Spring 2017 $4.99
Heart & Crown Celebrations
Colm Wilkinson Irish Person Of The Year
Irish Film Festival Ottawa and Itâ€™s Journey
Celtic Soul Jay raises the Celtic scarf at centre field during half time. Copyright CS MSF Inc.
Martin McGuinness a great republican champion of Irish unity, justice and peace
The Continuity of St. Patricks Parades in Montreal
Photo Source: Tourism Ireland- Copper Coast
CELTIC CANADA | SPRING 2017
Counting Down to Spring and
All Things Green!!! Eleanor Reynolds Publisher/Editor ECG www.ellie-corp.com Sales, Marketing & Creative Direction Graphic Design Prism Studios Advertising & Design Inc. Contributors Kevin Murphy Cormac Monaghan Tadhg Peavoy Rory O’Donovan Colin Barry Desmond Devoy Alan McConnell Pearse Walsh Paul Loftus Pat Jordan Mark E. Fisher Shauna Dickson Aisling Daly Alan McConnell Stephen Jeffers
H Spring is just begging to burst, kids and adults alike are ready for shamrocks and celebrations for the arrival of all things green, Saint Patrick’s Day represents the perfect time to get your green on! With St. Paddy’s Day parades across the Country spreading some Irish cheer make sure you join in the fun, maybe you are up for the 5K walk or run... there are lots of fun activities to enjoy coast to coast!! Inside this issue we are delighted to share the History of the longest running St. Patrick’s Day Parades in Canada. Montreal first held a St Patrick’s Parade way back in 1759. We are very pleased to include some delicious recipes from Chef Stephen Jeffers – a very well known culinary expert. Chef Stephen is tantalizing our taste buds with some fantastic recipes featuring Irish Salmon to Kippers finished off with a sweet treat... Guinness Brownies. Congratulations to The Heart & Crown. In April The Heart & Crown is gearing up for their 25th anniversary. Located in Ottawa, their celebrations coincide with Canada’s 150th which is great timing for you to explore the Ottawa area! Becoming Canadian is a new feature we are introducing as new immigrants share their stories with us. Pat & his lovely family share their journey with us making Canada their home!!! We are delighted to launch our exclusive Celtic Jewellery Line... The Celtic Maple Leaf Collection... This Unique Silver Jewellery celebrates all Canadians with Celtic Heritage. In addition to our launch... We all love to give back, supporting our culture & heritage I decided to take it a step further... 10% of profits from every sale goes to a charity our Twitter/FB followers choose. This way, by purchasing you’re making a difference in your life and a friends while also donating to charity!” A special thank you to all involved connecting us coast to coast to coast!!! Happy St. Patrick’s Day! La Fhéile Pádraig Shona Daoibh!
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Come join us!! Are you a member of a Celtic club or institution? Why not drop us a line. Are you in charge of a special Celtic event? Let us know. Do you own a Celtic business or provide a service that you would like to share with the 9 million Canadians claiming Celtic Heritage? Advertise with us. If it’s Irish, Welsh, Scottish, Breton or Cornish, we want to know about it. If you have a Celtic related story, interview, review or production, we want to see it. Together we can build the most comprehensive multi-media platform for all things Celtic in Canada. Please join us on the journey.
Twitter @CelticCanada Disclaimer: Opinions or viewpoints expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of Celtic Canada and/or ECG. Where materials and content were prepared by persons or entities other than CC/ECG, the said other persons and /or entities are solely responsible for their content. We reserve the right to edit all submitted articles prior to publication.
CELTIC CANADA | SPRING 2017
Celtic Maple Leaf Pendant
Celtic Maple Leaf Earrings
Celtic Maple Leaf Cufflinks
(chain not included)
The Celtic Maple Leaf Collection! C
elebrate your Canadian Celtic Roots with this Unique Celtic Design. Celtic Canada is delighted to launch exclusively The Celtic Maple Leaf Collection. The design is unique in every way representing Canadians with Celtic Heritage. Each hand crafted piece symbolises heritage… The Maple leaf, Canada’s National Symbol, surrounds the Celtic Knot – this design is open to interpretation and each of us can derive our very own special meaning. The Maple Leaf, As Canada’s National Symbol represents Canada, The Celtic Knot is a symbol of Celtic ancient culture. The endless intertwining curves of the Celtic Knot also representative of eternal love, and
conveys a wish of longevity as it represents an uninterrupted life cycle. To many it is called the Family/Love knot. The Celtic Maple Leaf Collection makes a wonderful gift for a host of occasions!! A true celebration of Life! Crafted from sterling silver, Hallmarked 925. Each piece is individually handcrafted by an Irish Silversmith deeply rooted in Canada. With 3 keepsakes to collect (Earrings, Pendant & Cuff Links) reserve yours today! We welcome you to share Celtic Canada’s Maple Leaf Collection with friends and family locally and abroad spreading the message of family, love, eternity & roots in Canada.
“In addition to our launch... we all love to give back, supporting our culture & heritage I decided to take it a step further... 10% of profits from every sale goes to a charity our Twitter/ FB followers choose. This way, by purchasing you’re making a difference in your life and a friends while also donating to charity!” Eleanor Reynolds Founder of Celtic Canada
CELTIC CANADA | SPRING 2017
Heart & Crown T
he Heart & Crown will be hosting their annual Irish luncheon on March 10. This is an opportunity to invite all from the Irish community to the Heart & Crown in the ByWard market. No traditional Irish luncheon would be the same without a complete line up of Irish music, dancers, and traditional Irish food made in-house. This is a great way for you to kick off the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations plus it’s all in the name of charity. This year, they are supporting two charities one Canadian and one Irish:
The Elisabeth Bruyère Hospital in Ottawa: As Ottawa’s first hospital, the Élisabeth Bruyère Hospital, offers stroke and geriatric rehabilitation. It is also home to Canada’s largest academic palliative care unit and is Ottawa’s only palliative care hospital unit.
The Tara Centre, Omagh, Co. Tyrone: Inspired by a vision of global awareness, the Tara Centre provides a safe, nurturing environment in which: • to heal and transcend pain and trauma; • to bring hope to those in despair; • to build an inclusive community of peace and reconciliation; • to support those who seek to free themselves from the poverty trap and its negative consequences • to educate beyond narrow, divisive, tribal loyalties. For tickets, please visit http://heartandcrown.gives/ All this leads up to the big day, St. Patrick’s Day. As it falls on a Friday this year, there’s
no doubt the place we will be packed! As Ottawa’s unofficial Irish embassy, the crowds instinctively flock to The Heart & Crown on March 17 and it’s no wonder with live bands all day, every one will be decked out in green, and ready to sing their favourite Irish tune. In April The Heart & Crown is gearing up for their 25th anniversary. This happens to coincide with Canada’s 150th which is great timing! They are offering a few promotions which will be going on during this time so be sure to mark your calendars and help them celebrate!
Made Their Mark at the GAA World Games in Ireland
homecoming that was centuries in the making took place last summer in Dublin and the Ottawa Gaels were well represented on the Team Canada squads. The Gaelic games that came to Canada with early Irish settlers has flourished in modern times under the Canada GAA and returned home to Ireland where teams representing the red and white showcased their skills in the original home of GAA. The Canadian GAA sent a total of five teams from its three divisions of Toronto, Eastern and Western Canada to take on International teams in Gaelic Football, Hurling and Camogie at the 2016 Etihad Airways GAA World Games. There were a total of 87 teams from 20 countries that participated from as far away as Australia, South Africa, the Middle East and Argentina. Compared to teams from China or Australia, Team Canada’s journey to Ireland may not seem like the longest road to Dublin. It is, however, a journey that has been centuries in the making. The Ottawa Gaels played a significant role on the Eastern Canada teams that competed 6
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in the native-born division of Gaelic Football with 13 players on the ladies team and 5 on the men’s team. Angela Stevenson who was one half of the head coaching staff also represented the Ottawa Gaels. The ladies team achieved great success by making it to the final at legendary Croke Park GAA World Games Team Canada, Eastern Canada GAA, represented by where they lost a hard Ottawa Gaels players and proudly sponsored by the Heart and Crown fought game against the Irish Pubs New York county team. this side of the Atlantic continues to thrive With a thriving club in large part because of the dedicated for over 40 years, the Ottawa Gaels have volunteers who contribute countless hours to strong men’s, ladies and youth programs their local Club along with the commitment largely comprised of Canadian born players. of the local community to helping support The youth program in Ottawa continues to its growth. A special thanks goes out the grow from strength to strength with a strong Heart and Crown Irish Pubs for their link to local school boards that has provided continued sponsorship of the Ottawa Gaels the opportunity over the past 4 years to and their support of the Eastern Canada introduce Gaelic Football to over 10,000 kids teams who represented so well at the World at nearly one hundred schools. GAA Games. Gaelic Games with its rich history on
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Irish Person Of The Year – 2017 “Born To Sing” By Cormac Monaghan
olm Wilkinson, Toronto’s Irish Person of the Year for 2017 was born in the Dublin suburb of Drimnagh in 1944. He arrived ‘somewhere in the middle’ of 10 children born into a very musical household lead by his Belfast born Father Tommy, a talented Banjo player, and his Crossmolina, Co. Mayo born Mother, Margaret (McDonnell), an accomplished singer and a keen participant in amateur dramatics. It would of course be a massive understatement to say that these strong musical and theatrical genes have served Colm well over the course of his long and storied career, a career which has seen him join the small handful of Irishmen or women who have reached the absolute pinnacle of their chosen profession. Brian O’Driscoll, Rory McIlroy, Katie Taylor, U2, Conor McGregor, Colm Wilkinson…arguably rank among the few Irish to reach world number 1 status. Colm’s career progression hasn’t always been linear or straightforward, but the powerful combination of exceptional
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talent and strong work ethic ensured that he would reach the top. In researching and charting the path of his career what really becomes apparent is that the man is above all else, a hard grafter. One can see how someone with that work ethic would be worth his weight in gold to a Producer trying to cast a show with a reliable workhorse of a front man! A brief chronology of his career (thus far) would include stints singing advertising jingles, touring the Irish cabaret circuit, competing in the Eurovision Song Contest, starring roles in the World’s premier musical productions, and last year, a significant role in RTE’s iconic celebration of the 100 year anniversary of the Easter Rising. He has shared stages with the likes of Frank Sinatra, Elton John, and Stevie Wonder and has met all the greats, including Elvis Presley. It all began in Mangerton Road in Drimnagh where Colm recalls growing in a house where music was ever-present. By the time he was in his mid-teens singing was getting more of his attention than school work. At just 16 years of age, his rock band toured the US, and soon afterwards he quit school to focus on his music and to work with his Father in the family asphalt business – “I don’t think you would call my leaving school a graduation!” as he re-called in a later interview. After years of playing in several Irish bands, and the occasional gig doing advertising jingles for motor cars, sausages and the like, Colm got perhaps the first taste of his true calling in 1972 when he was cast as Judas Iscariot in the Dublin production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s and Tim Rice’s Jesus Christ Superstar; a role he went on to reprise in London’s West End. While his parents were no doubt pleased to see his career progress, having her son cast in this role did not sit well with his Mother’s strong Catholic faith!
Sir Tim Rice who would become a life-long friend of Colm’s recalls having been blown away by this outstanding talent and “speedily nabbed him” to play the role of Che Guevara in the original studio album of Evita. Despite this early taste of the big-time, Colm continued to have to graft as a professional musician, putting in the hard yards, touring Ireland and taking gigs wherever they presented themselves to support the young family he and his wife Deirdre (nee Murphy) were raising in Bray in the early 1970’s. In an appearance on RTE’s Late Late Show around that time Colm was promoting his upcoming appearances with both the Loughrea and Glasnevin musical societies in their productions of Jesus Christ Superstar… and this after him having performed in the West End production! North Dublin and East Galway audiences no doubt couldn’t believe their luck. “You have to go where the bread is man!” as he said to a RTE interviewer around that time. The hard work began to pay off. He had solo album that topped the Irish charts and represented Ireland in the 1978 Eurovision Song Contest with the appropriately entitled “Born to Sing”, a song he wrote himself. Colm recalled writing that song in a hotel in Co. Cork after another gig on the road, away from the family, reflecting on the challenges of pursuing his passion: “And a man is born to do one thing and I was born to sing, And I must take the good times and the bad times that it brings And I missed you in the morning but most of all at night And I couldn’t stop the music though I tried with all my might”
While one senses in reality he probably didn’t try too hard to stop the music (thankfully), the lyrics do give an insight into how deeply music is ingrained in his DNA. It also highlights his awareness of the importance of family and the sacrifices his chosen career could impose on loved ones; no wonder then when greater success came knocking on his door in future years that he always arranged for Deirdre and the kids to travel with him on tour. Colm took the leap into international super-stardom in 1985 when he was cast as Jean Valjean in the original production of Les Misérables by the Royal Shakespeare Company at the Barbican Theatre in London, with some of the music having been tailored specifically to harness his unique vocal talents. Ironically Les Mis opened to very bad reviews with critics calling the content too dark. Ultimately however the powerful performances by Colm and his fellow cast members – in particular Colm’s iconic rendition of “Bring him Home” - won over the public, and the rest is now, and will forever be, part of musical and theatrical history. The show transferred to Broadway in March 1987 with the British producers digging in their heels against the American Actors’ Equity Association policy of hiring only American actors. Cameron Mackintosh refused to open the show without Colm as Valjean and, thankfully for North American audiences, Equity ultimately relented. Colm has won countless awards and plaudits for his portrayal of Valjean over the years, with most critics and fans of the show regarding him as the Gold Standard in the role, despite the many fine talents that followed him. In 1989, the Wilkinson clann relocated to Toronto when Colm was offered the title role in The Phantom of the Opera at the Pantages Theatre. Over the course of his 5 years in this role, Colm gave almost 1700 performances, earning nightly standing ovations from an estimated audience in excess of 3 million people in what was one of the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful runs in Theatrical history. It is doubtful that any other singer of his calibre could have performed at such a consistently high standard in a gruelling 8 shows per week schedule. It boggles the mind to think of the impact that show likely had on Toronto’s economy in the early 1990’s. His unique contribution to the city of Toronto was marked by Ryerson University with an Honorary Doctorate in 2012 and later, the creation of a Scholarship program in his name, recognition that Colm is particularly proud of. Colm later returned to Les Mis once again, playing Valjean in Toronto’s Princess of Wales Theatre and in Dublin’s Point Depot. He also appeared in the 2012 Hollywood version of
the musical, this time playing the role of the Bishop of Digne, alongside Hugh Jackman’s Valjean, hopefully redeeming himself in his late Mother’s eyes for his earlier role as Judas! Colm also played the role of Lord Darcy in the hit Irish – Canadian co-production, “The Tudors”, and performed at a special tribute concert to his long-time close friend, Senator Ted Kennedy in 2009. Colm’s voice is exceptional not just for its quality but also its longevity. As evidenced by his sold out Irish concerts in January & February of this year, despite having unparalleled mileage on the vocal clock, he still retains a powerful singing voice. He has attributed this longevity to “living the life of a monk”, avoiding coffee, alcohol, cigarettes, and dairy products, as well as ensuring proper sleep, diet, and exercise. One other theme you will hear Colm come back to time and time again in various interviews over the years is the support that he has received from his wife Deirdre and how central she has been to his success, how she has been his true inspiration, and the one who kept him going. Colm often remarks how blessed he has been in his family life with the stability, love and grounding that Deirdre and their four (now adult) children, Aaron, Judith, Sarah and Simon brought to his life, offsetting the inevitable nerves and insecurities that come with the artistic territory. Aaron has followed his Dad into the music business as a singer / songwriter, Judith is a Beckettian Art Curator in London, while Simon and Sarah are pursuing careers in Art & Design. One of Colm’s most recent stand-out performances was his Easter 2016 cover of the U2 classic “One”, in RTE’s iconic production, “Centenary”, marking the 100th anniversary of the historic Easter Rising. This show powerfully captured the essence of what it means to be Irish, and no doubt will still be essential viewing in the year 2116 when future generations of Irish men and women look back to better understand the first 100 years of the bi-Centenary. As the Irish Independent reviewer wrote in the days after the show: “The simplicity and honesty of the show was deeply affecting. It declared that, despite our differences, we were all of us Irish and on a journey together, but it was Wilkinson’s tingling delivery that truly took the performance somewhere special. He was the perfect choice to sing One - bringing a lifetime of experience and an understanding of the ways Ireland has changed, for better or worse, across recent decades”.
“One life but we’re not the same We get to Carry each other Carry each other One life One” As a resident of Toronto since the late 1980’s, and a Canadian citizen for many years, Colm was perhaps the only emigrant on stage in that Production. Given the central role emigration has had on Irish life in the past 100 years, it was a source of great pride for those of us living ‘out foreign’ to see one of our own front and centre in the celebration of the Centenary. Like most of us Irish living here in Canada, Colm has ended up staying a lot longer than he ever would have expected to at the outset! - “I found what I was looking for in Toronto, good work and a good standard of living”, and like the rest of us he retains his great sense of pride in where he came from, and indeed where he may return to. In common with many Irish that have succeeded over here, his success is due perhaps in part to his unquestionable talent, his work ethic, and the Irish je ne sais quoi - an ability to get on with people while getting the job done. Obviously Colm has scaled heights (and notes!) higher than most of us will ever reach but at heart he is just another hard-grafting Irishman doing the best he can for himself and his family, and doing his country proud along the way. We, his fellow Irish Canadians, salute Colm and his wife Deirdre on the immense pride and prestige their collective efforts have brought to our community. In honouring Colm as our 2017 Irish Person of the Year, the Irish Community here in Toronto and no doubt further afield from Coast to Coast to Coast, are indeed very proud to finally “Bring him Home”. CELTIC CANADA | SPRING 2017
The Five Best Walks Close to
Dublin City Centre By Tadhg Peavoy
ordered by Meath to the north, Kidare to the east, Wicklow to the south and the Irish Sea to the west, Dublin is beautifully positioned between four locations of natural beauty and majesty that make it an ideal location for hikers and lovers of the outdoors to get out and about and breath deep that iconic Irish air and take in the splendour of nature. I’ve lived in the city for over 20 years and putting on my hiking boots and revelling in the nature on my doorstep is one of the my favourite activities when in this wonderful city I call home. But what are the best walks around Dublin? There are so many that are worth your time, but some are better than others. Below, I’ve picked out my top five.
1 Howth Head Without question my favourite place in County Dublin is Howth Head. The DART commuter train takes you from the city centre to Howth village where you can amble down along the seafront, past the yachts and restaurants to the start of the Howth Cliff Walk. This gentle path leads right around Howth head lending you exalted views of Dublin Bay and the city’s two largest islands – Ireland’s Eye and Lambay. A 30-minute walk will take you to the Baily Lighthouse where you can scramble down to the cliff edge and take in the views north to the rural areas of County Dublin.
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From there you can either head back the way you came to get back to Howth village, or continue around the head to loop back to the village, which will take a few hours. A third option is to amble up to the top of the head, where you can find The Summit Inn; here you can sip on a pint before heading back down to the village. After a walk in Howth, eating is usually my top priority and my favourite place grab some nosh is Octopussy’s Seafood Tapas in Howth village. There they serve an assortment of fresh fish and seafood caught that day by the local trawlers. A drive or DART trip back to the city at sunset bookends a perfect day in the capital.
3 Phoenix Park The easiest of the five walks is not near Dublin, but located right in the city itself. The Phoenix Park, located adjacent to Guinness’ St James’ Gate Brewery, is the city’s green lung. It’s the largest enclosed park in
2 Bray Head While Howth offers the walking highlight of north Dublin, a trip south to County Wicklow and Bray Head offers the best hike south of the city. Like Howth, you can catch the DART to Bray village and from there walk to the seafront where the trail starts to wind its way past Bray Head Hotel – which looks like a set from Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining – upwards and into the thick gorse and trees that line the head. As you climb the trail brings you along the edge of the head affording you views back across the water northwards, with the curvature of Bray’s coast there to see in all its glory. As you get further towards the summit, the gorse thickens and the incline steepens, just before you reach the summit, which is marked by a stone cross, erected in 1950. And the view from the top is just sensational. On a clear day you can look north across to Dalkey, Dun Laoghaire, Dublin City, and even as far across as Howth on the far side of Dublin Bay and Malahide out beyond it. Southwards you can see the Wicklow Mountains and just at the foot of the head you can take in Bray town and the Dublin Mountains past it. It’s one of the best views of Dublin and the perfect place to stop, breath and think.
any capital city in Europe and just a short walk from the city centre, making it such an accessible place to soak up some nature. A mix of lawns, wooded areas, lakes and visitor attractions, it’s the kind of place where you can hang out at for a whole day. To find it you just have to walk west along the River Liffey until the main gates open up before you and the green spaces beam out at you from inside. There are numerous routes around the park and you can take your pick from the maps marking them as you enter. If you rent a bike you can stop off at various sites as you go including Dublin Zoo, the Irish president’s residence Áras an Uachtaráin and the Papal Cross, which marks where Pope John Paul II spoke to a crowd of some 1.25m in 1979. You might also be lucky enough to spot the resident deer. The park was originally conceived as a Royal deer park and the animals still roam the grounds at their leisure, often basking in the sun – or rain – in full view. The best way to end a walk in the Phoenix Park is with a pint of Guinness brewed
literally just a few kilometres across the river. Head to Ryan’s of Parkgate Street just beside the main entrance and sit back in one of the snugs. It’s one of the most authentic Victorian pubs in the city and serves, in my opinion, the best pint of stout in town.
4 Hill of Tara, County Meath Meath borders Dublin to the north and stretches around to the east. The county, combined with Westmeath, used to form its own province historically, and was largely subsumed into the province of Leinster in the 17th century, with parts also going to Ulster.
It’s a county defined by its flatlands, famous for cattle farming and the fields that stretch on for kilometres into the distance. It’s also famous for Gaelic football, for which it has a proud tradition, having been crowned champions of Ireland seven times. However, it is most famous as having been home to the seat of the High King of Ireland at the Hill of Tara, the location where all the country’s kings met to discuss and debate the decisions to be taken regarding the country. This ancient historical site has been beautifully preserved and makes a superb trip from Dublin. It’s just a 40-minute drive to the site where you can park before walking up the hill through the local church and graveyard and out onto the site itself. There you will find excellent maps and guides detailing what each mound signifies including St Patrick’s Church and the Mound of the Hostages. You can make out these structures through high grass embankments, which are as they were historically. Having walked to the top you can take in the view out across the surrounding agricultural land of the county in all its glory. The maternal side of my family hails from the area and since I was a small child
visiting the ancient site was a moment that I knew signified so much in the history of the country; seeing where the High King proclaimed his decisions ties one to the ancient history that Ireland holds. After your walk head into the local coffee shop and feast on some tea and scones, before heading back to Dublin, where the seat of power now lies in modern Ireland.
5 Glendalough Valley, County Wicklow
you can really get away from it all. If you have time, a further 40 minutes along the road south you can find Brittas Bay, a popular beach which knocks me out every time I clap eyes on it. Surrounded by 1960s style holiday homes and palm trees, it’s an idyllic spot and affords superb views of the Irish Sea south of Dublin. Take it in on your way home, and if you managed to see all five of the walks listed here, give you yourself a pat on the back, and reward yourself with a pint of Guinness.
The last of the five is the furthest away but perhaps the most spectacular. An hour’s drive south of Dublin in County Wicklow lies the glacial valley of Glendalough. It’s well known as one of the most beautiful sights not just in Leinster, but in the island of Ireland. Monks inhabited the valley in the 6th century, and their architectural remains are still in situ on site, a short walk from the Visitor Centre, where you can park up before embarking on one of many routes through the valley. There is a plethora of walks to take, either around the lower or upper lakes, or up into the highlands of the mountains surrounding the valley. This means you can take a short 30-minute ramble, or go all-out and take a hike for four or five hours. Personally, I like the Miner’s Road Walk, which leads you to a ruined miner’s village. From the visitor centre it’s about a three hour round trip at a leisurely pace. You get to pass the monastic settlement as well as both lakes, so you can pack a lot in. The best part of the walk is the peace and solitude on offer. At times you can have the stretch of the valley all to yourself and you could hear a pin drop. It’s peace personified and somewhere where CELTIC CANADA | SPRING 2017
Spring Tour Montreal 2017 By Aisling Daly
id ice hockey originate from hurling in Ireland? This topic has fuelled numerous heated debates throughout the years with a widely held belief that hurling influenced the creation of the game of ice hockey. Imagine then that The Republic of Ireland is the only European county without a permanent ice rink. Given this it does not stop a dedicated bunch of junior and senior players from playing and promoting the sport of ice hockey in Ireland. How you may ask. Well they utilise commercial temporary ice rinks which are usually the size of a defence zone for a period of 6-8 weeks in the winter. Outside of this it is a combination of inline training and travel to Belfast to avail of ice time when it becomes available. There are no hockey shops and ice times are extremely limited however this does not deter the Irish players. With 3 junior clubs and 5 senior clubs in Ireland the sport of Ice Hockey is consistently growing in popularity, this is evident with the number of new players joining the junior teams over the last 2 seasons. The Flying Ducks Ice Hockey Club was founded 6 years ago and now have over 120 members aged 4 to 50. 68 of these members are junior players both male and female from all types of backgrounds and abilities. They are the only junior ice hockey club in Dublin and their aim to provide the opportunity for any kid to play the game the game of ice hockey. They do this by providing a Learn to Play Programme with the availability of equipment rental to aid in reducing the cost to parents. The club actively participate in the IIHF girl’s/women’s hockey initiatives
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actively promoting the opportunity for girls to join and play for the team. All of this is achieved with no government funding! All equipment, travel, ice time costs, courses at a club and national level are paid for by parents or through good old fashioned fundraising. This as you can imagine is a constant struggle as Ice Hockey is viewed as a niche sport in Ireland, which limits the availability of corporate sponsorship. The achievements of a number of the junior Flying Ducks players is something that the Club are extremely proud of. The junior and senior team compete regularly against other Irish teams based in Kilkenny, Cork and Belfast. 28 of the Flying Ducks Juniors have progressed to play for their Country with the Irish Ice Hockey Association development programmes ‘The IIHA Saints’. As with club level this development programme is limited in the amount of ice training they can avail of. The passion of these players cannot be dampened and that was evident when they travelled to Iceland, Boston, Toronto and UK last season. The U14s team were undefeated on their Iceland tour and the U10s came away the overall winners of the Godiva Cup in Coventry, UK.
So how are these players going progress on their journey with ice hockey? Simple, they go where the ice is. The Flying Duck’s Junior Team has been very fortunate to have been invited to march in the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Montreal by the United Irish Societies of Montreal on 19th March 2017. They are embarking on a 9 day trip where the objective is to provide
the 23 players including 7 female players travelling with as much ice time and ice hockey exposure as possible. The club were very fortunate to receive a very kind offer from the Somang Hockey Academy and their parents in Terrabone to host our players with their families. Using Terrabone as their base they will be taking part in a number of training sessions, showcase games and civic activities in Terrabone and
Montreal. The majority of the players travelling will get to see their first ever NHL game on the trip when they attend the Canadiens v Hurricanes game on the 23rd March. This trip will obviously costs a lot of money and the club have been tackling the tough job of fundraising for this major trip throughout the season for transport, ice costs, uniforms etc. Unfortunately this will impact on their fundraising to purchase new equipment to provide even more kids with the opportunity to play the sport in Ireland. They need support and help from the hockey community. The club hopes to raise awareness of Irish Ice Hockey and the need for facilities, funding and equipment whilst in Canada and will operate a strong social media presence before, throughout and after the trip. Keep an eye out for their posts and help out these dedicated kids if you can. You can donate through their website at www. flyingducks.ie or you can contact the team at firstname.lastname@example.org
International Lineup in
America’s Oldest Celtic City T
he St. Augustine Celtic Music & Heritage Festival, set for March 10-12, 2017 in Saint Augustine Florida USA, features a lineup of 8 internationally acclaimed Celtic Bands. Emmet Cahill is a smash as a solo artist after three albums shooting to number 1 on the world billboard charts with Celtic Thunder,. The Real McKenzies are one of the founders of the Celtic punk movement. The band was founded in 1992 and is based in Vancouver, British Columbia. The Dublin City Ramblers are “Ireland’s No.1 Ballad & Folk Group Of The Year” by The Irish Country Music Association, The Dublin City Ramblers have thrilled audiences worldwide with their unique blend of Ballads, Folk, Humour, Wit and foot-tapping music. Albannach This fan favorite’s primal drumming and precise piping stirs the soul of anyone who hears em- young and old! These folks are Highlanders! Scottish Warriors to the Core! SEVEN NATIONS Featured on PBS and CNN, “explosive” Seven Nations brings a high-energy performance that has fans jumping out of their seats. The group’s name refers to the seven original Celtic nations of Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Cornwall, Galecia, Isle of Man, and Brittany. EMISH, New York natives, have repeatedly been voted the “Best Band of the Hudson Valley.” Back in St. Augustine for the second year in a row by popular demand, Emish has forged their own Americana folk rock sound. And more… The St. Augustine Celtic Music & Heritage Festival, the “finest Celtic event in the United States” also features two stages, with even more bands, plus a soft-opening Whiskey Tasting, Scottish Highland Games, St. Patrick Day Parade, Celtic artisans and food, and a variety of other entertainment. Find the CELT in YOU in America’s Oldest Celtic City
In America’s Oldest CELTIC City
At the St. AuguStine CeLtiC MuSiC & heritAge FeStivAL
St AuguStine, FLoridA, uSA MArCh 10 - 12, 2017 Founded in 1565 by Spanish Celtic colonists
Arguably the finest collaboration of Celtic artists in the United States The Real McKenzies, Emmet Cahill, Seven Nations, Dublin City Ramblers, Albannach, Emish, Whiskey of the Damned, Jig to a Milestone, AND MoRE! Celtic Music, Dancing, Vendors & Food. Scottish Highland Games, St. Patrick Day Parade
SACF 2017 Celtic Cananda Ad.indd 1
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Irish Film Festival Ottawa Takes Flight By Eithne Considine Shankar
he Irish Film Festival Ottawa began as one man’s dream. Patrick Murray had volunteer experience with The Sundance Film Festival and Ottawa’s European Union Film Festival but he dreamed of more. He wanted an Irish Film Festival in Ottawa. A chance meeting with Elizabeth Keogh of the Irish Embassy made the dream seem possible. Elizabeth has a life long interest in all things related to Irish culture and in all films. She is an active member of The European Film Festival for which she arranges the Irish film entry every year. She also has a deep knowledge of funding possibilities. In the meantime Patricial Willoughby, who is a fluent Irish Gaelic speaker, approached Elizabeth about obtaining and showing Irish language films at the festival. She had already contacted Dana Aherne of Cine Gael, Montreal’s Irish Film Festival. Dana provided helpful hints on how to organize a film festival from scratch. The two Irish film buffs in Ottawa were put in touch with each other and so the festival began to take on a reality. Elizabeth then sent out an email to anyone who might be interested. A few replies later and the Irish Film Festival Ottawa was born. A meeting date was set. I went along, out of curiosity, expecting to hear plans for a year or two down the line. This was late September 2013. However, Pat’s idea was a film festival in March only six months away Surely, he could not be serious! But he was. There was a frantic search for funding and support, not to mention trying to get films, rent a venue and get the information to the public. With the help of Maeve O’Connell, who had contacts in the Irish Film World, and Vanessa McClean, who was studying film making, a list of films was drawn up. This was not a task for the faint hearted as there were hundreds of films to choose from and the Committee was determined to open with the best Irish Films to be found.
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Damien Fannon and Peter Hughes, both of whom are involved in film-making, were instrumental also with Patrick and Patricia in making the final choices. Maeve also produced all our adds and programs. This was a challenge as dates and plans changed frequently. However, we ended up with some very eye catching programs and ads. Meanwhile Patricia Willoughby, Rosemary O’Brien, Eithne Considine Shankar became the sponsorship team. We had no budget to begin with, just a lot of enthusiasm and a deep belief that we could promote Ireland. The Embassy of Ireland offered support as did Aer Lingus and we were in business. Many local business came to our rescue also. Laura Hay, a previous Rose of Tralee, liaised with other Irish cultural groups in the city and secured their support . Michelle Branigan brought her multifaceted organizational skills to the festival and worked tirelessly to establish the Irish Film Festival on a legal basis. Paula McFarlane shared her experience in fund raising for an Irish Sports Club and Lynn Kellly kept our finances on an even keel as sponsorship came in.
The sponsorship team with the help of Ann Godbold promoted the festival through in the local media and further afield turning up at numerous events to promote it. As a new and unproven organization it was not easy to get the festival into print or in the media. But the Irish Community turned up to support the Irish Film Festival and the first year was a success, despite many setbacks. Our first student volunteer, James Hurley, delighted us all with his energy and enthusiasm. The Irish film Festival is a non-profit organization. Our mandate is to promote Irish Culture through film. The Festival takes place on the last weekend of March at the Arts Court Theatre in downtown Ottawa. This year the festival takes place with a gala opening on March 31st to April 2nd. Arts Court, 2 Daly Ave, Ottawa K1N 6E2 There will be six award winning films including a children’s film and one in the Irish language. We can promise you an exciting and fulfilling three days. More Details visit : www.irishfilmfestivalottawa.ca
5555 Eglington Avenue West, Etobicoke, Ontario M9C 5M1 T: 416-695-9178 F: 416-695-9620 email@example.com
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Supply & Demand Issues By Rory O’Donovan
016 was a record year for sales
introduced back in October 2016 is
Area for over 35 years, said unsold
recorded through the Toronto
also playing a role in this increased
inventory in the market at the end of
shift to condos. First-time home buyers
2016 was 9,932 units, a 47 per cent decline
113,133 home sales were recorded through
represent an important component of
from 2015. Based on the present pace of
TREB’s MLS® System – up by 11.8 per
home ownership demand but since the
sales, that equates to about 4.4 months of
cent compared to 2015. Lack of supply
introduction of the stress test a lot of first
supply which is well below the 10 months
and great demand has priced many buyers
time buyers have had to re-pre-qualified
of supply needed for a balanced market.
out of detached houses and other low-
resulting in many being priced out of the
Urbanation is now predicting the lack of
rise properties. As a result Toronto buyers
low-rise market for good. As a result the
inventory in the high-rise market will lead
poured into condominium units last year
high-rise condo has become the more
to a slowdown in sales and is forecasting
creating record low inventory. Statistics
affordable option going forward.
only 23,000 new condo apartment sales
Real Estate Board (TREB).
released early 2017 from the Toronto Real
A recent survey by Ipsos (www.ipsos.
in 2017. The firm expects developers will
Estate Board showed active listings for all
ca) mentions first time home buyers
respond to market conditions by launching
existing homes at the end of 2016 were at a
could account for more than half of the
more projects in 2017. www.urbanation.ca
transactions in 2017. However, many of
This trend has continued in to 2017. The effects of the mortgage stress test
these buyers may have problems finding a
added to the affordability situation making
home that meets their needs in a market
the cost to borrow that bit more expensive.
with very little
While interest rates are still very low this
inventory. In 2016,
is yet another reason for buyers to focus
we saw policy
their attention on properties that are more
changes and policy
affordable and on a property type that
debates pointed at
can be made more available in the future.
the demand side
Moving forward sales growth is expected
of the market.
to be higher for condominium apartments
If we want to
than for low-rise home types. Buyers,
see a sustained
priced out of the lowrise segment, a surge
in rental demand and increased attention
the pace of price
from investors will continue to place
growth, what we
downward pressure on condo inventories
really need is more
which will support strong price growth.
policy focus on
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At the beginning of 2017 the number
of active listings on TREB’s MLS® System
the lack of homes
is essentially half of what was reported as
available for sale.
available at the same time last year. That
statistic, on its own, tells us that there is
real estate market
a serious supply problem in the GTA – a
problem that will continue to play itself
out in 2017. The result will be very strong
the the high-rise
price growth for all home types again this
market in the
Recent interest rate increases have also
Brings Generational Change to Sinn Fein in The North By Desmond Devoy
efore a single vote has been cast in Northern Ireland’s snap March 2 election, there has already been a generational change at Stormont Castle. Mid-Ulster MLA Michelle O’Neill, who just turned 40 on Jan. 10, has been chosen to succeed Martin McGuinness as the leader of Sinn Fein in the north, and will likely be the next Deputy First Minister. Her ascension marks a generational break from the old Troubles era of party leadership to the post-ceasefire era – although her father did serve prison sentences for IRA offences. A mother of two, who admitted to The Belfast Telegraph, that she does not get enough sleep, she has served as health minister from 2016 until the assembly was dissolved on Jan. 27. Her time in that office was notable for her decision to abolish the longstanding ban on gay and bisexual men donating blood. She had been minister of agriculture and development from 2011 to 2016, and mayor of Dungannon and South Tyrone from 2010 to 2011, the area’s first female mayor (she was first elected to council in 2005). O’Neill was born near Coalisland, County Tyrone, and her cousin Tony Doris was shot dead by the SAS in nearby Coagh, Tyrone in 1991 during an ambush. O’Neill has long been a rising star in the party. She sits on the national executive, and gave a key speech on Saturday, Jan. 21, during a conference on Irish unity at the Mansion House in Dublin, before taking up her duties that Monday, Jan. 23. In a video posted online, O’Neill called her ascension “a huge honour, a really big, big privilege for me.” During a later press
conference at Stormont, she admitted that while “I have never been afraid of a challenge and I have never been afraid to act,” at the same time she conceded that she was “following in the footsteps of a political giant.” Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams welcomed her, saying that “we will give her the space and support to find her own voice and continue the good work Martin (McGuinness) pioneered,” said Adams. McGuinness returned the compliment, saying that “I am proud that Michelle O’Neill is my leader, is our leader,” adding that she would have his “wholehearted support.” After the polls close on March 2, O’Neill will have to negotiate with the Democratic Unionist Party, most likely, to forge some manner of power-sharing government. It may prove to be an uphill battle. When her promotion was announced, the DUP’s official Twitter account
responded, according to The Irish Times, with a meme of O’Neill, sticking out of Gerry Adams’ pocket. O’Neill may find it even harder to get some sleep after March 2.
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Hot Housing Markets By Colin Barry
he housing markets in Toronto and Vancouver continue to get a lot of attention and are in the minds of investors. There is an old adage in investing to “buy low and sell high”. This adage has been around for a long time because it makes sense. Buy something when the price is relatively low. Hold onto it for some time. Then sell it when the price is relatively high. Our emotions, however, tell us to do the exact opposite. When markets are low, some feel fearful when we hear stories of losses. When markets are high, some get greedy or feel jealous when we hear stories of gains. Acting on emotion alone can cause smart people to buy high and sell low. One tool to combat this pressure is your financial plan. When you have your financial goals written down one can remain focused on what matters most. To help make the decision process clearer, a little bit of analysis can tell you how one decision can impact your goals. So, if you are about to buy a home, or make any major financial decision, check your plan. Also, be aware of the other costs and opportunities out there so that you have a complete picture.
tax credit as part of the Ontario Trillium Benefit. In addition, Senior Homeowner’s may get a grant of up to $500. Finally, some municipalities have property tax rebate programs to support low income homeowners.
OTHER TAXES, CREDITS AND REBATES... Land Transfer Tax is a tax due when you buy a home. The tax rate is double the usual rate if you buy in Toronto. As a first-time homebuyer, you may receive a rebate from the Ontario government of up to $2,000 of the land transfer tax you paid on your first home. The limit recently increased to $4,000 as of January 1, 2017. Other provinces have similar programs. Homebuyers who have not owned a home within the last four years may be eligible for the home buyer’s tax credit (HBTC). This is a federal tax credit of up to $5,000. The landscape has been shifting as governments work to address changing property values. Be sure to get the input of a professional to ensure that you navigate the dynamic real estate landscape.
THE BIGGER PICTURE INCREASING PROPERTY TAXES With higher property values come higher property tax. The Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) has been busy issuing higher property tax assessments in most areas. As a result, home owners have seen their annual tax bill grow rapidly. Local governments welcome the extra tax revenue. If you are seeing increases in your property tax bill, make sure you review the Property Tax Assessment that you received in the mail from MPAC. If you think it is incorrect, you can ask them to review it. Residents of Ontario, be sure that you apply for the Ontario Energy and Property Tax Credit when you file your tax return. Qualifying taxpayers can get a
CELTIC CANADA | SPRING 2017
Let’s take our heads out of the weeds for a moment and look at the big picture. Tax time is a great opportunity to look at the big picture. It is the only time in the year when you can see your total family income on one statement.
Look over your tax return after you get it filed. Take the time to look at your income and ask yourself the following questions: • Do you know where it all went? • Did it go where you wanted it to go? • Did you use it to get you closer to your goals? The answers to those simple questions can open your eyes to untapped potential. Your goal may be to save for a down payment for a new home, or pay off your mortgage, or work towards being financially independent, or all the above. Whatever your goals may be, your tax return is a great place to start planning your next step. About Colin Barry – Canfin Financial Group Colin Barry is a Certified Financial Planner who works with families and small businesses to plan their finances and make the most of what they have. Visit www. colinbarry.ca for more information. Fee for service financial planning and investments provided through Canfin Magellan Investments Inc. Insurance provided through Canfin Capital Group Inc.
(905) 829-0094 www.colinbarry.ca
CELTIC CANADA | SPRING 2017
Making Irish History Readable: Virtually Reconstructing the
Great Parchment Book R
esearchers from University College London and London Metropolitan Archives have digitally reconstructed one of the most important historical documents from Northern Ireland, making it readable for the first time in over 200 years. The “Great Parchment Book of the Honourable the Irish Society” contains key data about land-owners and the population of the Irish province of Ulster and the city of Londonderry and its estates in the mid17th century, at a time of social, religious, and political upheaval. Compiled in 1639 by a commission established by Charles I, it was severely damaged in a fire at London’s Guildhall in 1786, but its surviving leaves were carefully preserved because of its importance. It is now held in London Metropolitan Archives, but the original text is so fragile that it cannot be accessed, or read. A cutting-edge digital imaging project began in 2010 to conserve and virtually restore the 165 surviving pages of the Great Parchment Book, with archivists, conservators, imaging scientists, historians, computer scientists, and digital humanities experts working together. This project digitally reconstructed the severely fire damaged parchment, using low cost methods to digitise and create a 3D reconstruction of the text, and then using advanced
computer graphics procedures to virtually flatten the document, and recreate images of the text prior to damage, making it finally readable. This resulted in a new transcription and digital edition of the text which is freely available for all at http://www. greatparchmentbook.org/. There are many people and places named within the Great Parchment Book and so this resource will be of great interest to genealogists and family historians as well as researchers interested in Irish history. This website was launched in time for the 400th anniversary of the building of the Londonderry city walls in 2013. Work on the virtually flattening the parchment continued, with the website being updated with new content and now hosting a complete transcription of the text, increasing
our knowledge of this document. The contents of the Great Parchment Book are now available freely to family historians, genealogists and researchers at http://www.greatparchmentbook.org/. Due to its historical importance, the Great Parchment Book was inscribed to the UK register of the UNESCO Memory of the World on 21st June 2016. A paper that details the history of the document, how it was created and what it contains, how it came to be damaged and kept, and our long-term, large-scale, and the cutting-edge digital imaging project undertaken to conserve and virtually restore it is now published in the leading journal, Digital Scholarship in the Humanities, by Oxford University Press and is freely available at
Left: identifying lines of writing on our 3D model of the burnt, buckled parchment. Right, our algorithm at work to virtually reconstruct the 17th Century Text. 20
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https://academic.oup.com/dsh/ article/2670757/Digitally-reconstructingthe-Great-Parchment-Book. The research is also relevant to libraries and archives holding similarly damaged manuscripts (which are all too common). Edward Montgomery, Secretary of The Honourable The Irish Society, said in November 2016: “We are delighted that The Honourable The Irish Society has been part of a major collaborative project to bring The Great Parchment Book, one of its most historic documents, ‘back to life’. The Book is a marvellous testament to history and provides a detailed account from 1639 of the City of London’s role in the Plantation of Ulster and its administration. It is a valuable tool for anyone interested in their ancestral history within Ulster and an excellent teaching aid for those exploring early modern Ireland.” Professor Melissa Terras, Director of UCL Centre for Digital Humanities: “It has been a pleasure to work on this project, which has brought together expertise from so many different angles, allowing us to finally provide advanced access to this important, but very damaged, document. The conservation, imaging, and reconstruction
Left: a large amount of text is obscured by a fold in the document. Right: This text becomes visible when the mesh is unfolded. have all contributed to the creation of a digital resource of lasting value for researchers, students, and the wider public. Our work encourages further understanding of the role of the City of London in the plantation, and the importance of the Great Parchment Book to its local, national, and international contexts. It also shows us the benefits of undertaking advanced digital projects in the area of cultural heritage.” Quote from Professor Tim Weyrich, Professor of Visual Computing, Virtual Environments and Computer Graphics Group, Department of Computer Science,
University College London. Lead of the digital acquisition and reconstruction: “I feel privileged having been able to conduct computer science and imaging research in the context of a project of such cultural importance. We were fortunate enough that the engagement with the humanities’ unique problem domain allowed us to go beyond mere application of known techniques, pushing the boundary in our own research field while making a tangible difference to the wider public.” Used with permission, Pal et al 2016, http://dx.doi. org/10.1093/ndt/fqw057
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Okanagan Irish Society Kelowna, BC.
Pearse Walsh, Vice President, Okanagan Irish Society
he Irish community in the Okanagan Valley will celebrate Ireland’s national holiday in style at their annual St. Patrick’s Day dinner, which will be held at the Mission Creek Golf Club on Friday evening 17th March. The Okanagan Irish Society in Kelowna BC has been the voice of the Irish community in this valley for over 40 years. This registered non-profit society was founded in 1984 when Father Charlie Mulvihill, later Monsignor Mulvihill, suggested to a few of his Irish parishioners that they should get busy and phone people in the area they knew were Irish and arrange a dinner where they could meet on a social basis. This group were the founders of the Okanagan Irish Society and their vision and mission, which still stands today, is to promote and sustain Irish culture, heritage and identity in the Okanagan Valley and especially to be a support and encouragement to its members in times of illness, need and bereavement, all the while being proudly Canadian as well. Sadly our visionary Monsignor Charlie passed away in the Summer of 2016. However the society continues to flourish. It has just over 100 members and while many are in or approaching their senior years now the enthusiasm and support is as strong as ever. Members meet quite regularly and while the Christmas and St. Patrick’s Day dinners are their marquee events they also have very popular pub/sing along nights approximately every tow months. Bowling and camping
time performing for retirement homes and playing and singing at fundraisers for groups like the St. Vincent De Paul. In addition they put on a very successful theatre production each spring to aid Seaton House - a Prayer House in Kelowna. This group have been entertaining since the creation of the society and they range in age form one 12 year old, 4 teenagers, a few in their forties and the rest averaging in age over 65 years – in all
The society welcomes new members – you don’t have to be Irish – just have an interest in and love of Irish tradition and culture. weekend are other planned events. A number of the members of the society are in a talented musical group, Ceol na hEireann, who perform at society functions as well as in the community where they donate their 22
CELTIC CANADA | SPRING 2017
there are over 20 musicians in the group. The Okanagan Irish Society also donates bursaries annually to dancers of the Blakey Okanagan School of Irish Dancers, which is located in Kelowna.
The Okanagan Irish Society Directors are realizing a need to reach out and cultivate and engage a younger generation of Irish descent or those who have an interest in things Irish to ensure the society’s sustainability into the future. Consequently the society is embarking on an important initiative this year to mentor a number of young musicians by making loaner musical instruments available to them and by subsiding the cost of music lessons. This will ensure the ongoing viability of this great society into the future. The society welcomes new members – you don’t have to be Irish – just have an interest in and love of Irish tradition and culture. For further information contact our president Bob Hillis by e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Pearse Walsh, Vice President (email@example.com; Tel: 250-718-1958) or our social convenor Mairead (firstname.lastname@example.org)
A beautiful coastline, delicious food and one colourful town after another… It’s no wonder Corkonians are so enthusiastic about their home county
elcome to the “People’s Republic of Cork” and to the island’s largest county. Sprawling all over the south-west, this is the place that gave us revolutionary political leader and Clonakilty man Michael Collins, and Republic of Ireland soccer legend Roy Keane. This is the county that takes in everything from Cork city to some of the island’s most fertile farmland, its wildest peninsulas and its most colourful islands. It even has its own
And then there are long stretches of wilderness, such as the Sheep’s Head Peninsula, bothered by little but the wind whistling through the abandoned Atlantic copper mines.
beating heart of the county’s thriving food scene). It’s a place where if you climb the 126 steps to the top of St Anne’s Cathedral, you’re welcome to play Kumbaya and The Final Countdown on the bell ropes.
At the centre of it all, of course, lies Cork city itself. “Dublin isn’t the real capital of the Republic of Ireland,” as one local quips. “We just let Dubliners think it is. We let
West Cork is known the world-over for its wild beaches and jagged peninsulas; and for its Irish-speaking islands like Cape Clear and Sherkin. At the very tip of the Beara Peninsula, you can even take a ride in Ireland’s only cable car – to the Atlantic outpost of Dursey Island. If you want to break new ground, however, head east. Anchored by Cobh, the port town where Titanic paid its final visit in 1912, east Cork is where you’ll find cheetahs roaming in Fota Wildlife Park, taste Irish country cooking at its finest in Ballymaloe, or turn back the clock in heritage towns such as Youghal (the spot where Moby Dick was filmed in 1956, and Sir Walter Raleigh once served as mayor.) An all tastes affair in just the one county? No wonder the locals are proud.
The best of the city is still happily traditional – snug pubs with live-music sessions, restaurants dishing up top-quality local produce, and a genuinely proud welcome from the locals. Lonely Planet black stuff (or Murphy’s stout, if you prefer). Touring Cork is a tale of one town running into the next, with each as individual in character as the next. There is the gourmet getaway of Kinsale, the market town of Skibbereen, the bustling hub of Clonakilty. ICC Ad_DSlowey Broker CMYK.pdf
them entertain the dignitaries. But when the dignitaries are on their days off, they come down here to be entertained properly.” And no doubt about it, Cork city does entertain. This is where Queen Elizabeth was famously photographed laughing with a fishmonger at the English Market (the 15-02-16
Source: Tourism Ireland
Working with the Irish Communitiy, both new and established, to find value and security in their new Toronto home. C
dslowey.com • email@example.com
CELTIC CANADA | SPRING 2017
anada is celebrating its 150th The Three Coins by Chris birthday this year, and since its Lohan, produced by FriesenPress, creation, Canada’s immigration is a love letter to the pastoral Ireland numbers have soared, with many of those and rugged Canada of an earlier new comers arriving from Ireland’s emerald generation. Inspired by the author’s shores. own life, The Three Coins offers a Nearly 14% of Canadians boast Irish comic, heart-warming tale of coincidence origins, with Ontario claiming the largest and connection that explores the legacy of Chris Lohan Irish population save for the Atlantic tragedy and the power of community. of the Safety Section of the American provinces. Association of Railways and the founding Born in Dublin in 1930, first-time author The story follows two men: the first, chairperson of the Railroad Association Chris Lohan is one such Irish-Canadian. Tom Corbert who receives a letter that has of Canada Safety Committee, before his When he arrived here sixty-six year retirement in 1995. Chris now lives in ago, in 1951, he quickly fell in love Hanmer, Ontario, with his wife of sixty with Canada but life was a great deal years, Helena. They have five children, different at that time, particularly for eleven grandchildren, and ten great a young Irish transplant working for grandchildren. The Three Coins is his Canadian railways. It was a far distance first novel. from his home in Ballygar, Co. Galway The book is available in both to the northern edges of Lake Superior Hardcover and paperback from most and beyond,but Lohan soon learned to online retailers including Amazon. It love its rugged beauty. is also available in eBook format from It was a fascinating time to explore Amazon Kindle, iTunes Bookstore, Canada, and Lohan’s new book, The Chapters/Indigo Kobo, Barnes and Three Coins, offers a glimpse into life Noble’s Nook, and GooglePlay. back then and what it’s like to move so far from home - something many By Helene Lohan Cameron a Portrait of the Author and his life. Canadians can relate to. After starting to write his story over forty years ago, Lohan has finally revealed his experiences followed him all the way from his past, from in The Three Coins, a recently published Ireland, and it calls him home. The other, fictionalized account of his life and the Bob Ward, finds himself summoned home fascinating characters he met along the way. too. He’s a soft-hearted but hard-fisted man with whom Tom is familiar mostly through barroom brawls. They both journey back home to Ireland to unravel a tragic mystery that stretches back almost twenty years—one that will change both their lives forever.
More About the Author
Chris Lohan in Ireland at the Stepping stones on the Shivin river. 24
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Chris Lohan started his career in Canada working with the Canadian National Railway gangs, and eventually worked for the Canadian Pacific Railway as a baggage handler. He moved up to switch tender, yardman, yard foreman, conductor, yard master, and, finally, terminal supervisor. Later, Chris moved into safety, and became the Director of Accident Prevention for CP Rail Systems. He was made the chairperson
Cover artwork courtesy of Friesen Press.
Canadian By Pat Jordan
oodbye 2016, hello 2017, the year I qualify to become a Canadian citizen. I’ve already begun trawling through the paperwork in meticulous detail, pulling all the documents, photos and other supporting papers together. Past experience has taught me that you cannot be too careful when it comes to any immigration application. As I shift through the mound of forms in front of me, I find my thoughts drifting to what citizenship means for me and my family.
When I first arrived in Canada on New Year’s Day 2013, it was with a sense of trepidation and hope. We left with Ireland in the midst of an economic recession and social depression. We are all familiar with the tale of woe at this stage. My wife and I moved to Toronto with no job, no contacts and no place to live. A common situation for many immigrants, yet in our minds we had made the right decision. We knew that we could make a go of things here. And, over the past four years, through a combination of hard work and a lot of good fortune, our verdict
hasn’t changed. Canada has delivered! Fourteen months ago we welcomed our first child into the world, a little girl called Aoife Rose. And how our lives changed! Gone are the Friday nights at the bar, dinner and cinema on a Saturday and lazy Sunday mornings. I never knew I could feel this tired. But despite the sleepless nights, poopy diapers and new appreciation for wet wipes, I wouldn’t change a thing. Our little Canadian girl has brought a whole new meaning to our lives. It has also heightened my desire to become a citizen of the country of her birth. Having a child who was born here, only confirmed that this is the place we will remain. Many immigrants struggle with a yearning to return one day, to go back to what is familiar. It’s a constant state of flux that can make it difficult to settle in a new place. For me, having a child changed all that. This is now home. And if this is the case then I want to be able to call myself Canadian too. Being a permanent resident affords almost all the same rights, save the right to vote. With the arrival of our little one, I feel the need to have a say in how this country is run and help shape the Canada she is going to grow up in. Does it mean that I am less Irish, that I’m giving up something that continues to be so important to me, my Irishness? I don’t believe so. If everything goes to plan, I’ll end up spending more of my life in Canada than in Ireland. I’ll watch my kids grow, get
Pat & Marie Andree and their daughter Aoife Rose
married and have kid of their own here, not back home. Yet, Ireland will always be just that; my home. Becoming a Canadian citizen will never dampen my Irishness, but it will mean that I get to be part of a country that I love almost as deeply. Canada has afforded me and my family opportunities that I don’t think Ireland could ever provide and for that I’ll be eternally grateful. Becoming a citizen makes me feel like I’m in some part repaying that debt of gratitude. Later this year we’ll celebrate this great nations 150th birthday and I hope to be able to do it as a proud Canadian.
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The Real Story of
St. Patrick By Mark E. Fisher
s I researched my historical novel, The Bonfires of Beltane, I realized what a tale the life of St. Patrick presents and how few people know it. Are you ready to hear the real story of St. Patrick?
They killed the older men and women, those too feeble to bring a good price on Hibernia. They stole young Patrick, a youth of but fifteen, put an iron chain around his neck, and carried him across the sea. For centuries,
Born to Wealth and Privilege Patrick was born to wealthy parents in Roman Britain at the end of the fourth century AD. His father, Calpornius, was a Roman patrician with a large farmstead somewhere on the western coast. At a time when many Romans worshiped gods like Mars, Minerva, and Jupiter, Calpornius held a deaconship in the local Christian church. Baptized as an infant, Patrick rebelled against his parents’ faith. By his own admission, he was a spoiled The Irish Bogs child of privilege and an atheist. He was schooled in the classics like Virgil, Homer, and Aristotle, but he struggled with the Romans had feared Hibernia as a country Latin and had barely begun public speaking. of wild men, barbarians, and “cannibals”. We can only imagine what went through the Then Came the Raiders mind of this terrified, traumatized youth. On one tragic night, this idyllic life ended. Slave traders came from across the sea, Out on the Moors, Cold, from Hibernia—what the Roman’s called Starving, and Alone Ireland. His parents and sister were visiting In Hibernia, his captors sold him into relatives in the north, leaving him alone at slavery, and he ended up somewhere on the villa with the slaves and hired freemen. the western coast, probably near a village The raiders appeared suddenly at night. They called Foclut. This child of privilege and captured the younger servants and slaves. wealth suddenly found himself out on the
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rainy moors, cold, starving, and alone, with the lowly job of tending sheep. He moved flocks between fields and fought off wolves. Sometimes, he slept with the other slaves back in the farmstead, behind the safety of an earthen ditch and wooden stakes.
“Holy Boy” and God’s Voice Six years passed, and something in him changed. He used to make fun of the priests, but now he remembered the biblical stories of his youth. He began to pray. He rose before sunrise, said a hundred prayers, and before going to bed, said another hundred. The other slaves called him, “holy boy”. And he began to fast. Gradually, his faith grew. And he served his master obediently. One night, a voice called to him in a dream, “You have fasted well. Soon you will be going home.” But how could that be? Foclut was as far from the eastern and southern ports as one could get. And escaped slaves were quickly captured. So he ignored the voice. But the next night, the voice came again, “Behold, your ship is ready.” It then gave him directions to a ship on the southern coast. He knew it was the voice of God.
The Escape He abandoned his flock and set out on foot. Avoiding farmsteads, he traveled
prayed. And shortly afterward, a herd of pigs crossed their path. For two days, the sailors feasted on pork.
Back in Britain but Unsettled
An Early Irish Church only at night, crossing the treacherous fens on log roads and swimming wide rivers. Without fire, his food dwindling, and fearing capture, he traversed one hundred eighty miles of open country until he arrived at a port. In the village below, a ship floated at anchor. He screwed up his courage, passed by the roundhouses, and walked up the gangplank. Irish hounds filled the deck. But after one glance, the captain sent him away. Devastated, Patrick returned to the village.
A Ship Bound for Gaul But the sailors called him back, the captain offered him a position on the crew, and the ship sailed. Missing their destination, they landed somewhere in present-day Germany and unloaded the hounds. Then, for twenty-eight days, they wandered until they ran out of food. The captain faced Patrick. “We’re starving,” he said. “If your God is so powerful, why don’t you ask him to bring us some food, or we’ll die.” So Patrick
It took Patrick years to find his way back to his father’s villa. No one had ever returned from Irish slavery, and his family welcomed this lean young man of twenty-one with surprise and delight. On the outside, he was physically hardened. But on the inside, he’d changed. His father wanted him to run the farmstead. But Patrick no longer fit in. He was restless, unsettled, and unhappy. Then came the first dream. At the foot of his bed, a man named Victoricus dumped a pile of letters, broke the seal of one, and handed it to Patrick. “Holy boy,” sang the Irish voices from the letter, “Come back and walk among us!” When he woke, his heart broke for the lost of Hibernia. Would they never know the Savior? A second dream followed the first, and he knew it was God who’d spoken. Resolve filled him. He must return. He must bring the gospel message to the Irish.
Return to Ireland What followed were years of service, as Patrick studied to become a deacon in the local church then a priest. In Lérins, an island off the southern coast of Gaul, he pestered his bishop to send him to Ireland,
but the bishop refused. Instead, he sent a man named Palladius. By all accounts, Palladius’ mission failed miserably. Only then was Patrick appointed bishop, necessary to ordain priests, and ordered to Ireland. When he landed in the northern inlet of Strangford Loch, Patrick was probably thirty years old. To the Irish, he was like one of their own. He understood them, and he made converts. He brought them a God who loved, so unlike the fearsome, angry spirits of the druids that required constant sacrifices. Into a land mired in spiritual darkness, Patrick brought a teaching of light and hope. And on the northern half of the island, he left behind hundreds of small churches, thousands of new believers. We can make the case that because of Patrick and Irish Christianity, during Europe’s later chaos and barbarian upheavals, the Irish monks preserved the great works of western civilization. There is much more to Patrick’s story than what we’ve shown. But perhaps we’ve given a hint of what happens when a man listens to the voice of God and does his bidding. Surely, Patrick changed not only Ireland, but the world. Mark is the author of The Bonfires of Beltane, a novel of Christian historical fiction set in ancient Celtic Ireland at the time of St. Patrick. You can find his book on Amazon or at www.MarkFisherAuthor.com/Marks-Books. Sources for this article: Patrick’s own Confessions, Philip Freeman’s St. Patrick of Ireland, Thomas Cahill’s How the Irish Saved Civilization, and T.W. Moody and F.X. Martin’s The Course of Irish History.
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Carassauga: Mississauga’s Festival of Cultures • May 26-28 2017
he Ireland Pavilion located in the lobby of the Hershey Centre – Sportszone (Lobby), is sure to be a show stopper at this year’s Carassauga: Mississauga’s Festival of Cultures! This will be the 3rd year for Ireland Pavilion, which features a delicious food and drink menu, nonstop live music, Irish dancing and a variety of vendors and cultural displays. Carassauga kicks off with an opening night ceremony on May 26th @ 7:30 pm, which is held on the outdoor main stage at the Mississauga Sportzone. The event is a kaleidoscope of color and cultures, culminating in the exciting Parade of Nations. This launches the three-day Festival and is celebration of all the countries represented at the Festival, clearly depicting the cultural diversity of the City. Non-stop cultural entertainment throughout the Festival weekend is featured on the Pavilion
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Stages, which is a main attraction point for visitors. The popular Kids’ Zone is also located in the Hershey Centre, so make sure to stop by on your way to Ireland Pavilion! At Ireland Pavilion, entertainment includes Irish dancers from the pavilion host Graham School of Irish Dance, as well as guest performances from other Irish dance schools across the GTA, and even the opportunity for pavilion visitors to join in and learn a few steps! Musical entertainment happens throughout the day, every day, and each day has a headline band that is sure to get your hands clapping and your toes tapping! Regular pavilion guests Hugo Straney and our local Leprechaun Pascal are sure to make an appearance, too! Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for all the latest updates about entertainment, menu, vendors and events!
Twitter: @IrelandPavilion (Carassauga) @grahamid86 (Graham School of Irish Dance) Facebook: www.facebook.com/ IrelandPavilion/ Instagram: Ireland Pavilion Carassauga Over 360K people visited Carassauga last year and approximately 25,000 came through Pavilion Ireland Get your Passport now!! Cost $10 in advance or $12 on Carassauga weekend, and children 12 and under get in free, if accompanied by a passport-holding adult. Visit www.carassauga.com for more details or contact Mike Keane at firstname.lastname@example.org or Toby Warnell at email@example.com from Pavilion Ireland.
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Smurfit Business School MBA Team Wins Divisional Honours at the John Molson International MBA Case Competition in Montreal By Paul Loftus
he team was in Montreal to represent UCD in the 36th edition of the John Molson International MBA Case Competition, a bilingual competition for outstanding MBA students, which this year had 36 teams from 18 countries representing all five continents. The competition was held from January 2nd to 6th at the Bonaventure Hotel. The competition was created in 1981 and is currently the oldest and most international MBA case competition in the world. The competition is a round-robin format where the teams are given three hours to solve a unpublished business case. Each team is required to carry out an analysis, develop a strategy and an implementation plan. The team then delivers a PowerPoint presentation to a panel of five judges (one of whom is a lead judge) for 25 minutes. Following the presentation there is a 15 minute period of probing questions by the judges. The winning team receives the coveted Concordia Cup and a cash prize of $10,000. There are also two awards: the Dr. Pierre Brunet Coach Award and the Richard Outcault Team Spirit Award. This year’s event involved a committee of nine, 400 volunteers, 300 local business executives (including myself as a lead judge), 144 participants, 50 coaches and 25 sponsors and donors. In Case 1 UCD defeated the University of Rochester, USA and in Case 2 they defeated Wilfrid Laurier University. In case 3 UCD was defeated by the Haskayne Business School from the University of Calgary. In Case 4 UCD were victorious again in defeating Lund University School of Business and Economics, Sweden and in Case 5 they defeated EGADE Business School, Mexico thereby becoming divisional winners and wining $1,000.
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In the semi-final UCD faced the American University of Beruit, Lebanon and Queensland University of Technology, Australia. There are three teams in each semi-final. QUT won that semi-final and ended up finishing third overall. Haskayne who were UCD’s only defeat in the From left to right: Dr. Pat Gibbons, Coach; Derek Anderson; Tanya group stage ended Kenny; Catherine O’Brien; Ann Marie Barcoe; Declan Walsh; Paul loftus, up finishing second President, UCD Alumni Association, Montreal. overall. members of the UCD team then introduced The first place prize went to Memorial themselves. The team was composed of the University, Newfoundland which received following members: Declan Walsh, Client $10,000 and the Concordia Cup. The second Relationship Manager, Profunder; Derek place prize of $7,000 went to Haskayne Anderson, Finance Operations Director for School of Business, University of Calgary. a leisure management company; Catherine QUT Graduate School of Business, Australia O’Brien, Innovation Senior Consultant, ESB won the third prize and received a cheque for (Electricity Supply Board); Tanya Kenny, $5,000. Senior Scientist, Environmental Protection The competition this year, included such Agency of Ireland; and Ann Marie Barcoe, prestigious universities as: Ben-Gurion Senior Project Manager, Exaxe. The UCD University of the Negev, Israel; FIA Business team members are all in the Executive MBA School, Brazil; Nanyang Technological programme. The team was accompanied University, Singapore; Porto Business School, by their coach Dr. Pat Gibbons who is the Portugal; Xiamen University, China; and Jefferson Smurfit Professor of Strategic University of Capetown, South Africa. Local Management. universities included Concordia (the hosts), During the evening Dr. Gibbons HEC Montréal and Université Laval. McGill presented two beautiful plaques to Paul University was conspicuous by its absence. Loftus and Paul Quinn (in absentia, as he The Montreal Chapter of the UCD couldn’t be there). These plaques were in Alumni Association hosted a Meet and Irish and hand made at the Wild Goose Greet Reception for the visiting team on Gallery in Kinsale, County Cork. The one to Monday, January 3rd 2017 at The Irish Paul L. states Cairdeas (Friendship) and the Embassy Pub and Grill on Bishop Street. one to Paul Q. states Grá Dilseacht Cairdeas Paul Loftus welcomed everyone to the (Love Loyalty Friendship). “Meet and Greet” reception and the
The following is my interview with team member Declan Walsh: When did you decide to enter the competition? I actually heard about the competition shortly after the 2016 event from reading a blog post, by one of the guys on last year’s team, on the University website. As soon as I looked at the John Molson competition website, I knew this was something which I wanted to do. It looked extremely professional and as a keen sports man I love a challenge and some friendly competition. How did you form your team? My class received an e-mail from the school back at the start of October inviting all Executive MBA students (those doing the MBA part time whilst working at same time) to apply for the team. Those who applied were invited for a trial case study on Tuesday 11th October. We had to present an individual strategy using one of last year’s cases, Mahindra Finance. A panel of judges picked a team of 4, with one alternate also selected. How did the team prepare for the competition? As soon as the team was picked, we agreed we would put as much effort as possible into the preparation. The preparation coincided with an exceptionally busy period of the MBA, along with our full time jobs which meant we basically sacrificed the whole month of December to prepare. We held several sessions with our coaches Pat Gibbons & Paul Slattery and also prepared 4 preparation cases in a similar environment to what we expected in Canada. How was the trip financed? UCD Michael Smurfit Business School were kind enough to fund the trip this year and for that we are extremely grateful. How did the team find Montreal? COLD!! Apart from the temperature the team had an amazing time in Montreal. Our only complaint was we didn’t get enough time to see the entire city because we were so busy with the competition. We did get a chance to do some walking around and we were struck by how friendly the locals were, and how receptive the Canadian people are to the Irish accent. The Irish community in Montreal arranged a reception for us in the
Irish Embassy Bar which was an extremely enjoyable night and we were flattered by the large crowd who turned out to greet us. I think all the team would love to return, maybe next time in Summer though. What were your main learnings from your participation in the competition? It’s hard to put all the learnings on paper. Firstly, I think we learnt that when 4 people come together with a common goal, a good understanding and a strong process you can achieve a lot in a short space of time. We learnt how to work as a team and under significant time pressure and this teamwork is a skill which can be transferred to all professions. We also learnt how to analyze a business case, use appropriate models and come up with a solid and practical implementation plan. The logic and creativity behind each of these steps will be incredible value going forward in our careers. We learnt so much about the companies in the cases such as ‘We Work’, Linkedin and Uber. We also learnt an incredible amount about other cultures from all our fellow participants from all over the world. How will these help you in your studies? Working in teams is a key component for any MBA so this experience will help greatly. The logic which we had to apply and detailed analyze we did will also be extremely relevant to all of our MBA subjects. Being able to pick the most relevant facts quickly is a priceless skill to have. How will they help the team in their careers? Going back to our companies, the
entire team are more confident about our presentation skills in highly pressurized environment. For example if we are presenting for our company and a new piece of information arises 3 hours in advance of the presentation, we now have the confidence and ability to adapt at the last minute. Strategic decision making is critical for every company and the week was an exceptional way to learn about this. How would you rate your overall performance? We were delighted with our performance in the competition. We arrived in Montreal with the goal of winning one of our round robin matches, however once we won the first 2 matches we began to think about winning our division. We were absolutely delighted when we were announced as divisional winners, the pride which we felt was certainly a highlight of the week. Being honest we did not perform anywhere near to our potential in the semifinal which is one disappointment. This was down to a combination of fatigue after a tough week and a case which we struggled to get momentum with the strategy. These were also a factor for the other teams however. How would you describe your personal experience? Genuinely this trip was one of the best experiences of my life. It was a massive challenge, competitive and at times during some of the 3 hour cases I felt like going home. But the adrenalin which I felt during Continued on page 32.
SUNDAY, MARCH 19, 2017
ST. GEORGE & BLOOR
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Continued from page 31 - UCD’s
the preparation and going into present to the judges was brilliant. Every single person who you met at the competition was very friendly and it was just an amazing environment to be in. It was an honor to be in an environment with some of the smartest and best MBA students in the world. This truly was a once in a lifetime experience and one which none of the UCD team will ever forget. How did you find the other teams? As I mentioned above, although this was a competition, it was an extremely friendly competition. The other teams were a pleasure to meet and getting the opportunity to mix with people from Mexico, Sweden, Australia, America, Canada etc. was just an incredible experience. We exchanged details with a lot of our fellow competitors and will keep in touch with a lot of them through Linkedin etc. We even managed to sing some Karaoke with the other teams on the last night.
Dr. Pat Gibbons and Paul Loftus
What advice would you give to next year’s team? Prepare well for the competition before you go, believe that the UCD team can compete with the very best in the world when you get there and relish every single second of the experience. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity so grab it with both hands. And probably most importantly don’t forget to have some fun and socialize with your fellow competitors. The following is my interview with team coach Dr. Patrick Gibbons 32
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When did UCD first enter the competition? We first entered in 2009, and finished third. The team was comprised of full time MBA students. Since then we have brought our part time MBA students. What was the main reason for participating? A few reasons-we want to provide our students with international experiences and this is a great vehicle to do that in meeting teams from across the globe. In addition, we keep coming back because the competition is brilliantly organised, has a fantastic friendly and professional atmosphere/ethos. What’s in it for the University? For us, it’s about providing students with a memorable, and educational/ developmental experience-the participants have to work really hard, under time pressure and produce actionable recommendationswhich is great training for the business/ managerial world. Also, we see ourselves as an international business school located in Irelandand so international competition is where we need to be. What has been the experience of UCD’s participation over the years? Our experiences have all been positive. A couple of years ago our team won the “Team Spirit” award, on the basis of their enthusiasm and cooperative spirit with other teams. Every year, the students arrive not quite knowing what to expect and after the week of competition leave with a great sense of pride and accomplishment with new friends (and potential business partners) from around the globe. Why do you think there are no other universities from Ireland or the UK participating? I’m not sure, maybe the timing does not suit, as it might be around exam periods in some Universities.
Explain your role as coach of the team? As a coach, the key thing is to help prepare the team. We do that by running practice sessions in case analysis and presentation. Another key aspect is to provide encouragement and feedback to the team as the competition progresses. The team, given that we have part time students, are making a huge commitment by eating into their vacation time from work and preparing around the holiday period-that investment needs to pay off in terms of their development-so I see it as an opportunity to work with the team to enhance their analytical, problem-solving, team-work and presentation skills. What has been your personal experience with the competition? It has been a great opportunity to network with other leading schools from around the globe, to meet the Irish diaspora in Montreal and to develop new academic connectionsfor instance I have invited a number of other coaches to UCD to present their research and this helps animate the network. Is it UCD’s intention to participate every year? Yes, it’s a fantastic experience and my congratulations to the organisers who somehow manage to improve the experience every year! In addition to UCD alumni residing in Montreal, other members of the Irish Community braved the snow and the cold to attend the Meet and Greet reception for the team. Some of the missing UCD alumni expressed their regrets from Florida and Mexico! The Montreal Chapter of the UCD Alumni Association thanks Paul Quinn, owner, Irish Embassy Pub and Grill, for providing our visitors with their refreshments and the entire attendance with their food for the evening. The Chapter also thanks Ken Quinn for being the official photographer for the evening and for providing information on the history of the Irish in Montreal to our visitors. Paul Loftus, a B.Comm graduate of UCD, is President of the Montreal Chapter of the UCD Alumni Association.
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Emerald Isle Seniors Society T
he Emerald Isle Seniors Society established in Toronto, Ontario in 1996 - was formed to promote and assist all senior citizens* of Irish heritage in celebrating life now in Canada together with passing on the culture of all parts of Ireland.
Mission: To establish, maintain and operate an Irish senior citizens’ centre. In doing so we will provide our members recreational, social and educational activities including those of Irish theatre, music and culture.
Ambassador Jim Kelly addresses the members bringing greetings from Ireland and encouragement for the Society to keep up with the great work being undertaken.
The Ambassador with our Vice-President Sean O’Neill and President Dermot O’Neill [L-R]
Ambassador Jim Kelly with a few of the Executive and EISS members
COME JOIN US TODAY! Become a member to-day!!
New members and associate members are invited to join the “craic” simply by contacting the Secretary. Benefits of joining our Club… meet new friends, have some craic, we offer weekly meetings each Tuesday for lunch, bingo on Friday’s and dances held often during the year!!!
The best part is the fun trips each year.
2454 Danforth Avenue - Toronto
Street parking is available. Close to the main subway station.
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Goals: The Society is formed as a senior citizens group having both non sectarian and non political views. We will address the danger of social isolation and vulnerability to exploitation, particularly among seniors on low fixed incomes. New members and associate members are invited to join the “craic” simply by contacting the Secretary. *Senior citizens being 55 years or over.
Our new location on Danforth Avenue, Toronto just west of Main Street and the TTC subway station. Meter parking on street or car parks nearby.
Come join us today! Become a member to-day!! 416-469-5394, or visit our website for more information at www.emeraldisleseniorssociety.org Benefits of joining our Club… meet new friends, have some craic, we offer weekly meetings each Tuesday for lunch, bingo on Friday’s and dances held often during the year!!! The best part is the fun trips each year. Our facilities are available for rent to host your next event so drop us a call. Our location: 2454 Danforth Avenue – Toronto Street parking is available. Close to the main subway station.
Irish-American Writer Puts a New Twist on the Old West
new tale of kidnap and catnip in the Old West introduces the feline antihero bounding out of the genre fiction box. When a heroically-thwarted arson attempt is followed by a seductive “morning after” breakfast tableau, it is clear that the suave, card-playing Catanova for which Elvis the Gunslinger is named is not your typical, tame cozy mystery protagonist. The debut novel from Romey Connell, Elvis the Gunslinger showcases the creative world building of fantasy and the pageturning plot of action & adventure with nuanced and naughty cat characters full of surprises.
O’Connell. Apparently the O was dropped by my great grandfather after he emigrated from Ireland. He lived in Baltimore after he arrived in the U.S. My grandfather on my father’s side lived in Baltimore all of his life and my father was one of six children,” Connell said. “Long, long ago, the family name in Ireland was O’Conall, which means ‘a descendant of Conall.’ Also, my mother was of Irish heritage. Her maiden name was McTighe, which I understand is the Anglicized form of Gaelic Mac Taidhg.” Connell lives in Atlanta, GA with his wife, Gretchen, and two children. He grew up on a horse farm in the Baltimore area, and graduated from the Auburn University School of Business in 1985 and the Cornell Law School in 1988, and has worked as an attorney for most of his career. Elvis and his local dog Daisy are based on two of Connell’s beloved real-life pets. The fictionalized version of Elvis the cat in Connell’s book rides dogs like horses and stands at the intersection of James Bond and John Wayne. With a trusty sidekick, he’s soon off to settle a score with a long-forgotten enemy – a crusty mobster who has catnapped the only son of a wealthy and admired captain of industry. Take a train across the landscape and then saddle up and ride Connell himself is of Irish heritage. into the hills to watch him work his magic, “My family name originally was with unforgettable personalities navigating unpredictable twists and turns. Try as enemies might to Cormac O’Muiri stop him, Elvis the Gunslinger is always a step ahead, be it by luck, serendipity or • Repairs to all make and models • Air Conditioning • Electrical Diagnosis • General Repairs maybe because he’s just a little wilier than the rest. If the Tel: 416-762-6127 good guys are going 717 Runnymede Road Fax: 416-762-1598 to win, shouldn’t firstname.lastname@example.org Toronto, ON M6N 3V6
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Elvis the cat. they have a little fun while they’re at it? Elvis the Gunslinger is currently available in both paperback and Kindle editions via Amazon and wherever books are sold. Find Elvis the Gunslinger on the web at www.elvisthegunslinger.com.
CELTIC CANADA | SPRING 2017
The Skellig Ring Named Best in Travel 2017 By Lonely Planet A
t the south-west tip of the Wild Atlantic Way lies the Skellig Ring drive. Coastal roads, a UNESCO
World Heritage Site and galactic exiles sit side by side here and it’s been named Best in Travel 2017 by Lonely Planet. Here’s why it’s so special… The Skellig Ring is a thrilling coastal drive and extension of the famous Ring of Kerry on Ireland’s magnificent Wild
With a setting like this, it’s no wonder Skellig Michael made the Star Wars location list
Atlantic Way. It’s as scenic as they come, winding around an unspoiled peninsula, cute towns and backed by stunning mountain and island views. Which is where The Skelligs come in. Rising from the Atlantic 12km (8 miles)
600 or so steps that rise from the sea all
tell that the island was attacked by Viking
from shore, the two remote islands have
the way up to the stone beehive huts at the
invaders who plundered people as well
been revered for centuries.
island’s summit. So incredible was this spot
as treasures, though in the end it was the
that it is now a UNESCO World Heritage
merciless weather that drove the monks
back to the mainland.
It was a group of monks seeking solitude who first colonised the chunk of rock that is Skellig Michael back in the 6th
But with isolation came danger. Records
century. These hardy hermits carved the
Fishermen, tourists and pilgrims have been making this same journey for many years now – but some have been more intergalactic than others. As Skellig Michael looms into view in the closing moments of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, you know you’re witnessing an iconic Star Wars moment up there with the Death Star attack, pod race or Darth Vader’s Freudian revelation. Cast, crew
Nothing beats landing on Skellig Michael and climbing the stone steps to reach the intriguing chambers left by the monks. 36
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and audiences alike all had to pick their jaws up off the floor upon realising that the island they were looking at was not CGI-trickery but a real place on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way.
The Skelligs also happen to be one of Ireland’s best dive sites, with clear waters rich in anemones, seals and diving gannets. Star Wars fans instantly recognised the spectacular nature of Skellig Michael – accessed by licenced boat operators departing from Portmagee’s rainbow houses, near Ballinskelligs’ historic ruins and Valentia Island. If you wish to walk in the footsteps of Luke and Rey, it’s advisable to book in advance as the number of visitors per day is restricted – and weather is also a variable! But there’s more to The Skelligs than atmospheric ruins and Jedi knights. Little Skellig, Skellig Michael’s smaller sister isle,
is home to a colony of 50,000 gannets, not to mention puffins, guillemots and terns. The waters, meanwhile, are visited by
whales and dolphins throughout the year. Back on The Skellig Ring drive, it’s time to discover this route’s delights. Skelligs Chocolate boasts the kind of artisanal treats that couldn’t be more different from the austere diet of the early monastic residents – but you can walk it off along the beautiful beach of St Finian’s Bay, a crescent-shaped beach with panoramic views. Valentia Island’s Skellig Experience brings you closer to the island’s history, flora and fauna; while in Ballinskelligs you can test your language skills in this historic Gaeltacht (Irishspeaking) village. Not forgetting Portmagee – base for cast and crew of the Star Wars movies – where folks at The Moorings gastropub still recall Mark Hamill coming behind the bar to pull his own pint of Guinness... The Skellig Ring is perhaps Ireland’s most charismatically wild and emerald stretch of coastline. Lonely Planet Lonely Planet calls The Skellig Ring drive “unmissable”, so perhaps it’s time for you to raise your own glass to this wonderful route. Source: Tourism Ireland
Presidents Mediterranean cruise Hosted by Hugo Straney • Sept 1-17, 2017 Sails from Southampton Celebrity Eclipse 6 Countries 8 exciting Ports in 16 days from $4899 Inside cabin per person twin share Includes: Flights, all taxes, 14nt cruise, transfers and Pre cruise hotel night on the South Coast and fab entertainment! “World of Coronation Street Tour” 15-24 June 2017 Exclusive group studio visit -hug a star, walk the famous cobbles Gala dinner with surprise star and visit various special locations Followed by Stratford Upon Avon – Shakespear’s birthplace and the rolling hills and honey coloured villages of the Cotswolds
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The Federation of Irish Societies La Fédération des organisations Irlandaises Cónascadh na gCumann Gaelach Montreal
The Fourth Annual
FIS Christmas Party 2016 By Paul Loftus
he Federation of Irish Societies, Montreal held its fourth annual Christmas Party on December 19th at the Irish Embassy Pub and Grill. Over 150 of Montreal’s Irish Community turned out for the event. That number greatly exceeded the expectations of the organizers. The attendance was a complete cross section of the Irish community in Montreal. MC Paul Loftus, Chairman of the FIS welcomed the attendance and started the formalities on a sad note by asking those present to observe a minute’s silence as a mark of respect for the recently deceased Warren Allmand. Warren’s funeral mass and burial took place earlier in the day. Warren was the former Solicitor General of Canada and the Liberal MP for NDG for over two decades. He was an active member of Montreal’s Irish Community and a supporter of the FIS. He put his vast experience in human rights to use in playing a part in the Northern Ireland peace process. He is a big loss to our community.
FIS Director Lynn Doyle then acknowledged the Presidents of the Irish organizations who were present at the event as follows: Ancient Order of Hibernians, Victor Boyle; Cine Gael, Lynn Doyle; Coalition for Peace in Ireland, Kevin Callahan, Comhrá, Alex Nuta; Erin Sports Association, Tim Furlong; Festival Bloomsday Montreal, Dave Shurman; Gaelic Athletic Association, Ronan Corbett; SIAMSA, Denis Martin; St. Patrick’s Society, Scott Phelan; The Montreal Irish Monument Park Foundation, Fergus Keyes; United Irish Societies, Danny Doyle; and University College Dublin (UCD) Alumni Association, Paul Loftus. Devin Shanks, President of the Montreal Celtic Society, Dr. John Lawson, Executive Director of the British Quebec Business Coalition and Tony Kez, President of the Hungarian Chamber of Commerce also attended. Fergus Keyes provided the audience with an update on the proposed Irish park and famine memorial. He highlighted just
Musicians of the GAA, from left to right, Michael Johnson, Neil O’Brien and Ronan Corbett. 38
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some of the activities of the Foundation over the last months designed to promote the green space project. He mentioned the Grey Nuns exhibition, first at the Centaur and then at the Grey Nun’s Motherhouse; that the Foundation supported Michael Collins who ran from Grosse Ile to Toronto to highlight Black ‘47; that the Foundation assisted the AOH in organizing the Trial of Padraig Pearce in Montreal with a group of Irish actors; and that they had also made a number of presentations about the effort to various organizations, from a Unitarian Church group to the Knights of Columbus. He closed by expressing the hope that a meeting would soon be arranged with some representatives of the Irish Community; the City of Montreal and the Federal Government. Paul then read a letter from Ray Bassett, Ireland’s former Ambassador to Canada, which appeared in the Irish Times on November 21st. It was titled Canada, Our Old Reliable Friend. It appears here in its entirety. Sir, – The election of Donald Trump as president of the United States is an opportunity to re-evaluate our policy and commitments in North America. For far too long, we have been mesmerised by the US and failed to give Canada its proper priority. Canada has one of the largest economies in the world, is mainly English speaking and is our immediate neighbour to the west. When I was appointed ambassador to Canada, the Canadian government readily listened to our requests for greater access for our young people to their labour market. The Canadian government worked with us in the International Monetary Fund to improve
our loan terms. Unfortunately, the attitude of the US authorities to our entreaties for immigration reform and the infamous bailout was completely different and far less sympathetic. Despite this, and Canada’s long history of assisting Ireland – whether during the Famine when the US essentially closed its ports to the Irish, or our joint efforts in the 1920s to establish independence for our two dominions, or its help to stop conscription in Northern Ireland during the second World War, or facilitating Ireland’s entry into the United Nations in 1955, or helping to stop Britain from taking retaliatory action against us for leaving the then British Commonwealth – Canada has been a steadfast friend of Ireland. Yet there is very little appreciation in Ireland of Canada’s long record of helping this country. So let us stop moaning and being in despair about the Trump victory and look, like many liberal Americans, to the north of the American continent and focus a lot more of our efforts on our old reliable friend, Canada.
Canada is led today by a charismatic young leader, committed to upholding human rights and respect for international organisations. In short, Canada shares our values. – Yours, etc, Two of our well known Irish politicians were in attendance; Tom Mulcair, Leader of the New Democratic Party and Geoffrey Kelley, MNA for Jacques Cartier and Minister for Native Affairs. Geoff took the mike and gave a pleasant talk in which he informed us that he would be visiting Ireland more frequently. He wished all present a Merry Christmas and best wishes for 2017. Background traditional Irish music was provided throughout the evening by musicians from the Montreal Gaelic Athletic Association. Paul ended the formalities by thanking Owner; Paul Quinn; Manager Joe Cannon; the staff of Irish Embassy, the musicians from the Montreal GAA and all who attended.
He then wished all a Merry Christmas and a Happy 2017.
Paul Loftus, Chairman, The Federation of Irish Societies, Montreal and Geoff Kelley, Minister for Native Affairs, Quebec.
A TASTE OF IRELAND Nothing’s sweeter than a fresh Irish Sausage, rashers or black and white pudding from your own backyard. We even have Irish Boiling Bacon!
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Martin McGuinness by Alan McConnell
n January 19, 2017, Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness announced that he was not seeking re-election to the northern Assembly in Belfast. The news that a chief architect of the Irish peace process and the Good Friday Agreement was leaving office, created headlines around the world. In a statement, the Deputy First Minister said: “Last year, Gerry Adams and I confirmed that we had a plan in place for transition to a new leadership. For my part, it was my intention to step aside in May this year which would have marked 10 years since I entered government with Ian Paisley as joint leader of the northern Executive. “Unfortunately, my health and the current crisis have overtaken this timeframe and I am stepping down from my role to make way for a new leader of Sinn Féin in the North.” The announcement came shortly after the collapse of the power sharing government in Belfast and the calling of a general election for March, 2017. The confirmation in Martin’s statement that he was seriously ill caused an outpouring of best wishes to the republican leader from political friends and foes alike. Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams TD said: “I want to express my heartfelt thanks to Martin McGuinness. He and I first met over 45 years ago behind the barricades in Free Derry and we have been friends and comrades since that time. “I also want to thank Bernie and the entire McGuinness family for the support they have given to Martin over many years and for allowing him to become the leader, the patriot, the peacemaker and poet that he is.
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“We were all shocked when we saw his appearance recently. Thank God he is looking a lot better since then and responding well to the treatment he is receiving. “However, he does need to take time out to get better for himself, for his family and for our struggle. Martin’s contribution to the peace process and the power-sharing government in the north was praised by unionist Ian Paisley Jr. who thanked him on the BBC’s “The View” programme:... ”I can say thank you - honestly and humbly and recognise the remarkable journey Martin McGuinness went on has not only saved lives, but has made the lives of countless people in Northern Ireland better because of the partnership government we worked on and put together.” Martin was and remains a great republican champion of Irish unity, justice and peace. Perhaps no other political leader in Ireland has shown such a generosity of spirit in furthering reconciliation on the island. I had the privilege of working with Martin in my capacity as President of Friends of Sinn Féin (Canada). I met with Martin in Ireland on several occasions, and travelled with him on Canadian speaking tours. Over the past two decades we have hosted Martin
Martin McGuinness addresses 2006 FOSF Annual Dinner at Toronto Hilton in Toronto, Calgary, Halifax and St. Johns. At all times, Martin was a pleasure to be with – friendly, gracious, unassuming and always ready to work! He showed a remarkable ability to connect with politicians from across the spectrum and ordinary Canadians. I, along with countless other supporters of Sinn Féin and the peace process across Canada, wish Martin well and look forward to working with him again in the future. We take comfort from his promise that: “As a Sinn Féin activist I will continue to play a full and enthusiastic part in that essential process of building bridges, of dialogue and of reconciliation between our still divided people.” À la prochaine Martin!
Celtic Soul C
elebrated Canadian actor and funny man Jay Baruchel has an obsession with a sport and a team – far from home, in another continent: he is a massive fan of Glasgow’s Celtic Football Club. And like millions of fans around the world, Jay defies crazy distances and time differences to get his fix of ‘football’. But why do they do it? How did Jay’s own obsession begin – and what is it about football that inspires such fanaticism in every far-flung corner of our globe? Celtic Soul follows Jay on an epic road trip with his new friend, well-known Irish sports journalist Eoin O’Callaghan, to find out. It’s a story that spans 200 years of colorful history and that will take the duo eastward from Montreal to Westport, Ireland – where Jay’s ancestors set sail for Canada, like so many others – and finally Glasgow, where Jay will fulfill a lifelong dream: to watch a match at Celtic Park, one of the wildest and most hallowed grounds in world football. But like any good road movie, Celtic Soul is not just about the destination – it’s about the journey. Like Jay’s other obsession, the Montreal Canadiens, Celtic FC has deep Irish roots. It was established to give migrants fleeing famine at home a sense of pride and
purpose in hardknocks Protestant Glasgow – but soon became a symbol uniting the Irish diaspora across the globe. And as Eoin helps Jay journey to the source of his own family’s Celtic soul, they’ll eat, drink and laugh their way to the heart of what heritage and communal spirit is all about. It’s a story about sport and migration – of longing and belonging – that will resonate in a nation of immigrants, new and old, and explore the wild passions and politics that ignite the one sport that truly unites us all. Packed with comic set pieces, stunning landscapes, interviews with famous players and everyday fans, and witty banter worthy
Jay and Eoin make their way up Croagh Patrick Copyright CS MSF Inc.
of any good buddy comedy, this feature documentary will be a feast for the eyes and a story to swell the soul!
Jay raises the Celtic scarf at centre field during half time. Copyright CS MSF Inc.
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Irish Style By Shauna Dickson
s we move into spring with buds starting to blossom and birds chirping happily, we can start to see the light at the end of the tunnel. This calls for fresh new styles and colours to brighten our days and make the winter blues a thing of the past. Our annual trip to Dublin proved successful again as we will be bringing in some old favourites and of course some exciting new styles sure to put a spring in your step! At first glance, linen and cotton garments are of course an obvious go to when the weather starts to warm up. For example: a lightweight shirt underneath a Rathlin Knitwear linen cardigan or a linen and cotton blend pullover paired with a skirt for a more polished look. We can’t forget however that as warm as the days start to feel, there is still a slight
chill in the evening air. Wool is of course known for warmth, however a modern take on traditional favourites can provide the comfort along with a deeply entwined history of Ireland. We are seeing more designers steering towards super soft wool and lighter weight sweaters and accessories. Soft snoods, gorgeous scarves and delightful hats keep with tradition and still focus on functionality. Longer sweater coats will come into play more than ever as they serve not only as a functional piece to throw over any outfit, but also a statement that is sure to draw attention. For further inspiration this upcoming season, nautical vibes give us a gorgeous marine ambiance that we can see captured in new colours, as well as the ongoing traditional fisherman knotwork that celtic designs are renowned for. The hues and tones that are continued throughout this season have been inspired by Ireland’s beach 75 QUEEN STREET, NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE, ON and countryside www.irishdesign.com | 1-800-268-9064 landscape, with @irishdesignniagara | @irishdesign calming blues and sea greens Capture the beauty of the land with our traditional and
IRISH DESIGN refreshing Aran knit garments for men, ladies & children.
NEW STYLES ARRIVING IN APRIL.
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reminding us of a refreshing ocean breeze. Ireland’s Eye captures this beautifully, not only in their styles for the year but their stand at Showcase Ireland 2017. While the coast of Ireland has been a visual aid for many new designs, the rugged countryside has just as much of a presence.
Mountains and lakes, bogland and moss covered trees, waterfalls, cliffs and fields of green make Ireland one of the most beautiful countries on earth. In turn, providing designers with a muse that is constantly evolving but never straying too far from the heart and soul of what makes this country so spectacular. Constant inspiration stems from our small land, with budding talent
producing beautiful garments that are loved worldwide. Fisherman out of Ireland uses yarns that are 100% natural and spun in Donegal, a beautiful area of Ireland that was named “Coolest Place in the World” this year by National Geographic. It’s a place that feels undiscovered, so it’s no wonder Fisherman Out of Ireland draws constant inspiration from here.
Whether you are looking for a style with traditional character to wrap yourself up in, or something with a modern twist, seeking out Irish designers like Aran Woollen Mills, Rathlin Knitwear, Aran Crafts, Ireland’s Eye and Fisherman Out Of Ireland can help you capture exactly what you’re searching for. You will never go out of style with a garment so deeply enriched in Irish history!
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The Continuity of
St. Patricks Parades in Montreal By Kevin Murphy
ontreal first held a St Patrick’s Parade way back in 1759 and we’ve celebrated with one every year without interruption since 1824. 1948 No other parade in North America can claim the same when it comes to consecutiveness and we are very proud of it. Of course not everything ran smoothly in the past 194 years. On many occasion there was a lot of pressure to cancel the parade. Some of these requests were ignored others sadly weren’t but things have a way of working out. Here are a few of those occasions.
1948 In the 1860’s there was a strong opposition to the continuation of the parade. Much of it was related to the Fenian presence in the city and their activities. It has been said they were responsible for the assassination of Thomas D’Arcy MeGee, father of confederation and very popular political figure in Montreal. This has been called the greatest murder mystery in Canadian political history which is a story in itself. Father Dowd of St Patrick’s church (now basilica) appealed to the Irish population of Montreal to maintain the parade. He had so much sway it was agreed that for as long as Father Dowd lived there would be a parade. In 1891 when Father Dowd did pass there was much debate if a parade would be held the following year in respect of his memory. It was decided the only proper memorial of his death would be to ensure the continuation of the parade and in 1892 a parade was held as it had been every year since 1824. 44
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During the years of the Great War it was debated several 1928 times if it was both appropriate and feasible to have a parade. It came to a head in 1918 only a few months after Prime Minister Robert Borden enacted the Military Service Act allowing the government to conscript men across the country into military service. This was very unpopular in Quebec and would later be called the Conscription Crisis of 1917-18. Many Irish Canadians were afraid to be pressed into service and eventually it was decided by parade organizers that the normal parade would be altered. Instead of its usual route the 1918 St Patrick’s Parade was held on the streets of Griffintown, the Irish stronghold of the city of Montreal. No conscription agents dared enter this part of the city and the parade was a success. Again, during World War 2, there was opposition to the parade. This time in 1942 during Montreal’s 300 aniversary 15 parish priests petitioned the United Irish Societies to cancel the parade for the duration of the war in consideration for the young women and men serving around the world. President John Loye refused instead honoured the Canadian military by adding military units within the parade, the first time the military walked in the parade since 1916 when the Irish Rangers walked as a unit. To this day the Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada lead the parade. March 21, 1948 was a day of heavy rain and severe thunderstorms. Because of this the parade was formally cancelled twice, then counter cancelled twice, postponed and finally had two parades. Regardless of what the UIS Executive decided the military units formed and proceeded to complete their mission of a St Patrick’s parade while twin engine Dakotas of the 426 RCAF Squadron flew overhead. As the parade came to an end
it was rumoured that Grand Marshal Hon. Capt. M.T.J. O’Brien, who was not yet present because he was not made aware the parade was back on, was on his way. Moments later his car came roaring down Sherbrooke st and made a screeching halt at the reviewing stand where the units of nearly all the Irish organizations in Montreal marched past. At the end it turned out to be a very successful and very wet parade. It has been recognized by all in each of these years the importance of this annual event to the Montreal Irish community. The parade has not received opposition and the organizing body has not once since considered cancelling the parade again. Join us on March 19, 2017 for the 194th consecutive Montreal St Patrick’s Parade. Visit our website, www.montrealirishparade.com, for more information and share your photos & videos on social media using the hashtags #MTLStPaddys and #IrishSeason Written by Kevin Murphy with excerpts and inspiration from “A History of the United Irish Societies of Montreal” by past UIS Historian Don Pidgeon.
The United Irish Societies of Montreal
Parade Professionals B
eing part of the United Irish Societies of Montreal that has been around for nearly 90 years organizing an event that will occur for its 194th consecutive time this March 19 I have seen a few times where we are asked for help and advice. Over the last thirty years our members and former members have assisted to reestablish and start parades in Toronto, Ottawa, Quebec, Hudson & Chateauguay and others. We have even gave support and volunteers to the Montreal Children’s hospital when they had a parade. In 1988 after a 110 year absence the Irish in Toronto wanted to resurrect their parade however did not know exactly where to start, so they contacted us. Members of the United Irish Societies Executive & Parade Committees offered their expertise and advice. We are happy to see the Toronto St Patrick’s Parade celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.
Quebec City can say they are amongst the first cities to have a St Patrick’s parade, it took place in 1765. It ran annually from 1837 to 1915. Cancelled from 1916 to 1920 due to the political situation in Ireland. The last edition took place in 1926. In 2009 a committee was formed headed by Peter Farrell looking to reestablish their parade. They too looked to Montreal for advice
and expertise. They held their first modern parade in 2010 and will be celebrating their 8th annual parade this March 25. Hudson, a small community of approx 4000 people 30 minutes west of Montreal, has held a St Patrick’s parade since 2010. Since then it has quickly become one of the region’s largest causing the town’s population to double for the event. We are proud to have been there from the beginning and to continue supporting their organizing committee it to this day. In 2015 the McGill University Health Centre wanted to celebrated the opening of the new Montreal Children’s hospital with a parade from the old to the new. Who do you ask how to plan a parade? They contacted us. Our parade organizers gave tips, advice and volunteers to make it a really special event. These are but a few occasions where the United Irish Societies of Montreal have helped other organizations get on or back on their feet. Why do I mention this? Because I wanted to highlight the hard work and dedication of the volunteers of the UIS whose effort is not widely known but continue to put on such a successful event and then take even more of their time to help others to do the same. So when at this year’s parade and you see a Marshal in a top hat, black coat and an arm band please take a second to thank them. Every year when possible we continue to support our Sister Societies by attending their events and parades. We are happy to say aside from our own parade we will be attending parades in Hudson, Quebec & Chateauguay. Hold to see everyone there!
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Stephen’s Feast!! S
tephen Jeffers started his career off by beginning his studies at the Catering College in the North Coast of Ireland, Portrush. He spent 2 years there studying and as soon as he finished college, he landed the prestigious job of head chef at the world famous Parliament Buildings at Stormont in Belfast, where he cooked in the Members Dining room for all the top MPs of Northern Ireland. After a few years, he decided to spread his wings and became the personal chef of one of the Guinness family, the Marchioness of Dufferin & Ava. Whilst working and living there, he had the honour of cooking for so many famous people from Albert Roux to Van Morrison. His time spent with the Marchioness, grounded him and taught him so much as she was an avid foodie and loved planning menus with Stephen for her entertaining.
Working there for 5 years it was time to move on and Stephen bought over Ireland’s oldest pub, Grace Neills in Donaghadee, Co.Down. He dramatically changed this old pub into one of the country’s most well-known food pubs, where he won numerous awards for his talents, was listed in some of the world’s best food guides ie., The Michelin Guide and world famous celebrities flocked there to taste the food of Stephen Jeffers such as Van Morrison & George Best who became regular customers of Grace Neills. From then he has owned a few other restaurants in Co. Down, Jeffers & The Boathouse in Bangor, where again his talents were also recognised in these restaurants too, from winning awards, tv and radio appearances, judging events. For the past couple of years Stephen has been principal of a cookery school situated in Belfast, but now has decided to launch
his own cookery school, Forestside Cookery school is in a beautiful shopping mall on the outskirts of Belfast. Stephen Jeffers is a very well-known culinary figure in Ireland, being professional and a very informative chef, approachable and hard working. Loves working with local charities such as The Princes Trust, TinyLife, & Now Project. Stephen thrives on teaching and sharing with everyone his knowledge and talents. He loves the interaction with the public whether its students in the cookery school or kids from under privileged backgrounds, his personality is infectious and everyone gets a warm welcome wherever he goes.
IRISH SALMON WITH DULSE, CUCUMBER, RADISH & SPROUTS WITH DEEP FRIED OYSTERS I suppose that the best salmon we have ever had on the market in Ireland was Glenarm Salmon, but unfortunately, they had a huge disaster with the jelly fish invasion in 2007. I’m glad to say they are back up and running again. This salmon recipe also works great with new season local lobster. The sweetness of the lobster really works well with the sharp and tart flavour of the dulse.
Ingredients - Serves 4 4 fillets of salmon 1 cucumber 1 bag red radish 1 bag dulse 4 rock oysters 1 punnet of cress or micro sprouts Fish stock
Ponzo Dressing 250ml soy sauce 125ml mirin 60ml white wine 1/4 red chilli (diced) Chives Coriander
Method Gently poach salmon in fish stock for 5 minutes or grill for 1 ½ minutes on each side. Peel cucumber, de-seed and cut into fine strips. Slice red radish very thinly Cut sprouts with scissors. Finely cut dulse.
Ponzo Dressing Method Bring soy, mirin and wine to the boil and reduce by half. Cool, then add chilli and chopped fresh herbs. Add oyster juice.
Deep Fried Oyster Method Flour, egg and breadcrumb oysters twice. Deep fry at 180c, drain onto kitchen paper. 46
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Deep Fried Oyster 4 oysters (keep juice for dressing) 2 beaten eggs Breadcrumbs Flour
KIPPERS & MUSTARD BUTTER Kipper is the word for the process in which the common herring is salted, dried in the open air and then smoked. This ancient British tradition dates back to the mid-19th century.
Ingredients - Serves 4
Method / Mustard Butter
Kippers 4 kippers 4 slices of Guinness Bread 4 slices mustard butter (see below)
Place vinegar and white wine into a pot with shallots, reduce over high heat by half and pass through a fine sieve. Put all other ingredients in a food processor, add the vinegar, mix and blend until smooth. Scrape out and roll in cling film, and set into the fridge until set.
Mustard Butter 1 tsp white wine vinegar 1 tsp white wine 1 shallot finely diced 2 tsp wholegrain mustard 125g butter 1 tsp chives finely chopped 2 tsp double cream
Grill kippers for 5 minutes, toast Guinness bread, place mustard butter on kippers and serve with lemon wedges.
CHOCOLATE GUINNESS BROWNIES Ingredients - Serves 8 to 10
4 eggs 85g caster sugar 250g bittersweet chocolate, chopped 125g white chocolate, chopped 6 tbsp unsalted butter 125g all-purpose flour 125g cocoa powder 285ml Guinness Stout
Preheat the oven to 375° F. Butter an 8-inch-square pan. In an electric mixer, combine the eggs and sugar. Beat until light and fluffy. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the bittersweet chocolate and butter, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat and beat into the egg mixture. Sift the flour and cocoa together and beat into the chocolate mixture and add white chocolate. Whisk in the Guinness. Pour into the pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out almost clean. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack. To serve, dust the brownies with icing sugar and cut into squares.
WILD IRISH VENISON & ROASTED & PUREED BUTTERNUT SQUASH WITH CHOCOLATE SAUCE When I spent time working in Clandeboye I gained a lot of respect for game and game keepers. It was only natural that I used game from the estate. Barry Garvin, the estates game keeper, would have kept me in supply of game when in season: rabbit, venison, wild duck, the odd guinea fowl, and of course, the estate’s superb deer.
Ingredients - Serves 4 Venison 4 venison rumps or steaks/chops Squash Puree 1/2 butternut squash (roughly diced) 50g butter Zest of 1 orange 2 tsp maple syrup Salt and pepper
Roast Squash 1/2 butternut squash (thick end) 1/2 tsp chilli flakes Thyme Olive oil Knob of butter Caster sugar
Chocolate Sauce 1 litre chicken stock 150ml red wine 2 tsp red wine vinegar 200g shallots, chopped 200g carrots 40g bitter chocolate, chopped 100g pancetta Thyme 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
Chocolate Sauce Method
Heat a heavy pan, add a little oil and cook venison until medium rare, about 1 ½ minutes on each side, and then leave to rest.
Sauté the onions, carrots and pancetta until golden brown. Add thyme, red wine and reduce by half. Pour stock in, bring to a gentle boil and simmer until reduced to a sauce consistency. Add grated chocolate and vinegar and simmer, then pass through a fine sieve.
Squash Puree Method Simmer squash in salted water for 15 minutes until soft. Drain, then return to pan and steam for 1 minute, add zest, syrup and butter. Blend until smooth.
Roast Squash Method Dice squash into cubes, toss in oil, chilli, thyme and sugar. Put into hot pan, add butter and brown in oven for 5-7 minutes until just soft. Drain onto kitchen paper and keep warm.
Plating Up Lay puree on plate and place roast squash around. Slice the warm venison and place onto puree & sauce with jus.
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Celtic Women in Ancient Ireland, Part III By Mark E. Fisher
n this post Christian author Mark Fisher continues his look at Celtic women in ancient Ireland with Part III.
WOMEN’S EARLY RIGHTS We’ve seen how the ancient Celts gave women certain inheritance and property rights, how some early Celtic women led their people, and how marriage laws gave women some rights. Women were also able to abandon their husbands after the first year of marriage if she wasn’t satisfied with her spouse. So women in ancient Ireland had more rights and privileges than their counterparts in Rome or Greece. But until Patrick brought the Christian idea of equality between the sexes, it was still a man’s world. It’s a truly Christian idea that every person is considered equal to every other.
CHILDREN WERE OFTEN RAISED BY FOSTER PARENTS Raising children was a woman’s primary task. But here we stumble on a custom that seems foreign to us. Under the Irish system, they would send out their children, even babies, to foster parents until their teenage years. To whom would the children go? To close relatives. Or to non-relatives with whom the clan wanted to cement alliances. The foster parents loved and cared for these children as though they were their own. During the fosterage, the children would visit their real parents. When the time came to return to their birth parents, the foster father would send them home with parting gifts. In this way, alliances were formed and families created friendships across clans. This might also have served to unify Irish culture.
POLYGAMY WOMEN HAD A HIGH HONOR PRICE When we look at slavery, we must temper our ideas about how many rights women had in early Ireland. Slavery was such a part of early Irish life that a basic unit of currency was the cumal, or woman slave, equal to six heifers. On the other hand, Peter Beresford Ellis tells us: “A girl under the age of seven years of any social class in the Irish system had the same honour price as a cleric.” Note that “honor price” in ancient Ireland was a measure of a person’s worth. If someone was killed, the restitution paid by the offending clan might be the dead person’s honor price, offered in cattle or slaves.
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Polygamy was probably prevalent in ancient Ireland. Because of the multitiered marriage arrangement we saw in my previous post, men could claim more than one “wife”. When Christianity came along, it discouraged this practice. Celtic tradition said a man could “marry” a woman under one form of marriage, but then bring home a second wife. The first wife then became the chief spouse and for three days, was legally entitled to beat the newcomer. After that, she had extra help with the field work.
MORE MORAL THAN THE ROMANS? Celtic women apparently had more freedom to choose who their men were, as noted by this paragraph from The Celts by Peter Beresford Ellis:
Celtic Woman “The Romans seemed preoccupied with the ‘liberated’ attitude of the early Celts. Dio Cassius comments on the fact that the empress Julia Augusta criticized what she saw as a lack of morals in the way Celtic women were free to choose their husbands and lovers and did so openly without subterfuge. The object of her criticism was the wife of a north British chieftain name Argentocoxos. The encounter took place early in the third century AD. According to Dio Cassius, the wife of Argentocoxos turned to the empress and replied with dignity, ‘We Celtic women obey the demands of Nature in a more moral way than the women of Rome. We consort openly with the best men but you, of Rome, allow yourselves to be debauched in secret by the vilest.’ It is not recorded how the empress reacted.” Touché, empress. Mark is the author of The Bonfires of Beltane, a novel of historical fiction set in ancient, Celtic Ireland at the time of St. Patrick. To learn more, see www.MarkFisherAuthor.com/ Marks-Books.
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CELTIC CANADA | SPRING 2017
Toronto Rose Update T
he count down to the 2017 Toronto Rose of Tralee Selection is on. Here is an update from our current Toronto Rose, Petra O’Toole: “Though it might sound a little cliché, honestly, I can hardly believe that it has been almost a year since the 2016 Selection.
I could gush about the experiences in Tralee: being on stage in the Dome, the Rose Ball, participating in 3 parades in one week (one of which was in a torrential downpour), attempting to teach my Escort how to surf Ballybunion in my fanciest attire. All of this besides the phenomenal friendships that I have made throughout my time as the Toronto Rose both here in Toronto and in Ireland.
ALAN G. McCONNELL B.A. (Hons.), M.A., LL.B. Barrister & Solicitor
Employment Law, Human Rights, Workers’ Compensation, Litigation, Real Estate Serving the Irish community since 1995 466 Dupont Street, Toronto, Ontario M5R 1W6 Tel. (416) 537-0108 x2 • Fax (416) 537-1604
CELTIC CANADA | SPRING 2017
There are 2 things that I treasure most from all the “Rosing” this year. 1. T he gift the Rose of Tralee gave me to meet and connect with my family in Ireland for the first time (and getting my dad to return home to Wicklow for the first time in 40 years) 2. B eing welcomed into the folds of the Toronto Irish Community, and experiencing all it has to offer.
Participating in the Toronto Rose, is really about these moments of connection. Getting involved with the community, with other young women around the same age who are all different but amazing in their own rights. The one thing that connects is us this “irishness” we share. Since becoming the Rose, I have now joined the Irish Cultural Society as an executive board member, along with the 2013 and the 2014 Toronto Roses.” The 2017 Toronto Rose Selection is underway. Roses prepare a written application, have an individual and group interview and an onstage interview at our Toronto Rose Ball on May 13th. The Roses will also have an opportunity to tour around our city visiting sites connected to our Irish history here in Toronto and to sponsors and organizations to help our incoming Rose class connect with this great community! For information and to purchase tickets for the Toronto Rose Ball, please visit www. torontoirishculturalsociety.com.
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