Wednesday, 28 March 2012


Excerpts from the Ireland- Information Newsletter...

 For the full version, please go to

    The 'Leabhar Gabhala' or 'book of invasions' is a manuscript that records the ancient history of Ireland. It was written in the eleventh century and gives a vital account of the invasion by the Gaels, the 'Sons of Mil', the Milesians.

    The story of the Milesians begins in Scythia in the very south-eastern part of Europe in the millennium before Christ. These were a nomadic people famed for their prowess with horses. They were ruled by King Fenius who had a grandson named Gaedhuil, or 'green gael'. Having been bitten by a snake the boy was taken by his father to Moses, who cured him with his staff.

    Moses told the boy that he would travel to a land without snakes, an island to the west, where his descendants would remain.

    The boy travelled throughout Europe and settled in Spain where he was known as Milesius and became King. His brother, Ith, discovered the island that Moses had told him about, but was killed by the Tuatha de Danaan, the people of the Goddess Danu. By this time Milesius had also died but his wife, Scota, and his sons, swore vengeance on the Tuatha de Danaan and set off for Ireland. Victory was theirs despite Scota being a casualty of the war. The sons of Milesius, Eber and Eremon, became rulers of Ireland, the land without snakes. The two rulers divided the country between them with Eber ruling the North and Eremon the South. Needless to say, the peace of the land was short-lived with a battle ensuing to claim the hill of Tara. Eremon prevailed, and became King of Ireland.

    Academic scholars are unsure of when exactly the Milesian invasion occurred. Some estimate it at 1000 bc, others as early as 3500 bc. Despite the difficulty with verifying traditions and legends there is good evidence to prove the existence of the Milesians as a Celtic race of people. The descendants of the Milesians include 'Niall of the Nine Hostages' (from whom all O'Neills are descended), Conn of the Hundred Battles, and Ugani Mor. It is based on this pedigree that the Milesians are regarded as the true fathers of the Irish people.

    by David Carey

    1. Dublin's O'Connell Bridge was originally made of rope and could only carry one man and a donkey at a time. It was replaced with a wooden structure in 1801. The current concrete bridge was built in 1863 and was first called 'Carlisle Bridge'.

    2. O'Connell Bridge is the only traffic bridge in Europe which is wider than it is long and Dublin's second O'Connell Bridge is across the pond in St. Stephen's Green.

    3. Dublin Corporation planted 43,765 deciduous trees in the Greater Dublin area in 1998.

    4. Dublin's oldest workhouse closed its doors for the last time in July 1969. Based in Smithfield, the premises housed 10,037 orphan children during the one hundred and seventy years it operated.

    5. Dublin was originally called 'Dubh Linn' meaning 'Black Pool'. The pool to which the name referred is the oldest known natural treacle lake in Northern Europe and currently forms the centrepiece of the penguin enclosure in Dublin Zoo.

    6. None of the so-called Dublin Mountains are high enough to meet the criteria required to claim mountain status. The Sugarloaf is the tallest 'Dublin Mountain' yet measures a mere 1389 feet above sea level.

    7. The headquarters of the national television broadcaster, RTE, in Montrose, was originally built for use as an abattoir.

    8. Dublin's oldest traffic lights are situated beside the Renault garage in Clontarf. The lights, which are still in full working order, were installed in 1893 outside the home of Fergus Mitchell who was the owner of the first car in Ireland.

    9. The Temple Bar area is so called because it housed the first Jewish temple built in Ireland. The word 'bar' refers to the refusal of Catholics to allow the Jewish community to enter any of the adjoining commercial premises.

    10. Tiny Coliemore Harbour beside the Dalkey Island Hotel was the main harbour for Dublin from the fifteenth to the seventeenth century.

    11. Dublin is the IT Call Centre capital of Europe with over 100,000 people employed in the industry.

    12. In 1761 a family of itinerants from Navan were refused entry to Dublin. The family settled on the outskirts of the city and created the town of Rush. Two hundred and fifty years later, a large percentage of the population of Rush can still trace their roots back to this one family.

    13. Dubliners drink a total of 9800 pints an hour between the hours of 5.30pm on a Friday and 3.00am the following Monday.

    14. Dublin is Europe's most popular destination with traveling stag and hen parties.

    15. Harold's Cross got it's name because a tribe called the 'Harolds' lived in the Wicklow Mountains and the Archbishop of Dublin would not let them come any nearer to the city than that point.

    16. Leopardstown was once known as Leperstown.

    17. The average 25-year-old Dubliner still lives with his/her parents.

    18. Three radio stations attract over 90% of all listeners in the Dublin area.

    19. There are twelve places called Dublin in the United States and six in Australia.
    20. Buck Whaley was an extremely wealthy gambler who lived in Dublin in the seventeen hundreds. Due to inheritances, he had an income of seven thousand pounds per year (not far off seven million a year at today's prices). He lived in a huge house near Stephen's Green which is now the Catholic University of Ireland. He went broke and he had to leave Ireland due to gambling debts. He swore he'd be buried in Irish soil but is in fact buried in the Isle of Man in a shipload of Irish soil which he imported for the purpose.

    21. The converted Ford Transit used for the Pope's visit in 1976 was upholstered using the most expensive carpet ever made in Dublin. The carpet was a silk and Teflon weave and rumoured to have cost over IR£950.00 per square meter.

    22. There was once a large statue of Queen Victoria in the Garden outside Leinster House. It was taken away when the Republic of Ireland became independent and in 1988 was given as a present to the city of Sydney, Australia to mark that city's 200th anniversary.

    23. The largest cake ever baked in Dublin weighed a whopping 190 lb's and was made to celebrate the 1988 city millennium. The cake stood untouched in the Mansion House until 1991 when it was thrown out.

    24. Strangers are more likely to receive a drink from Dubliners than from a native of any other County.

    25. There are forty six rivers in Dublin city. The river flowing through Rathmines is called the River Swan (beside the Swan Centre). The Poddle was once known as the 'Tiber' and was also known as the River Salach (dirty river), which is the origin of the children's song 'Down by the river Saile'. It is also the river whose peaty, mountain water causes the Black Pool mentioned above.

    26. Saint Valentine was martyred in Rome on February 28th eighteen centuries ago. He was the Bishop of Terni. His remains are in a Cask in White Friar Street Church, Dublin. He is no longer recognised as a Saint By the Vatican.

    27. The statue originally in Dublin's O'Connell Street (but now moved to the Phoenix Park) is commonly known as the 'Floozy in the Jacuzzi' while the one at the bottom of Grafton Street is best known as the 'Tart with the Cart'. The women at the Ha'Penny bridge are the 'Hags with the bags' and the Chimney Stack with the new lift in Smithfield Village's now called the 'Flue with the View'. The short lived millennium clock that was placed in the River Liffey in 1999 was known as 'the chime in the slime'.

    28. Montgomery Street was once the biggest red-light district in Europe with an estimated 1600 prostitutes. It was known locally as the 'Monto' and this is the origin of the song 'Take me up to Monto'.

    29. Henry Moore, Earl of Drogheda lived in Dublin in the Eighteenth century. His job was naming streets. He called several after himself. Henry Street, Moore Street, Earl Street, Drogheda Street. Drogheda Street later became Sackville Street and is now O'Connell Street.

    30. Nelson's Pillar was blown up in 1966 to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the 1916 rising. It now lies in a heap in a valley in County Wicklow.

    31. Leinster House in Dublin was originally built as a private home for the Duke of Leinster. At that time, the most fashionable part of Dublin was the North Side and he was asked why he was building on the South Side. He said 'Where I go, fashion follows me!' .....and to this day the most fashionable part of Dublin is the South Side.

    32. Tallaght is one of the oldest placenames in Ireland and it means 'The Plague cemetery'.

    33. There are seven areas in Dublin whose names end in the letter 'O'. Fewer than one Dubliner in 20,000 can name them off by heart. They are: Rialto, Marino, Portobello, Phibsboro, Monto, Casino and Pimlico.

    34. Kevin Street Garda Station was once the Palace of the Archbishop Of Dublin.

    35. The original name of Trinity College was 'Trinity College Near Dublin'. The capital was a lot smaller then.

    Best wishes from Van Demons Land!

    David Carey.
    (In Australia but from Limerick!)





    One of the main and lasting effects of the Great
    Famine of 1845-47 was emigration. The 'Coffin
    Ships' carried tens of thousands of the poorest
    Irish people who fled Ireland to avoid starvation.
    They created a new Irish nation within America
    whilst remembering the injustice of the English
    occupation of their homeland as well as harboring
    a deeply felt hatred of landlords and evictions.

    A Clann na Gael source estimated that there were
    over one and one half million people of Irish
    birth in America towards the end of the nineteenth
    century. These people supported the republican
    cause by giving money, weapons and, significantly,
    a propaganda machine which has continued to this

    The Irish Republican Brotherhood was formed in
    a Dublin timber-yard on Saint Patrick's Day in
    1858. James Stephans was assisted by Thomas Clarke
    Luby, James Denieefe, Garret O'Shaugheynessy and
    Peter Langan.

    Joe Denieefe brought financial support back from
    America. He had left Ireland after the Ballingarry
    defeat in 1848. James Stephens, Michael Doheny
    and John O'Mahony fought in Ballingarry in 1848.
    Stephens was injured but still manage to escape
    to Paris where he familiarized himself with the
    revolutionary tactics of that country. He came
    back to Ireland to try to establish an underground
    organisation to remove the English from Ireland.

    Denieefe and Luby traveled the country extensively
    and organised military groups called 'circles'.
    They formed oathbound secret societies of loyal
    patriots. Popular opinion did not support the
    revolutionary ideals of the IRB nor did the Church
    whop were strongly opposed. The mainstream support
    came from the poorer classes who, despite their
    poverty, were often highly idealistic.

    At the time of the 1867 rising the membership of
    the IRB was estimated at over 80,000.


    Informers such as Corydon and Magle did untold
    damage to the IRB by betraying their oath and
    giving information to the English.

    The Fenian movement split in America in 1865.
    John O'Mahony took over from the Stephans.
    O'Mahony was later himself to be deposed when his
    hesitation in calling an insurrection dissatisfied
    the soldiers he commanded (many of whom were
    veterans of the American Civil War). Colonel Thomas
    J. Kelly, was appointed Chief of Staff of the IRB
    in 1867 and departed for Ireland.

    A rising was planned for February 1867. Chester
    Castle in England was to be attacked and
    simultaneous raids in Ireland were to be carried
    out. The English knew in advance however as
    Corydon kept them informed.

    The news had not filtered through to the Fenians
    in Ireland and sporadic battles took place in
    Kerry and Dublin.


    The IRB was reorganised in Manchester in July of
    1867 and a supreme council elected. Colonel Kelly
    and Jim Deasy were captured by the English and
    then rescued by the Fenians in a daring raid in
    which a police officer was killed. Allen, Larkin
    and O'Brien were hanged for their complicity in
    the events and they became known as
    'The Manchester Martyrs'.

    The mass funerals that followed together with
    the later formation of the Land League focused
    the minds of the popular masses on the injustice
    of English rule in Ireland.


    The IRB delegates in Manchester broke away from
    the feuding factions of Fenianism in America and
    supported Clan na Gael who were founded there in
    June of 1867. The objectives of Clann na Gael was
    to secure an independent Ireland and to assist
    the IRB in achieving this aim. John Devoy was the
    mainstay behind the Clan.

    Devoy became involved in the 'New Departure' and
    assisted Davitt and Parnell in their fight against
    the landlords. Independence remained his main aim
    however as he felt that the Land League was not
    militant enough to remove the landlords. Devoy,
    assisted by Doctor Pat McCartan, founded
    a newspaper, 'The Gaelic American''.

    Doctor Pat McCartan transferred from Clan na Gael
    to the newly formed 'Dungannon Clubs', a
    separatist organisation which was denounced by
    the Church.

    Tom Clarke became a member of the Supreme Council
    of the IRB in 1909 and helped form the
    revolutionary paper 'Irish Freedom'. He became the
    link with Clan na Gael in America.

    In 1912 the IRB sent Sean MacDiarmada as a delegate
    to the Clan convention and he succeeded in securing
    the enormous sum of $20,000 for the IRB at home.


    In November 1913 the Irish Volunteers were formed
    in Dublin and 4,000 enrolled on that first night.
    In 1914 Padraig Pearse went to America to raise
    funds to save his Gaelic school, St. Enda's. This
    he achieved and then turned his attention to
    revolutionary matters.

    On his return from America he sought 1,000 rifles
    from McGarrity. He as assisted by Sean
    Mac Diarmada, Eamonn Ceannt and Sean Fitzgibbon.
    Pearse was convinced that the revolutionary force
    in Ireland had never been better organised
    or equipped. His speech in 1914 reflected this:-

    'In Dublin, we have some 2,500 admirably
    disciplined, drilled, intelligent, and partly armed
    men. Nationalist Ireland has never before had such
    an asset. Our main strength is in Dublin, but large
    minorities support us everywhere, especially in the
    towns and in the extreme South and West. We expect
    to have 150 companies, representing 10,000 to
    15,000 men, represented by delegates at next
    Sunday's Convention.'


    The IRB were influential in many cultural and
    national organisations. Most of the leaders like
    Pearse, Plunket and McDonagh were fluent Irish
    speakers and were members of the Gaelic League.
    The Gaelic Athletic Association (the GAA) was
    formed by Cusack in November 1884.

    THE GREAT WAR 1914-18

    At the outbreak of the first world war, Redmond
    urged the Irish Volunteers to join in the fight
    against the oppressors of small nations. 170,000
    of the Volunteers supported Redmond whilst
    11,000 supported Pearse.

    Tom Clarke urged the Supreme Council of the IRB
    that a rising must happen before the end of the
    war, especially as the Irish Home Rule bill had
    been suspended at the outbreak of the war.
    Pearse, Plunket and Ceannt drafted the first
    military plans.


    Prior to the rising and thanks to Hobson, Casement
    and Childers, guns were landed at Howth and
    Wicklow. Casement went to Germany where he
    published the Irish cause in German newspapers.
    His efforts to secure weapons were dealt a severe
    blow when he and the weapons they were attempting
    to smuggle into the country were captured on
    Banna Strand.

    Casement, an English subject, was eventually
    convicted of treason and hanged.


    Thomas Clarke was the main instigator of the
    rising, supported by Pearse, Sean Mac Diarmada,
    Eamonn Ceant and Sean T. O'Ceallaigh who went to
    America for further assistance. Thomas McDonagh,
    Joseph Plunket and James Connolly. were later
    brought on to the Supreme Council.

    James Connolly used his paper 'The Workers'
    Republic' to call for an armed revolt. He used
    the Citizens Army to protect the paper.

    The Irish Volunteers were holding recruiting
    meetings throughout Ireland and training
    enthusiastically. They awaited the signal to act
    as the rising had been set for Easter Saturday,
    22nd of April, 1916.

    Setbacks to the plan included the capture of
    Casement and the weapons, the capture of Austin
    Stack, commandant of the Kerry Brigade and the
    discovery of the plans for an uprising following
    a raid on German officials in New York.

    The Supreme Council decided unanimously decided
    to proceed with the uprising despite the fact
    that they knew it had little chance of success. It
    was decided to strike on Easter Monday. In spite
    of the order from McNeill not to revolt, over
    2,000 soldiers made a strike for freedom.


    On Easter Monday, 24th April, 1916 the GPO was
    occupied by the revolutionary forces. Pearse read
    the Proclamation of the Republic to a bemused

    The Volunteers seized and fortified six positions
    in Dublin city: the GPO, the Four Courts, Boland's
    Mill, St. Stephen's Green, Jacobs Factory and the
    South Dublin Union. Attempts to seize Dublin Castle
    and Trinity College failed. This latter failure
    severely restricted the Volunteers mans of
    communicating with each other.

    The failure of the country to rise made it
    impossible to prevent the arrival of English
    reinforcements. By Wednesday the revolutionaries
    were outnumbered by 20 to 1. The English secured a
    cordon about the city and closed in. They
    concentrated their attack on the GPO whilst none
    of the other strongholds came under the same sort
    of concentrated bombardment.

    A gun-ship, the Helga, arrived in Dublin and
    field-guns were mounted on Trinity College. The
    effect of the continuous shelling of O'Connell
    Street virtually destroyed it and the surrounding
    areas. By Friday the GPO was engulfed in flames and
    Pearse gave the order to surrender. 450 people were
    dead, many of whom were civilians, with over 2500
    wounded. The city was in ruins with the damage
    estimated at a massive 2 Million pounds.

    Over 3,500 people were subsequently arrested
    country-wide (including DeValera and Collins),
    although 1,500 were freed after questioning.
    1,841 of these were interned without trial in
    England, and 171 were tried by secret court
    martial resulting in 170 convictions. 90 were
    sentenced to death but 75 of these sentences were
    commuted to life imprisonment. The seven
    signatories of the proclamation of independence
    (Pearse, Connolly, Clarke, MacDonagh, MacDermott,
    Plunkett, and Ceannt) were all executed to the
    outrage of the Irish public who had now begun to
    revise their opinion of the insurgents to that of
    a heroic nature.


    The rising was critical in terms of the overall
    fight for an Irish Republic.

    For the first time the masses of the country
    wanted an end to English rule. Nationalism swept
    the country especially as the details of the secret
    executions became known.

    National attention was brought to the Irish cause
    and to the oppressive ways in which the English
    ruled the country.

    These realisations were in all probability the
    main aim of the insurgents. The War of Independence
    which followed in 1919, the subsequent Civil
    War and the formation of the Irish Free State and
    the declaration by Costello of an Irish Republic
    can all be traced back to the events of Easter
    week, 1916.


    Real footage of the Easter 1916 Rising 

    RTE News coverage of the Mahon Report and Bertie Ahern 

    History of the Ancient Celts 


    PHRASE: Cad ba mhaith leat?
    PRONOUNCED: cod buh watt lat
    MEANING: What would you like?

    PHRASE: Ba mhaith liom tae/bainne/uisce beatha/beoir
    PRONOUNCED: buh watt lum tay/bonn-ye/ishka ba-ha/bee-yore
    MEANING: I would like tea/milk/whiskey/beer

    PHRASE: Ni maith liom /bricfeasta/lon/suipear
    PRONOUNCED: knee mawt lum brick/fasta/loan/sue-pear
    MEANING: I would not like breakfast/lunch/supper

    Archive of Irish Phrases
    View the archive of phrases here:

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for dropping by. All comments are moderated before publication.