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ED O’NEILL • WW I • ARGENTINA’S IRISH • OLDE WATERFORD

JUNE / JULY 2014 CANADA $4.95/ U.S. $3.95

“Everybody says you’re so lucky to be Irish, but I think the Irish know that they built that luck with a lot of hardwork.”

MORNINGS WITH NORAH An Interview with CBS Broadcaster Norah O’Donnell


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June / July 2014 Vol. 29 No. 4

Contents

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60

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44

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68 Extra

FEATURES 34 OLDE WATERFORD From the Vikings to fine crystal – Sharon Ní Chonchuir takes a visit to the oldest city in Ireland.

38 COVER STORY CBS broadcaster Norah O’Donnell shares how she draws strength from her immigrant Irish grandmother. Interview by Patricia Harty.

44 WORLD WAR I & THE IRISH Those who served and those who saw the war as an opportunity to fight for Ireland’s freedom. By Tom Deignan.

52 GUINNESS SAVED IRELAND During World War II, Ireland’s economy was collapsing, until “a pint of plain” saved the day. By Bryce Evans.

54 SALSA VERDE Irish immigrants to Argentina played an important part in nation building. By Harry Dunleavy.

4 IRISH AMERICA JUNE / JULY 2014

68 ED O’NEILL The star of the hit television sitcom Modern Family talks to Patricia Harty about growing up in an Irish family in Youngstown, Ohio.

66 LOVELY LOLA The Irish girl who became a countess and then a dancer in California gold country. By Rosemary Rogers.

68 OSCAR AND DOC Leadville, Colorado, where both Oscar Wilde and Doc Holliday are still remembered. By John Kernaghan.

70 AN IRISH GARDEN Edythe Preet, writes about Irish gardens, including her own “Irish” patch in California.

The Dream of the Celt Thomas Cahill reviews Mario Vargas Llosa’s novel in which he reimagines the life of Roger Casement. p. 72

The Best of Folk A new compilation of the best known Irish folk songs and singers. Review by Tara Dougherty. p. 74

DEPARTMENTS 6 8 12 16 50

78 WHAT ARE YOU LIKE? Actor Jim Norton, currently on Broadway in Of Mice and Men, takes questions from Adam Farley.

72 76 80 82

First Word Readers Forum News & Hibernia Irish Eye on Hollywood Roots: The O’Donnells & O’Neills Books Crossword The Last Word Family Album


Visit the Waterford Crystal faCtory

A magical journey through 200 years of crystal making history. Book your tour online today www.waterfordvisitorcentre.com Guided Factory Tour | Opulent Retail Store | The World’s largest collection of Waterford Crystal House of Waterford Crystal, The Mall, Waterford City, Ireland P +353 (0)51 317 000 | E houseofwaterfordcrystal@wwrd.com | W www.waterfordvisitorcentre.com

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Vol. 29 No. 4 • June/July 2014

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IRISH AMERICA Mortas Cine Pride In Our Heritage

Founding Publisher: Niall O’Dowd Co-Founder/Editor-in-Chief: Patricia Harty Vice President of Marketing: Kate Overbeck Art Director: Marian Fairweather Assistant Editor: Adam Farley Copy Editor: John Anderson Advertising & Events Coordinator & Music Editor: Tara Dougherty Editorial Assistants: Matthew Skwiat Nocoletta Richardson Financial Controller: Kevin M. Mangan

IRISH AMERICA 875 Avenue of the Americas, Suite 201, New York NY 10001 TEL: 212-725-2993 FAX: 212-244-3344

Subscriptions: 1-800-582-6642 E-MAIL:

submit@irishamerica.com www.irishamerica.com Irish America Magazine ISSN 0884-4240) © by Irish America Inc. Published bi-monthly. Mailing address: P.O. Box 1277, Bellmawr, NJ 08099-5277. Editorial office: 875 Sixth Avenue, Suite 201, New York, NY 10001. Telephone: 212-725-2993. Fax: 212-244-3344 E-mail: Submit@irishamerica.com. Subscription rate is $21.95 for one year. Subscription orders: 1-800-582-6642. Subscription queries: 1-800-582-6642, (212) 725-2993, ext. 150. Periodicals postage paid at New York and additional mailing offices. Postmaster please send address changes to Irish America Magazine, P.O. Box 1277, Bellmawr, NJ 08099-5277. IRISH AMERICA IS PRINTED IN THE U.S.A.

6 IRISH AMERICA JUNE / JULY 2014

A Visit to Irish America ’ve come to think of Irish America as an actual place unto itself, sort of like in an Irish fairytale where someone is magically transported to another world. And sometimes, if you’re lucky, you get to take a trip to that place without ever leaving American soil. That’s how it was for me the week after Easter. It began when I took two friends, visitors from Northern Ireland, to the Irish Consulate in New York to see the Archbishop Hughes Exhibition, and ended two days later at the Consul General’s Residence, singing along to the Irish ballad “The Cliffs of Dooneen,” at a Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann event. In between, I visited Breezy Point in Queens, where Notre Dame football coach Brian Kelly performed the ribbon-cutting on the rebuilt Catholic Center, and later, in Manhattan, I attended the Kelly Cares “Irish Eyes” dinner – the annual fundraiser for the foundation run by the coach and his wife Paqui. All of this followed on the heels of a visit to CBS Studios to interview the brainy, beautiful, and so talented Norah O’Donnell for our cover story; and earlier, a long and delightful telephone conversation with actor Ed O’Neill, the star of Modern Family. My encounters brought to mind my favorite and oft-quoted line from William Faulkner’s Requiem for a Nun: “The past is not dead. In fact, it’s not even past.” I learned that Norah O’Donnell finds inspiration in the legacy of her Irish grandmother who, at age 12, was working in a linen factory in Belfast. And how Ed O’Neill’s determination was honed by growing up in an Irish family in a steel mill town – his sense of humor was honed there, too. The Archbishop Hughes Exhibition at the Irish Consulate was a reminder of the work of Irish nuns and priests who championed education in America. Hughes himself, who emigrated from Northern Ireland with his family in 1817, built a national system of parochial schools, hospitals and orphanages, that became a safety net for Irish immigrants who flooded New York during the famine years. Meanwhile, my trip to Breezy Point, an Irish enclave on Long Island that was hard hit by Hurricane Sandy, showed me a community where Irish pride is strong, neighbors stick together, and family, friends and faith are paramount. And where, thanks to money from Coach Kelly’s foundation and others, the very heart of the community – the Catholic Club, which has served the community since 1922 – is once again beating strong. All in all, my foray into Irish America was thrilling, and it ended on the most tender of notes. The Consul General Noel Kilkenny and his wife Hanora, both being from Clare, have a special appreciation for traditional music. So, in celebration of the 2014 Mid-Atlantic Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann Convention, which took place in Parsippany, New Jersey, April 25-27, they opened their home to Irish and Irish-American musicians who were participating in the event. Songs were sung – a beautiful rendition of “Carrigfergus” in Irish and “The Cliffs of Dooneen” – and tunes were played. There was even a dance or two. But it was a group of musicians from Pearl River, New York, who won my heart. Watching these young Irish Americans, who had taken home the top prize in the Under-12s competition at the Fleadh Cheoil in Ireland two years ago, brought joy to my heart, and also gave me the added reassurance that Irish America is alive and well, and will continue on into the generations to come.

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Mortas Cine,


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{readers forum} The Long Road Back to ‘White O’Morn’ Cottage Re: Campaign to save the cottage used in the movie The Quiet Man I hope that rebuilding and restoration can begin. [Restoring the cottage] could be so important to Ireland, and to people of Irish descent, and even old movie buffs. I can envision a whole area around the cottage with restoration of the “Quiet Man Bridge,” a theater, a museum and cultural center. Something similar to the Historic Williamsburg, Virginia site in the U.S., where visitors would learn more about the movie, the crew, the actors, the extras, etc. Since the cottage is so old, it would have existed at the time of the Famine, and there is a history there, too. It could become a wonderful place to enjoy and learn, and also it would create jobs for local people. Surely there are enough people of Irish heritage in the U.S., Canada and Australia, not to mention film buffs, who would help

Thank you, June Beck and Paddy McCormick, for your untiring work, and Irish America for publishing this article. As they say, “From your lips (or computer keyboard) to God’s ears!” It’s a shame that the owner of the White O’ Morn cottage has allowed it to crumble. It is an historic structure with a significant social history. I’m praying that the funds can be raised to rebuild it. Nancy Posted online

I myself have signed the petition as have my family and friends. The cottage is a beloved part of this wonderful film. The Quiet Man is now known even among the younger generations. My grown children and my grandchildren who are old enough to understand, just love the movie.

Kathryn Williams Posted online

The Gift of Conversation Re: John Patrick Shanley interview by Marilyn Cole Lownes. Terrific article. Does Shanley always give such illuminating and soul-baring interviews? Or was there a connection with the journalist who obviously asked very good questions for a great conversation? I loved this piece. Thank you. Serena Williams Posted online

At Home with The McDonalds The story about Steven McDonald brought back a lot of memories. [Mulverne was a] wonderful town to grow up in. My father built our house at 60 Macintosh Court in 1940. I remember all the Irish families in the neighborhood: O’Brien, Kelly, Connelly, McIntosh, Mulvanie, etc. I hope Steven does well. Tom Carey Received via email

The Light of Munster Re: Photo essay by Chris Ryan. Stunning. Ireland is such a beautiful land – world renowned. Gary Murphy Posted online Top: Maureen O’Hara and John Wayne in a scene from The Quiet Man. The cottage can be seen in the background. Above: The cottage as it is today.

by donating a few dollars. I would! Best of luck to the project! Bobbi M. Baltzer-Jacobo Posted online

I think it would be a wonderful thing to have the cottage restored after all this time. I wasn’t sure about joining the Save The Quiet Man Cottage Facebook group, but after reading your article, I certainly will join so I can support this cause! Rob Payson Posted online

8 IRISH AMERICA JUNE / JULY 2014

Lady Hester de Burgh

I hope the council is able to add the cottage to its protected list and that restoration can be accomplished. If not, it would be a great cultural and historical loss to Ireland.

Re: The Lady of Sligo collection at Quinnipiac University’s Ireland Great Hunger Institute. [The collection] raises our awareness of a wonderful humanitarian and commentator.

Carol Walters Posted online

Robert Johnson Posted online

Visit us online at Irishamerica.com to leave your comments, or write to us: Send a fax (212-244-3344), e-mail (irishamag@aol.com) or write to Letters, Irish America Magazine, 875 Avenue of the Americas, Suite 201, New York, NY 10001. Letters should include the writer’s name, address and phone number and may be edited for clarity and length.


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Does Paul Ryan Have Irish Amnesia? O

n the eve of St. Patrick’s Day last March, Timothy Egan’s column “Paul Ryan’s Irish Amnesia” appeared in The New York Times. Egan cited Sir Charles Trevelyan, the British assistant secretary to the Treasury, who had ordered relief works to be shut down during the height of the Famine. “Dependence on charity,” Trevelyan declared, “is not to be made an agreeable mode of life.” While “there is no comparison between the de facto genocide that resulted from British policy, and conservative criticism of modern American poverty programs ... you can’t help noticing the deep historic irony that finds a Tea Party favorite [Congressman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.)] and descendant of famine Irish using the same language that English Tories used to justify indifference to an epic tragedy,” Egan continued. Comments about Egan’s piece flooded my in box, and so, with permission from those who participated in the debate, and in the interest of furthering the debate, we bring you the following. – P.H.

At the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington, Paul Ryan haughtily declared this about poor children getting free government lunches: “What they are offering people is a full stomach and an empty soul.” At least there’s one thing that Ryan is expert at: empty souls, apparently by contemplating his own.

It is beyond my comprehension that an American of Irish ancestry – who claims his family escaped to America because of the famine – could look at children in such a callous manner. I don’t think there is a bigger sin than depriving the hungry of food. For those of you not familiar with the Irish Famine here’s a quick history lesson – there was NO famine. During the decade from 1840 to 1850 there was plenty of food and livestock produced – and exported – from Ireland to England and other countries. But there was blight on the potato, the main staple of the indigent rural Irish peasant. Put in a stark statistic, one million starved to death and one and a half million immigrated, mostly to America, Paul Ryan’s ancestors among them. – Dermot McEvoy

This Ryan is the same fellow who, in championing private initiative during the 2012 campaign, spoke of how his mother commuted to the college in Madison, Wisconsin. Lost on his withered Ayn Rayn soul was the fact that both the college and the road on which his sainted mother drove were paid for with public monies. – Clyde Haberman 10 IRISH AMERICA JUNE / JULY 2014

Blackguard! – John Hamill

Ryan is that special sort known as a “gombeen man,” the Irishman who squeezed rents and trapped tenants in a web of debts, who lent money at usurious rates and foreclosed in a flash, a land-grabbing leech, a sometimes informer for the Crown, a man of propriety and piety who was the first at the communion rail every Sunday. Plus ça change ... – Peter Quinn

So many Tammany types in the early 20th Century were the children of Famine exiles, most prominently Charlie Murphy. (Richard Croker, who preceded Murphy as boss, actually was a Famine exile). These were the pols that made New York into a hothouse of social reform in the 1910s and 1920s. Big Tim Sullivan infuriated the Anglo-American reformers in New York because they did not accept the elitist argument that poverty was linked to lack of character and virtue. Sullivan once said: “I never ask a man about his past. I feed a man because he is hungry, not because he is good.” That no-questions-asked approach to charity is a direct legacy of the Famine. And that knucklehead Paul Ryan hasn’t a clue. – Terry Golway

Author of Tammany Hall and the Creation of Modern American Politics. History and hypocrisy always make a great cocktail and Mr. Ryan has had too many of them this St. Patrick’s Day. – Jack Deacy

Can I demur and say a word in praise of the congressman? As founder of the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform, I hosted a lunch for Ryan in Washington.

I was deeply impressed by Ryan’s humanity on the issue of immigration, motivated in large part by his understanding of the hardships his forebears faced. He was especially passionate on the DREAM act. He is consistently the major voice of reason in the GOP party on this issue. – Niall O’Dowd

It’s good to have someone brook the consensus and give a contrary view. I’m not as au fait with U.S. politics, but from an Irish American point of view it is important to acknowledge that at this stage in Irish America, bi-partisan is important and will become even more so. – Eamon Delaney

I think it’s pathetic for Egan to equate Trevelyan letting people starve to death with Ryan’s efforts to deal with failed welfare programs.

What he wrote was insulting to the memory of the Irish who suffered and died 160 years ago. The American Jewish community would not have tolerated such an historically inaccurate comparison, why do the Irish? – Adrian Jones

To add your comments to this debate, or to comment on any of the articles in this issue, visit Irishamerica.com


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{ hibernia }

PEOPLE

| HERITAGE | EVENTS | ARTS | ENTERTAINMENT

Gerry Adams Arrested

IRISH PRESIDENT VISITS THE QUEEN

inn Fein leader Gerry Adams was arrested in Northern Ireland on Wednesday, April 30, and held until the following Sunday night when he was released without charge. Police cited new evidence from a Boston College Burns Library oral history project in which former IRA members apparently named Adams in connection with the kidnapping and killing of Jean McConville’s in 1972. Adams has strenuously denied any involvement in McConville’s death and Sinn Fein and other supporters claimed that the arrest, and an extension order that allowed police to hold Adams for nearly 100 hours, was politically motivated and designed to damage Sinn Fein’s chances in the upcoming local and European elections in the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland. Mark Baggott, the head of the Police Service of Northern Ireland said: “The arrest and questioning of Mr. Adams was legitimate and lawful and an independent judge subsequently decided that there were grounds for further detention.” Boston College has now ended its oral history project on the Troubles in Northern Ireland. The participants who spoke to researchers had understood that their testimony would remain secret until after their death. However, the Police Service of Northern Ireland (using the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty) took the college to court, and a U.S. judge ordered the Burns Library to turn over the tapes of interviews with paramilitaries who had implicated Adams in the McConville abduction. Adams told the Irish Voice that the Boston College Belfast Project was flawed from the beginning, and that all of those interviewed were hostile to Sinn Fein. “…I was not and am not aware of any Republican or members of Sinn Fein in support of the peace process who were approached by Anthony McIntyre to be interviewed.” A spokesperson for BC, Jack Dunn, agreed with Adams, and said the biggest mistake made by librarian Bob O’Neill “was in hiring Ed Moloney, who ultimately hired Anthony McIntyre . . . He did not vet them enough.” McIntyre conceded in an interview with RTE that perhaps only “two out of the 26 people he interviewed were not anti-Sinn Fein.” - PH

n April President Michael D. Higgins and his wife Sabina made their first official state visit to Queen Elizabeth II – in fact the first official Irish state visit to the U.K. since the formation of the Irish Free State in 1922. Celebrated as a diplomatic success, the fourday visit included two banquets at Windsor Castle, the royal residence; a concert at Royal Albert Hall celebrating Irish culture; and a trip to Stratford-upon-Avon, the birthplace of William Shakespeare. Though the trip had its critics, both Irish and English, President Higgins implored everyone to “think of all the things we have in common.” He also insisted that the trip does not mean forcing reconciliation or white-washing the past, saying, “Proximity in fact hides the nuances that are there in both of our countries,” adding that Ireland would not “become involved in any amnesia about different events,” according to The Irish Times. In a speech at the Windsor Castle banquet, the Queen emphasized similar points, referencing the success of her 2011 state visit to the Republic. “My visit to Ireland, and your visit this week, Mr President, show that we are walking together towards a brighter, more settled future. We will remember our past, but we shall no longer allow our past to ensnare our future. This is the greatest gift we can give to succeeding generations.” – A.F.

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Queen Elizabeth II and President Higgins

TECH COMPANIES EXPANDING IN IRELAND

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new report on the technology sector in Ireland suggests that the industry is poised for continued growth over the coming year, with the majority of businesses planning on expanding within the next 12 months.The study, which was commissioned by Allied Irish Banks and carried out by Amárach Consulting in partnership with the Irish Internet and Software Associations, also found that more than three quarters of technology businesses in the Republic increased their profit margins over the last year. AIB’s Head of Business Banking Ken Burke told RTÉ this demonstrates that “start-ups and SMEs in the technology sector are poised for major expansion and job creation,” while also making clear 12 IRISH AMERICA JUNE APRIL // JULY MAY 2014

that the banks must do what they can to support that growth. While the report mainly focused on smaller companies, big tech companies like Intel are also expanding. Over the last three years, Intel has invested $5 billion upgrading its Leixlip plant in Co. Kildare, which employs 4,500 people directly. Intel has employed a workforce in Ireland for 25 years and to date has invested roughly $12.5 billion in the country, the largest private investment in the history of Ireland. Speaking on the announcement,Taoiseach Enda Kenny called it a “red letter day” for Ireland, according to The Irish Times. “Companies invest when they have confidence in the workforce.” – A.F.


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New CEO for John F. Kennedy Trust

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he board of the John F. Kennedy Trust, New Ross, recently announced the election of Sean Connick as the new chief executive officer of the company following a publicly advertised competition for the position. Connick had entered politics in 1999 and was a former TD and Minister for State at the Department of Agriculture. Connick, who has been involved with the Trust for many years, will be replacing Sean Reidy who will retire this June after 23 years as CEO. “I am delighted to take up this new challenge in my life and to be a part of the massive contribution which the JFK Trust makes to the social, economic, and cultur-

al development of the New Ross area,” Connick said following the announcement. New Ross, the site of the ancestral home of John F. Kennedy spurred the creation of the trust in 1988 to commemorate the legacy of the late president.

Among its many tourist and social development projects are the Irish emigration database, the Dunbrody Famine ship and Irish Emigrant Experience (where The Irish America Hall of Fame is housed) the Kennedy Homestead at Dunganstown, and the Irish emigrant wall of honor. Retiring CEO Sean Reidy had nothing but positive words to say about the future of the trust and the appointment of Connick, “I know Sean Connick will bring terrific energy, ability, and enthusiasm to the task.” – Matthew Skwiat Donald Keough (far left) on a visit to the Irish America Hall of Fame with (left to right) Sean Connick, Niall O’Dowd and Sean Reidy.

ALL FOR THE LOVE OF EWE

TRUTH OF THE BATTLE OF CLONTARF

B

grudge rebellion or the medieval equivalent of the 1916 Rising? The world’s leading authorities on the Battle of Clontarf gathered in Trinity College Dublin on April 11, 2014 in a bid to establish the truth of what really happened at the battle as part of a major international conference to mark the 1000th anniversary of the conflict and the death of Brían Boru. A new website featuring interactive maps of the battle was also launched at the conference (http://dh.tcd.ie/clontarf/). There are few more emblematic dates in Irish history than that of the Battle of Clontarf, fought on Good Friday, 1014, when the high-king Brían Boru lost his life in the hour of victory against his Scandinavian and Irish foes. Traditional interpretations remember the battle as the medieval equivalent of 1916 with Brían as the martyr hero who led his people to victory over their would-be heathen conquerors on Good Friday. But more recent interpretations have favored the view that the battle was little more than the culmination of a rebellion against Brían, the king of Munster, by the insubordinate king of Leinster and his Dublin associates. Entitled Clontarf 1014-2014, the 16th Medieval Dublin Symposium organized by Trinity’s Department of History in partnership with Dublin City Council aimed to reevaluate the role of Brían Boru in the light of the latest cutting-edge research including a reinvestigation of Brían’s ancestry to see where he fits into the DNA of the nation. The symposium also highlighted recent research on the subject of the high-kingship of Ireland and of the role of the Vikings in 18th century engraving of medieval Ireland. – P.H. High King Brían Boru.

reak out your wool shears, the Golden Shears World Sheep Shearing championship kicked off on a 25-acre plot of land in May in Gorey, Co.Wexford, marking the second time this event has been held in Ireland. Over 30,000 people were estimated to have attended the festivities, currently being billed as the “Olympics of Sheep Shearing” with shearers from all over the world looking to compete from: New Zealand, South Africa, Australia, Canada, the United States, Japan, Norway, Germany, and China. Less than one month before the event though, an additional 1,000 sheep were still needed. But Irish farmers from the North and South rallied to fill the deficit in time for championships in Gorey. George Graham, chairman of the host committee and a former competitor in the event remained positive that more sheep will be found, telling the Irish Times, “Farmers are being very generous.We’ve got promises of help as far away as Donegal. People are very supportive.” On top of the free haircut, farmers were also offered bonus prices for wool, and free tickets and products for the event. – Matthew Skwiat

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{news from ireland} EXPANSION PROJECT FOR CLIFFS OF MOHER isitors to the Cliffs of Moher this summer will see a much-needed host of upgrades to their tourist experience thanks to a 550,000-euro plan announced in April. The improvements were spurred by the increased tourist numbers over the past three years. Since 2011, the Cliffs of Moher has seen more than a 33 percent growth in the numbers of visitors to the natural wonder, from about 722,000 three years ago to well over 960,000 in 2013. The proposal, headed by the Dublinbased construction group Rockbrook Engineering, will see expansions to the indoor visitor experience that will improve “visitor interactivity,” and “bring some of the outdoor experience of the Cliffs inside into the dome area,”

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An aerial view of the Cliffs of Moher in County Clare.

Katherine Webster, the director of the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience said in a statement. Additionally, the plan calls for upgrades to both the car park and the bus lot in order to accommodate driving tourists, including improved availability for handicapped parking as well as eCharging stations for smart cars. Mayor of Clare Joe Arkins expressed his excitement at the announcement, telling the local newspaper Clare People,

“The Wild Atlantic Way presents significant opportunities for tourism development right along the western seaboard of Ireland with Clare prominently featured as part of the new touring route that stretches from Donegal to West Cork.” The Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience is one of three “Signature Discovery Points” in County Clare along the route of the Wild Atlantic Way, the others being the Bridges of Ross and Loop Head Lighthouse. – A.F.

QUARTER OF IRELAND AFFECTED BY ANOTHER’S DRINKING

ONLINE FUNERALS FOR THE DIASPORA

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new business venture by County Clare entrepreneur Alan Foudy (pictured below) plans to live-stream funerals online in an attempt to ease travel concerns of many in the global Irish diaspora. The service, called Funerals Live, is explicitly targeted to family members and friends who live abroad and can’t make it home for the service, as well as relatives in hospice and nursing homes. “Wherever in the world our client may be, whether it is in Australia or the United States, this service provides them with private weblink to a live stream of a funeral service or the option of a video recording of the entire service, including the burial, within two hours of its conclusion,” he also told RTÉ. In order to protect privacy, Foudy says, each service would be password protected so that only invited guests will have access. Of course, it will only be available with permission of the relevant parish priest and members of the immediate family as well. According to the BBC, Foudy came up with the idea after being asked to provide a DVD of a funeral service to relatives and friends who could not attend. “The general feeling was that a live webcast or a delayed broadcast of the service would be a better option rather than having to wait up to two weeks for a DVD to arrive by post,” he said. Currently the only streaming service of its kind in Ireland or the U.K, The Irish Independent reports, Foudy estimates that the service will cost between 350 and 850 euros, or about the cost of an intercontinental plane ticket. – A.F.

ew research has found that more than a quarter of the population is affected by someone else’s drinking habits.While alcohol consumption in Ireland has steadily fallen over the past decade, the study aimed to look not at those who imbibe, but to investigate greater societal impacts of their actions. “Alcohol’s Harm to Others in Ireland,” published in late March by Ireland’s Health Services Executive (HSE), focused on the effects of other people’s drinking in three separate settings – the family, the workplace, and the general population – across five separate indicators. At least 28 percent of the population has experienced one of the following effects of someone else’s drinking, according to the study: family problems, being driven by a drunk driver, physical assault, money problems, and vandalization.The study also studied men and women separately and found that men are more likely to report assault while women are more likely to experience family problems due to another’s habits. CEO of Alcohol Action Ireland Suzanne Costello argues that even though the results are not always publicly visible, “harms to others from alcohol can range from minor to serious harms and public order offenses, and is one of the primary causes of child welfare and protection issues in Ireland.” The Irish Times also reported that problem alcohol consumption costs the exchequer 3.5 billion euros per year, or roughly three times the annual budget of the Department of Agriculture. Kathryn D’Arcy, director of Ibec’s Alcohol Beverage Foundation of Ireland, told the Times that part of it may have to do with a culture of tolerance for overindulgence and believing alcohol problems to be individual rather than societal, which the study aims to refute. Highlighting the fact that alcohol consumption affects more than just imbibers themselves, the study argues that “problem alcohol use can no longer be framed exclusively in the realm of personal responsibility.” – A.F.

14 IRISH AMERICA APRIL / MAY 2014

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JUNE / JULY 2014 IRISH AMERICA 14


M.A. in Irish and Irish-American Studies New Scholarships Available in Irish and Irish-American Studies at New York University Glucksman Ireland House NYU is pleased to announce that significant financial aid is now available for students entering the M.A. in Irish and Irish-American Studies. Scholarships are available for students in the following fields: Irish Literature Irish History P Irish-American Studies P

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{ irish eye on hollywood} By Tom Deignan Jack O’Connell (left) and Finn Wittrock on the set of Unbroken.

Angelina Jolie is looking to the Irish to help tell an amazing story about an Italian American held prisoner by the Japanese in World War II. Jack O’Connell – who was raised in England by a father from Kerry – will join Dhomnall Gleeson in Unbroken, directed by Jolie. Based on the best-selling book of the same title, Unbroken tells the amazing story of U.S. Olympic runner Louis Zamperini, who survived weeks lost at sea and then as a Japanese prisoner of war. Zamperini was lost at sea with a fellow member of the Air Force named Francis McNamara (played by Finn Wittrock) and is locked in the camps with an Irish American officer John Fitzgerald (portrayed in the film by Garrett Hedlund). Anticipation is already high for Unbroken, which began running ads (fittingly) during the recent Sochi Olympics and is expected to be one of the big Christmas movies of 2014. Even if Unbroken doesn’t catch on, Jack O’Connell is having an amazing year. The 23-year-old has already appeared in this year’s much-hyped 300 sequel. He also earned raves at the Berlin Film Festival for his turn in ’71, a film set during that volatile year in Belfast. O’Connell plays a British soldier who is separated from his squad and is forced to fend for himself on the hostile nighttime streets of Belfast at the height of The Troubles. ’71 has already been picked up for U.S. distribution and should hit theaters later this year. In a recent interview in The Boston Herald, O’Connell credited his Catholic school education for introducing him to the world of acting. “My parents sent me to this Catholic school, which for no particular reason made performing arts compulsory. And my (wild) behavior was all of a sudden welcomed in drama. I was referred to a local acting workshop, which was free, and I’m forever thankful.” First it was Jack Nicholson. Now, it’s Johnny Depp. The Pirates of the Caribbean Alister is slated to play notorious Boston Irish crime lord Whitey Bulger in a film based on the best 16 IRISH AMERICA JUNE / JULY 2014

Depp

selling book Black Mass by Boston Globe journalists Dick Lehr and Gerald O’Neill. The as-yet-untitled film will be directed by Scott Cooper, who helmed Out of the Furnace as well as Crazy Heart, for which Jeff Bridges won an Academy Award. The film – like the book – will reportedly explore the relationship between Bulger and another young boy who grew up in heavily-Irish South Boston: future FBI Agent John Connolly. Connolly recruited Bulger as an informant, but the lawman ended up implicated in the gangster’s numerous crimes. Connolly was eventually sent to jail, in one of the most embarrassing episodes in FBI history. A fictionalized version of the Bulger-Connolly story was featured in the Martin Scorsese film The Departed, with Jack Nicholson as the seductive criminal. Rumor has it Joel Edgerton (The Great Gatsby) has been cast to play Connolly. It’s a Scottish play by a British writer but the latest big-screen version of Macbeth will have a strong Irish accent. Academy Award nominee Michael Fassbender as well as Wicklow-raised Jack Reynor and Paddy Considine are among the thespians currently shooting a new version of the immortal play by William Shakespeare. Also starring Marion Cotillard and Sean Harris, Macbeth is currently shooting in Scotland, and early reports suggest that while it will be faithful to the play, director Justin Kurzel (Snowtown) is also looking to crank up the brutalities of warfare hinted at in the play. Fassbender and Cotillard will play Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, whose burning ambitions first fuel her husband, then ruin him.

Fassbender

Reynor Bulger

More Jack Reynor news: the What Richard Did star may be turning into Hollywood’s blockbuster boy. Having just wrapped Transformers 4: Age of Extinction alongside Mark Wahlberg, rumors are swirling that Reynor will also appear in the latest installment of the Star Wars franchise directed by JJ Abrams, and also featuring (according to Internet rumors anyway) Saoirse Ronan.


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Siobhan Fallon

Busy TV and film actress Siobhan Fallon will join actor/director Ed Burns as well as up-and-comer Chance Kelly, all lending some authentic Irish American atmosphere to a forthcoming boxing movie entitled Inside Fighter. In the film Kelly – who was in the 1997 I.R.A. thriller The Devil’s Own and can currently be seen in “House of Cards” – plays an aging boxer trying to get back in good graces with his son. Fallon, meanwhile, is a recognizable character actor who has been in a wide range of projects, from “Seinfeld” and the “Saturday Night Live” cast to Forrest Gump and Men in Black. Every now and then Irish talent Chance Kelly converges on a project and you can only hope the potential is fully realized. Such is the case with acclaimed director Thaddeus O’Sullivan’s latest project. Jessica Chastain and Vanessa Redgrave will join Jonathan Rhys-Myers and Jeremy Irons in a big-screen adaptation of Irish novelist Sebastian Barry’s acclaimed book The Secret Scripture. Filming begins in June in Wicklow and Sligo. Chastain will play the lead character Jessica Chastain Roseanne McNulty, who led an extraordinary life as a young woman and looks back upon it when she is 100 years old and living in a Roscommon mental hospital.

wake of the September 11 attacks. Entitled The Stag in Ireland, the film has been directed by John Butler, and stars Hugh O'Conor, Peter McDonald, Brian Gleeson and Amy Huberman. Co-written by McDonald and Butler, The Bachelor Weekend is about a group of friends who spend a weekend in the West of Ireland before one of them takes the plunge and gets married. Meanwhile, the short film Scratch – about a gas station attendant, played by Conor Drum, who has a night he will never forget – was also screened. Scratch was written by Phillip Kelly and Liam Ryan, with the former directing and the latter producing The Irish language film Rúbaí – directed by Louise Ní Fhiannachta – also had its international premiere at Tribeca. The short film examines a young girl who becomes an atheist on the eve of her First Holy Communion. Over 40 aspiring young actresses vied for the title role before Ní Fhiannachta settled on Doireann Ní Fhoighil. In other festival news, the Cine Gael gathering in Montreal has become an annual destination for Irish film lovers. The main attraction at this year’s 22nd annual Cine Gael was director Lance Daly’s comedy Life’s a Breeze, starring Pat Shortt and Fionnula Flanagan. The film chronicles a dysfunctional family’s desperate search for a pile of money that may or may not have been tossed into the trash. Cine Gael actually runs over the course of several months, featuring a film a week at different locales, before it wraps up at the end of April. Other films on this year’s list include the drama Stay, starring Aidan Quinn and Taylor Schilling, as well as the film Made in Belfast.

Still from The Bachelor Weekend

Doireann Ní Fhoighil

The Tribeca Film Festival hit New York in late April, with a typically diverse and impressive array of Irish talent. The full-length Irish comic feature The Bachelor Weekend received its American premiere at Tribeca, now in its 12th year after being founded by Robert DeNiro and others in an effort to revive downtown Manhattan in the

Finally, Evanna Lynch is hoping to leave Harry Potter’s Luna Lovegood in the past. In her next project Dynamite: A Cautionary Tale – slated to hit theaters this summer – she plays a drug dealer’s wife. The indie film, which also stars Pretty Little Liars actor Ian Harding, was shot in New York and is set in the gritty 1960s. Lynch (born in Louth) has called the prospect of playing the pregnant wife of a criminal who dabbles in the porn industry “weird,” but it also may be her best chance to break free from the Hogwarts school. IA

Conor Drum

Evanna Lynch and Ian Harding


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{hibernia} California Schools to Study Irish Famine

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new initiative set forth by Cork native and California resident John F. O’Riordan hopes to introduce study of the Irish Famine (1845-52) into the curriculum of California public schools. O’Riordan is a parishioner at St. Dominic’s Parish in San Francisco as well as a member of the California Democratic Party’s Irish American caucus. California currently has the largest Irish population in the country, and O’Riordan is passionate about bringing it into the California curriculum saying, “There are more people in San Francisco who can trace themselves back to the Irish famine than to the American Revolution. The Famine is central to the history of California and the United States.” The Irish Famine was a watershed moment in Ireland and the United States. Between 1845 and 1852 over 1 million people died and another million left Ireland through emigration. Its lasting consequences have shaped the histories of both Ireland and the United States, but its importance in American studies has not been fully integrated. As O’Riordan states, “the current public school curriculum mentions the Famine, but nowhere near how it should, given the scope and impact of the catastrophe.” O’Riordan is making progress in seeing his initiative fulfilled. Recently the Irish American Caucus met with Tom Torlakson, California State Superintendent of Public Instruction. After this meeting the delegation was invited to meet with Tom Adams, director of curriculum frameworks and instructional resources for the California Department of Education, who will, they hope, make the Famine part of the ethnic studies program. O’Riordan is wasting no time, however, embarking on a plan with others in the San Francisco Irish community to erect a monument to the victims of the Famine that is hoped to be installed by 2016. – M.S.

New York City’s Irish Famine Memorial. 18 IRISH AMERICA JUNE / JULY 2014

Excavation of Duffy’s Cut Continues

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new chapter of the harsh and often brutal experience of Irish immigrants in America is literally being unearthed thanks to the efforts of local historians Bill and Frank Watson of Pennsylvania. They are currently undergoing excavation of a site known as Duffy’s Cut in Pennsylvania, a railroad construction site dating back to the nineteenth century. Their research has uncovered a mass grave of Irish immigrants at the site where 57 of them were thought to have perished from cholera. The brothers Watson began researching in 2002 after they found references to the laborers in a document kept by the then president of the company Martin Clement, of whom their grandfather was a personal assistant. The documents showed that all 57 were immigrants from Ireland and were killed by an outbreak of cholera. While cholera may have been part of the story, new information shows that foul play was at work. In 2009, a human tibia and a shinbone were found, and later a human skull that had been pierced by a bullet and cleaved with a hatchet. Bill Watson related to Reuters that “we have no idea what percentage of these guys were murdered, but if we have 57, it’s the worst mass murder in Pennsylvania history.” These new discoveries shed light on the thousands of immigrants who built the American infrastructure throughout the 19th and 20th centuries and the many perils they faced. In 1828 in Pennsylvania, a contractor named Philip Duffy was commissioned to work on a railroad that would connect the Columbia and Philadelphia lines. Workers were picked right off the boat, as was the case in Duffy’s Cut, and given minimal wages and filthy accommodations. A cholera outbreak in 1832 ravaged the newly arrived immigrants, and those who succumbed to the disease were buried in mass graves. Modern forensics discovered that at least three bodies show signs of a violent death. Some historians believe that these deaths may have been caused by local residents who were angry over the influx of immigrants and loss of wages. Janet Monge, a forensic anthropologist at Pennsylvania State University, sheds light on the experience of the immigrant saying, “It was a cruel and rugged existence that characterizes the immigrant experience, and it speaks very broadly of the xenophobia that existed at the time.” Identification of the bodies has been difficult because no census records or obituaries of the dead exist. One of the bodies identified through dental analysis was John Ruddy who died at 18. Last year his descendants were contacted in Ireland and his remains were reburied there. Work goes on slowly at the site which is now owned by Amtrak as negotiations are put forward to begin further digging, but the team, which consists of historians, anthropologists, and volunteers, are optimistic that they will be getting back IA to work soon. – Matthew Skwiat


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Remains of Famine Immigrants Reinterred on Staten Island T

he remains of 83 Irish Famine immigrants Ireland in hopes of a new life in America,” Lynn were reinterred on Staten Island in late April as Rogers, the director of the Friends of the Abandoned a crowd of over 700 came to pay their respects from Cemeteries group on Staten Island told IrishCentral. as far away as Chicago. The remains were initially “Their fate was tragic, but now, more than a century discovered in a mass grave during the construction and half later, they will receive the recognition and of a courthouse parking lot in the borough. After benediction they never received in life.” examining the site, researchers concluded that these Two coffins, one containing the remains of adults were the remains of former patients of the Marine and one the remains of children, were escorted to Hospital Quarantine Station that was operated on AOH members stand guard their final interment by members of the Ancient Staten Island from 1799 to 1858, and that the grave by the coffins of the Great Order of Hibernians. The ceremony itself was led by itself covered the years 1846 to 1849. Analysis of Hunger dead. Catholic Co-Vicar of Staten Island Monsignor James the bones and tooth enamel, researchers further concluded, demonDorney and Lutheran Pastor Erick Sorensen, who consecrated the strated that the patients had been suffering extreme starvation and ground the dead were buried in. stress before they died. “It was a beautiful and moving experience,” Rogers said. “At “It was a ghastly end for so many of these people who had left last they can rest in peace.” – A.F.

Bishop’s Mansion is Gone With the Wind

I

n recent news, Atlanta’s Archbishop Wilton Gregory surprised the city’s Catholic community when it was discovered that the mansion he built on property donated by Joseph Mitchell had cost $2.2 million. Mitchell, a nephew of Gone With the Wind author Margaret Mitchell, passed away in 2011, leaving his property and home to the church, specifically requesting that his family legacy be put towards charitable and religious works within the Catholic community. The last direct descendant in the Mitchell line, he also left the church a 50 percent share of trademark and literary rights to Gone With the Wind. The plan for the mansion, located in the upscale Buckhead neighborhood on Habersham Street, was put in place when the archbishop’s old residency on West Wesley was sold to the parish to build their new rectory for the Cathedral of Christ the King. When CNN did a story on the Archbishop’s new 6,000-square-foot abode, many questioned whether the money could have been put to better use. Following the public outcry, Archbishop Gregory said he would sell the property and put the money towards the needs of

The Inheritance When Margaret Mitchell was killed by a drunk driver in 1949, and her husband’s death followed shortly after, her inheritance passed to her brother, Alexander Stephens Mitchell. When he died, his two sons, Joseph and Eugene, split the multi-million-dollar inheritance, including Margaret’s personal items, such as several signed Gone With the Wind first editions and an unpublished novel TOP: Archbishop Wilton Gregory’s $2.2 million mansion. LEFT: Joseph Mitchell. written by Margaret’s father about the Mitchell family history. Eugene was an active member of Christ the community. the King Parish and a philanthropist who Mitchell’s bequest to the donated $1.5 million for a Margaret church reflected the family’s dedication Mitchell Chair in Humanities and Social to their Catholic faith that had passed Sciences at Morehouse College in Atlanta. down through the generations. His greatWhen he died in 2007, Joseph became the great-grandfather Phillip Fitzgerald emisole heir to the remaining fortune. grated from Ireland and settled on a planThe Reverend Frank McNamee, who tation in Fayette County, Georgia. was head of the parish at the time of Phillip’s daughter, Annie, married Irish Joseph’s passing, claimed he was shocked emigrant John Stephens and moved to at the generous inheritance Joseph left in Atlanta where they raised 12 children, one the hands of the Archdiocese of Atlanta, of whom was Joseph’s grandmother and saying that he had never even mentioned Margaret Mitchell’s mother, Mary Isabel. being the nephew of Margaret Mitchell. Mary Isabel was a dedicated church“Joseph was a very shy man,” said goer, and a founder of the Catholic Reverend McNamee.“You would have Laymen’s Association of Georgia, a had to strike up a conversation with him, group that defended the state’s Catholic IA if you know what I mean.” and Jewish citizens against the bigotry of – By Nicoletta Richardson the Ku Klux Klan. PHOTO: ALBIN LOHR-JONES, IRISHCENTRAL

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TCM Honors Maureen O’Hara PHOTO BY: BEN ASEN

Concern’s Annual Spring Run Raises $200K

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he 16th Annual Concern Worldwide Spring Run was held in New York’s Central Park on April 12th and raised approximately $200,000 for the Irish-helmed international humanitarian organization. More than 100 teams participated in what was the largest turnout in the run’s history. The money raised will go to support Concern’s poverty-elimination programs in 26 of the world’s most impoverished countries in Asia,Africa, the Caribbean, and the Middle East. Put in physical terms, the annual run, which is one of Concern’s major fundraising benefits, raised enough money to purchase desks, chairs, pencils, chalk, and a blackboard for 10,000 students.Alternately, it is also enough to provide 12,000 delivery kits and offer training for as many birth attendants. Winners of the fundraising challenges included PWC & Friends, who won the Corporate challenge raising $22,476, Professor Thom’s bar, which won the Pub challenge with $10,720, and Joan Carroll, who was the top individual fundraiser, bringing in $17,580. Combined, Concern’s numerous programs reach more than 6.9 million of the world’s poorest people with humanitarian aid and long-term solutions to poverty. – A.F

Lady Sligo Exhibit A

mbassador Anne Anderson visited Quinnipiac University on April 29th for the grand opening of the exhibit, “The Lady Sligo Letters: Westport House and Ireland’s Great Hunger.” Anderson said the exhibit, as well as Quinnipiac’s Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute and Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum, helps to “give a (From left) Christine Kinealy and Anne Anderson, face or a voice through art, letters, Ambassador of Ireland to the United States, at the diaries, or literature to some of those grand opening of Quinnipiac’s “Lady Sligo” exhibit. who died” during the Great Hunger. The collection of Lady Sligo (1800-1878) includes more than 200 letters covering the period of the Great Hunger. The year-long exhibit, presented by Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute and the Arnold Bernhard Library, is free and open to the public Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays noon to 5 p.m. Professor Christine Kinealy, founding director of the Institute, said, “These letters add complexity to what we already know about the Great Hunger and in doing so they provide an important new dimension to our scholarly understanding of this unnecessary tragedy.”

A

t the 2014 TCM festival in Hollywood this past April, Maureen O’Hara was on hand to introduce How Green Was My Valley and to chat with Robert Osborne, film historian and host of Turner Classic Movies. Before the showing of the 1941 drama directed by John Ford, TCM paid tribute to the 93-year-old actress by showing a series of clips and stills

Alec Baldwin with Maureen O’Hara at the 2014 TCM festival in Hollywood.

covering her enormous body of work – from her first big Hollywood role in the 1939 classic The Hunchback of Notre Dame to the 1952 Irish classic, The Quiet Man, in which she starred with John Wayne, her partner in many movies. O’Hara, who recently moved back to the United States from Glengarriff, County Cork to Boise, Idaho, thrilled the audience with her memories of working with John Wayne and other anecdotes from her life, and proved that she still has fire in her veins. When Osborne asked her about working with the legendary director John Ford, she reportedly shot back “I thought we were going to talk about me.” Perhaps the Academy of Motion Pictures will take a nod from TCM and award Maureen an honorary Oscar – she is IA surely deserving.

JUNE / JULY 2014 IRISH AMERICA 21


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PHOTO: PETER FOLEY

Coach Kelly Reopens Breezy Point Catholic Club

In the photo, from left to right are: Martin Fahy, Tim Butler, Tom Owens , Keir Johnson, Coach Kelly, Paqui Kelly, Frank O'Neill, Jim Cassidy, Erik Johnson, Fred Rella and Pat Adams. PHOTOS: PETER FOLEY

B

rian Kelly, Notre Dame’s famed football coach, visited the seaside community of Breezy Point, New York, on Tuesday,

April 22. He was there to take part in the ribboncutting ceremony for the new Catholic Club, the old one having been destroyed by Hurricane Sandy in October 2012. Kelly, who when he first visited Breezy Point in March 2013, was so moved by the community’s response in the aftermath of

PHOTO: P. HARTY.

22 IRISH AMERICA JUNE / JULY 2014

the storm that had wreaked havoc on the area – over 100 homes were destroyed by fires and many more suffered water damage – that he promised to help rebuild the club with funds from the Kelly Cares Foundation, which supports initiatives in health, education and community. “We are so pleased that we could help in just this small way,” said the coach, who was joined by his wife Paqui in the ribbon-cutting for the cenDame coach Brian Kelly, and his wife ter, which has served as the heart of this Notre Paqui, cut the ribbon on the Catholic Club. largely Irish-American community since 1922. times of adversity. So you have a great Those in attendance ranged from small team. This community is incredible, the children wearing Ireland shirts, to long people of Breezy Point came together at time residents and Notre Dame fans tough times.” Frank McGuire and his wife, Maureen, He said, “[Helping to rebuild the club] whose home the coach had visited on his was a small way for us to give you a place first tour of Breezy Point in March 2013. to come together and celebrate, whether “When we came here to Breezy Point it’s for a First Communion, or the opporlast year, we saw that there was a need tunity to share in a wedding, or to watch a here, and that was to bring a small piece Notre Dame football game.” of that community back,” the coach said. The mention of Notre Dame brought He described the Breezy Point communicheers from the crowd. ty as a “great team.” After the ceremony, the assembled “As a football coach, what I love about enjoyed sandwiches and drinks from the great teams is that they come together in brand new bar, yet to be varnished. The


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DIANE BONDAREFF/INVISION FOR KELLY CARES /AP IMAGES)

PHOTO: PETER FOLEY

Notre Dame head football coach Brian Kelly, left, his wife Paqui, and Jon and Dorothea Bon Jovi, right, at the 4th annual Kelly Cares Foundation’s Irish Eyes Gala, Wednesday, April 23, 2014, in New York. The Kelly Cares Foundation honored the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation for its work to combat hunger and homelessness.

TOP: Coach Kelly (center) shakes hands with Pat Mullee (right) in the new Catholic Club on April 22. ABOVE: Notre Dame fans, Frank McGuire and his wife, Maureen, with the coach Kelly, who stopped in the McGuire house on his first visit to Breezy Point in 2013. RIGHT: Alicia Johnson and her son Luke at the opening event.

coach, who is from the Boston area originally, mingled with the crowd, chatting and posing for pictures. He seemed genuinely happy and pleased to be there. Pat Mullee, who used to coach in Marine Park for an organization called the Brooklyn Hurricanes, was on hand to celebrate the generosity of the coach and his wife. “It’s a grand thing they did,” he said,

describing the club as a hub where everybody gets together for family parties, communions and sports events. Keir Johnson, the president of the Catholic Club, said, “We are still a work in progress, but thanks to the coach’s generosity we hope to be up and running as soon as possible.” Keir’s wife, Alicia, who was there with the couple’s young son, Luke, said, “This is a very special community and this is the center where families and friends come together, and just to have it up and running again is amazing.” Keith J. Kelly, “Media Ink” columnist at the New York Post, and a founding member of the Kelly Gang (a charitable organization made up of people with the surname Kelly), had arranged Coach Kelly’s first visit to Breezy Point when the organization honored him in March 2013. “We raised $60,000 for Coach Kelly’s charity at our March 2013 fundraiser and we hoped that by getting him out to Breezy Point, and seeing the devastation first hand, Coach Kelly might turn around and kick some of it back to a Breezy relief charity,” said Keith. “Instead, he nearly quadrupled the money we gave and used it to rebuild the Catholic Club to the tune of $225,000 from his charity – a game winning touchdown on all fronts.” Former Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and his wife, Veronica, also chipped in. They were “auctioned off” as part of a charity lunch for six at media hot spot Michael’s Restaurant at this year’s Kelly Gang event, raising another $5,000 earmarked for the Catholic Club. Veronica’s parents had a home a short distance from the club in Breezy, and their kids, Good Day New York co-host Greg Kelly and Wall Street executive Jim Kelly, were at many events at the club over the years.

{hibernia}

Breezy Point is still in recovery but the community stands strong, and having their club back is a major boost to morale. “One of the pillars of our foundation is ‘community’ and our community stretches across the county and we are just so pleased that we could help this part of the country,” Coach Kelly said.

The Kelly Cares Dinner The Kelly Cares Foundation’s annual Irish Eyes Gala, took place at the Sheraton Times Square on the evening following the Breezy Point ribbon-cutting, and honored the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation, NBC News’s Chief of Environmental Affairs Anne Thompson, and Peter Schivarelli, Manager of the band Chicago. The gala raised over $800,000 which will support causes locally, nationally, and globally. “I salute tonight’s honorees for their service to their communities, and for making such a positive difference in the world,” said Brian Kelly. “Jon, Dorothea, Anne, and Peter continue to inspire so many of us here and around the world. I want to thank each of you for your generosity, and I wish you continued success as you impact lives in such a meaningful way.” A check in the amount of $20,014.00 was presented by the Kelly Cares Foundation to the Special Olympics USA in honor of this summer’s Games taking place in New Jersey. Rev. Bill Dowd, the official chaplain of the New York Giants, opened the program by leading the invocation. Tom Rinaldi, ESPN Commentator, and Jack Nolan, the Voice of the Fighting Irish, served as the evening’s Masters of Ceremonies. The night’s entertainment was provided by Notre Dame Glee Club’s Undertones. Additional attendees included: Bill Belichick, head football coach of the New England Patriots; Congressman Peter King; and Regis Philbin. The Irish Eyes Gala is the Kelly Cares Foundation’s signature event. It celebrates the generosity that serves as a catalyst for immediate, positive change in so many lives. Paqui Kelly is a two-time breast cancer survivor, which inspired the coach and his wife to create The Kelly Cares IA Foundation in 2007. – By Patricia Harty JUNE / JULY 2014 IRISH AMERICA 23


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Celebrating the 2014 Irish America Hall of Fame he 2014 class of Hall of Fame honorees were inducted at a luncheon and ceremony on March 12, at the Metropolitan Club in New York. The common thread that emerged out of the event was of courage and conviction and the bonds that form between Irish Americans who come from different upbringings and points of view. “We’re all diverse and we’re from all different backgrounds and occupations, but when it comes to the issues that are important like emigration, we can all get together,” said Irish America co-founder and editorin-chief Patricia Harty. Speaking first, Bill O’Reilly credited his rise to notoriety to his Irish upbring-

T

Hall of Fame inductee, Governor Martin O’Malley, receives his House of Waterford Crystal Colleen’s bowl from Publisher Niall O’Dowd and Editorin-Chief Patricia Harty. LEFT: Chris Matthews (second from right) and his classmates from Holy Cross (l-r): Jay McLaughlin, Ed Dimon, and Mike Labert.

ing. “In the ’50s and ’60s when I was a kid, I came off WWII and the Depression, and that’s when my parents were born. And their traditions of Irish Catholic feistiness were ingrained in me…We were tough kids, but we were honest kids and we said it straight. “And then it was a miracle that I became really famous, which stunned pretty much everybody who ever knew me because I was always a big mouth and I always said what was on my mind because that’s what my parents and grandparents did…The reason I’ve succeeded is because I’m Irish.” Steven McDonald, who was tragically shot and paralyzed from the neck down in 1986 while on patrol for the NYPD in Central Park, spoke of the importance of his Irish Catholic faith in his process of forgiveness in a moving speech. “That Niall and Patricia thought to honor us beside all these special people, the emotions we feel are overwhelming…Please know that while you’ve made us very happy, you’ve also given us a reason to live another day and do whatever it is that God calls us to do with our lives.” 24 IRISH AMERICA JUNE / JULY 2014

The importance of the Irish network and the connections that arise out of that common tie were on full display in Pat Ryan and Andy McKenna’s speeches. “One of the things that occurs to me about this crowd is that being Irish sticks with you and stays with you,” McKenna said, attributing his success to his father’s insistence that he attend Notre Dame. Ryan as well spoke candidly about the benefits of the Irish welcome. “I remember in the early days of my career I would sell insurance to IrishAmerican businessmen, and they would call their friends who were Irish-American businessmen and say, ‘I want to send Pat Ryan over to see you. He can help you. Be good to him; he’s one of ours.’ The Irish network is real. It’s real around the world, because we all come from similar backgrounds – we fight our way up.” Echoing that impulse to fight for Ireland, Brian Stack spoke compellingly of his career championing tourism in Ireland, sharing the award with his wife of 47 years and his colleagues at CIE Tours International. Chris Matthews took the chance to toss some friendly chiding across Bill O’Reilly’s way. “It was refreshing after the Oscars and all of those stars with their false modesty. None of that for Bill! But

it’s good to know you really can make money out of just being yourself.” But Matthews continued in the vein of overcoming differences for a common end, citing his parents’ example of a “mixed marriage” of Northern Irish Protestant and Catholic, as well as English, ancestry. The success of his parents’ marriage gave him hope of permanent peace in the North, and he said that covering the accords in the 1990s was one of the highlights of his career. Famine authority Christine Kinealy noted that although the Famine “has cast a long shadow over the people of Ireland and her diaspora; it has marked us as a people of tremendous resilience, compassion and creativity.” Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, who brought the lunch to a close, called the Irish “handsome, generous and brave” and lauded, along with all the other inductees, the significance of the recognition of Irish Americans and their contribution to the growth of the United States as a nation. Renowned singer/ songwriter Judy Collins, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in Ireland last June, performed her new song, “New Moon Over the Hudson,” which addresses her Irish roots and the experiences of the Irish diaspora. The Irish America Hall of Fame is housed at the Dunbrody Famine Ship Experience IA in New Ross, Co. Wexford.


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Inductee Christine Kinealy, who is the founding Inductees, Patti Ann, Steven and Conor McDonald, pictured with director of Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute at Nikki Klieman (wife of Comm. Bill Bratton), and Chris Matthews Quinnipiac University. (2nd from right), fellow inductee and host of Hardball.

Tom Moran, chairman and CEO of Mutual of America, with singer Judy Collins, who performed a new Irish song that she composed.

2011 inductee Loretta Brennan Glucksman, and Hanora O’Dea Kilkenny.

Fr. John Jenkins, president of Notre Dame, and John Lahey, President of Quinnipiac University.

Robert Downey, Chris Matthews, inductee and host of MSNBC’s popular show Hardball, and author Rosemary Rogers, who is married to Robert Downey.

Inductee Pat Ryan, the founder of Aon Insurance Inductee Gov. Martin O’Malley (2nd from left) with Sean Inductee Andy McKenna, chairman of Company, who flew in from Chicago for the event. Reidy, William Keilthy, and Noel Whelan of the JFK Trust. McDonalds, and editor Patricia Harty.

Alison Metcalfe, Exec. V.P. U.S. & Canada Tourism Ireland, with inductee Brian Stack and wife Anne Marie.

Inductee Bill O’Reilly and Orla Carey of Tourism Ireland.

Michael Dowling, president & CEO of Carol and Denis Kelleher who was inducted into North Shore-LIJ, and Irish Minister the Hall of Fame in 2012. Joan Burton.

Frank Collins and Brian Donohue of IrishCentral and Sinead Ni Fheallaigh of the Irish Emigrant.

Doug Campbell of Diageo with inductee Bill O’Reilly.

Best friends, Bernadette Barrington and inductee Christine Kinealy.

ALL PHOTOS: NUALA PURCELL


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{hibernia} Hall of Fame The class of 2014 Hall of Fame inductees spoke movingly about their Irish heritage. “What I inherited from my Irish roots was passion. In the ’50s and ’60s when I was a kid, I came off WWII and the Depression, and that’s when my parents were born. And their traditions of Irish Catholic feistiness were ingrained in me. And, you know, when I get a little upset on my show, or a little outspoken, I have to say ‘Hey, that’s where I’m from, okay? That’s who I am.’ Why would I ever want to tamp it down?” — Bill O’Reilly

“I’ve always been proud of my mix, because I think peace is the key to Northern Ireland and I root for it like hell. I’m so proud of what is happening, and it’s going to take a long time still, but someday we’re going to have peace, and maybe someday unity, in Ireland.” — Chris Matthews

“We accept this award for all those members of our great job and the members of the New York City Fire Department. So please know that while you’ve made us very happy, you’ve also given us a reason to live another day and do what ever it is that God calls us to do with our lives.” — Steven McDonald

“For a people who, through centuries of colonial rule, had become dispossessed, displaced, and often despised, their capacity to love not one but two countries was remarkable. As was their courage in believing there would be a better future for themselves and their children and for their children’s children if they left the country of their birth.” — Christine Kinealy

“The Celtic ideal, that trinity of handsomeness, bravery, and generosity, has urgent work to do in this great country and on this one small earth that we share…. Our calling is to translate a history of loss, a history of oppression, hunger, and exile, into a new language of hope and freedom, into the new light of fullness and welcome.” — Martin O’Malley

“I have had the honor and privilege of promoting Ireland for almost 50 years….I feel like a conductor in an orchestra. A conductor with no orchestra is worth nothing, but now the orchestra of Ireland is in incredible shape.”

“I remember in the early days of my career I would sell insurance to Irish American businessmen, and they would call their friends who were Irish American businessmen and say, ‘I want to send Pat Ryan over to see you. He can help you. Be good to him; he’s one of ours.’ The Irish network is real. It’s real around the world, because we all come from similar backgrounds; we fight our way up.”

— Brian Stack

“One of the things that occurs to me about this crowd is that being Irish sticks with you and stays with you.” — Andrew McKenna 26 IRISH AMERICA JUNE / JULY 2013

— Pat Ryan


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Ernie O’Malley Symposium

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n 25 and 26 April 2014 Glucksman Ireland House NYU hosted the spectacularly successful Ernie O’Malley Symposium on Modern Ireland and Revolution, at which twenty-five leading US and international scholars examined social, cultural, and political revolution in modern Ireland and its intersections with the life and times of revolutionary and author Ernie O’Malley.This event marked the conclusion of a fourteenmonth program of academic projects and public humanities to mark the milestone of Glucksman Ireland House NYU’s 20th anniversary. In his stylistically innovative memoir On Another Man’s Wound (1936), Ernie O’Malley integrated modernist technique with revolutionary political history and reinvented what it meant to tell the story of Irish anti-colonial struggle. Five impressive keynote lectures were delivered by Luke Gibbons of NUI Maynooth, R.F. Foster of Oxford University, David Lloyd of UC Riverside, Nicholas Allen of University of Georgia, and Róisín Kennedy of UCD. Mercier Press was pleased to coincide the American launch of the third volume in the series The Men Will Talk to Me with the symposium. Pictured left to right: Nicholas Allen, David Lloyd, Róisín Kennedy, Roy Foster, Luke Gibbons, and Cormac O’Malley.

PHOTO: PATRICIA HARTY

Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann Kick-Off

The Pearl River Ceili Band performing at the Consul General Residence, New York City.

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omhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, the largest group involved in the preservation and promotion of Irish traditional music, song, dance, and the Irish language, held its 2014 Convention & Mid-Atlantic Fleadh. April 25-27, 2014. Hilton Hotel, Parsippany, New Jersey. To celebrate, Consul General Noel Kilkenny and his wife, Hanora, had a celebratory kick-off party. World class musicians, Irish and Irish-

American, took part in the festivities, including performers from the Brían Boru Cultural Centre in Cashel, County Tipperary. One of the many highlights of the evening was a performance by the Pearl River, New York under 12 Ceili Band. The group took 1st Place in the 2012 Fleadh Cheoil which was held in Cavan, Ireland, and 3rd place in the 2013 Fleadh in Derry, N.I. IA JUNE / JULY 2014 IRISH AMERICA 27


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Business 100 News William Clay Ford, Jr., executive chairman of Ford Motor Co., greeting Ford workers.

innovate the way it provides financial services. “Whatever it took for us to get here was worth it,” Moynihan said, admitting he also knows, “We need to drive organic growth by doing more business with every customer.” Since 2008 the bank has modified two million mortgages, brought the number of delinquent mortgages from its peak of one million down 70 percent, tripled its number of mobile banking users to 15 million, and returned to a pre-financial crisis pace of credit card sales. “It wasn’t that our people were standing still thinking, ‘I hope all this gets done.’ They were hard at work,” he emphasized. “If you got up in the morning every day and saw our team and its capabilities to help people with their financial lives, you’d see that it’s second to none,” he said. “Our legacy will be built on what we do next, not what we did last year.”

Sweeney Steps Down from Disney

I

rish America’s 2010 Business 100 Keynote Speaker Anne Sweeney announced she was leaving the Walt Disney Company in late March. Sweeney had been at Disney since 1996 and will be stepping down as Co-Chair of Bill Ford Defends Unions Disney Media and President of Disney-ABC n an interview on CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” Television Group in order to pursue a career in Irish America’s 2011 Business 100 Keynote television directing, calling it her “underlying Speaker William Ford, Jr. praised the United passion.” Automobile Workers (UAW) union, saying “When Anne Sweeney is leaving Disney. Speaking to the Hollywood Reporter, our times were darkest in the ’06 to ’09 time Sweeney said, “I’ve often said [to others], ‘Do frame, the UAW really helped our industry get back on its feet and the things that scare you the most.’ I’ve always believed that you helped Ford get back on its feet. Ron Gettelfinger, the head of the learn your entire life and you should never pigeonhole yourself. UAW, I don’t think gets enough credit for helping save Ford You should also be open to your passion, and mine is the creMotor Company. ative process and to be a learner again.” “When we got into a really tough period, I sat down with Ron For Sweeney, who previously worked for Nickelodeon and and I said, ‘You have to help me save the Ford Motor Company FX, this is the fulfillment of a life-long goal. “You don’t want to so we didn’t have to go through bankruptcy, so we didn’t have to wake up in three or four years and look in the rearview mirror and get a federal bailout,’” Ford said. “And he did that.” say, ‘Oh, I never did that.’ And I’m not going to wake up in three Talking specifics, Ford cited both the healthcare concessions years and say I never immersed myself, I never tried.” that the UAW made, as well as improvements they made in the – By Adam Farley workforce itself: “They took the healthcare and they put it in a VEBA [Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association] on their Brian Moynihan delivering the 2009 books; he helped make us more competitive in the plants; and as Wall Street 50 keynote address. a result we’re growing now in North America. “We’ve had a great relationship with our workforce and I don’t look at them as union or non-union; I look at them as Ford workers,” he said. “We have a lot of second, third, fourth, fifth- and even sixth-generation workers in our plants, and they love our company. They’re the ones that pulled us through the dark days.” Three of Irish America’s former keynote speakers have been in the news recently, attesting to the enduring relevance of all our honorees and the range of activities they involve themselves in.

I

Brian Moynihan: “It was worth it”

B

rian Moynihan, CEO of Bank of America and 2009 Irish America Wall Street 50 Keynote Speaker, told the San Francisco Business Times that the financial crisis has been good for Bank of America, forcing it to evaluate its practices and

28 IRISH AMERICA JUNE / JULY 2014


A MonuMenTAl legAcy

Archbishop John J. hughes The building of sT. pATrick’s cAThedrAl Featuring a Selection of Paintings from the Brian P. Burns Collection of Irish Art

Photograph of archbishop john j. hughes: archives of the archdiocese of new york; st. Patrick’s cathedral: chris laPutt; The Tenant, Castle Rackrent (1880) and The Schoolroom (or Empty Pockets) (1887) from the Brian P. Burns collection of irish art

The consulaTe general of ireland, new york March 7 - july 31, 2014 (212) 319-2555 ext 0 | by appointment only

or contact info@turloughmcconnell.com

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Those We Lost George Donaldson

Peaches Geldof and her son Phaedra.

1968 – 2014

PHOTO: JACK HARTIN, HARTIN PHOTOGRAPHY

George Donaldson, the eldest member of Celtic Thunder, died in his home in Glasgow in March at the age of 46 after suffering a sudden heart attack. A principal singer in the dramatic vocal group since its creation in 2007 by Sharon Browne, Donaldson was known as the “steadfast” one, chosen for his large build and ability to invoke a mature, dependable, and stately authenticity amid the highly produced pageantry of a Celtic Thunder show. Donaldson, born and raised in Glasgow, was also the sole Scotsman in the group of mostly twenty-something Irishmen. A self-taught musician, he was an accomplished guitarist and flutist and had a lifelong interest in traditional Celtic folk

Donaldson

music, spurred by his late father Bernard. With the success of Celtic Thunder, Donaldson played to audiences around the world and even performed for President and Michelle Obama at the White House St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. But his proudest performance came in 2000, when he performed at Celtic Park in Glasgow for his father and 65,000 other fans. In a statement, fellow principal singer Ryan Kelly said of Donaldson, “From the first day I met him at the audition for Celtic Thunder in 2007, we became ‘thick as thieves’ and shared so many great times together…I know he’s looking down now…with his guitar strapped around his neck and a pint in his hand with that big smile of his.” He is survived by his wife Caroline, and their 13-year-old daughter Sarah. – A.F. 30 IRISH AMERICA JUNE / JULY 2014

Cowell, Sinead O’Connor, and Sharon Osbourne. In addition to her husband, sons, and father, Peaches is survived by her three sisters, Fifi, Pixie, and Tiger Lily. – A.F.

Charles Keating 1923 – 2014

Peaches Geldof 1989 – 2014

Peaches Geldof, the 25-year-old daughter of Irish rock star and humanitarian Bob Geldof, was found dead in her London home in early April. Peaches was a wellknown journalist and TV personality, often advocating for attachment parenting, which she and her husband, Thomas Cohen, practiced with their two baby sons. Born March 13, 1989, Peaches Honeyblossom Geldof was the second daughter of Bob Geldof and Paula Yates. Yates, herself a journalist and TV personality, died of a heroin overdose when Peaches was 14, leaving a life-long impact on the adolescent Peaches which she began to overcome after giving birth to her own children. “Becoming a mother was like becoming me, finally,” she said recently. “After years of struggling to know myself, feeling lost at sea, rudderless and troubled…I felt finally anchored in place.” Bob Geldof, best known for his Live Aid and Band Aid charity concerts in the 1980s, said in a statement: “She was the wildest, funniest, cleverest, wittiest and the most bonkers of all of us.” President Michael D. Higgins, who was due to meet with Bob Geldof during his state visit to England, offered his “deepest sympathies” to the Geldof family, saying “This is such a difficult cross to bear for any family and all of our thoughts are with Peaches’ family and friends at this time…and we are thinking of him at this time of immense loss.” Other condolences came from friends, politicians, and celebrities alike, including Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, Simon

A generation ago, Charles Keating became the face of the savings-andloan crisis that cost American taxpayers $150 billion and ultimately led to his four-and-a-half-year imprisonment for bankruptcy and fraud in the early 1990s. Keating, who had resided in Phoenix since 1976, died in a local hospital in April, his son-in-law Gary Hall confirmed to The New York Times. He was 90. Born Charles Humphrey Keating, Jr. in Cincinnati in 1923, he attended the Catholic St. Xavier High School and completed a year of college at the University of Cincinnati before enlisting in the Navy as a fighter pilot during WWII. After the war, Keating returned to college, where he was an All-American swimmer before earning his J.D. in 1948. Keating spent the next two and a half decades practicing law in Cincinnati, donating money to countless Catholic causes, and waging both local and national campaigns against pornography and indecency. In the 1950s, he founded Citizens for Decent Literature, which soon grew to over 300 chapters, and was later named by Richard Nixon to the President’s Commission on Obscenity and Pornography. But Keating left that life behind him in 1972 when he took a job as the executive VP of American Financial, eventually moving to Phoenix and becoming a real estate millionaire. He invested company money in risky savings and loan deals that eventually caused the company Keating to go bankrupt in 1989, costing taxpayers $3.14 billion, according to Bloomberg News. Following his release from prison in 1996, he separated from his wife of almost 50 years and continued to invest in Phoenix real estate. In addition to his wife Mary, he is survived by his son and four IA daughters. – A.F.


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“The way I look at this is, someone who comes to our country because they couldn’t legally … and they crossed the border because they had no other means to work, to be able to provide for their family, yes, they broke the law, but it’s not a felony. It’s an act of love, it’s an act of commitment to your family. I honestly think that this is a different kind of crime. There will be a price paid, but it shouldn’t rile people up that people are actually coming to this country to provide for their families.”

Quote Unquote “I know I am becoming part of a global team of men and women committed to transforming care and empathy into real, direct, and effective action that creates lasting change in the lives of some of the world’s poorest people.”

– Jeb Bush speaking with Fox News’s Shannon Bream. April 7.

“We’re not only a nation of immigrants, we’re an immigrant church.” – Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston speaking in Arizona on the importance of Catholic support for immigration reform. Irish Voice. April 9.

“If I could take something along with me, [it would be] all the animosity. If that could just leave with me, and we could get to a new chapter, that would be terrific.” IA.Cover.idea6

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– Retiring Secretary of Health Kathleen Sebelius who joined the Obama administration in April 2009 and focused her term on making health care a right, not a privilege, for all Americans.

Special

HEALTH ISSUE

– Emmy and Golden Globe-winning actress Toni Collette after joining the Irish-founded humanitarian organization Concern Worldwide as its first official Global Ambassador in April.

“I wonder sometimes why George is with Lennie. I can think of loads of reasons why Lennie is with George, because he takes care of him and stops him from being dead, probably. But I’ve never really quite understood the reverse, and I thought it was my duty to make George enjoy Lennie’s company, and that made my job to try and make George laugh, and to try and warm him up, so it’s not just a kind of paternal relationship, it’s like a fraternal relationship. I feel like we’ve done a good job of that.”

Did JFK Have se? Celiac Disea Irish Skin and Melanoma Risks Help Did This Gene Survivors? Irish Famine h Care Nuns In Healt Legacy – An Enduring ing and Irish Set Danc se Disea s Parkinson’ ing Ireland’s Alarm Suicide Rate s, Doctors Plus: Nursea Leaders and Pharm

th etary of Heal

Secr elius Kathleen Seb future of

on the , her Irish Health Care ing fit roots, and keep

– Tony Nominee Chris O’Dowd on what he wanted to bring to the role of Lennie in the revival of John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, at the Longacre Theater on Broadway through July 27. Entertainment Weekly. March 28.

“I won’t be doing the new show in character, so we’ll all get to find out how much of him was me. I’m looking forward to it.” – Stephen Colbert on what to expect when he takes over “The Late Show” from David Letterman next year. New York Daily News. April 11. JUNE / JULY 2014

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Exploring Northern Ireland in 2014 Summertime is well on its way and as the time to plan your getaway is upon us, it’s time to head north! With its picturesque landscape and vibrant cities stocked with entertainment, Northern Ireland is home to some of the world’s most magnificent natural and man-made attractions. From the tranquil lakes to bustling Belfast, and the breathtaking wonder of the Causeway Coast, it’s no wonder that the Giro d’Italia kicked off in Northern Ireland this year. The annual stage bicycle race began with a three-day journey from the Causeway Coast through parts of Belfast, ultimately leaving Northern Ireland and finishing the Irish leg in Dublin. Luckily we don’t all have to race through, because Northern Ireland is the ultimate place to stop and smell the roses. The capital city of Belfast is fast becoming a staple city on any European tour, filled with high-end shopping centers and fine restaurants. Unique in its diverse energies, Belfast juggles the hustle of a cosmopolitan atmosphere with that welcoming warmth of an Irish city. Belfast is also home to the Titanic Visitor Experience where an interactive six-story center presents a window to the past. Through its many galleries and interactive exhibits, the Titanic Belfast not only teaches visitors about the construction and voyage of the grand ship but also encourages visitors to take an active part in discovering what intrigues them the most. Northern Ireland feels like the epicenter of all things Game of Thrones. The hit HBO epic fantasy series began its fourth season this year, based on the books by George R.R. Martin. For fans of the series and books alike, there is a world of magic waiting to be seen. This June, the Game of Thrones Exhibition will make a long-awaited return to Belfast. The exhibit is stocked with genuine costumes, props and storyboards from the series. Just south of Belfast, 18th-century Castle Ward, a wondrous monument to the Northern Ireland of yesteryear, was converted to create the mythic Winterfell. Castle Ward’s grounds are a real-life wonderland with stunning walking trails. The list goes on including the Dothraki grasslands of the Shillanavogy Valley in Country Antrim, the King’s Road that leads past the Dark Hedges and on to Armoy, or the fabled Iron Islands’ harbour at Ballintoy. One of the great benefits of planning a trip to Northern Ireland is that its compact nature makes moving between locations a breeze. Exploring the wonder of the Giant’s Causeway, an area of 40,000 interlocking hexagonal basalt columns along the crashing waves of the north Atlantic coast, can be done in the same day as touring the Bushmills’ Old Distillery. Golfers can delight in breathtaking course after course, each a short drive from another (Northern Ireland is home to golf champion Rory McIlroy after all). Don’t let all the wonders of Northern Ireland go unexplored this year! Untitled-1 1

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From a staircase formed by Giants, to venues where musical giants perform, in Ireland it’s all in a day’s play. Take a ride along Northern Ireland’s Causeway Coastal route where you can set foot on the storied Giant’s Causeway, take in a concert in Belfast, experience the rich history of the Titanic and delight in the fine food offered at St. George’s Market. To find out more, visit Ireland.com

Giant’s Causeway

Belfast

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TOURISM IRELAND Brand Advertisment Insertion

Publication: Irish American Magazine Artwork due date: May 2, 2014 Publication date: 2014

Page Trim: 8” x 10.875” Bleed: 8.75” x 11.5” Live Area: 7” x 9.875”


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The Vikings of Waterford

PHOTO: PATRICK BROWN.

Sharon Ni chonchuir details the Viking heritage of Ireland’s oldest city and the coming celebrations to mark the 1,100th anniversary of its founding.

T

he popular perception of Vikings is tinged with terror. The Irish tend to think of them as ferocious marauders who pillaged monasteries a millennium ago. But there was more to the Vikings than most people realize and their contribution to Irish society has long been under appreciated. This is certainly true in Waterford, Ireland’s oldest city, which is celebrating its 1,100th anniversary this year. Founded by the Vikings in 914, the citizens of this southeastern city are eager to mark their Viking heritage and this historical milestone in style. “This year marks a significant landmark for Waterford,” says Gary Breen from the tourism promotion body Fáilte Ireland. “Waterford has completed significant tourist attractions and put in place a calendar of celebratory events under the banner of ‘Waterford 1100’.” “We wanted to bring home to everyone the dramatic founding of our city by Vikings and Waterford’s unique identity in retaining its Norse name – Vadrarfjordr – which eventually became Waterford,” says Eamonn McEneaney, Director of Waterford Treasures, three historical sites at the heart of the city that house historic and archeological artifacts. 34 IRISH AMERICA JUNE / JULY 2014

Vadrarfjordr is believed to derive from either Fjord of the Rams, in reference to the export of sheep from the area, or Windy Fjord. It’s easy to imagine Waterford being a safe haven for Viking ships sheltering from rough Irish seas. Shelter wasn’t all that attracted them to Waterford. The strategic and trading importance of the three sisters rivers, the Nore, the Barrow and the Suir, that empty into Waterford Harbor also played their part in the Vikings’ decision to build a longphort (or dock) at the confluence of St. John’s River (another small river) and the River Suir. This marked the birth of Ireland’s first city. Waterford composer Eric Sweeney and poet Mark Roper will bring the landing into a new creative field as part of the commemorative events this year with a new Irish opera to the stage. “The Invader” will tell of a charismatic warrior, beautiful yet terrible, who emerges from the darkness to change things forever.


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PHOTO: PATRICK BROWN.

OPPOSITE PAGE: The kick-off event for the Waterford 1100 on January 4, featuring outdoor spectacle along the city quays and on the River Suir recreating the Viking arrival, conquest and settlement of the area complete with a cast of mariner-warriors aboard three Viking replica ships; Waterford’s Medieval Museum. FAR LEFT: Mike Leahy, Artistic Director for street theatre company Spraoi, works on the figurehead of the Viking ship under construction. LEFT: Fáilte Ireland’s Gary Breen.

PHOTO: TOURISM IRELAND.

RICK BROWN.

papacy forever. Oliver Cromwell besieged the city in 1649, but it held out against him. In 1650, his son-in-law Henry Ireton succeeded where he had not, and Waterford fell. Many Catholic merchants were expelled from the city and fled to France and Spain where some established themselves in the wine business. The Medieval Museum, another of the Waterford Treasures, houses artifacts from this time. The building itself consists of a 13th century chorister’s hall and a 15th century mayor’s wine vault. Its exhibits include a bow from the Anglo-Norman siege of the Reginald’s Tower at the apex of the Viking Triangle as seen from the River Suir. city and the largest collection By 1080, the Waterford Vikings were entangled in the intrigue of royal charters surviving in Ireland. of Irish politics. The King of Munster Diarmuid O’Brien enlistThe 18th century saw an upturn in prosperity for Waterford. ed their help in sending a fleet to Wales to help a dispossessed The rise of its great industries of ship building and glass making king there to recover his lands. (A century later, it was a disposdate from this time. By the mid 19th century, Waterford had four sessed Irish king named Dermot McMurrough who called on ship building yards and the first steam ship ever to sail into a help from overseas. He brought Anglo Norman mercenaries to Russian port was built here. It carried a gift of Waterford glass Wexford in 1169 and, after a siege led by Strongbow, Waterford which was presented to the Tsar in St. Petersburg. Vikings aside, fell to them in 1170.) it is this glass that has spread Waterford’s name worldwide. Reginald’s Tower was the first defensive structure built by the Waterford Crystal was founded by brothers William and Viking settlers. Mentioned in the Irish annals as early as 1088, George Penrose in 1783. “They were important developers and it’s the oldest civic building in Ireland. It’s been used as a mint, principal exporters in the city,” says David McCoy, the Sales and a prison, and a military store, but is now one of the Waterford Marketing Director with the House of Waterford Crystal. “Their Treasures, exhibiting artifacts that tell the story of Waterford’s vision was to create the finest quality crystal for drinking vessels Viking heritage. and objects of beauty for the home. More than two hundred years Waterford was Ireland’s second largest city (after Dublin, later, the reputation they established for creating glass of unsurwhich was also ruled by the Norse) throughout the medieval passed beauty and quality has transcended the centuries.” period. In the 15th century, it repelled two pretenders to the Waterford Crystal moved most of its production to Europe in English throne and as a result Henry VII gave the city its motto 2009, but the brand still maintains a link with the city. The – Urbs Intacta Manet Waterfordia or “Waterford, the loyal city.” Bishop’s Palace (another of the Waterford Treasures) displays More turbulent times followed the Protestant Reformation, the largest collection of historic Waterford glass in the world. when the British monarchy severed its links with Rome. And in the House of Waterford Crystal, which opened in 2010, Waterford remained Catholic and even participated in the more than 600,000 people have seen how glass is still being Confederation of Kilkenny – an independent Catholic governmade in the city. ment, which lasted from 1642 to 1649. “Visitors experience a living and breathing crystal factory However, the city could not placate both the monarchy and tour,” says David McCoy. “People can go behind the scenes and JUNE / JULY 2014 IRISH AMERICA 35


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LEFT: Waterford’s recently transformed Viking Triangle in the city center. BELOW LEFT: Chorister’s Hall, which survives from the medieval period, is now one of the centerpieces of Waterford’s Medieval Museum. PHOTO: SADE JOSEPH

RIGHT: David McCoy of Waterford Crystal at the 2013 Irish America Hall of Fame ceremony.

witness every stage of production, from the initial design stage and blowing right up to the final engraving of the piece. On completion of the tour, they then experience over 12,000 square feet of crystal heaven in the opulent retail store, which houses the largest retail showcase of Waterford Crystal in the world.” Fervent republicans may have other associations with Waterford. For it was in this city that Thomas Meagher, the leader of the Young Irelanders in the rebellion of 1848, first unveiled the Irish Tricolor in March of that year, marking a definitive moment in Irish history. At the beginning of the American Civil War, Meagher enlisted in the U.S. Army and rose to the rank of brigadier general. He went on to create and lead the Irish Brigade, one of the most famous units in the Union Army, and later was appointed governor of Montana. Visitors to the city will be able to see the newly transformed historic city centre, rechristened the Viking Triangle. Named for its shape, the originally walled part of the city comes to an apex at Reginald’s Tower and still maintains some of its medieval streets and architecture. The Viking Triangle is now home to the Waterford Treasure Museums, which include the Bishop’s Palace, Reginald’s Tower, and the Medieval Museum. The Waterford Crystal Centre is also located there. Beginning in June, a family festival called WicKID Waterford will transform part of the city into a Viking settlement of one 36 IRISH AMERICA JUNE / JULY 2014

hundred Vikings, battle displays, falconry and a market place. It will have a Viking school where children can learn shield making and other Viking crafts. And there will also be a “Big Dig” in Cathedral Square, where people will be invited to take part in archeological digs. Later on in the summer Waterford’s annual Spraoi festival of street theater and world music takes place in August and this year promises a Viking extravaganza. For the remainder of the year as well, the Medieval Museum will shine a 15-minute spotlight on one of its treasures every Wednesday. This will consist of short talks explaining the history of many of the pieces in its collection. Waterford’s history is that of a Viking settlement that grew to become the first city in Ireland. Its people continue to live in the shadow of its ancient walls today. They still benefit from one of the premier ports in the country and some practice trades, such as glassmaking, that have been perfected here over the centuries. The past has always been tightly woven into the present in Waterford, but in this landmark year of 2014, it’s come truly to life.

Outside the city Waterford is an exciting city with a long and vibrant historical story. But its surrounding county has just as many attractions to offer the curious visitor. Towns and villages of distinctive character, an unspoiled coastline, rivers, mountains, places of great history and lots of unexpected surprises; you’ll find them all if you take the time to explore Waterford. You’ll find one of Ireland’s best-loved beach resorts, just a 20minute drive from Waterford City. Tramore (Trá Mór or big beach in Irish) has long offered the traditional seaside experience of ice cream, fairground rides and sand. The three-mile stretch of


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FAR LEFT: Dungarvan town square during the Waterford Festival of Food. LEFT: Waterford Castle. BOTTOM LEFT: Mahon Falls off the Comeragh Trail. BELOW: Lismore Castle.

beach has its own promenade and amusement park. Here, you can surf, fish, hike or ride horses along the beach. And when the sun goes down or on the occasional rainy day, you can enjoy all sorts of indoor activities, restaurants and bars in town. Dungarvan is another nearby town that is well worth exploring. A market town of colourful houses set around its own bay, it has lots of attractions for visitors. There are plenty of pubs, many of which hold traditional music sessions on the weekends. There are great restaurants, including the famous Tannery Restaurant, which is run by a local man and one of Ireland’s celebrity chefs, Paul Flynn. There’s a farmers market in Grattan Square every Thursday morning, and the annual Waterford Festival of Food is a highlight for those with an appetite for the best in Irish cuisine. Six miles away you’ll find the Ring Gaeltacht, one of the smallest Irish-language speaking areas in Ireland. Overlooking Dungarvan Harbour, it’s home to a distinctly different Irish culture. You’ll find traditional Irish music being played and Irish songs being sung here. You may just see some traditional Irish dancing. You’ll certainly hear the language being spoken. And you’ll also find all sorts of unusual craft shops, restaurants and pubs, as well as plenty of cliff-top walks and unspoiled beaches. There are lots of scenic walks and drives you can take around Waterford, too, including the Comeragh Trail, a loop that starts and ends in Dungarvan. This trail is designed to be driven and further explored on foot. It takes in old holy wells, the spectacular Mahon Waterfall, mountains that offer excellent panoramic views of the surrounding countryside, riding stables, potter’s workshops, lakes, a road known as the Magic Road, and many more surprises. There are plenty of wonderful options when it comes to choosing accommodation in Waterford, too. Waterford Castle Hotel and Golf Resort is a luxury hotel with a difference. It has an amazing history that stretches back to the sixth century. It’s located in the suburbs of Waterford City, so it offers all of the convenience of easy access to the hubbub of city life.

But that’s not the whole story, for this hotel is situated on its own private island on the River Suir. This means that it’s perfectly peaceful and secluded. Its 310 acres also means that it can offer guests a range of activities, including golf on the 18-hole championship golf course, tennis, clay pigeon shooting or croquet. Those of you who would prefer to have a castle all to yourselves can opt to stay in Lismore Castle. Located further inland and originally built in 1185 by King John, Lismore Castle was owned in turn by Sir Walter Raleigh and Richard Boyle, the first Earl of Cork before passing to the fourth Duke of Devonshire in 1753, and was largely rebuilt in the Gothic style by William Cavandish the 6th Duke of Devonshire during the mid-nineteenth century and its gardens, which are laid out over eight acres, are believed to be the oldest in Ireland. The connection between Lismore Castle and the Kennedy family is also very strong. Kathleen Kennedy, sister of J.F.K., married Captain Billy Cavandish the heir of the Duke of Devonshire of Chatworth in May, 1944. Unfortunately, Cavandish was killed in WWII in September of that same year. The castle has hosted many illustrious guests in its long history including Charles Dickens, Fred Astaire and John F. Kennedy. You too could follow in their footsteps as the castle is available for rent by groups of up to 27 people. County Waterford has so many surprises for those who take the time to explore. If you decide to see what Ireland’s oldest city has to offer the visitor, make sure to allow some time for its surrounding county too. Its beach resorts, bustling market towns, Gaeltacht area, castles and fantastic inland and coastal IA scenery really shouldn’t be missed. JUNE / JULY 2014 IRISH AMERICA 37


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ON THE SET WITH

O’Donnell Norah O’Donnell is the co-host of CBS This Morning, guest host on Face the Nation, and a 60 Minutes correspondent. This seasoned broadcaster has earned the moniker “tough but fair.” By Patricia Harty.

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f course it helps Norah O’Donnell’s popularity that the camera loves her – she is tall and slim with perfect features, thick auburn hair, and big blue eyes. She’s also, as I found out when I visited her at the CBS studio on West 57th Street in early April, just plain nice. But the reason why O’Donnell is one of the top broadcasters on television is because she’s very good at her job. She’s a skillful interviewer who does her research and knows her stuff. O’Donnell, 40, as of January, began her career working in print journalism, on a Capitol Hill newspaper called Roll Call. At 25, she was a full time contributing correspondent for MSNBC and NBC News. As Chief Washington Correspondent for NBC, her on-the-spot reporting on 9/11 won her the Sigma Delta Chi Award, following which she traveled with then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to Afghanistan and other countries. O’Donnell’s interview portfolio is a who’s who of political power players and

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world leaders. Her reputation is such that both Republicans and Democrats trust her. As a guest host of MSNBC’s Hardball, she proved that she could be tough but fair. And as part of the NBC News team, she received an Emmy for covering the 2008 election. Chris Matthews, Host of Hardball, said of O’Donnell, “Norah is the best communicator I know. She has the talent to connect with true excitement. I am sometimes in wonder at her readiness to nail a story, to get to the heart of what’s important.What a pro!” Bill O’Reilly, who O’Donnell interviewed on 60 Minutes, is equally complimentary: “Norah O’Donnell brings brains, beauty and feistiness to the forum. If she weren’t already Irish, we’d have to claim her anyway,” he says. O’Donnell, who was the darling of NBC, (the late TV legend Tim Russert was also a friend and a fan – he chose the name of her youngest daughter), surprised everyone when she moved over to CBS in 2011; first as Chief White House

Correspondent, and then, in July 2012, as co-anchor of CBS This Morning with Charlie Rose and Gayle King. Coming up on the third anniversary of the switch to CBS, O’Donnell is happy with the move. In addition to the morning show, she fills in as guest host on Face the Nation and also contributes to 60 Minutes, where the opportunity to do the kind of in-depth investigative reporting that the esteemed CBS news magazine show excels at, is the fulfillment of a long held ambition. O’Donnell is the whole package. She’s got brains, beauty, and a quick mind, but focus is perhaps the key ingredient in her makeup. She knows what she wants and goes for it. When she was a kid she used to sit on a bench in her bedroom and pretend to be Barbara Walters. At age 10 she was on television. In Seoul, South Korea where her father was stationed, she was part of a PBS-type show that was designed to teach kids to speak English. She would say little phrases in Korean and then in English.


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Off the set, O’Donnell is a busy mom to 6-year-old twins, Grace and Henry, and 5-year old Riley. Norah’s husband, Geoff Tracy, is also Irish American. The couple met at Georgetown University (from which Norah earned a B.A. in Philosophy and a Masters in Liberal Arts), and have been together for 23 years. He’s a chef and restaurateur, and in 2010, they authored a book for parents titled Baby Love: Healthy, Easy, Delicious Meals for Your Baby and Toddler. It’s clear to me that O'Donnell loves

OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE PHOTO BY DAVID LIENEMANN

was from Derry and my grandmother Mary Monaghan was from Belfast. I was named after Mary’s mother, Norah Murphy. As an Irish Catholic, the oldest of nine kids, Mary grew up in really tough circumstances. At 12, she worked in a linen factory in Belfast and later, by herself, she got on a boat and arrived in Ellis Island in 1930. Really the courage of my grandmother is truly remarkable. My mother went to the national archives in Washington, where all the entry books from Ellis Island are, and found my grandmother’s name and signature. What was her occupation? Hemstitcher. She had only $20 to her name when she landed. She got a job in Creedmore Psychiatric Hospital, as an attendant taking care of the mentally ill. She worked 12-hour shifts. My grandfather worked too – in maintenance. They had three kids and didn’t have a lot of money. My mother grew up poor and said there were many nights she went to bed hungry, but my grandmother still found a way to send boxes of canned ham back to Ireland because she had eight brothers and sisters back there that she was taking care of.

And the O’Donnells? TOP: Norah and her husband, Geoff Tracy, at the Kennedy Center Honors. ABOVE: the American Ireland Fund Dinner in Washington. Chairman of the Fund, John Fitzpatrick, Vice President Joe Biden, Norah O’Donnell, and Kieran McLoughlin, CEO of the Fund.

her work (as we chat, her eyes light up at the idea of a possible story she might cover), and she’s clearly no slacker. One recent March day after her CBS morning duties, she served as a guest speaker at a women’s conference in New York (a firm believer in empowering women, she sits on the board of directors for the International Women’s Media Foundation). Then she flew down to Washington, D.C. to be Mistress of Ceremonies for the American Ireland Fund Dinner (AIF), which she has done for seven years, and the next morning, she flew out to Texas to film a segment for 60 Minutes. Loretta Brennan Glucksman, the longtime guiding angel of the AIF, said of O’Donnell, “A large part of Norah’s popularity is that she’s genuinely proud of her Irish heritage, and her whole wonderful family attends the [AIF] party. But it’s her incisive intelligence, ability to listen acutely, and innate fairness that have propelled her to the top of her profession. Her Irish charm doesn’t hurt a bit, of course.” And she looks marvelous. On the morn40 IRISH AMERICA JUNE / JULY 2014

ing that we meet in her office, there is no evidence that she has been up since four a.m. She is wearing skinny white pants, a fuchsia colored top, and a pair of killer heels (there is much online interest in O’Donnell’s shoes). Her arms are incredibly toned. (A pair of 10 lb. weights sit near her desk). In one hand she holds a large take-out cup of tea, her beverage of choice – she takes it with milk, just as her grandmother would have done. Her other hand holds a copy of a speech that she gave to the Scranton Society of Irish Women in March 2011. “I worked very hard on this speech,” she says, laughing. “When the idea of me as a dinner speaker was first proposed, Chris Matthews took me aside and said, ‘This is very, very important. It’s a really big deal, Norah, so take it seriously.’ And I did.”

Tell me about your Irish heritage. Both sets of my parents are New Yorkers and have full Irish bloodlines. My mother’s parents are off the boat from Ireland. My grandfather Edward O’Kane

My great-great-grandfather on my father’s maternal side came over and worked in the coal mines in Pennsylvania. I uncovered this fact when I was doing research for my speech to the women in Scranton. He had gone from Ireland to Scotland and came to Pennsylvania, which is how my grandmother Helen Morahan came to be born in Avoca, Pennsylvania in 1902. I’m named after her since I’m Norah Morahan O’Donnell. She later became a teacher and moved to New York, but her sister Mary McDermott lived right on Main Street in Avoca her whole life. What’s remarkable about the Irish is that most European immigration to U.S. was by men, but with the Irish, in the 1920s and 30s, it was mostly women coming over to work as cooks and nannies. These Irish women were such pioneers.

What did exploring your Irish roots do for you? For me, it was the discovery of sacrifice, and hard work and diligence. It’s not just the spirit of the Irish, it’s the determination to find something better. I quoted W.B. Yeats in that speech in Scranton. He said, “Joy is of the will which labors, which overcomes obstacles, which knows triumph.” The joy that overcomes


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obstacles is really, in many ways, at the heart of my grandparent’s story. Everybody says you’re so lucky to be Irish, but I think the Irish know they built that luck with a lot of hard work. And certainly, in the case with my ancestors, it was a very tough life. They had to leave Ireland because of no jobs. It was tough getting a foothold in America. It’s weird to think that just one generation ago, my mother didn’t have a lot of food on the table.

parents insisted on a Jesuit college, but it was certainly part of the decision. What I enjoyed was the emphasis on theology and philosophy. It wasn’t Catholic theology just the study of theology and philosophy, and they were required courses. I ended up becoming a philosophy major and my husband, who did not grow up Catholic, became a theology major, just because we were fascinated by the the study of it, and while neither of us are in those professions, it was a great liberal arts education.

Tell me about your parents. My mother, who, by the way, is now back in college, and at 67 is studying microbiology, won a scholarship to Fordham University and had plans to go to medical school when she met my father. She did not end up becoming a doctor because she was a freshmen and my dad a senior and they eventually got engaged and married and lived in the West Village near St. Vincent’s Hospital where my father was doing his internal medicine residency. Francis, my older brother, now lives in an apartment where out the window you can see the hospital where he was born. Sadly, it has since closed. My dad was drafted into the army and stayed in for 30 years. They moved first to Washington, D.C. I was born in Walter Reed [Military Hospital]. Then they moved to Germany. My father went over first and my mom tells the story of landing in the airport in Germany and waiting for five hours with two kids – a baby, me, and my older brother – for my dad to show up. I can only imagine the conversation when he showed up. We lived all over the world. I have a younger brother who was born in Germany. And then 10 years passed and we did a tour in Korea, and I have a younger sister who was born in Seoul. We loved it. We lived there for two years and traveled all over Asia.

Did you go to Georgetown because it was a Jesuit school? I grew up Catholic and we went to church every Sunday. You always went even if you were sick. My older brother went to Harvard so it wasn’t that my

Did your philosophy and liberal arts education help you in your career? My liberal arts education was about the joy of learning and fostering curiosity. Tom Friedman of the New York Times, speaking at Notre Dame, said whatever you learn in college you’re going to forget in a couple years. What you really want to encourage is the joy of learning, because in order to be successful in life you have to constantly keep up and keep learning things.

You covered Pope Francis and the conclave. Did you meet him? I haven’t met him, but I would like to meet him. My father is named Francis. My parents are devout Catholics and Eucharistic ministers. To them it is all about service. At the heart and beauty of Catholicism are the priests and nuns taking care of the poorest among us. My parents love Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston [who is part of the Vatican commission advising Pope Francis on sexual abuse policy]. The focus on the Catholic church has come to be on these great misdeeds that have taken place because there was abuse of children and there is absolutely no excuse for that. The church needed to recognize that it needed to reform, and it needs to heal. And for people who are Catholic, you hope that the mission, once you get rid of the sick priests, is to refocus on what is good in the church. Focus on the weakest amongst us and the people who need us most, the poor around the world and the social services that the church provides. When I grew up Catholic, that was always the focus. And that seems to be Pope Francis’s mandate.

Do you think we do enough to help people here in the U.S.? 60 Minutes did a story about two nurse practitioners who provide free care for people in central Appalachia.

That’s what I love about CBS. We are committed to original reporting, great story telling, and hopefully we are doing the kinds of stories you won’t see elsewhere. That’s why I came to CBS. We are not snooty about news, but we are not focused on a lot of the celebrity news that you can find in the news magazines. We are trying to focus on stories that tell us something larger about the human condition and the country that we live in or the world that we live in. That’s in the great tradition of 60 Minutes. Jeff Fager is our executive producer and is also our chairman at CBS, and ABOVE: Norah in the White House briefing room those values are what animate us during her time as CBS News Chief White House every day and that’s why I love correspondent. TOP: Norah’s grandmother Mary CBS. I grew up in a household Monaghan in Queens, New York. where your values were supposed to drive your decision making and At Georgetown, it was an enlightening how you live your life, and at CBS the period for me having gone to a big high values of original reporting and great stoschool in Texas. Living in Washington, rytelling are what animate us everyday. D.C. was a great education. Gayle is like that and Charlie is like that. JUNE / JULY 2014 IRISH AMERICA 41


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You seem to work very well with Gayle and Charlie. Oh we do. Chemistry is so difficult to create and for us on the show it comes naturally. When I first joined Charlie and Gayle, it was like we had been friends for a very long time. Our format is unique in terms of morning shows. The traditional format is that one anchor is with one guest and then in the next segment goes to the other anchor with a different guest. In our interviews, all three of us participate. Like for instance, Dr. David Agus is on the show talking about new breast cancer research and Charlie, Gayle, and myself will all ask questions. So that requires being able to read my co-hosts and sometimes give and take based on their interest in the story. We are all very generous with one another. Sometimes one of us doesn’t get a question in, but we don’t argue. It makes it, for me, the best job I ever had. We are focused on great journalism, and I also work with really great people. You don’t normally get those two things together.

that there is equal opportunity for education, why has it not translated to women in leadership positions? In 1995, at the UN Conference on Women in Beijing, when Hillary Clinton said “Human rights are women’s rights, and women’s rights are human rights,” it was a moral issue. Now it’s an economic issue. Women make up 80 percent of consumer decisions. Based on who you’re looking at, we women decide what car to buy, what computers, and groceries.

Call. I got on TV and thought, I want to be a network correspondent. I always tell people, know what you want to do. And I knew I wanted to be a network correspondent at 25. I covered the White House, covered Congress, covered the Pentagon. I traveled all over the world with presidents and Secretaries of Defense. Then I got married and had three kids. I had a deal to sign with NBC. I had a great job, but I wondered, am I really reaching my potential? And I

Do you have a favorite story from last year? The story that really stuck with me, was Malala Yousafzai [the Pakistani schoolgirl who was shot by the Taliban]. That was truly memorable. You hear her story, but then meeting her – this 16-year-old has such presence and courage. I asked, “Weren’t you afraid?” There were threats made on her life. She has to live in England now. She said“I may be afraid of ghosts and dragons, but I’m not afraid of the Taliban.” She meant it. This was not some line. She wants to be prime minister of Pakistan one day. Malala encapsulates what is going to be the story of the 21st century, which is the story of the empowerment of women and girls around the world. And that’s not just because it’s a moral virtue or political decision, but it’s going to become an economic story. Women are the great untapped economic potential in the world. If you talk about global purchasing power, global economic power, women are going to grow exponentially in the next decade. Every major company is focused on that too, and on the fact that since 1982 women have gotten 10 million more college degrees than men. That’s the Bureau of Labor statistics. Women are getting more PhDs, masters, more post graduate degrees. We have taken a hammer to the educational glass ceiling. So, the question is, given 42 IRISH AMERICA JUNE / JULY 2014

Norah with her mother and President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.

We buy our husbands’ socks and underwear too. We decide which house we are going to live in. Largely, women are the ones who make those decisions. And 40 percent are the breadwinners in the family. Our economic power is growing and it’s going to blossom into political power. We have to get over other stuff such as bias. That’s ones of the reasons I joined the International Women’s Media Foundation to help those women whose voices weren’t being heard.

Any advice for young women? In my own career, one of the most important things I’ve done is to say exactly what I want to do. I knew early on I wanted to be a network correspondent. I wrote for a newspaper called Roll

thought, gosh, I really want to do 60 Minutes. That was a show I watched with my family. So I called my agent and said I really want to do 60 Minutes, and he said that’s great but everyone wants to do that. I told him to make the call anyway. So he called and Jeff Fager said he wanted to meet with me. And I met with Jeff and he said, we aren’t going to make you a 60 Minutes correspondent immediately, but would you like to be our chief White House correspondent and our principal substitute on Face the Nation, and if you pitch some pieces we like on 60 Minutes we can work on that?

So, you made it happen? Yes, I created my own luck, just like IA my grandmother, Mary Monaghan.


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THE BRITISH LIBRARY

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World War I: The Battle of The Somme. 1916.

The Irish and World W The complex loyalties and varying contributions of the Irish and Irish Americans during the First World War are examined by Tom Deignan.

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ne hundred years ago this summer, the story goes, a Daily Mail war correspondent named George Curnock followed British Expeditionary Forces as they made their way across the English Channel to aid the French in what most believed would be a brief skirmish with the Germans. In mid-August 1914, Curnock heard the Connaught Rangers singing a raucous tune as they 44 IRISH AMERICA JUNE / JULY 2014

marched through the northern French town of Boulogne. The tune, fittingly, tells of “Paddy” in England, pining for his home in Ireland. Soon after Curnock filed his column, it became impossible to avoid the song the Irish-based soldiers were singing – “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary” – especially after legendary Irish tenor John McCormack recorded a wildly popular version of the song later that year.

Though it was written before the outbreak of hostilities, the last century has seen the Irish tune popularly associated with World War I. And to judge from some of the history books recently published to mark the 100th anniversary of “the war to end all wars,” the song is the only Irish contribution to the First World War. Nothing could be less true.

Home Rule on the Brink of War Several highly praised books published just in time for the World War I centenary


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LEFT: Irish WWI recruitment poster. BELOW LEFT: Music sheet for “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary” written by Jack Judge whose parents were from Mayo and whose grandparents were from Tipperary.

HELY’S LTD. LI TO. DUBLIN

d War I – such as The Sleepwalkers by Christopher Clark and Catastrophe 1914 by Max Hastings – barely mention Ireland or the Irish at all. Another, July 1914: Countdown to War by Sean McMeekin, does spend some time outlining how, right before the war, British Prime Minister H.H. Asquith was so “preoccupied with Ireland” it was hard for him to also pay close attention to events on the continent. When Bosnian Serb Gavrilo Princip assassinated Archduke Ferdinand in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914, an energetic movement for Irish independence was already under way and a “Home Rule” bill that would have led to some form of Irish

autonomy was expected to be introduced later that year. But the forces unleashed by the assassination of Ferdinand would plunge Europe into four years of catastrophic warfare, and Irish independence would be one of the countless casualties. Once the war began, there was tension in Ireland between those who wanted to contribute to the British war effort and those who hoped to use it to further the cause of Irish independence. “Many Irish men were willing to fight for the British because it was a paying job,” says Laois-born writer Tom Phelan. Though there was no draft and Irish soldiers were volunteers, Easter Rising leader James Connolly said the Irish faced “economic conscription.” Labor conflict in 1914 had wracked Dublin, leading to grueling unionization efforts, lockouts by wealthy industrialists and high rates of poverty and unemployment.

Irishmen joined the war effort to provide a source of financial assistance to those they left behind, and also, according to Phelan, because it offered an opportunity to see the world. Tom Barry, later an IRA commander, once said he enlisted in the British military in June 1915 “to see what war was like, to get a gun, to see new countries and to feel like a grown man.” Irish soldiers from Ulster (largely Protestants) were, of course, strongly motivated to enlist by their ties to Britain. The war was an opportunity to strengthen the bond between the North and Britain, at a time when even British leaders were talking openly about some kind of independence for Ireland. At the same time, Catholic Irish soldiers were motivated to defend their co-religionists, after Germany invaded the small predominantly Catholic nation of Belgium, a gesture still appreciated in Brussels. In December of 2013 Irish Ambassador to Belgium, Eamonn Mac Aodha, hosted a reception commemorating the Irish contribution to the war effort, at which Irish actor Gavin Drea read poignant letters written by Irish solders based in Belgium. Tipperary-born soldier Edward Thomas, a corporal serving with the Royal Irish Dragoon Guards in France, was one of those who volunteered. Just a week or so after the Connaught Rangers were overhead singing “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary,” he and his fellow guards were waiting to ambush advancing German troops. When he pulled his trigger in the early morning of August 22, 1914 in an engagement outside Mons, Thomas fired what are believed to be the first shots of the Allied forces. Later promoted to Sergeant, Thomas was mentioned in dispatches for bravery. After British shelling of the enemy lines, he crawled forward to the German trench to find all the soldiers killed. Noting the quality of the German boots, he removed them from several soldiers, tied them together and crawled back to his own lines, where he distributed the boots amongst his comrades. JUNE / JULY 2014 IRISH AMERICA 45


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The Rising & The Aftermath

ABOVE: The WWI 69th Regiment walks into St. Patrick’s Cathedral, New York for a service. LEFT: Colonel William Donovan and Father Duffy upon return from France in 1919.

Lieutenant Gerald Aloysius Nielan, a Dubliner, had already been around the world, from China to Malta, as a member of the British Army, when the war broke out. He was assigned to the Royal Dublin Fusiliers in April of 1916, when rebels declared an Irish Republic during the Easter Rising, and he and the Royal Dublin Fusiliers were sent to do battle with nationalists who’d occupied a number of buildings along the Liffey. While crossing the river on April 24, Nielan was killed by a sniper’s bullet. Meanwhile, among the rebels fighting in the nearby Four Courts building was Neilan’s own 46 IRISH AMERICA JUNE / JULY 2014

tility. But once the Irish witnessed Britain’s harsh treatment of the Irish revolutionaries, the tide of opinion turned. In A Long Long Way, Willie Dunne himself must cope with a changed, postRising Ireland, where he is viewed with a hostility not evident in the war’s early days. On Dublin’s Marlborough Street, Willie sees a group of boys, one of whom seems to be stooping to pick up a rock. Willie is “surprised and affronted when the stone hit him in the arm.”

UNDERWOOD AND UNDERWOOD/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CREATIVE

As the war in Europe raged, there were still those in Ireland who refused to give up on the dream of independence from Britain. “The Fenian leadership of men such as Tom Clarke and Sean Mac Diarmada, and to a lesser extent Patrick Pearse and Joseph Plunkett, viewed the Great War as an opportunity to strike against Britain. You’ll often hear the phrase, ‘Britain’s difficulties are Ireland’s opportunity,’” says historian Dermot McEvoy. The masterminds of the Easter Rising were even counting on German military support and, according to McEvoy, were hoping the British were too preoccupied with the European war effort to properly fight back. The effect, however, was that many Irishborn soldiers ended up fighting two wars: one against the Central Powers on the continent, and another in their own backyard, against their own people. Two stories illustrate just how complex World War I was for the Irish.

brother, Anthony. This dichotomy is explored in Liam Flaherty’s tragic short story “The Sniper” (1923), in which an Irish soldier unknowingly kills his own brother, and in Sebastian Barry’s celebrated novel A Long Long Way, which offers an insightful look at the trials and tribulations of an Irish soldier who serves on the Western Front as well as in Ireland during the Rising. Barry’s protagonist Willie Dunne also fights for the Royal Dublin Fusiliers, first

stationed in Belgium, but later in Ireland during the Rising. Willie, like many Dubliners, is so confused by the outbreak of gunfire he actually believes Germans have invaded, when it was a band of roughly 1,500 rebels based in the General Post Office fighting for an Irish Republic. The Rising, of course, was swiftly put down and sixteen of its leaders quickly executed by firing squad. “The more the British were bogged down in France the more they forgot about ‘backwater Ireland’ and were left naked when the rebellion started,” McEvoy says. “That they were caught by such a surprise…in part explains the British reaction to the Easter Rising. They wanted only revenge. Within days they had shot the leadership.” Thus did the British make a monumental blunder. Initial Irish reaction to the Rising ranged from tepid to outright hos-

One of the boys eventually yells: “Fucking Tommies… go home!” Dunne can only yell back: “I am at home.” The end of World War I was just the beginning of the bloodshed for the Irish. The War, the Rising, the executions – all had a profound effect on an entire Irish generation. True, within a decade there would be an Irish Free State, but one which emerged from a treaty with the British that split north and south and ultimately led to the wrenching Irish civil war of the early 1920s.

A New Kind of Warfare The 7th Royal Dublin Fusiliers included rugby-playing professional men, as well as a professor from Dublin University who died battling the Ottomans at Suvla, Keith Jeffrey noted in his book Ireland and the Great War. Whether they fought on the Western Front, at the Somme, or elsewhere, Irish soldiers in World War I faced a new kind


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Medal of Honor of mechanized warfare, in which the scale of death was unlike anything ever seen. Airplanes, trench warfare, gas attacks and advances in artillery technology changed the way war was waged. “It was on the night breaking into the New Year that we had…our baptism of fire,” Dublin native Bernard Reid wrote to his family from the trenches on January 20, 1916. “Our artillery had just broken its hell upon the night. Presently we shall pay for this, we were all thinking, they’ll surely answer in a few moments and they did. The first crashes came as we waited huddled against a wall. The bursting shells threw up earth that descended in showers, shrapnel and other shells came roaring along….We dare not move. The men were quiet, not a move out of them, except for the whispering of one to the other. One chap I heard saying ‘It is awful being here, and you may be killed without being able to strike a blow for yourself.’” All in all, it is believed that around 200,000 Irish-born soldiers served in World War I, with as many as 49,000 paying the ultimate price. Even those who didn’t die suffered terrible injuries. Estimates suggest that around 50 percent of the 800 members of the 8th Royal Dublin Fusiliers suffered gas casualties or other wounds. The Irish played a particularly large role during the Battle of the Somme in France in July 1916, with former Nationalist Member of Parliament from east Tyrone Tom Kettle among the thousands killed. “Irish Swept Ginchy Like a Whirlwind,” a headline in The New York Times later read, adding: “Munsters and Dublins, New Men and Old, Did Deeds to Make Their Brigadier Weep.”

WWI Irish Remembered Despite such heroism, Irish involvement in World War I was ultimately marked by deep ambivalence. The great Irish poet William Butler Yeats captured this in his 1918 poem “An Irish Airman Foresees His Death,” which includes the contemplative lines: “Those that I fight I do not hate / Those that I guard I do not love.” The role Irish soldiers played in World War I has remained ambiguous, though that might finally be changing. Earlier this year, a host of Irish dignitaries gathered at Google’s Dublin headquarters to launch an online archive (http://imr.inflandersfields.be/search.html)

General William Donovan A decorated veteran of WWI, General William Joseph “Wild Bill” Donovan is the only person to have received these four awards in the United States:The Medal of Honor, the Distinguished Service Cross, the Distinguished Service Medal, and the National Security Medal. He is also a recipient of the Silver Star and Purple Heart, as well as decorations from a number of other nations for his service during both World Wars. As well as serving in WWI, Donovan was head of the Office of Strategic Services (a precursor to the Central Intelligence Agency) during WWII. Donovan was born in Buffalo, New York to first generation Irish Americans Anna Letitia “Tish” Donovan (née Lennon), whose family were from Northern Ireland, and Timothy P. Donovan whose father was from Skibbereen, Co. Cork.

Private First Class Frank Gaffney Frank Joseph Gaffney, Private First Class, Company G, 108th Infantry, 27th Division, received the Medal of Honor for his actions during World War I. Major General John F. O’Ryan, 27th Division commander, reportedly called Gaffney, who was born in Buffalo, New York,“the human hurricane.” PFC Gaffney, who lost his left arm in fighting at St. Souplet on October 15, 1918, also received the British Distinguished Conduct Medal, the French Croix de Guerre and Médaille Militaire, and the Montenegrin Medal for Military Bravery. The citation that accompanied Gaffney’s Congressional Medal of Honor reads: In action with the enemy, near Renssey, France, September 29, 1918, Frank Gaffney, an automatic rifleman, pushed forward alone, after the other members of his squad had been killed, discovered several Germans placing a heavy machine gun in position. He killed the crew, captured the gun, bombed several dugouts and after killing four of the enemy with his pistol, held the position until reinforcements came up and 80 prisoners were captured.

Private John Joseph Kelly John Joseph Kelly, born in Chicago, Illinois on June 24, 1898, was a private with the United States Marine Corps 78th Commpany, 6th Regiment. He was awarded both the Army and Navy Medals of Honor for his heroic actions on October 13, 1918 at the Battle of Blanc Mont Ridge, France during World War I. Private Kelly’s official U.S. Navy citation reads: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action with the enemy at BLANC MONT RIDGE, France, October 3, 1918. Private Kelly ran through our own barrage one hundred yards in advance of the front line and attacked an enemy machine-gun nest, killing the gunner with a grenade, shooting another member of the crew with his pistol and returned through the barrage with eight prisoners. The above three WWI Medal of Honor recipients were found on: Wikepedia “WWI Medal of Honor recipients.” While only General Donovan’s profile listed his Irish roots, we included Private Kelly and Private Gaffney as it seemed highly likely that they were of Irish heritage. There are several other Medal of Honor recipients of possible Irish background on the list including Patrick Regan, and Richard O’Neill.

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Irish troops serving with the British army on the western front in France during WWI, circa 1917.

documenting all of the Irish soldiers who died in The Great War. “While the digitization and online access to this record will be a rich resource for genealogy, most significant is its value in facilitating the simple and important act of remembering the individuals, Irish men and women, who lost their lives in the First World War,” said Irish

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Eamon Gilmore.

Patriotism and Espionage If the Connaught Rangers marched off to war in 1914 singing “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary,” it makes perfect sense that New York’s 77th Division, dubbed the

“Melting Pot Division,” had their own tune. The lyrics (by Irish American John Mullin) celebrated “the democratic army” and the brave “Jews and Wops and dirty Irish cops” who were headed off to war. Among the thousands of Irish Americans to enlist was Butte, Montana’s Peter Thompson, one of 12 children born in Antrim. Thompson (as

Irish recipients of the Victoria Cross Major Michael O’Leary Arguably the best-known Irish recipient of the Victoria Cross during WWI, O’Leary served with the Irish Guards and the Connaught Rangers. Born in 1890 in Inchigeela, Co. Cork, he was awarded his Victoria Cross for singlehandedly destroying two German barricades, killing eight and capturing two after he ran out of ammunition. His citation reads: For conspicuous bravery at Cuinchy on the 1st February, 1915.When forming one of the storming party which advanced against the enemy's barricades he rushed to the front and himself killed five Germans who were holding the first barricade, after which he attacked a second barricade, about 60 yards further on, which he captured, after killing three of the enemy and making prisoners of two more. Lance-Corporal O'Leary thus practically captured the enemy's position by himself and prevented the attacking party from being fired upon.

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He returned from the war to massive fanfare and became a prominent figure in advertising and patriotic propaganda, including a song,“Michael O’Leary,V.C.” penned by Jack Judge, and a short George Bernard Shaw play called O’Flaherty.

Staff Sergeant William Cosgrove Born in Aghada, Co. Cork in 1888, Cosgrove enlisted in the Royal Munster Fusiliers in 1909 and was awarded his Victoria Cross during the Battle of Gallipoli in Turkey.The report of his acts of courage are recorded as follows: For most conspicuous bravery leading his section with great dash during our attack from the beach to the east of Cape Helles on the Turkish positions on 26 April 1915. Cpl Cosgrove on this occasion pulled down the posts of the enemy’s high wire entanglements single-handed, notwithstanding

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noted in David Laskin’s excellent book The Long Way Home) left Ireland in 1914, just in time for the war to start, which dried up work in Butte’s copper mines. As war talk in the U.S. heated up, Thompson heard Irish relatives say they hoped the Kaiser and Germany would prevail over the hated Brits. But Thompson decided to join the U.S. Army in 1917, serving with Company E, 362nd Infantry, 91st Wild West Division, rising to the rank of sergeant. Two of Thompson’s brothers, in Ireland, also fought on the side of the British. The arguments in the Thompson family reflect the split in Irish America once the U.S. entered the war in 1917. Despite the family fissures, thousands of Irish Americans dutifully served in the war effort (and others, like Corkborn NYPD detective Tom Tunney cracked spy rings closer to home). From Congressional Medal of Honor winner “Wild Bill” Donovan to Father Francis Duffy, chaplain of the heavily-Irish “Fighting 69th,” Irish America produced many heroes during World War I. But the ancient wars of the old country heavily influenced many Irish Americans as well. As Howard Blum notes in his new book Dark Invasion, about German espionage in America during World War I, a German

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spy working the New York waterfront “noted that many of the stevedores were Irish, and when he heard them openly snarling about having to load a ship flying the Union Jack” the spy believed this “was a visceral hatred he would exploit.” During the war years, some Irish American figures openly agitated against Britain; Irish nationalist John Devoy even helped organize a massive Irish/German rally at Madison Square Garden on June 24, 1915. “For the revolutionaries of Irish America, the war in Europe in 1914 posed none of the moral imperatives that the Second World War would impose,” Terry Golway writes in Irish Rebel, a biography of John Devoy, adding that many Irish nationalists in the U.S. believed “Ireland’s liberty…would best be served by a German victory.” Once the U.S. entered the war in 1917, authorities very much began questioning the loyalties of Irish Americans. Irish publications were censored, banned or shut down while key Irish nationalists were indicted on charges of conspiracy or espionage after the Annie Larsen affair in 1917. This was an effort by an alliance involving India’s Ghadar Party, the Irish Republican Brotherhood and the German Foreign Office to ship American weapons

(on the schooner Annie Larsen) to India for a revolt against the British Raj. President Woodrow Wilson and others launched a series of attacks questioning the loyalty of anyone who did not seem “100 percent American.” Such charges would haunt the Irish for at least another decade, as evidenced by the post-war rise of the anti-Catholic Ku Klux Klan in the 1920s, culminating in the hateful attacks on Irish Catholic Al Smith in 1928, during the New York governor’s doomed race to become America’s first Catholic president. Meanwhile, a civil war of sorts broke out amongst the Irish in America, after the Great War ended. Devoy and his allies feuded with Irish leader Eamon de Valera over the future of the Irish independence movement and whether or not to accept the Free State proposal in 1922. In short, whether fighting on the Western Front, or agitating for Irish Freedom in New York, World War I was a tense, complicated experience for the Irish. Which makes it easy to forget the quiet sacrifices of soldiers like Antrim’s Peter Thompson, who, upon returning from the war to Butte, Montana, was told by an Irish aunt: “You sound like an American!” Thompson replied: “I am an American IA – I’ve my papers to prove it.”

for heroic actions during WWI a terrible fire from both front and flank, thereby greatly contributing to the successful clearing of the heights. In a letter to his father, Cosgrove himself described his feats in more Irish terms, writing, “Some of us got close to the wire and we started to cut it with a pliers, you might as well try and snip Cloyne round tower with a scissors.” He died in 1935 after a brief illness in London and is interred at his home in Aghada.

Company Sergeant Major Martin Doyle Martin Doyle was born in New Ross, Co.Wexford in 1891 and served with both the Royal Dublin Fusiliers and the Royal Munster Fusiliers. For deeds committed on September 2, 1918, he was awarded the Victoria Cross. In addition to saving the lives of numerous men and one officer, most notable in the report is

the following: Seeing a Tank in difficulties, he rushed forward under intense fire, routed the enemy who were attempting to get into it, and prevented the advance of another enemy party collecting for a further attack on the Tank. An enemy machine gun now opened on the Tank at close range, rendering it impossible to get the wounded away, whereupon C.S.M. Doyle, with great gallantry, rushed forward, and, single-handed, silenced the machine gun, capturing it with three prisoners. After he was discharged from the British Army, he returned to Ireland and joined the IRA in 1920, fighting in the Irish War of Independence, and later joining the protreaty National Army during the Irish Civil War. He retired from military service in 1937 and died from polio in 1940. These three men are only a small representation of the thirty-eight Irishmen who were awarded the Victoria Cross, Britain’s highest military honor, for acts of extraordinary valor and courage during the First World War. In total, more than 180 Irish service members have received the VC.

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{roots} By Adam Farley

The Ulster Clans

O’Neill and O’Donnell

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utside the city limits of ancient Rome at the top of the Janiculum hill is the 15th century church of San Pietro in Montorio. The church was supposedly built on the site where Saint Peter was crucified in 64 C.E. and its courtyard holds a small, circular, domed building meant to mark the exact spot of his crucifixion. The “Tempietto” (lit. “little temple”) was built by Italian architect Donato Bramante and is one of the best examples of High Renaissance architecture, prefiguring much that would come in the 16th and 17th centuries. A tourist site in its own right, Irish visitors to the Rome should have additional reason to visit San Pietro outside the city center – as many as 11 O’Donnell and O’Neill exiles are buried in the crypts below the church, including Hugh O’Neill and Rory O’Donnell, who led the Flight of the Earls in 1607. The history of these clans’ relationship is the history of Ulster in pre-Cromwellian Ireland. Though neither surname formally appeared until about the tenth century, both clans trace their lineages to Niall of the Nine Hostages, the famed fifth-century King of Tara. The descendants of Niall, who had seven recorded heirs, were collectively called the Uí Néill and spread throughout Ireland, but the O’Neills that most are familiar with today actually take their name not from Niall himself, but from Niall Glúndub (d. 919), a descendant of Niall’s son Eóghan and a tenth-century king of the Cenél nEóghan, the kin of Eóghan, who occupied and lent their name to modern day Tyrone. Similarly, the O’Donnells trace the origin of their name to Domhnaill (d. 901), a descendant of another of Niall’s sons, Conall Gulban, and a ruler of the Cenél Conaill, Conall’s kin who occupied Tyrconnell, contemporary Donegal. It was thus that at about the same time both the modern O’Donnell and O’Neill clans arose in Ulster, in bordering territories. 50 IRISH AMERICA JUNE / JULY 2014

The next six centuries saw the newly formed dynasties alternating between foe and ally, depending on the threat from English invasion of Ulster. When not banding together to prevent various invasions, the O’Neills and the O’Donnells warred with each other variously attempting to spread their own control over the

Donato Bramante’s Tempietto in the courtyard of San Pietro in Montorio in Rome.

North or assert their autonomy. Finally, the 1567 Battle of Farsetmore between the two clans led to a truce, in part because of the death of Shane O’Neill, head of the O’Neills at the time and a key belligerent. The heads of the clans rolled over and a new alliance was formed, just in time for the next English war. The most famous instance of the clans’ friendship occurred in 1592, after the head of the O’Donnells had been imprisoned in Dublin Castle for almost five years. Aodh Ruadh Ó Domhnaill (Red Hugh O’Donnell, 1572 – 1602) was seized by the English Lord Deputy of Ireland at the age of 15 in an attempt to prevent an O’Donnell/O’Neill alliance. Unfortunately for him, it only strengthened the clans’ relationship, and in 1592, Aodh

Mór Ó Néill (Big Hugh O’Neill 1550 – 1616) orchestrated a jailbreak for Red Hugh. It would be the only successful escape from Dublin Castle. Upon returning to Ulster, Red Hugh was named head of the name and clan when his father abdicated. Seeing an opportunity, Red Hugh compelled the father of Big Hugh to similarly abdicate, elevating Hugh O’Neill to the same position. Their alliance would prove crucial in the Nine Years War, with the O’Neills clandestinely garnering support from Philip II of Spain and gaining bargaining power over the English. The war came to a head at the Battle of Kinsale in 1601, the famed defeat for the Earls of Tyrone and Tyrconnell, ultimately leading to the loss of the war, the death of Red Hugh, and the exile of the Earls of Ireland six years later. Red Hugh was succeeded by his brother Rudhraighe Ó Domhnail (Rory O’Donnell 1575 – 1608), who many blame, rightfully or not, for convincing Hugh O’Neill to flee, thus catalyzing the Flight of the Earls. Ultimately, both made it to Rome with the help of King Phillip III of Spain and were given sanctuary there. When they died, Philip allowed them to be buried in San Pietro in Montorio, which was financed by Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain a century before and today is still the location of the Spanish Academy in Rome. The legacy of the O’Donnells and O’Neills is effectively that of Ireland, plagued with what-ifs and could-havebeens. But it also illustrates a deeper connection to continental Europe and a kinship that extended into death and across national boundaries, much as the diaspora of the clans’ descendants does today. Excepting Antarctica, there are O’Neills from every continent, and, counting an Antarctic peak, the O’Donnells can claim a resident on all of them. Of course, narrowing the focus a bit, this issue features two members of the clans back together again with our profiles of Ed O’Neill and Nora O’Donnell. IA


The Art of Silver Service.

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Upper Merrion Street, Dublin 2, Ireland. Tel: 353 1 603 0600 Fax: 353 1 603 0700 e-mail: info@merrionhotel.com Website: www.merrionhotel.com silver_service_A4 Untitled-1 1 -NEW LOGO.indd 1

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How Guinness Saved Ireland By Bryce Evans

At nearly one billion liters of Guinness sold per year, it has become one of the world’s most recognizable Irish brands. And though it is brewed in over 60 countries and available in more than 120, there is only one which owes its very survival as a sovereign state to the Black Stuff. eventy years ago – February 1944 – and it is at last clear that the Allies are going to win the Second World War (1939-45). In Eastern Europe, the Red Army’s march west is gathering pace. In Italy, the Allied offensive at Monte Cassino is underway. And in Northern Ireland, in anticipation of D-Day, the number of British and American servicemen has swelled to 120,000. With this teeming garrison of Allied troops now making up one tenth of the entire population of the six counties, some fear a cross-border invasion. But for policy makers in Dublin, the build-up of troops north of the border is the surest sign yet that Éire will emerge from the war with her neutrality and independence intact. The reason for this rather contented attitude south of the border lay in the title of a play that Irish author Flann O’Brien

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was writing at the time: Thirst. Back in 1938 and 1939, with European conflict on the horizon, Ireland was exporting around 800,000 barrels of beer annually. By 1940 and 1941, with war under way, this figure leapt closer to the million mark. These healthy export figures were thanks to the thirst for Guinness from the rapidly expanding number of men enlisted in the British military and wartime industries. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill knew it was integral to the preservation of morale on the UK home front. By the end of 1941, however, wheat was becoming seriously scarce in Ireland. In fact, on all fronts, it looked as if Éire could not survive the war for much longer as a neutral country. This was because Churchill resented Irish neutrality. With one eye trained on control of the Irish ports and the other on the Britishshipped supplies that neutral Ireland was eating up, he wrought revenge by sub-

jecting the Irish people to an agonizing and unrelenting supply squeeze. In an attempt to coerce Ireland onto the Allied side, Churchill oversaw the throttling of the Irish economy throughout 1941. Éamon de Valera’s Ireland, still without its own merchant navy and perilously reliant on British supplies, was now subjected to the full force of British economic warfare. Attempting to deliver a death blow to the Irish agricultural economy, the British cut the vital annual supply of agricultural fertilizers to Ireland from 100,000 tons to zero. Likewise, the British supply of feeding stuffs was slashed from six million tons to zero. Petrol, too, was cut. At Christmas 1940, pumps across the state suddenly ran dry. Trains soon stopped running as the supply of British coal stalled. With bellies rumbling and the centenary of Ireland’s Great Hunger approaching, there were reports of the Phoenix Park deer and even Dublin zoo


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OPPOSITE: Irish language Guinness poster which translates as “Guinness is better for you.” LEFT: The Guinness plant from the air, 1939. BELOW: Churchill gives the V sign, 1943.

animals going missing. Dublin prostitutes asked for payment not in cash but in sought-after commodities like soap or tea. As wheat production waned and the state desperately introduced the 100 percent black loaf, which used ground bone or lime lime powder to supplement the flour, and in turn inhibited calcium absorption, leading to a massive increase in childhood rickets. It was claimed in the Dáil that “the poor are like hunted rats looking for bread.” To top it all, German bombs rained down, Dublin Castle was ravaged by fire and, most ominously, Ireland suffered a serious Foot and Mouth outbreak causing thousands of animals to be slaughtered. 1941 truly was Ireland’s wartime Annus Horribilis. With the Irish economic situation aggravated by a booming black market and the belated introduction of full rationing, the situation darkened. Famine soon became a realistic fear. Twenty million people died of starvation globally during the Second World War. It was the increased incidence of hunger and mention of the dreaded ‘F-word’ which prompted the Irish government to take decisive action to preserve its very existence. But how could tiny Éire – possessing scant natural resources, rapidly regressing to a medieval horse-and-cart economy, and described by another titan of Irish literature, George Bernard Shaw, as “a powerless little cabbage garden” – hope to sustain itself against Churchillian

pressure? A clue lay in the communiqués back to London from the Dublin-based British press attaché and future British poet laureate John Betjeman. In these letters, Betjeman regularly spelt out the Irish supply situation. A typical report ran “No coal. No petrol. No gas. No electric. No paraffin” but conceded “Guinness good.” Guinness, therefore, was the one economic weapon which the Irish possessed. In March 1942, in an effort to preserve wheat supplies for bread for the poor, the Irish government imposed

restrictions on the malting of barley and banned the export of beer altogether. The British attitude, hitherto devil-maycare, shifted dramatically. After the British army complained to Whitehall of unrest caused by a sudden and “acute” beer shortage in Belfast, a hasty agreement was drawn up between senior British and Irish civil servants. Britain would exchange badly needed stocks of wheat in exchange for Guinness. A short time later, though, Guinness complained that they did not have sufficient coal to produce enough beer for both the home and export markets. The Irish government promptly re-imposed the export ban. This time, in a further attempt to slake the thirst of Allied troops north of the border, British officials agreed to release more coal to Ireland. Slowly but surely, this pattern of barter repeated itself. Faced with a ballooning and drytongued garrison of American and British troops in Northern Ireland in the long run-up to DDay in June 1944, the British periodically agreed to release stocks of wheat, coal, fertilisers and agricultural machinery in exchange for Guinness. These supplies were to keep neutral Ireland afloat during the Second World War and enable the continuance of Irish neutrality. So, with Guinness consumption today heavily associated with Saint Patrick’s Day, perhaps it’s time to pause and reflect that even in wartime (in the words of Flann O’Brien): When things go wrong and will not come right, Though you do the best you can, When life looks black as the hour of night, IA A pint of plain is your only man.

Bryce Evans’s new book Ireland during the Second World War: Farewell to Plato’s Cave (Manchester University Press) is out now.

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Salsa Verde The Irish in Argentina On the bicentennial of Combate de Montevideo, May, 1814, which won the River Plate and secured Argentina’s independence from Spain, Harry Dunleavy writes about the considerable contributions made by Irish people, such as Admiral William Brown, in the formation and development of the country.

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n the southeastern part of South America lies the wedge-shaped country of Argentina, the Land of Silver. Covering more than a million square miles, it is Latin America’s second largest country and one of the world’s richest in natural resources. Its topography varies from the snowcapped peaks of Tierra Del Fuego in the south to the arid, sunbaked regions of the north. The Spanish discovered it in 1515 and Juan Garay established the first settlement near the site of Buenos Aires in 1535. To this land of contrasts and beauty went several thousand Irish men and women in days gone by. Of a mainly haphazard nature before the 1810 revolution against Spain, Irish immigration was afterwards predominantly organized by

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the Argentine authorities and Irish groups in the capital, Buenos Aires. The first Irishman known to have set foot on Argentine soil was Tomas Fehilly, a Jesuit priest from Limerick, who arrived in 1556. After some time, he continued to Paraguay and died in Asuncion in 1625. Irish immigration was a mere trickle for the next two centuries. However, several Irish names crop up in newspapers of the period. Many were clergy; others were likely descendants of the Wild Geese (Irish soldiers in the continental European armies) who came directly from Spain. In 1762, a British expedition, which included many Irish, under the command of a Scotsman named McNamara entered the River Plate with the purpose of capturing Colonia, a Spanish settlement on

the north side of the river in modern day Uruguay. The attempt failed and McNamara was killed. Many Irish serving in this British naval campaign were captured and sent to the interior, to Mendoza and Cordoba. Others were taken prisoner after the battle of Egmont in the Falkland Islands in June 1770. After short imprisonments, they showed no desire to leave Argentina and stayed on and made lives for themselves. In 1806, the British, under Viscount Beresford, invaded Buenos Aires with the unwilling help of many Irishmen. (This was the first substantial group of Irishmen to arrive together in Argentina.) Beresford ABOVE: A group of nineteenth century Irish-Argentine immigrants. Source: Wikimedia Commons. OPPOSITE: Portrait of Admiral William Brown, c. 1810.


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took the city, but most of the Irishmen deserted to the Spanish side. Prominent among them was Michael Skennon, who was in charge of a cannon in the Spanish attempt to recapture the city. Skennon stayed at his cannon long after his comrades had fallen back and was captured and executed (likely the first non-Spanish person to fall in the liberty of Buenos Aires), but the British were driven out. Under General Whitelocke, the British made another attempt to capture the River Plate Provinces the following year, again with many officers and men, including an entire regiment of Irish birth, the 88th Connaught Rangers. Commanders Duff and Vandeleur distrusted the loyalty of the Irish soldiers, which they had used as cannon fodder in the landing, and their fears proved to be well founded. After many desertions, Duff and Vandeleur surrendered. The deserters helped the Spanish to repel Whitelocke. Another Irishman helping the Spanish was Thomas Craig, who had been shipwrecked off the Patagonian coast in 1798. He later served with the Argentine Navy under fellow Mayo man, Admiral William Brown against Spain and Brazil. By the time the Spanish provinces of the River Plate rebelled against the mother country in 1810, Buenos Aires had an identifiable Irish community, many of them attracted to Argentina as a result of the trade that had long existed between southern and western Ireland and Spain and her colonies. That community distinguished itself in the War of Independence which ensued, none more so than William Brown, founder of the Argentine Navy.

Admiral Brown Born in Foxford, County Mayo, in 1777, William Brown emigrated to North America with his father as a nine-yearold. He was orphaned soon afterwards and went to sea as a cabin boy, first visiting the River Plate in 1809. In 1811, in the midst of the War of Independence, he returned to the River Plate aboard his own ship, the Elosia. In attempting to avoid the Spanish blockade, he ran his ship aground. But he succeeded in landing his valuable cargo and, with the proceeds, bought a new ves-

sel, La Industria, which the Spanish captured. That was the turning point in his career. He was bent on retaliation. Brown crewed two small boats with a few dozen English-speaking sailors and some Irishmen. Disguised as fishermen, they boarded a Spanish cruiser off Montevideo and overpowered its crew. This daring feat prompted the rebel leader, General Alvear, to commission Brown to organize a navy. By 1814, Brown was Commodore of the new fleet. On March 8 of that year, Brown sailed out to capture the strategic island of Martin Garcia, which commanded the

mouths of the mighty Paraña and Uruguay rivers. Brown’s capture of the island on St. Patrick’s Day was the major turning point in the war for Argentinean independence. It obviated previous setbacks by two other rebel leaders, Juan Bautista Azoparde at the naval battle of San Nicolas upstream on the Paraña River and Manuel Belgrano at the subsequent land battle of Tacuari. The Spanish Fleet, under Jacinto Romarate, was set up in a circle, with support from canons and gunfire on the island. Brown decided to attack from the front and back while simultaneously sending three infantry divisions of 80 men ashore to silence the cannon and gunfire.

Brown ordered the fife and drum band to play “Saint Patrick’s Day In The Morning” to increase the morale of the landing infantry. Initial setbacks on land and water were overcome and after five days of conflict, March 10-15, 1814, Brown had control of the island and, most importantly, the two major inland waterways. Still a Lieutenant Colonel, Brown only had one major battle left before taking control of Montevideo and becoming an admiral. The Battle of Buceo, just off Montevideo on the River Plate (Rio de la Plata, lasted three days from May 14 to May 17, 1814. The Spanish fleet under Admiral Sienna had eight ships while Brown had seven. Here, Brown's skill and knowledge of one of the world's widest rivers told its tale. After drawing the Spanish ships into shallow water away from the protection of shore batteries, five of them were burned, two were captured, and one surrendered. Brown himself was injured on May 16 when he was hit in the leg with a cannon ball. His losses amounted to four dead and one vessel destroyed. Montevideo, which means “I see a mountain,” at the mouth of the River Plate was now at Brown's mercy and surrender was the only option. In 1825, war broke out between Argentina and Brazil, referred to as the Cisplatine War, over the Cisplatine province, which could roughly be equated with modern day Uruguay. The retired admiral was called back to duty and at the Battle of Juncal on the Uruguay River on February 24, 1827, he destroyed the Brazilian fleet. On June 11, 1827, his fleet routed the Brazilians at the Battle of Los Pozos on the River Plate near Buenos Aires. Peace was signed between the two nations on October 4, 1827, with the Treaty of Montevideo, bringing down the curtain on Brown’s military career, though he would go on to be director of Argentina’s National Bank and Governor of Buenos Aires Province. In 1847, he returned to his native Foxford in Mayo. But Argentina was in Brown’s blood. and after four months, he returned to Buenos Aires, where he died ten years later. JUNE / JULY 2014 IRISH AMERICA 55


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The Southern Cross Editor, Dr. Guillermo MacLaughlin pproaching its 140th anniversary, the Buenos Aires-based newspaper The Southern Cross is the oldest continuously published periodical of the Irish diaspora. To put it in perspective, the oldest U.S. Irish publication, New York’s Irish Echo, only just turned 84. Founded January 16, 1875 by Dean Patrick Dillon, a prominent political figure in Buenos Aires who later was elected to the Chamber of Deputies in the Province of Buenos Aires, The Southern Cross was conceived of as a Catholic newspaper devoted to preserving Irish identity in the immigrant nation of Argentina. As such, it was published exclusively in English (with some Irish-language lessons occasionally) until 1977, when it switched to a Spanish-language publication, with a few articles published in English each issue. Dr. Guillermo MacLoughlin, the newspaper’s 14th editor in chief, attributes this shift to the relaxation of Irish-Argentine views on mixed marriages, so that by the late ’70s most Irish-Argentines would have had Spanish as their first language. Today, more than half a million Argentineans can trace their heritage to Ireland, Dr. MacLoughlin among them. “On my father’s side I’m all Irish, sixth generation. My MacLoughlin forefathers came from Glascorn, five miles from Mullingar in County Westmeath. And the rest – the Maguires, Phillipses, Kellys, Garrahans – came mainly from the LongfordWestmeath border, but also from Wexford – the Rossiters and Sinnotts. But on my mother’s side I am very mixed. I have Spanish, Italian, French, and a little Irish heritage from her.” Though he is a public accountant by trade, journalism actually runs in his family. His mother’s Irish connection is to a man who first immigrated to the United States and worked as a reporter before meeting a Spanish woman and relocating to Argentina. This route, MacLoughlin acknowledges, was very uncommon, because most of the Irish who came to Argentina came directly and had to have enough money to afford the journey. “The Irish who came to Argentina, the majority of them at least, had nothing to do with the Famine. They came because they were looking for better economic conditions. They were the second or third or fourth sons who wouldn’t inherit the farm.” It might not be surprising then that the oldest diaspora

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publication was born out of this relatively wealthy and well-educated population. But its success, MacLoughlin posits, is due to its assumption of an entirely Argentine identity and, though it was published in English, its emphasis on the commonality between Argentine culture and Irish culture, specifically with respect to the Catholic faith. Even though it is a resolutely Argentine publication, MacLoughlin says its mission is larger than just bolstering the vibrancy of the Irish-Argentine community. “It is our main task to preserve the Irish-Argentine identity here, yes. But we also must publish articles about presentday Ireland, and also to integrate all aspects of the Irish diaspora, so we publish articles about Irish all over the world. We want to share a point of view with Irish in America, Irish in Chile, Irish in Colombia, in Spain, in Australia.” As far as how that is going, MacLoughlin says very well. Two thousand copies are printed, but the readership is much larger because each paper is shared among members of the family and community. “We estimate that an average of six people read each paper,” MacLoughlin figures. That, combined with the web page and the Facebook page, gives MacLoughlin hope for the future of the publication, especially given the fact that the staff is entirely volunteer-based. Subscribing to The Southern Cross “is a family tradition,” he says. “There’s an important connection to the Irish people in Argentine society and they [Argentines in general] make a distinction between the Irish and the English. That’s why I think we’ve done so well.” When asked how the mission of the newspaper has changed in the last 140 years, MacLoughlin hits on the issue of assimilation. “In the past, it was the voice of the Irish in Argentina. There was much more emphasis on Irish identity and independence for Ireland, but now we are focused much more on Argentina. Dean Patrick Dillon Though many Irish-Argentines would like to see the unity of the island, that is not a main task for this paper to seek that.” “Now, we are not more Irish. We are Argentine-Irish. We are Argentinean first, but very proud of our Irish origin, so our main task is to preserve that new identity among all the members of our community.” – By Adam Farley


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After the war, the Irish began to filter out of Buenos Aires into the surrounding countryside where they took up sheep farming. Immigration from Ireland, particularly from Westmeath and Wexford, increased dramatically under new land schemes, and the new arrivals also went into sheep farming, with several becoming millionaires in the process. When Cavanman Peter Sheridan died in 1844 at the age of 52, his ranch, Los Galpones, in the Canueles district, boasted 10,000 sheep, 8,000 cattle, and 2,000 horses. In 1848, a Dublin Protestant named McCann set up an agency in Buenos Aires to bring out emigrants for sheep farming. The passage cost £10 if paid in Ireland and £15 if paid after arrival. There were many takers. In 1862, President Mitre of Argentina set up an Irish agricultural colony on a large tract of land at Bahia Blanca. It failed due to the lack of a railway and a shortage of supplies. The last big attempt at organized immigration from Ireland began in 1887, when two wealthy sheep farmers, Buckley O’Meara and John Dillon, went to Ireland to recruit. Unlike previous immigrants, these new recruits were from the cities – mainly Cork and Limerick. The City of Dresden sailed from Cork in 1889 with 1,800 aboard. They settled Naposta in Buenos Aires province. Most were unsuited to a life of farming and the colony collapsed within a year. Many of them ended up in the city of Buenos Aires, but some resettled on estates owned by Irishmen. Before the 1810 revolution, most Irish immigrants were men. Afterwards, half of the new arrivals were women, and settlements began to spring up that were almost exclusively Irish. Countless Irish societies were formed, the first being the Irish National Society of Buenos Aires. The principal diversions seem to have been dancing and horse racing. Clergy began to arrive from Ireland to cater for their spiritual needs, the first being Fr. Patrick Moran, who arrived in February 1830, and the most famous being Fr. Anthony Fahy, who arrived from Loughrea, Co. Galway, in 1843. In 1856, the Sisters of Mercy arrived; several schools and colleges sprang up and in 1858, an Irish hospital was opened in Buenos Aires.

PHOTO: WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Immigration

ABOVE: The joint monestary of St. Paul’s and St. Patrick’s Church in Carmen de Areco, Argentina. LEFT: The Hurlingham Hurling Club at the 2013 Aer Lingus Hurling Festival in Galway.

Success In Buenos Aires Province, the district which best exemplified Irish society in the halcyon days of sheep farming was Carmen de Areco, 70 miles west of the capital. It had a Mercy convent school, colleges of Clonmacnois and St. Brendan, an Irish College of Carmen, a library, the Brehon Athletic Club, and the Clara Morgan Hospital. In 1867, a fund was established in the area to ameliorate the plight of imprisoned Fenians. One successful Irish farmer in Carmen de Areco was Thomas Donohue, a native of Cork. When he died in 1866, he had 12,000 sheep on his farm. In the success story of the Irish in Argentina, the name Duggan is inescapable.

President Edelmiro Julián Farrell

When Westmeath man Michael Duggan died in 1888, his estate was said to be the size of Munster and he was considered the richest Irishman in the world. His descendants are still among the most prominent families in Argentina. The Irish involved themselves in every level of politics, from local councils to the highest office, attained in 1944 when Edelmiro Julián Farrell became national president. Today, around half a million Spanishspeaking Argentines trace their ancestry to Ireland. They have their own newspaper, The Southern Cross, which is over 100 years old. Originally, the paper was written mainly in English, but by 1977, it had only one English-language column. Irish social life and traditions now revolve around the Hurling Club in Hurlingham, a western suburb of Buenos Aires, where Irish Argentines congregate in hundreds each weekend. There are still occasional hurling games, but the popularity of the sport dropped around the time of WWII when hurley sticks became impossible to import. Irish hockey and rugby teams continue to this day. In the final analysis, when studying the history of Argentina, it is impossible to escape the considerable contribution made by the Irish in the formation and IA development of that great country. Harry Dunleavy lived in Argentina for a brief period. He currently resides in Augusta, New Jersey, U.S.A. JUNE / JULY 2014 IRISH AMERICA 57


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Celtic Argentina School of Dance Director, Dominique Dure espite Argentina’s historical ties to Ireland, prior to 1979 there was a glaring absence in the Irish-Argentine cultural exchange: Irish dance. That changed when Christine Rasmussen, an educator from Buenos Aires, traveled to Ireland in 1978 as a tourist to learn more about her heritage – two of her grandparents, Kathleen Kehoe and Edmund Proctor, hail from Wexford and Dublin respectively. While abroad, she came into contact with Marie Walsh, a prominent Irish dance instructor in Dublin, who invited Rasmussen to stay at her home and learn the traditional steps. When Rasmussen returned to Buenos Aires, she knew she wanted to promote what she had learned and began teaching in the main bilingual schools of Buenos Aires. She founded Celtic Argentina, the first ever school of Irish dance in the country. The main objective of the Celtic Argentina School of Irish Dance has

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always been to promote and expand cultural awareness of Irish dancing. While not unsuccessful, it wasn’t until Riverdance and Lord of the Dance came to Buenos Aires in 2000 that the school really took off. With the profile of Irish dance raised internationally, word of the school spread quickly, especially to those without any Irish connection at all. In fact, now they make up the majority of students at the school. “About 10% of our dancers have an Irish connection and in the past two years, we have had a couple of Irish-American students as well as some from Chile and Uruguay, who are either passing by or on a scholarship in Buenos Aires,” says Director Dominique Dure. Today, one of the largest Irish dance schools in South America (and the largest in Argentina), Celtic Argentina boasts over 80 students, four-year-olds to adults, and has been active in helping out new dancing groups elsewhere in Argentina. “In Argentina we are well received by whoever invites us to participate in a show or event,” she says.

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But most of their growth was self-developed. “Since our beginnings we have been organizing our own events, both artistic productions as well as social events,” Dure tells Irish America. And for the past four years they have organized a monthly ceílí that has become very popular among Irish descendants and the general public. When asked what she thinks is the reason for the general popularity of Irish dancing when Irish descendants make up only about two percent of the total population, Dure gives two reasons. First, that it is a “style of dance that demands discipline, timing, elegance, rhythm and also accompanied by music that raises your spirit, is an equation which one cannot avoid being attracted to. Irish music is also very inviting and encourages everyone to dance, so there is always a very enthusiastic response from the public.” But Dure also thinks there’s something more tactile going on. “People are mainly attracted by the hard shoes,” she says. “Personally, I think that the sound of traditional Irish music combined with the rhythmical sound of the shoes is unique and magical.” She herself began dancing with the school at the age of three, later becoming an instructor in 2006, when she was still a teenager. “Throughout the years I have participated in many festivals and Irish community and Irish Embassy events representing Ireland,” Dure, now 25, explains. All that participation and exposure has paid off for the school, which recently organized the very first South American Irish Dance Gathering, garnering recognition from the Irish Embassy. After two years of preparation, the four-day gathering was a success, with 11 groups from Argentina, Colombia, Chile and Brazil, and teachers from Ireland, including Kevin McCormack and Shane McAvinchey. On the gathering’s final day, Ireland’s Ambassador to Argentina James McIntyre sat in the audience and praised the groups’ finale showcases. It was at that event too where Dure was spurred to go to Ireland and get her teaching qualification from An Coimisiún Le Rincí Gaelacha, the Irish dance commission, which she did in Limerick in July, 2013. “This was a big achievement for me, a dream of mine came true,” she says. “My main passion is teaching, so I want to be an Irish dancing teacher here in Argentina,” Dure says. “It presents a world with infinite possibilities that will continue growing for many years to come.” – By Adam Farley


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Ed O’Neill

Interview by Patricia Harty

From tough steel town to sitcom’s king of television.

60 IRISH AMERICA / JULY 2014 Skwiat. PHOTO: ABC/BOB D’AMICO Transcription andJUNE editing by Matthew


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to understudy in a play called Knockout. Two weeks before opening night, the lead left the production to do film work and O’Neill, who had trained for the part as if it was always going to be his, went on. The play didn’t get very good reviews but O’Neill did. His portrayal of Paddy Klonski, a psychotic boxer, was so realistic that the audience booed him even as they gave him a standing ovation. More theater work followed, and later television and movie roles. In 1980, he played Detective Schreiber alongside Al Pacino in the controversial film Cruising. His star was on the rise. Soon after moving to New York, O’Neill met actress Catherine Rusoff whom he married in 1986. Initially, he was going to turn down the role of Al Bundy in Married with Children, but Catherine read the script and laughed, and that made him take another look. The couple moved to Hollywood in 1987 for the show and they still live there.

He’s quite the raconteur, but do not expect to see Ed O’Neill do stand-up any time soon. “It’s a very hard thing to do,” he says. But if he were to do it, he would “tell stories.” He has lots of them, and he tells them well.

Youngstown, Ohio It was a steel mill town. It was the center of the whole universe when it came to steel mills. There were three major companies – Sheet and Tube, Trust Con Steel, and U.S. Steel. My paternal grandfather worked in the mill all his life. My father worked in the mill almost his whole life. I worked in the mill while I was going to college in the summers. And then for one stretch, I quit school and worked one year. It was the steel mills that ran the economy there. They never shut down; they ran for 24/7. Along with that, we had organized crime. It started out with mafia who came in from Buffalo and Detroit and were set-

ABC/ RONDA CHURCHILL

t’s hard to put a finger on why the sitcom Modern Family is so successful. It seems set to play to stereotypes – older man with trophy wife; gay male couple with their adopted Asian child – but the secret of the show’s success may lie in the acting. It’s a well cast ensemble, all of whom have perfect comic timing. The characters are believable and seem familiar. The show is just plain fun. And most of the fun revolves around patriarch Jay Pritchett, played by Ed O’Neill. This is Ed O’Neill’s second run on a successful TV sitcom. His Al Bundy on Married With Children ran for 11 seasons. (O’Neill admits that he modeled the Bundy character on his uncles who were great storytellers and “some of the funniest guys I met in my life.”) If Married with Children was the ’90s answer to the ’70s Archie Bunker’s All in the Family, which used the sitcom format to explore bigotry and racial stereotypes, Modern Family is an evolution of that theme and challenges the status quo by pushing the envelope on what makes a family – one laugh at a time. It’s hard to imagine that such a gifted actor almost never came to be. During his high school and college years, O’Neill, who stands 6 ft., 1 in., 230 lbs., played football, and was later signed by the Pittsburgh Steelers as a defensive lineman. O’Neill says he didn’t have a natural talent for football but he made himself into a player. It didn’t make him happy though, and so when the Steelers dropped him because he was “undisciplined and unruly,” he decided to give acting a go. Ever since a nun in high school had put him in an oratorical competitive program, O’Neill had a hankering to perform. He enrolled in Youngstown State University to study arts and theater, and joined the Youngstown Playhouse, one of the country’s oldest and most respected community theaters. He supported himself taking odd jobs and teaching social studies to sixth graders. At age 30, he determined to make a go of it in New York. He found a job in a popular restaurant and bar, O’Neal’s Balloon near Lincoln Center, shared an apartment in Hell’s Kitchen with six other actors, and took acting classes and every bit part – off-off-Broadway – that came his way. He finally caught a break when he was asked

Modern Family. The adults are Las Vegasbound when Jay fixes them up with accommodations courtesy of one of his big clients. Ed O’Neill, Sofia Vergara, Eric Stonestreet, Ty Burrell, and Julie Bowen.

On the phone from his home in L.A., O’Neill talks about his recent trip to Ireland; his love of James Joyce and W.B. Yeats; and his work on Modern Family. But the main thrust of our chat is about growing up in Youngstown, Ohio, where he was born on April 12, 1946, the first of five children, and his Irish relatives.

tling around Youngstown. They took advantage of the steel mill guys. Opened after-hours clubs, bars, gambling, sold swag, cigarettes and suits. Go in the back of the bar and try on a suit. They introduced what we called it “the bug.” You would pick three numbers at random and the last three digits from the stock exchange had to match at the end of the day. It was a huge moneymaker, because almost everyone participated. You could put a buck down, get a bug slip and later JUNE / JULY 2014 IRISH AMERICA 61


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Modern Family stars Aubrey Anderson-Emmons as Lily, Jesse Tyler Ferguson as Mitchell, Eric Stonestreet as Cameron, Ed O’Neill as Jay, Sofia Vergara as Gloria, Rico Rodriguez as Manny, Sarah Hyland as Haley, Ariel Winter as Alex, Julia Bowen as Claire, Ty Burrell as Phil and Nolan Gould as Luke.

you check to see if you won. At the end of the day they had a bagman who would come in and collect all the money for that day and take it to a place to count it. They made huge amounts of money. Cleveland had one mafia group and Pittsburgh had the other. Youngstown was sandwiched between the two. There were two warring factions of mafiosi: the Pittsburgh group and Cleveland group. They ended up killing each other over the numbers game. They were always trying to crowd out the other guys. They were killing each other, mostly by car bombs. That was their first choice, to put a bomb under the hood of your car and when you started it would blow up. This was known as the “Youngstown Tune Up,” sort of a gallows humor. No one was ever prosecuted for this. And the gangsters, everyone knew who they were but no one did anything about it because everyone was corrupt – the mayor, police department prosecutors, and judges. They liked to get control of the prosecutor and get a couple of judges and cops, that’s all they needed. When I was growing up there, in the ’50s and ’60s, there were two moralities. There was Catholic school and the nuns, and then there was the other morality that was going on all around us. For example, you would never pay for a parking ticket. 62 IRISH AMERICA JUNE / JULY 2014

PHOTO: ABC/BOB D’AMICO

If you got one, you handed it to some guy. He took care of it. You bought him a drink.

The Irish Relatives

When I was growing up, I thought there were a lot more Irish in Youngstown than there were. The Irish came over in the 1850s following the Famine. My mother was a Quinlan, and my father, of course, O’Neill. A lot of Irish had trades and established businesses in the area, like heating companies, oil companies. My grandfather Quinlan was a businessman. Most of the immigrants in Youngstown were Italian, Croatian, a lot from Eastern Europe. I thought the steel mills were run by Irish, but it wasn’t really true. There were Irish but not as many as I thought. Some of them were in pretty good positions in the mills. A first helper or melter were guys who ran the open-hearth floors. These guys were in positions of power. My grandfather Joseph, my father’s father, was sort of a night watchman. Very quiet, almost painfully shy. I never really got to know him. Unfortunately, by the time I was old enough to talk to him, he was suffering from depression. If you had high blood pressure at the time, they give you medicine that caused depression. And he was already depressed enough and it basically drove him down and he killed himself. He cut his wrists.

It was my 12th birthday. I had the measles and it was April and it was raining. We lived on the north side and my grandparents on the south side. My father got a phone call, and it was my grandmother saying your father is bleeding. My father gets over there, runs up a flight of stairs and his father is laying there with a sheet over him and he is bleeding. He grabs him, sheet and all, and rushes him down the stairs, and down the steps to the car, and drives him to the emergency room, and is waiting and the doctor comes out and says he’s dead. That’s all he said. My father assumed he had a stroke or something. He didn’t know it was suicide. I was in my 20s and having a drink with my father when he told me about it. The Catholic funeral home was Irish, McVanes. John McVane, on the first night of the showing, took my father aside and said he wanted to show him something. He pulled my grandfather’s sleeves up and showed him his wrists. Suicide was something to be ashamed of. If you were Catholic you weren’t able to be buried in a Catholic church, so they kept it quiet. My grandmother, Peggy O’Neill, her maiden name was Naughton, lived with us for many years after that. I also remember the Quinlans, my mother’s parents. We called them Ma and Pap. Ma was a scary old lady. Not attractive, wore black. Pap was a friendly man. I think he used to be a cop. When he died he was old. We had to go to the house and it smelled like old


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people and we hated to go. It was dark because they wanted to save electricity. When we were there my aunt and uncle would say there is a turtle in here and it’s missing, just to get rid of us. I remember them talking on the day of Pap’s funeral. All the men were drinking and the women were saying we knew this was coming because so and so saw the banshee on the roof of the house next door. So I go in to say to my father “what’s a banshee?” and he starts laughing. “Where’d ya hear that?” “From Aunt Nora. She said the banshee comes from Ireland and he was sitting on the roof and he had a big sickle and he was coming for Great Grandpa.” “Well then,” he said, “he came a hell of a long way,” and the men all laughed. My grandfather was Leonard Quinlan. My brother’s name is Tim and no one knew why he was called that. Years later I found out my grandfather’s brother was Tim and he came from Ireland. We tried years ago to look up where he came from, but weren’t successful. Cormac Naughton, Peggy’s father, we still have his travel card. He had a handlebar mustache and was a good-looking guy. It says Cork on his travel card and my dad would say for years he was from Cork. Well, later I said, “Dad, they shipped out of Cork. He didn’t live in Cork so we don’t know where he’s from.” The show Who Do You Think You Are? want to do research on me and they have a lot of resources, so maybe we will find out more. The girl who called me about the show asked if I was related to Eugene O’Neill and I said I didn’t know, but I could be, on either my mother’s or father’s side. My mother was a Quinlan and so was Eugene O’Neill’s mother.

All in a Name I was the firstborn and my grandfather Quinlan wanted me named after him and my dad went crazy. He didn’t really get along with him. My grandfather thought when my father married my mother that she married down. So my father said that’s not going to happen, he’s going to be named after me. They compromised (he had money and we lived in his house), and gave my grandfather’s name ‘Leonard’ as my middle name. When the second boy was born, they named him Timothy, after my grandfather’s brother. When my third brother was born they named him Leonard, a name my brother hated his whole life.

My father, he was a strong guy, a handsome guy and a hard worker. I don’t believe he ever missed a day of work in his life. He liked to drink beer, he wasn’t a drunk, but he didn’t go to the bars because he couldn’t afford it. There was always a struggle for money. When they fought it was always over money, and they fought often. They split up when I was 25, my father took it very hard as a betrayal. When he was born in 1921, he was a mistake, the third of three in the Depression. They didn’t even go to his high school graduation. He was so loyal to us children, to me and my brothers and sisters. He loved football. I was a good football player, but I was never going to be a great pro-player. I don’t think I was naturally big enough or had what you needed to be a good football player. Then football just sort of ended. I didn’t even like it anymore. I never liked the coaches and so I became a rebellious player, quick to fight, kind of violent and I wasn’t even that great. I was with the Steelers and I got cut, and I remember when I left I was relieved. The coach said that he could get me a shot with the Eagles. I said thanks a lot, but I’m done.

Acting Vs. Football In high school, I got into a speech class run by a nun who used to put on plays. She put me in a oratorical competitive program. You would tell a story, and they were very corny, something like “My Childhood Hero.” It was something out of Readers Digest. I always thought it was too much and too dramatic. I was a sophomore in high school and thinking there must be a better way to do this. My uncle got me reading when I was about 12. He got me a bunch of books, one in a sevenpart series by Joseph A. Altsheler about mountain men and their adventures in the woods of Kentucky and Ohio in the 1700s. I fell in love and went on to Huck Finn. My first Irish writer was Eugene O’Neill. I got hooked on his plays. I also liked Flann O’Brien. When my football career was over, I went to Florida with my friend Sammy, bellhopping in a hotel. We had an apartment and were just playing around. We went on a double date and were smoking dope, which never agreed with me. I get very paranoid on it. We were sitting there in the park and it was an outdoor drama. I was watching it and remember saying to them, “I can do better than that.” I was sort of talking to myself. I decided to go back

to college to study acting. I got involved in the Youngstown Playhouse. I went to New York in 1979 and left in 1986 or ’87. I did mostly theater. and I did a couple of movies of the week that aired on NBC, CBS. I also did a film Cruising with Al Pacino. It was about gay murders in the village, and based on the reporting of Arthur Bell. It was very controversial. Bell was quite concerned [the film] would portray gays in a bad light. The gays organized and there was a lot of protest. We would go to these bars [to shoot a scene] and there would be hundreds of gays blowing whistles. It was wild. I just had a small role, as a NYC detective, but I was also doing a play called Knockout at the Helen Hayes Theater. Afterwards, I did a movie Dogs of War with Christopher Walken and Tom Berenger. It was actually a pretty good film about mercenaries. It was from the novel by Frederick Forsyth. It was already a successful book. I was so fortunate to find the one thing I am good at. I really wasn’t equipped to make anything of myself except a talent to do this. I do miss theater. I played Lenny in Of Mice and Men at the Hartford Stage. That’s a great play. I did a David Mamet play at the Kirk Douglas about five years ago and another David Mamet play at the Tiffany Theater called Lakeboat. I did that play twice. The last David Mamet I did was called Keep Your Pantheon, a comedy. It was extremely tough to do. It has a long one-act and I was this leader of a troupe of actors not very good actors in Rome who are just trying to get by, and running into all sorts of trouble. It got good reviews, but it was the hardest I ever worked on stage, by far. I was thinking, for what? Maybe I’m just getting older and I just think it’s tough.

Comedy I had my uncles, these three men were great storytellers and some of the funniest guys I ever met in my life. I’m not having a rosy flashback – they were fucking hilarious! When I met Phyllis Diller, she said she had gone to Youngstown for a St. Patrick’s Day event at an Ancient Order of JUNE / JULY 2014 IRISH AMERICA 63


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Hibernians club. I said, I remember when you were in town, my uncle Joe O’Neill was there. She said, “Joe O’Neill? He introduced me, I didn’t even want to follow the SOB, he was the funniest guy I ever heard.” My favorite comedians were Sid Caesar, Jonathan Winters and Bob Newhart. I was at last year’s Emmys and I went into the green room because I was starving and Elton John was back there with Matt Damon and Michael Douglas. When I walked by them to say hello, I see Bob Newhart and he’s standing by himself in a corner and I had never met him. So I had to pass him to leave and as I pass him he said, “Hello Ed” and I said “Hello Bob, congratulations.” I told him he was one of my favorite comedians. I

show and we are going into our fifth year and it won four Emmys and four SAG awards. I think we are the only ones who have ever done that. What happens on a television series is they start to write for you. Ed likes this or it’s kind of like that. You find some of your quirks and past experiences coming into the script in some form. It turns into something a little closer to you as it moves along. You try to find things relatable to make it appear more natural and more real. It’s not something I think about too much really, I just sort of do it.

Trip to Ireland This one fella, Willy O’Sullivan from Cork, owns O’Brien’s Irish pub in Santa

Modern Family has been nominated for a variety of different awards, including seven Television Critic Awards (three wins), 13 Writers Guild of America Award nominations (five wins), three Director's Guild Award nominations (two wins), 14 Screen Actor's Guild Award nominations (two wins), 10 Golden Globe Award nominations (one win), and 57 Primetime Emmy Award nominations (18 wins). It has also received four AFI Awards, awarding the best of television, one for each of its first four seasons.

go back to my seat and Jimmy Kimmel is sitting behind me and I said, “I just talked to Bob Newhart,” and Jimmy said, “when he comes out let’s give him a standing ovation.” And when Newhart walked out we leaped up and then the whole place went up.

Modern Family I just love it! The two actors who play Cam and Mitchell, Jesse Tyler Ferguson is gay and Eric Stonestreet is not gay! In fact, he’s quite a lady’s man, ha! He comes from a farm family in Missouri. You know who he’s actually playing is his mother. After the first year, the producers hired two gay writers and they are brilliant and they are still with us. It’s just a wonderful 64 IRISH AMERICA JUNE / JULY 2014

Monica, and we are always teasing each other. He tells me, “You’re not Irish. You’re a Yank.” But what I grew up with, on both sides, were totally Irish, their religion, manner of speaking, the way they look. They would always refer to the old country. To me, Ireland was almost like this heaven. We were proud to be Irish. My first trip, it must have been ’90, ’92. When I was walking around Dublin, all of the people looked like my relatives. This recent trip I really enjoyed. I let my wife handle the details. Because of the kids, I have a 14 and 7 year old and they keep you going, we had a luxury van with a driver and tour guide and they were really nice guys. They were in their 50s, and the tour guide was knowledgeable about a

lot of things. We went to Trinity College. We went on the River Liffey, on that Durk (or duck). We’re going down the river with a Viking helmet and horns and I said, “this is a nightmare!” But the driver was a Dublin guy and he was great! Within five minutes, I thought he could be on stage. That’s so often the case over there. We didn’t get into a lot of pubs to hear the music, which I love, but we did a lot. We were heading to Belfast and we went to that Ring Fort up in Donegal and I did that DNA swab to see if I was related to that guy Niall of the Nine Hostages. We went to the Martello tower in Sandycove, the one Joyce writes about in Ulysses. That was right up in the area where Sinead O’Connor lives and they were going on about how daft she is. I always liked her. It takes a lot of courage to be her. You know who else would have applauded her? James Joyce. He used to call Ireland “a priest ridden country.” I have read almost all of his stuff. I couldn’t read Finnegans Wake. I have it here, but I don’t know how to read it. I need a class on it or something. The first Joyce I read was Portrait of an Artist. I liked it, but when I got a hold of Dubliners, I loved it. I read it at least twice. There is a pub out here called Molly Malone’s and every Bloomsday they have the Irish sausage and whatnot. And one year they called me and wanted me to read a letter Joyce had written to his wife Nora. The letter is beautiful. He was in Dublin in a hotel where Nora used to work. He’s missing her and writing about how much he loves her and there is a description of her and what he thinks of her and it’s a beautiful thing. I also love Yeats. I was at his grave in Sligo. One night I went out with Charlie Durning who is at least half Irish. He certainly looks Irish, and he knew almost all of Yeats’ poems by heart. I remember that was the first time I heard that poem, “When you are old and grey and full of sleep /And nodding by the fire, take down this book / And slowly read, and dream of the soft look / Your eyes had once. . . .”

Final Word When I was in New York I was in my 30s and everything was new and the possibilities were there. I always thought I was going to get work. I never thought I’d be as successful as I am. It’s not good to think too far ahead. I always had a habit of just going a day or a week at a time. You just IA better be concerned with tomorrow.


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{wild irish women} By Rosemary Rogers

Lovely Lola The Countess who became the vamp of the mining camps here was a time in the mid-19th century when all Europe raved about the Spanish dancer, Lola Montez, not realizing that she wasn’t Spanish and couldn’t dance. She wowed them in Paris, London, Berlin and St. Petersburg with her famous Spider Dance, a number that had Lola wearing a black mantilla, clicking castanets and shaking tarantulas out of her petticoats. When the hairy (though imaginary) creatures fell to the floor she violently stomped them with her oversized high heels. The toast of Paris and fixture of haute monde nightlife, Lola counted Franz Liszt, George Sand and Alexander Dumas as intimates. Still, it was at the Paris Opéra that the jig, as it were, was up. One reviewer panning her performance asked, “She hablas very mediocre Spanish…what country is she really from?” A good question because despite her name, mantilla and castanets, Lola didn’t have a drop of Spanish blood. She wasn’t British, notwithstanding her bigamous marriage to a British officer. Nor was she German even though the lovesick old King Ludwig I, tried to make her his Queen, an initiative that got them both booted out of Bavaria. Nor American either, although she loved this country, spent her final years here and is buried in Brooklyn. Lola was Irish, born Marie Eliza Rosanna Gilbert in 1821, at Grange, County Sligo. Her father died when she was a baby and her relationship with her mother was always fraught, especially after the 17-year-old Lola ran off with her mother’s lover. Abandoned, Lola found herself alone, penniless and forced to rely on her resources– brains, beauty and a talent for reinvention. She adopted a new name (Lola) and a new persona (artiste) and after a besotted boyfriend gave her a Paris theatre, she added impresario to her résumé. When the boyfriend was killed in a duel – Lola, it should be noted, had terrible luck with men – she went to Germany and soon her Bavarian adventure began. King Ludwig I was in love with her but unable to make her Queen. He did, however, lavish her with money, jewels and even a title, the Countess of Landsfeldt. But, apparently, the King was the only person in Bavaria who felt kindly about Lola. “That Foreign Whore” was one of the milder knocks the people had for her, and they didn’t even know she was having an affair with a young student! She actually caused a revolution and Ludwig was forced to abdicate. Back on the continent, Lola found another husband, George

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Heald, a cavalry officer with a sister who went to court to have the marriage annulled. She shouldn’t have bothered since the Healds soon separated mainly because Lola stabbed her husband with a stiletto. Never at a loss for ideas, Lola composed an operetta, “Lola Montez in Bavaria,” an opus that wisely redacted the parts about the student lover and her (failed) attempt to blackmail Ludwig. She took the show to America, where her notorious reputation had preceded her and rocked the gold towns helped along, no doubt, by her scanty costumes. She moved to San Francisco, married a journalist, took up gardening and oddly, raising pet bears. Lola’s bad luck kicked in when the husband took off, the bear bit her and she was penniless once again. The enterprising Lola managed to raise money to form a troupe of actors and brought her Spider Dance revue to the Australian Outback. She revamped her routine, adding a whip and, some said, subtracting her underwear, a scandal that forced her to leave Australia (she once used the horsewhip outside the theatre, on a critic). None of this mattered though since, for the first time in her life, Lola was in love. She and her leading man made a happy couple as they sailed from Australia. Happy, that is, until a storm swept him overboard. His death transformed her life and, for reasons known only to Lola, she headed to Brooklyn. It was there she wrote books and worked with fallen women, helping them rebuild their lives. When she received the last rites, her hand was on the Bible, open to the pages about Mary Magdalene. Today her grave is a stop on Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery tour. She served as the inspiration for the Richard Adler and Jerry Ross song, “Whatever Lola Wants, Lola Gets.” and as recently as April 2013, Volbeat, a Danish metal band had a hit with the song, “Lola Montez.” Feel the fire where she walks Lola Montez is so beautiful Blinding your eyes with her spider dance Feel the fire where she walks. Rosemary Rogers is a writer and humorist. She has coauthored, with Sean Kelly, the best-selling humor/reference book, Saints Preserve Us!, currently in its 15th international printing and one of the books in print recommended by the reader’s catalogue of the New York Review of Books.


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Clockwise: Lola in 1847, born Marie Eliza Rosanna Gilbert, from Grange, Co. Sligo, who became the world famous Lola Montez known for her Spider Dance. Lola’s headstone in Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn NY. King Ludwig I of Bavaria who made her a countess. Lola’s house in Grass Valley, Nevada.

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{travel} By John Kernaghan

Oscar & Doc

A trip to Leadville, Colorado unearths ghosts of yesteryear.

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PHOTO: NAPOLEON SARONY

ou hoist one of shot before being disarmed. Colorado’s fine craft A local court found Holliday beers at the long, dark not guilty of attempted murder. bar of the Silver Dollar Leadville is a lot more civil Saloon in Leadville, and place now, a destination 100 consider this possibility: miles from Denver and at had history played out a little 10,052 feet elevation, the highdifferently, Oscar Wilde and est incorporated town in North Doc Holliday might have America. exchanged bon mots right at Both men were attracted to this spot. the town of 18,000, then secBoth caroused here, Wilde in ond largest in the state, by the 1882, Holliday a year later. riches derived from first gold, John Henry “Doc” Holliday, c. 1880. They both provided memo- Oscar Wilde, New York City, 1882. then silver and lead. Wilde was rable episodes in a wild mining paid handsomely to bring cultown with a thick Irish vein running “They were basically barrels sawed in ture. Holliday sought out wealthy but through its history. half and could take one or two men at a poor card players. Wilde, the Dublin wit and writer, liketime.” To get Leadville’s measure, and a ly would have been fascinated with the The more accurate story is that Wilde measure of history, the Delaware Hotel is storied gunslinger, gambler and dentist was invited the next day to open a new a good place to start. It’s a living museHolliday, grandson of a Belfast couple lode of silver in the mine, an honor um, built in 1888, that has preserved in a who immigrated to Georgia. One spat bestowed on famous visitors. The lode rich decor and exhibits of finery of the words, the other bullets. was named “The Oscar.” day. During a western trip in which he Wilde later recounted that his visit to That’s where we met Pretti, a former embraced the region’s rugged individualthe Silver Dollar uncovered “the only newspaper man who runs history tours ism while lecturing on Florentine culture rational method of art criticism I have and dresses like a man of the time of and interior design, among other things, come across. Over the piano was a printed Wilde and Holliday. Wilde charmed silver miners in an notice — ‘Please do not shoot the pianist, We asked for a driving tour with an Irish appearance at the Tabor Opera House. he is doing his best.’” flavor. And there was plenty outside of But it was his post-lecture appearance And of his visit to Leadville in his those famous folks. The tour took us up to at the Silver Dollar and his willingness to “Impressions of America” he later wrote, about 12,000 feet, more than two miles descend a shaft at the Matchless Mine “I was told that if I went there they would above sea level, for stories of the mines which really won over his audience. be sure to shoot me or my travelling manand the heady times of fortunes made and Wilde’s prodigious capacity for drink ager. I wrote and told them that nothing lost. impressed folks who made an art of imbibthat they could do to my travelling manPerhaps the most famous of those ing and over the years melded into myth as ager would intimidate me.” mining windfalls belonged to the his visit to the mine was embellished. Speaking of shooting, Holliday’s time “Unsinkable” Molly Brown, born The story grew into a tale of how minin Leadville followed the infamous 1881 Margaret Tobin to Irish immigrants. ers took Wilde down the mine shaft with Gunfight at the OK Corral in Tombstone, She settled in Leadville in 1886 as a an eye to getting him drunk, then leaving Arizona Territory. single woman but soon married mine him there for a scare. Courts cleared Holliday, Wyatt Earp engineer J.J. Brown, according to But in a twist, it was the miners who and two Earp brothers of murdering three archives of the Molly Brown House were bested in the drinking department, in the 30-second, 30-bullet shootout. Museum in Denver. His discovery of as the yarn goes, and Wilde had to operBut Holliday was back in trouble in gold in the Little Johnny Mine made the ate the lift to get everyone out. Leadville when he shot vowed enemy couple millionaires. Leadville historian Roger Pretti takes Billy Allen after Allen showed up in They moved to Denver and Molly the legs out from under that story by town, according to the Leadville historibegan her world travels, climaxed by pointing out that the apparatus transcal society webpage. Holliday waited at passage on the Titanic in 1912. She porting miners up and down at the time the end of a bar in Hyman’s Saloon and famously helped comfort distressed paswas crude. shot Allen in the arm, then missed a head sengers and raised $10,000 from rich


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friends to help folks on the ship who lost everything in the sinking. Asked about her survival in the disaster, she replied, “Typical Brown luck. We’re unsinkable.” But many who answered the lure of gold and silver were down on their luck, and the mix of poor immigrants made for tense times. As Pretti explains, the town was divided into two camps by Main Street. The Irish occupied the upper slope and a communiTOP: Church of the Annunciation. RIGHT: Mountain scenery on Leadville Colorado & Southern Railroad excursion. BELOW: Portal of Tabor Opera House. BELOW RIGHT: Facade of the Silver Dollar Saloon, where Wilde and Holliday drank. Photos by author.

ty of Eastern European settlers in the lower slope. “If you strayed into the other’s community it could get ugly,” he noted. Irish activity centered on the saloons and the Church of the Annunciation, built in 1879 and the site of Molly Brown’s wedding. Irish immigrants poured into the boom-

ers, struck it rich and left for parts unknown. Identified in the Leadville/Lake County Heritage Guide as John, Charles and Patrick, “they were an example of people who went from poverty to extreme riches,” offers Pretti. One account says the brothers were simply acting on good advice when they made their discovery. But a version that has persisted, Pretti says, is a classic “luck-of-theIrish” yarn. Their pot of gold came when one brother literally tripped over the site of an extensive silver lode. That and superstition made them very rich

town through Mosquito Pass, a treacherous portal at more than 13,000 feet elevation. Driven by poverty, many stayed impoverished. Others, like the Gallagher broth-

men. Pretti explains he was stumbling home from a night at the saloon when he tripped on a tree root. In a comical sequence, “his boot unearthed a rock which shot up and hit him in the head.” As he explained his pratfall to his siblings the next morning, one took it as a sure sign there was a fortune at the location, claiming it was the work of “mountain fairies.” The brothers visited the site, dug down 15 feet and found a rich vein of silver. “The Gallaghers made a lot of money out of the mine, which was called Camp Bird, then sold it for $250,000 and headed out into the world, lost to history.” True or not, it’s part of the rich Irish thread woven into the fabric of one of IA America’s classic boomtowns. John Kernaghan is based in Oakville, Ontario. JUNE / JULY 2014 IRISH AMERICA 69


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{sláinte} By Edythe Preet

Forty Shades of Green Edythe Preet writes about Irish influences on her Californian garden ack in the nineties a friend’s gorgeous garden made me forty envious shades of green. Then in 2002, I moved into a little 1950s bungalow with a big backyard that was choked with weeds, discarded bed and bicycle frames, and a dilapidated shed housing a black widow spider colony. Full of purpose and heavily gloved, I dove into the task of creating my first garden. For four months I dug out every weed, rolled in tree stumps to make borders, built veggie beds with railroad ties, and paved a dining nook with chunks of a neighbor’s torn up driveway. Next I made river pebble paths outlined with mini boulders, dug an itsy bitsy pond, and had a dump truck’s load of mushroom compost delivered. With the “bones” of my garden in place, I was ready to plant. A pal who moved to the mountains donated some plants that wouldn’t survive her new climate: a three-foot lemon tree, a twofoot tall fig tree, a scrawny lemon verbena shrub, and a puny purple flowered potato vine. I added 12 heirloom roses, gobs of vegetables and herbs, and one-gallon jasmine, lavender, California mallow, butterfly bush, hydrangeas and honeysuckle. Fast forward to 2014. The fig is 15 feet tall and produces over a thousand fruit annually, the lemon is eight feet high and flavors my salads all winter, the potato ‘vine’ became a tree, ditto the lemon verbena and mallow, the butterfly bush towers over the house, the jasmine threatens to consume the bedroom wall, and the lavender is almost as big as a VW Beetle. Having learned in Gardening Year One that veggie plants produce way more than I can consume, each season fewer go in the ground. Early on I discovered something my gardening friend hadn’t mentioned. Unlike projects that create completed items, gardens are never finished. There’s always something to do and, if not kept up with, will quickly deteriorate into a shambles. Alas, that’s what

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My Irish Garden From the street, one would never guess that a romantic Irish garden occupies the backyard of my ’50s California bungalow. My hideaway begins just outside the kitchen door, where a flagstone walkway is flanked on one side by a mini pond complete with spurting fish fountain and resident gnome, and on the other by a stand of fragrant antique rosebushes.The path leads to a shaded mosaic bistro table and chairs surrounded by lush ferns and hydrangeas, with a view across a grassy patch to another rose garden. From there a narrow stone path under the purple flowered mallow’s “tree tunnel” opens on the walled kitchen garden with veggies flourishing amid companion flowers, a modest rhubarb plant, and in the corner a potting shed partly hidden by ancient ivy. Following leaf-mulched walkways between the veggie beds takes the wanderer past a “hermit’s chair” fashioned from salvaged tree stumps tucked under a tangled honeysuckle arbor. Continuing on beneath the massive fig tree, one comes to the “scented garden” filled with pungent herbs, scented geraniums 70 IRISH AMERICA JUNE / JULY 2014

happened last year. So all through Spring I sweated, swore and crawled around on my hands and knees digging, pulling, planning and planting what I hope will grow to be my most glorious garden yet. And one afternoon while washing dishes I had an epiphany. Everything I know about garden design I learned in Ireland! On visits to many landed manors, farmhouses, cottages and nationally recognized botanical treasures, I discovered a wealth of Temple House garden, Co. Sligo.

Irish horticultural Edens. There were kitchen gardens, herb gardens, walled gardens, cutting gardens, rose gardens, moon gardens, scented gardens, woodland gardens and garden follies galore. Kitchen gardens are just that, neatly tended plots where veggies destined for the soup pot or dinner plate grow in happy harmony. Herb gardens often resembled in-ground stained glass windows with each section outlined in gravel and filled with different culinary plants and edible flowers.

and more fragrant roses from which a river pebble path that’s shaded by the enormous purple potato vine “tree” passes a partly hidden life-size crouching jaguar on a leafy mound under a bushy rose and a lemon tree. From there another leaf-mulched path leads to an antique park bench under a huge guava tree with a view of the whole garden. Completing the circuit, the final leafy path behind the guava passes the “moon garden” planted with a huge gardenia bush I have mothered for 20 years plus graceful silvery leafed Dusty Miller plants and ends at the entrance to the reed-thatched patio that serves as my “cottage orne.” There, surrounded by dozens of potted and hanging plants and flowers, plus assorted sculptures and wall art, one can relax (or nap!) on a weathered rattan divan piled with cushions covered in vintage fabrics whilst being soothed by the music of a small frog fountain, or enjoy an al fresco dinner on a lacey wrought iron table and chairs under the romantic light cast by hundreds of tiny lights strung along the rafters.


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RECIPES Walled gardens are kitchen gardens on a grand scale. Usually found on manor properties, many were built during the Famine years when landed gentry had sturdy walls built around their gardens by laborers who could not find work. The stone drywalls are themselves works of art and provide the extra bonus of holding the sun’s heat and keeping the plants warm. The example at Temple House in County Sligo occupies more than an acre and includes an aged apple orchard and rhubarb “pie plants” that are bigger than Victorian bathtubs. Homes with even the smallest patches of dirt have cutting gardens, for the Irish love nothing more than bringing bouquets indoors to grace heirloom vases. Roses, being the Virgin Mary’s sacred flower, are a popular planting. Large properties will often have formal rose gardens containing dozens of heritage beauties, enclosed with manicured privet hedges and laid out with flagstone paths, benches for relaxing among the blossoms’ heady perfume, and birdbaths for enticing feathered friends to stop by for a dip or a drink. One particular oasis, Kilfane Glen and Waterfall in Thomastown, County Kilkenny, completely enthralled me. Owned by Nicholas Mosse, Ireland’s most famous potter, and his botanical artist wife Susan, the 15-acre property had been neglected for more than 200 years and was a tangled mass of overgrowth when they purchased it. A chance discovery of a 1795 estate map and sketches dated 1805 led the couple on a restoration adventure that resulted in the property becoming listed as an Irish Heritage Garden. Developed during the 1790s by Sir John and Lady Powers, in collaboration with John’s twin brother Sir Richard Powers, the grounds of Kilfane House reflected the influence of Rousseau and the Romantic Movement. Untamed woods, ravines and valleys, waterfalls and cascades, purpose built caves and grottoes combined to produce a rugged wild landscape, rather than the formal elegance that was previously popular. The property’s most unique feature is a ravine with a tumbling stream. Flanked by sheer rock faces and outcrops up to 50 feet high, it winds through the narrow valley floor and forms picturesque cascades when coursing over slanting drops strewn with boulders. To create the waterfall, the designers diverted part of the stream’s flow into a mile-long canal that conducts the water over a 30-foot cliff. A murmuring brook runs from the pool at the base of the falls and rejoins the nearby main stream, which at that point flows through a grassy lawn at the center of the glen. Nature lovers who followed paths through the beech, sweet chestnut, oak, larch and Scots pine woodlands were rewarded by encounters with enchanting caprices and follies: rustic seats amid swaths of wildflowers, bridges across the meandering stream, a ‘hermit’s grotto’ carved into the cliff just yards from the base of the waterfall, and the prime destination: a charming thatched “cottage orne.” Set in open grassland with mullioned windows and doors that open wide for an unobstructed view of the waterfall, it was fitted out with comfy furnishings for resting up before hiking back to the manor. While the majority of Kilfane Glen’s enhanced natural beauty was intended for daytime walking, guests could also take romantic strolls at night through the ‘moon’ garden where paths lined with plants having silvery leaves and white flowers reflected the moonlight. Even though my garden is a postage stamp in comparison to vast Kilfane Glen, I realize now that it contains wee replicas of classic Irish romantic horticultural design and I fancy that one of my ancestors who tended a lush manor garden left its imprint on IA my DNA! Sláinte!

NOTE: The tomatoes and herbs in these recipes will be fresh picked from my garden. They can also usually be found at summer Farmer’s Markets.

Summertime Pasta (personal recipe from my Italian grandmother) 8-12 sun-ripened heirloom tomatoes bunch of basil 1 ⁄3 cup Extra Virgin olive oil salt 1 ⁄2 to 1 lb angel hair pasta (Cappellini) finely grated Romano cheese Chop the tomatoes into small pieces. Mince the basil. Combine with olive oil and a little salt. Set aside for half an hour and allow the tomato nectar to emerge. Fill a stockpot with water and bring to a boil. Add angel hair pasta and cook for 8-10 minutes until al dente. Drain pasta and combine with tomato-basil mixture. Serve with Romano cheese on the side for flavoring to each diner’s preference. Serves 4-6.

Arugula Garden Salad 1 1

⁄2 ⁄2 1

1

(personal recipe) salad bowl full of Arugula leaves and flowers Nasturtium flowers cup chopped toasted walnuts cup crumbled Feta cheese pear, peeled and cored olive oil Balsamic vinegar

Combine arugula, arugula flowers, nasturtium flowers, walnuts and Feta cheese. Cut pear into small pieces and add to salad bowl. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with Balsamic vinegar. Toss. Serves 4-6.

Rose Geranium Pound Cake (personal recipe) NOTE: This cake will have a delicate scent and slight flavor of roses. 1 ⁄2 cup butter, softened 3 ⁄4 cup sugar 2 eggs 1 tsp vanilla extract 2 tablespoons brandy grated rind of 1 lemon 2 cups flour 3 ⁄4 teaspoon baking soda 1 ⁄4 teaspoon salt 3 ⁄4 teaspoon mace 1 ⁄4 teaspoon nutmeg 1 cup yogurt Preheat oven to 325F. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, beating well after each addition. Stir in vanilla extract, brandy and lemon rind. Sift flour, baking soda, salt, mace and nutmeg into a small bowl. Add to creamed mixture alternately with yogurt, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Place Rose Geranium leaves face down in a decorative array on the bottom of a well-oiled loaf or tube pan. Pour in cake batter and smooth surface. Bake at 325 degrees for 40-50 minutes until a tester can be inserted and withdrawn dry. Cool in pan on rack for 10 minutes. Invert pan on a serving plate, remove so leaves are showing on top of cake. Let cake cool to room temperature. Best served the following day. Makes 8-10 servings. JUNE / JULY 2014 IRISH AMERICA 71


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{ review of books}

Recently published books of Irish and Irish-American interest.

The Dream of the Celt By Mario Vargas Llosa Translated from the Spanish by Edith Grossman

ario Vargas Llosa was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2010 “for his cartography of structures of power and his trenchant images of the individual’s resistance, revolt, and defeat.” Each of his books is a portrait of one or more individuals who set their course against the entrenched interests of the powerful. His first novel, The Time of the Hero, published in the mid-sixties and set among cadets at a Peruvian military school, very like the one Vargas Llosa had been sent to by his father, was derided by the ruling Peruvian generals as the product of “a degenerate mind.” In the ensuing years, Vargas Llosa has had reason to move from one country to another in order to continue to write and to stay free of such condemners. Each of his relocations has enabled him to absorb additional forms of language and literature, especially Portuguese, French, and English, even leading him to claim William Faulkner as his favorite writer. What is especially remarkable about Vargas Llosa’s subjects is that he never seems to get anything wrong. Even the most consummate insiders hear no false note. His Dominican Republic in The Feast of the Goat is an utterly authentic recreation of that island nation in the time of the dictator Trujillo. His mid-nineteenth-century France – in The Perpetual Orgy, his non-fiction tribute to Gustave Flaubert – is faultlessly accurate. And now, in The Dream of the Celt, Vargas Llosa has written a lightly fictionalized, amazingly precise, and astonishingly perceptive life of the controversial Roger Casement, an early twentieth-century Irish figure whom most writers, whether of fiction or non-fiction, have failed to capture on the page. Casement, who grew up in an Anglican family in Ulster, never attended university, and while still a teenager became a shipping

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The Black-Eyed Blonde By Benjamin Black (John Banville)

ooker Prize-winning Irish novelist John Banville has an alter ego known as Benjamin Black. As Black he has written eight best-selling crime novels. In his latest, The Black-Eyed Blonde, he revisits Raymond Chandler’s legacy of American noir, reviving Chandler’s brutally compelling and witty P.I., Philip Marlowe. The novel is an entertaining read – a noir thriller reminiscent of the best of the genre. Certainly, Black’s mimicry of Chandler comes close to masterful in most

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clerk in Liverpool. Soon enough, he set off for adventures in Africa, long the destination of his dreams. There he came gradually to abhor the cruel treatment of the natives by Europeans, especially by the Belgians working for King Leopold II, one of the great villains of history. Casement’s report on the harrowing but quotidian atrocities perpetrated on the highly lucrative rubber plantations became a sensation, first in Britain, then throughout the Western world, leading to Casement’s knighthood and international fame. The Dream is divided into three great sections, entitled “The Congo,” “Amazonia,” and “Ireland.” Vargas Llosa contrives to drop the reader, as if by parachute, into each locale. At first, one may lose one’s sense of direction, but gradually one becomes acclimated and, if not quite a native, certainly a seasoned resident. In the colonies of the Amazon, Casement encounters similar atrocities to the ones he reported in Africa, which triggers another sensational report. But as time goes on, Casement’s horror at the effects of colonialism turns him into an unyielding Irish patriot, one who sees vividly the parallels between the dispossessed natives of the Congo and Amazonia and the similarly dispossessed natives of his own ancestral island. Casement’s involvement with the Irish revolutionaries and his subsequent capture, trial, and execution by the British are too well known to shock the reader. But Vargas Llosa sculpts such a rounded figure in his evolving portrait of Casement that we are left both sad and content at the end. Casement’s once-shocking “Black Diaries,” which narrate his homosexual encounters and were published by the British in order to discredit him, are put in their rightful – and subsidiary – place in the narrative. The author’s interpretation of their significance is so beautifully subtle that I would urge you to read about it in The Dream of the Celt without my further summary. – Thomas Cahill

of the novel. The women are beautiful, dangerous, and duplicitous – just as noir “dames” should be. Black does his utmost to present us with authentic Marlowe – a jaded first-person narrator whose world-view is rife with bitter witticism and often bizarre metaphor (“around here there are days in high summer when the sun works on you like a gorilla peeling a banana”). The plot is pure Chandler, with more twists and turns than a drive through the Hollywood Hills. There are country clubs, gun molls, shady Mexican gangsters, playboys, rich kid drug addicts, and of course, the black-eyed blonde – a poor

(Farrar, Straus and Giroux / 458 pages / $27)

little rich girl who just happens to have been born in Ireland. Aside from a few minor linguistic stumbles (no 1950s P.I. would have a clue what a “cottage loaf” looks like or call his cigarettes “cancer sticks”), Black captures Chandler’s prose style. It is only in the Irish references that the novel feels off-key – the black-eyed blonde’s father was a compatriot of Michael Collins and was brutally murdered. When Marlowe hears the story, he is already familiar with the importance of the Irish Civil War and Michael Collins – an importance that Collins and Irish Nationalism


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just wouldn’t have had in the vernacular of 1950s L.A. What Black attempts here is admirable, and aside from a few minor missteps, he accomplishes his goal of writing Chandler’s bestknown anti-hero true to character while giving us a romp of a noir thrill ride. – Yvonne C. Garrett (Henry Holt & Co. / 304 pages / $27.00)

Frog Music By Emma Donoghue

an Francisco in the 1870s – a parched and burgeoning city of debauched entertainment, lyrical music, salubrious pubs, and as it turns out in Dublin native Emma Donoghue’s new novel Frog Music, murder. Her new mystery centers on the real-life unsolved murder of Jenny Bonnet, a frog-catching crossdresser whom Donoghue weaves with vibrant delight throughout her story. Just as she had done in her previous novel Room (shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and Hughes Irish Novel of the Year), which was inspired by the abduction of Elizabeth Fritzl, Donoghue takes inspiration from the real-life complexities of the world and turns them into emotionally riveting fictions. Frog Music is not Donoghue’s first foray into the realm of historical fiction, having captivated audiences with her moving and lusty portrayal of an 18th century working-class London prostitute in Slammerkin or with her book of short stories The Woman Who Gave Birth to Rabbits. Donoghue is at her best when she inhabits the world she is writing about, bringing to life the crowded and stifling streets of San Francisco with “a stinking miasma of all the streams and soots San Franciscans can produce” while also conveying the fear surrounding the outbreak of smallpox that ravaged the city in 1876. Added to these fears is the pent up racism that colors San Franciscan society. Donoghue puts us right in the middle of Chinatown, where no doctors would venture over fears of contracting smallpox from the exotic “coolies.” Racist and stereotypical fears of newly arrived Irish immigrants like the McNamaras, who owned the saloon where Bonnet was mur-

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The Temporary Gentleman

dered, are bitingly described as unintelligent and “potatofaced” from the novel’s heroine Blanche Beunon, herself a French immigrant. These descriptions contextualize the gilded 19th-century American West, allowing Donoghue throughout Frog Music to present the time period in a highly visual way, focusing on the less appealing aspects of society, warts and all. As in all of Donoghue’s novels, the characters she creates center on the solidarity of relationships – in this instance that of Blanche and Bonnet and, more heartrending Blanche and her baby P’tit. Blanche herself is an immigrant from France having settled as a dancer and call girl in California with her ami Arthur and his friend Ernest. What the novel needed was more aspects of Jenny Bonnet. Donoghue tells her narrative through the eyes of Blanche in a fractured and fragmented way, relying on flashbacks and fastforwards. The image we have of Jenny is incomplete and the reader waits anxiously for the scenes she tends to steal so effortlessly. The relationship that solidifies the novel is Blanche’s journey with her son P’tit. We watch as Blanche goes from self-involved sex object to nurturing mother. Blanche rescues P’tit from an appalling shelter where he is nursed for over a year, and even though he is described in no flattering terms, the love Blanche feels for him comes across as sincere and palpable. The novel’s journey is just as much about who killed Jenny Bonnet as it is about the relationship between a mother and her son, a theme it shares with Room. In the end, Donoghue pieces together a murder mystery and family drama of a very high caliber that uncovers the life of the rambunctious and ahead-of-her-time Jenny Bonnet, while infusing her novel with love, music, and frogs. – Matthew Skwiat

ebastian Barry’s The Temporary Gentleman is his eighth novel, and his third to deal with the history of the McNulty family. This time the narrator is Jack, brother to Eneas from The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty and brother-in-law to Rosanne from The Secret Scripture, the woman who was committed to a mental institution by her husband, Jack’s brother, and the local priest, for supposed sins of the flesh. (The book is now being made into a movie starring Vanessa Redgrave, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Jessica Chastain and Jeremy Irons.) As in his other books, Barry writes about a country suffering from both the aftershock of British colonization, and the almighty control of the Catholic Church. Jack, an engineer who lived through the Great War, is the “temporary gentleman” of the book’s title in that his commission in the British Army was never permanent. (The moniker was used, as a pejorative term to describe an Irish officer in the British Army who, for the course of the war, would be designated a “temporary gentleman.”) As with many Irish who served in the British Army, Jack finds himself unable to settle in Ireland’s postrevolution atmosphere. Meanwhile, his wife, the beautiful Mae Kirwan, whom he met in college, is frustrated in that she has no role to play in the “new” Ireland other than that of wife and mother. In 1957 Jack finds himself in Accra, along the Ghanaian coast, where he had been posted during the war. To better understand his predicament he decides to write down his recollections. This story within a story technique worked well for Barry in Secret Scripture and it succeeds here too. We come to an understanding of Jack’s nature through his reflections, and that’s the beauty of Barry’s writing. He lays the evidence out without judgment, and though Jack is culpable of wrongdoing, in the end we see him as all too human. –Patricia Harty

(Little Brown / 405 pages / $27.00)

(Viking Adult / 320 pages / $26.95)

By Sebastian Barry

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{music} By Tara Dougherty

Irish Folk Bonanza If ever you’ve been mid-St. Patrick’s Day party hunting through your collection for the perfect blend of Irish music, this is the CD you’ll wish you had.

T

he Ultimate Guide to Irish Folk is the best collection to be released covering the genre in years. Released by ARC music with liner notes written by John O’Regan, the two-disc set is well curated to demonstrate not only the best ornamentation and depth of Irish folk, but also just how sonically diverse the genre has grown. Covering the classics into the not-so-traditional expansion of Irish folk, The Ultimate Guide to Irish Folk is a perfect sampling of the different flavors of Irish music. It’s a comprehensive introduction to Irish folk for newcomers and a nice exploration for veterans who might be in need of some new artists in their rotation. Beginning with classics like Luke Kelly’s “Raglan Road” and Lúnasa’s “Morning Nightcap/The Malbay Shuffle,” the Ultimate Guide does well to balance not only the traditional with contemporary, but also modern artists with legends. For the traditional ear, Kevin Burke and Martin Hayes represent current artists with that classic sound on the collection. Both showcase a new school of trad artists whose command of rhythm and ornamentation has launched them to modern legends in folk. Hayes (fiddle) is accompanied by decades-long musical partner and legend himself Dennis Cahill (guitar) for an energetic “Paddy Fahey’s Reel.” Marquee names like Sinead O’Connor also grace the set. The Ultimate Guide does not shy away from some of the more experimental artists of Irish folk. While it might not make the most traditional of fans happy, the collection does stay in the realm of accessible experimentation. More contemporary artists featured include the Scream Orphans, the female quartet who might be best described as a pop rock group with a very distinct Irish accent. Singer-songwriter Luka Bloom is another modern artist on the collection whose acoustic style brings a very simple sweetness to the collection. Another modern favorite, Cherish the Ladies, make an appearance on the second disc with a medley that leads perfectly into the following track by Caladh

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Nua. The collection is on the whole very well put together; it flows from track to track quite effortlessly, delighting and subtly educating the listener. What makes this guide truly fantastic are the liner notes by Irish journalist John

during the late 50s and 60s, there were times when folk music was often in danger of being forgotten or rendered obsolete as a term of social expression.” He details the years when it seemed Irish folk was in crisis to the booming success of the Clancy

O’Regan. Clocking in at 31 pages, complete with a small history of Irish folk and a brief biography of each artist on the album, they serve as a tiny tour guide through the album. Large musical anthologies like this often ward off new listeners as overwhelming, but this collection screams beginner-friendly. It is the ideal launching point for a self-education on Irish folk. As O’Regan writes, “While Irish folk and traditional music never needed a revival like those in Britain and the US

Brothers. O’Regan gives a superlative summary of the early influences on the genre right up to the flourishing college programs at Irish World Academy of Music and Dance at the University of Limerick that now offer graduate focus on Irish traditional music. The title doesn’t lie. The Ultimate Guide to Irish Folk is exactly that. It is the perfect blend of tracks trad fans are looking for and the ideal teacher for new lisIA teners.


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Authentic Irish Foods

Enjoy a Taste of Ireland

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{crossword} By Darina Molloy

ACROSS 1 Urge or beg (5) 9 Mayo birthplace of 30 down (9) 12 (& 41 across) He played out his international rugby career on a high (5) 13 See 34 across (1, 4) 14 (& 3 down) Armagh-born poet and Princeton professor (4) 15 A zucchini by any other name (9) 16 (& 32 across) New novel by Emma Donoghue (4) 17 The name of this Dublin coastal suburb means ‘meadow of the bull’ (8) 19 (& 28 down) The ___ ____: entertaining US family sitcom that ran for five seasons in early 1970s (5) 21 New hit teen novel by Veronica Roth (9) 24 Belongs to me (2) 25 See 39 across (8) 27 _____ Night: Old pagan celebrations on summer solstice, mostly limited to west of Ireland now (7) 29 See 5 down (7) 31 May the road ____ to meet you (4) 32 See 16 across (5) 34 (& 13 across) Actor and Mr. Dawn O’Porter (5) 36 (& 24 down) Renowned tenor and Papal Count (4) 37 Of Mice and Men character played on stage by 34 across (5) 39 (& 25 across) Union stalwarts in 19th century PA coal mines (5) 40 Wexford site of 1798 battle: ______ Hill (7) 41 See 12 across (1, 8)

DOWN 2 (& 12 down) Stage name of Barry Moore (4) 3 See 14 across (7) 4 Casual bloke (3) 5 (& 29 across) ___ Moore’s _____: Annual publication of predictions, founded in 18th century Dublin (3) 6 Site of a famous murder case in 1882, on the Galway/Mayo border (10) 7 Chicken dish which takes its name

8 9 10 11 12 15 18 19 20 22 23 24 26 28

from Ukrainian capital (4) The home of Liverpool FC (7) Short company (2) South, in short (2) Dance move made famous by Miley Cyrus (5) See 2 down (5) See 26 down (8) See 30 down (7) See 32 down (3) Birthplace of 36 across (7) See 23 down (7) (& 22 down) Ireland won this rugby championship, for the second time, in March (3) See 36 across (2, 7) (& 15 down) Hardboiled author with Co. Waterford roots (7) See 19 across (5)

Win a subscription to Irish America magazine Please send your completed crossword puzzle to Irish America, 875 Sixth Avenue, Suite 201, New York, NY 10001, to arrive no later than July 1, 2014. A winner will be drawn from among all correct entries. If there are no correct solutions, the prize will be awarded for the completed puzzle which comes closest in the opinion of our staff. Winner’s name will be published along with the solution in our next issue. Xerox copies are acceptable. Winner of the April / May Crossword: Jill McCormick, Mechanicsburg, PA 76 IRISH AMERICA JUNE / JULY 2014

30 (& 18 down) Irish-born inventor of the steerable torpedo and a monorail system (5) 32 (& 19 down) Chris O’Dowd’s nostalgic comedy drama series (5) 33 Initials of former Irish Taoiseach Haughey (1,1) 35 Internet country code for Honduras (1,1) 38 Shout loudly (4)

April / May Solution


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{what are you like?} By Adam Farley

Jim Norton J

im Norton has been acting since he was ten years old. From radio plays as a child to guest roles on TV shows like “Frasier” and “Cheers” to award-winning Broadway plays, Norton has run the gamut of acting possibilities and can’t imagine himself doing anything else. Currently, he’s on Broadway in the limited-engagement revival of John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, also starring fellow Irishman Chris O’Dowd. Norton plays the one-handed and aging ranch handyman Candy, who is quickly feeling superfluous on the farm; Norton himself is anything but. Having appeared in almost 100 different films and television shows since 1965 and numerous plays before and since then, Norton is one of Ireland’s best-known character actors. Born in 1938, he was raised in Dublin and knew he wanted to be an actor from an early age, attending plays at the Abbey as a child. It might be his soft yet deep Dublin voice, or his mess of white hair, but Norton seems to frequently find himself playing members of the clergy and is probably most recognizable for his contribution to one of the iconic moments of “Father Ted,” in which the titular Ted squarely kicks Norton’s stately and uptight Bishop Brennan “up the arse” after losing a bet.

What is your current state of mind? It is one of great joy that I have the day off. We’ve been rehearsing Of Mice and Men every day and playing the show at night and this is a Monday and actors don’t work on Monday. So today’s the day off, the day to have the massage, to have the swim, to actually sit down quietly and get a chance to read the newspapers. What do you consider your greatest extravagance? I like to dine out in nice restaurants. I guess that would be the one extravagance – that I am aware of at least! Who are your heroes? That’s a hard one to answer, heroes. I suppose for me it’s people who do their jobs well and cheerfully every day and their only reward is the fact of knowing that they’ve done their best. I think they are the real unsung heroes that we have. What’s on your bedside table? I’ll have to go and have a look! It’s quite a few books in fact. There are some essays by Joseph Campbell. There’s the book I’m reading at the moment, In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson – it’s 78 IRISH AMERICA JUNE / JULY 2014

Since his first appearance on Broadway in Conor McPherson’s The Weir in 1999, he has increased in profile from small guest appearances on sitcoms and in films to an in-demand Broadway presence. And in 2007 he won a Tony Award in the U.S. and an Olivier Award in the U.K. for his supporting role in another critically acclaimed Conor McPherson play, The Seafarer. On a recent Monday, Norton took the time to speak with Irish America about his love of acting, Ireland, and the simple pleasure of rain on a roof.

really interesting. Of course there’s a copy of Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, and in fact it’s my grandson Joshua’s copy he gave me when he heard I was doing the play. And also I’m reading The Red House by Mark Haddon who wrote The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. And also of course in my collection is the James Joyce Dubliners, which I love. Being a Dubliner, naturally I like to dip into that from time to time. Your first job? Oh gosh it’s so long ago. I was a child actor so I worked from about the age of ten – that’s how long I’ve been in this business – and my very first job was a radio play. It was actually Brendan Behan’s first play, because his first plays were done on radio before they were ever done in theater. It was a play called Moving Out, set in Dublin, and I played the young kid in it. But my first job professionally as an actor was at the Gate Theatre in Dublin in a production of A Moon of the Misbegotten with Anna Manahan of all people. I might have been 20 or around that age but I’m not sure. It was a while ago!

Your earliest memory? I was very young, and I was sitting on my father’s knee and it was in County Wicklow where we used to go out on holidays. I remember he carried me across a courtyard between one little house and the house that we were renting and I remember the rain was coming down and it was hot – the rain was warm – and there was thunder and lightning and he carried me across this courtyard. And as a consequence I’ve always loved extreme weather; and I especially love thunderstorms. Where do you go to think? Well, I suppose into my own head because I move around so much. In an idealized world I’d think up in the Wicklow Mountains and I’d live in a place called Glencree, which is very beautiful. At the very top of Glencree there’s a place called the Reconciliation Center, which used to be an old Army barracks in the time of the British, and it’s now beautiful and quiet. That’s a good place to go and think. But otherwise I have to carry an image of that in my head when I want to have serious thoughts.


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Best advice ever received? I suppose to live in the present, because we can’t change the past and we can’t predict the future. Though I suppose to live in the present you have to define it, and the best definition I’ve heard of that is: the present is what you are doing. Best advice ever given? Well, I’ve often said to my grandchildren, “I don’t give advice but I’m a very good listener.” Sometimes I think people just want to be listened to and it is important to give your full attention. Do you talk on plane rides? I’m a naturally sociable person, but on a long plane ride I do bring my Bose headset and my collection of music to listen to. But sometimes you can have interesting conversations and other times it can be exhausting. By the time you get to the end of your journey all your energies have been depleted by trying to think of new things to say.

It was at a time when I decided I would be an actor, that this is what I would do with my life and it really inspired me. Favorite opening to a piece of music. I have fairly wide tastes, but I suppose I do like Schumann. There’s a song cycle called Dichterleibe, “The Poet’s Love,” that is 16 songs, and the opening is a piano introduction called “The Month of May.” It’s very calming and very beautiful. Favorite place in Ireland? I’m a Dubliner, so my idea of a perfect place would be walking down Dún

ably Playboy of the Western World, which is one of my favorite plays and I was later fortunate enough to play Sean Keough at the National Theatre in London. What’s your motto? I don’t consciously have a motto, no, not beyond my belief that living in the present is the most important thing to do. And just be nice to people because it’s so easy to do. What would you do if you weren’t an actor? I would be somebody desperately trying to be an actor.

Norton and James Franco (left) in a scene from Of Mice and Men.

What do you consider the best and the worst qualities in other humans. The best quality is to be honest and truthful, and the worst would be the opposite of that. Describe your perfect day. I get up, have my granola, read the papers, have a swim, go for a walk in Central Park with Mary, my wife, and go to dinner in the evening. And of course, phone my kids and my grandkids and see how they’re doing. Piece of literature or film that you could watch or read again and again. A piece of literature would be Ulysses, because I’ve spent so much time studying it. I did the audiobook of Ulysses and it took me nearly a year to prepare to do it. In terms of film I’d have to say On the Waterfront. It was a pretty seminal experience for me seeing Brando for the first time when I was a young actor in Dublin.

PHOTO: RICHARD PHIPP

Do you have a hidden talent? I don’t have any hidden talents that I’m aware of. Acting is my life, my vocation, not to be too pretentious, but it is what I do with my life. Though I am good at finding things. Even as a child I remember my grandmother, as she got into old age, she would lose things and I became very skillful at finding things for her. Laoghaire pier on a summer’s day. It’s one of the most beautiful piers in Europe with a fabulous view across the Howth Head, and when I walk down there I invariably meet someone I know. Favorite places outside Ireland. I love Capri. I’ve only been there once but I fell absolutely in love with it and can’t wait to go back.

Your favorite sound(s)? Back to what I was saying about my earliest memory; I love the sound of rain. I know it’s probably a bit of a cliché, but the very simple thing of rain on a roof, and rain on a tin roof is a very beautiful sound; it’s musical. Your favorite smell. Lavender. And my wife’s Bolognese.

Favorite character you’ve played. I usually say the one I’m playing at the moment, but the one I played in Conor McPherson’s The Seafarer, Richard Harkin, for which I got my Tony, has lots of really pleasant memories for me. It’s also the most difficult part I’ve played because he was blind and a drunk, so it was quite a journey playing that character.

What is a question you wish someone would ask you. Would you like fries with this? And the answer would probably be yes.

The first play you saw? I honestly can’t remember. It was prob-

Of Mice and Men runs through July 27 at the Longacre Theater in New York.

What’s next for you? A massage to iron out my tired old body so I’m ready for the fray for the rest IA of the week.

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{the last word} By Tim Pat Coogan

The Father of Irish Studies Tim Pat Coogan recalls Eoin McKeirnan, who for many years wrote the “Last Word” column for this magazine and was a pioneer in the field of Irish Studies.The founder of the Irish American Cultural Institute and the Irish Way Program, McKiernan is now the subject of a new biography, Irish America Reawakening:The Eoin McKiernan Story, written by his daughter Deirdre.

E

oin McKiernan was one of the best men I ever knew. On his death bed, amongst his last messages to his children was, “Give ten per cent of your incomes to the poor.” During his life he gave far more than that to Ireland. To me, he often appeared to be the embodiment of the Irish poem that every Irish school child once learned, “Mo dhá Róisín,” in which Róisín is the woman the poet loved, the other – Ireland. No writer could do justice to Eoin’s achievements. The Irish Cultural Institute, which he founded, was responsible for the largest and most sophisticated cultural program ever undertaken abroad. Caravans of Irish academics, writers, Gaelgóirí, which he took infinite pains to organize, criss-crossed America bringing to the Irish diaspora news that Irish culture and the Irish language had great contemporary relevance. That was one side of the McKiernan medal, as it were. The other was the marvelous Éire-Ireland journal as scholarly as it was interesting, that the institute produced. Eoin was a man of wide-ranging interests. His greatest passion was probably the Irish language, it’s true, but he was also passionate about human rights and education. The gospel he lived by was that the educated man is distinguished by his enquiring mind and his concern with “Why?” The word education comes from the Latin, to draw out, and that was what Eoin did. He drew out the best in people and encouraged them in turn to bring out the best of Irish culture to others. For several decades, Eoin McKiernan was Irish studies in the U.S. Today's burgeoning landscape of Irish courses from coast to coast didn’t exist when Adele Dasimer founded Boston College’s Irish studies program with advice from Eoin and money from her family. Initially, the Jesuit authorities told her that the teaching of Irish studies could be “divisive.”

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Eoin, who was born in New York City on May 10, 1915, had a distinguished teaching career most notably at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN, from 1959-1972. He also served as a consultant to the U.S. Department of Education in the early 1960s. He married Jeannette O’Callaghan in 1938. They met in an Irish class at the Gaelic Society in New York City and went on to have nine children. Eoin was so punctilious about paying for the children’s education, and making sure that any money raised went to projects such as the Irish American Cultural Institute, that I knew him to sleep on benches at airports rather than take a more

timely, but more expensive flight. As his great labors neared their end, Eoin’s lodestar was his dream of retiring with Jeannette to a cottage in the West of Ireland. Fate decided otherwise. I was a guest in Eoin’s home in St. Paul, sometime in 1995. I was on a book tour that he helped arrange. Eoin began his day by making me porridge at his insistence, with a fistful of raisins through it. And then after breakfast he took off to spend the morning at Jeannette’s bedside. A cruel illness had brought premature senility to his lovely wife. He cared for her at home as long as he could. Now he visited her at the home every day. I learned not to be around at lunchtime, because that was when this tall erect man came home bowed and inevitably in tears. Jeannette died in 1996, and Eoin in 2004, but their memory will live on in the hearts of Irish Americans, and all who were privileged to know them on this side of the Atlantic. And those who didn’t have that privilege will come to know him through the pages of this marvelous biography written by his IA daughter Deirdre. Irish America Reawakening: The Eoin McKiernan Story. By Deirdre McKiernan Hetzler (Borealis Books / $19.95). Tim Pat Coogan is one of Ireland’s best historical writers. His books include Ireland Since The Rising, and the best-selling biographies of Michael Collins and Eamon De Valera. For many years Tim Pat was the editor of the Irish Press newspaper. His latest book is the acclaimed, The Famine Plot: England’s Role in Ireland’s Greatest Tragedy (2012).


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{photo album} Family Pictures

Bits and Pieces

I

n the 1960s my mother inherited a ring that had been passed down through two generations. When she began wearing the ring, just before falling asleep or upon waking, she heard the sounds of murmuring voices, clinking glasses, and muffled laughter as if there were a party going on in another part of the house. Then, a man’s insistent voice calling out, “Rose! Rose!” A few weeks later, she put the ring away and the haunting stopped. Years afterwards she told me about the ring and the voice, but when I asked about the woman who owned the ring, my mother said all she knew was that it belonged to a relative of her grandmother, and by that time anyone who might have known more had passed away. There were plenty of stories of my first-generation IrishAmerican grandparents growing up in Chicago at the turn of the

Cecelia was born in New York City in 1855 to Michael Kilroy and Mary McHale, and one of the bits and pieces we had, a sampler she embroidered at age 13, revealed that in the 1860s the Kilroy family was living in Erie, Pennsylvania. Then, sometime in the 1870s she met Charles Williamson, a young British Protestant who had come down to Erie from Canada. When they married, the family story goes, Cecelia was disowned. They moved to Chicago in the late 1870s. Charles was a cooper, or a barrel maker, and he had a brother already in Chicago who operated his own barrel factory. They eventually had ten children, seven of whom survived. Lenore, the youngest, became my grandmother. Every one of them was baptized a Catholic. Tragedy struck in 1902 however, when Charles was killed in a factory accident. Cecelia had an emotional breakdown and was sent to a sanatorium, leaving the eldest daughters, Ella and Rose, to run the home until their mother was well enough to return. My grandmother was then four years old and her lasting memory was of losing both her parents. Despite this hardship, there was a strong sense of service that Cecelia and Charles passed down to their children. Charles, Jr. became a Chicago fireman. Ann and Lenore studied nursing. Though Ann died of pernicious anemia during her training, Lenore graduated in 1917 and had a career as a nurse before beginning her own family of nine children. Ella became an expert milliner and Rose an excellent seamstress. All of Lenore’s daughters enjoyed the benefit of these skills in the beautiful outfits created for them every Christmas and Easter. Were these skills passed down to them from Cecelia, who might have learned them from her own mother? Cecelia (third from right) with her daughters, Lenore, Ann, Ella, Rose, and Grace. In this process of my journey of discovery I did last century. But when either was asked where in Ireland their pareventually find concrete information on my immigrant relatives. ents had come from there were no answers. They truly didn’t It turned out there was another cousin of Cecelia and Joe. She had know. So, we were left with only the bits and pieces of memoracome over from Ireland in 1868 and became a Sister of bilia – some lace and embroidered cloths, a cracked teapot carried Providence. It was thus from information provided by the convent lovingly across the ocean – and slivers of information. that we finally discovered the place that Michael Kilroy left all My desire to find out about the ring began with my great grandthose years ago. Sister Cyril’s birth name was Sarah Kilroy and mother, Cecilia Kilroy Williamson, who, I discovered, was given she was born in Newport, County Mayo. that ring by her cousin Joe. The ring had belonged to his mother. The stories I heard throughout my childhood made me wish I Along with his father’s watch, it was all he had left of his family. could have gone back in time and known all of these people I came When Joe was three years old his parents and baby sister all died from. My mother’s ring became the place to start piecing those bits when the Lady Elgin sank in Lake Michigan in 1860 and he was and pieces together and led to the discovery of a much fuller picleft in the care of his maternal grandparents. ture of what all those who came before us had had to endure. IA As a young man he moved from Milwaukee to Chicago and – By Monica Dougherty was reunited with his cousin Cecelia. As he’d never married, he Monica Dougherty is the author of Rose’s Ring (Sunstone Press, 2014), gave those mementos to her when he was dying. So, the ring came a historical thriller that traverses time, interweaving Dougherty’s own to Cecelia with a tragic and sad story. Having had much of that in family history, a tribe of native Oneida, and a runaway slave. her own life, it’s no wonder it was put away and not spoken of. Please send photographs along with your name, address, phone number, and a brief description, to Adam Farley at Irish America, 875 Sixth Avenue, Suite 201, New York, NY 10001. You can also e-mail the picture to submit@irishamerica.com. 82 IRISH AMERICA JUNE / JULY 2014


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Profile for Irish America Magazine

Irish America June / July 2014  

The June/July issue of Irish America magazine, featuring CBS This Morning's Norah O'Donnell. Interviews with actors Ed O'Neill (Modern Famil...

Irish America June / July 2014  

The June/July issue of Irish America magazine, featuring CBS This Morning's Norah O'Donnell. Interviews with actors Ed O'Neill (Modern Famil...