IN THIS ISSUE
~~~ News Snaps from Ireland
~~~ New free resources at the site
~~~ You can play the Irish Lottery
~~~ Bicentennial of the death of Robert Emmet
~~~ Famous Irish Legends: The Children of Lir
~~~ Christmas Gift Ideas
~~~ Gaelic Phrases of the Month
~~~ Shamrock Site of the Month: celticattic.com
~~~ Monthly free competition result
Hello again from a bitterly cold Ireland where the
build up to Christmas has started even earlier
than usual. You can help keep this newsletter alive
by checking out the great Christmas gift ideas
Many thanks again to irishlotto.net for sponsoring
this newsletter. You too can play the Irish lotto
thanks to their great service
- see below.
Until the next time,
STAY OUT OF THE COLD!
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NEWS SNAPS FROM IRELAND
NORTHERN IRELAND ELECTIONS UNDER WAY
The election to the Northern Ireland Assembly have
been completed. The DUP and Sinn Fein have
reversed the result of the last poll and have
overtaken the UUP and the SDLP as the most
popular Unionist and Nationalist parties
respectively. Nearly 64% of the electorate voted
resulting in the DUP winning 30 seats, the UUP
getting 27, Sinn Fein winning 24 seats with
the SDLP having a disastrous result with
only 18 seats.
It is very unlikely a new parliament will be
convened. This is because of differences between
Unionist and Nationalist sides over the extent to
which the IRA have decommissioned their weapons.
The Assembly has been suspended since November
2002 and it is likely that direct rule from London
will once again be imposed when Unionist parties
refuse to participate in any new parliament.
IRISH ECONOMY CONTINUES TO GROW
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and
Development (OECD) has predicted that the Irish
economy will grow by 3.5% in 2004, which is about
double the 2002 rate. The OECD has been
encouraged by tight control of public spending
being exercised by the Government in advance of
the December budget. Spending has indeed been
reined in but at the expense of crucial public
services say Government critics.
The OECD expects unemployment to remain at about
5% of the workforce and the rate of inflation to
be sustained at about 3% in 2004.
IRISH FILM TAX BREAKS UNDER THREAT
In recent years the Irish Government has given
substantial tax breaks to film-makers who located
in Ireland. The economic situation in Ireland in
the last couple of years however has been much
tighter than heretofore. Consequently the
Government looks set to abandon the generous
grants, much to the chagrin of Irish film-makers
and actors alike.
Stephen Rea, Alison Doody, Aidan Quinn, Jim
Sheridan and Patrick Bergin are among the
high-profile movie personalities who have backed
the campaign to keep the tax incentives.
Among the blockbuster movies that have been made
here in recent years are 'Saving Private Ryan'
and 'Braveheart'. 'King Arthur' is currently being
filmed in County Wicklow.
SMOKING BAN HAS POPULAR SUPPORT
A recent survey has indicated that more than 80%
of the Irish public believe that Pub and Hotel
owners should comply with the new anti-smoking
legislation. The Government plans have received
a boost with the news that both Holland and
Belgium are set to introduce similar smoking
bans in bars and restaurants.
Bar owners are still up in arms over the new
measures with veiled threats being made about
the withholding of tax should the measures be
MORE MARRIAGES IN 2002 THAN IN PREVIOUS TWO DECADES
There were over 20,000 marriages in Ireland in
2002, which is the highest figure in twenty
years. Births outside of marriage accounted for
31% of the total recorded in 2002. Twenty years
ago the figure was 6% of all births.
'DISNEYLAND' STYLE THEME PARK PLAN IS REFUSED
A proposed 7 Billion Euro them park called 'Vega
City' has been refused planning permission by a
Dublin City Council. Fingal County Council refused
permission for the project because they said they
were not convinced that it was feasible and that
the presentation that was made to them by the
proposing consortium was sloppy and vague.
'United Entertainment Partners' now intend to try
get the project up and running elsewhere in
Europe, probably in the UK.
NEW DRINK-DRIVE LAWS TO BE INTRODUCED
Motorists who are caught under the influence of
drink while driving will be automatically fined
and banned under new laws. Motorists will still
have the option to go to court if they prefer, but
will still be 'named and shamed'. Ireland has a
40% rate of road accidents due to the involvement
of alcohol, which is 10% above the international
Voice your opinion on these news issues here:
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L: Lambert, Lloyd
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ROBERT EMMET by Kevin Kelly
Robert Emmet's short, dramatic life came to a
tragic end on September 20, 1803. However,
although his life was short and his struggle in
vain, his efforts, vision and idealism left a
mythic mark on Irish and on the world history.
Born in Dublin in 1778 into a fairly well-to-do
Protestant family, Emmet was educated at Trinity
College, Dublin. With high ideals of fraternity
and equality, Robert, like his elder brother
Thomas, became involved with the United Irishmen,
an organization formed in 1791 by Wolfe Tone,
James Tandy, and Thomas Russell to achieve Roman
Catholic emancipation and, with Protestant
co-operation, parliamentary reform.
From 1800 to 1802, Emmet resided on the continent
with leaders of the United Irishmen who had been
exiled from Ireland following the rebellion of
1798. On the continent, Emmet attempted to enlist
French support for an insurrection against
British rule. With the promise of French military
aid secured, Emmet returned to Ireland in 1802
and began to organize and arm the country in
preparation for the French landing. However,
Emmet's hand was forced in July 1803 when an
explosion at one of his arms depots compelled an
early call for insurrection on July 23. His plan
now awry, the ill-timed insurrection ended in
confusion as various factions failed to receive
or failed to heed the call to arms, and the
promised French invasion failed to materialize.
Determined and undaunted Emmet, wearing a green
and white uniform, marched a small band against
Dublin Castle. On their way, the group happened
upon Lord Kilwarden, the Lord Chief Justice and
his nephew. Emmet's followers seized the Lord
Chief Justice and his nephew from their coach,
piked them to death and then began to riot in the
streets. Disillusioned by his followers' behavior
and realizing the cause was lost, Emmet escaped
and hid in Irish countryside.
From the Wicklow Mountains, Emmet moved to
Harold's Cross to be near Sarah Curran, his
fiancee. Thomas Moore's songs 'She is far from the
land where her young hero sleeps' and 'Oh breathe
not the name' were inspired by Emmet's love for
Emmet had hoped to escape to America with Miss
Curran. However, he was captured on August 25th,
1803 and imprisoned at Kilmainham. He was tried
for high treason in Green Street Courthouse where
he was sentenced to be hanged, drawn and quartered.
When asked if he had any thing to say in response
to this sentence, Emmet gave what is considered
to be one of the most famous speeches of the
period. Emmet's speech to the court, 'The Speech
from the Dock', could be regarded as the last
protest of the United Irishmen:
'I have but one request to ask at my departure
from this world – it is the charity of its silence.
Let no man write my epitaph. No man can write my
epitaph, for as no man who knows my motives and
character dares now to vindicate them, let not
prejudice or ignorance asperse them. Let them
rest in obscurity and peace until other times and
other men can do justice to them. When my country
takes her place among the nations of the earth,
then shall my character be vindicated, then may
my epitaph be written'.
Although he held out hope for a rescue, on
September 20th, 1803, he was executed. Out of
deference to his aristocratic background, Emmet
was hanged and beheaded but was not subsequently
disembowelled as such a sentence usually involved.
His burial site remains a mystery to this date.
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FAMOUS IRISH LEGENDS: THE CHILDREN OF LIR
There was a time in ancient Ireland when the
people believed in magic and in druids and spells.
These were the days of the Tuatha De Danann tribe,
the Goddess Danu and of Lir, the lord of the sea.
Lir's wife, Eva, had given him four beautiful
children. The two eldest, Fionnuala and Aodh, went
swimming in a small lake. But these were no
ordinary swimmers! They possessed gills for
breathing and webbed feet as they were, after all,
the offspring of 'the ruler of the land beneath
They met a messenger who told them that they were
wanted by their father. They went home immediately
only to find their father disturbed.
'What is wrong father?' they enquired
'Your mother has given birth to twins' he replied
'....and has gone off to rest'
'What do you mean father?' they asked
Lir explained that this was what humans called
'death' but that since they were immortal that
their mother had gone to recover, possibly for a
thousand years or more. The children were to look
after the new brothers, Fiachra and Conn.
The children kissed their mother for the last
time and then left.
As the children grew Lir's spirits declined until
one day he met Aoife, the sister of his wife.
Aoife was possessed of magical powers and soon
enough it was known that she and Lir would marry.
The new family thrived under the influence of
their new mother but not for long as guilt and
jealousy about the children's real mother took
its toll on Aoifes health. She fell into sickness
for a year but recovered only to start to become
old before here time.
Aoife was a changed woman now and one day
suggested that she and the children should visit
their grandfather. On the journey they stopped by
a lake and she encouraged the children to go for
a swim. The four children played happily in the
water, not noticing that their stepmother was now
standing at the waters edge wearing her fathers
'For too long you children have stood between
your father and I, but not for much longer!'
'We cannot be killed by you...' Aodh replied,
'...we are the Children of Lir and if you harm
us our ghosts will haunt you!'
'I’m not going to kill you.....' she shouted
'......but I am going to change you!'
At this she bowed her head and started an
incantation. The children looked at each other in
fear as they saw a red and gold circle envelope
them on the water. They saw Aoife open up her
cloak from which the great light of a fireball
emerged and hurtled towards them, burning all in
The fireball hit the water and caused masses of
steam to rise about the children and they soon
lost all feeling in their legs, arms, shoulders
and head. They soon regained their sight only to
see Aoife laughing at them. Aodh tried to attack
her and flailed his arms about furiously but
nothing happened except the splashing of water.
He turned to look at his brothers and sister only
to see that they had all been turned into the
most beautiful swans ever seen.
Aoife scowled at them again and told them that
they were to spend nine hundred years as swans,
three hundred on Lough Derravaragh, three hundred
on the Straits of Moyle and three hundred on the
Isle of Inish Glora. To end the spell they would
have to hear the bell of the new God.
'I leave you with your voice however, and the
most beautiful singing ever heard' she said.
Lir searched for his children that day, but Aoife
told him that they had been attacked and killed
by wild boars. Fionnuala, now in swan form,
approached her father and told him what Aoife had
done. Lir was furious and banished Aoife into
exile as an evil demon of the air.
Lir faithfully visited his children and the power
of his love ensured that their time on the lake
was one of bliss. He knew though that the 300
years of the first phase had passed and that the
next phase of the spell was about to begin. The
swans left for the Straits of Moyle, never to see
their father again.
Their time on the Northern Straits of Moyle were
not so joyous, with frequent storms separating
them, only for they to join up again. Another 300
years passed but they had survived together.
They departed the cold straits and made their way
towards Lough Derravaragh. They flew over the
land, hoping to find their father's fort, but it
was now nothing more than ruins. They wept
because they knew the time of the Tuatha De Danann
They travelled West to the waters of Inish Glora
and found refuge on a small saltwater lake where
time passed slowly. One day an old man named Mochua
visited the lake and the children enquired of him
if he was a follower of the new God. The startled
man asked if they were the children of Lir and
they told him that they were.
'Are you a holy man?' asked Fiacra.
'I am...' came the reply.
The children knew that to break the spell that
they would have to hear the bell of a new God
toll in their own land.
Mochua told them all about his new God and all
about Saint Patrick who had brought his faith to
The children became excited as they knew that
this was the new God their stepmother had told
them of. They stayed with Mochua for many years
who gave them sanctuary in a small chapel which
he had built. He intended to make a bell and
collected old swords, shields and other metal
to make it. The bell was now completed and was
about to be rung when another disaster occurred.
A Warrior dressed in armour entered the chapel.
He had come for the children who were famed for
their wonderful singing.
'I am Liargren, King of Connaught' he shouted,
'My wife desires those swans and I will have them.
Give them here or I will tear this building down.'
Fionnuala looked at Mochua and then said that
they would agree to go away with this King.
Liargen was amazed to hear her speak but soon
composed himself and ordered his men to take the
children away. They were being loaded onto a
carriage when suddenly, the church bell tolled
Time seemed to stand still, but in another instant
a great white mist had been blown off the nearby
lake and enveloped the children as it had done
900 years before. The mist changed into all of
the colours of the rainbow before a great wind
gusted it away.
The children had at last been transformed back
into human form.
Liagren fled immediately, never to return. Mochua
baptized the beautiful children who had begun to
age rapidly and so it was that the children of Lir,
the last of the Tuatha De Danann died soon
afterwards, their legend to live on forever.
CHRISTMAS GIFT IDEAS
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GIFT IDEA #1: Christmas Ornament with family Crest
Our new engraved Christmas ornament has the family
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GIFT IDEA #2: The famous Irish Claddagh Ring
The Claddagh ring was first created in County
Galway in Ireland and has for centuries been used
as a symbol of love and friendship. Our rings are
hand crafted here in Ireland and are hallmarked by
the official Assay office in Dublin.
GIFT IDEA #3: Posters of Ireland
Another new offering is our selection of large
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GIFT IDEA #4: Engraved Cigarette Case and Tankard
For the person who has everything! Engraved with
the family crest of your choice our cigarette
cases, hip flasks and pewter tankards are perfect
GIFT IDEA #5: Hand Made Wall Plaques
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For these and many other great gift ideas visit
GAELIC PHRASES OF THE MONTH
PHRASE: Imeacht gan teacht ort
PRONOUNCED: imm/ocked gone chockt urt
MEANING: May you leave withour returning
PHRASE: Titim gan eiri ort
PRONOUNCED: titt/imm gone eye/ree urt
MEANING: May you fall without risinge
PHRASE: Gurab amhlaidh duit
PRONOUNCED: gur/ibb owl/adh dwit
MEANING: The same to you
View the archive of phrases here:
SHAMROCK SITE OF THE MONTH: CELTICATTIC.COM
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NOVEMBER 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 prize, 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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