Christmas on the Aran Islands

Christmas was a hectic affair this year for Fr. Ciarán Blake, Inis Mór's parish priest.  There is no parish priest on Inis Meáin, so after reading mass on Inis Mór, Fr. Blake was ferried by a local fisherman, Michael Seoighe, to Inis Meáin where after a choppy crossing Fr. Blake was driven to the church to read Christmas mass for the waiting congregation.

Fragments 21-12-06

Santa Claus hands out gifts during the US civil war in Thomas Nast's first Santa Claus cartoon, Harper's Weekly, 1863.
In Western culture, where the holiday is characterised by the exchange of gifts, some of the gifts are attributed to a character called Santa Claus (also known as Father Christmas, Saint Nicholas or St Nikolaus, Sinterklaas, Joulupukki, Weihnachtsmann, Saint Basil and Father Frost).

News 14-12-06

A round up of the week's stories: Further problems predicted for late, over-budget port tunnel; Young offenders to be housed in €9m ‘temporary' prison; O'Malley profits from sale of mental-health medication; ‘Poorly monitored, rushed, inadequately validated...' ; Dublin City Council agrees to carry out fire risk assessments; Veronica Guerin bursary scheme for DCU; Fall in number of schools with psychological services; 

Fragments 14-12-06

The anti-Americanism of Americans: Anti-Americanism is rife, as evidenced by the following extracts from a critique of American foreign policy that is typically negative.

Immaculate Conception:Pope, Christial Roots of Italy and EU

(AGI) - Vatican City, Dec. 8 - "From their ancient Christian roots, we know that the populace draws nourishment to build their present and future." This was part of the prayer said by Benedict XVI this afternoon in Spagna square, in which he entrusted Rome, Italy, Europe and the world to the Virgin Mary.