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Custom & Trandition From The other Culture--004: Irish New Years & Irish Language
By Mr. Johnny F. (Ireland)
Hi, friend, I am very glad to know Mr. Johnny Fox who is from Ireland. I do feel that his letters are very knowledgeable and very helpful to us to know something about Irish culture. Today, I would like to publish a part of his letter in this column and hope you enjoy it and be interested in it. :- )

If you are interested in introducing the customs, traditions and something fun in your culture, if you have any questions, comments and suggestions, please write to , or You are welcomed. :-)

Friday, Nov 18, 2005

Hi Shirley

I would like to congratulate you on the beautifully designed website you created. I enjoyed reading your site, there is plenty of information in there. I have to say I really like the artwork. The art is really beautiful.

The old New Years Day here in Ireland was considered to be during the Winter Solstice celebrated over 5000 years ago. It is during the winter solstice that the sun was at its lowest point in the sky usually around the 21st of December after which the days would get considerably longer and brighter. There is a famous tomb here called Newgrange which some people estimate is 5000 years old. It is here where you can witness the sun shine through an opening in the entrance and illuminate the passageway leading into the tomb's chamber during the winter solstice or equinox. You can see a more detailed article at the following link:

The Old Irish New Year

Newgrange works on the same principle as Stonehenge does in Britain, it's a sort of Neolithic stone age calendar/clock.

Also, I should tell you about the language of Ireland. There are 2 official languages spoken in Ireland, Irish (commonly called Gaeilge) and English. English is spoken by almost everyone, Irish is really only spoken in small areas in the western part of Ireland known as Gaeltacht Areas. Road signs will display both Irish and English translations. Incidentally, cars drive on the left side. Unfortunately I can't speak Irish, very few people can. Most young people think learning the Irish language is a waste of time and that it is only needed if you want to join the police force or have some sort of government job. It is fair to say that if Ireland was still speaking the Irish language and not English then it would not be as prosperous as it is today. There are hundreds or radio stations throughout Ireland and only 1 of them is broadcast in Irish so that will give you an idea of how popular the Irish language is here.

I think that's all I have to say right now, keep sending me your newsletters, they are a great idea.

Take care

Mon, Nov 14, 2005