The Information about Ireland Site Newsletter
The Newsletter for people interested in Ireland
Now received by over 50,000 people worldwide
Copyright (C) 2005
IN THIS ISSUE
=== News Snaps from Ireland
=== New free resources at the site
=== A Brief History of Ireland
=== Cuchulainn by Sean O'Broin
=== The Life of Padraig Pearse
=== A little bit of Dublin - #2
=== Gaelic Phrases of the Month
=== Monthly free competition result
Hello again from Ireland where the talk is of a
new airport terminal for Dublin - finally! Anyone
who has travelled through Dublin Airport knows
just how crowded it can be. It only took about 5
years to reach a decision this subject and will
probably take another 5 to build the terminal,
no doubt at huge cost over-runs.
Welcome to Ireland!
until next month!
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NEWS SNAPS FROM IRELAND
HILL OF TARA MOTORWAY GETS GREEN LIGHT
The Government has approved plans to allow a new
roadway to be built adjacent to the famous Hill of
Tara. The new motorway will relieve severe traffic
congestion in the area but has angered
conservationists who seem certain to challenge the
decision in the High Court. Archeological
excavations will commence along the route in
advance of any building work taking place. The
current roadway is considered dangerous and has an
accident level 50% above the national average. The
route for the new motorway is further away from
the actual Hill of Tara than the existing road.
FREE ENTRY TO SELECTED TOURIST ATTRACTIONS
In an attempt to boost visitor numbers to several
under-used tourist sites the Office of Public
Works has removed admission fees to certain
attractions. The new policy is also seen as an
attempt to relieve pressure on the four busiest
tourist sites in the country, which are currently
receiving as many visitors as they are capable
Last year saw over 822,000 people visited the
Rock of Cashel, Newgrange, Muckross House in
Killarney or Kilkenny Castle. The OPW manages
59 historic sites that welcomed over 2.2 M-illion
visitors. Thus, the top four attractions
accounted for over 37% of overall visitor
Free access is to be allowed to Dungarvan Castle
in Waterford, Ferns Castle and Ballyhack Castle
in Wexford, Desmond Hall in Limerick, Maynooth
Castle in Kildare and St. Audeons medieval Church
in Dublin. The little-known 'Corlea Trackway'
houses the largest medieval oak roadway in Europe
and will also be free to view.
OBESITY IN IRELAND TO BE TACKLED
A new Government report has made 93 recommendations
in an effort to tackle the growing obesity problem
in Ireland. 20% of Irish adults are thought to be
either obese or overweight while 300,000 children
are similarly troubled. The recommendations
* healthy foods such as fruit and vegetables to
be subsidised by tax-reduction
* 2 hours of physical exercise in schools daily
* healthy eating courses
* examination of insurance for school playgrounds
* vending machines in schools to be banned
IRELAND AT TOP OF TOURIST PRICE-LIST
A recent report by American Express has found
Ireland to be the second most expensive place to
holiday in the world, second only to Norway.
Taking a vacation in Ireland rose by 26% in 2004.
Holidaying in the US dropped by 20% in the same
time period., largely due to currency exchange
fluctuations and the weak dollar. Ireland was
the third most expensive place to hire a car
and the most expensive place to buy camera film.
The Government has finally reacted to the
perception of 'rip-off Ireland' by introducing a
new National Consumer Agency to tackle consumer
pricing. The new body will have the power to close
down businesses who overcharge and to impose
severe penalties. Pubs and hotels are expected to
be on the immediate hit-list of the new agency.
SMOKING BAN MUST BE RELAXED SAY PUBLICANS
The Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI) that
represents pub-owners in Ireland has claimed that
over 200 pubs have closed and over 7600 jobs have
been lost since the introduction of the smoking
ban in March, 2004. Government sources however are
adamant that there will be no change to the new law
and point out that several other EU countries are
about to introduce similar legislation.
Smoking in Ireland continues to decline. In 1998
31% of the adult population smoked. In 2002 the
figure was down to 27% and 2004 figures show a
further drop to 24%. Health observers have noted
that many long-term smokers used the introduction
of the smoking ban and the subsequent media
attention and advertising as the impetus they
needed too quit the habit.
DUBLIN AIRPORT TO GET NEW TERMINALS
The Government is set to agree to plans for a
second and third terminal at Dublin airport which
is severely over-crowded. It is unclear yet if
the different terminals will compete with each
other, as suggested by Ryanair boss Michael
O'Leary. Ryanair have already offered to build a
new terminal and sell it back to the Government
if it is not competitive.
INCREASE IN NUMBER OF CRUISE SHIPS VISITING DUBLIN
%0 coaches were recently provided to visitors from
the 'Golden Princess'; to transport them to Dublin
City Centre for a day of sight-seeing and shopping.
The luxury cruise liner arrived from New York with
over 2,600 passenger son board. Their brief sortie
into Dublin is estimated to have generated over
EURO 3 M-illion to local businesses. 76 Cruise
liners will visit Dublin in 2005, a 50% increase on
last year, generating an expected EURO 60 M-illion
in revenue for the city.
IRELAND MOST POPULAR DESTINATION FOR NEW EU WORKERS
Ireland is the most popular destination for workers
from those countries that have recently joined the
EU. Over 80,000 people from countries such as
Poland have moved into Ireland to work since last
May. Britain has a population that is 15 times
larger than Ireland but received 90,000 workers by
comparison. Despite the huge influx Ireland
continues to have historically low levels of
unemployment at 4%. No welfare is payable to
workers from the new EU states, unless they have
been working in Ireland for a year.
ABUSIVE TAXI DRIVERS TO BE TACKLED
A new Taxi regulator is preparing a report which
will pave the way for legislation designed to make
the taxi industry safer. Recent de-regulation of
the industry made it possible for virtually anyone
to set themselves up as a taxi driver. The number
of violent incidents and complaints about
ill-prepared or abusive taxi-drivers has jumped
significantly since the new rules were introduced.
Voice your opinion on these news issues here:
NEW FREE RESOURCES AT THE SITE
NEW COATS OF ARMS ADDED TO THE GALLERY:
The following 8 coats of arms images and family
history details have been added to the Gallery:
B: Baskin, Bates
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:
A BRIEF HISTORY OF IRELAND
3000BC Construction of the Megalithic tombs at
700BC The Celts arrive from parts of Gaul and
350AD Christianity reaches Ireland.
432 St. Patrick arrives in Ireland and
confronts King Laoghaire who allows him to spread
the word of Christianity in Ireland.
700-800 Monastic culture is at its height.
795 Invasion by the Vikings.
1014 Brian Boru defeats the Vikings at Clontarf.
1169 Dermot MacMurrough, the exiled king of
Leinster, seeks help from 'Strongbow'.
1172 King Henry II of England is declared Feudal
Lord of Ireland by the Pope.
1366 Statues of Kilkenny belatedly forbid
intermarriage of English and Irish. Gaelic culture
1534-40 Insurrection by Lord Offaly fails.
1541 Henry VIII proclaimed King of Ireland.
1558-03 Plantation of Ireland commences under the
reign of Elizabeth I.
1595-03 Failed uprising of Hugh O'Neil.
1607 Flight of the Earls and leading Ulster
families go into exile.
1641 King Charles I's policies cause
insurrection in Ulster and Civil War in England.
1649 Cromwell invades Ireland.
1653 Cromwell's opponents stripped of land
under the Act of Settlement.
1689-90 Deposed James II flees to Ireland and is
defeated at the Battle of the Bon.
1704 The Penal Laws enacted: Catholics are
barred from voting, education and the military.
1775 American War of Independence instigates
1782 Grattan's Parliament persuades English to
declare Irish independence, but in name only.
1795 The Orange Order is founded.
1798 Uprising by Wolfe Tone and the United
Irishmen is crushed.
1801 Ireland becomes part of Britain under the
Act of Union.
1829 Catholic Emancipation Act passed after
Daniel O'Connell elected as MP.
1845-49 The Great Famine claims over 1 million
lives through starvation and disease. Emigration
over the next 10 years results in departure of a
further 1 million people.
1879-82 The Land War is instigated by Parnell who
encourages the boycott of repressive landlords.
The 3 'F's are gained for the peasantry: Fixity of
Tenure, Fair Rent, Freedom to sell their holding.
1914 The Implementation of Home Rule is
postponed because of the outbreak of World War I.
1916 The Easter Rising is led by Pearse,
Connolly and others. The 7 leaders are executed
which shifts public opinion in favour of the
1920-21 Michael Collins masterminds the War of
Independence between Britain and Ireland. The
Irish Free State is created (excluding the 6
1922-23 Civil war breaks out between the Free
State Army and the Irregulars (the IRA).
1926 Fianna Fail party formed and led by
1932 DeValera elected Taoiseach of Ireland.
1939-45 Ireland remains neutral during WW2 despite
the offer of a United Ireland having been made to
DeValera if Ireland enters the war on behalf of
1948 Ireland declared a Republic by Costello.
Northern Ireland is declared a separate entity.
1969 Rioting between Catholics and Protestants.
Civil Rights marches. British troops called in
to keep order.
1971 Provisional IRA begins campaign to oust
British troops from Ireland.
1972 Republic of Ireland joins the European
1985 Anglo-Irish Agreement signed.
1994 Peace Declaration and IRA ceasefire.
1998 'Good Friday' agreement reached promising
the creation of a Northern Assembly.
2002 Northern parliament is suspended
1995-2005 Economic boom in Ireland
CUCHULAINN - THE HOUND OF ULSTER by Sean O'Broin
There was a time in Irelands history when chivalry
and chieftainry ruled the land. When the country
was occupied by bands of warriors who spoke only
their native tongue and who cherished their
heritage and civilisation. This was the time of
Conor McNessa and the High Kings of Ireland, of the
Gamanraide and the Red Branch Knights of the
Emania. It was the time of Cuchullain.
All of the warrior bands had their own Seanachie,
a person responsible for recounting the deeds of
times past, a chronicler of the ages. Cuchullain
was their most famous subject and hundreds of
tales of his heroic deeds, both real and imagined,
have survived to this day.
Cuchullain was the nephew and foster son of King
Conor of Emania, and was originally named Setanta.
He arrived at the Court to find the youths playing
Caman (hurling) and, having with him his red bronze
hurley he so outplayed the other youths that his
future greatness could be seen by all of the Court.
The warriors of the Red Branch acknowledged him as
a blood relative of the King and heard him proclaim
before the Druids in the Hall of Heroes:
'I care not whether I die tomorrow or next year,
if only my deeds live after me.'
Cuchulainns greatest deed was perhaps when he
alone held back the forces of Connaught and had to
fight his friend, Ferdiad, who was the champion and
chief of the Connaught Knights of the Sword.
Ferdiad and Cuchullain had trained together in arms
in their youth and it was displeasing to Cuchullain
to have to fight his friend of old. He tried to
dissuade Ferdiad against fighting by reminding him
of their days in training, when they were both
subjects of the great female champion, Scathach,
'We were heart companions, We were companions in
the woods, we were fellows of the same bed,
where we used to sleep the balmy sleep. After
mortal battles abroad, In countries many
and far distant, together we used to practice,
and go through each forest, learning with
Ferdiad would not be swayed. Lest he weaken
under Cuchullains pleas he responded only with
taunts against his friend, now foe.
So they fought. They fought for four days and
eventually, after a tremendous effort, Cuchullain
laid Ferdiad down and then fell into a trance of
sorrow and weakness after the epic duel.
As is the way with such heroes, Cuchulainn died
on the battlefield. He was propped against a
large rock whilst dead, with a spear in his hand
and a buckler on his arm, and with such a defiant
attitude was able to strike fear into his
enemies even after death.
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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.
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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
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A LITTLE BIT OF DUBLIN - #2
The sixteenth century saw a fierce rivalry develop
between the Butlers and Fitzgeralds. Violent
clashes between the two groups were comonplace with
once such meleee occurring in 1512. Butler, the
Earl of Ormond retreated and was forced to take
refuge in Saint Patrick's Cathedral. He barricaded
himself behind a stout wodden door and refused to
leave until he got assurances for his safety. After
some negotiation a deal was struck. In order to
seal the deal a hole was hacked through the wooden
door so that the two leaders could shake hands. It
is thought that the modern expression 'chancing
your arm' originated from this event. From that
time on a 'chancer' was someone who took a risk
or a gamble. The hole in the door can still be
seen to this day.
GAELIC PHRASES OF THE MONTH
PHRASE: Ta se go brea
PRONOUNCED: taw shay goh braw
MEANING: It is sunny!
PHRASE: Ta se scamaillach
PRONOUNCED: taw shay scomm-ill-ock
MEANING: it is cloudy
PHRASE: Ta se ag cuir baisteach
PRONOUNCED: taw shay egg curr bawsh-stuck
MEANING: It is raining!
View the archive of phrases here:
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I hope that you have enjoyed this issue.
Until next month,
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