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I want thank all of you who sent me their messages of sympathy. You may wonder why I didn't send out another newsletter. The answer is: I'm only allowed to send one newsletter per month. Otherwise my cost goes up and, as you may know, I'm squeezing my nickels right now.
Today's Irish headlines
We comb the newspapers and web sites to find news to start your day with a positive spin. In this section you will also find links to stories from the past two weeks as well as links to the major Irish newspapers, the current time in Ireland and a link to the weather forecast.
I know, I'm late with this. I'm posting it anyway so you will know what you missed and, perhaps, you won't miss it next year. Joy be to you all.
Puck Fair - one of Ireland’s oldest festivals
by Bridget Haggerty
While at one time it was notorious for drinking, with the pubs open round-the-clock for three days and nights, nowadays, Puck Fair is famous for meeting up with old friends, forging new friendships and putting the cares of everyday living on hold. But how did it all get started? Nobody knows the exact origins, but it ‘s said to date to medieval times - or perhaps even before then.
The most widely mentioned story relating to the origin of King Puck, associates him with the English Ironside Leader Oliver Cromwell. It is said that while the Roundheads were pillaging the countryside at the foot of the McGillycuddy Reeks, they routed a herd of goats grazing on the upland. The animals took flight before the raiders, and the he-goat or "Puck" broke away on his own and lost contact with the herd. While the others headed for the mountains he went towards Cill Orglain (Killorglin) on the banks of the Laune. His arrival there in a state of semi exhaustion alerted the inhabitants of the approaching danger and they immediately set about protecting themselves and their stock. It is said that in recognition of the service rendered by the goat, the people decided to institute a special festival in his honour and this festival has been held ever since.
Irish Landmarks:The Abbey Theatre
by Bridget Haggerty
Led by W.B. Yeats, a group of prominent figures in Irish literature came together with the intention of championing, promoting and preserving the works of Irish-born playwrights. It's thanks to Yeats, Lady Augusta Gregory, J.M. Synge and George Russell that many of the most memorable plays of all time are still being enjoyed by theater-goers all over the world.
The group met in 1903 and founded the Irish National Theatre Society. Then, in 1904, with the assistance of a subsidy from Miss Annie Horniman and free use of a theater on Old Abbey Street, the Abbey Theater opened its doors for the first time on December 27th.
A Tribute to Jimmy Kennedy
by Bridget Haggerty
Most Irish people think he was American. Most Americans think he was American. To set the record straight, this is a brief tribute to the man from Omagh, Co. Tyrone who wrote Red Sails in The Sunset and many other favorite standards. One of the most successful songwriters of all time, he had more hits in the USA than anyone until Lennon and McCartney.
Just about everyone is familiar with Jimmy Kennedy's lyrics, but very few people have ever heard of him and even fewer know that Red Sails in the Sunset was inspired by a beautiful summer evening in Portstewart, which is located on Northern Ireland's famous Causeway Coast. As for South of the Border - another of his popular songs - that one came about when he either received or sent a holiday picture postcard from Tijuana, Mexico - we're not sure which.
Jimmy was born on July 20, 1902 and by his own reckoning, he wrote 2,000 songs. Of these, 200 became world hits, while 50 became what are known as "evergreens", i.e. all-time popular classics.
Constance Georgina de Markievicz: Suffragette, Socialist, Soldier
by Joe McGowan
"How can I voice my grief
For the patriot dead?
Sorrow and tears are often brief,
Though many will be shed
Not alone in Lissadell
But around the peopled earth,
Wherever Irish exiles dwell
Or freedom struggles to have birth."
Dr. James P. Gallagher
Who was this woman with the unpronounceable surname, whose name and deeds blazed across the Irish skies in the momentous years of the early 20th century? From what noble Gaelic stock was she sprung? Surely her family pedigree must rank among the finest of the old Gaelic aristocracy, be as eminent as the O'Neill or the O'Donnell, as proud as the O'Connor or the O'Dowd!
Most rebels are made so by poverty and oppression. Constance Georgina Gore-Booth, for that was her maiden name, came not from such a background, but from a Protestant 'planter' family. This eldest daughter of Anglo-Irish landlord Sir Henry Gore-Booth, and his wife, Lady Georgina, was born on February 4 th 1868 at Buckingham Gate, close by the Royal Palace in London.
The Irish Kitchen: Uisce Beatha - The Water of Life!
As a child growing up in London of Irish parents, I remember that my mother always had "a drop" in the house, just in case our parish priest paid us a visit. My dad wasn't allowed to touch it, unless it was a very special occasion, as in toasting a newborn at the christening reception. At other times, such as Christmas, he'd drink Guinness - never the whiskey. This was true of many Irish households - the man would do his drinking at the pub and the priest would do his drinking in private, as would be the case in wealthier homes where whiskey was considered a lot more respectable than either wine or stout.
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The Celtic High Cross
As symbolic of Ireland as the harp and the shamrock, high crosses first appeared as early as the 7th century. Originally, the designs were abstract, but gradually, they began to feature more spiritually-based themes. Most of these ancient crosses were made of various types of sandstone, which is somewhat easy to carve. Today, of the more than 200 that remain, many are in an eroded state and the details are barely discernible. However, some excellent examples can be found, if you know where to look. Several can be seen at the Monastery of Monasterboice in Co. Louth, including the exquisitely sculptured Muiredach's Cross shown here.
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March 4, 2011
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