Eibhlin O'Neill's blog

New five-year ferry contract guarantees daily services to Ireland's Aran Islands

The Aran Islands (Irish: Oileáin Árann) are a group of three islands, Inishmore (Árainn Mhór/Inis Mór), Inishmaan (Inis Meáin/Inis Meadhóin) and Inisheer (Inis Thiar/Inis Oírr/Inis Oirthir), located at the mouth of Galway Bay, on the west coast of Ireland. Residents on the Aran Islands have raised concerns over recent years about the provision of transport services to and from the islands, with some services even facing threatened suspension. Now a new five year contract will guarantee daily ferry services to each of the three islands. 

Statue of Irish writer and journalist Pádraic Ó Conaire unveiled in Galway

A bronze replica of a statue of Irish writer and journalist Pádraic Ó Conaire (28 February 1882 – 6 October 1928)  has been unveiled in Eyre Square, Galway (Irish: An Fhaiche Mhór, Gaillimh) in the west of Ireland.  Irish President Michael D Higgins performed the ceremony. The original statue, by sculptor Albert Power, was removed for preservation eleven years ago and the replica was made using original drawings by the sculptor and a caste from a mould of the existing statue, which is now located in Galway City Museum (Irish: Músaem Cathrach na Gaillimhe).

The shifting sands of Ireland's Achill Island

Its been a good year for the reappearance of beaches on Achill Island (Irish: Acaill, Oileán Acla). It is an island off the coast of County Mayo (Irish: Contae Mhaigh Eo) in the West of Ireland. Earlier this year, after an absence of 33 years, sand returned to a beach near Dooagh. The sand had been washed away during storms in 1984, and then this year high tides deposited the sand back. 

Gerry Adams announces he is to step down as Sinn Féin president in 2018

Gerry Adams announced at the Sinn Féin Ard Fheis (annual conference) this weekend that he is stepping down as president of Sinn Féin in 2018 and also confirmed that he will not seek re-election to the Irish parliament, the Dáil, in the next general election.  Gerry Adams has been the president of the Irish political party Sinn Féin since 1983. From 1983 to 1992 and from 1997 to 2011, he was an abstentionist Member of Parliament (MP) for the Belfast West constituency of the British parliament.

Former Irish UN official returns honour in protest

In this article in Yn Commeeys Celtiagh - Celtic League Mannin it is reported that Denis Halliday, a former Irish UN official is to return the Presidents Medal he had recieved at Ireland's NUI university in Galway in the west of Ireland. This is in protest at the award of an honorary degree by the University to former Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister) Enda Kenny. Denis Halliday's actions are due to what he sees as Enda Kenny's failure to protect the neutrality and peacekeeping ethic of the Irish Defence Forces: 

Legislation bans circuses in Ireland from using wild animals from 1 January 2018

Ireland has joined a growing list of countries that ban the use of wild animals in circuses. Many Irish local authorities already do not allow public land to be used by circuses featuring wild animals. Michael Creed, Irish Minister for Agriculture has signed new regulations which bans the use of wild animals in circuses and which will come into effect from 1 January 2018. The Minister said:

Dragon visits Ireland for Wild Lights at Dublin Zoo festival

Wild Lights at Dublin Zoo is festival of light that is on from 3rd November 2017 until 7th January 2018. An enchanted lantern trail has been designed with beautifully crafted, giant colourful lanterns and illuminated sculptures inspired by wildlife. Silk lanterns will include those in the form of a pride of lions, orangutans, tigers, giraffe and monkeys that will light up the skyline. This festival of light also has a Chinese theme with displays of a 16-metre high porcelain elephant tower and a 30-metre long Chinese dragon.

Wind turbine development near five thousand year old Neolithic cairn in Ireland halted

The construction of a 40 metre high wind turbine has been halted near a Neolithic cairn in Co Down (Irish: Contae an Dúin) in the northeast of Ireland. The development has been paused for 28 days due to fears that the development would have a visual impact on the integrity of the 5,000-year old site and was in breach of planning policy. The Neolithic Round Cairn on Knock Iveagh, a hill outside Rathfriland (Irish: Ráth Fraoileannin), dates back to beyond 3000BC. Measuring 100ft in diameter and 10ft tall it was used as a burial place and for ritual. 

Tireless researcher who exposed mass grave of Tuam home babies to receive human rights award

This news item from Yn Commeeys Celtiagh - Celtic News Mannin is about the announcement that Catherine Corless, who has done so much to expose the scandal surrounding the death and burial of almost 800 children and babies at a ‘mother and baby home’ at Tuam, County Galway in the west of Ireland has been awarded the Bar of Ireland Human Rights Award 2017. The home for unmarried mothers and their children operated between 1925 and 1961 in Tuam.

Letter recovered from body of Titanic passenger sold at auction for record price

A world record price has been paid for one of the last known letters to have been penned on the Titanic. Written to his mother on 13 April 1912 by American businessman and passenger Oscar Holverson, it fetched £126,000 at auction at auctioneers Henry Aldridge & Son. He was travelling on Titanic with his wife, Mary. She survived when the Titanic sank but Oscar Holverson died. When his body was recovered the letter was found inside a pocket book. The letter still has the sea water stains and the mark of the White Star shipping line.

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