Irish News of Interest - December 2017

§      Pope Francis has confirmed a visit to Ireland in 2018 which is expected to take place in August.  This will be his first visit to Ireland since 1980 when he spent 4 months in Dublin learning English.

§     Christmas was banned in Boston from 1659 to 1681.  It was illegal to observe Christmas by taking the day off work, feasting, exchanging gifts, or celebrating in any other way.  Those in violation were fined.  The conservative Puritans led the opposition to Christmas claiming it was a pagan holiday.

§      New Zealand is recruiting heavy truck drivers from Ireland.  They offer a relocation package including the cost of flights to New Zealand.  A large number of trucks are parked out of use due to a lack of drivers.

§  A woman from Rathdowney, County Laois is a female bishop at the helm of the breakaway Catholic group, the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests.

§      Mosquitoes have arrived in Ireland.  A total of 53 different types have been identified in Ireland.  Climate change has been blamed for Ireland's warmer weather which has allowed the mosquitoes to survive.

§    Canada has announced the release of 10,700 new work permits to be issued to Irish citizens between the ages of 18 to 35.

§      A documentary is being filmed about the 1994 massacre of 6 people in Loughinisland, County Down.  The name of the film is "No Stone Unturned."  The Northern Ireland Police Service is investigating how the secret information about the massacre became available for use in the film.

§     The Charitable Irish Society of Boston is the oldest Irish society in America.  It was founded in 1737 by 26 men of Ulster birth.  Its mission is to help new immigrants from Ireland.  Its membership was opened to women in the 1980s.

§    September 22 was the 13th annual culture night throughout Ireland.  It included free special talks, tours and performances.  Culture night began in 2006 as a way to encourage people to explore their local culture.  There were over 3000 events taking place in over 1400 venues in every corner of Ireland.

§      Guinness has announced a plan to build a new city quarter around their historic headquarters at St. James Gate in Dublin.  They will set aside 13 acres for office, residential and commercial buildings.  Space is at a premium so close to the city center.  It is expected this will become one of the most dynamic urban quarters in Europe.

§    On September 14, 1952, the "Quiet Man" premiered - 65 years ago.  The film was based on the 1933 short story by the same name which was written by Maurice Walsh.  

§     Ireland's smallest church is St. Gobhnan's located in Portbraden, County Antrim.  It is 10 feet long and 6 feet wide. Ironicly, St. Gobhnan is the patron saint of builders.

§      Smithwick's Ale was started in 1705 in Kilkenny by John Smithwick and Richard Cole.  Due to the Penal Laws, the Catholic Smithwicks were not able to claim ownership in the brewery until 1782.  The business was acquired by Guinness in 1964.

§      A major cold spell occurred in Ireland in the year 818 resulting in frozen lakes and rivers.  The heavy snowfall in 822 was waist deep and sparked starvation across the country.

§       Guinness is celebrating its 200th anniversary of its introduction into the US market.  On October 17, 1817 the first barrels of Guinness arrived in South Carolina.