Republic of Ireland
Ireland known as the Republic of Ireland, is a country in north-western Europe occupying 26 of 32 counties of the island of Ireland. The capital and largest city is Dublin, located on the eastern part of the island, whose metropolitan area is home to around a third of the country's over 4.8 million inhabitants. The sovereign state shares its only land border with a part of the United Kingdom, it is otherwise surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the Celtic Sea to the south, St George's Channel to the south-east, the Irish Sea to the east. It is a parliamentary republic; the legislature, the Oireachtas, consists of a lower house, Dáil Éireann, an upper house, Seanad Éireann, an elected President who serves as the ceremonial head of state, but with some important powers and duties. The head of government is the Taoiseach, elected by the Dáil and appointed by the President; the state was created as the Irish Free State in 1922 as a result of the Anglo-Irish Treaty. It had the status of Dominion until 1937 when a new constitution was adopted, in which the state was named "Ireland" and became a republic, with an elected non-executive president as head of state.
It was declared a republic in 1949, following the Republic of Ireland Act 1948. Ireland became a member of the United Nations in December 1955, it joined the European Economic Community, the predecessor of the European Union, in 1973. The state had no formal relations with Northern Ireland for most of the twentieth century, but during the 1980s and 1990s the British and Irish governments worked with the Northern Ireland parties towards a resolution to "the Troubles". Since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998, the Irish government and Northern Ireland Executive have co-operated on a number of policy areas under the North-South Ministerial Council created by the Agreement. Ireland ranks among the top twenty-five wealthiest countries in the world in terms of GDP per capita, as the tenth most prosperous country in the world according to The Legatum Prosperity Index 2015. After joining the EEC, Ireland enacted a series of liberal economic policies that resulted in rapid economic growth.
The country achieved considerable prosperity between the years of 1995 and 2007, which became known as the Celtic Tiger period. This was halted by an unprecedented financial crisis that began in 2008, in conjunction with the concurrent global economic crash. However, as the Irish economy was the fastest growing in the EU in 2015, Ireland is again ascending league tables comparing wealth and prosperity internationally. For example, in 2015, Ireland was ranked as the joint sixth most developed country in the world by the United Nations Human Development Index, it performs well in several national performance metrics, including freedom of the press, economic freedom and civil liberties. Ireland is a member of the European Union and is a founding member of the Council of Europe and the OECD; the Irish government has followed a policy of military neutrality through non-alignment since prior to World War II and the country is not a member of NATO, although it is a member of Partnership for Peace. The 1922 state, comprising 26 of the 32 counties of Ireland, was "styled and known as the Irish Free State".
The Constitution of Ireland, adopted in 1937, provides that "the name of the State is Éire, or, in the English language, Ireland". Section 2 of the Republic of Ireland Act 1948 states, "It is hereby declared that the description of the State shall be the Republic of Ireland." The 1948 Act does not name the state as "Republic of Ireland", because to have done so would have put it in conflict with the Constitution. The government of the United Kingdom used the name "Eire" and, from 1949, "Republic of Ireland", for the state; as well as "Ireland", "Éire" or "the Republic of Ireland", the state is referred to as "the Republic", "Southern Ireland" or "the South". In an Irish republican context it is referred to as "the Free State" or "the 26 Counties". From the Act of Union on 1 January 1801, until 6 December 1922, the island of Ireland was part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. During the Great Famine, from 1845 to 1849, the island's population of over 8 million fell by 30%. One million Irish died of starvation and/or disease and another 1.5 million emigrated to the United States.
This set the pattern of emigration for the century to come, resulting in constant population decline up to the 1960s. From 1874, under Charles Stewart Parnell from 1880, the Irish Parliamentary Party gained prominence; this was firstly through widespread agrarian agitation via the Irish Land League, that won land reforms for tenants in the form of the Irish Land Acts, secondly through its attempts to achieve Home Rule, via two unsuccessful bills which would have granted Ireland limited national autonomy. These led to "grass-roots" control of national affairs, under the Local Government Act 1898, in the hands of landlord-dominated grand juries of the Protestant Ascendancy. Home Rule seemed certain when the Parliament Act 1911 abolished the veto of the House of Lords, John Redmond secured the Third Home Rule Act in 1914. However, the Unionist movement had been growing since 1886 among Irish Protestants after the introduction of the first home rule bill, fearing discrimination and loss of economic and social privileges if Irish Catholics achieved real political power
Oldcastle, County Meath
Oldcastle is a town in County Meath, Ireland. It is located in the north-west of the county near the border with Cavan 13 miles from Kells; the R154 and R195 regional roads cross in the town's market square. As of the 2011 census the town's population stood at 2,316. In recent years Oldcastle has grown due to an influx of workers from Eastern Europe to work in the several industries furniture and victualling located in the area; the area was the birthplace of St Oliver Plunkett. Oldcastle is the 18th century creation of the Naper family who had received parts of the Plunkett estate following the Cromwellian wars. St. Oliver Plunkett, who served as Lord Archbishop of Armagh in the seventeenth century, and, hung and quartered at Tyburn in Middlesex in 1681 on false charges, was the most famous member of this family, it was the birthplace of Isaac Jackson, son of Anthony Jackson III of Eccleston, England who died in nearby County Cavan after 1666. Isaac was an early Quaker in Ireland, he moved to Ballitore, County Kildare, where he married and raised a large family all of whom emigrated with their parents to Chester County, Pennsylvania, USA in 1725.
Oldcastle suffered quite badly during subsequent emigration. Owing to the continuation of a Gaelic way of life in the north of the county, Oldcastle suffered far more than the richer more arable land in the southern part of County Meath; the poorest class lived where Irish culture was strongest and were obliterated by starvation and emigration. Nonetheless, land patterns visible today still reveal a strong attachment to the pastoral farming of Gaelic culture. Politically and culturally the area has a strong tradition of support for radical republicanism, the Gaelic Athletic Association and Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann. Oldcastle Workhouse was located on St. Oliver Plunkett Street, part of the R195, on the southern edge of the town. Designed by George Wilkinson in a neo-Tudor style, built in the late 1830s or early 1840s, it was demolished before the 1950s. Mellow's Park was built by Meath County Council on the site around 1950. Many Germans and Hungarians were interned in the old workhouse by the British Government during the First World War.
Fennor Upper and Lower in Oldcastle is said to be named after Findabair. In Irish Mythology, she was sent as an offering to Cú Chulainn in his fight against Medb and her army from Connacht, she was killed by Cú Chulainn and the area was named after the place where she was murdered and buried. In 1923, Micheal Grealy, a member of the anti-treaty IRA, robbed two banks – The Hibernian Bank and the Northern Bank – for which he was executed in Mullingar Barracks. A monument was erected in 1961 in Oldcastle Square by Meath Brigades Executive, Old IRA Federation, 1916–1921 to the memory of Commandant Seamus Coogan and Commandant Patrick McDonnell who were killed by British Crown Forces during the War of Independence; the monument in the form of a cross was unveiled by Seán Dowling, Chairman of the National Federation of the Old IRA. In November 1997 Michael McKevitt and other IRA dissidents held a meeting in a farmhouse in Oldcastle, County Meath, a new organisation styling itself Óglaigh na hÉireann was formed.
The organisation attracted disaffected Provisional IRA members from the republican stronghold of South Armagh, as well as other areas including Dublin, Limerick, County Louth, County Tyrone and County Monaghan. Ireland was part of the United Kingdom in 1914; the Alien Restriction Act 1914 was passed on 5 August 1914. The Act introduced strict controls on freedom of movement of foreign nationals and introduced a system of registration with the police; the Act contained powers to deport foreign nationals and to intern all Austrian and German males between the ages of 17 and 42 i.e. men of military age. ‘The Oldcastle detention camp was the only permanent civilian POW camp in Ireland, detaining so called “enemy aliens”. This was due to a fear that these men would betray Britain by returning home and joining the German Army or becoming spies in Britain. Not all German and Austrian nationals residing Ireland were detained immediately; these individuals tended to be citizens who promised to behave morally.
However these men were detained eventually. After this Act was passed the British War Office started looking for suitable buildings to convert into detention centres; as stated by John Smyth, ‘disused workhouses were ideal. They had much of the infrastructure to hold hundreds of people: dormitories, dining halls, washing facilities, an infirmary, store rooms, recreation yards etc.’ These had the bonus of being easy to defend with their high walls and being on the outskirts of towns. Oldcastle Workhouse met these requirements perfectly. In 1838 The Poor Law Act was passed which aimed to relieve the poor/destitute by providing basic food and accommodation. Oldcastle Workhouse was opened in 1842 to accommodate 600 people. By 1914 there were only 50 inmates living in the building. After the military approved the conversion of the workhouse into a detention centre, these remaining residents were moved to other workhouses in the area. In November
Confederate Ireland or the Union of the Irish was the period of Irish self-government between 1642 and 1649, during the Eleven Years' War. During this time, two-thirds of Ireland was governed by the Irish Catholic Confederation known as the Confederation of Kilkenny because it was based in Kilkenny, it was formed by Irish Catholic nobles and military leaders after the Irish Rebellion of 1641. The Confederation had what were a parliament, an executive, a military, it pledged allegiance to Charles I. The remaining Protestant-controlled enclaves in Ulster and Leinster were held by armies loyal to the royalists, parliamentarians or Scottish Covenanters. Throughout its existence, the Confederation waged war against the parliamentarians. In 1648, it allied itself with the royalists. However, in 1649 a parliamentarian army under Oliver Cromwell invaded Ireland, it brought the Confederation to an end. For a military history of the period, see Irish Confederate WarsThe Irish Catholic Confederation was formed in the aftermath of the 1641 rebellion, both to control the popular uprising and to organise an Irish Catholic war effort against the remaining English and Scottish armies in Ireland.
It was hoped that by doing this, the Irish Catholics could hold off an English or Scottish re-conquest of the country. The initiative for the Confederation came from a Catholic bishop, Nicholas French, a lawyer named Nicholas Plunkett, they put forth their proposals for a government to Irish Catholic nobles such as Viscount Gormanston, Viscount Mountgarret and Viscount Muskerry. These men would commit their own armed forces to the Confederation and persuaded other rebels to join it; the declared aims of the Confederates were similar to those of Sir Phelim O'Neill, the leader of the early stages of the rebellion in Ulster, who issued the Proclamation of Dungannon in October 1641. On 17 March 1642 these nobles signed the "Catholic Remonstrance" issued at Trim, County Meath, addressed to King Charles I. On 22 March, at a synod in nearby Kells chaired by Hugh O'Reilly, Archbishop of Armagh, a majority of the Catholic bishops proclaimed that the rebellion was a just war. On 10 May 1642, Ireland's Catholic clergy held a synod at Kilkenny.
Present were the Archbishops of Armagh and Tuam, eleven bishops or their representatives, other dignitaries. They drafted the Confederate Oath of Association and called on all Catholics in Ireland to take the oath; those who took the oath swore allegiance to Charles I and vowed to obey all orders and decrees made by the "Supreme Council of the Confederate Catholics". The rebels henceforth became known as Confederates; the synod re-affirmed that the rebellion was a "just war". It called for the creation of a council for each province, which would be overseen by a national council for the whole island, it vowed to punish misdeeds by Confederate soldiers and to excommunicate any Catholic who fights against the Confederation. The synod sent agents to France and Italy to gain support, gather funds and weapons, recruit Irishmen serving in foreign armies. Lord Mountgarret was appointed president of the Confederate Supreme Council, a General Assembly was fixed for October that year; the first Confederate General Assembly was held in Kilkenny on 24 October 1642, where it set up a provisional government.
The Assembly was a parliament in all but name. Present at the first Assembly were 14 Lords Temporal and 11 Lords Spiritual from the Parliament of Ireland, along with 226 commoners; the Confederate's constitution was written by a Galway lawyer named Patrick D'Arcy. The Assembly resolved that each county should have a council, overseen by a provincial council made up of two representatives from each county council; the Assembly agreed orders "to be observed as the model of their government". The Assembly elected an executive known as the Supreme Council; the first Supreme Council was elected about 14 November. It consisted of 24 members, 12 of whom were to abide always in Kilkenny or wherever else they deemed fitting; the members of the first Supreme Council were as follows: James Tuchet, 3rd Earl of Castlehaven, representing the Crown, was the final member of the Supreme Council. The Supreme Council would have power over all military generals, military officers and civil magistrates, its first act was to name the generals who were to command Confederate forces: Owen Roe O'Neill was to command the Ulster forces, Thomas Preston the Leinster forces, Garret Barry the Munster forces and John Burke the Connacht forces.
Ulick Burke, 1st Marquess of Clanricarde was named head general, as they thought he would sooner or join the Confederates. The Supreme Council issued an order to raise £30,000 and a levy of 31,700 men in Leinster who were to be trained at once; the Supreme Council made its own seal, described as follows: "'Twas circular, in its centre was a large cross, the base of which rested on a flaming heart, while its apex was overlapped by the wings of a dove. On the left of the cross was the harp, on the right the crown." The motto on the seal was Rege, et Patria, Hiberni Unanimes. A National Treasury, a mint for making coins, a press for printing proclamations were set up in Kilkenny; this first General Assembly sat until 9 January 1643. However, the Confederate Catholic Association of Ireland never claimed to be an independent government, because they professed to be Royalists, loyal to Charles I. Since only the King could call a Parliament, the Confederate General Assembly never claimed to be a Parliament e
Placenames Database of Ireland
The Placenames Database of Ireland known as logainm.ie, is a database and archive of place names in Ireland. It was created by Fiontar, Dublin City University in collaboration with the Placenames Branch of the Department of Culture and the Gaeltacht; the website is a public resource aimed at journalists and translators and teachers, historians and researchers in genealogy. The Placenames Commission was established by the Department of Finance in 1946 to advise Ordnance Survey Ireland and the government of what the Irish name of places should be; the Placenames Commission ceased on 11 October 2012 and the Placenames Committee took its place on 19 September 2013. The Placenames Branch is a branch of the Department of Culture and the Gaeltacht, established by the Official Languages Act 2003, which supports the Placenames Commission/Committee in investigating the historical Irish-language names of places. Although both the 1922 Constitution of the Irish Free State and the current constitution adopted in 1937 make Irish the national language, the law in regard to placenames was carried over from the 19th-century UK statutes which established the Ordnance Survey and Griffith's Valuation, under which only an English-language name had official status.
Irish-language names were adopted in place of some English-language names after 1920 and the Department of Posts and Telegraphs adopted Irish names, but these were ad-hoc and sometimes inconsistent or disputed by locals or Irish-language scholars. In 1973, the Oireachtas passed an act to codify the official assignment of Irish names alongside, rather than instead of, English names; the names chosen were on the advice of the Placenames Branch. The 1973 act was replaced by the 2003 act and under its terms the Placenames Committee continues to advise the Minister prior to the issuing of statutory instruments; the database website, www.logainm.ie, won the European Language Label in 2010 and was category winner at the 2011 & 2016 Irish eGovernment Awards. Bunachar Logainmneacha na hÉireann, Placenames database of Ireland home page
Slieve na Calliagh
Slieve na Calliagh is a range of hills and archaeological site near Oldcastle, County Meath, Ireland. The hills rise to 276 metres above the highest point in the county. On the hilltops are a group of megalithic tombs dating back to the 4th millennium BC; these tombs are known as Slieve na Calliagh, or as the Loughcrew tombs. The rays of the equinox sunrise shine down the passageway of the Cairn T and illuminate an inner chamber filled with megalithic stonecarvings, it is deemed one of the four main passage tomb sites in Ireland and is a protected National Monument. Slieve na Calliagh includes the hills of Carnbane West, Carnbane East and Patrickstown Hill; the hills are named after the divine hag of Irish mythology. Legend has it that the monuments were created when a giant hag, striding across the land, dropped her cargo of large stones from her apron. Cailleach - the hag List of Irish counties by highest point Megalithic Cairns at Slieve na Calliagh - photos and videos from Knowth.com
An equinox is regarded as the instant of time when the plane of Earth's equator passes through the center of the Sun. This occurs 23 September. In other words, it is the moment at which the center of the visible Sun is directly above the Equator; the word is derived from aequus and nox. On the day of an equinox and nighttime are of equal duration all over the planet, they are not equal, due to the angular size of the Sun, atmospheric refraction, the changing duration of the length of day that occurs at most latitudes around the equinoxes. Long before conceiving this equality primitive cultures noted the day when the Sun rises due East and sets due West and indeed this happens on the day closest to the astronomically defined event. In the northern hemisphere, the equinox in March is called the Spring Equinox; the dates are variable, dependent as they are on the leap year cycle. Because the Moon cause the motion of the Earth to vary from a perfect ellipse, the equinox is now defined by the Sun's more regular ecliptic longitude rather than by its declination.
The instants of the equinoxes are defined to be when the longitude of the Sun is 0° and 180°. Systematically observing the sunrise, people discovered that it occurs between two extreme locations at the horizon and noted the midpoint between the two, it was realized that this happens on a day when the durations of the day and the night are equal and the word "equinox" comes from Latin Aequus, meaning "equal", Nox, meaning "night". In the northern hemisphere, the vernal equinox conventionally marks the beginning of spring in most cultures and is considered the start of the New Year in the Assyrian calendar and the Persian calendar or Iranian calendars as Nowruz, while the autumnal equinox marks the beginning of autumn; the equinoxes are the only times. As a result, the northern and southern hemispheres are illuminated. In other words, the equinoxes are the only times when the subsolar point is on the equator, meaning that the Sun is overhead at a point on the equatorial line; the subsolar point crosses the equator moving northward at the March equinox and southward at the September equinox.
When Julius Caesar established the Julian calendar in 45 BC, he set 25 March as the date of the spring equinox. Because the Julian year is longer than the tropical year by about 11.3 minutes on average, the calendar "drifted" with respect to the two equinoxes – so that in AD 300 the spring equinox occurred on about 21 March, by AD 1500 it had drifted backwards to 11 March. This drift induced Pope Gregory XIII to create the modern Gregorian calendar; the Pope wanted to continue to conform with the edicts of the Council of Nicaea in AD 325 concerning the date of Easter, which means he wanted to move the vernal equinox to the date on which it fell at that time, to maintain it at around that date in the future, which he achieved by reducing the number of leap years from 100 to 97 every 400 years. However, there remained a small residual variation in the date and time of the vernal equinox of about ±27 hours from its mean position all because the distribution of 24-hour centurial leap days causes large jumps.
This in turn raised the possibility that it could fall on 22 March, thus Easter Day might theoretically commence before the equinox. The astronomers chose the appropriate number of days to omit so that the equinox would swing from 19 to 21 March but never fall on 22 March; the dates of the equinoxes change progressively during the leap-year cycle, because the Gregorian calendar year is not commensurate with the period of the Earth's revolution about the Sun. It is only after a complete Gregorian leap-year cycle of 400 years that the seasons commence at the same time. In the 21st century the earliest March equinox will be 19 March 2096, while the latest was 21 March 2003; the earliest September equinox will be 21 September 2096 while the latest was 23 September 2003. Vernal equinox and autumnal equinox: these classical names are direct derivatives of Latin; these are the universal and still most used terms for the equinoxes, but are confusing because in the southern hemisphere the vernal equinox does not occur in spring and the autumnal equinox does not occur in autumn.
The equivalent common language English terms spring equinox and autumn equinox are more ambiguous. It has become common for people to refer to the September equinox in the southern hemisphere as the Vernal equinox. March equinox and September equinox: names referring to the months of the year in which they occur, with no ambiguity as to which hemisphere is the context, they are still not universal, however, as not all cultures use a solar-based calendar where the equinoxes occur every year in the same month. Although the terms have become common in the 21st century, they were sometimes used at least as long ago as the mid-20th century. Northward equinox and southward equinox: names referring to the appare