Stories of Cobh/Queenstown, Crystal Master Crafstmen, The Ryans and much more…

Your letter from Ireland shorts from the 20th of June 2023.

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Stories of Cobh/Queenstown, Crystal Master Crafstmen, The Ryans and much more…

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.

Cobh (formerly known as Queenstown), County Cork.
 Not too far from where I am writing this message lies the port town of Cobh. This was the starting point for many of our Irish ancestors as they set off for a new life in North America. It’s also home to the wonderful Cobh Heritage Centre. We spoke with general manager Jack Walsh who shared some great stories with Carina, which you can see on youtube video by clicking here.

Our Irish surname of the week is Ryan. The majority of Ryans came out of north County Tipperary where it is the most numerous surname and originally called “Mulryan” there. There is also a separate clan of Ryans from County Carlow – which you find spread across Carlow, Wicklow, Kilkenny and Wexford. To see where the name appears in Ireland in the mid 1800s go to this page on

“‘Tis” by Frank McCourt. 
Maybe you have you heard about Frank McCourt’s “Angela’s Ashes” which won the Pulitzer Prize and captured readers’ hearts with its spirit and wit. His follow up is called ‘Tis. It takes us on Frank’s American journey from impoverished immigrant to a brilliant teacher and storyteller. Starting at his arrival in New York, moving on to his time in the army and eventually finding his place in the world, Frank’s captivating voice and humour really caught my attention. See the book on Amazon here.


Is binn béal ina thost
(pronounced “iss bin bayle inna hust”)

which translates as “a silent mouth is sweet” – which contains the same meaning as  “silence is golden“.

And I’ll say no more at that!


Crystal production in the city of Waterford goes back to 1783 and on our last trip to Waterford we popped in to see Danny Murphy and his lads at The Irish Handmade Glass Company, which is a co-op of local master craftsmen based in the Viking Triangle in Waterford city. Find out more about their history and products here.

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.

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