IN THIS ISSUE
~~~ Keep us Free!
~~~ News Snaps from Ireland
~~~ New free resources at the site
~~~ Cara Irish Penpals news
~~~ Ireland - a poem by Liz Macomber
~~~ Maud Gonne - The Irish 'Joan of Arc'
~~~ Gaelic phrases of the month
~~~ Shamrock site of the month
~~~ Monthly free competition result
I hope this month's edition of our newsletter
finds you well. In Ireland at the moment the focus
is very much on drink. It is surprising that in
the last 10 years alcohol consumption has increased
by 50%. See the news-snaps below.
Many thanks to thewildgeese.com for this month's
feature article about Maud Gonne, one of the most
influential women in Irish history.
Until the next time,
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NEWS SNAPS FROM IRELAND
ECONOMIC SLOWDOWN COMPOUNDED BY SURGING EURO
The Euro, the currency used by Ireland, has
reached an all-time high against the US Dollar,
reaching 1.19 at on stage of trading. The
dollar has fallen by over 17% since the start
of January. While this is very good news for
Irish tourists who intend to visit the United
States, it is very bad news for visitors from
America who want to visit Ireland, and is also
a big problem for exporters of Irish goods.
Sterling has declined by 10% since the start
of the year.
Recent job losses have been increasing with
the world-famous Galway 'Royal Tara' china
factory set to be closed by year's end.
Unemployment has also increased by 1500 people
in the first quarter of the year. The current
unemployed total is nearly 85,000.
GOVERNMENT CRACKS DOWN ON DRINKING CULTURE
The Irish Government has begun its crackdown on
the ever expanding 'drinks culture' in Ireland.
Over the last 10 years consumption of alcohol
has increased by over 50% in Ireland, fuelled by
the economic expansion and a teenage class who
have never before had so much disposable income.
Abuse of alcohol causes a myriad of problems,
especially for the police force, the Garda
Siochana, and especially for the already
overworked health system. As many as 50% of
admissions to Accident and Emergency Hospitals
on weekend nights are drink related. The overall
cost to the taxpayer is estimated at over
2.4 Billion Euro annually.
The new measures include:
* Police to be allowed to use video equipment to
record individuals who are served alcohol by
pubs, and while already drunk.
* Alcohol promotions, 'happy hours' and
advertising to be curbed.
* Pubs serving underage people or people who are
already intoxicated may be closed for 1 week
on conviction of the first offence.
* Thursday night closing time to be reduced from
12.30 am to 11.30 pm, to reduce work and school
* All children to be banned from pubs after
8.00 pm in the evening.
* All customers under the age of 21 must carry a
proof of age identification in a pub.
MARRIAGE LAWS TO BE CHANGED
The rule in Ireland which confines marriages to
either a church or registry office are to be
changed in new legislation to be introduced by
Representatives of all religious faiths, and
even some faiths that are not religious, will
in future be able to appoint a 'solemniser'
who will administer vows of a marriage and
send appropriate documentation to the State
Marriages in gardens, on clifftops, on beaches
or at any of the numerous tourist venues around
the country will be possible.
IRISH WRITER JAMES PLUNKETT DIES
Aged 83, the Irish novelist James Plunkett Kelly
has died in a nursing home in Dublin.
Plunkett was most famous for his 1969 novel
'Strumpet City', which was set against the
backdrop of the 1913 'Dublin Lockouts' when
employers and workers faced off against each
other. The novel depicted the extreme poverty
of the time and provided Irish literature
with one of its most enduring characters:
He was born in 1920 and, after a brief stint as a
clerk, he became a trade union activist working
alongside Jim Larkin. He later joined RTE as a
drama assistant but continued to write. His most
famous work was serialised on television by RTE
and remains one of that Television station's most
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CARA IRISH PENPALS NEWS
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IRELAND by Liz Macomber
Such a sacred place to visit
where our ancestors were born.
A place of beautiful greenery,
where our roots were torn.
No matter when we go and visit
our homeland of our roots.
It is a place where we can feel
a pull from our very boots.
It reminds me of the day I visited
the Hill of Tara so well.
Climbing the beautiful hill and
feeling the tears as they swell.
I felt it there so strongly,
the ancestoral sense of things.
A feeling of greatness that
ancestoral places bring.
Being Irish proud that is what I am today.
Even though living in the U.S. is far away.
One day I would love to live by Dingle Bay.
Speak the Irish and have tea with friends each day.
Keep this newsletter alive!
MAUD GONNE - IRELAND'S JOAN OF ARC
How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face.
- From 'When You Are Old' by William Butler Yeats
Born during an age when women were expected to be
nothing more than handsome window-dressing for
their husbands, when women were expected to leave
the rough and tumble world of politics to men,
Maud Gonne rose above that prejudice to leave her
mark on Ireland's history. Gonne refused to accept
the assignment that society ascribed to women
- she wanted to be more than a helpless cork
bobbing on the stream of history. Gonne was
determined to be one of those people who helped
to direct that current, and she succeeded.
Gonne was born on December 20th, 1865, in
Aldershot, England. Her father was a wealthy
British army colonel of Irish descent and her
mother was English. Her mother died in 1871 and
Maud was educated in France by a governess
before moving to Dublin in 1882, when her
father was posted there. Maud's father died in
1886 leaving her financially independent. Moving
back to France for health reasons after a
tubercular hemorrhage, Gonne met and fell in
love with French journalist Lucien Millevoye,
editor of 'La Patrie'. The pair agreed to work
for both Irish and French nationalist causes.
Maud had been introduced to Fenianism by
John O'Leary, a Fenian and veteran of the 1848
Young Irelander uprising. Irish politician Tim
Harrington of the National League recognized that
this beautiful, intelligent young woman could be
an asset to the nationalist movement. He sent her
to Donegal, where mass evictions were taking
place. Gonne was successful in organizing the
locals in protest against these actions. The fact
that she soon had to leave for France to avoid
arrest is probably a good measure her success
In 1889, John O'Leary would introduce Maud to a
man whose infatuation with her would last most of
his life: poet William Butler Yeats. Yeats would
propose to Gonne in 1891, and be refused. Largely
through Maud's influence, Yeats would become
involved with Irish nationalism, later joining the
Irish Republican Brotherhood. In a quotation to
which many a man through history might nod in
agreement, Yeats would later refer to his meeting
with Gonne, saying:
'all the trouble of my life began'.
Wrote Yeats, in his poem, 'When You Are Old':
How many loved your movements of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face.
And bending down beside the glowing bars
Murmur, a little sadly, how love fled.
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.
Gonne helped Yeats found the National Literary
Society of London in 1891, the same year she
refused his first marriage proposal. Undaunted,
Yeats would propose again in the future and even
proposed to Maud's daughter by Millevoye, Iseult,
also unsuccessfully. Returning to Paris, and to
Millevoye, Maud published a nationalist newsletter
called 'L'Irelande Libre'. She worked tirelessly
raising funds for the movement, traveling to the
US, Scotland, and England. Gonne would end her
relationship with Millevoye in the late 1890s, but
not before she had two children by him, Iseult and
another that died in infancy.
By now the name of Maud Gonne was well known among
Irish nationalists. Returning to Ireland, Gonne
co-founded the Transvaal Committee, which
supported the Afrikaners in the Boer War, and on
Easter Sunday 1900 she co-founded Inghinidhe na
hEireann (Daughters of Erin), a revolutionary
women's society. Later she would write many
political and feminist articles for the monthly
journal of the Inghinidhe, Bean na hEireann (Women
of Erin). Somehow, while doing all this, she found
time to star on stage in Yeats play, 'Cathleen ni
Houlihan', which Yeats had written for her.
In 1900, in Paris, Irish politician Arthur Griffith
introduced Maud to Major John MacBride, who had
been second in command of the Irish Brigade that
fought for the Afrikaner side in the Boer War. In
1903 Maud married MacBride. This marriage would
produce a son, Sean, but it would be short-lived.
The couple separated, with MacBride moving to
Dublin while Maud, afraid she might lose custody
of her son if she returned to Ireland, remained
in Paris. Gonne would continue to write political
articles for Bean na hEireann, and in 1910 she
helped the Inghinidhe organize a scheme for
feeding the poor children of Dublin. She also
worked with the Red Cross in France during WWI.
She would not return to Ireland until 1917. The
Ireland she found on her return was in turmoil
after the Easter Rising of 1916 and the execution
of the leaders of that rising, including her
estranged husband, John MacBride.
Within a year she was jailed by the British for
her part in the anti-conscription movement. This
was part of the trumped up 'German Plot' that the
British used to discredit the Irish
anti-conscription movement. Gonne was interned at
Holloway Jail for six months along with Hanna
Sheehy Skeffington, Kathleen Clarke, Countess
Markievicz and others. After she was released,
she worked for the White Cross for relief of
Irish victims during the War of Independence.
When Ireland's Civil War came, Maud supported the
anti-treaty side. She and Charlotte Depard founded
the Women's Prisoners Defense League to help
Republican prisoners and their families. In 1923,
she once again found herself imprisoned, this time
by the Irish Free State government, without
charge. Along with 91 other women, Gonne
immediately went on hunger strike. The Free State
government had obviously learned a lesson from the
actions of the British in similar situations - she
was released after 20 days. For the rest of her
life Gonne would continue to support the
Republican cause and work for the Women's
Prisoners Defense League, which mobilized again
in defense of Republican prisoners in 1935.
In 1938, she published 'A Servant of the Queen',
a biography of her life up to 1903. Gonne died on
April 27, 1953, but her influence on Ireland and
the world continued after her death through her
son, Sean MacBride. Maud's union with Maj. John
MacBride was a short, unhappy one, but the son it
produced may have soothed any regrets Gonne had
about it. As a young man, Sean fought on the
Republican side in the Civil War and later
carried on his mother's crusade for the fair
treatment of political prisoners, not just in
Ireland, but all over the world. Sean was one of
the founders of Amnesty International. In 1974,
her son was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Maud
Gonne MacBride is buried in the Republican plot
in Dublin's famous Glasnevin Cemetery, a fitting
final tribute to the woman some called Ireland's
'Joan of Arc'.
This article has been adapted from an
article at the 'Wild Geese Today' Webzine,
a leading Irish history and heritage Internet
site, established in 1997 with the purpose of
sharing 'The Epic History and Heritage of the
Irish' with the immense number of individuals
of Irish ancestry found worldwide.
GAELIC PHRASES OF THE MONTH
PHRASE: Ta gaoth ann
PRONOUNCED: taw gay oww/inn
MEANING: It is windy
PHRASE: Ta an t-usice ann
PRONOUNCED: taw on tish/keh ann
MEANING: It is raining
PHRASE: Ta an t-adhar gorm
PRONOUNCED: taw an tat/hir gur/imm
MEANING: The sky is blue
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Until next time,
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