Monday, 29 October 2012

JOHN GRENHAM TODAY





Suggested bedtime reading.
Clara Hoyne
Clare Roots Society Secretary

Note: Clara must have a very strong bed, this is a huge volume... ;-)






Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Some Irish Halloween Traditions .....

.....from ireland-information Newsletter

 A selection only, for the whole newsletter, go to the URL below and you can subscribe...

    Ireland Newsletter

    =============
    IN THIS ISSUE
    =============

    === News Snaps from Ireland
    === New Free Resources at the Site
    === Play The Irish Lotto
    === Farmleigh House, Dublin
    === The Book of Kells, Trinity College
    === Irish Halloween Traditions
    === The Ghost Story by Pat Watson
    === Bram Stoker: Irish Creator of Dracula
    === YouTube Videos of Irish Interest
    === Monthly Free Competition Result


    ==========================
    IRISH HALLOWEEN TRADITIONS
    ==========================


    The Celts celebrated Halloween as Samhain, 'All
    Hallowtide' - the 'Feast of the Dead', when the
    dead revisited the mortal world. The celebration
    marked the end of Summer and the start of the
    Winter months.

    During the eighth century the Catholic Church
    designated the first day of November as 'All
    Saints Day' ('All Hallows') - a day of
    commemoration for those Saints that did not have
    a specific day of remembrance. The night before
    was known as 'All Hallows Eve' which, over time,
    became known as Halloween.

    Here are the most notable Irish Halloween
    Traditions:

    Colcannon for Dinner: Boiled Potato, Curly Kale
    (a cabbage) and raw Onions are provided as the
    traditional Irish Halloween dinner. Clean coins
    are wrapped in baking paper and placed in the
    potato for children to find and keep.

    The Barnbrack Cake: The traditional Halloween
    cake in Ireland is the barnbrack which is a
    fruit bread. Each member of the family gets a
    slice. Great interest is taken in the outcome as
    there is a piece of rag, a coin and a ring in
    each cake. If you get the rag then your financial
    future is doubtful. If you get the coin then you
    can look forward to a prosperous year. Getting
    the ring is a sure sign of impending romance
    or continued happiness.

    The Ivy Leaf: Each member of the family places a
    perfect ivy leaf into a cup of water and it is
    then left undisturbed overnight. If, in the
    morning, a leaf is still perfect and has not
    developed any spots then the person who placed the
    leaf in the cup can be sure of 12 months health
    until the following Halloween. If not.....

    The Pumpkin: Carving Pumpkins dates back to the
    eighteenth century and to an Irish blacksmith
    named Jack who colluded with the Devil and was
    denied entry to Heaven. He was condemned to
    wander the earth but asked the Devil for some
    light. He was given a burning coal ember which he
    placed inside a turnip that he had gouged out.

    Thus, the tradition of Jack O'Lanterns was born
    - the bearer being the wandering blacksmith - a
    damned soul. Villagers in Ireland hoped that the
    lantern in their window would keep the wanderer
    away. When the Irish emigrated in their millions
    to America there was not a great supply of turnips
    so pumpkins were used instead.

    Halloween Costumes: On Halloween night children
    would dress up in scary costumes and go house to
    house. 'Help the Halloween Party' and 'Trick or
    Treat' were the cries to be heard at each door.
    This tradition of wearing costumes also dates back
    to Celtic times. On the special night when the
    living and the dead were at their closest the
    Celtic Druids would dress up in elaborate costumes
    to disguise themselves as spirits and devils in
    case they encountered other devils and spirits
    during the night. By disguising they hoped that
    they would be able to avoid being carried away at
    the end of the night. This explains why witches,
    goblins and ghosts remain the most popular
    choices for the costumes.

    Snap Apple: After the visits to the neighbours the
    Halloween games begin, the most popular of which
    is Snap Apple. An apple is suspended from a string
    and children are blindfolded. The first child to
    get a decent bite of the apple gets to keep their
    prize. The same game can be played by placing
    apples in a basin of water and trying to get a
    grip on the apple without too much mess!

    The Bonfire: The Halloween bonfire is a tradition
    to encourage dreams of who your future husband or
    wife is going to be. The idea was to drop a
    cutting of your hair into the burning embers and
    then dream of you future loved one. Halloween was
    one of the Celt 'fire' celebrations.

    Blind Date: Blindfolded local girls would go out
    into the fields and pull up the first cabbage they
    could find. If their cabbage had a substantial
    amount of earth attached to the roots then their
    future loved one would have money. Eating the
    cabbage would reveal the nature of their future
    husband - bitter or sweet!

    Another way of finding your future spouse is to
    peel an apple in one go. If done successfully the
    single apple peel could be dropped on the floor
    to reveal the initials of the future-intended.

    Anti-Fairy Measures: Fairies and goblins try to
    collect as many souls as they can at Halloween but
    if they met a person who threw the dust from under
    their feet at the Fairy then they would be obliged
    to release any souls that they held captive.

    Holy water was sometimes anointed on farm animals
    to keep them safe during the night. If the animals
    were showing signs of ill health on All Hallows
    Eve then they would be spat on to try to ward off
    any evil spirits.

    Happy Halloween from Ireland!




    ============================
    'THE GHOST STORY' by Pat Watson
    ============================


    It was a frosty night in January in the year of
    Our Lord nineteen hundred and nine. Bill was the
    church caretaker in this half parish. The priest
    only rode his horse out here on Sunday to read
    Mass or for funerals. This was one such day as
    this evening the remains of old Granny Smith had
    come to the chapel. Coffins were left in the back
    of the chapel overnight. He had locked the church
    earlier at ten and had only come out to look at
    the cows before going to bed. It was just after
    midnight. Was that a noise he heard in the church?

    It couldn't possibly be as he had barred the
    double doors on the inside before exiting through
    the sacristy door, which he locked with the key.
    Why he still had it in his pocket. Just the same,
    it was only twenty yards to the double doors, he
    would have a look. Halfway there he felt a bit
    eerie so he called out.

    'Is there anyone there?' The only reply he got
    was a creaking door. As he moved into the shadow
    he could see that one of the double doors was
    half open. What the hell? He stopped in his
    tracks. He peeped in the door, he could not see,
    he pushed in the door a bit farther. He looked
    over to where the coffin was left on trestles.
    Good God! The old woman was sitting up in the
    coffin. He could see her by the moonlight that
    came through the stained glass windows. He
    could feel his hair stand on end. She had her
    head on the end of the coffin with her two arms
    hanging over the sides. The lid of the coffin
    was standing up against a pillar.

    'Did that lid move?' He thought it did.
    'Don't be daft he told himself, coffin lids
    don't move on their own accord. There, it moved
    again, it had feet, little bare feet.' He looked
    back to the coffin. It had legs, two bare legs.
    Had the old woman put her legs down through the
    bottom of the coffin? The legs had a white shroud
    dangling to the knees. Bill was rooted to the
    spot. Sheer terror froze him. Then a white cowl
    appeared over the edge of the coffin. He felt
    its eyes peering.

    A great unearthly shriek emanated from the cowl.
    It sounded like r-u-n-f-o-r y-o-u-r l-i-f-e. So
    screaming, the white ghost emerged from behind
    the coffin and headed straight for Bill at the
    open door. A black ghost who came from behind
    the lid chased him. Bill collapsed into the back
    seat just in time to avoid been trampled on by
    the screaming ghosts. They went through the
    opening like bats out of hell. Had he really
    collapsed? Or did they run through him? He just
    didn't know any more. He was glad that the
    shrieks were receding into the distance. He
    hoped he had seen the last of them. His hair
    was still on end. It had probably turned white.

    A few people who lived near the road thought
    they heard screaming, but they could not be
    sure. Some thought they dreamt it. Not so
    John and Stephen who were coming home with a
    good few pints on them. They saw the ghosts
    all right. They passed them on the road at
    great speed. Their shrieks had subsided by
    then. They disappeared after crossing the dragon
    stream, near old Granny Smith's house. (John
    spent the rest of his life, which wasn't very
    long, mumbling in a drunken haze. Stephen on the
    other hand took the pledge the very next day and
    never drank again for the remaining thirty years
    of his life. Indeed, it was rumoured that he
    confided to his good wife that he saw the devil
    chasing his soul across the dragon stream and
    that he promised God that if he gave him another
    chance, he would never drink again.)

    Meanwhile back at the church, Bill sat in a
    trauma trance, silently invoking God, His
    Blessed Mother and every saint in creation.
    Eventually, his heart slipped back out of his
    mouth and began to beat normally, his hair lay
    down again and the sweat all over his body began
    to cool. Some of his reason returned. The small
    stipend he received as church caretaker made the
    difference between him being a poor small farmer
    and a very poor small farmer. His 'gossans'
    were serving Mass and doing well at school. He
    might even make a priest out of one of them yet.
    That would give him real stature in the parish.
    Fear or no fear, he had to keep his job and that
    meant keeping the church locked and corpses in
    their coffins. He got up, his knees were shaking,
    his hands were shaking, yet he closed the double
    oak doors, the handles of which were u-shaped
    made to line up with similar u-shapes on the
    frames when the doors were closed. Into those
    slots he dropped the six by three polished oak
    plank that was made for the purpose. This made
    the whole thing rock solid. Hopefully it would
    keep out the ghosts if they returned.

    He then went to the coffin, put back the arm on
    the right, walked round, put back the other arm,
    then down to the foot where he caught the two
    ankles and pulled the old woman back into the
    coffin. Her head bounced off the bottom with a
    thud, no lining in the coffins of the poor, not
    even a fist full of sawdust. He then rearranged
    her habit just for decency. He peered behind the
    lid, just in case, then picked it up and put it
    on the coffin. The wooden dowels for holding it
    on were under the trestles; he put them in
    position, pulled off one boot to tap them home.
    He replaced the boot, now for the walk up the
    full length of the church to the sacristy.

    He could not look both sides at once and ghosts
    might emerge from the shadows of the seats at
    any time. The red sanctuary lamp looked down,
    its dull light mingling with the dim moonlight
    making the whole scene eerie, unreal, ghostly
    even.

    He could hear his own breathing, his heart was
    pounding again, the sound of his own footsteps
    unnerved him, but finally he reached the sacristy.
    He rushed in, unlocked the outer door, dashed out
    and locked the door behind him. He had done his
    duty. He would keep his job. Nobody would ever
    know what happened here.

    Having broken the ice on the barrel under the
    eve, he washed death from his hands, wiped them
    in his trousers and tiptoed back into his house.
    Everybody was still asleep. He had not been
    missed. As he crept into bed beside his sleeping
    wife his courage and reason returned. Why had the
    ghosts left the dowels under the trestles? Had
    they intended to replace the lid? If so, why?
    Why were they so small? Perhaps they were not
    ghosts at all. The Granny had only been rescued
    from the poor house because of the new
    five-shilling old age pension. By the time they
    had brought her home ten miles on the ass's cart
    she had the rattles in her throat. She died the
    next day. One five-shilling pension was all they
    got. It wouldn't half pay for the drink at the
    wake. And another thing! He had heard that the
    she was laid out on a linen sheet on the kitchen
    table. No one belonging to them ever owned a
    linen sheet, no, nor even a flour bag sheet.
    That's where unrestrained young love led to,
    poverty and want. Where would they have got the
    sheet? Where! Only on loan from their cousin who
    worked in the big house? It would have to be
    returned even if through drink or pride the
    undertaker was allowed to put it in the coffin
    with the old woman. If two grandchildren hid in
    the church wrapped in granny's black shawl they
    could remove the sheet when everyone was in bed.
    If they were disturbed in their weird work,
    might they not have wrapped themselves in the
    sheet and the shawl and run screaming from the
    scene? Had he solved the puzzle? He would
    confront the children after the funeral tomorrow
    and confirm his suspicions. Until he had talked
    to the children he would not mention any of this
    to a soul. He had a long wait. He would never
    be sure.

    The children weren't at the funeral, sick,
    someone said. He supposed they got cold in the
    church, he would see them at Mass on Sunday.
    They didn't come, still sick? He never saw them
    again. Consumption took them with the blooming
    of the daffodils, only twelve hours apart. They
    were buried together beside the Granny.

    'Maybe it was ghosts that night after all. Maybe
    it was the children. Maybe, just maybe they
    should have let the dead rest? Maybe just maybe
    we should do the same?'

    May they all stay resting in peace!



    'The Ghost Story' is one of sixty lyrical yarns from
    'Original Irish Stories' by Pat Watson,
    Creagh, Bealnamulla, Athlone, Ireland.
    First published in May 2006.
    Visit: http://www.myirishstories.com
    or you can email the author here:
    pjwatson@utvinternet.com



Monday, 22 October 2012

CENSUS SHINES LIGHT ON IRISH AUSTRALIA


We, as family historians, genealogists or researchers, place great value on censuses... 
it is interesting to realise that yet again, Australia is enjoying a large influx of Irish citizens 
immigrating to Australia or at least coming here on working visas. My own Irish connection 
began in 1792, when Bridget Heslin/Eslin from Dublin, was a given a free journey on 
the "Sugar Cane. She was my 5th great grandmother.

In the early 1900's, more of my ancestors, two great uncles, a great aunt and my maternal 
grandmother, made their way to Australia. Only one of my great uncles stayed, the other 
returned home to run the family farm in Co Clare. Sadly the one who stayed, had no choice... 
he was killed while tree felling and unbeknowns to me at the time, was buried less than
30 kms from where I grew up.

Again, less than two years ago, the grandson of my great uncle who had returned to Ireland,
came to Australia in the hope of starting a new life.


Future generations will still be claiming Irish ancestry as so many of us do today. 
The Irish Echo summarises it very well....


Census shines light on Irish Australia


The census has revealed Irish ancestral links in Australia and the country's growing 
Irish-born population.

The 2011 census figures offer a fascinating insight into this country's rich 
and diverse composition and shows that the Irish are here in ever
increasing numbers.

With figures provided exclusively to this newspaper by the Australian 
Bureau of Statistics (ABS), we have learned that there were almost 90,000 
people born in the Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland in Australian 
on census night, August 9, 2011.

There were substantially more people born in the Republic of Ireland in 
Australia for the 2011 census than its 2006 predecessor.

Some 67,316 people listed the Republic of Ireland as their country of birth, 
up from 50,260 in the 2006 census, marking a rise of 33 per cent in the 
Irish-born population.

Of the 67,36 people from the Republic of Ireland recorded in Australia on 
census night, 36,231 males were recorded as opposed to 31,085 females.
The Celtic Tiger ended during the period between the two most recent 
censuses, while the Australian economy weathered the global financial 
crisis better than almost every other developed nation.

It is little surprise that this boom and bust dichotomy continues to lure 
Irish people to Australia.

The ABS also provided figures on the number of people born in Northern 
Ireland who filled out a 2011 census return, offering a rare insight into the 
numbers and make-up of people from this part of the island of Ireland 
who come to Australia.

Generally, these figures are included within the data for the United 
Kingdom. The extraction of the Northern Irish data offers some nuance. 
A total of 22,595 residents in Australia listed Northern Ireland as their 
country of birth.

The gender split was roughly even, with 11,071 women and 11,524 men. 
Intriguingly, the census reveals that the Northern Irish-born resident of 
Australia have a slightly higher median age (57) than those born in the 
Republic of Ireland (43). It is a statistical nugget that shows we are only 
scratching the surface – one that suggests more people of certain 
generations left their homes in different age clusters.

There is a good thesis in this, for anyone who can extract more from the 
data fields of the ABS. The ancestry question once again provided 
interesting results.

However, questions still linger over its phrasing and reach.
Paul Lowe, head of the population census programme, told the Irish 
Echo prior to census night that ABS consulted with various migrant groups
before phrasing questions 14, 15 and 18.

He also acknowledged that there was increasing pressure for the ABS to 
expand the question on where people's parents were born. Not doing so 
would be an opportunity lost.

That a person can now list their ancestry as 'Australian' is particularly 
perplexing, given that Australia – as it was dubbed when colonized – 
did not exist 250 years ago.


To read more, please go to....


JOHN GRENHAM ... always says what he thinks...






 This was John Grenham's comment below, Clara asks the question...Does genealogy make you a better person?

Clara Hoyne
Clare Roots Society Secretary  

My question is... what do you think? How do those around you perceive what you do?


Please click on image to enlarge...



Wednesday, 17 October 2012

VIEW 1.4 BILLION RECORDS FOR FREE

Great to see this in my mailbox this morning...I already have a World sub through USA, but will love seeing if there is any difference in the records...
You do have to sign in or register, but this is genuine...

View 1.4 billion records for free
imps


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Monday, 15 October 2012

NEW IN THE IGP ARCHIVES SEPTEMBER 15 - OCTOBER 15TH

Larger file sets From September 15 - October 15th.
New in Ireland Genealogy Projects from September 15th - October 15th

ARMAGH Genealogy Archives - Military & Constabulary
1847 Royal Irish Constabulary men
www.igp-web.com/IGPArchives/ire/armagh/military.htm

CORK Genealogy Archives
1847 Royal Irish Constabulary men
www.igp-web.com/IGPArchives/ire/cork/military.htm

CLARE Genealogy Archives - Memorial Cards
Additional Cards added
www.igp-web.com/IGPArchives/ire/clare/memorials.htm

CARLOW Genealogy Archives - Military & Constabulary
1847 Royal Irish Constabulary men
www.igp-web.com/IGPArchives/ire/carlow/military.htm

DONEGAL Genealogy Archives - Military & Constabulary
1847 Royal Irish Constabulary men
www.igp-web.com/IGPArchives/ire/donegal/military.htm

DUBLIN Genealogy Archives - Headstones
Deansgrange Cemetery, South Section Part 3
http://www.igp-web.com/IGPArchives/ire/dublin/photos/tombstones/deansgrange-ndx.htm

FERMANAGH Genealogy Archives - Military & Constabulary
1847 Royal Irish Constabulary men
www.igp-web.com/IGPArchives/ire/fermanagh/military.htm

KILDARE Genealogy Archives - Military & Constabulary
1847 Royal Irish Constabulary men
www.igp-web.com/IGPArchives/ire/kildare/military.htm

KERRY Genealogy Archives - Military & Constabulary
1847 Royal Irish Constabulary men
www.igp-web.com/IGPArchives/ire/kerry/military.htm

KILKENNY Genealogy Archives - Military & Constabulary
1847 Royal Irish Constabulary men
www.igp-web.com/IGPArchives/ire/kilkenny/military.htm

LIMERICK Genealogy Archives - Miscellaneous
Electors and Voters polled, Limerick 1836
www.igp-web.com/IGPArchives/ire/limerick/misc.htm

LONDONDERRY Genealogy Archives Military & Constabulary
1847 Royal Irish Constabulary men
www.igp-web.com/IGPArchives/ire/derry/military.htm

OFFALY (KINGS) Genealogy Archives - Military & Constabulary
1847 Royal Irish Constabulary men
www.igp-web.com/IGPArchives/ire/offaly/military.htm

ROSCOMMON Genealogy Archives - Headstones
Killukin Cemetery
Kilmore; Kilmore Graveyard
www.igp-web.com/IGPArchives/ire/roscommon/photos/tombstones/markers.htm

TYRONE Genealogy Archives - Military & Constabulary
1847 Royal Irish Constabulary men
www.igp-web.com/IGPArchives/ire/tyrone/military.htm

WEXFORD Genealogy Archives Wexford - Miscellaneous
Electors and Voters polled, Wexford 1832-1835
www.igp-web.com/IGPArchives/ire/wexford/misc.htm

-- Thanks to
Christina
http://www.igp-web.com/IGPArchives/
===============================

JOHN GRENHAM ... saying it like it is....





John Grenham today trying to make sense of some online Irish records.
courtesy of Clara Hoyne, CRS


Monday, 8 October 2012

JOHN GRENHAM.." Genealogy! Irish-America! Mega-bucks!"

Have to agree with Clara...


"Yes definitely, John Grenham brightens up a dull day!"
Clara Hoyne
Clare Roots Society Secretary










Please click on image to enlarge...

Sunday, 7 October 2012

THIS HAPPENED IN IRELAND ........ September 2012

For those of you who don't get this newsletter, I thought you might find the following of interest...



Subject: -This happened in Ireland this month........ September 2012

Ireland Newsletter - Dermot MacMurrough and Strongbow"



    ==========================================
    IRELAND'S MOST POPULAR TOURIST ATTRACTIONS
    ==========================================


    FREE ATTRACTION #4: IRISH MUSEUM OF MODERN ART, DUBLIN

    The Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) is located in the Royal Hospital in Kilmainham. The Museum is located near to Heuston Station and a short walk from the Luas (light railway tram) station at Heuston. There are plenty of buses travelling the quays as the Museum is located quite near to the River Liffey and is about a 10 to 15 minute drive. Although the Museum is quite near to the city centre it is not recommended that visitors walk to the site.

    The focus of the museum is to acquire contemporary artwork by living artists while maintaining a collection of art dating from the 1940s onwards. The Royal Hospital in Kilmainham is a formidable and impressive location and although a bit off the beaten track it is well worth a visit with its fine courtyard, noble facades and a restored baroque garden and chapel. There is an extensive exhibition program run by the museum with a cafe and bookshop located in the vaults. You can take an online tour of the Gallery at their website at: http://www.imma.ie/en/subnav_115.htm

    If modern art is your passion then the IMMA is sure to intrigue you. A day out to the Museum could be followed up with a visit to nearby Kilmainham Jail which is a short walk from the Museum.

    FEE-PAYING ATTRACTION #4: THE CLIFFS OF MOHER, CLARE

    The Cliffs of Moher are one of Ireland's most renowned tourist attractions. They offer stunning views out into the Atlantic Ocean and are 214 Metres high at the highest point. Located in County Clare in the western part of Ireland the site boasts a new 'Atlantic Edge' exhibition in the fine modern Visitor Centre.

    This is a great part of the country for self-driving although you can also take guided bus tours of which there are plenty. A fine day out might include a visit to the Cliffs in the morning and then into the depths of Ailwee Cave in the afternoon. Wrap up well - it can get very cold and, being Ireland, it can rain at any moment - any time and any place!

    You can take the online tour here: http://www.cliffsofmoher.ie/TakeTheTour.aspx



    KEEP THIS NEWSLETTER ALIVE!
    Solve your gift problem at: http://www.irishnation.com


    Click here for the perfect wedding gift Click here to display your Irish Roots Great Irish signs for your house or office



    ==================
    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 Saint Patrick.

    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 earlier.

    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 of Patrickus...

    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 adventure trips and guided tours in Counties Kerry ang Galway: http://www.outdoorsireland.com



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    =======================
    A DREAM TRIP TO PARADISE
    =======================

    For many years I have been wanting to get to Ireland. My family is not Irish, my native language is not English and the traditions in my country are different from the Irish. Nevertheless, I have been so attracted to the 'green island' that I learned something of its history, traditions and tales, have enjoyed the music and dancing, and even have learnt and read great Irish poets and writers, the best in the English language I would say.

    After finishing my English Degree, I went into the Yeats Summer School in Sligo. One reason was to learn more about this amazing poet, but the most important reason was to finally meet Ireland in person.

    I arrived in Dublin at the end of July and had little chance to go around the city centre, since I had to register at the Yeats Society two days later. Fortunately I booked a central hotel in order to have more time to go around. The O'Connell Street is amazingly wide! It is a very busy street and with so much history on it. The river and the bridges give a romantic site to this modern and at the same time traditional city. When getting to the Trinity College, wow! it is like being in a different town, in a different world! You would really love to study there! Beautiful old buildings, full of history, culture and art. I went to the Gallery, the Writers Museum, but there were many other places I did not have the chance to see for lack of time.

    One day later I was taking the train towards Sligo, crossing the whole island to the northwest. This is, I believe, a very good choice in order to get to know the country sights, the way people in the different counties live. You can see lots of cows, sheep, and horses. Beautiful farms and lots, lots of green, green everywhere!

    Sligo is a small beautiful town, the people there are very proud of the Yeats' inheritance. Most of them have something to tell you about William Butler Yeats, about the places he lived at and wrote about in not few of his poems. They are always willing to help you find the right spot for a photograph, or the right place to learn more of the town and the surroundings.

    Knocknarea and Ben Bulben are huge mountains that seem to be keeping this little town, protecting it from the strong winds and the Atlantic Ocean. Although very tall, they can be climbed, and it is worth doing because when arriving at their top, the gift of having the chance to appreciate all the wonderful land below is priceless.

    Carrowmore megalitic cemetery and the other megalitic centres have a tight relation with Knocknarea which has a large tomb at the top. They all are geometrically connected for some reason the archaeologists still cannot figure out.

    Under Ben Bulben (as the title in the poem), at Drumcliff, lies the Yeats' grave, and one of the most ancient Celtic crosses on the island. This beautiful land is full of lakes, rivers, streams, falls and wells.

    Lough Gill with its tiny islands, like Innisfree, is just a few minutes drive from town. The Garavogue river passes across the town and you can find lots of beautiful swans peacefully swimming in its waters. Glenndale Falls make you feel like being in a fairy tale, as much as the Holy Well, where any religion or kind of faith can be worshiped, after all, it's nature of the one who hold us all and protects us.

    There are so many things to do and visit in the western coast of Ireland you would need months to really get to know it, appreciate it, and breathe it in all its splendor.

    I am very proud to have accomplished my dream of going to this beautiful country, my version of paradise.

    Olivia Mendez
    Mexico City, Mexico



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    =================================================
    DERMOT AND STRONGBOW, AND THE INVASION OF IRELAND

    =================================================

    Dermot MacMurrough was the King of Leinster during the twelfth century and is most remembered as the man who invited the English into Ireland.

    He was born circa 1100 and succeeded to the throne of his father, Enna, in 1126. He was a ruthless leader and demonstrated the ferocity of the times by killing or blinding 17 rivals in 1141. He became involved in a dispute with the King of Breffney, Tiernan O'Ruark, whose wife he kidnapped in 1153. O'Ruark formed an alliance with Rory O'Connor who was the recognised High King of Ireland at the time. In 1166 this long-running and bitter feud resulted in MacMurrough being driven into exile by the Gaelic Chieftains. He fled to France.

    Dermot MacMurrough was a deeply ambitious man who refused to accept his exile. He made his way to the Court of Henry II of England and offered to become a vassal to the King in return for military aid in retaking his kingdom. The king did not directly provide assistance but allowed MacMurrough to petition the Anglo-Norman lords. It was at this time that the Earl of Pembroke, Richard de Clare, later known as 'Strongbow', agreed to lead an army to Ireland. MacMurrough brought an advance party of adventurers back to Ireland in 1167, recaptured Wexford, and waited for Strongbow to arrive.

    From his base in Wales Strongbow launched an offensive in 1170, capturing Waterford and Dublin, taking control of the East coast, much to the dismay of the Gaelic Chieftains and O'Connor. To cement the alliance, MacMurrough married his daughter Aoife to Strongbow, in Christchurch Cathedral in Dublin 1170.

    The Irish Chieftains did not allow the invaders to settle however and they were continually attacked and harassed. At one stage it seemed likely that they would be driven from the country if it were not for the support given by Henry II, who had become concerned with the amount of power and influence that Strongbow was amassing across the Irish sea. It is speculated that Henry II feared that Ireland might be used as a base by the Saxons to launch an offensive back into England in the wake of their defeat at Hastings in 1066. The subsequent domination of South Wales by the Normans was a result of the need to keep supply lines into Eastern Ireland open.

    Dermot MacMurrough died in 1170 leaving Strongbow to declare himself King of Leinster. His later support for Henry II in France led to his being named Governor of Ireland. He died in 1176 suffering an infection during a raid by Irish rebels.

    Much of Ireland was still under local influence and it only was the East coast, known as 'the Pale', that remained in Norman control. Henry granted these lands to his son 'Jean Sans-terre' (or John Lackland) in 1185 creating the 'Lordship of Ireland'. It seemed likely that Ireland would remain a minor Kingdom except that fate intervened. The death of his elder brothers allowed Jean Sans-terre to succeed to the English throne, becoming King John of England and the Pale becoming part of English dominated territories.

    Demot MacMurrough has for centuries been blamed as the man who caused, or at least facilitated the invasion and subsequent subjugation of Ireland by outsiders. Recent revision of this history however, have been less critical of his actions.

    It is likely that the island would have eventually been dominated by its larger neighbour even without Dermot MacMurroughs prompting. The unwillingness of the Gaelic Chiefs to form a Kingship with defined rights of succession certainly made invasion and domination easier. It was also not uncommon of the times for Gaelic Chiefs to seek help from foreigners in combatting their local enemies.

    Despite this more generous interpretation of his actions, it will always be Dermot MacMurroughs lust for power, bringing the English into Ireland, for which he will be most remembered.

    ==============================
    YOUTUBE VIDEOS OF IRISH INTEREST
    ==============================


    You can view our archive of Videos of Irish interest here:
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    The Cliffs of Moher, County Clare


    The Marriage of Strongbow & Aoife: The Famous Painting


    Europe wins the Ryder Cup, 2012



    ===========================
    GAELIC PHRASES OF THE MONTH
    ===========================


    PHRASE: Ta suil agam go bhfuil tu i mbarr na slainte
    PRONOUNCED: taw su-ill ah-gum guh will tu ih marr nah slawn-che
    MEANING: I hope you are in the best of health

    PHRASE: Ni raibh am agam scriobh go dti seo
    PRONOUNCED: knee rouh omm ah-gum skreevh guh dee shuh
    MEANING: I hadn't time to write until now

    PHRASE: Scriobh chugam go luath
    PRONOUNCED: skreevh coo-gum guh lu-ah
    MEANING: write to me soon

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