IN THIS ISSUE
~~~~~ Keep us Free!
~~~~~ New Free resources at the site
~~~~~ News Snaps from Ireland
~~~~~ Ireland by Kevin MacDowell
~~~~~ Irish Movie Review: My Left Foot by Dawn Hayden
~~~~~ Ireland in the Old West by Chuck Peabody
~~~~~ Boxty by Al O'Rourke
~~~~~ Debbie's trip to Ireland by Debbie Leer
~~~~~ Irish Quotations of the Month
~~~~~ Gaelic Phrases of the Month
~~~~~ Shamrock Site of the Month: Irish Newsletter Forum
~~~~~ Searcher Site of the Month: Townland Database
~~~~~ Monthly free competition result
This is easily the hardest newsletter that we have ever had
to compose. Already more than a week late we finally mustered
up the mental energy to try to get back on track despite the
veneer of gloom that has descended on the world.
The Irish reaction to the tragedy has seen huge queues form
outside the American Embassy as people offer their signature
along with those that have already mourned.
We want to take this opportunity to offer our sincere
condolences to all those who suffered as a result of the
terrorist atrocities in the US. The world has been changed
forever but hopefully there will be a change for the better
in our hearts too.
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NEWS SNAPS FROM IRELAND
30 IRISH FEARED LOST IN ATTACK ON NEW YORK
The devastating attack on the World Trade Centre in New York
has left 30 Irish citizens missing, presumed dead. Already
confirmed dead are the Irish priest working for the Fire
Department of New York, and a number of passengers who were
on one of the planes that crashed into the WTC. It is feared
that there may be many other Irish unaccounted for who may
have been working in the area without an official visa.
Irish Taoiseach (leader) Bertie Ahearn voiced the opinion of
the nation in condemning the attacks and was among the first
of the many thousands who have signed the 'Book of Condolence'
that is stationed outside the US Embassy in Ballsbridge, near
Dublin City Centre. Long queues continue to form outside the
Embassy as Irish people, many with relatives living in New
York, waited to add their name to list of sympathisers. A
delegation for the Irish Fire Brigade visited the US
Ambassador to express their solidarity with their New York
and Washington counterparts.
A national day of mourning was observed on Friday 14th, with
all but essential businesses closing their doors. Church
attendance swelled as special commemorations were held and a
two minute silence was observed at 11:00 throughout the
Sporting events over the following few days, professional
and amateur, also observed a one minute silence in memory
of those who perished.
IRELAND TO ALLOW US FORCES TO REFUEL IN IRISH AIRPORTS
Irish leader Bertie Ahearn has announced that US forces
will be allowed to refuel at Irish airports and be allowed
to use Irish airspace as part of any military action against
terrorism. Ireland has recently assumed the presidency of
the United Nations Security Council at this critical time.
TOURIST INDUSTRY TO SUFFER GREATLY
The tourist industry is facing into hard times. The global
lack of confidence in air travel has already seen massive
cancellations of hotel accommodation throughout all of the
major tourist towns in Ireland. Tourist chiefs were just
beginning to recover from the effects of the Foot and Mouth
Disease when the disaster struck. Massive cancellations of
flights into Ireland and of hotel accommodation have
already taken place.
IRISH STOCKS PLUMMET
The turmoil in the world stock markets has hit Ireland with
technology firm Horizon seeing 30% of it share value wiped
out. Ryanair fell by 12% as airlines worldwide continue to
struggle while the Jury's Hotel Group has seen their share
price fall from IR£11.80 earlier in the year to its current
trading level of IR£6.41
IRA ARE READY TO DECOMMISSION THEIR WEAPONS
In a stunning development in the Northern Ireland peace
process the IRA have indicated that they are about to put
two arms dumps beyond use in a gesture that may well save
the ongoing peace negotiations.
The Northern Ireland Assembly has been suspended for a
third time by the Northern Secretary John Reid,
following on from David Thrimble's recent resignation as
The destruction of paramilitary weaponry has been the major
stumbling block since the creation of the Good Friday
agreement with Unionist's insisting that progress on other
matters cannot be achieved until the paramilitary
organisations start to remove the gun from politics.
The impending destruction of weapons by the IRA marks a
significant moment in its history as the move towards a
purely political representation of their aims takes a
new step forward.
JOHN HUME RESIGNS AS LEADER OF THE SDLP
Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize and co-creator of the Good
Friday Agreement, John Hume, has announced that he is
resigning as leader of the moderate SDLP because of health
reasons. Finance Minister Mark Durkin has emerged as his
likely successor since current deputy-leader Seamus Mallon
has announced that he will not become a candidate for the
HOUSE PRICES RISE BY 6.8% IN LAST YEAR
Further confirmation that the Irish housing market has
stablised came with the announcement that the rate of
increase in 2001 was 6.8%, compared with a 14.8% price hike
in 2000. The average price of a Dublin house is now
IR£192,000, and IR£128 for a house outside Dublin.
AER LINGUS IN TURMOIL
Aer Lingus, the State airline, is in deep trouble and has
announced layoffs of over 1000 staff, 25% of its total
workforce. EU rules prohibit national governments from
injecting finance into airlines but despite that Aer Lingus
has stated that it needs IR£300 Million to keep operating.
Aer Lingus routes are to be cut by 25% and its fleet
reduced by 7 jets.
The Government had hoped to privatise the airline but the
likelihood of finding a buyer now seem remote.
Massive hikes in Insurance costs for airlines worldwide
have also hit Aer Lingus which is faced with the prospect
of not being able to fly its planes because of the new
costs involved. England and Germany have already indicated
that they are going to underwrite the insurance liability
of their airlines and it is possible that Ireland may
SPORT: IRISH DEFEAT HOLLAND IN WORLD CUP QUALIFIER
A tremendous performance by Mick McCarthy's team has
eliminated Holland form the World Cup to be held in Japan
and Korea in 2002. The winning goal from Jason McAteer saw
off the Dutch who had missed a couple of good early chances.
The victory means that Ireland are certain to finish at
least second in the group as Portugal are likely to have
a much better goal difference when the qualifying matches
Ireland will thus have to endure a play-off and have been
drawn against the runners up of one of the Asian groups
likely to be either Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar or the
UAE. It had been intended to play two matches to decide
who qualifies for the World Cup, but given the turmoil
in the middle East it now seems unlikely that Ireland will
be told to travel to the region. A single match playoff in
central Europe is a much more likely compromise.
The improvement in Irish performances in recent years has
seen the country rise to 22nd place in the FIFA world
ranking of national teams.
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IRELAND by Kevin MacDowell
Drops of dew slide along your face,
You wake up and a smile lights up my day.
The sun rises through branches.
A whisper of wind, heather flowers, smoke from fireplaces.
Damp and friendly grass my bed.
Your blue sky, clouds sudden appear and disappear,
moss and hot milk and honey scent.
Dauntless rock of your awe inspiring cliffs
witness of daily fights.
Your gentle and romantic beaches.
Joyful yells whose love u.....
Good morning, Ireland.
IRISH MOVIE REVIEW: MY LEFT FOOT by Dawn Hayden
My Left Foot is the life story of Christy Brown who was
born into an impoverished family in working class Dublin
in 1932. Christy has Cerebral Palsy which makes him
virtually immobile and treated with disdain by his father.
His mother however is sure that there is life within her
crippled son and makes the breakthrough when the young
Christy manages to write the word 'mother' on the floor
with a piece of chalk gripped with his left foot.
Aided by his mother Christy establishes himself as an
artist and writer and overcomes the limitations of the
physical world that have been imposed on him.
Directed by Jim Sheridan this film is a harshly realistic
look at the life and times of this extraordinary man who
embodies the triumph of the human spirit over adversity.
Superbly portrayed by Daniel Day Lewis, Christy Brown is
depicted along with all of his human flaws. This is not
intended as a whitewash of a persons life with a view to
seeing only the good aspects but rather a genuine
exploration of a very complex character who insists on
Brenda Fricker and Ray McAnally are equally terrific as
the parents of this poor family whose antics continually
provide the viewer with a sense of both poignancy and
Directed by Jim Sheridan in a manner that realistic and
yet sympathetic, My Left Foot is well worth watching,
not only for the consummate display of acting from all
involved, (Brenda Fricker both won Oscars for their
performances), but for the sheer entertainment value of
the exploration of another person's life!
Well worth viewing.
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IRELAND IN THE OLD WEST by Chuck Peabody
There is a city in the old west that was founded by a
colorful Irishman named Hugh O'Conner.
After having their land confiscated by the British in the
17th century, O'Connor gained passage to Spain. He joined
his cousin, Field Marshal Alexander O'Reilly, in the Spanish
At the end of a war with Portugal, he was transferred to
Cuba. During this time he acquired the nickname 'Captain
Colorado', (The Red Captain), because of his bright red
hair and the red uniform jacket he wore.
The name 'Hugh O'Conner' was difficult for the Spanish
soldiers to pronounce, so it was distorted to 'Yugo Ekkoner'.
Later documents referring to him using this name.
While serving in Cuba he rose to the rank of Lieutenant
Colonel, charged with the responsibility of shoring up the
defenses in the North American Territories. He founded 21
presidios (forts) between California and Texas. One of these
was in Tubac Arizona. On August 20th, 1775, Hugh wrote to
Spain for permission to move the presidio 40 miles north, to
a site near a Pima Indian village of 'Stook-Zone'. He built
it in what is now the center of the town. He named the new
presidio, 'San Augustin de Tucson'.
Every March 17th a large four leaf clover is painted in the
intersection in the old center of town. New arrivals are
often very confused by the strong Irish influence in the
midst of the predominantly Mexican culture, in a town in
the old west.
BOXTY by Al O'Rourke
Several things happened all in one week in July.
I visited my Granny´s grave just to keep the weeds in check
and to find a few moments away from the hustle and bustle
of city life and commune with my ancestors who are buried
in the same graveyard in County Leitrim since around 1600.
I get a nice relaxed feeling about being there with my folk
even though I never met them.
After walking around in this wilderness of daisies and
dandelion, thistles and other thorny things, looking for
other ghosts from my family, I stopped again to say another
goodbye to my gran. I thought about the awesome lapse of
time from her birth in 1871 to the summer day she died 1960
and to the day in July 2001 as I sat at the foot of her
Then I thought of the times from my tender years when she
used to make butter, jam, bread, and her heavenly Boxty. I
then thought about a rainy day in June 1959 when I called to
her house because there was nothing else to do, and she was
starting to make Boxty.
She had peeled a load of potatoes and they were all lying
in a bucket of water and she asked me if I would like to
help her make the boxty and that if I did, I could have as
much as I wanted, and some more to take home with me.
Well I had already tasted Granny´s boxty and I always felt
that I never got enough, because there was always a crowd
around with their tongues hanging out, and they were always
bigger and faster than me when the pile was put in the
middle of the table. When you went for a piece, you ran the
risk of being stabbed to death by a fork wielded by a
bigger, hungrier cousin. My Granny said I was like the poor
crow in the famine waiting for the scraps, and that today,
I could eat at my ease. What an invitation!
Firstly, she grated a potato showing me how to keep my
fingers away from the sharp grater and telling me to go
slowly. She told me that she was going to get the fire up
in the stove, and the butter, and the plates, and when she
had that done she expected me to have no more, and no less
than one potato grated.
As I grated slowly and then fast, not knowing how long she
needed, she started telling me about her Granny, and how
she lived through the Great Famine of the forties , and that
the 'Spud' was a gift from God. If I stopped grating to
listen to her, she'd say: 'Keep gratin' them spuds or they'll
go black', and I'd go at my job again, and she'd say 'Take
it easy or you'll be making bloody red boxty'.
When she came back to the table, she took over the grating
job with a skill and ease that stayed in my memory to this
day. She got me to put in a 'pinch' of salt and stir this
grey mucky material. Then came the important bit. She put a
fistful of flour in the sieve and got me to shake just a
little at a time, enough to cover the potatoes like a light
snow, then she twirled the mixture around gently until it was
well mixed in. Then it was time to shake another bit of flour
and on and on it went.
When the mixture started to get a little thick she added a
half a cup of milk, and we continued to add flour and stir,
but this time she told me to watch out for little bubbles in
the potatoes because that told her that there was enough
flour in it. Sure enough after a while I could see little
bubbles, and when I told her, she put the pan onto the hob
with a spoonful of butter and told me to put in another little
handful of flour just to thicken it up a bit.
It was now right to pour slowly onto the pan. She poured a
spoonful in and tapped the middle to make it round and even
and about a quarter of an inch thick, then three more in
quick succession. When the four cakes were flattened, she
took the pan off the fire and told me to 'Keep stirring or
they'll go black like Famine spuds'. Then she put the pan
back on the heat, added another bit of butter, and turned
the boxty over.
This sealed the boxty when it went onto the pan, then she
took it off the heat and let them cook more slowly. After
about a minute she took each cake off when they were
getting brown, and piled them onto a plate in the oven, and
there, the boxty reached maturity.
I remember her telling me to always make a few more than was
needed, because a poor 'Bacach', (beggar), might call,
that's why we call it 'Bacach's Tea' ........Boxty.
In July, a 'Cara' penpal in South Africa asked me for the
recipe, and in the same week I was telling my neighbours'
children about this old Leitrim dish, and they asked me for
the recipe too. I couldn't give them a recipe, because I
never had one. So I made a pile of boxty exactly as my
Grandmother showed me, and they watched and stirred, as I
did 42 years ago, and as my Gran did 122 years ago, and now
I pass it on to the next generation.
I hope that this little story will be a recipe for you.
p.s. Boxty can be eaten with a bit of butter and salt, or
with some sugar or honey. For a clinical attempt at making
boxty, try : 500g Potatoes, 200g plain flour, 100ml Milk,
and don´t forget the pinch of salt!
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DEBBIE'S TRIP TO IRELAND by Debbie Leer
Well, I've arrived back home safe and sound from my trip to
Ireland. What a great time I had! I couldn't believe how
long it took to get there - it's major jet lag going East.
I spent almost the first three days in bed!
We took off around 9:00 p.m. and arrived in Shannon at 9:00
a.m. - the flight was six hours and we gained another six
hours. Shannon was only about 1.5 hours south of where we
wanted to go - Westport (on the west coast). Ireland isn't
known for a great infrastructure when it comes to
transportation. So, in order for us to get to Westport,
we had to fly to Dublin and then take a train across the
entire country - that was about 5.5 hours. Even though it
was a round about way to get there, it was worth the ride
as it was a beautiful countryside!
Arriving in Westport we had a wonderful dinner in the hotel
restaurant. By then, we woke up and decided it was
appropriate to check out our first pub. Westport is a
wonderful town. We walked to the downtown area which was
only about three blocks away. I think the most dangerous
thing about all of it was watching for the traffic. They
drive on the left side which makes a huge difference when
you're trying to cross streets. They even walk on the left
side of the sidewalk! Needless to say, it took me a while to
adjust - luckily I didn't get hit by any cars, but I think a
ran into a few people along the way - ha!
We went to the infamous Matt Malloy's Bar for our first
Guinness of Ireland. What a fun place! We immediately got to
talking to some of the locals and told them we had seen Matt
Malloy (who is a famous flautist) in concert at the
Minneapolis Orchestra Hall in February of this year. They
told us he was in the front area of the bar and we should go
over and tell him our story. We were hesitant at first as we
didn't want to bother the guy, but decided to go ahead and
chat with him. What a nice guy. He was happy we told our
story and even agreed to have his picture taken with us. He
was so friendly and put his arms around us! That was our
first impression of the Irish. They are a very warm and
friendly people and we learned later they just love
From Westport we were off to Dublin by train again. In fact,
we rode with a fella we had met the night before at one of
the local pubs. We had a wonderful conversation and learned
a lot about Ireland from him. Once we got into Dublin and
found our way to our hotel we were excited to explore a
whole new place and what a different place it was from
Westport! Our hotel was in a popular section of the city
called the Temple Bar area. Our original room was so small
we couldn't even open our luggage. Fortunately, they had
another room available which worked well but it was on the
fourth floor and there wasn't an elevator. We found the hike
upstairs to be our daily exercise.
We spent the next few days checking out various landmarks
including the Book of Kells at Trinity College and, of
course, the Guinness Brewery. We also found our way to
wonderful eateries and, of course, pubs. I started keeping
a list of pub names, but lost count after about 15 or so!
We discovered the weekend we were leaving was the belated
St. Patrick's Day weekend celebration. Since they had so
many worries about the foot and mouth disease, the country
postponed St. Patrick's Day until the weekend we were
leaving. We were able to celebrate Friday night with them,
however. We saw a parade and floats in the river. And, of
course, we spent our last night in a few pubs. The last one,
however, was a very Irish pub. They played Irish music all
night and folks were dancing the Irish jigs, swinging their
beers with the music, etc. It was like one giant party and
everyone celebrated all together. It was a lot fun.
Considering we stayed out a bit later than we had expected
that evening, we didn't welcome our early flight back to the
states. I was feeling a bit green that morning. Appropriate
for being in Ireland, wouldn't you think?
So we had just a wonderful, LOVELY, trip. I point out the
word lovely because everything to the Irish was 'lovely'. I
miss those people and feel like I know them. I hope to go
back again someday and explore more of this beautiful and
God bless the Irish!
IRISH QUOTATIONS OF THE MONTH
A lament in one ear, maybe,
but always a song in the other.
And to me life is simply an
invitation to live
Sean O'Casey, 'Eileen', 1976
We are all in the gutter,
but some of us are looking at the stars
Oscar Wilde, 'Lady Windemere's Fan', 1892
The worst sin towards our fellow
creatures is not to hate them,
but to be indifferent to them:
that's the essence of inhumanity
George Bernard Shaw, The Devil's Disciple, 1901
GAELIC PHRASES OF THE MONTH
PHRASE: An bhfuil Gaelige/Bearla agat?
PRONOUNCED: On will gale-geh/bear-lah ah-gut?
MEANING: Do you speak Irish/English?
PHRASE: An dtuigeann tú?
PRONOUNCED: On digg/inn two
MEANING: Do you understand?
PHRASE: Tuigim/Ni thuigim
PRONOUNCED: tigg-im/knee higg-im
MEANING: I understand/I don't understand
View the archive of phrases here:
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