Dec 1, 2011

Tin Whistle Playing Donkey in Kerry

A HILARIOUS tale of a busker, bald tyres and a whistling donkey left the presiding judge, gardaí, solicitors and even defendants in tears of laughter in Dingle District Court on Friday as they heard of the unlikely series of events that led to three road traffic charges being brought against a man.
Well known Dingle street entertainer Deaglan Ó Muiris of 7 Cuairt Phiarais, Ballyferriter, became the unintentional source of comic relief at Friday's sitting when Garda Frank Scanlon outlined the scene that greeted him when he stopped the busker for driving with four bald tyres.
Garda Scanlon told the court that having noticed the worn tyres on Mr Ó Muiris's Hiace van, his attention was immediately drawn to the inside of the vehicle, where he saw a donkey looking back at him.
He proceeded to tell Judge James O'connor how the said donkey is part of Mr Ó Muiris's renowned busking act, and is regularly seen with the defendant in Dingle.
When asked by the chuckling judge what the donkey did as part of the act, Garda Scanlon told him he played the tin whistle, causing an outburst of laughter in the courtroom.
Solicitor Pat Mann told the highly entertained judge that his client and his donkey are a regular double act at Dingle pier and that Mr Ó Muiris is 'a very good natured man.' He said that after being stopped by Garda Scanlon, he paid €350 for four new tyres for the van.
Withdrawing one of the charges, Garda Scanlon said he was very familiar with Mr Ó Muiris and had come across him on numerous occasions, adding that he had one previous conviction for drink driving dating back a few years. Mr Mann quickly interjected, telling the court that that offence was for driving his Hiace van, and not his donkey.
Garda Scanlon agreed that the tyres had been replaced, and concluded his evidence by telling the judge that the donkey has been retired for the winter.
The defendant was given until May of next year to pay €300 to the court poor box to avoid a convcition for the bald tyre offences.

Nov 29, 2011

Dublin 26th in Quality of Living Survey

Another Quality of Living survey from Mercer - has Dublin in 26th position  for 2011

Top 3 places place went to Vienna , Zurich and Auckland.

The top UK city was London - in 44th place.

Dublin came out better than cities such as New York , Paris , Rome and Barcelona

The survey bases the rankings on things such as

Mercer evaluates local living conditions in all the 420 cities it surveys worldwide. Living conditions are analysed according to 39 factors, grouped in 10 categories:

1) Political and social environment (political stability, crime, law enforcement, etc)
2) Economic environment (currency exchange regulations, banking services, etc)
3) Socio-cultural environment (censorship, limitations on personal freedom, etc)
4) Health and sanitation (medical supplies and services, infectious diseases, sewage, waste disposal, air pollution, etc)
5) Schools and education (standard and availability of international schools, etc)
6) Public services and transportation (electricity, water, public transport, traffic congestion, etc)
7) Recreation (restaurants, theatres, cinemas, sports and leisure, etc)
8) Consumer goods (availability of food/daily consumption items, cars, etc)
9) Housing (housing, household appliances, furniture, maintenance services, etc)
10) Natural environment (climate, record of natural disasters)

Dublin One of the top 20 Safest Cities in the World

 A survey published this week - gives the major cities of the world a ranking based on SAFETY. They base it on internal stability, crime levels, law enforcement effectiveness and the country’s international relations.

Dublin came 16th in the World - way ahead of the nearest UK cities which were Aberdeen and Glasgow in 44th place.

The top 16 are listed below

1 Luxembourg Luxembourg
2 Bern Switzerland
2 Helsinki Finland
2 Zurich Switzerland
5 Vienna Austria
6 Geneva Switzerland
6 Stockholm Sweden
8 Singapore Singapore
9 Auckland New Zealand
9 Wellington New Zealand
11 Copenhagen Denmark
11 Düsseldorf Germany
11 Frankfurt Germany
11 Munich Germany
11 Nurnberg Germany
16 Dublin Ireland


Sep 16, 2011

37% Increase in People Moving to Ireland

In the year ending April 2011 there was a 37% increase in the number of people moving to Ireland compared with 2010.  The 2011 figure for immigrants to Ireland was 42,300 - the figure in 2010 was 30,800.
This is the first time the number of people moving to Ireland has risen since 2007 - when a massive 109,500 people moved to Ireland.
The total figure of 42,300 people who moved to Ireland was mad up of 9600 from the UK , 7300 from the main EU countries, 6200 from the EU12 , 1000 from the USA and 16200 from other countries in the world.
The figures come from the Irish Central Statistics Office.

Of the 42300 people that came to Ireland - 48% were aged 25 to 44 and about 23% were aged 15 to 24..

There are still more jobs in the IT sector in Ireland than there are people qualified to do them. Employers such as Google , Amazon , Ebay etc are always looking for workers with IT and language skills .

Sep 2, 2011

Ireland - Recovery Looking Good

Ireland appears to be turning the corner - away from recession and may even be able to return to global money markets at the end of next year, according to a new report.

Independent London-based consultancy, the Centre for Economics and Business Research,  ( CEBR ) says it believes the austerity measures introduced by the Irish government are now paying off .

The report  says that Irish exports led by  pharmaceutical, IT and food sectors, will "gradually pull the economy out of its trough" and forecasts GDP growth of 2%  in 2012  and 4% in 2013:
They say that "Ireland is set to be one of Europe's best performers. George Osborne could learn some lessons from what Ireland has got right in turning an economy round."

Billionaire investor Wilbur Ross who this week said that Ireland   will be the first European nation to recover from the sovereign debt crisis and "will once again become the Celtic Tiger".

In Ireland - the  Economic and Social Research Institute  is forecasting GDP growth of 1.8% this year.

"When we said a year ago that Ireland would turn the corner in 2011, few believed us. But there is now increasing confidence, reflected in falling bond yields, that this will happen. With a strong export economy and a successful 'internal devaluation', Ireland is set to be one of Europe's best performers," said CEBR chief executive Douglas McWilliams.

The attitude of the bond markets to Ireland has changed dramatically in the past month. As the eurozone crisis worsened, Ireland's bond costs reduced. Last week 10-year bond yields dropped to below 9% for the first time since February. CEBR is predicting they will fall to 6% in 2013 and 4% in 2014, widely considered a sustainable level for a return to borrowing from the international markets.

The CEBR report, along with Ross's comments, will help Noonan's campaign to put clear water between Ireland and Greece and Portugal. Ross recently staked his claim on Ireland's future fortunes by snapping up a stake in the bailed-out Bank of Ireland, helping it to avert full nationalisation.

Aug 10, 2011

UK Riots - More People Thinking of Moving to Ireland

We have noticed a big increase in people finding this website in the past few days.
Search terms used like "Living in Ireland" and "Moving to Ireland from UK" have increased.
Visitors from the UK have increased - maybe it's because of all the trouble in London, Birmingham and Manchester with looting and arson going on nightly.
Many people in England don't feel safe in big cities anymore - and possible see Ireland is a more peaceful country to live in.

Many people living in England will have Irish roots - and will probably see Ireland as the first choice if they were to leave England.
As we have pointed out before - house prices in Ireland have dropped and become much more affordable now. It is a buyers market with plenty of choice.
There is high unemployment - but there are plenty of vacancies in the IT sector waiting to be filled.

Aug 8, 2011

Spielberg Visits Ireland Again

 Steven Spielberg made a flying visit to Ireland  recently, stopping off in Ballyvaughan , County  Clare for a bit of cheesecake beforeflying on to Monaco.
The  billionaire  arrived in Shannon with his family and drove the 70-minute trip to Ballyvaughan where he was met at the door of the local tea rooms.
“I’m back for the cheesecake I had last time,” said Spielberg, according to owners  Jane O’Donoghue and Alan Clarke
Spielberg’s last trip to Co Clare nearly turned to disaster when he took a tumble in the Burren and dislocated his knee. A local expert snapped it back and Spielberg was back on his feet, sipping Guinness with locals in a pub afterwards.
He later said his trip to Ireland was a “life-changing experience”.

Jul 12, 2011

Dublin Cost of Living Falls

In a March 2011 survey of major cities all over the world - Dublin  ranked as  58th  most expensive city. This is down from 42nd in 2010

Luanda in Angola came out top with Tokyo in  second position and N’Djamena in Chad in third place. Moscow 4th and  Geneva 5th.
London was ranked 18th most expensive city in the world and New York was more expensive than Dublin - and is ranked 32nd.

Karachi, in 214th place, is ranked as the world’s least expensive city.

Dublin ranks 13th most expensive city out of 40 surveyed in the EU  - down from 11th in 2010
All costs are converted to dollars - so position sare affected by exchange rate fluctuations between the dollar and the euro.

Jun 19, 2011

Cost of Living in Ireland Compared to US and UK

Many people worry that when moving to Ireland that the cost of living will be expensive compared to other countries. Ireland has a reputation for high living costs - but is that true?

See some more figures on weekly household budgets in Ireland -

See some actual figures on the average household spending in Ireland on things like food , fuel , insurance, medical care etc  here......  Cost of Living in Ireland

The OECD  do regular comparisons of the cost of living in different countries . Their comparison uses a method called Purchasing Power Standard (PPS), which equalises the purchasing power of different national currencies and thus allows meaningful comparison.

The figures are based on an initial survey of prices from 2008 - which is then adjusted every month for country inflation and exchange rates.

The April 2011 figures showed that only these countries all had a higher cost of Living than Ireland : Switzerland 31% , Norway 23% , Denmark 19% , Australia 16%, Sweden 2%, Japan 1% and Finland 1%

Some of the countries that had lower prices than Ireland were :

Canada (-5%) ; New Zealand (-11%) ; UK (-12%) ; USA (-31%) , Poland
(-48%) , Turkey (-51%)

Of course - we all know that money isn't everything and you can be living in a place with a low cost of living and be miserable. What good is a cheap groceries if you live in fear of crime or you have poor access to healthcare. Another thing to consider is the income levels in a country.

The OECD also provided data on "real" minimum wage rates  - which  are the statutory minimum
wages which are then deflated by national Consumer Price Indices (CPI) and  converted into US dollars

Ireland came out with a min wage figure of $11.15 an hour -  with only France ($11.86) and Luxembourg ($12.47) having higher figures.

The US had a real min wage of $5.59 just 50% of the figure for Ireland.
The UK came out at $9.40 which works out as 84% of the Irish  minimum wage

In March 2010 a comparison of the cost of living in 214 major cities across the world was carried out by a company called Mercer . They looked at the cost of over 200 items including housing, transport, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment.
They used New York as the base city for the index (All currencies were converted to dollars).

Dublin in Ireland ranked 42nd in the most expensive cities in the world.
Dublin came out cheaper in the cost of living index than 41 other citeis including London , Paris (both ranked 17) , Rome (26) , Amsterdam (35)Tokyo (2), Moscow (4), Geneva (5) and Zurich (8) ,Hong Kong (8),Copenhagen Beijing (16), New York (27) , Sydney (24) , Melbourne (33)

See some more figures on weekly household budgets in Ireland -

See some actual figures on the average household spending in Ireland on things like food , fuel , insurance, medical care etc  here......  Cost of Living in Ireland

Ireland 5th in Human Development Index

We must have might have missed this UN Index of Human Development - from November 2010 in which Ireland came out 5th out of 169 countries .

Here are the top 20 countries in the UN Human Development  Index 2010

1. Norway
    New Zealand
    United States
   Korea (Republic of)

United Kingdom came 26th

The HDI represents a push for a broader definition of well-being and provides a composite measure of three basic dimensions of human development: health, education and income.
Between 1980 and 2010 Ireland's HDI rose by 0.7% annually from 0.720 to 0.895 in 2010 -  which gives the country a rank of 5 out of 169 countries with comparable data.
The HDI of OECD as a region increased from 0.723 in 1980 to 0.853 in 2010 today, placing Ireland above the regional average.

Ireland ranked as follows in the different categories:
Education -  4th
Health 18th
Income 25th

Full Data

Moving to Ireland - Facebook Status

Users of Facebook might have  noticed an increase in people setting their status as Moving to Ireland.
Now - it would be great if Ireland had become that popular - but for most people it is just a coded message that apparently means they are Single and Available.

We are not sure why Ireland was chosen to match this relationship status - but it could have been worse.... Moving to Wales means " I'm not bothered anymore"

Other Moving to "codes"

I’m moving to Liverpool — Seeing someone
I’m moving to Wales — Not bothered anymore
I’m moving to Paris — Taken
I’m moving to Scotland — It’s complicated
I’m being deported — I’m a lesbian
Immigration are outside my house — I’ve given up on love

Jun 16, 2011

Non EU Parents of Irish Born children now allowed to Live in Ireland

Ireland’s practice of refusing to give some parents of Irish children permission to live and work in this country must now end.

On 8 March 2011 the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled ( Zambrano Case) that an EU member state may not refuse the non-EU parents of a dependent child who is a citizen of, and resident in, an EU member state the right to live and work in that member state.

The Irish Department of Justice and Equality is reviewing the cases of non-EEA parents of Irish citizen minor children which may meet the criteria specified in the Zambrano case. If they meet the Zambrano criteria, the non-EEA parents may be given permission to live and work in Ireland without the requirement for an employment permit or business permission.

Non-EEA nationals with a stamp 2 or stamp 3 permission to remain in Ireland who think they meet the criteria specified in the Zambrano case can apply at their local Garda registration office. They should bring documents such as birth certificates and proof of residency with them. If they meet the criteria, their immigration status may be changed to a stamp 4 permission which will allow them to live and work in Ireland without the need for an employment permit. If the immigration officer refuses to change their status to a stamp 4, the non-EEA national should write to the Repatriation Division of the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service as described below.

A non-EEA national who does not have a current permission to remain in Ireland and who wishes to request a review of their case under the terms of the Zambrano judgement should write to the Repatriation Division, Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service, Department of Justice and Equality, 13-14 Burgh Quay, Dublin 2 and include the following documents:

A colour copy of the bio-data page of the Irish citizen child’s passport (the page with personal details and photo)

· The Irish citizen child’s original birth certificate – a copy is not acceptable.

· A colour copy of the bio-data page of the applicant’s own passport.

· Two colour passport-sized photographs, signed on the back by the applicant.

· A copy of the applicant’s current GNIB certificate of registration (if applicable)

· Documentary evidence that the Irish citizen child is living in the State.

· Proof of the applicant’s address and residence in Ireland (e.g. current utility bills etc).

· Documentary evidence of the role the applicant is playing in his/her child’s life (e.g. letters from schools, crèches, etc).

· Any other information that the applicant considers relevant to his/her case.

In addition, an applicant must provide answers to the following questions:

· Has he/she ever been convicted of a criminal offence in the State or abroad? If so, he/she must provide specific details.

· Are there any charges pending against him/her in the State or abroad? If so, he/she must provide details.

In some cases, DNA evidence of a biological link to the Irish citizen child or children may also be required. Once a decision has been made, that decision and the consequences of the decision will be notified in writing to the persons concerned.

Parents of Irish citizen children who were previously removed from the State by deportation order, and who wish to now re-enter the State to reside with their Irish citizen child or children, may now seek a revocation of that deportation order. Those subject to deportation orders should apply in writing to the Repatriation Division of INIS as set out above, specifying their desire to have the deportation order lifted to enable them to re-enter the State. Those parents of Irish citizen children who reside outside of Ireland but were never deported from the State now have the option of entering the State to reside and work. If they are visa required, they must apply online for a visa

1,057 cases have been identified where the ruling may apply.
For some, this means a parent who has been deported could be repatriated to Ireland to be reunited with their family. Of this figure, 135 are before the courts challenging existing deportation orders.

Jun 11, 2011

American Food Brands in Ireland

For the many Americans living in Ireland - one of the things that you might miss is some of those American foods and sweets ( candy). Now Amazon UK have started shipping groceries to Ireland with free delivery on orders over £25. They sell quite a few well known American brands such as  Koolaid, Kraft Macaroni Cheese , Libbys Pumpkin Pie Filling  , Willie Wonka , Ranch Dressing , Lucky Charms , Jack Daniels BBQ sauce and more...
Check out all the Groceries at Amazon Here.

NB - make sure the items are shown as "sold by Amazon" - otherwise it is unlikely to be delivered to Ireland.

Of course - Amazon sell thousands of other products too - books, cameras , ipods, dvds , computers - all priced in sterling and free delivery in Ireland available on orders over £25. See More at Amazon

May 31, 2011

Some Good Reasons to Move to Ireland

Good Things About Ireland

Friendly People : -  Irish People really are friendly - it's not a myth. They are welcoming, and usually accepting. Sometimes they can have a ‘village mentality’ which occasionally means that they’ll know your business before you do. You can start up a conversation with a stranger in Ireland without getting strange looks. .

A strong social network, or community, can provide emotional support during both good and bad times as well as provide access to jobs, services and other material opportunities. In Ireland, 97% of people believe that they know someone they could rely on in a time of need - this one of the highest rates in the OECD. Nearly 59% reported having helped a stranger in the last month, also one of the highest rates in the OECD.

Nearly 3% of people in Ireland reported ‘rarely’ or ‘never’ spending time with friends, colleagues or others in social settings; this figure is much lower than in most OECD countries.

Another important aspect of work-life balance is the amount of time a person spends at work. Evidence suggests that long work hours may impair personal health, jeopardize safety and increase stress. People in Ireland work 1549 hours a year, lower than the OECD average of 1739 hours

When asked, "How is your health in general?", 84% of people in Ireland reported to be in good health, much higher than the OECD average of 69%. Despite the subjective nature of this question, the answers have been found to be a good predictor of people’s future health care use.

When asked, 73% of people in Ireland said they were satisfied with their life, above the OECD average of 59%.

Businesses :
the most positive attributes identified by US corporations considering Ireland as a location of choice for foreign direct investment (FDI) are its competitive tax regime, English-speaking and skilled workforce, ease of access, and Government incentives.

May 30, 2011

Cheapest Place to Live in Ireland

Where in Ireland is the cheapest place to buy a house ?

According to the most recent DAFT report - which looked at average asking prices in the first 3 months of 2011 - Leitrim has the lowest priced houses in Ireland.  Roscommon is not far behind.
The average asking price of a 4 bedroomed house in County Leitrim was €179000. In Co Roscommon it was €181000. The average price of a five bedroomed house in Roscommon was €225000.

2012 House Prices in Ireland Here

Here is a full list of the average 2011 asking prices of a 4 bedroomed house in the various counties of Ireland - showing the lowest priced area first.

asking price of 4 Bedroomed Houses in Ireland
or Area
Av Price
Leitrim 179000
Roscommon 181000
Longford 195000
Donegal 195000
Laois 205000
Mayo 208000
Cavan 208000
Co.Galway 212000
Sligo 213000
Westmeath 216000
Carlow 223000
Wexford 225000
Monaghan 226000
Kilkenny 231000
Offaly 231000
Tipperary 232000
Limerick City 236000
Kerry 243000
Waterford City 243000
Co.Limerick 254000
Galway City 255000
Co Cork 259000
Louth 262000
Meath 270000
Co.Waterford 296000
Cork City 301000
Dublin West County 302000
Kildare 308000
Wicklow 360000
Dublin North County 406000
DublinNorth City 416000
Dublin South City 471000
Dublin South County 552000

May 29, 2011

Breathe Clean Fresh Air in Ireland

Because of  Ireland’s location, weather patterns that supply predominantly clean air, the relative lack of heavy industry and the bans on coal burning in many urban areas since the early 1990s, air quality is generally very good.

Air pollution  is linked to a range of health problems, from minor eye irritation to upper respiratory symptoms in the short-term and chronic respiratory diseases such as asthma, cardiovascular diseases and lung cancer in the long-term.

PM10 is the name given to  tiny particulate matter small enough to be inhaled into the deepest part of the lung.
All  OECD countries monitor levels of PM10 because it can harm human health and reduce life expectancy.

In Ireland, PM10 levels are 12.5 micrograms per cubic meter,  much lower than the OECD average of 22 micrograms per cubic meter.

Only New Zealand and Sweden had cleaner air  than Ireland. (11 and 12 micrograms)

The worst air quality was in  Turkey (37) followed by Poland ( 35) and Mexico (33)

Are People Happy in Ireland

Happiness can be measured in terms of life satisfaction, the presence of positive experiences and feelings, and the absence of negative experiences and feelings. Such measures, while subjective, are a useful complement to compare the quality of life across countries.

For Ireland, like throughout much of the OECD, self-reported life satisfaction has been rising over the last decade. In recent polling, 68% of people in Ireland were satisfied with their life . The OECD average was 63.4%

People from these countries all reported being more satisfied with life than Irish people: -
United States ,Israel ,Austria , Australia, Belgium , New Zealand , Switzerland ,Canada
Sweden , Norway, Finland ,Denmark ,Netherlands (91% satisfied)

The most unsatisfied were Chinese people (9.6% satisfied) followed by Indians (14.3%)

77% of people in Ireland reported having more positive experiences in an average day (feelings of rest, pride in accomplishment, enjoyment, etc) than negative ones (pain, worry, sadness, boredom, etc). This figure is higher than the OECD average of 72%.

Is Ireland a Safe Place to Live

Crime Rates in Ireland

Personal security is always an important thing to consider when you are thinking of moving to a new country .  You need to have an idea of the risk of  being physically assaulted or falling victim to other types of crime. Across the OECD, crime rates for conventional crime (theft, robbery, assault) have declined since 2000 . In millennium.
In Ireland, a recent survey found that 2.7% of people had reported being victims of assault over the previous 12 months. This was lower than the OECD average of 4%.
In Ireland - 27% of people reported feeling  unsafe on the street after dark - this was higher than the OECD average of 26%.

The murder rate in Ireland ( murders per 100,000 inhabitants) is a more reliable measure of a country’s safety level because, unlike other crimes, murders are usually always reported to the police. According to the latest OECD data, Ireland’s murder rate is 2  which is close to the OECD average . The UK murder rate was 2.6 and  the US was 5.2. Iceland came out with a zero murder rate.

Overall - Ireland scored 8.6 out of 10 for safety in the  OECD survey. (Compared to 3.4 for Chile  (the worst)  and 9.7 for Japan (the best) .

May 24, 2011

Full Speech by Enda Kenny to Welcome Barack Obama

This is the full text of the speech made by Enda Kenny to welcome Barack Obama and his wife to Ireland. Made on May 23rd 2011 in Dublin

"IF THERE’S anyone out there who still doubts that Ireland is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our ancestors is alive in our time; who still questions our capacity to restore ourselves, to reinvent ourselves and to prosper. Well, today is your answer.
Because today, on this day, the President of the United States, Barack Obama and his first lady, Michelle Obama, come to visit.
To show that he believes in Ireland. To make that precious connection with his Irish family, his Irish roots, as thousands before him have done.
Today, the 44th American president comes home.
When Fulmouth Kearney started out on the long Atlantic crossing, he might have dreamed, but hardly imagined, that one day his great-great-great grandson would return as the President of the United States.
That boy said goodbye to a ravaged island. Millions had died or were leaving, packing their hopes and their dreams in beside the remnants of a life. Stepping onto ships which, for some, was like stepping into space.
Every one of them, and all their people, are our people: ár muintir féin.
Their past is our past.
Their story is our story.
This evening, my call is directly to those 40-million Irish-Americans. Whether you’re listening or watching in New York or New Haven, or in San Diego or St Louis. And whether you’re Irish by blood, or by marriage, or by desire. We, your family, your Irish family, are right here to welcome you. To follow your president home.
Last week, Queen Elizabeth came to our shores and bowed to our dead. The Irish harp glittered above the heart of the English Queen. With pride and happiness, and two words of Irish, we closed a circle of our history.
A cháirde
Today, with President Obama, we draw another circle – one in which we tell the world of our unique, untouchable wealth. Wealth that can not be accumulated in banks, or measured by the markets or traded on the stock exchange.
Because it remains intact and alive, deep inside our people.
In the heart-stopping beauty of our country and in the transforming currency of the Irish heart, imagination and soul.
It’s like the spirit of Leinster last Saturday in Cardiff. Never give up. Never give up and never say die.
This is what we call our Uaisleacht. It has sustained us over the centuries. We pass from mother to daughter, father to son – in our dreams and in our imagining, in our love for our country – our pride in who we are. Long into what must be, and will be, a brighter and more prosperous future .
The president and his first lady are an extraordinary couple.
President Obama is part of that proud past and part of that prouder future.
In 1963, the 35nd President of the United States stirred our hearts. In 1995 the 42nd president lifted our country’s spirits.
But the 44th president is different. Because ladies and gentlemen, he doesn’t just speak about the American dream. He is the American dream. And that is the American dream, come home.
So ladies and gentlemen, let your voices be heard around the globe as I’m honoured to introduce the President of the United States, Barack Obama and the first lady Michelle Obama.
Let’s hear it."

Full Text of Barack Obama's Speech in Dublin

This is the full transcript of the speech made by US President  Barack Obama in Dublin on May 23rd 2011 - on the occasion of his first official visit to Ireland,

“Hello Dublin, Hello Ireland.
My name is Barack Obama, of the Moneygall Obama’s, and I’ve come home to find the apostrophe that we lost somewhere along the way.
Now, some wise Irish man or woman once said that broken Irish is better than clever English.
So here goes: "Tá athas orm bheith in Éireann." I’m happy to be in Ireland with so many a chairde.
I want to thank my extraordinary hosts – first of all, Taoiseach Enda Kenny and his lovely wife Fionnuala, President McAleese and her husband Martin for welcoming me earlier today. Thank you Lord Mayor Robert Green and the Garda for allowing me to crash this celebration.
Let me also express my condolences on the recent passing of the former Taoiseach Garret Fitzgerald. Someone who believed in the power of education, believed in the potential of youth, and most of all, believed in the potential of peace. Someone who lived to see that peace realised.
And most of all, thank you to the citizens of Dublin and Ireland for the warm and generous hospitality you have shown me and Michelle.
It certainly feels like 100,000 welcomes. We feel very much at home. I feel even more at home after that pint I had. I feel even warmer.
In return, let me offer the hearty greetings of tens of millions of Americans who proudly trace their heritage to this small island. They say hello.
Now I knew I had some roots across the Atlantic but until recently I could not unequivocally claim that I was one of those Irish-Americans. But now, if you believe the Corrigan brothers, there is no one more Irish than me. So I want to thank the genealogist who traced my family tree – thank you!
It turns out people take a lot of interest in you when you are running for president. They look into your past, they check out your place of birth – things like that. I do wish somebody had provided me with all this evidence earlier because it would have come in handy back when I was first running in my hometown of Chicago. Because Chicago is the Irish capital of the mid-west. A city where it was once said you could stand on 79th street and hear the brogue of every county in Ireland.
So naturally, a politician like me craved a slot in the St Patrick’s Day parade. The problem was not many people knew me or could not even pronounce my name. I told them it was a Gaelic name – they didn’t believe me.
One year a few volunteers and me did make it into the parade but we were literally the last marchers. After two hours, finally it was our turn and while we rode the route, smiling and waving, the city workers were right behind us cleaning up the garbage. It was a little depressing but I bet those parade organisers are watching TV today and feeling kind of bad because this is a pretty good parade right here.
Of course, an American doesn’t really require Irish blood to understand that ours is a proud, enduring, centuries-old relationship. We are bound by history and friendship and shared values. And that is why I have come here today as an American President – to reaffirm those bonds of affection.
Earlier today, Michelle and I visited Moneygall, where we saw my ancestral home and dropped by the local pub. We received a very warm welcome from all the people there, including my long lost eighth cousin Henry. Henry now is affectionately known as Henry the Eighth.
It was remarkable to see this small town where a young shoemaker named Fulmouth Kearney – my great-great-great-grandfather.
I was shown the records from the parish, the recording of his birth and we saw the home where he lived.
He left during the Great Hunger, as so many Irish did, to seek a new life in the new world. He travelled by ship to New York, where he entered himself into the records as a lay-boy.
He married an American girl from Ohio. They settled in the mid-west and started a family. It is a familiar story – because it is one lived and cherished by Americans of all backgrounds. It is integral to our national identity, it is who we are – a nation of immigrants from all around the world.
But standing there in Moneygall, I couldn’t help but think how heartbreaking it must have been for that great-great-great-grandfather of mine, and so many others to depart, to watch Donegal coasts and Dingle cliffs recede. To leave behind all they knew in the hopes that something better lay over the horizon.
When people like Fulmouth boarded those ships they often did so with no family, no friends, no money, nothing to sustain them but faith. Faith in the All Mighty, faith in the idea of America, faith that it was a place you could be prosperous, you could be free, you could think and talk and worship as you place, a place where you could make it if you tried.
And as they worked and struggled and sacrificed and sometimes experienced great discrimination to build that better life for the next generation, they passed on that faith to their children and their children’s children. An inheritance that their great-great-great-grandchildren still carry with them. We call it the American Dream.
It's the dream that Falmouth Kearney was attracted to when he went to America. It's the dream that drew my own father to America from a small village in Africa. It's a dream that we've carried forward - sometimes through stormy waters, sometimes at great cost - for more than two centuries. And for my own sake, I'm grateful they made those journeys because if they hadn't you'd be listening to somebody else speak right now.
And for America's sake, we're grateful so many others from this land took that chance, as well.
After all, never has a nation so small inspired so much in another.
Irish signatures are on our founding documents. Irish blood was spilled on our battlefields. Irish sweat built our great cities. Our spirit is eternally refreshed by Irish story and Irish song; our public life by the humour and heart and dedication of servants with names like Kennedy and Reagan, O'Neill and Moynihan.
So you could say there has always been a little green behind the red, white and blue.
When the father of our country, George Washington, needed an army, it was the fierce fighting of your sons that caused the British official to lament, "We have lost America through the Irish."
And as George Washington said himself, "When our friendless standards were first unfurled, who were the strangers who first mustered around our staff? And when it reeled in the light, who more brilliantly sustained it than Erin's generous sons?"
When we strove to blot out the stain of slavery and advance the rights of man, we found common cause with your struggles against oppression. Frederick Douglass, an escaped slave and our great abolitionist, forged an unlikely friendship right here in Dublin with your great liberator, Daniel O'Connell. His time here, Frederick Douglass said, defined him not as a colour but as a man. And it strengthened the non-violent campaign he would return home to wage.
Recently, some of their descendents met here in Dublin to commemorate and continue that friendship between Douglass and O'Connell.
When Abraham Lincoln struggled to preserve our young union, more than 100,000 Irish and Irish Americans joined the cause, with units like the Irish Brigade charging into battle – green flags with gold harp waving alongside our star-spangled banner.
When depression gripped America, Ireland sent tens of thousands of packages of shamrocks to cheer up its countrymen, saying, "May the message of Erin shamrocks bring joy to those away."
And when an Iron Curtain fell across this continent and our way of life was challenged, it was our first Irish President - our first Catholic President - John F. Kennedy, who made us believe - 50 years ago this week - that mankind could do something big and bold and ambitious as walk on the moon. He made us dream again.
That is the story of America and Ireland. That's the tale of our brawn and our blood, side by side, in making and remaking a nation, pulling it westward, pulling it skyward, moving it forward again and again and again. And that is our task again today.
I think we all realise that both of our nations have faced great trials in recent years, including recessions so severe that many of our people are still trying to fight their way out. And naturally our concern turns to our families, our friends and our neighbours.
And some in this enormous audience are thinking about their own prospects and their own futures. Those of us who are parents wonder what it will mean for our children and young people like so many who are here today. Will you see the same progress we've seen since we were your age? Will you inherit futures as big and as bright as the ones that we inherited? Will your dreams remain alive in our time?
This nation has faced those questions before: When your land couldn't feed those who tilled it; when the boats leaving these shores held some of your brightest minds; when brother fought against brother.
Yours is a history frequently marked by the greatest of trials and the deepest of sorrow. But yours is also a history of proud and defiant endurance. Of a nation that kept alive the flame of knowledge in dark ages; that overcame occupation and outlived fallow fields; that triumphed over its Troubles - of a resilient people who beat all the odds.
And, Ireland, as trying as these times are, I know our future is still as big and as bright as our children expect it to be. I know that because I know it is precisely in times like these - in times of great challenge, in times of great change - when we remember who we truly are.
We're people, the Irish and Americans, who never stop imagining a brighter future, even in bitter times. We're people who make that future happen through hard work, and through sacrifice, through investing in those things that matter most, like family and community.
We remember, in the words made famous by one of your greatest poets that "in dreams begins responsibility."
This is a nation that met that responsibility by choosing, like your ancestors did, to keep alight the flame of knowledge and invest in a world-class education for your young people. And today, Ireland's youth, and those who've come back to build a new Ireland, are now among the best educated, most entrepreneurial in the world. And I see those young people here today. And I know that Ireland will succeed.
This is a nation that met its responsibilities by choosing to apply the lessons of your own past to assume a heavier burden of responsibility on the world stage. And today, a people who once knew the pain of an empty stomach now feed those who hunger abroad.
Ireland is working hand in hand with the United States to make sure that hungry mouths are fed around the world - because we remember those times. We know what crippling poverty can be like, and we want to make sure we're helping others.
You're a people who modernised and can now stand up for those who can't yet stand up for themselves. And this is a nation that met its responsibilities - and inspired the entire world – by choosing to see past the scars of violence and mistrust to forge a lasting peace on this island.
When President Clinton said on this very spot 15 years ago, waging peace is risky, I think those who were involved understood the risks they were taking.
But you, the Irish people, persevered. And you cast your votes and you made your voices heard for that peace. And you responded heroically when it was challenged. And you did it because, as President McAleese has written, "For all the apparent intractability of our problems, the irrepressible human impulse to love kept nagging and nudging us towards reconciliation."
Whenever peace is challenged, you will have to sustain that irrepressible impulse. And America will stand by you - always. America will stand by you always in your pursuit of peace. And, Ireland, you need to understand that you've already so surpassed the world's highest hopes. That what was notable about the Northern Ireland elections two weeks ago was that they came and went without much attention. It's not because the world has forgotten. It's because this once unlikely dream has become that most extraordinary thing of things: It has become real. A dream has turned to reality because of the work of this nation.
In dreams begin responsibility.
And embracing that responsibility, working toward it, overcoming the cynics and the naysayers and those who say "you can't" - that's what makes dreams real.
That's what Falmouth Kearney did when he got on that boat, and that's what so many generations of Irish men and women have done here in this spectacular country.
That is something we can point to and show our children, Irish and American alike. That is something we can teach them as they grow up together in a new century, side by side, as it has been since our beginnings.
This little country, that inspires the biggest things - your best days are still ahead. Our greatest triumphs - in America and Ireland alike - are still to come.
And, Ireland, if anyone ever says otherwise, if anybody ever tells you that your problems are too big, or your challenges are too great, that we can't do something, that we shouldn't even try - think about all that we've done together. Remember that whatever hardships the winter may bring, springtime is always just around the corner.
And if they keep on arguing with you, just respond with a simple creed: Is féidir linn. Yes, we can. Yes, we can. Is féidir linn.
For all you've contributed to the character of the United States of America and the spirit of the world, thank you. And may God bless the eternal friendship between our two great nations.
Thank you very much, everybody.
Thank you, Dublin.
Thank you, Ireland.

May 2, 2011

Americans - Working Vacation in Ireland

Ireland has an agreement with the US Government that will enables US citizens to work and travel in Ireland   for up to 12 months. T
In order to qualify for the programme participants should be either in post-secondary education or have recently graduated (ie within the last 12 months).
This new programme is separate to the  Student Work and Travel programme which permits students from the US and Ireland to work and travel for several months every summer. This J1 programme will continue to exist as a separate, more limited programme.


American  citizens wishing to travel to Ireland under the terms of the agreement should make an application for a US Working Holiday Authorisation at the Irish Embassy  in Washington or the Consulates General of Ireland in Boston, Chicago, New York or  San Francisco.
See  here  for contact details.
A completed and signed application form (PDF 35kb)  should be presented at the Embassy of Ireland in Washington, or at the Irish Consulates General in Boston, Chicago, New York or San Francisco together with:
  • Valid United States passport;
  • 2 recent identical passport photographs with your name on the reverse;
  • Current curriculum vitae (with references);
  • Original bank statement showing that you have access to €1,500 (or equivalent) plus a return ticket; or €3,000 (or equivalent);
  • Originals of any qualifications obtained or letter from school/college/university (where applicable)
  • The relevant fee of €250 or dollar equivalent as advised by the relevant Mission;
. The Working Holiday Authorisation will be issued on submission by the applicant of:
  • Return airline tickets;
  • Certificate of medical/travel  insurance valid for the duration of the trip (based on dates on tickets)
  • Valid United States passport that is valid for the entirety of the trip to Ireland ie for a full year after their ticketed date of entry.

Working Holidays in Ireland

If you want to live in Ireland for up to a year and you are a young person (aged 18 to 30) from Argentina, Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand or the Republic of Korea.  - You can apply for a  Working Holiday Authorisation (WHA).

These Irish Working Holiday schemes are intended for use by young adults who wish to stay in Ireland for an extended holiday and who may work casually in order to fund their stay.

Young people from  Argentina aged 18-30 who want to  come to Ireland should visit the website of the Embassy of Ireland in Buenos Aires for further information.

Australian citizens aged 18-30 can apply at the Embassy of Ireland in Canberra , 

Canadian citizens who are full-time third-level students students, or who are aged between 18 and 35 can travel to Ireland for a Working Holiday. Those interested should contact Student Work Abroad Programme, Ca  .  here.


For further information on the Working Holiday scheme for Hong Kong see the website site of Ireland's Honorary Consulate in Hong Kong.

 Young Japanese people to visit Ireland for an extended period of up to one year and to work and study while here. Young Irish people can also visit Japan as part of this programme. For further information visit the website of the Embassy of Ireland in Tokyo.

For further information about the scheme  visit the website of Ireland's Honorary Consulate in Auckland.

South Korea
Citizens of the Republic of Korea who are between the ages of 18 and 30 (inclusive) can travel to Ireland for a working holiday for a period of up to 12 months.    For further information on working holidays in Ireland visit the website of the Irish Embassy in Seoul at 

Green Peaceful and Relaxed

Three words that describe living in the Irish countryside.  Green , Peaceful and Relaxed
After 2 months in the UK - I noticed how green and peaceful it is here in the West of Ireland. Open space, green fields , Quiet roads - maybe a few tractors now and then. The bleating of lambs and the cattle mooing can be heard above the gusts of wind which is strong today.
Another dry day - the farmers will need rain soon to get the crops growing.

The local farmer is out planting a new whitethorn hedge and I call over for a chat - about the weather , the economy and local news. Another neighbour drives by and stops to say hello  - then another farmer pulls up his tractor to chat for a while . The roads are not usually this busy round here. The work gets done  - but there's no big rush , no clock watching. If it isn't finished today - it can be done tomorrow.

Life goes on unrushed - as it has for many years. The green grass keeps growing (and the weeds too!) .

Life in Ireland

Apr 19, 2011

Costs Involved in Buying a House in Ireland

The housing market in Ireland has been struggling for the past couple of years - but now that prices have fallen back to more affordable levels - we take a look at other house purchase costs in Ireland.

The  2011 Budget - introduced a stamp duty rate of
1 per cent for properties up to the €1 million mark, and 2 per cent on amounts over €1 million
With stamp duty rates previously  as much as 9 per cent - that means big savings for second time buyers.  (First time buyers are not so happy because they were previously exempt)

A property with a stamp duty bill in 2010 of  €100,000  will now incur stamp duty of  just  €20,000.

Other fees for home buyers include solicitor fees ,  legal fees  and surveyors fees.

Conveyancing costs have dropped - the typical cost of conveyancing on domestic properties ranges from  €900 to  €1,200 plus Vat .
Outlays are charged on top - these includes land registry costs and search fees.
Search fees are usually about  €100 and land registry fees can be anything from €56 to €556 depending on the property

Surveyor fees in Ireland  start at €250 for a basic one rising to €1,000 for full structural surveys.

Mar 27, 2011

Average House Prices in Ireland 2010 - 2011

According to the latest PTSB / ESRI  Irish house price survey   - there was a drop of 10.8% in the  average national house prices for 2010 .  According to the survey - the average house price accross Ireland was €191,776.  The survey would have included all sales - from small apartments to detached homes. This survey was on a small proportion of house sales - so it may not be an accurate reflection of prices.

The average price for a Dublin house in Quarter 4 2010 was €237,480  while the average price for a house Outside Dublin in Quarter 4 2010 was €174,570

Take a look at what kind of home will you be able to buy in Ireland   for around the average Dublin house price of €237,480  (Approx $333,000 US Dollars  or £208,000 GBP )

In Dublin - Rathfarnham - the owners are asking for €240,000 for a first floor 2 bedroomed apartment of just 790 sq feet. in a gated development.

Also in Dublin - €239,950 is the value placed on this small 3 bed semi detached in Santry (105 m2). Two double bedrooms, 1 single, bathroom , kitchen , living room,bathroom. 

For €235,000 you could get a 4 bedroomed semi detached house in the suburbs of Cork City
with floor space of  just c. 1300 sq ft ( 121 sq m)

For  just  €1750,000  - you could get this large rural     (2200 sq feet) on the Roscommon Mayo border. With some great views ,  large garage, big garden and even some room for growing  vegetables or keeping chickens etc.

 €239,000 is the price asked for a small 3 bedroomed bungalow inPiltown , Kilkenny on a quarter of an acre.

Mar 20, 2011

Moving to West Cork -House Prices

West  Cork has always been a popular destination for people moving to Ireland
The Average price of a new home: €242,000
Average price of a second-hand home: €266,000

Predicted change to Jan 2012: down 5%

Renowned for its gourmet restaurants and tourist spots, west Co Cork has enjoyed some of the highest property prices in rural Ireland for decades. However, prices dropped by about 15% last year and are expected to tumble by a further 5% this year.
Despite the fact that there is real value to be found now in this tourist hot-spot, almost 100% of sales last year were made by owner-occupiers.  This year should see renewed interest from investors, as the price of holiday homes has fallen by 25% in the past year alone. There was an increase in the number of inquiries from Britain and it is hoped that this will continue now that the stamp duty rate has been slashed.

The demand from overseas buyers should mean the west Cork market bottoms out quicker than most areas. But for there to be any meaningful increase in activity,  buyers will want to see evidence that the market is in recovery.

County Kerry House Prices

House Prices Co Kerry
Average price of a new home: €165,000 (€215,000 in Killarney)
Average price of a second-hand home: €175,000  (€220,000 in Killarney)
Down 6% 
Predicted change to Jan 2012: up 5%

Co Kerry appears to be bucking the national trend. The county suffered in recent years. Last year, prices were down 30% as Kerry came to grips with a glut of unsold housing stock. A stringent planning process and restrictions on new builds and one-off housing in certain pockets of The Kingdom county has paid off and this year, prices have fallen by an average of 6%.

 It is hoped that Co Kerry has seen the bottom of the market and prices will rise slightly this year. Estate agents in Killarney, however, believe that prices will plateau before rising.
Killarney also enjoyed an active year, particularly in the past six months, again due to a lack of supply. There are no new developments in the town so it is predominantly a second-hand market. House prices have dropped by 36% since their peak while apartments have tumbled by as much as 60%. Investor interest has increased but they still accounted for only 5% of last year’s sales.
Killarney’s holiday home market took a hit, however. Second-hand holiday cottages are down 30% on last year, to €140,000. The town’s country homes held firm with no drops at all, sticking at €500,000, although this is half of what they were valued at the peak of the market.

House Prices Dublin 14

D14 Churchtown, Clonskeagh, Dundrum, Goatstown, Kilmacud, Milltown, Rathfarnham, Stillorgan, Windy Arbour -

There has been a hard 20% drop in prices in D14 in 2010 . This has been caused by the huge rent-driven reality check for apartments, the clampdown on lending for refurbs on ex-corpo homes and the probable reigning in of the over exuberant “Luas bounce” of previous years.
There were no investors in the Dublin 14 market last year and they are unlikely to return this year as banks continue to restrict finance and the rental market remains low. Rents have decreased by up to 35% since their peak in 2007.
There remains a shortage of new and second-hand family houses in Dublin 14 as young couples look for convenient living near to all services.

Prices of a Second-hand 4-bed semi in D14
Second-hand 4-bed semi:
Jan 2007: €800,000
Jan 2010: €500,000
Jan 2011: €400,000
Jan 2012: €380,000

Get Rid of The Lawn

Digging up your lawn - sounds like hard work for no reason - but maybe it could save you time and money and effort in the long run.u
Some people spend hours each week on lawns - o raking, spiking, watering and fertilising them and finding new ways to stop people walking on them and pets fouling  them.
Our parents start us off as children with that “don’t ruin the grass” thing — and soon that becomes “don’t forget to mow the grass.”

Here are somegood reasons why you too should get rid of the lawn.
1 You’ll spend up to two months of your life mowing it.
2 Lawns  can ruin the environment - an  American study showed that a petrol lawnmower using a two-stroke engine releases more carbon emissions in an hour than a new car running for 340 miles. In the USA the Environmental Protection Agency estimated that Americans use 800m gallons of petrol per year mowing their lawns.Lawns also require a constant diet of artifical fertilisers, and toxic chemicals to keep the weeds down.

3 Lawns waste a  lot of water. In the middle of a drought when we need to conserve water most, what’s that sound in the middle of the night? It’s your neighbour watering his lawn. Water shortages are brought on by millions of people hosing down their lawns.

4 Lawns cost you cash. Keeping that grass costs you about €125 per year if you have small urban lawns front and back. That’s a new €200 lawnmower every four years. Plus €25 a piece per year for weedkiller, fertiliser and then petrol to run the mower. That’s not including the massive metered water charge you’ll receive once such charges begin.

5 Lawns create refuse problems. Bags of grass cuttings clog up your composter with slabs of slimy gunk that refuse to break down. So unless you can balance it out in the composter with woody waste, you’ve got to dump it somewhere in the garden, causing a slimy mess. Otherwise it goes in your bin, which you pay to have taken away.
6 Lawns are of no use to nature. Plants (grasses) that are never allowed to flower by virtue of being cropped weekly and having all other plants removed are no use for birds or bees and actually make life more difficult for them.
7 You can make better use of the space.  In a small garden, the time you put into getting your mower out of the garage, setting it up, cutting your grass and distributing the cuttings could be spent tending a few patches of carrots, spuds and salads for your table.
8 We’ve enough green in Ireland. Football pitches and parkland are already everywhere in a land where it rains all the time, so we’ve enough grass around the place without fencing off some more and obsessing over it.