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...

Irish peacekeepers to protect Darfur refugees in war-torn African nation

Irish troops have started deploying in Chad, Africa, as part of an European Union peace mission to protect hundreds of thousands of refugees from the war-torn Darfur region.

Irish troops have started deploying in Chad, Africa, as part of an European Union peace mission to protect hundreds of thousands of refugees from the war-torn Darfur region.

A contingent of 450 Irish peacekeepers will help to secure refugee camps in the tense Chadian border with Sudan's Darfur region, where the situation is increasingly unstable.

Ireland is one of the major contributors to the EU peacekeeping mission with 450 troops as part of a 4,000 multi-nation force from 14 European countries. The EU force will also be commanded by an Irish general, Lieutenant Pat Nash.

The war in Darfur has already taken the lives of more than 250,000 people and displaced more than two million. An estimated number of 400,000 refugees are currently housed in camps in the central African nation of Chad.

Eastern Chad has a similar ethnic make-up to Darfur, where Sudan-backed muslim militias are accused of carrying out a genocide against black Africans.

The Irish military expects this to be one of the most difficult missions undertaken since the UN mission to Congo in 1960. Rebel militias have warned that foreign soldiers deployed in Chad, including the Irish, will be seen as enemy forces.

An advance contingent of 50 members of the Irish Army Ranger wing and engineers will be preparing the camp for the main group of 400 soldiers which will travel to the region in March or April.

The Chad mission will be the most expensive ever undertaken by the Irish Defence Forces. Minister for Defence Willie O'Dea announced that the overall cost of the military operation is expected to be €57 million in 2008.

Read more at Military.ie, Ireland's Defence Forces

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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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