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...

Ireland closes Embassy to the Vatican

Irish government cites reasons of cost as relationship with the Holy See remains an all-time low.

Irish government cites reasons of cost as relationship with the Holy See remains an all-time low.

On November 3rd the Irish government announced it would close its embassies in the Vatican, Iran and Timor Leste as they yielded no economic return to Ireland.

Eamon Gilmore, Ireland’s minister for foreign affairs, said the move was part of the government's cost-cutting measures in the foreign service, which are part of wider cuts needed to meet the targets set out in the EU/IMF rescue of the Irish economy.

However, representatives of the Catholic Church in Ireland criticised the government's decision and pointed out at the strong historic ties between the Irish people and the Church.

The announcement came after months of tense relations with the Vatican over the clergy sex abuse scandal, but the government said that the decision to close Ireland's embassy to the Vatican was strictly economic and unrelated to past controversies.

The government said the closure of the three embassies would save around €1.25m a year, and that Ireland's interests with the Holy See can be sufficiently represented by a non-resident ambassador.

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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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