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Xmas Message To Ireland’s Diaspora From Irish President Mr Michael D. Higgins

“Christmas will be different this year to that with which we are familiar”

Picture shows: President Higgins and his lady wife Sabina standing centre on ground lit to symbolise a streaming river, travelling out from Áras An Uachtaráin to all Irish people, especially those who cannot be with their loving families this Christmas.

Message from Irish President Michael D. Higgins, Xmas 2020

Mar Uachtarán na hÉireann, ba mhaith liom beannachtaí na Nollag a ghuí ar mhuintir na hÉireann ar fud an domhain. [English Translation: “As President of Ireland, I would like to wish the Irish people around the world a very Merry Christmas”.]

Is pribhléid é dom i mbliana beannachtaí a chuir chugaibh, teaghlach domhanda na hÉireann, atá gaolta de réir ár nÉireannachas coiteann, idir cultúr, stair agus oidhreacht, cibé áit ina bhfuil tú, agus cibé chúinse. [English Translation: “It is a privilege for me this year to send greetings to you, the global family of Ireland, who are related by our common Irishness, in terms of culture, history and heritage, wherever you are, and under whatever circumstances”.]

Ba bhliain dhúshlánach í dúinn go léir, ach bhí sí níos deacra do dhaoine áirithe. [English Translation: “It was a challenging year for all of us, but it was harder for some”.]

May I send my warmest Christmas greetings, as Uachtarán na hÉireann, President of Ireland, to all our extended Irish family across the world.

Wherever you may be, and in whatever circumstances, as Ireland’s global family connected by our shared Irishness, its culture, heritage and history, it is a privilege to send greetings on what has been a difficult year for all of us, but some more than others.

Christmas this year will, by necessity, be a different Christmas to that with which we are familiar. At this time of year, it has long been the practice of workers, friends and families to gather together to socialise and celebrate. So many friends and family from abroad looked forward to returning home to catch up on family and local news and of course to experience and share the excitement and joy that, for so many, Christmastime represents.

Regrettably, so many of these traditional Christmas activities will not take place in 2020, or will have to be severely curtailed, owing to COVID-19. This is yet another disappointment to be added to the personal, social, economic and indeed cultural consequences of a pandemic that has resulted in so much tragedy since it enveloped the world earlier this year.

May I suggest, however, that the COVID crisis should not mean that we cannot have a Christmas of resonance this year, one that we will remember in the future. With a little imagination and goodwill, we can all make Christmas 2020 a Christmas to remember for all the right reasons. I suggest we do so on the basis of good citizenship.

This Christmas presents us with an opportunity to make a profound reflection on the importance of strengthening our determination to continue with our efforts to take care, to suppress the virus and, in doing so, demonstrate solidarity with our essential workers and with each other, so that we all prevail with our health protected and with the essentials of our social and economic interactions recovered with the minimum of risk.

The principles that guide us in our renewed commitment can be sourced in those fundamental values that represent the best of ourselves, such as solidarity, care, compassion, kindness, sensitivity. These values have been generously demonstrated by so many of our citizens over the past year as the public health crisis unfolded.

We continue to share the grief of those who have lost loved-ones, and share the anguish of those whose lives and livelihoods that have been impacted adversely. We feel for the loneliness being experienced by those who have been separated from contact with those who previously sustained them. This is all the more poignant at Christmastime. We must acknowledge, too, that for so many the loss of the social, economic and recreational practices that were their links to life in its rich totality is near devastating. We must encourage each other and draw strength from that.

As we connect to our wider Irish family and to the many friends of Ireland who celebrate Christmas with us, from far and wide, in perhaps equally unusual circumstances, let us also resolve to embrace all of our responsibilities as global citizens, and to work with fellow citizens across all continents for a more equal, just and sustainable world; a world that, with all our endeavours, can reject violence in all its forms, and redoubles its efforts to end global poverty, exploitation and exclusion.

Yes, 2020 has been a gruelling year for all of us and a tragic year for so many, but let us recall that, while it is important never to forget that Christmas marks the birth of Jesus Christ, it also marks the beginning of longer, lighter days, and is thus a powerful symbol of hope, a beacon of better days to come.

May I wish all those who share this island, be they Irish people by birth or descent, or those who have a connection with Ireland, wherever they may be in the world, and all those fellow global citizens who are friends of Ireland, a happy and peaceful Christmas.

Ba mhaith liom Nollaig Shona agus síochánta a ghuí ar gach duine ar an oileán seo, Éireannach ó dhúchas, daoine a bhfuil baint acu le hÉirinn ar gach cearn den domhan, agus na saoránaigh dhomhanda ba chairde na hÉireann iad ar fud an domhain. [English Translation: “I would like to wish a Happy and peaceful Christmas to everyone on this island, native Irishmen, people with a connection to Ireland all over the world, and the global citizens who were Ireland’s friends around the world”.]

Nollaig shona agus athbhliain faoi mhaise daoibh. [English Translation: “Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year”.]


DIY Christmas Decorations For December 8th

Many of the activities that families typically enjoy at Christmas time are not possible this year. Trips to visit Santa in shopping centres and a trip to the cinema to see the latest Christmas movie won’t take place in 2020.

Although we are somewhat limited in what we can get up to outside our homes this Christmas, there are lots of fun Christmas crafts and games we can enjoy in the warm comfort of our own homes.

December 8th traditionally marks the start of Christmas in Ireland and many families begin decorating their homes from this date.

Why not add a bit of family fun to your Christmas decorating this year and try and make some of these fun and traditional Christmas paper crafts?
All you need is Sellotape or Glue, Paper, a Stapler and a Scissors.

If you want more examples why not try out these links hereunder: –

3D Paper Snowflakehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B4wK8l_0On0

3D Paper Christmas Treeshttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZAsOQiZMEs

Paper Snowflake Templateshttps://www.firstpalette.com/printable/snowflake.html

Christmas Tree Garlandhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9BD_EZDcutg

Enjoy making your 3D Paper Snowflake and please do be careful with that sharp, pointed Scissors.


Behold, Crib In Two-Mile-Borris, Thurles, Tipperary

“Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.”

[Gospel according to St. Luke: Chapter 2 – verses 15-16 (King James Version]

Now, with at least some Covid-19 virus restrictions lifted, one place to visit this 2020 Christmas season is the crib in the village of Two-Mile-Borris, near Thurles, Co. Tipperary.

The Crib is set up next door to the Church of St. James, in an old disused shed on the side of the main street, almost directly opposite John Tully’s Gala Supermarket in the village.

Remember on your visit: Strict adherence to social distancing and face covering please.

To those responsible for the crib’s construction – congratulations and well done – truly artistic and worthy of a visit by all and sundry, this Christmas period.


Lavery Portrait Of Lady Evelyn Farquhar For Sale

Portrait by Irish painter Sir John Lavery, R.A., R.S.A., R.H.A. of Lady Evelyn Farquhar.

Billionaire and former K-Club owner, Dr. Michael Smurfit, who currently resides in Monaco, aged 83, is offering for sale certain Irish art works, the collection estimated at making up to €2 million at auction.

One of the paintings being offered for auction by Sotherby’s, is a portrait by Irish artist Sir John Lavery, R.A., R.S.A., R.H.A. of ‘Lady Evelyn Farquhar‘; in impressionism style, which has an estimated price tag of some €800,000.

The oil on canvas features one of the daughters of the fifth Earl of Donoughmore; latter an old Irish family that originally hailed from Knocklofty House, Clonmel, here in Co. Tipperary.

Lady Evelyn the lady in the portrait, married Lieutenant Colonel Francis Douglas Farquhar in April 1905. Lieutenant Colonel Farquhar, alas, was killed in action early during WWI, in 1915 and was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO), latter a military decoration of the United Kingdom.
After eight years as a widow, Lady Evelyn then remarried in 1923, one Sir Dougal Orme Malcolm KCMG (Knight Commander of St. Michael and St. George) of Poltalloch, in mid Argyll, Scotland; latter who died aged 78 years in 1955. Lady Evelyn herself died in 1966.

The painting has been described by the auction house as one of Lavery’s most successful and striking portraits.

The auction is expected be held in London the next 18 days (next September) and bidders are invited to register and bid online.


Art Competition: Freedom In Time Of Constraint

Enter this art competition from Artmaterials.ie and support The Jack and Jill Foundation and Alone.

Artmaterials.ie are inviting everyone aged from 5 to 105 to get creative and enter their art competition. Entrants will to be in with a chance to win some great prizes including art supplies, Ríocht hand-made boxes and William Mitchell Joseph Gillot Rolinx calligraphy drawing pens.

Artmaterials.ie are among Ireland’s leading online art materials supply shops. Simply by entering, you receive a promo code entitling you to 20% off an art supplies order. In addition, for every entry they receive, they will donate €1 to their charity partners The Jack and Jill Foundation and Alone.

Entries must reflect the theme ‘Freedom in a Time of Constraint’ and will be accepted from amateur artists as well as those established in the art world.

Entrants can use any media they wish and entries can be submitted by individuals and teams. Entries must be submitted by midnight of June 9th 2020 via the entry form available HERE. Winners will be announced on June 30th.

For more information view the rules for entry which are available HERE.

“Creativity is contagious. Pass it on.” – Albert Einstein