[Little map of Ireland] [Triple Spiral] Irish and Celtic Thingies

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RTÉ are on the Web

Updated: 1999-02-12. RTÉ have re-organised their web presence. I'm actually quite impressed. I spent the last half an hour watching --- yes, watching! --- and listening to the 9 o'clock news for today via RealVideo. I did this from home over a 28.8k modem connection too. You can get their latest broadcasts direct from their news page. The stories of the day are presented in text and still pictures on separate pages, or you can choose to watch an entire news broadcast in either 28K or 56K "quality" (go with the latter if you have ISDN or better).

You may need to enable javascript to get to some of their pages (like the one for Echo Island).

I like this new look and the direction they're going. Maith an obair, a Phól! The rest of what follows I have left unchanged; the links are still good AFAIK.

Radio Teilifís Éireann now have their very own Web site, from which you can get both RealAudio sound files of daily and weekly programs. Their Audio [and occasional video] streaming content has lately become quite mature. I have a feeling (though they will probably never acknowledge us ) that they were "inspired" towards this worthy end by a little Technology experiment that some of us started way back in the early 1990's. The only thing they didn't pick up from our efforts was the rolling archive (and I was rather proud of having engineered that little piece of perl madness!)

In addition, RTE also publishes the Aertel teletext news, which is just about constantly updated. I believe this Aertel service recently garnered some significant award. Here are shortcuts to the news and weather pages.

Other Radio Stations

As well as RTE's main web site, you can always check out the RTE Cork's web pages; they have a brief history of the station, descriptions of some of the programs, and email addresses for many of these.

For those of you who yearn for something as Gaeilge (in Irish), is féidir leat dul go dtí an leathnach ar Raidió na Gaeltachta (chuir Wombat Research é sin ar fáil; Maith an fear, a Sheosaimh!). Also check out RTE's main web page as they have audio files from several programs in the Irish Language, both from RTE Radio 1 and from Radio na Gaeltachta, and Gaeltext (teletext in Irish).

The 2FM Radio Station in Ireland now has its own web page. If you want to know about concerts, etc. (and to see pictures of your favourite D.J.'s), check it out. Watch out though: some of their pages have dark text on a moderately dark background image so it's hard to read.

There are other Irish Radio Stations on the web too, though I've only had a quick look at the content of some: Anna Livia FM (nonprofit community Radio for Dublin), FM 104, and Clare FM to name a few. Check out the Irish section of World Radio for more links.

If you are interested in Radio on the Internet in general, look at the World Wide Web Virtual Library under Broadcasters.

The RTE To Everywhere Experiment

Back in late 1993, a bunch of us decided that we'd like to see about finding a way of getting some news broadcasts from Radio Telefís Éireann, the Irish National radio stations, digitised and distributed on the net. We created an official home page, but due to Paddy getting huge volumes of e-mail, the original is now quite out of date; the mirror in the US is more accurate. The idea was to make it possible to get a quick roundup of the latest goings-on from Ireland on a daily basis. Someone came up with the double-entendre "RTÉ To Everywhere" (R.T.E.!) name, and it stuck.

Originally, Sun u-law files were the only ones we dealt with, and these were enormous (half a megabyte per minute). So we looked into compression and found a moderately good scheme with the GSM ("toast") compression. However, then RealAudio came about, and some time thereafter, RTE got their own site so we switched our efforts to mirroring the files.

Gradually, our efforts shifted towards automated methods for setting up a rolling archive for certain broadcasts that covered the last "N" days (with "N" set to about 7), and it got to the stage of working nearly autonomously. I really didn't have to do much of anything to maintain it; most of the problems it encountered were due to problems on the other end. Besides being able to access older versions of the files, the archive also was a second (and closer) source of the files if the transatlantic traffic became too much (as it often does).

Finally, on October 6, 1998, I decided that the experiment had finally outlived its usefulness. Several facts caused me to make this decision: a perceived (on my part) lack of reliability from the ftp server at RTÉ (and yes, you can point at my preference for a stable server, one I had incidentally recommended to them back in 1995), and the usage statistics from the web server hosting the mirror (declining interest). I have not checked the RTÉ ftp site since then, but I note with encouragement that their Audio/Visual page now indicates beside each file when it was recorded. Good on ya, Paul!

Anyway, you can read more about it in the old status page. One of these days I'll update the actual RTE To Everywhere page... if Paddy Waldron doesn't beat me to it :-)

RTE To Everywhere -- The Cracker Incident

For a few weeks around November/December 1995, this experiment was put off the air for somewhat over a week, due to an attack by some computer crackers (a cracker is a malicious hacker; a hacker just plays with computers and doesn't cause damage). During this time, the cornerstone of the distribution scheme was firmly behind a firewall and inaccessible by ftp or the web. Thus the files could not be uploaded by our colleague in Ireland during this time.

HOWEVER, things got back to semi-normal (any subsequent interruptions were due to technical glitches - such as someone accidentally kicking the radio, right Liam? :-) although the ftp server got essentially shut down and the files were henceforth only accessible on via the web.

As you can imagine, I was very upset about this. If you happen to have any "friends" in the underground cracker community, and you missed getting the daily dose of RTE news during our "off the air" time, please let your "friends" know in no uncertain terms what some of their "colleagues" have caused. Not only did they totally interrupt my normal duties at work for several weeks (and those of several other colleagues, not to mention inconveniencing all of NRAO and the people we're here to help), but they significantly damaged a volunteer project that brought a little bit of home to hundreds (thousands? How many of you were there out there?!) of ex-patriate Irish people around the world. I guess some people think such destruction is cool or neat (I'll refrain from typing what I'd like to here...) Hopefully most (or perhaps all) of you reading this disagree.

Electronic Publications

The Irish Emigrant

The Irish Emigrant is a way for (you guessed it) Irish emigrants to keep track of the goings-on back home. It is a weekly electronic newsletter of about 1000 lines, providing a summary of the events of the week in Ireland including news, sports, financial, courts, exchange rates, and more.

The Emigrant started in 1987 as an informal venture by Liam Ferrie (then working at the Digital plant in Galway), but with the shutdown of that plant in early 1994, Liam went into business for himself and made the "IE" a commercial venture. The cost was quite reasonable, but just recently he announced that effective May 1, 1998 it will once again be a free publication (see their web pages for more information.

Check out the IE Professional (here's the latest issue), another weekly newsletter, also free and has among other things, job announcements. You can subscribe yourself to this by sending a mail message to ieprofessional-request@iol.ie with the subject set to "subscribe".

Other things from the IE include the monthly IE Book Review, a Glossary of terms and acronyms, and an interesting set of documents of recent interest to do with the Peace Process in Ireland. There's a link to the gopher archives of the IE there as well.

There is also an older archive of back issues available at Cornell). Pat Stephenson who used to take care of much of the IE mailing list before it went commercial tells me he's working on fixing up the archives through the end of March 1994 (this may have already happened).

Newspapers on the Web

The Irish Times

The Irish Times is on the web (and has been for some time). This is perhaps (IMHO!) the most pre-eminent, reliable and unbiased source of news from the Republic of Ireland that you are liable to find anywhere (after the Irish Emigrant, of course!). They now have a Live view of Dublin (O'Connell Bridge looking North) that updates itself on most browsers every 2 minutes. More valuable to some of you will be the Saturday Jobs/Appointments section which will have all recruitment advertising from the print edition. now has a section in Irish. Féach ar An Teanga Beo; tá foclóir ar fáil ann freisin gach obair-lá.

Others will like the new search feature, or perhaps the Java powered crosswords (also available in non-java renditions). You can now subscribe to an email edition of the paper if you want. Also, they have a guestbook and really want some feedback, so go to it! (It's probably a good idea to look at their pages first).

The Irish Independent

When I was growing up, there were three mainstream papers in the Republic of Ireland: The Irish Times, The Irish Press (no longer around), and The Irish Independent. I found the Indy's web site by chance, wondering if they were online and trying a semi-obvious URL. I was quite pleasantly surprised. Take a look yourself and you'll find plenty of content.

The Irish News

Another paper that has recently come to my attention is The Irish News. According to Tom Collins, the Editor, "Monday to Saturday we're available at about 3am Irish time (GMT) on the morning of publication". For those of you unsure about which paper comes from where, the Irish News is the largest Morning newspaper in Northern Ireland.

The Belfast Telegraph

The Belfast Telegraph is on the net with a nicely designed (from a graphical standpoint) set of pages. They are also a mainstream newspaper in Northern Ireland, though the site is a little less lynx-friendly (i.e. not good for text-only browsers). According to what I read, they are updated daily (except Sunday) at 3:30pm BST.

The Irish in America

(February 3, 1999) There are many publications available in North America that cater to both those of (perhaps distant) Irish Descent, and people like myself, the "just off the boat" type. Of those I've seen, it is my personal opinion that Irish America and The Irish Voice are two of the better and more professional magazines. They don't cater to extremists (yay!), they are quite informed at events both in Ireland and in the Irish-American community, and they have a nice layout.

Now all I need to do is persuade them to drop the funny quote marks and not-quite-apostrophes that are endemic to markup generated on PC's running a certain blue-screen-of-death-prone operating system, and that come out as question marks on my Netscape screen. Seeing quoted text as ?strong sense of family? instead of "strong sense of family" is disconcerting and can even cause some unintended ambiguity! Use " in your HTML to delimit quoted text! Sorry, lecture over; I couldn't resist (as I can't resist a plug for my favourite operating system!)

And the Regionals...

(May 25, 1998; updated December 28, 1998): For those of you from Carlow, Wexford, Wicklow, New Ross, Enniscorthy, Gorey, or Bray (yes, I know I'm mixing counties and towns here!) have a gander at the The People Group newspapers. The jumping off point is in their newsroom. While their pages were at first "a bit rough and ready" as I originally said, Paddy Winter has done a good job of polishing them up and making them much more professional. And they are still chock full of content (Paddy and I agree that this is the most important part of any newspaper web site) and news for all of the ex-pats out there who yearn for the details of home. Updated weekly.

(August 8, 1996): I was going to put in a mention of The Nationalist & Leinster Times, which had a trial run on Peter Lowe's Lowwwe web site, but apparently I'm too late. However, he was kind enough to leave these pointers to other Irish regional newspapers on the web:

I've checked all of them for working links, and updated the list from Peter's server as needed.

Let me emphasize again that these resources (Irish Times, RTE, Irish Emigrant, etc) are the best sources of news about what's going on in Ireland. If you really want to be informed, look at their web sites and read the free news they provide. IMHO nothing else comes close.

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Pat Murphy
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