The Information about Ireland Site Newsletter
The Newsletter for people interested in Ireland
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Copyright (C) 2008
IN THIS ISSUE
=== Write an Article - get a prize!
=== News Snaps from Ireland
=== New free resources at the site
=== Tourist Tip #2: Where to eat
=== The Life of Padraig Pearse
=== The Three Daughters of the King of the Sea
=== Glen Aarma by Linda Fratello
=== Gaelic Phrases of the Month
=== Monthly free competition result
Welcome to the March edition of our newsletter,
now in its tenth year with the anniversary
occurring this September (we promise you a
This month we feature the second in our series
of 'Tourist Tips' as well as a biography of the
famous Irish rebel, Padraig Pearse. If you have an
article, famous Irish person biography, story or
poem please do send it in.
Until next month,
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NEWS SNAPS FROM IRELAND
CRACKDOWN ON DRINKING CULTURE IMMINENT
The continued increase in drink-related crime has
prompted the Irish Government to consider tough new
laws to handle the problem. The current legal
drinking age is 18 but this will possibly be raised
to 21 under new legislation being considered.
Drinking in public places is to be curbed and
parents who allow their children to drink and
cause havoc may themselves be found criminally
Ireland is consistently in the top two or three in
surveys of alcohol consumption in Europe. While
Irish Pubs are constantly promoted as a great
tourist attraction the stark reality is that random
violent crime as well as a stubbornly high
incidence of road traffic fatalities have all been
linked to excessive alcohol consumption.
The alcohol limit for drivers is to be cut to
50mg per 100 millilitres of blood and to 20mg for
learner drivers and professional drivers. The
current 80mg limit is the highest allowed in
HOUSE PRICES CONTINUE TO FALL
The latest house price survey to be published has
shown that prices fell again by 0.8% in February,
following on from the 0.7% fall in January.
Nationally prices are down by 8.8% in the last
year. While these numbers hardly represent a
housing crash there is little doubt among
commentators and builders alike that this is a
major 'correction' that the housing market needed.
Some builders have responded by slashing up to 50
thousand euro off the price of their latest housing
developments and have been rewarded with actual
queues of buyers snapping up what they perceive
as real value in the marketplace.
Those taking a more optimistic view of the market
have pointed out that sales by auction have picked
up greatly in recent months while estate agents
are convinced that the penny has finally dropped
with sellers who are reducing their asking prices
accordingly. The second half of 2007 was marked by
a standoff between sellers who expected
unrealistically high prices and buyers who wanted
to wait until the market has bottomed out. The
spectacle of builders cutting their prices and of
buyers queueing to buy a property indicate that
the bottom of the downturn may indeed be in sight.
MUSIC DOWNLOAD CASE TO BE HEARD IN IRISH COURT
An important legal action has been taken by 4
record companies who want to force Eircom (the
largest broadband service provider in Ireland) to
prevent illegal downloads of their copyrighted
music. Previous legal actions in Ireland have been
aimed at the actual people who have downloaded the
music rather than the telecoms provider whose
service was used. Sales of music have dropped by
30% in Ireland since 2001, a number which broadly
mirrors the experience of other countries where
downloading of music over the internet has really
taken off since the turn of the century.
This case has huge implications for the use of the
internet in Ireland as it essentially seeks to
make the telecoms providers at least partly
responsible for crimes committed using their
DIVIDED OPINIONS ON THE CONDITION OF THE ECONOMY
Economists and commentators are divided in Ireland
as to the prospects for the economy. Pessimists
are predicting GDP in the 2% range or even lower
with one particularly downbeat academic predicting
a collapse of the Irish banking system. The more
optimistic of the economic classes have offered
2.5% growth in 2008 with 4.5% in 2009 as the more
It is clear that the slowdown in construction
activity is having an effect both in terms of
employment and government tax revenue but it
is unclear yet if this slowdown merely constitutes
the removal of 'excessive exuberance' or
represents a more serious and prolonged decline.
It is widely acknowledged that Ireland is a lot
less exposed to the sub-prime problems being
experienced by other major economies, but the
imminent downturn/recession (choose your own word)
in the US is certain to hit the Irish economy,
especially given the big contribution that foreign
multinationals (Google, Intel, etc.) based in
Ireland make to the economy (as much as 8% of tax
revenue and 90,000 employed).
The huge increase in the cost of oil (is this a
'bubble' or a permanent feature?) and the decrease
in the value of the US dollar relative to the Euro
(either caused by the spike in oil prices or the
other way around - you decide) will definitely
damage Irish prospects. It is also unclear if all
of the immigrants who flocked into Ireland will
now return home or will continue to find
employment (or perhaps stay to claim unemployment
It is easy to see why even qualified experienced
economists are finding this a difficult subject
DROP IN NUMBER OF IMMIGRANTS ARRIVING IN IRELAND
Figures released by the Irish government have
revealed that the number of people seeking a PPS
number (similar to s Social Security Number) has
fallen dramatically. January and February of 2007
saw the issuing of 23,226 PPS numbers, compared
with 14,409 in the first two months of this year.
The largest decline has been in the number of PPSs
issued to Romanians but the numbers issued to
Poles, Lithuanians, Slovaks and Bulgarians have
also fallen sharply.
The downturn in the Irish economy together with
the an improvement in the economies of many
eastern European countries (particularly Poland
and Slovakia) are cited as the main reason for
this downward trend.
Voice your opinion on these news issues here:
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NEW COATS OF ARMS ADDED TO THE GALLERY:
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H: Hawthorne, Hopkins
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TOURIST TIP #2: WHERE TO EAT
Food and drink can be expensive in Ireland but
like most countries there are plenty of places
to find cheaper alternatives without sacrificing
too much on quality.
RESTAURANTS AND HOTELS: Just like everywhere else
there is a huge variance in the prices charged by
restaurants depending on the type of food served
and the 'trendiness' of the establishment. A quick
glance at the menu posted outside most
restaurants will give you an indication of the
type of place inside. Ireland has a large number
of restaurants serving foreign food with Chinese,
Italian, and Indian being the most popular
although practically every ethnic group is catered
for, especially in Dublin. In general Italian
restaurants will be more expensive than Chinese
and Indian restaurants, considerably so in some
cases. Dining in hotels is probably the most
expensive option available although if you have
booked meals as part of your accommodation charge
then good value can be had. Some hotels have
'pub-food' options in their bar area which can
be relatively inexpensive.
PUBS: Dining in a pub is generally cheaper than
in a dedicated restaurant. The development of
the pub dining experience in recent years has
occurred partly as a response to the ban on smoking
in pubs which hit business hard. The result has
been an big increase in the number of pubs
(sometimes called Gastro-pubs) that offer really
great quality food at affordable prices. Most
pubs will offer the usual selections of steaks,
burgers and chicken dishes as well as a few
Chinese or even Indian options served with local
vegetables. While the experience may not be as
intimate as a restaurant and is likely to be
noisier, it is sometimes this very hurly-burly
that is the attraction! You might want to check
out if there is a big sporting event being shown
on television as a lot of pubs have big screens
and multiple TVs dotted around their premises
to draw in a crowd.
TAKE-AWAYS: The famous Irish 'chipper' is a an
institution with claims that the Irish 'fish and
chips' is simply the best in the world being
unchallenged at the time of writing. It is ironic
therefore that most Irish chippers are run by
Italians! These usually offer good quality food
at modest prices. While it is true from a health
standing that you would not want to be eating
'chipper' food every day, there is no doubt that
while on vacation it can be a great treat. A lot
of these establishments now offer pizza and even
pasta dishes to take away. Very few have any
FAST-FOOD: Ireland has the usual selection of
fast food companies such as McDonalds, Abrakebabra,
KFC, as well as a multitude of Pizza joints. You
probably know by now what to expect! A quick word
of caution here though. Ireland has its share of
drink-related crime like any other country. In
recent years the fast-food joints that stay open
until the small hours have become a great
attraction for drinkers on their way home after a
night on the town. While there is no reason to
think that you will encounter any trouble it is
as well to exercise a bit of extra vigilance if
you end up in a late night eatery. Wandering
around town centres in the small hours when the
pubs are emptying out is not an activity to be
recommended in any country!
GARAGES AND SHOPS: Yes the place where you fill
up the car with petrol is now a dining option!
The development of large garage forecourts and
the placing of grocery stores within them is a
recent occurrence. A lot of the larger garages
now have seated areas and small food counters
where hot food is served daily (sometimes 24
hours!). If you are driving around Ireland then
these places can certainly help the bank balance
while offering quick simple food of good quality.
Many larger shops and supermarkets now have
dining areas attached. Most offer quick 'snack'
food such as wraps, sandwiches and baguettes but
some even offer full dinner menus.
DIY: If you have the facility to prepare your own
food and meals then there are lots of places to
buy your basic needs. It is difficult to
generalise about prices but typically the larger
supermarkets (Dunnes Stores, Tesco, Superquinn)
will be cheaper than the smaller stores (Spar,
Costcutters, etc.) who in turn are cheaper than
the smallest grocery stores. In general food costs
more in Dublin than anywhere else in the country,
although all of the big tourist centres have
great capacity for over-pricing their wares! If
dining at home then it is worthwhile checking out
the various delivery options that Chinese, Indian
and Pizza joints offer. Most offer delivery after
6pm with the modest delivery charge added to the
overall price (a small gratuity to the delivery
person is the norm).
You can get more Ireland Travel Information here:
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THE LIFE OF PADRAIG PEARSE
Patrick Pearse was born in Dublin, on November 10,
1879 to an English father (he was a sculptor) and
an Irish mother.
Pearse became interested in the heritage and
history of Ireland at a very early age and joined
the Gaelic League when 21 years old. The purpose
of the league was to promote Irish tradition and
language and it was very much part of the revival
of Gaelic consciousness that took place at the
turn of the century. Pearse was an enthusiastic
member and became editor of the leagues newspaper:
An Claidheamh Solais ('The Sword of Light').
Pearse tried to use knowledge and education to
defeat the English and insisted on the use of the
native Irish language and founded St. Enda's
College near Dublin in 1908. St. Enda's structured
its curriculum around Irish traditions and
culture and tutored in both the Irish and English
Pearse was a pioneer of Irish writing and
published poems, stories, articles and essays to
further the identification of Ireland as a
The Gaelic League inevitably attracted militant
nationalists and Pearse soon realised that it
would take more than education and tradition to
break the link with England.
In July 1914, Pearse was made a member of the
Supreme Council of the Irish Republican
Brotherhood (IRB), a militant group that
believed in using force to throw the British
out of Ireland.
When England entered the First World War Irish
nationalism split between those who wanted to
take advantage of England's plight and those
(including John Redmond) who wanted to assist
England in the war in the hope of getting
concessions when it was over.
John Redmond, a member of Parliament fighting
for Home Rule, took a pro-British stance during
the war. This alienated many Irish citizens and
support for the Brotherhood grew. Shortly before
1915, the Irish Republican Brotherhood had plans
for a full military revolution in Ireland.
Pearse was a believer in a revolution while the
British were occupied fighting a war in Europe.
Pearse was opposed to Redmond's stance and felt
that the only way to liberate Ireland was by
insurrection. His famous oration at the funeral
of Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa (an Irish
revolutionary) in August 1915 demonstrates this:
'We stand at Rossa's grave not in sadness, but
in exultation of spirit... This is a place of
peace sacred to the dead, where men should speak
with all charity and all restraint, but I hold it
a Christian thing... to hate evil, to hate
untruth, to hate oppression, and hating them to
strive to overthrow them... while Ireland holds
these graves, Ireland unfree, shall never be
Pearse was heavily involved with the planning of
the 1916 Easter Rising which was the catalyst for
the subsequent War of Independence, Civil War and
eventual declaration of a Republic in 1949.
The Rising failed as Pearse must have known it
must. He was executed on May 3, 1916 with
fourteen other rebels.
THE THREE DAUGHTERS OF THE KING OF THE SEA
by Terry Flanagan
FOREWORD: In the Folklore of Ireland and other
maritime countries, there is a profusion of
stories concerning seals. Possibly due to the
fact that they come ashore and that their head,
when seen at a distance above water, bears a
resemblance to a human head, it was said that
they were human beings under a spell.
Many years ago, there was one family of Conneelys
living in Errismore very close to the sea. They
had one son, a fine young man. On May Day each
year, three seals used to come ashore on a very
big flat rock that was high above the tide.
There was a cave, five or six yards deep, at the
back of the rock, under a cliff.
When the seals came up on the rock, each of them
used to take off the hood that was tied about
its neck and throw it into the cave behind them.
As soon as they took off the hoods, they became
the three finest women that the sun had
ever shone upon, and they would go out swimming,
each with a golden head of hair. The third woman
was the most beautiful of all.
When they grew tired after swimming for two or
three hours, they would come back on to the rock
again. Each of them would then take her own hood
and tie it about her neck. She would become a
seal immediately. After spending about half an
hour on the rock, the three seals would dive
into the sea together and disappear from sight.
Young Conneely used to watch them every May Day.
He liked the youngest woman best of all. He was
working in the field one day at the end of Spring
when he met an old man who he never saw before.
He spoke to the old man, each of them telling his
own story. Conneely told him about the three seals
that used to come to the rock every May Day.
'There's one of them a lot nicer and more beautiful
than the other two,' said he.
'I'd say that you have a liking for her,'
said the man.
'Indeed, I have,' said Conneely.
'I'm in love with her, but I've no chance of
ever getting her.'
'I have an idea who they are' said the man.
'I have heard talk about them. What would you give
to the person who would tell you the way you might
get the one you want?'
'Oh, I'm only a poor man,' said Conneely.
'All I could give you as a reward is my seven
'That's a good reward,' said the man. 'I'll tell
you what you must do. When next May Day comes,
hide yourself in the cave early in the morning,
and when they throw their hoods into it, you
must put the young seals hood inside your shirt.
Keep the other two hoods in your hands. The
three women will be screaming and wailing, each
of them asking for her own hood, and saying that
their father will kill them if they aren't home
by a certain hour. They are the three daughters
of the King of the Sea. You mustn't give the
youngest woman her hood, at any price, no matter
what screaming and complaining she does. Give the
hoods to the other two. Then walk towards your
house, and the youngest one will follow you. You
must hide the hood in a place she'll never see it.
If she does, you'll have finished with her.'
'You may be sure that I'll never give her the
hood,' said Conneely.
'I love her too much for that!'
The old man then stood up and left, and Conneely
never laid eyes on him again. May Day came, and at
dawn, Conneely hid himself in the cave. Soon the
three seals came up to the rock. Each of them took
off the hood, and threw it into the cave, and they
were the finest women to have ever raised their
faces to the sky. The youngest was the most
beautiful of all. When the three women jumped in
to swim, Conneely picked up her hood and shoved it
inside his shirt. He kept the other two in his
hands. He waited until they came back to the rock.
When they saw him with the hoods in his hands,
they asked him for them, but he refused. They
started to wail at the top of their voices, saying
that their father would kill them if they weren't
home early in the evening. He threw her hood to
the eldest, and to the second eldest. The two
seals jumped into the sea together and swam off.
The youngest seal was left behind, and her cries
could be heard for miles. He told her that he
wouldn't give her the hood and he asked her to
go home with him. She had no wish to, but she had
no option but to follow him to his house. She spent
the night there, and they got married the next
day. He hid the hood in the roof of the house,
between the thatch and the sods. They lived
happily together, and five sons were born to them.
There wasn't a better worker to be found. But
each day, when he was out at sea, fishing, she
would weep her fill.
One fine summer's day, the husband was out at sea,
fishing, and his wife was working in the fields.
When she looked back at the house, it was on fire.
There were two or three other houses nearby and
she shouted to them for help. Two or three men
came and started throwing water on the burning
thatch, while she stood watching them. Suddenly, a
large clump of thatch fell down near her and in it
was the hood. She grabbed it, tied it about her
neck and she was immediately turned into a seal.
She ran down to the sea and was gone.
Her five sons followed her to the shore but failed
to find her. They returned home, crying for their
mother. When Conneely returned home in the evening,
the house was half burned, his wife had gone and
the children were waiting for him. He sat down with
them, and he too cried his fill until morning. As
soon as the children got up in the morning, they
went down to where they had seen their mother go
into the sea, hoping to see her. And they did. She
came in close to the shore where they were and
spoke to them. And there wasn't a day that came
during the next five years that they didn't go
down to the sea, and she came every day and talked
to them. When the five years were up, she told
them that they would never see her again.
There were very few Conneelys in Errismore at
that time. But you couldn't count all of them
now that descended from the five sons of the
seal-woman. That's why, to this very
day, it is said that the Conneelys are related to
The above Tale was provided by Terry Flanagan of
the Irish Seal Sanctuary:
'Our aim is the conservation of marine mammals and in
particular seals. Seals are the enchanted people and the
Grey Seal is the world's first protected species.'
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
THE PERFECT WEDDING OR ANNIVERSARY GIFT!
View family crest plaques here:
by Linda Fratello
O' Ulster village so perfectly placed
beside the shimmering sea
at first glance in picturesque paintings,
rich verse, aging prints and postcards
I was so spellbound by your natural beauty.
Glen Aarma a quaint and lovely village so
enthrallingly historic with roots Medieval
Yet another unbelievable, enduring place from
turreted castle to Georgian cottage
that once again so poetically defines
'time-forgotten' Ireland to me.
O, Glen Aarma nestled so wonderfully and
perfectly (like a baby in its' mother's loving
and adoring gaze) in the star-brilliant
sapphire-blue-green curve of the Irish Sea.
Nearby, embracing the stunning length of the
Antrim Coast lie the winding Coastal road
holding back the wild, fitful foam and waves!
Beneath the Majestic Glens rising and sweeping
down in her timeless shamrock-and-clover-green
patchworked quilt embrace, Medieval Churches
and sturdy stone cottages repose on tan sands.
On a lone cliff, even in her jagged-grey,
abandoned, romantic, ruins Dunluce Castle
defiantly remains on guard
for the Earls o' Antrim. A proud, first seat,
equally as grand as its' successor gracing
Glen Aarma today! Each Castle of Auld respectfully
and magnificently never outshadowing the other!
To join these silent, loyal guardians, the Glenarm
river divides the treasured town in two, flowing
ever near the Barbican gate, that in less tamer
times, held back the Earls' doomed enemies
with deadly, boiling ooze.
Such beauty, a rare pearl. Towering towers and
cupolas o' auld to grace the upper Glens. Those
sturdy, granite-brown walls that I so long to
see and explore. So solid and steadfast like the
MacDonalds throughout the ages. The stories and
histories that they would tell of the lovely castle
where they've dwelled since the Thirteenth Century!
To further envelope the elegant estate, lies an
Eighteenth Century walled garden
with modern touches.
A beautiful, blossoming blend of old and new
Once the MacDonalds life, (for here grew the
produce of their tables) now an ornamental delight
Wonderful water features to enchant:
Luscious apples, Pears and tongue-twisting,
lettuce-green limes! Bulbs exploding into the
richest, royal purples! Splashes of blood-red
poppies, heaven-sent yellow and cloud-whites.
Fiery, lava-oranges reaching towards the brilliant
sun. Neatly manicured hedges-some square, others
slithering snake-like. Nearby the bold, brave
birds of falconry flight. Tamed and trained to
entertain and further compliment the Lovely estate.
In summer's infancy, the modern Scottish warriors
gather at the Highland Games to show off their
steely strength shared with his lengendary
I ponder too the centuries-old cemetery carefully
cradled by the shamrock-green Glens
Its' worn and weathered headstones marked by the
eternal, respectful ages- Incredibly 600 years!
Sheltering the precious dust of founding families
long since with the LORD.
Too, the present-day families who have followed
into eternal life-Those dear love ones ever in
our heartfelt prayers,
Never to be forgotten.
This is Glen Aarma, County Antrim
Linda Marie Fratello,
March 25th, 2008
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where you can get great Irish gifts, prints,
claddagh jewellery, engraved glassware and
Wendy Walker of Columbia, Missouri got a
family crest signet ring with the Donnelly family
crest engraved on it for her son
I received by registered mail today the ring I
ordered for my son with the Donnelly family crest.
I am very impressed and thrilled with the ring.
It is beautiful and the service I received
throughout the whole process of ordering and
receiving this unique gift has been superb. Thank
you for all your assistance and prompt responses
to my questions.
I will most certainly order other items from you
and will highly recommend you.
THE PERFECT WEDDING, ANNIVERSARY OR BIRTHDAY GIFT!
See here for family crest gifts:
GAELIC PHRASES OF THE MONTH
PHRASE: Ni ceart go cur le cheile
PRONOUNCED: knee keart guh kurr leh kay-leh
MEANING: There is no strength without unity
PHRASE: Ni heolas go haontios!
PRONOUNCED: knee hyeo-luss guh hain-chiss
MEANING: You cant know me without living with me!
PHRASE: Olann an cat cluin bainne leis!
PRONOUNCED: ull-onn on kot clew-in bonn-yeh lesh
MEANING: The quiet cat also drinks milk!
View the archive of phrases here:
MARCH COMPETITION RESULT
The winner was: LOUISACLEARY06@EIRCOM.NET
who will receive the following:
A Single Family Crest Print (decorative)
Send us an email to claim your print, 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,
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