with this feeling. It would come on abruptly and fill him with a sudden sense of anxiety and dread. He thought of his mother. He could see her face and hear his father calling her name; 'Ashling! Ashling!' As Christopher leaned over, he looked at the uprooted soil and its soft lushness, but there was something mingled in with that life giving soil that smelled of suffering and death. Christopher scooped up a handful of the ploughed earth. He studied it intently, as if somewhere in that field, existed an answer for what he was feeling and with every plot of earth he dug up, he was one step closer to uncovering it. Christopher opened his hand letting the soil scatter in the afternoon breeze. Whispers seemed to swirl all around him along with the departing dust, and they were not comforting. A strange coldness settled within him, even while standing in the radiant sunlight. He stood haunted, until the pangs of hunger and thirst called him back to the present and the desire to rest.
Anticipating his need, Christopher's sister came striding through the meadow and up the grassy hill carrying her brother's lunch. Tiny freckles dotted her fair face. Her peasant skirt whipped against slender legs and a white apron soiled with the day's cooking was blowing up against her chest in the breeze. The barefooted girl ambled over the wildflowers that grew on the hill and bent down to pluck a violet. She swung a small basket in one hand, in the other a bucket. As she approached Christopher, he could see her smiling.
'I thought ya might be ready for some relief!' she announced as she stood before him. Her blue eyes were large and soft, the eyes of a young girl on the verge of becoming a woman. Christopher quickly filled the cup with water from the bucket and drank gratefully. As he gulped down the last of the water, he looked at his sister, her long red hair blowing with the breeze. Taking the violet from her hand and placing it behind her ear. He stood back to admire the contrast of purple against the crimson of her hair. 'I must say, dear sister, that some of Eire's beauty has rubbed off on ya!' 'Well now! Sure the sun must have gotten to your head, Christopher!' she laughed as she handed him some bread. He lowered his tired and sweaty body onto the cool earth, and let out a sigh, 'Oh, Lan, I haven't been out here so long that I can't appreciate something beautiful.' He winked at his younger sister. 'That is the end!' she exclaimed. 'You must come inside to lie down. I fear you may be near death!' She laughed, appreciative of her brother's observation, but embarrassed all the same. She waved her hand in the air as if to dismiss his comments. 'How is the ploughin'?' she asked more seriously, and seated herself on the ground next to her brother.
'Always a good day's work.' he said with a weary smile. Caelan looked into her brother's face, the face she had looked upon so many times mostly for comfort and support. He and her other brothers and sister were all she had since her parents' death years ago. Caelan was only a child then, and Christopher barely sixteen. They had no extended family. Their father had chosen to secretly convert to Catholicism when his father, Grandfather Fergus O'Kearney died. Their Grandfather was a Protestant, and although Christopher's father was Catholic, Christopher was still considered a Protestant by blood. Their father not only became a Catholic, but had made the unthinkable choice of marrying a Sectarie. Christopher and Caelan's mother, Ashling, practiced the ancient beliefs that had long since been rejected and viewed at best, as antiquated, and at worst regarded as witchcraft. Grandmother Aine O'Kearney and her other children had turned their backs on their son and brother because of his choice of a wife. Ashling's family was gone, mostly victims of disease.
Upon their parents' death, Christopher quickly and devotedly took on the role of both mother and father for his siblings. He never complained, but Caelan knew how tired he really was. Although he tired to hide it from her and the others, she saw how he would return from the fields exhausted at night. He always had playful energy enough for the young ones, but then he would stay up long into the night trying to conjure up ways to earn more money for the family. Christopher did all this to secure for them some kind of future. As Caelan looked at his face now, she suddenly realized how much of his own future he was giving up for them. Christopher was twenty-one years old, and had been their only caretaker for the last five years. She felt an overwhelming sense of sympathy for him. 'I do think ya work too much, Christopher.' Caelan said quietly knowing that she would only get protestations from him.
'Ah!' he brushed aside her comment like a bead of sweat. 'No more than any man with land and family.' She wasn't giving up on the point that had come to mind. 'Ya've got to start thinkin' of yer future.' she implored. Ya can't always take care of us.' Looking into his eyes she asked, 'Don't ya have dreams of yer own?'
Christopher laughed. He laughed at her youth and how wonderfully idealistic she was. She could still afford to have dreams, and if he worked hard, he could perhaps help her to realize some of them. Of course Christopher had dreams of his own, but they were little more than shadows of his past. Most of his dreams died the night he witnessed his parents murdered. He promised his father that night that he would always take care of the family. He never wavered on that promise. He had worked so hard at keeping his word, that slowly and silently, over time, Christopher's dreams were replaced with the single vow he had made to his father, and the false vow he had taken to remain a Protestant. To fulfill this fictitious vow, Christopher took his family the obligatory four times a year to attend Protestant services. This allowed him to work the land, despite the existence of an absentee landlord and his hired henchmen who made frequent visits. It was not so much a conflict of interest for him. He rejected the idea of religion altogether. He had seen the ugly and unspeakable things so-called religious men were motivated to do. Between keeping his most solemn vow to his father, and the fabricated vow to the church, Christopher did not even realize what had left him and what remained. He had unknowingly become a man. He knew he was a different kind of man than his father, and probably, he figured, a different man than who his father intended him to be.
'Christopher are ya listening to me?' Caelan interrupted his thoughts. He reached out to touch the girl's cheek and spoke softly but with quiet resolve, 'You be the dreamer, my Lan. I will be the farmer.' She persisted. It had suddenly become urgent to her to help her brother. Caelan grappled with her own ideas as to how she could do that, she only knew she must. 'You are so much more than a farmer Christopher. I have seen yer writin'. Ya are so much more!' She was referring to the scraps of paper she would find scattered throughout the house. They were his poems, his thoughts- they were, she realized- him. His words were a window to her brother. Christopher was a rare blend of earth and sky. He had been taught to read and write by their father, which was most extraordinary. Farmers rarely learned such things. A man was either a farmer, a schoolmaster, or a member of the clergy. Their father was the exception, having briefly been educated by the Church, but, instead of becoming a man of the cloth, he chose to be a farmer. His son and namesake, Christopher had the choice of being a farmer made for him by the sudden absence of his parents.
Their father had never regretted the life he led, but Christopher, from a very early age, displayed the propensity to learn about all the things that were outside the purview of a farmer's limited perspective. He was a peaceful and insightful child, and was most happy when he was devouring some book or other his father had given him. Were it not for their parents' death coinciding with Christopher choosing his life path, he may very well have been a brother Caelan only heard about and known from a distance. Their parents were certain their eldest son would be the 'thinker' of the family, and would not have much to do with the day-to-day activity of the farm, however, all that never came to pass. Instead, Christopher became the accidental provider for the family. He rarely had the time for books, and Caelan grew to know the 'thinker' as a dedicated, albeit unintended farmer and parent.
When Caelan was younger she simply looked up to Christopher, as any younger sister would, but being sixteen now, she was realizing all the other special qualities he possessed. He kept a quiet side all to himself, his voiceless words. She wondered if he left those papers about purposely for her. Perhaps he could not tell her all that he wanted. Perhaps those papers were the maps he left her - maps to himself.
'What about a life, a love of yer own?' she asked, thinking of how his poems spoke of the loneliness of a life not fully realized. He replied, 'Love, dear Lan, is all around us.' Christopher momentarily took in the horizon of fields and sky with his green eyes then returned his gaze to her. Once again, whispers stirred with the breeze, and he felt that all too familiar restlessness stirring within him. 'Well', he said rising from the ground and extending his hand out to help her up. He did this to end what had become too intimate a conversation. 'A farmer is not such a meager thing to be. Now let me get back to me farmin'!' He gave her his familiar sunny grin to reassure. Caelan leaned in to kiss his cheek. She knew she had been gently but firmly dismissed. 'We will talk later, brother!' She said turning and walking away before he could reply. Christopher turned back to the plough and watched her go. He shook his head amused at his sister's interest in his happiness and feeling a sadness he could not identify blowing in suddenly and without warning like the eastern wind. Christopher gazed once again to the horizon. Still I hear the voice of reason telling me to chase these dreams away. He spoke only to himself.