Lough Derg: the spirit of a holy place

IMAGE Wednesday, 04 April 2012
A small island in a lake called Lough Derg is one of the most famous of Ireland's places of pilgrimage. About 35,000 pilgrims come to it each year intent on doing penance for their sins or seeking divine intervention in their lives. Read More...

Nantes-Brest Canal, Brittany's popular leisure waterway

IMAGE Friday, 07 October 2011
The Nantes-Brest Canal is a 364 km long waterway connecting the city of Brest, on the west of Brittany, to the city of Nantes in the south east. Read More...

The shrine of the Cailleach at Glen Lyon

IMAGE Wednesday, 07 September 2011
Each year, in one of the most remote areas of Scotland, a family of stones are brought out of the house in the spring and returned to the house for the winter. The tradition stretches back thousands of years and the site is believed to be the only surviving shrine to the Celtic goddess Cailleach. Read More...

Newport Celtic Festival and Highland Games, Oregon

IMAGE Tuesday, 17 May 2011
A cultural celebration of the seven Celtic nations, the new festival on the Oregon coast features Celtic music, dance, food, drink, crafts, vendors, kids events, family histories and Highland Games. Read More...

World's largest tidal power project

IMAGE Thursday, 07 April 2011
The world's largest tidal stream energy array will be built in the Sound of Islay on Scotland's west coast. Read More...

Wales' new devolution settlement

IMAGE Thursday, 03 March 2011
Following the 'Yes' victory in the 3 March 2011 Referendum, Wales will now be able to pass its own laws in twenty policy fields. Read More...

The Giant's Causeway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

IMAGE Thursday, 03 March 2011
The Causeway Coast in Northern Ireland has an unparalleled display of polygonal columns of basalt rock resulting from a volcanic eruption 60 million years ago. Read More...

State Funeral as former Taoiseach Garret FitzGerald dies

Thousands of mourners pay their respects as pioneer of Northern Ireland peace process is laid to rest.

Thousands of mourners pay their respects as pioneer of Northern Ireland peace process is laid to rest.

The Irish politician, economist and journalist died on 19 May 2011 in a Dublin hospital aged 85 after a short illness.

Known as "Garret the Good" by colleagues and opponents alike because of his humility and integrity, Dr FitzGerald served twice as Taoiseach -Ireland’s Prime Minister- in the 1980s.

Dr FitzGerald's finest achievement in politics was his negotiation of the Anglo-Irish Agreement of 1985 with former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher. A key milestone in the Northern Ireland Peace Process, it gave the Republic of Ireland a formal say in the governance of Northern Ireland and culminated in the Good Friday Agreement of 1998.

Ireland's best-known economist before entering politics, Dr FitzGerald became Taoiseach in 1981 when Ireland was suffering from recession. In a background of double-digit unemployment and high emigration, he took unpopular decisions and was punished for it in the polls.

As a part of his quest to modernise Ireland's economy and society, he pushed to reform State-Church relations. Facing strong opposition from the Roman Catholic Church, he failed to win his referendums to liberalise contraception and legalise divorce. However, Dr FitzGerald is credited with liberalising Ireland and secularising the Irish Republic.

A strong pro-European, he was also one of the first Irish politicians to see the European Union as a counterweight to the British overwhelming economic influence over Ireland. A fluent French speaker, highly regarded in European political circles, he was considered to be the most cosmopolitan Taoiseach Ireland has ever had.

Dr FitzGerald retired from politics in 1992 but he continued to play an active role in public life right up to his death.

Flags were lowered to half staff as thousands of mourners and politicians of all parties paid tribute to the former Taoiseach at the Mansion House in Dublin. Dr FitzGerald was laid to rest with full military honours at Shanganagh cemetery in south County Dublin. He is survived by his sons, John and Mark, and his daughter, Mary.

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Celtic Countries is the online magazine for people who enjoy the Celtic nations, their natural splendour, culture, and lifestyles.

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