Our Ireland is an Irish Interest Resource for the Irish people Worldwide.
Whether you are fourth generation Irish American,or native to Co. Kerry,Our Ireland’s growing archive of Irish related articles will be of interest to you and your family.
This site is for you,the Irish community of the world. It’s a solo project that I’ve worked on for many years and I look forward to providing you with much more Irish related information for many to come. Failte isteach!
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Our Irelands Goal
The aim of this website is to provide Irish related material for the worldwide Irish community. ‘Our Ireland’will feature content including Irish Mythology,Irish History,Current affairs,Irish genealogy,Irish services and products.
If you’re new to Our Ireland (Welcome!) you’ll get a better understanding of what this project is about by reading the About Us page.
Luscious gardens and green hills populated by native deer are some of the reasons why visitors head to Muckross House in County Kerry for a day out.
Before leaving by car,drivers ought to make sure their vehicles are covered by motor insurance, which protects them against accidents and collisions. The beautiful mansion is located in Killarney National Park,which is a walker’s paradise due to its picturesque waterfalls and steeply climbing hills. There is much to explore in this protected region,but before setting off into the park,visitors like to take a look around the impressive Victorian property to see how its past occupants lived.
Building first began on the site in 1839,after Henry Arthur Herbert commissioned workers to construct the mansion. The property acted as a home for Herbert,his wife and family for hundreds of years before its ownership passed to others. Keen to pay homage to the premises historical past,the new owners decided to revert some of the rooms to how they appeared in the Victorian era.
Time was spent decorating the bedrooms and dining rooms back to their former glory,so guests can see the type of fixtures and furnishings used in this time. The redecorated rooms boast hardwood furniture,luxurious curtains and glittering chandeliers. Visitors to the site get a realistic impression of how the original family lived,but they are also able to get a glimpse of the working conditions of the mansion’s servants.
The basement was where many of the staff spent their time going about their daily tasks and guests can take a look at this part of the home should they wish. The first owners of the house spent much time in the grounds of the home enjoying its gardens. Overtime the mansion’s grounds have been redeveloped so guests can also marvel at the blooming flowers and varied flora.
During nice weather,visitors take great pleasure in admiring the property’s rock and sunken garden. People who lived in homes near Muckross House tended to rely on farming for an income. Now tourists can view the practices used by workers in the 1930s thanks to the Muckross Traditional Farms exhibition.
Traditional crafts are sold at the Mucross Craft Shop,including pottery and weaved items. After viewing the many historical sights on display,visitors have the opportunity to buy refreshments in a cafe located within the mansion’s Walled Garden. From here,the Killarney National Park can be explored,with many visitors drawn each year to the 26,000-acre attraction,which is home to collection of diverse flora and fauna.
The appetite for adventure sports in Ireland has certainly grown in the past 5 years. There are far more surf schools,kayak trip providers and climbing activities being provided,and this trend is set to continue with massive investment into cycling and adventure biking facilities.
Successful Irish Cycling Initiatives
Take for example the Ballyhoura Mountain bike trails which was openned in recent years in Greenwood near Ardpatrick in County Limerick. The trails range from moderate 6 km loops to the demanding Castlepoop loop which covers over 50 km,with some white knuckle twists,turns and descents.
Other biking and cycling initiatives are being piloted around the country after the success of Ballyhoura and other cycling routes like the Mayo Great Western Greenway which uses the old Westport to Achill railway route which has been closed since 1937.
Other schemes seek to use long disused railway lines in a similar fashion. Currently there is a pilot scheme that that will combine areas in County Kerry such as Camp to Dingle,via Annascaul. This route is close to the famous Dingle Way walking and hiking routes,and is rumoured to use old railway as well as adding new cycle lanes along the roads.
It is also rumoured there is a cycle trail being planned from Glenbeigh to Mindard Castle,this remains to be seen.
Accommodation Providers Take The Opportunity
There is huge potential for tourism to grow with the development of cycling in Ireland,which has largely been neglected until very recent times. The accommodation providers who cater for cycling visitors with secure bike storage,cleaning facilities,and built to purpose drying rooms will benefit most.
Irish Cycling Clubs And Family Cycling Trips
Of course,because Ireland is a tourist destination,and much of our industry centres on tourism,it’s easy to forget to mention the improvements these cycling facilities will bring to Irish people too. Cycling clubs have grown in popularity in Ireland in recent years,and many families enjoy the opportunity to get out for a cycle on quite country roads,and designated cycle lanes with their children. The health benefits are obvious,and our mild temperatures make cycling an activity we can enjoy most of the year.
Many readers are probably aware of the ‘Save Our Small Schools‘campaign,currently raging across popular social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. If not,here’s the story so far.
Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn,has decided to force many rural and small schools in Ireland to close by means of unfairly increasing the teacher to pupil ratio in their classrooms. Despite angry (and growing) opposition from the teachers and parents,and the questionable savings he claims will be achieved;Mr. Quinn is determined to proceed in order to get collect more money for non-secured,unnamed bondholders in Europe,somewhere…
You may recall an announcement in recent months that Ruairi Quinn supports a proposal to abolish and radically change the secondary school Junior Certificate. In particular he backed the the introduction of “greater creativity and innovation” and “being creative”. (GENEVIEVE CARBERY,Irish Times,Nov 2011,click this link)
Now Mr. Quinn is hell-bent on closing as many rural and small schools as possible,with the displaced children being shipped to larger schools that are already struggling with their numbers. The obvious consequence of such a short-sighted move (besides the absolute destruction of rural communities) is there will be less time in schools for creative subjects such as arts/crafts,music,dance,and learning through play. Mathematics,languages and commerce will undoubtedly take an even greater lions share of lesson time.
Less After-School Activities
After-school activities in the areas where rural schools are to be forced into closing will also be denied to local children,because the majority of these activities are held within the schools. There will be more pressure on the activities being offered in larger schools,and many children are going to miss out. That means even less time for organised creative activities.
‘Third Grade Slump’
Will it surprise Mr. Quinn when these same children begin their secondary school education,studying the proposed new Junior Certificate curriculum,that they will find it difficult to adjust to left-hemisphere/right-hemisphere thinking? Perhaps Mr. Quinn is not aware of what our American friends have identified and labelled the ‘third grade slump’. That is,by the time children reach the third grade,their ability to be creative has been all but stomped out of them by a logical number crunching left-brain driven educational system,that rewards the technical at the expense of the creative. (read ‘A Whole New Mind’,Pink)
The Future ‘Smart Economy’Of Ireland
As for this ‘Smart Economy’we keep hearing about,perhaps Ruairi Quinn needs to be updated on what is going on in the business world. Every child in the street knows manufacturing has left the western world,outsourced to Asia. I wonder if our minister is aware too,that computer programming,once the core of ‘Smart Economies’is also going to Asia? American companies have being quick to take advantage of low-cost,well educated work forces in countries like India where a highly qualified programmer will work for $1000 per month,as opposed to her counterpart in the States who on average earns around $16000 per month for the same work (with health plan thrown in).
What does this mean for Ireland,a small,expensive country with a small population? It means we need to know how to do more than just programme;we also need to know how to build and maintain relationships,how to think outside the box,and in particular,how to find creative solutions to business problems. We need emotionally intelligent people,who can speak the language of their industry,to provide creative,aesthetic solutions to fulfil market demands. In short we need to nurture both hemispheres of our children’s brains EQUALLY in order to prepare them for their future. Crushing their creativity in primary school,in the belief that you can easily switch that part of their brain on when they hit secondary school is a ridiculous notion.
Finding A Solution And Saving Our Small Schools
Minister For Education;teachers,parents and our children need YOU to think creatively right now? Can you find a solution that guarantees the quality of our children’s education,and the culture and identity of rural Ireland? Teachers and parents will be happy to help you find workable solutions,but you must remove the threat to our children and communities before we can do so.
For hikers and mountaineers visiting the west of Ireland,Mount Brandon on Dingles Peninsula is a place you must visit.
Not only will you enjoy the challenge of the mountain itself,but we hope you will be inspired by the peninsula’s landscapes,seascapes and the rich heritage that surrounds this high region generally referred to as the Brandon Group. The mountain’s rough rocky landscape is a result of a grating ice-age glacier that pulled and gouged the earth as it melted,shifted and receded.
Mount Brandon ridge is the ninth highest in Ireland,and offers spectacular views of the region. On clear day you may even hope to see the ‘Unknown Continent’to the west (Newfoundland USA) that inspired the areas famous Saint Brendan to embark on his daring voyage to reach that land and bring religion to its natives. In fact,the mountain range is named after Saint Brendan who stayed on the mountain and fasted,prayed and prepared for his famous voyage.
His amazing and successful journey that took him and his fourteen monks seven years to complete,and is just one facet of the rich heritage of the Dingle Peninsula. Indeed,Brendan is the patron saint of Kerry and his journey has inspired many people around the world. Among these people was travel adventurer and author Tim Severin,who in the 1970′s set out from Brandon Creek in a boat similar to Brandon’s to retrace the journey and live the experience.
Walkers make regular trips to the mountain and Christian pilgrims also follow the ancient path now known as The Saints Road,and is marked with many small white crosses along the path. At the summit there is a large metallic cross to mark the end of the walk. This path greatly pre-dates the arrival of Christianity in Ireland and some historians believe it was originally a pagan pilgrim path for the greatest of all Irish deities,the sun god Lug Lámh Fada (Lug Of The Long Reach). No doubt pagans still walk this track to the ridge of the mountain to this very day.
If you mean to hike Mount Brandon alone,ensure you prepare for any type of weather,make sure you have warm clothes and strong hiking boots. Also include rain gear and snacks in your pack. You can also join organised walks with local walking clubs or go with a pre-booked Dingle Peninsula walking tour. If walking alone,make sure your inform people of your destination,your route and a time you expect to return.
You may also wish to bring a survival bag and survival blanket (metallic,extra water and signalling glow-sticks. There have been fatalities on Mount Brandon so please take every precaution to ensure you have an enjoyable and safe trip.
If on a clear day,you may be able to see Brendan’s ‘Unknown Continent’to the west…
Adare is a popular destination for visitors touring Ireland’s towns. This picturesque town in County Limerick is probably most famous for it’s thatched roofed cottages. Adare town was designated as an ‘Irish Heritage Town’because of it’s historic architecture. Most of the thatched buildings are no longer used as residential dwellings,instead many have are utilised as Irish gift shops and café’s,enjoyed by both locals and visitors.
The thatch on the cottages is made with tightly packed bound reeds and the traditional cottages have charming small windows and white-washed thick stone and rough plastered walls. They are certainly a sight to be seen.
Adare Manor is a 19th century Tudor Gothic style mansion that is was later converted to an high class hotel. There has been a structure on the site since at least the 1830′s. Thing to do in Adare Manor include a complimentary historical tour of the Manor and Irish whiskey tasting and wine tasting. Other activities include 18 hole golf,fishing on the River Maigue,cycling,hot air ballooning,clay pigeon shooting,archery,horse riding,falconry,indoor swimming pool and fitness room.
Useful Adare Phone Numbers:
Adare Heritage Centre 061 396666 Adare Festival Office 061 396255 Adare Garda Station 061 396 216 Adare Health Centre 061 396442
Cobh in Cork,formally named Queenstown between 1849 to 1922. A major transatlantic Irish shipping port,Cobh was the last departure point for approximately 2.5 million of the six million Irish people who emigrated to North America between 1848 and 1950. The Famine And Irish Emigration In those early years of emigration many passengers fleed the famine that was to claim a million victims in a few years. For those who set sail on the famine ships from Queenstown the future was uncertain. Sadly not every passenger surrived the long journey,never reaching their destination in North America. For those who did land many would never see Ireland again,and in a foreign land they carved out a place for themselves and made a new home. The contribution of the Irish in North America went beyond the building of roads,rail track. Within a few generations Irish families made a major inpact on the social and political development of country,even reaching the highest office of the land.
Queenstown And The Titanic
On 11 April 1912 Queenstown was the final port of call for the RMS Titanic as she set out across the Atlantic on her ill-fated maiden voyage.
Local lore has it that a Titanic crew member John Coffey,a native of Queenstown,jumped ship although there is no record of him on the crew list. 123 passengers boarded in all;only 44 survived the sinking.
Cobh To Australia
Cobh was also a major embarkation port for men,women and children who were deported to penal colonies such as Australia. The records of such deportations can be found in the ship log books in the Cobh Museum,which since 1973 is housed in Scots church (Presbyterian church until 1969 closure) overlooking the harbour.
In the village of Blarney,Ireland,sits the legendary Blarney Stone,a bluestone block built into the Blarney Castle’s embattlements. Because of this stone,Blarney Castle is one of Ireland’s most popular tourist destinations. Millions of visitors from around the globe travel here annually to kiss the stone.
Legend holds that the kisser of the stone will be endowed with the gift of eloquence,the gift of gab,or skill at flattery. The term ‘blarney’has become synonymous with flattering,clever or coaxing talk,though the village’s name was derived from the word ‘An blarna,’the Irish term for ‘the plain.’
In times past,visitors needed to be grasped by the ankles and lowered over the battlements headfirst. After one pilgrim hurtled to his death,an iron railing was erected,and today,the kisser has a friend sit on his legs or hold his feet firmly while he leans back and down into the abyss,securely grasping the iron rails,and lowers himself until his head reaches the stone.
Many stories exist as to the origin of the Blarney Stone and from where it got its power. The most widely accepted story is that Robert the Bruce,grateful for the support of the Irish in the Battle of Bannockburn of 1314,gave a portion of this stone to the King of Munster,Cormac McCarthy. The stone then was installed at Blarney Castle,Cormac McCarthy’s stronghold,and thus it came to be called the Blarney Stone. One century later,King Dermot McCarthy installed the stone in 1446 in a large castle that he constructed.
In the reign of Queen Elizabeth I,King Dermot McCarthy was forced to surrender his castle to the Queen to prove his loyalty. He told her that he would be glad to do so,but things always came up at the last minute that prevented the surrender. His frequent excuses caused the official who had,in the Queen’s name,been demanding the surrender,to become somewhat of a joke at the Court. One time,when McCarthy’s eloquent excuses were relayed to Queen Elizabeth,she said,“Odds bodikins,more Blarney talk!”Through this,‘blarney’came to mean ‘the skill of influencing and coaxing with soft speech and fair words without offending.’
Though the actual origin of the kissing custom is not known,a local legend holds that the King of Munster rescued an old woman from drowning,and she rewarded him by giving him a spell,that upon kissing a stone atop the castle,he would be endowed with speech that would draw all people to him.
Another legend says that the stone was the rock Moses struck with his staff for water during the Israelites’exodus. Another is that Jacob used the stone as a pillow,and the prophet Jeremiah brought it to Ireland. It also was rumored to be the Stone of Ezel,behind which Jonathan advised David to hide as he fled from Saul,and that it was possibly returned to Ireland in the Crusades. One more holds that it was St. Columba of Iona’s rock pillow on his deathbed.
Raised on songs and stories,heroes of renown The passing tales and glories,that once was Dublin town The hallowed halls and houses,the haunting children’s rhymes That once was Dublin city in the rare old times
Chorus: Ring a-ring a-rosie,as the light declines I remember Dublin city in the rare oul’ times
My name it is Sean Dempsey,as Dublin as can be Born hard and late in Pimlico,in a house that ceased to be By trade I was a cooper,lost out to redundancy Like my house that fell to progress,my trade’s a memory And I courted Peggy Dignan,as pretty as you please A rogue and child of Mary,from the rebel Liberties I lost her to a student chap,with skin as black as coal When he took her off to Birmingham,she took away my soul
The years they made me bitter,tha gargle dims me brain ’cause Dublin keeps on changing,and nothing seems the same The Pillar and the Met have gone,the Royal long since pulled down As the gray unyielding concrete,makes a city of my town
Fare thee well sweet Anna Liffey,I can no longer stay And watch the new glass cages,that spring up along the Quay My mind’s too full of memories,too old to hear new chimes I’m part of what was Dublin,in the rare old times
Chorus: Ring a-ring a-rosie,as the light declines I remember Dublin city in the rare oul’ times
As I went home on Monday night as drunk as drunk could be I saw a horse outside the door where my old horse should be Well,I called me wife and I said to her:Will you kindly tell to me Who owns that horse outside the door where my old horse should be?
Ah,you’re drunk, you’re drunk you silly old fool, still you can not see That’s a lovely sow that me mother sent to me Well,it’s many a day I’ve travelled a hundred miles or more But a saddle on a sow sure I never saw before
And as I went home on Tuesday night as drunk as drunk could be I saw a coat behind the door where my old coat should be Well,I called me wife and I said to her:Will you kindly tell to me Who owns that coat behind the door where my old coat should be
Ah,you’re drunk, you’re drunk you silly old fool, still you can not see That’s a woollen blanket that me mother sent to me Well,it’s many a day I’ve travelled a hundred miles or more But buttons in a blanket sure I never saw before
And as I went home on Wednesday night as drunk as drunk could be I saw a pipe up on the chair where my old pipe should be Well,I called me wife and I said to her:Will you kindly tell to me Who owns that pipe up on the chair where my old pipe should be
Ah,you’re drunk, you’re drunk you silly old fool, still you can not see That’s a lovely tin whistle that me mother sent to me Well,it’s many a day I’ve travelled a hundred miles or more But tobacco in a tin whistle sure I never saw before
And as I went home on Thursday night as drunk as drunk could be I saw two boots beneath the bed where my old boots should be Well,I called me wife and I said to her:Will you kindly tell to me Who owns them boots beneath the bed where my old boots should be
Ah,you’re drunk, you’re drunk you silly old fool, still you can not see They’re two lovely Geranium pots me mother sent to me Well,it’s many a day I’ve travelled a hundred miles or more But laces in Geranium pots I never saw before
And as I went home on Friday night as drunk as drunk could be I saw a head upon the bed where my old head should be Well,I called me wife and I said to her:Will you kindly tell to me Who owns that head upon the bed where my old head should be
Ah,you’re drunk, you’re drunk you silly old fool, still you can not see That’s a baby boy that me mother sent to me Well,it’s many a day I’ve travelled a hundred miles or more But a baby boy with his whiskers on sure I never saw before
And as I went home on Saturday night as drunk as drunk could be I saw two hands upon her breasts where my old hands should be Well,I called me wife and I said to her:Will you kindly tell to me Who owns them hands upon your breasts where my old hands should be
Ah,you’re drunk, you’re drunk you silly old fool, still you can not see That’s a lovely night gown that me mother sent to me Well,it’s many a day I’ve travelled a hundred miles or more But fingers in a night gown sure I never saw before
As I went home on Sunday night as drunk as drunk could be I saw a thing in her thing where my old thing should be Well,I called me wife and I said to her:Will you kindly tell to me Who owns that thing in your thing where my old thing should be
Ah,you’re drunk, you’re drunk you silly old fool, still you can not see That’s a lovely tin whistle that me mother sent to me Well,it’s many a day I’ve travelled a hundred miles or more But hair on a tin whistle sure I never saw before
I’ll tell my ma when I go home The boys won’t leave the girls alone They pulled my hair and stole my comb But that’s all right till I go home. She is handsome,she is pretty She is the bell of Belfast city She is counting one,two,three Please won’t you tell me who is she. Albert Mooney says he loves her All the boys are fighting for her They knock at the door and they ring at the bell Sayin’ “Oh my true love,are you well?” Out she comes as white as snow Rings on her fingers and bells on her toes Old Johnny Murray says she’ll die If she doesn’t get the fellow with the roving eye.
Let the wind and rain and the hail blow high And the snow come tumblin’ from the sky She’s as nice as apple pie She’ll get her own lad by and by. When she gets a lad of her own She won’t tell her ma when she goes home Let them all come as they will For it’s Albert Mooney she loves still.