The Information about Ireland Site Newsletter
The Newsletter for people interested in Ireland
Now received by over 50,000 people worldwide
Copyright (C) 2009
IN THIS ISSUE
=== News Snaps from Ireland
=== New free resources at the site
=== Free Kids Games to Print
=== Irish Recipes and Irish Songs - free download
=== The Life of Saint Patrick
=== March 17th by JJ Leyden
=== Irish Heritage by Bonita M. Emerson
=== Saints and Skelligs by Nathan Kingerlee
=== An Alarm Clock by Pat Watson
=== Shamrock Site of the Month: celticattic.com
=== Gaelic Phrases of the Month
=== Monthly free competition result
Happy Saint Patrick's Day! This years parade and
festival are perhaps a little more muted than in
recent years but the organisers have again done
a great job. Be sure to check out the Saint
Patrick's day downloads, kids games and
screensavers from the links shown below.
Beannachtai na Feile Padraig!
Help keep this newsletter alive at
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NEWS SNAPS FROM IRELAND
PATRICK'S DAY EVENTS EXPECTED TO ATTRACT 650,000
Merrion Square in the heart of Dublin city has
been closed off and turned into party-central for
those celebrating Saint Patrick's day this year.
Street theatre and music acts are being provided
with the highlight of the week being the Dublin
parade that will showcase over 2000 performers.
Irish soccer legend Packie Bonner is this years
IRISH ECONOMY TO EXIT RECESSION THIS YEAR
The Irish employers group IBEC has predicted that
the recession will end in Ireland later this year
and has further predicted economic growth of 2.1%
in 2011. IBEC reported in their latest set of
economic forecasts that there has been an
improvement in confidence internationally in the
Irish economy and that the cuts in public sector
pay and services will have the desired effect on
Despite this upbeat assessment it is clear that
unemployment is going to remain stubbornly high
in Ireland for some years to come and will
continue to be a major drag on the economy.
STRIKE WARS BEGIN
Management at Aer Lingus have indicated their
seriousness about restructuring their staffing
and productivity arrangements by sacking 230
cabin crew staff and then offering to re-hire
up to 75% of the staff at reduced wages and
conditions. Staff unions had previously rejected
managements plans to restructure the company and
lay off 600 staff across the loss-making company.
Irish Unions have been sabre-rattling for some time
since the government imposed wage cuts across the
entire pubic service. A series of 'works-to rule'
and half-day stoppages are expected to escalate
into all-out strike action as the Unions seek to
have the pay cuts reversed. This goal seems very
unlikely to be achieved with the government aware
that the vast civil and public service will receive
very little support from private sector workers
who have suffered huge cutbacks and unemployment.
While Unions may privately acknowledge that there
is little chance of getting the pay cuts reversed
they surely must have one eye on the next budget
announcement later this year with the expectation
that yet more pay cuts may be on the cards.
Unions have entered negotiations with the
government about the pay cuts and although hopes
of a deal are slim it is possible that some short
term agreement may be reached. The fact that the
broad-ranging pay cuts have affected lower paid
staff even more than higher paid managers is a
continued and justified source of irritation to
the Unions and is one area where the government
actually has some room to manoeuvre.
The stakes are very high. If industrial
unrest spreads throughout the economy then the
damage to the fragile economic recovery expected
in 2011 may have very long terms consequences.
ULSTER SAYS YES AGAIN
In another important landmark in Northern Ireland
the parliament there has decided to vote in favour
of devolving powers relating to policing and
justice administration from London to the Assembly
The Ulster Unionist Party opposed the move while
the traditionally hard-line DUP voted in favour.
This development certainly cements the deal made
between the DUP and Sinn Fein, both of whom are
considered the more extreme wings of Unionism and
Nationalism in the north. The vote was welcomed
by the Irish ans British governments as well as
by US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton.
ONLINE ARCHIVE OF IRISH HISTORICAL PHOTOS EXPANDED
The National Archive of Ireland has expanded its
online service which allows visitors to view
over 34,000 photographs of Ireland from the
period 1860 to 1954. This free archive can be
View a 19th century peasant thatched cottage at:
View the ruins of the GPO after the Easter 1916 Rising here:
View Countess Markievicz addressing a political rally:
'BOY IN THE STRIPED PAJAMAS' BOOK OF THE DECADE
The book 'The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas' by
Irish author John Boyne was voted the best book
of the last decade in a recent poll. Colm Toibin's
'Brooklyn' was ranked in twentieth place with
John Banville's 'The Sea' in at 44.
Voice your opinion on these news issues here:
NEW FREE RESOURCES AT THE SITE
IRELAND HOUSE-SWAP LISTING
We are working on the online program to allow you
to freely add and view details of other people who
are interested in this service.
You can add your home-swap details to our new free
listing service at:
IRISH HOLIDAY AND TOURIST BOARD
Post a question about holidaying in Ireland
and we guarantee an answer will be posted on
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:
N: Neary, McNew
P: Perry, Pigott
View the Gallery here:
THE PERFECT WEDDING, ANNIVERSARY OR BIRTHDAY 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:
FREE KIDS GAMES TO PRINT
Go here to print off some simple games to teach
kids about Ireland:
FIND OUT ABOUT SAINT PATRICK HERE:
IRISH RECIPES AND IRISH SONGS - FREE DOWNLOAD
Our free Irish Recipes electronic book is packed
with 25 of the very best Irish Recipes to try
out on Saint Patrick's Day. Corned beef and
cabbage, Irish Pound Cake, Wicklow Pancakes
- try them all!
You can download it from here:
You can send these ebooks to a friend from here:
You can view the lyrics to 74 of Ireland's most
popular traditional, drinking and folk songs AND
you can listen to the music online too.
The music tune is supplied in MIDI files that are
easily understood by the majority of Internet
* Make sure that your PC speakers are connected
* Turn the Volume up
* Select the song you want
* All together now....
'in Dublin's fair city
where the girl's are so pretty,
I first set my eyes on
sweet Molloy Malone...'
You can download ALL of the Music files and ALL
of the Lyrics onto your PC in the form of a free
'ebook' that you can print off and keep forever!
You can even send the ebook to your friends and
relatives or offer it at your website.
ALL COMPLETELY FREE!
Here are some of the songs available:
* Amhran na bhFiann (the Irish National Anthem)
* She Moved Through the Fair
(Julia Roberts sang this in the film 'Michael Collins')
* Back Home in Derry (Bobby Sands)
* Black is the Colour (of my true love's hair)
* An Irish Lullaby
(Barney Gumble sang this in 'The Simpsons')
* Cockles and Mussels (alive-alive-oh!)
* Erin Go Bragh
* I'll Take You Home Again Kathleen
* Rocky Road to Dublin
* The Fields of Athenry
* The Rose of Tralee
* When Irish Eyes are Smiling
* Whiskey in the Jar (Thin Lizzy classic)
........and over 60 more!
View and Listen here:
THE LIFE OF SAINT PATRICK
The Patron Saint of Ireland was born into Roman
Britain 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
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
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
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
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
Saint Patrick screensavers, pictures to color and
more can be found here:
KEEP THIS NEWSLETTER ALIVE!
by JJ Leyden
March 17th, Saint Patrick's Day.
There is a gathering of family and friends.
Traditional corn beef, cabbage, and boiled potatoes.
We linger at the table and talk.
There is a catching up on news and gossip.
Drinks are shared and laughter abounds.
Old bonds are re-cemented.
There is closeness available nowhere else.
The dearly departed and their deeds are remembered.
We speak of our children and their accomplishments.
Old family stories, told time and time again,
are told once more, and relished.
A celebration of family and our Irish ethnicity.
Isn't it grand, just being part of it?
KEEP THIS NEWSLETTER ALIVE!
by Bonita M. Emerson
The rain gently falls upon the emerald hill,
As drizzled sprinkles collide with sunshine,
A multi-colored spectrum rainbow appears,
Bends at both ends amongst green shamrocks.
Luck or no, to search and find that
fabled pot of shiny gold,
Shimmering against a thatched cottage,
Next to a stoned wall fence
of nature's earth tones.
Of myth and legend
is the land of 'Erin go braugh',
Ireland: tis' my Celtic heritage
Bonita M. Emerson
KEEP THIS NEWSLETTER ALIVE!
SAINTS AND SKELLIGS
by Nathan Kingerlee
Long before Strongbow entered Ireland with his
Welsh knights - at the invite of traitorous Irish
king Dermot MacMurchada - the Irish were
plundering the English and Welsh coastline.
Wild and bearded Irish warriors stalked the Irish
Sea, landing lightning attacks on unsuspecting
settlements and Roman villas. They would loot and
plunder what they could, carrying women and
children back to Ireland into marriage and
slavery. There are stories of highly planned
kidnap and ransom missions, with Roman family
members being safely reunited with their families
once huge ransoms were paid.
Like the Vikings many years later, for a time the
Irish struck fear deep into the hearts of the
English and Welsh, and also the Romans, who at
the time were encamped in Britain.
It was a plundering raiding party, looking for
slaves and wives, who carried a Roman boy back to
Ireland into a cold life of slavery. This fourteen
year old Roman boy, Patrickus, grew to be
This Welsh/Roman man has been adopted by the Irish
as one of our patron saints, responsible for
converting single handed a land of ruthless pagans
into devout Christians, driving snakes from our
green and rocky shores and trademarking the
shamrock. The story of Saint Patrick is incredible
and tough. He's even believed to have killed
someone, possibly a lover, during his lifetime.
In truth Christian missionaries were traveling
Ireland's hills, forests and bogs before a newly
ordained Patrickus returned to Ireland, having
escaped from slavery in a row-boat several years
Although he wasn't the first missionary to arrive
in Ireland, when Patrickus returned as a priest,
he had several things in his favor. After six
years living here he knew the land, the people,
the customs and the language. He was able to move
relatively unhindered around the country and
possibly because of his Roman noble descent he
was treated with some respect. He was also here
just at the right time, as the country was ready
for the bells of Christianity to toll.
The Irish pagans and druids worshipped several
gods, including snakes. Certain groups of druids
carried a snake tattoo emblazoned on their upper
arm. The druids Patrickus wasn't able to convert
(and there were many of them) he drove from
Ireland - hence the connection with Patrickus
driving all snakes from the country.
One of Ireland's furthermost outreaches is a
brutally sharp protrusion of rock off the Kerry
coast, which we now call Skellig Michael. Here
stood the final outpost of druids and pagan
worshipers - wild, rugged men, who called on
many gods, threw curses across the country from
atop of their rock and performed human sacrifices
- or so Christianity viewed them.
To this rock Patrickus travelled, alone and wary,
in a little currach, to face his final battle.
Here he faced his enemies and found his match.
Men capable of performing human sacrifices and
surviving a tough, tough life on these rocks
stood against the stout heart and strong staff
For a day or more Patrickus argued and fought
with the druids, until at last, weary, bloodied,
dehydrated and faltering he drew together his
final strength and called upon the archangel
Michael to help. What happened next, whether the
archangel Michael descended to assist, or whether
Patrickus used his final strength, is not known,
but he did succeed in driving the last of the
Irish pagans off the black rock and out of Ireland
and today this rock is known as Skellig Michael
- The Rock of Michael.
A monastery was built on Skellig Michael, and
hardy monks made a life of worship and survival
for themselves from the 6th to the 12th century.
Wherever druids had settled and worshipped, the
first Irish priests and monks would often build
churches and monasteries in an effort to keep the
displaced druids from returning and keep at bay
the evil gods and spirits, whom to some extent
were still half-believed and feared. This is
exactly what happened on Skellig Michael, after
being such a powerful pagan site for so long,
there was no way Patrickus could leave it to its
own menacing devices.
Interestingly, one of the reasons that Skellig
Michael was abandoned in the 12th century was
because the Roman Catholic Church feared the
monks and holy men living in remote locations
were becoming too connected with nature, too in
awe of the elements around them, and slipping
into some of the pagan ways of life - so larger,
more central monasteries were built with a more
formal way of holy life and worship.
The tiny village of Ballinskelligs, near
Caherciveen, is where the monks from Skellig
Michael were moved - Ballinskelligs meaning
'Homestead of the Rocks'.
Nathan Kingerlee runs 'Outdoors Ireland' who
provide trips and guided tours in the County
Easter Adventure Break in Killarney:
AN ALARM CLOCK
by Pat Watson
'This is your final warning, if you are late one
more morning you will be dismissed.'
That's what the stationmaster at Kings Cross
railway station said to Timmy.
In 1957 Timmy had come to London with another
twenty-five thousand young Irishmen. Most of the
others were big, strong muscular men who were
willing and able to work as navies with Wimpeys
or McAlpines. Timmy alas was weak, lanky, lean
and lazy. 'Avoid hard work, you're not able for
it,' that's what his mother always told him. In
this he always obeyed her. That was why he
avoided the building sites and got a job with
British Rail. Now he was on his final warning.
He shared the digs with three Wimpies, a bed in
each corner of the big room on the third floor.
In the other big room across the hall were four
big Kerry McAlpines. All eight shared the tiny
kitchen, the radio, the banter and several pints
each, nightly. Unfortunately Timmy's starting
time was six am while the navies started at
eight. Now he was on his last chance.
You need one of these alarm clocks with two bells
on top with a little hammer that bangs over and
back between them. Place it in a tin basin to
double the noise- it would waken the dead, that's
what his friends told him. Get it today tomorrow
will be too late.
He found the clock easy enough but the basin that
was a different thing. If you were in Mohill or
Coothill or Summerhill you'd have no bother buying
a tin basin but in London you won't find a tin
basin in Harrods window or any other high street
window for that matter. Pronouncing it 'bashin'
wouldn't help your cause either. However he
persisted and finally was on his way home with
the basin wrapped in brown paper under one arm
and the hammer clock held by its carrying handle
in the other hand. Then he met the two Cavan
girls, the big one and the little one, Mary and
Mona. They lived next door.
'Are you going to make a bomb with the clock?'
'Give it to me and I'll put it inside my coat.'
All three got on the busy tube train, Timmy sat
in the middle, the big girl sat on his right
and he put the basin upside down on his left to
give the small girl a lift. When she sat the
basin dinged a little with a plonking sound.
Unfortunately she was suffering from severe
hiccups, each of which was followed by a double
plonking of the basin. It would have been worse
if it had been the big girl as she had a smoker's
Opposite sat two Cockney gentlemen, drivers of
the famous black taxis, on their way home. They
were greatly amused by the antics of the 'Oirish'
and one of them said to Mary as she coughed,
'Cough it up mate it might be a watch.'
'No it's a clock,' she said as she pulled out the
clock. That shook him and all the carriage laughed
loudly at him. Just as the Cockneys turned nasty
with racist remarks the train stopped at the
Tottenham Court Road and the three Wimpies got on
and threw off the two Cockneys. That settled that.
Now that he was sure of being wakened in the
morning Timmy and his friends celebrated well and
fell into bed after midnight. The clock in the
basin was even better than expected. At five am
all hell broke loose, Timmy thought the war had
started in his head, the devil of a clock was
jumping round the basin clamoring for action, he
picked it up and hurled it at the wall only there
was no wall there, just a window.
If you are driving a black taxi in London at five
in the morning what are the chances of being hit
by a flying clock?
When last seen Timmy was clambering over
back-garden walls in Camden Town in his pajamas
pursued by a very angry taxi man.
'An Alarm Clock'
is one of sixty lyrical yarns from
'Original Irish Stories' by Pat Watson,
Creagh, Bealnamulla, Athlone, Ireland.
First published in March 2006.
To get your copy email the author here:
KEEP THIS NEWSLETTER ALIVE!
SHAMROCK SITE OF THE MONTH: CELTICATTIC.COM
Shop online for everything you need to decorate
your home and life with a Celtic Twist: Art,
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GAELIC PHRASES OF THE MONTH
MEANING: Good Health!
PHRASE: Eireann go braugh
PRONOUNCED: air-in go braw
MEANING: Ireland forever!
PHRASE: Beannachtai na Feile Padraig
PRONOUNCED: bann/ockt/tee nih fail/eh pawd/rig
MEANING: Happy Saint Patrick's Day
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 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 month, HAPPY SAINT PATRICK'S DAY
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