The real reason why there aren’t any snakes in Ireland – it’s not St. Patrick

Legend tells it that in addition to introducing Christianity to Ireland, St. Patrick banished all the snakes from the Emerald Isle, chasing them into the sea from atop a cliff where he had undertaken a 40-day fast. As beloved as this element of St. Patrick’s story may be, a brief scientific inquiry and look back through history, such reveals what while St. Patrick did a great many things, sending snakes slithering away from Ireland was not one of them.

Snakes never came to Ireland

The truth is that there were never any snakes in Ireland to begin with.

There are no signs of snakes in Ireland’s fossil record. In fact, it’s likely that for millennia there weren’t any snakes in either Ireland or Britain, though Britain eventually gained three species of snakes: the Grass Snake, the Adder Snake and the Smooth Snake.
So, how did that happen?

During the Ice Age, Ireland and England were too frigid to be suitable habitats for cold-blooded reptiles such as snakes. But then, 10,000 years ago, when the glaciers shifted and land emerges connecting Europe, England and Ireland, allowing for migration. Animals that did make it to Ireland during this time period included brown bears, lynx and wild boars.

As Popular Science noted, when the glaciers began melting, the land between Ireland and England was covered over 8,500 years ago, but the land between Britain and Europe went underwater 6,500 years ago, allowing more time for snakes to slither over.

Ireland is not alone

Ireland is not the only place in the world without snakes – there are no native species of snakes to be found in Iceland, Greenland, Hawaii, New Zealand, parts of Canada, northern Russia, or, not surprisingly, Antarctica . . . meaning St. Patrick would have been a very busy fellow.

On the contrary, it seems that snakes have served as an allegory of paganism, which St. Patrick “banished” when he brought the Catholic religion to the shores of Ireland.

“There has never been any suggestion of snakes in Ireland [There was] nothing that St. Patrick could banish,” said Nigel Monaghan, guardian of natural history at the National Museum of Ireland in Dublin,
Or, as Mark Ryan, director of the Louisiana Poison Center of the Health Sciences Center at Louisiana State University, “There are no snakes in Ireland for the simple reason that they could not get there because the weather was not It was favorable for them to be there. ”

The only courageous reptile that did make it all the way to and populate Ireland was the common lizard. The Slow Worm, a non-native species of lizard that does not have legs, is often mistaken for a snake even though it was not one.

Interestingly, during the Celtic Tiger, owning exotic snakes became something of a status symbol in Ireland. But when the Irish economy collapsed, many snakes wound up abandoned due to the high cost of care.

For St. Patrick’s Day 2013, the New York Times reported on the phenomenon and talked to Kevin Cunningham, founder of the National Exotic Animal Sanctuary, which took in many abandoned snakes.

He said that he believes Irish people have an inbred fear of snakes.

He added: “We have it deep inbred in us that they’re evil and nasty and tempted Eve and were led out of Ireland.

“One six-foot snake ended up with us recently after its owner lost his job and had to move in with his parents.

“Being a good Irish mother, she said, ‘Of course I’ll take you back home — but I’m not taking your boa constrictor.’”




Molly Malone Story

For someone who trod this Earth for so brief a period, the youngest daughter of two fishmongers named Patrick and Colleen Malone had a far greater impact on those who knew her, and many who did not, than almost anyone else who had ever lived in the seedy waterfront neighborhoods of Dublin during the early part of the 19th century.

In fact, so great was the outpouring of grief at the funeral of young Molly Malone, struck down by a fever as she blossomed into full womanhood, that the pubs for sixteen miles in every direction were obliged to stay open around the clock for three days following the sad event. Indeed, the reason for this unprecedented communal agony was summed up neatly by the epitaph engraved on the simple stone that graced her final resting place. To wit: Here Beneath This Cold, Hard Stone, Lies Lovely, Lifeless Molly Malone. Cruelly Snatched From This Vale of Tears At The Tender Age of Seventeen Years. To See Her Was To Love Her.

“To see her was to love, her,” indeed. From the time she was a little girl holding on to her mother’s skirts as the two of them made their daily rounds through the streets of Dublin, everyone knew that Molly Malone would grow up to be among the most beautiful flowers of all Ireland.

And none were disappointed. In fact, such was young Molly’s beauty that when she was old enough to push her own barrow through the cobbled streets, she was like a ray of sunshine bringing hope and gladness into the dingy lives and sad hearts of all who saw her. None were unaffected by her grace, her delicate auburn-haired beauty, her happy disposition, or by the liquid sunshine of her voice as she sang out, “Cockles and mussels, alive, alive oh!”.

Of all those affected by Molly’s charms, however, none was more so than a young man by the name of Timothy Pendleton. The illegitimate son of an English nobleman and a poor Irish seamstress, young Timothy made a meager living as an itinerant street musician who entertained passersby for whatever they would throw in his open fiddle case.

Every day, Timothy would situate himself on a corner where he knew Molly would pass on her appointed rounds. And every day as he heard her approach, he would change from whatever jig he was playing to the most beautiful violin sonata he knew. No words ever passed between them. But the depth of his feeling was plain to Molly by the lovely music he seemed to be playing just for her, and by the courtly little bow he made in her direction as she passed close by. If the truth were known, she felt something of the same passion for this shy young man with the sad, dark eyes and the violin.

One day, the appointed time came and Molly didn’t appear. Timothy remained on his corner until well after sunset, but there was no Molly to be seen. When she didn’t appear the following day, he began to worry. In all the time he had played on this corner, she had never failed him. And, as he had no way of knowing whether she had simply changed her route, or something terrible had happened to her, his worry
soon turned to dread.

It was on the third day of Molly’s absence that word began to spread through the streets of Dublin. Molly had been suddenly taken with a raging fever, and was even then being administered the last rites by Father Finnegan of Saint Bart’s. When the news reached Timothy’s ears, he packed up his fiddle and raced across Dublin to be near her in her hour of need.

But alas, he was too late. Even before he found the poor waterfront neighborhood where she had lived, Molly’s lifeless body was being prepared for the wake. The wailing had begun.

For weeks after the funeral, Timothy wandered the streets, unable to play his violin, and unable to put the vision of Molly from his mind. He could eat little, and slept even less. He began to look haggard and unkempt; his long hair became an uncombed wilderness, and a glint of madness shone from dark-circled eyes. Everywhere he went, he could
hear Molly’s voice plaintively crying out, “Cockles and mussels, alive alive, oh!”.

And every day he saw her form, disappearing into an early morning fog, or just rounding a corner in the distance. It soon became apparent, even to him, that he must leave Dublin or surely die of this madness.

And so, with little more than the clothes on his back, his violin and the few pounds he had saved, young Timothy found passage on a merchant schooner and set sail for the distant shores of America.

It so happened that the ship upon which Timothy sailed was bound for the New England seaport town of Portsmouth. Here he disembarked, and soon found employment on the docks, unloading ships and helping out in a ship’s chandlery. In a vain attempt to bury his homesickness for Dublin along with his memory of Molly, he threw himself into his work with the energy of ten men. He lived alone in a single room, saved his
money, and was never seen in the gaming and ale houses frequented by the other young unmarried men of his day. Nor was he ever seen in the company of a woman.

Thus, within a few short years, Timothy had established himself as a man of some importance in the bustling seaport town. He became a successful merchant with a thriving import export business. He
invested in one of the great clipper ships being built on the Piscataqua Yards. He built a fine brick home on the corner of Penhallow and State Streets, where he lived alone with a man-servant and two dogs. He became, in short order, the most sought after yet
elusive eligible bachelors in Portsmouth. But in all the years since leaving Dublin, he had never once picked up his violin.

One winter’s night, as he sat warming himself by the fire with the one after dinner brandy he allowed himself, he remembered Molly. He could see the way she looked at him as she passed with her barrow of fish; and could hear the sweet strains of the music as he played for her. He allowed himself a second brandy, and then a third; and the longer he sat staring into the fire, the more he felt an undeniable urge to pick up the violin and play.

And so he did. Miraculously, the violin had survived the ocean crossing and ensuing years without injury. Its sound was as sweet and true as an Irish sunrise, and his fingers were as sure on the bow and strings as the day he put it down. But it was the song he played that really surprised him — a melody he had never heard; a simple, happy tune with words that came from he knew not where, played and sung as though someone else were doing the playing and singing.

He played that night until his fingers burned and his heart broke with the memory of his youth on the streets of Dublin. He played until he could play no more. And as he slowly, gently laid the violin back in
its dusty case, he thought he heard a noise behind him.

“Timothy.” He froze. It was the voice of a young woman.

“Timothy,” the voice said again. “Please…don’t be afraid.”

He turned. And there, in the center of the room, the fire light dancing in her auburn hair, looking as young and lovely as the day she died, stood the figure of Molly Malone.

“S…s…surely, it’s the brandy,” he stammered when his voice returned. “This can’t be…I must be…this is all a dream…”

“No, Timothy,” she smiled and took a step closer to him. “This is no dream, and I’m no vision. It is I, Molly Malone.”

“But…but why?” he said. “Why have you come?”

The figure moved another step closer. “It was the music,” she said. “I’ve been waiting for you to play your violin for me. The way you did in Dublin.”

With that, she took a final step toward him, put her hands on either side of his face, and as though to prove she were no mere apparition, kissed him full on the mouth.

Before he could recover from the shock of her warm lips on his, she stepped back and smiled.

“Now, pick up that violin,” she said, a twinkle in her Irish eyes. “I feel like dancing!”

As you might have surmised, gentle reader, the tune Timothy played on the night of Molly’s visit turned out to be none other than “The Ballad of Molly Malone”; or, as it is more commonly known among school
children and lovers of Irish lore on both sides of the Atlantic, “Cockles and Mussels.”

As for Timothy? We know that he lived a long and happy life in the brick house on Penhallow and State, never married, and was considered an eccentric old fool by most of his contemporaries. After all, a man
who spent every evening and night of his life all alone in that big, empty house, must be a little bit mad.

And never mind the stories you might have heard about fiddle music and silhouettes of dancing figures coming from the front parlor of the old Pendleton house late at night.

You might have even heard snatches of music, or caught a fleeting glimpse of a dancing figure here yourself. But pay it no mind. It’s just your imagination. Or perhaps you’ve had one too many brandies yourself.




The cat is one of the most common pets in the whole world.

However, we have the certainty that both those who own a feline, or who want one, and want it as a pet, are only partially informed about them and their way of living with humans.

They enjoy a really interesting personality and their independence makes many owners feel that they abandon them when they see that the night comes, as their gift leaves home and delves into the secrets of the city.

Aristocratic and sharp, hunters, affectionate and above all independent are some of the characteristics of cats. But we must not forget that, as in all races, there are different temperaments and that among them we must seek the closest to our way of living and being.

When we have already decided to have a pet of these or if you already have it at home, it is important to take into account a couple of considerations to relate to these felines that have multifaceted personalities and, of course, some tricks.

The personality of the cat

The cat is essentially an independent, curious, dormant animal of admirable physical prowess. Its characteristics of corporal flexibility and resistance make it a natural gymnast capable of performing countless pirouettes, jumps and climbs almost anywhere. But, without doubt, the main characteristic of these animals is their personality. To treat a cat you have to put it in its position, that is, think like a cat.

He wants his own space, which must be respected for an adequate coexistence. Do not forget that the cat is an independent being, very different from dogs, for example. However, how do cats see us? The answer is very simple, they see us as if we were their mother. You may notice it when it approaches with its tail rigidly lifted just as the puppies run towards their mother cat. He will claim when he is hungry, feels uncomfortable or simply requires his attention just as he did with his mother when he was little. In the development of this section we will give more information so that the coexistence with your cat is more and more pleasant and you can fully enjoy this formidable pet.

But to begin to know them better, we divide their character into four types:

The timid ones:

Usually, they stay at a certain distance for a good time and at the first meeting with you they will retire to your corner to observe from that place. The first contacts that you must establish with him should be very cautious, but once the ice breaks, he will become an animal very attached to “his”, although he will continue distrusting those he does not know.

It is important not to disappoint him, since it will be very difficult to recover his confidence again. It is good to spoil him, treat him with care and make him love slowly.

The extroverts:

These cats do not have a drop of fear in front of the presence of man. After a period of abstinence, you will approach cordially and let yourself be caressed. Do not be afraid if you find the best shelter in your arms. In general, they are active, curious and playful with children, as long as they do not take their tails and respect their long naps. Even if your behavior is open, a cat will never bear to be harassed. We recommend that it is he who approaches voluntarily to play or ask for affection, since with his personality it will not cost him to be indifferent.

The silent ones:

If you like calm and calm, you will feel closely linked to this type of cats. They are balanced and get along very well with their peers. This type of pussy takes time to interact with the man, but not because of fear, but because he likes to do everything calmly and without haste. They are ideal companions for trips, since they can spend hours and hours in their basket without meowing.

This type of feline never suffers from stress, because he seems not to shudder with anything, he does not retreat, but he likes to observe from his place. If you appreciate this difference of nuances, you will know who is ahead.

The capricious

It would be better to say that it is a sensitive and susceptible cat. Then he takes everything wrong and his “anger” can last for hours. And very careful that someone wants to take something he had seen before, because he has many tricks to make clear who is the one who carries the baton. It is not a cat for noisy people because it is nervous and terrifying. Although some scientists point out that colors could determine the character of these cats, a conclusion has not yet been reached. The best recommendation we can give you is just to observe, so that you learn from it and also assimilate the customs of your home.

Within the temperament you will find de facto all inheritable characteristics including your own adaptation that will depend on the age of the cat since if it is young it will take little time to adapt to the change of home and if you are going to have siblings. If the cat is already big, the adaptation is a little complicated because his character was already formed in the environment where it was developed and therefore it will be necessary to find the appropriate way to treat it. Within this class they are divided into: fearful cat: he has had bad experiences with man and may have fears that force him to hide constantly. Difficult Cat: A cat like this usually scratches and bites when you try to grab it. II: BEHAVIORO factor that integrates personality is the behavior that includes encounters with friends (other cats), marking, aggressiveness and survival. 9000 years ago, the relationship between man and cat began in the Middle East, very fluctuating, since in ancient Egypt was worshiped as a god and in the Middle Ages was persecuted as an ally of the devil. And there is something in the personality of the cat that disturbs the human species, which does not quite understand that enigmatic companion with intense eyes, which maintains both distances … Cats are beings, control their emotions better than humans, they are more agile than dogs or any other domestic animal. Self-sufficient, controlled, independent, strong, silent, endowed with an exceptional physical structure, the strength of its members only deteriorates with age. However, we often do not understand it and this is because, unlike dogs, cats are much more mimetic and very different from their masters. For example, like humans, dogs are gregarious animals, which depend on the company of their type. We have both developed a host body language: humans smile and greet; the dogs tremble, they drop their ears and move their tails. But cats have a different behavior, still in an evolutionary process, from the scenario of solitary hunters to sociable species. They joined the species later than any other pet species and suddenly, during this century, they have become popular to the point that it is estimated that there are more than 200 million in the world, which makes them the most of the celebrations of history.


10 things we can all do to end gender violence. Stop Violence Against Women


1. Consider violence against the opposite sex as an all-embracing issue, involving men and women with all kinds of socio-economic and racial backgrounds.

2. If a brother, friend or partner mistreats his partner or is abusive towards women in general, do not ignore him, invite him to seek help or dialogue with a person who gives him appropriate guidance. Do not be silent.

3. Understand how your own attitude and actions can generate sexism and violence. Have the courage to look inside.

4. If you suspect that a woman you know is being abused or sexually assaulted, ask her if she wants help.

5. If you recognize yourself as violent and abusive towards women, or as it was in the past, seek professional help, act on behalf of your emotional and psychological health.

6. Be an ally of the people who are fighting to end all kinds of violence.

7. Recognize and speak out against homophobia and the mistreatment of homosexuals and lesbians. Discrimination and violence against people for thinking and / or acting differently are incorrect. This abuse is directly related to sexism (for example, men who speak out against sexism are often the object of homophobic abuse and this is one of the reasons why very few men do it).

8. Do not patronize sexism. Refuse to buy any magazine, rent any video or buy any music that presents women in a degrading or violent manner. Protest against sexism in the media.

9. Look for information on masculinity and gender inequality and the root of the problem of violence. Educate yourself and educate in the knowledge of social and cultural factors that originate this conflict and that affects women and men in your family.

10. Guide and teach young people about how to be men and women who live in peace, who do not admit violence, especially against girls and women in general. Take the lead by setting a good example. BE THE HERO IN YOUR OWN HOUSE!

It is important to recognize that domestic violence can happen between same-sex couples and against men in heterosexual relationships. Everyone deserves a life without violence.



What Are the Pagan Roots of Halloween? 🎃👻

Are the specific customs of Halloween related to pagan beliefs?

Since Halloween itself originated in paganism, it is not surprising that its customs are related to pagan belief. According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica,

In ancient Britain and Ireland, the Celtic Festival of Samhain was observed on October 31, at the end of summer… The souls of the dead were supposed to revisit their homes on this day and the autumnal festival acquired sinister significance, with ghosts, witches, goblins, black cats, fairies and demons of all kinds said to be roaming about. It was the time to placate the supernatural powers controlling the processes of nature. In addition, Halloween was thought to be the most favorable time for divinations concerning marriage, luck, health, and death. It was the only day on which the help of the devil was invoked for such purposes.

Halloween symbols, customs, and practices undoubtedly have had a variety of influences upon Western culture throughout history. However, in early American history, Halloween was not celebrated due to America’s strong Christian heritage. It was not widely observed until the twentieth century. Initially, it was practiced only in small Irish Catholic settlements, until thousands of Irish migrated to America during the great potato famine and brought their customs with them. To some degree, our modern Halloween is an Irish holiday with early origins in the Celtic winter festival. Interestingly, in American culture, the rise in popularity of Halloween also coincides roughly with the national rise in spiritism that began in 1848.

Irish Holiday

Ireland is the only place in the world where Halloween is actually a national holiday (celebrated with fireworks); children are even released from school for the week.

Among the modern customs and practices of Halloween, we can note numerous probable or possible influences, some of which follow.

Where did the jack-o’-lantern originate?

The carved pumpkin may have originated with the witches’ use of a collection of skulls with a candle in each to light the way to coven meetings. But among the Irish, who, as noted, prompted the popularization of Halloween in America, the legend of “Irish Jack” explains the jack-o’-lantern. According to the legend, a stingy drunk named Jack tricked the devil into climbing an apple tree for an apple, but then cut the sign of a cross into the trunk of the tree to prevent the devil from coming down. Jack then forced the devil to swear he would never come after Jack’s soul. The devil reluctantly agreed.

Jack eventually died, but he was turned away at the gates of heaven because of his drunkenness and life of selfishness. He was sent to the devil, who also rejected him, keeping his promise. Since Jack had no place to go, he was condemned to wander the earth. As he was leaving hell (he happened to be eating a turnip), the devil threw a live coal at him. He put the coal inside the turnip and has since forever been roaming the earth with his “jack-o’-lantern” in search of a place to rest. Eventually, pumpkins replaced turnips since it was much easier to symbolize the devil’s coal inside a pumpkin.

How did the tradition of trick-or-treating begin?

There are several ancient practices that point to this tradition. One possibility is from the notion that ancient witches had to steal the materials needed for their festivals. The Druids may have believed that witches held this day to be special, something clearly true for modern witches.

The idea of trick-or-treating is further related to the ghosts of the dead in pagan, and even Catholic, history. For example, among the ancient Druids, “The ghosts that were thought to throng about the houses of the living were greeted with a banquet-laden table. At the end of the feast, masked and costumed villagers representing the souls of the dead paraded to the outskirts of town leading the ghosts away.”

As already noted, Halloween was thought to be a night when mischievous and evil spirits roamed freely. As in modern poltergeist lore, mischievous spirits could play tricks on the living—so it was advantageous to “hide” from them by wearing costumes. Masks and costumes were worn to either scare away the ghosts or to keep from being recognized by them:

In Ireland especially, people thought that ghosts and spirits roamed after dark on Halloween. They lit candles or lanterns to keep the spirits away, and if they had to go outside, they wore costumes and masks to frighten the spirits or to keep from being recognized by these unearthly beings.

Where did Halloween costumes originate?

Besides the reasons given above, Halloween masks and costumes were used to hide one’s attendance at pagan festivals or—as in traditional shamanism (mediated by a witch doctor or pagan priest) and other forms of animism—to change the personality of the wearer to allow for communication with the spirit world. Here, costumes could be worn to ward off evil spirits. On the other hand, the costume wearer might use a mask to try to attract and absorb the power of the animal represented by the mask and costume worn. According to this scenario, Halloween costumes may have originated with the Celtic Druid ceremonial participants, who wore animal heads and skins to acquire the strength of a particular animal.

An additional layer of tradition explaining the origin of Halloween costumes comes from the medieval Catholic practice of displaying the relics of saints on All Saints’ Day: “The poorer churches could not afford relics and so instituted a procession with parishioners dressed as the patron saints; the extras dressed as angels or devils and everyone paraded around the churchyard.”

Going from door to door seeking treats may result from the Druidic practice of begging material for the great bonfires. As we will see later, it is also related to the Catholic concept of purgatory and the custom of begging for a “soul cake.”

As for the “trick” custom of Halloween, this is related to the idea that ghosts and witches created mischief on this particular night. For example, if the living did not provide food, or “treats,” for the spirits, then the spirits would “trick” the living. People feared terrible things might happen to them if they did not honor the spirits. The Druids also believed that failure to worship their gods would bring dire consequences. If the gods were not treated properly in ritual, they would seek vengeance. This was therefore a day of fear. Further, some people soon realized that a mischievous sense of humor, or even malevolence, could be camouflaged—that they could perform practical jokes on or do harm to others and blame it on the ghosts or witches roaming about.

What’s the significance of fruits and nuts at Halloween?

Halloween traditions often involve fruit centerpieces, apples, and nuts. Three of the sacred fruits of the Celts were acorns, apples, and nuts, especially the hazelnut, considered a god, and the acorn, sacred from its association to the oak. Fruits and nuts also seem to be related to the Roman harvest feast of Pomona, apparently the goddess of fruit. For example, in ancient Rome, cider was drawn and the Romans bobbed for apples, which was part of a divination that supposedly helped a person discover their future marriage partner.

How did we get the tradition of telling ghost stories?

It became a natural expression of Halloween to tell ghost stories when dead souls were believed to be everywhere, and good, mischievous, and evil spirits roamed freely. These stories further originated as a personal expression of these beliefs.




Stair na hÉireann/History of Ireland 🍀

1643 – Death of Richard Boyle, 1st Earl of Cork aka Great Earl of Cork, was Lord High Treasurer of the Kingdom of Ireland. Boyle is an important figure in the continuing English colonisation of Ireland (commenced by the Normans) in the 16th and 17th centuries, as he acquired large tracts of land in plantations in Munster, at the expense of native landowners. Moreover, his sons played an important role in fighting against Irish Catholic rebellion in the 1640s and ’50s, assisting in the victory of the British and Protestant interest in Ireland.

1851 – Sir William Whitla, physician and professor, is born in Co Monaghan.

1865 – Police raid and close the Irish People offices; Rossa, Luby and O’Leary are arrested.

1866 – John Blake Dillon, Young Irelander and co-founder of The Nation, dies in Killarney.

1881 – First soccer international in Ireland; England beats the Irish squad Total crowd receipts: £9.19s.7d.

1889 – Birth in Castlebar of singer Margaret Burke Sheridan.

1905 – Pat O’Callaghan, physician, hammer-thrower and first man to win an Olympic gold medal while representing Ireland, is born near Kanturk, Co Cork.

1921 – 15-18 Sep: There was further riots in Belfast and two Protestants were killed by a sniper.

1922 – Second consecutive night of sniping attacks in Dublin. Anti-Treaty fighters attempt to take over the Telephone exchange and Kingsbridge Railway Station in Dublin. They also attack the Wellington and Portobello military barracks. The attacks were driven off by Free State troops after several hours of firing.

1922 – In Dundalk, the Anti-Treaty IRA made several attacks on Free State troops and took over the power station, cutting off the town’s electricity supply. One National Army soldier is killed by a hand grenade in the clashes.

1922 – The Free State post at Athboy, Co Meath is attacked. One soldier is killed.

1922 – The Free State’s Lord Chief Justice rules that the country is in a state of war and Habeas Corpus no longer applies. He rejects an application to free two of the 5,000 prisoners taken by National forces since the outbreak of the civil war.

1953 – Long time antagonists Éamon de Valera and Winston Churchill meet for the one and only time at Downing Street.

1955 – Birth of writer, producer, comedian, actor, and director, Brendan O’Carroll in Finglas, Co Dublin. Best known for portraying foul-mouthed matriarch Agnes Brown in the BBC television sitcom, Mrs. Brown’s Boys.

1970 – Another landmark in the violence was reached when the one hundredth explosion in 1970 occurred. Officers of the RUC voted narrowly in favour of remaining unarmed. The policy was overtaken by events and eventually all officers were rearmed.

1976 – Anne Letitia Dickson is elected leader of the Unionist Party of Northern Ireland, becoming the first woman to lead a political party in Ireland.

1978 – Muhammad Ali defeated Leon Spinks in the Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans to win the world title for a record third time. Ali twice fought and defeated “Irish” Jerry Quarry in the early 70’s. Ali passed away on 3 June 2016 from septic shock. The great fighter had Irish origins and visited Ennis, Co Clare – his ancestral home – in 2009 as you can see in this YouTube clip:

1987 – The Northern Ireland Office (NIO) issued guidelines on fair employment Religious Equality of Opportunity in Employment: An Employers’ Guide to Fair Employment. Many commentators saw this initiative as a response to growing pressure from supporters of the MacBride Principles in the United States.

1997 – Sinn Féin joins multiparty peace talks in Northern Ireland.

1999 – The Corrs, the Cranberries and the Chieftains take the lion’s share of £15.6 million collected by the Irish Music Rights Organisation (IMRO) on behalf of Irish song writers.

1999 – Research showed that the forensic testing for use of firearms was flawed. The ‘paraffin’ test had been used to find traces of lead particles, for example on the hands or clothing of people suspected of firing weapons. However, research that had been commissioned by the Bloody Sunday Inquiry found that such testing was ‘flawed’ because, for example, exposure to car exhaust could show a ‘positive’ result.

2000 – Sonia O’Sullivan leads the Irish team at a spectacular Olympic opening ceremony in Sydney, Australia.

2001 – Aer Lingus, Delta and Continental Airlines resume services to and from Ireland. The first trans-Atlantic flights to the US leave for New York, Newark, Chicago and Washington. Priority status is given to all relatives of the victims and injured in the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center.

2013 – Death of Tomás Ó Canainn. Born in Co Derry, he was a Uilleann piper, accordion player, singer, composer, researcher, writer and lecturer in both electrical engineering (principally control engineering) and music. He was a founder of the group Na Fili with fiddler Matt Cranitch and whistle player Tom Barry in the late 1960s and 1970s. He took over the Irish music lectures from Seán Ó Riada at the College after his death in 1971 and taught music at the Cork School of music. Ó Canainn’s daughters also play, violin, viola and cello and all 3 three appear with him on his last solo release. Tomás died in The Mercy Hospital in Cork City, aged 82. los_50_lugares_mas_hermosos_de_irlanda_52140935_678x1000


Does life have a purpose? 

Every person wonders what purpose life has. Will it be hard work to improve our living conditions, provide what is necessary to our families, die at 70 or 80 years and then cease to exist forever?Many people, both in Eastern and Western countries, believe that the main reason for our existence is to acquire material wealth. They believe that with these you can live a happy and purposeful life. But what about people who already have material wealth? Canadian writer Harry Bruce said: “A surprising number of wealthy people insists that they are not happy.” He added: “Surveys indicate that North America has been infected with tremendous pessimism […]. Is anyone happy in this world? If there is, what is his secret? “One important political figure said, “We have discovered that possessing things and consuming things does not satisfy our longing for meaning. […] The accumulation of material goods can not fill the void of lives that lack confidence or purpose. Another political leader said: “For several years I have been engaged in an intense search for truths about myself and my life; I know many other people who are doing the same thing. As never before, people are asking themselves, ‘Who are we? For what purpose are we here?’ “Many doubt that life has purpose when they see that the conditions in which the world is: wars, pollution, hunger and disease, economic crisis and energy … have worsened.Elie Wiesel, who survived the Nazi concentration camps during World War II, said: “‘Why are we here?’ Is the most important question a human being must face. […] I think life has meaning despite the senseless deaths I’ve seen. ” However, I could not tell what the purpose of life was.Evolutionary scientist Stephen Jay Gould noted, “We may crave a ‘higher’ response, but there is none.” For evolutionists like him, life is a struggle in which the fittest survives, and death puts an end to everything. This view also offers no hope. And, again, is it based on the truth?Many religious guides say that the purpose of life is to lead a good life so that, when dying, the soul of the person can go to heaven and spend eternity there. What awaits evil people is eternal torment in a hell of fire. However, according to this belief, on Earth people would continue to lead the same unsatisfactory existence they have had throughout history. But if God’s purpose was for people to live in heaven like angels, why did He not create them in the beginning?Striving to find meaning in one’s life is the chief moving force within man. There is nothing in the world that would so effectively help one to survive even the worst conditions as the knowledge that one’s life has meaning.