Eibhlin O'Neill's blog

New Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald calls for doubling of party membership

At a special Ard Fheis held in Dublin today and attended by around 1,500 party delegates, Mary Lou McDonald has been formally elected as President of Sinn Féin. Mary Lou McDonald is a TD (a member of Dáil Éireann, the lower house of the Oireachtas, the Irish Parliament) for Dublin Central. She was the only contender for the position and has been president-elect of the party since the beginning of this year.

Irish parliament's vote to ban offshore oil drilling gets the approval of Cher

The Petroleum and Other Minerals Development (Amendment) Climate Emergency Measures Bill 2018 was debated in the Dáil on Wednesday and secured the backing of 78 TDs, with 48 opposing it. Dáil Éireann (Assembly of Ireland) is the lower house, and principal chamber, of the Oireachtas (Irish legislature).

The Celtic Feast of Imbolg February 1st

Imbolg, observed on the first day of February, is the second of the four ancient yearly Celtic Festivals, representing the advent of the traditional agricultural year. There are four great Feast Days of the Celtic Year:

Samhain - the Celtic New Year (Halloween) celebrated on November 1st

Imbolg - the Feast of the Goddess Brigit on February 1st

Beltane – festival honouring the beginning of summer

Lughnasadh - the harvest festival and last feast day in the year which falls on August 1st

Keeping the shake in Cork's Daly's Bridge

The River Lee (Irish: An Laoi) rises in the Shehy Mountains (Cnoic na Síofra) in the west of County Cork (Contae Chorcaí). It flows eastwards where it splits in two for a short distance, creating an island on which Cork's city centre is built. The river then enters into the Celtic Sea at Cork Harbour. Cork was said to have originally been founded as a monastic settlement by Saint Finbarr in the 6th century. He is patron saint of the city and of the Diocese of Cork and his feast day is September 25. Between 915 and 922 the Vikings developed Cork it into a significant trading port.

New leadership for Irish political party Sinn Féin

Retiring Sinn Féin party president Gerry Adams is scheduled to be formally replaced by Mary Lou McDonald at a special Ard Fheis (party conference) on February 10, 2018. She is a Teachta Dála (TD) for the Dublin Central constituency. Michelle O'Neill, leader of Sinn Féin in the Northern Ireland Assembly and a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) for Mid Ulster will become the new deputy leader of Sinn Féin.

435-million-year-old fossil found by Irish geologist in Connemara confirmed as a new species

A 435 million-year-old starfish fossil discovered in Connemara, Co Galway by an Irish geologist, Dr Eamon Doyle, in the late 1980's, has now been confirmed as a new species and the oldest of its type in Ireland. Dr Doyle has been given the the honour of it being named after him. According to the latest issue of the Irish Journal of Earth Sciences, published by the Royal Irish Academy, it has been given the Latin name Crepidosoma Doyleii by international palaeontologists. 

Archaeologists discover 13th Century Irish castle walls in Galway

Construction work being undertaken in Quay Street, Galway (Irish: Gaillimh) in the West of Ireland  has revealed the remains of a castle. Archaeologists believe it to be part of the oldest-known stone building in Galway city and that the two metre thick stone walls formed part of Dún na Gaillimhe, a castle built by the De Burgo family in 1232. The fortification was built along the then shoreline of the river Corrib. It was preceded by a wooden structure on the same site, which is mentioned in the annals of 1124.

Irish language national school Gaelscoil Mhic Ahmlaigh moves to new larger premises in Galway

Gaelscoil Mhic Ahmlaigh was established in 1993 with just 20 pupils. Since then the Irish language school has continued to grow. Their increased numbers had to be catered for by the building of  additional Portacabins. Now the pupils have moved to new premises on the west side of the city of Galway (Irish: Gaillimh). The building on Millars Lane in Knocknacarra now has 24 classrooms, offices, support rooms and sports facilities and can accommodate 720 pupils.

British clandestine security service MI5 planned terrorist assassination plot on Irish political leader

The "thirty-year rule" is the informal name given to laws in the Republic of Ireland, that under the 1986 National Archives Act, allows certain government documents to be released to the public each December, thirty years after they were created. The latest release of Irish State Papers relate to 1987. Included in the papers is further information on the murky involvement of British security agencies in Irish politics. Part of which includes their close relationship with the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF), which is an Ulster loyalist paramilitary group in the north-east of Ireland.

Ireland looks at new ways to expand tourism success

Recently Tourism Ireland announced that 2017 has been the “best year ever” for overseas tourism to Ireland. The country attracted around 10.65 million visitors generating roughly €5.78 billion in revenue. Ireland has been innovative in exploiting its rich cultural history and great natural beauty over the years. 

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