THE RYAN CLAN ASSOCIATION NEWSLETTER
Volume 2, No. 1 November 1999
The Ryan Clan Association, U.S. Sept
P. O. Box 13241, Tallahassee, FL 32317
President: J. Terry Ryan
Treasurer: RADM Jim Carey
Secretary & Newsletter: Sharon Healey Bartholomew
Web Design: Jim Carigan
How sweetly lies old Ireland, emerald green beyond the foam
Awakening sweet memories, calling the heart back home
Increasing Religious Turmoil
The religious changes under King Edward VI and Queen Mary I had little effect on Ireland. Although Mary was a Roman Catholic, she was the first to begin the colonization of Ireland by English settlers. The Irish people of Kings and Queens Company were driven out, and their lands given to English colonists. Queen Elizabeth I originally followed her fathers policy of conciliating the Irish chieftains, but the rebellion of the Ulster chieftain Shane ONeill (l530?67) caused her policy to become more severe. An act was passed which divided all of Ireland into counties, and the commissioners of justice were invested with military powers which they used in arbitrary fashion.
The religious wars of Elizabeth were attended by rebellions of the Irish Roman Catholics. James Fitzgerald, 16th Earl of Desmond (1570?1601), a member of the great house of Geraldine, which ruled over the larger part of Munster, was defeated after a long struggle. The Irish soldier, Hugh ONeill, 3rd Baron of Dungannon, called by the English the Earl of Tyrone, annihilated an English army on the Blackwater and also defeated Robert Devereaux, 2nd Earl of Essex, whom Elizabeth had sent against him. In about 1603, however, ONeill was compelled to submit to the English. During the war, the greatest cruelty and treachery were practiced on both sides. In order to destroy Irish resistance, the English devastated villages, crops and cattle putting many people to death. The greater part of Munster and Ulster was laid desolate, and more inhabitants died from hunger than from war.
Under Elizabeth and James I, the power of the Anglican State Church was extended over Ireland. The Church of England obtained all that belonged to the Church of the Pale and was invested with the establishment belonging to the Celtic Church as well. An ancient feud existed between these two Irish churches, and they were intensely hostile to one another. The Church of the Pale in and near Dublin was affected by the reformation, but the Celtic Church had become increasingly Roman Catholic. Nearly the entire Celtic population of Ireland and the majority of the inhabitants of the Pale remained Roman Catholic, and the Anglican Church served as a political instrument for the English rulers in Dublin Castle.
During the reign of James I, English law was pronounced the sole law of the land. Warfare between the earls of Tyrone and Tyrconnel, traditional rivals, gave pretext for the confiscation of the land in six counties of northern Ulster. The last vestiges of the independence of the Irish Parliament were destroyed by the creation of 40 boroughs out of the small hamlets, a political maneuver that secured a permanent majority to the English crown.
The stern but vigorous rule of Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Stratford and viceroy of Charles I, produced order and prosperity in Ireland. By balancing the number of Roman Catholics and Protestants in Parliament and holding out to the former the promise of toleration, he succeeded in obtaining liberal funds for the king in his conflict with the English Parliament. The native Irish, who had been dispossesed in Ulster and elsewhere, made use of the English situation to regain their possessions.
Under the leadership of the Irish chieftain, Rory OMore, a conspiracy was formed in 1641 to seize Dublin and expel the English. The Irish succeeded in driving the English settlers out of Ulster and committed many outrages. English writers have estimated that the Irish put at least 30,000 to death, but this number is thought to be exaggerated. The insurgents were soon joined by the Roman Catholic lords of the Pale and, together, they chose a supreme council to govern Ireland. Charles I sent Edward Somerset, Earl of Glamorgan (1601-67) to treat with them, and the earl went so far as to promise them the predominance of the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland as the reward for their assistance to Charles. In 1647, the alliance between the lords of the Pale, who desired nothing beyond toleration for their religion, and the native Irish, who hoped for the restoration of the ancient land system, came to an end. In 1648, the Irish statesman and soldier, James Butler, 12th Earl of Ormonde, returned as the viceroy of Charles I and made an alliance with the Roman Catholic lords, thereby securing Ireland for the Royalist party.
THE GATHERING OF THE CLAN
Ryan Rally 2000 September 2000 Tipperary Ireland
Ryan Rally 2000 continues to move forward. Thanks to Dayna Ryan and Jim Ryan, over 650 letters were sent in October to Irish-American organizations all over the country. So far, it looks like we have a contingent of 30-35 people planning to travel to Ireland for the rally, and we still have nine months to go! Were working with a travel agent and working out a plan for the best way for all of us to get there at the least cost. See the Ryan Rally link on our web page (http://www.ryans.org) for the latest information. If you are interested in attending and have not yet contacted Dayna Ryan (DaynaR@aol.com), please do so as soon as possible!!
May the roof of your house never fall in, and those within it never fall out.
It's easy to halve the potato where there's love.
HITS ON WEB PAGE
Weve now surpassed 11,000 hits on the Ryan web page! People from all over the world are visiting our web page and, most importantly, taking advantage of the wonderful information available. Thanks to all who have spread the word. Special thanks to Jim Carigan, our faithful webmaster, for its design and upkeep.
THE CHILDREN OF LIR
The Children of Lir is an ancient Irish myth set in the time of the Tuatha De Danann. They were the people of the Goddess Danu. In this time the world was different; it was a more magical place. Creatures and animals which no longer exist,roamed the earth. There were dragons in the air, and silver horned unicorns ran through the forests. Magic worked back then because people believed that it worked. Nowadays, people dont believe in magic, so its powers are sadly diminished. In the time of the Tuatha De Danann, lived Lir, the lord of the sea. He had a wife called Eva. Like all the women of the De Danann tribe she was very beautiful.
One-day, Lirs two eldest children Fionnuala and Aodh went swimming. The young boy and girl dove into the icy water together and swam strongly towards the far side of the small lake. They didnt swim like humans who splashed and made a lot of noise. Instead they swam beneath the waters surface using their webbed feet to push them along. They did not have to come up for air like humans; they could breathe using their fish-like gills, which were located on either side of their necks. They were not normal children, they were the Children of Lir, ruler of "An Tir Faoi Thuinn," the land beneath the waves. When they reached the other side of the lake they met one of their fathers guards, carrying a message that their father wanted to see them.
They rushed into their fathers fort, both of them laughing and playing. When they met their father, he was evidently not as happy as they were. When they asked what was wrong, he told them that their mother had gone to rest after giving birth to twins, named Fiacra and Conn. "What does rest mean father?" asked Aodh. His father told him it was what humans called death, but because the people of the De Danann were immortal, their mother had just gone to rest for a very long time, up to a couple of thousand years or so. Their father told them that they were to look after the twins. Fionnuala was to mother the twins, and Aodh was to be their protector.
The children kissed their mother for the last time and left the room. The years passed quickly, and the twins grew strong and boisterous. Lir, however, became gloomier with each passing day until he met Aoife. Aoife had strange powers, which enabled her to transform things. Lir soon fell deeply in love with Aoife, and they were married soon thereafter. The newlywed couple returned to Lirs fort, and it was a happy time for the children, their father and their stepmother.
For the first few months, Aoife treated the children as her own but soon things began to change. She would loose her temper for no reason and punish the children harshly. One day, Aoife grew sick. Lir got all the wise men and wizards to come and see her, but they could not find an answer. They said it was a sickness of the mind.
One day Aoife mysteriously recovered. After her year in bed she had grown fat and grey. She told the children that they were going to visit their grandfather and had Lirs servants prepare a picnic and chariot. The children, Fionnuala, Aodh, Conn and Fiacra, and their stepmother set off for their grandfathers house. On the way, Aoife had the chariot stop by the waters edge, as the twins Conn and Fiacra were feeling sick. Aoife approached the children from behind. "Its such a lovely day, why dont you all go for a swim and then we can eat when you are finished." The children did as she suggested, stripped off their clothing and dove into the water, where they laughed and played until their stepmother was nowhere to be seen. Aoife suddenly appeared from behind a tree wearing their fathers magic cloak. It was a special type of cloak, which only the people of the De Danann wore when they were about to perform very strong magic. "For far too long you children have stood between your father and me, but that is about to change!" Aoife said coldly. "You cannot kill us, we are the Children of Lir, if you kill us our ghosts shall haunt you!" protested Aodh. "Im not that stupid, Im not going to kill you, Im merely going to change you!" replied Aoife with a sinister laugh. She produced a wand from her cloak, bowed her head and muttered some strange words. A red and gold circle glowed on the water around the children. She then threw the wand high into the air, where it exploded into a cloud of fine dust. She then looked up and opened her cloak, from which a blinding white light emerged. This blinding white light was in the form of a gigantic fireball, which rocketed towards them, burning the grass and hardening the sand that lay in its path. As the fireball hit the water, large clouds of steam rose and covered the children. They gradually lost all feeling in their feet, legs, hips, chest, arms and shoulders, necks and eventually their heads.
When the children regained their sight they saw Aoife towering over them laughing. Aodh made a lunge at her, as if to attack her. He waved his arms furiously but all that happened was that water flew everywhere. He turned to where his brothers and sister were and cried aloud in horror. To his disbelief he saw three beautiful white swans and, when he looked into the water, a beautiful white swan stared back up at him. Aoife told them that they were to spend nine hundred years as swans: three hundred on Lough Derravaragh, three hundred on the Straits of Moyle and three hundred on the Isle of Inish Glora. To complete the spell they had to hear the bell of the new God. Aoife didnt rob them of their right to speech; however, it was their ability to communicate which kept them together over the long nine hundred years.
Lir rushed to the lake but could find no trace of his children. Aoife told him of how they had been attacked by wild bores and killed. Then, one of the white swans spoke gently. It was Fionnuala, the eldest. She told Lir how Aoife had stolen their human form. Lir was extremely angry with Aoife. He changed her into an evil demon of the air and told her how she had shamed the people of the De Danann, and must be punished.
So began the enchantment. Lir would come every day to see his children on Lough Derravaragh near Multyfarnham. Lir grew old and watched all the people of the De Danann go to rest; he too would soon have to join them. He came one day to the shores of the Lough, and squinted out across the lake to find his children. Upon seeing him the children glided gracefully towards him. The old kings eyes filled with tears as he recognised the largest swan. "Son," Lir said gently, "Father," Aodh replied. Lir then recognized Fionnuala's bright eyes. "Father," she said, "Today we must move on, the first part of our enchantment is over," "I know," replied Lir, "I have watched the years drift by. I have watched all the De Danann go to their rest. I too must join them soon for Im now an old man." Lir bent down and kissed each of their white heads for the last time. "We must go now," said Fionnuala sadly, as the power of the enchantment dragged them away from their father. The four swans soon disappeared into the mist heading for the Straits of Moyle. That was the last the children saw of their father, a proud old man with tears in his eyes standing on the shores of Lough Derravaragh.
The power of Lir's love was so strong that for the children the three hundred years on Lough Derravaragh was a period of bliss. The Children of Lir learned that together in love they could withstand adversity. Lir, ruler of the Tir Faoi Thuinn fortified his children with a love so strong, they felt his presence even after he had gone to rest. Lir loved his children however different they were.
The children flew northward towards the Straits of Moyle, where they settled on a rock, exhausted after the long flight. Aodh looked at the sky and said fearfully, "There is a storm coming." "Then we must stick together," insisted Fionnuala. The children spent many nights being blown about on the stormy Straits of Moyle, where they huddled together for warmth and comforted each other. For three hundred years the children stuck together on the rough, harsh and stormy Straits of Moyle.
One morning Fionnuala awoke and knew their time on the Straits of Moyle was over. The four swans took off into the cold morning air and flew south towards Lough Derravaragh, and as they looked down upon the land, they realized that they had spent six hundred years as swans. They flew over Lough Derravaragh in the hope of finding their fathers fort, but alas it was nothing but a ruin. They wept bitterly because they knew the age of the Tuatha De Danann was gone. They turned west and headed for the waters of Inish Glora. They knew that they wouldnt survive another three hundred years in stormy conditions so they found shelter on a small saltwater lake on the mainland. This lake was inside the waters of Inish Glora, so the children did not break the enchantment.
Time passed slowly on the small saltwater lake. The children sang songs to each other and told stories to pass the time. One day, a small, frail man with a long grey beard came and settled beside the lake. Fionnuala said that he reminded her of the druids, the holy men she knew when she was a child. The children agreed to ask the old man if he was a follower of the new God. Fionnuala glided gracefully towards him. "Ah, my friends! I have no bread for you today but perhaps I shall bake some tomorrow." "That would be nice," replied Fionnuala. The old man fell back in amazement. "Im sorry, I didnt mean to startle you," said Fionnuala kindly. "You can talk?" said the old man who was quite astonished. "We all can talk," said Aodh. "Ah, the Children of Lir," he said. "You know of us?" said Fionnuala, who seemed quite puzzled. "Yes," he replied, "All of Erin knows of the legend of the Children of Lir." "Are you a holy man?" asked Fiacra. The old man nodded. "I am a follower of Jesus Christ." "Tell us of that Christ," Fionnuala said eagerly. "When our stepmother enchanted us she said that we would not regain our human form until the bell of the new God was heard in our land. And so Mochua told them of the Christian faith, the life of Jesus Christ and his followers and of St. Patrick who carried the Christian faith to Erin. The children were excited, as they knew that this was the new God of whom their stepmother had spoken.
The children stayed with Mochua for many years. He read them the word of God in a small chapel that he himself had built. People came from all around to hear the children sing in the chapel. Mochua gathered up scrap metal to make a bell. People gave him old swords and shields. He then got local blacksmiths to make a bell from the metal. On the day the bell was installed a terrible thing happened. The children and Mochua had gathered in the chapel to say a few prayers over the bell, when they heard the sound of horses hooves outside. A tall, black shadow darkened the doorway of the chapel. Mochua looked up and opened his mouth in shock as a tall warrior dressed in armor and a long cloak entered the building. "What do you want?" demanded Mochua. "Them!" he blared, pointing his finger at the children. "You cannot have them!" insisted the old priest. "And how dare you enter the house of God without leaving down your sword," he added. "I am Liargren, King of Connaught, and if you do not give me those swans for my wife I shall rip down this building and throw every stone into the lake," he said coldly. "We will go with him," Fionnuala said. Liargren was amazed to hear the swan speak, as he had not believed in the legend up until then. He called in four men who seized the children and dragged them outside to the chariot. No sooner had the children been dragged outside, then the bell of the church sounded. For a moment everything seemed to freeze. The four men dropped the children in fright, and the startled Liargren mounted his horse and rode off. A cold wind blew up and swept across the lake gathering a white mist, which landed on the children. Soon the children were hidden behind a wall of thick mist, which began to change colors, from white to blue, from blue to red, from red to green, from green to yellow, from yellow to black and then from black to blue again. The cold wind blew again, diffusing the mist and revealing four small children. The girl stood forward. "We are the Children of Lir" she said softly, her voice as sweet as a song.
And so the children returned to their human forms. Liargren never bothered them again. They were baptized that day by Mochua and became followers of Christ. The children, the last of the Tuatha De Danann passed away soon thereafter, but the legend of the Children of Lir still lives on.
MINUTES OF THE
QUARTERLY ON-LINE MEETING
HELD SEPTEMBER 23, 1999
The minutes of the last meeting were approved.
Correction to previous treasurers report:
Should have read five (5) new members for $125.00 and an ending balance of $725.19.
Beginning Balance $ 725.19
13 New Members @ $25 each $ 400.00
Bank Refund/Service Charge - 9.00
Ending Balance $1284.19
We now have 50 paid members including 13 new members and three paid renewals (renewals are just as important for continued support of all current and future projects!).
Discussed the Ryan Clan Rally in Tipperary in Year 2000. A survey was sent to all those who expressed interest in attending.
Nonprofit status is still being worked on by the committee.
The programmer for the Ryan database has many year-end projects at his office and has had to postpone this project until the first of the year.
Administrative expenses to be approved:
Web hosting fee of approximately $20.00/month. Terry Ryan has been paying until now.
Postage of $106.97 and stationery supplies of $37.06 related to contacting people for the Ryan Rally.
Our next on-line meeting will be held on December 16, 1999, at 9PM EST. Please mark your calendars. Go to the Ryan web page (www.ryans.org) and click on the Meeting Room link.
The Jeanie Johnston (1847-58) was the most famous of the Kerry 19th Century emigrant vessels. She was built in Quebec in 1847 and owned by the Donovan family of Tralee and sailed on the North American route transporting timber and foodstuffs to Ireland and returning with passengers. Unlike the infamous coffin ships of the period, Jeanie was a well-built and well-run ship with a full complement of 200 passengers and a crew of 17. During the Great Famine Jeanie made 16 successful trans-Atlantic voyages to Baltimore, New York and Quebec from Tralee without losing a passenger to disease or the sea. Even when she sank in the middle of the Atlantic in 1858, she went down slowly enough to enable all aboard her to be rescued.
Now a life-size sailing replica of the 150-foot Tall Ship is being built at a visitor-friendly shipyard at Blennerville on the main Tralee-Dingle Road. Shipwrights from Ireland, North and South, Britain, Continental Europe, the United States, Canada and New Zealand have come together to help rebuild the "Jeanie Johnston" famine ship. Young FAS trainees from Belfast, Dublin and Kerry wishing to learn the age-old skills and techniques of wooden shipbuilding have joined them at Blennerville.
The building of a Tall Ship is an enormous undertaking, but when the ship is a full size historic replica, it is even more challenging and rewarding. This is a project reminiscent of the building of the other great Tall Ships like the Mayflower, Batavia and Matthew.
See the Jeanie Johnston web page at
for addition information.