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Season 7

Dec. 15, 2022

A Merry Irish Christmas - 10 Old Irish Christmas Songs (#748)

In todays special Christmas episode, we share a selection of old Irish Christmas carols, songs and tunes. They include: The Bells of Dublin/Christmas Eve - performed by The Chieftains Christmas in Killarney - performed by Bin...

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Dec. 8, 2022

My Top Irish Names for Boys and Girls (#747)

In today's episode we share some old Irish names - quite beautiful ones - that are just some of our favourites for boys and girls. Perhaps you already have one or two in your own family? We also share the …

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Dec. 1, 2022

The Leaving Of Liverpool, The Irish & The Beatles (#746)

This week we look at one of the most Irish of cities outside Ireland - the city of Liverpool on the western shores of Britain. It's a place that has seen over a million Irish pass through its port to …

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Nov. 24, 2022

The Most Irish of Towns Outside Ireland (#745)

This week we look at the fact that there are many, many more people of Irish descent OUTSIDE the island of Ireland than on the island of Ireland. Many Irish immigrants brought their Irish placenames with them when they settle...

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Nov. 17, 2022

Galway Bay and the Music and Songs of Connaught (#744)

Welcome to this special musical edition of the Letter from Ireland podcast. We take a tour around the five counties - Galway, Mayo, Sligo, Leitrim and Roscommon - of the Irish province of Connaught. We have chosen two songs/p...

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Nov. 10, 2022

The Best Memorial for an Irish Ancestor? (#743)

In this episode we look at two types of storyteller. First, we have the "bard" who composes songs to honour the deeds and exploits of the great (and not so great) among us. In this case, a certain gentleman called …

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Nov. 3, 2022

How The Irish Saved Civilisation (#742)

In this episode, we look at the time of the Brehon laws of Ireland and take an example of just some of these Gaelic common laws that held our society together. We also chat about the Brehon families and some …

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Oct. 27, 2022

An Irish Halloween - Stories from "Samhain" (#741)

Join us on this episode of the Letter from Ireland show as we tell some surprising stories from an Irish Halloween! Did you know that many of the rituals and traditions associated with Halloween came from the Celtic Festival ...

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Oct. 20, 2022

Come Into An Irish Pub (#740)

In this episode, we feature two Irish Pub stories that are bound together. In the first, we chat about the book McCarthy's Bar - which gives a comical view of both the Irish Pub and the Irish by Pete McCarthy. …

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Oct. 13, 2022

Grace Kelly & Maureen O'Hara - 2 Irish Movie Stars (#739)

Today we feature two Irish movie stars from the golden age of Hollywood - Grace Kelly and Maureen O'Hara. In one story we chat about the "Two Graces of County Mayo" and then we take a trip up Maureen O'Hara's …

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Oct. 6, 2022

15 Flowers - An Irish Musical Daisy-Chain (#738)

In this extended musical edition of the Letter from Ireland podcast, we share 15 songs performed by 15 Irish artists. Each song has a connection with the song that went before it - and the one that goes after it. …

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Sept. 29, 2022

From The Vikings to The Normans (#737)

In this episode we look at the journey a branch of the Vikings took and established a Dukedom in what became known as "Normandy" in northern France. We look at their culture and traditions - traditions that they brought with …

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Sept. 22, 2022

The Mother & Baby Homes of Ireland (#736)

In this week's episode we look at the way that unmarried mothers - and other "social undesirables" were treated in Ireland, especially in the period from the 1940s to the 1960s. Carina reads out two letters - one on the …

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Sept. 15, 2022

The Pogues & More - A Different Sort of Irish Music (#735)

In today's episode, we explore the different sort of Irish music that was coming onto the scene from the mid-1970s. We first look at the story of that great London-Irish band - The Pogues - and then onto the more …

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Sept. 8, 2022

Danny Boy and The Music and Songs of Ulster (#734)

In this episode we take a musical trip around the nine counties of Ulster: Derry (Londonderry), Antrim, Down, Armagh, Tyrone, Fermanagh, Cavan, Donegal and Monaghan. Alongside the immortal "Danny Boy", we feature at least one...

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Sept. 1, 2022

Reporting The Great Irish Famine (#733)

In this episode we look at the many ways the Great Irish Famine was reported outside of Ireland - and the reaction from some of the groups that were exposed to that reporting. In one case, Mike's own ancestors were …

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Aug. 25, 2022

Irish Pioneers in a Far Away Land (#732)

We look at the stories of two different Irish pioneers in early north America - in what is now the country of Canada. The first is the story of Denis O'Donovan - who had the opportunity to choose his final …

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Aug. 18, 2022

Holland & Brown - 2 Irish Giants of Naval History (#731)

In this episode we look at the story of two men born seventy years apart on the west coast of Ireland - who went on to make a substantial mark on naval history. William Brown was born into poverty in …

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Aug. 11, 2022

When Did Your Ancestor ARRIVE in Ireland (#730)

Did you know that Ireland was an uninhabited, ice-covered piece of ground up to about 10,000 years ago? Since then, many waves of immigrants have arrived in Ireland and made it more of a "melting Pot" than many of us …

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July 21, 2022

Old Irish Culture and Traditions (#729)

In this very special episode we take a trip around Inishmore - the largest of the Aran Islands - in the company of Cyril O'Flaherty. Cyril is a well known local historian and artist and gives a special insight into …

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July 14, 2022

Ireland, Religion, Methodists, Quakers & Pennsylvania (#728)

What have all these words got in common? Have a listen to today's show and find out. We look at two of Ireland's minority religions - the Methodists and the Quakers. We tell stories, share music and make a surprising …

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July 7, 2022

Ulster Scots and the Orange Order (#727)

The 12th of July is a holiday across the 6 counties of Northern Ireland. It is the day that many celebrate by participating in marching bands, having barbecues and enjoying the holiday with their families in different ways. I...

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June 30, 2022

Irish Proverbs and Irish Accents (#726)

In today's episode we chat about all things Irish - the Irish language that is! The first letter looks at Irish sayings and proverbs in their original Irish, how to pronounce them and what they mean in English. We then …

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June 23, 2022

Enjoy the High Spirits of the Irish (#725)

In this episode, Carina and Mike chat about Irish Spirits - Irish Whiskey and other fine Irish concoctions that is! They look at the the story of Irish whiskey - share some Irish drinking songs along the way - and …

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June 16, 2022

The Evolution of Irish Music in 12 Tracks (#724)

In todays extended musical episode - called "The Evolution of Irish Music in 12 Tracks" - we bring you a very personal selection of Irish music from Mike. As he works (enjoys!) his way through a very personal selection of …

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June 9, 2022

Solving The Mystery of Irish Surnames - Two Examples (#723)

Have you ever wondered how the Irish surnames in your family tree came about? Understanding just HOW your Irish surnames developed is KEY to understanding more about your Irish origins and likely locations in Ireland. In this...

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June 2, 2022

Inside the Hedge Schools of Ireland (#722)

In this episode we take a trip inside the "Hedge Schools" of Ireland - places of learning that were dotted around Ireland right up to the mid-1800s. We also look at the prevalence of so many biblical/latin first names in …

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May 26, 2022

Laurel & Hardy and an Irish-American Hero (#721)

What do Laurel & Hardy, Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks, Mary Black and Carina Collins all have in common? They all feature in this episode of the Letter from Ireland podcast where we focus on two recent movies and look at …

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May 19, 2022

An Irish Bard - The Story behind a modern Irish Poet and Storyteller …

Welcome to Series 7, Episode 20 of The Letter from Ireland Show. In this episode, Carina talks with a very unique individual that we discovered in the wilds of West Cork! Cormac Lally originally comes from Tullamore in County...

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May 10, 2022

On Opposite Sides - The Story of 2 Irish Civil War Generals (#719)

Today we tell the story of two Irish men who ended up fighting on the opposite sides of the American Civil War. One was Patrick Cleburne - also known as "Stonewall of the West" - who was born in the …

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May 5, 2022

Pride, Prejudice & The Irish Origins of a Great Literary Family (#718)

In this episode of the Letter from Ireland podcast we take a literary turn! First off we have a look at that literary masterpiece of Jane Austen - Pride and Prejudice - having fun with some of the Irish versions …

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April 28, 2022

PRONI - Past, Present & Future (#717)

Do you have ancestors who originated in the counties of Ulster? In this episode we interview Janet Hancock who is the Deputy Head of Public Services at PRONI (The Public Records Office of Northern Ireland). We chat about: Jan...

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April 21, 2022

Will You Travel with This Irish Saint? (#716)

We start this episode by hitting the high seas in the company of Saint Brendan the Navigator - a man who roamed the known (and unknown) world using the simple boats of his day. We then come back onto dry …

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April 14, 2022

An Irish Rebel Easter (#715)

As we approach Easter here in Ireland, the thoughts of many Irish people turn to the historic events around the Easter Rising of 1916. In this episode we talk about that time as well as another Irish leader who was …

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April 7, 2022

A Journey Along The St. Lawrence River (#714)

In today's episode of the Letter from Ireland podcast, we take a trip up along the St. Lawrence River in Canada with two stories linked to that part of the world. First, we stop off at Grosse Île just outside …

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March 31, 2022

It's Time for an Irish Census (#713)

Here in Ireland we are getting ready to fill in the population census for 2022. We use this opportunity to chat about the census down through the years and it's usefulness to genealogists and family historians. Carina also re...

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March 23, 2022

An Irish Musical Education (#712)

This is a musical episode (with a running commentary) of the Letter from Ireland show. Over 10 tracks, Mike takes you through an Irish musical journey that shaped his growing awareness and appreciation of the Irish music that...

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March 16, 2022

Let's Celebrate St. Patricks Day (#711)

In this special episode we celebrate St. Patrick's Day! The parades and celebrations are returning in Ireland after a 2 year absence. Along with some very appropriate music, we chat about the first and sur-names that have com...

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March 10, 2022

Would You Live on an Irish Island? (#710)

In this episode of the Letter from Ireland podcast we visit the beautiful islands off the west coast of Ireland. For many centuries, these islands grew in population as the natives of Ireland were forced off good land on the …

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March 2, 2022

007 Meets Sherlock Holmes - An Irish Story(#709)

Today we take to the streets of the city of Edinburgh in Scotland. Edinburgh was the home to Seán Connery, the actor who played James Bond for many years. We also examine another native of Edinburgh - Arthur Conan Doyle, …

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Feb. 24, 2022

Murder in The West of Ireland (#708)

In this episode we cover two infamous real life murder cases in the west of Ireland during the 1800s. The first murder was as a result of mass evictions from an Irish estate during the famine - and the second …

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Feb. 17, 2022

Elvis and The Fighting Irish (#707)

In this episode of the Letter from Ireland podcast we look at the place the humble Irish club called the "shillelagh" has in Irish history and tradition. Also, did you know that Shillelagh is also a place?The ancestors of a …

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Feb. 10, 2022

A Valentine Card From Ireland (#706)

In this special St. Valentine's episode of the Letter from Ireland podcast we share the story of Saint Valentine's association with the city of Dublin - and the tale of love and loss of a young couple who were married …

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Feb. 3, 2022

The Death of An Irish Chieftain (#705)

In this special musical episode of the Letter from Ireland Podcast we celebrate the music of the Irish traditional group known as The Chieftains. Following the death of their leader late last year, Paddy Moloney, we have come...

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Jan. 27, 2022

A Celtic Spring (#704)

In this episode of the Letter from Ireland Podcast we celebrate the upcoming season of Celtic spring here in Ireland - known as Imbolc. We choose music and stories to understand more of this significant time in the celtic cal...

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Jan. 19, 2022

Ireland, Scotland & Robbie Burns (#703)

In this episode of the Letter from Ireland Podcast we look at the overlap culturally between Ireland and Scotland. This is especially relevant as we approach the annual Robbie Burns night - what has effectively turned into Sc...

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Jan. 13, 2022

Two Irish Literary Giants (#702)

In this episode of the Letter from Ireland Podcast, we look at the life and works of two of Ireland's most famous literary giants - George Bernard Shaw and James Joyce. We take an unusual angle on the stories of …

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Jan. 7, 2022

All Gods Creatures Have a Place in the Choir (#701)

In this first episode of the Letter from Ireland Show for 2022 we share stories and music that highlight the esteemed place that animals have in Irish mythology and folklore, music and family surnames.

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