Gift of the Gab, Irish Puzzles and Donovans…

Your letter from Ireland shorts from the 7th of November 2023.

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Gift of the Gab, Irish Puzzles and Donovans…

Céad míle fáilte, welcome to your Letter from Ireland “Shorts”.  Each Tuesday we’ll bring you a quick-read of some of our favourite and interesting Irish things for this week.

Blarney Castle, County Cork.
 This one’s quite a famous spot! The castle was a stronghold of the McCarthys and contains a famous stone at the top with a reputation for giving you the “gift of the gab”. Have you kissed the stone? Did it work for you? Click here to see a video of our visit on a beautiful autumnal day.

Our Irish surname of the week is O’Donovan. The surname originates from the Irish “Donnabhain”, derived from “donn” meaning “brown”, “dubh” meaning “black/dark”, and the diminutive suffix “an”. The Donnabhain in question was a son of Callaghan – a 10th-century Munster King. The O’Donovans named their Limerick stronghold “Brugh Riogh” or “Royal Residence”. However, a power shift in the area caused their relocation to southwest Cork where they became chieftains of Carbery. To see where the name appears in Ireland in the mid 1800s go to this page on

“The Tour” by Jean Grainger
. This week’s book is a fun bit of fiction about an Irish high-end tour guide and one very eventful tour. “The Tour” is part of a series of books that are both entertaining and informational- helping you discover more about Ireland. Click here to see the book on amazon.


Is fearr lúbadh ná briseadh

It translates as “It’s better to bend than break”.

Click here to listen to how a native Irish speaker would say it

Something to reflect on for the tough situations we face in life!

IRISH CRAFT/PRODUCT WE LOVE (not an advert – just things we like) 

Gosling Gifts & Games have a great selection of Irish designed and made puzzles and board games. We’re big fans of their puzzles and their “discovering Ireland” board game is a great way to get to know Ireland while having fun with the family.

That’s it for this week. Send us an email with any of your own favourites for inclusion in future emails, or if you’re a plus member leave a comment below.

Slán for now,
Mike & Carina.

Note: The above article may contain some affiliate links (for example the Amazon link) which means we get paid a small amount should you choose to purchase, at no extra cost to you. This helps us keep the show on the road!

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