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CANADA $4.95 / U.S. $3.95









The Ireland Funds salutes Paul Boskind for his highly-accomplished career & philanthropic leadership in support of global LGBTQI+ rights.

Photo: Shutterstock (lazyllama)

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— Progress Through Philanthropy — Thanks to you, The Ireland Funds has assisted over 3,200 outstanding Irish organizations and causes across the island of Ireland and around the globe.

People are at the heart of what we do. One example is ShoutOut which delivers training across the island of Ireland to promote a better understanding of LGBTQI+ identity and encourage the creation of allies. Support from The Ireland Funds has enabled them to provide 28 workshops to over 500 teachers, educational administrators, policymakers and social workers. Let us help you connect with Ireland and realize your philanthropic goals. Visit www.irelandfunds.org

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contents |

Vol. 35 No. 1 December / January 2020

Features 35

Clonbrock Castle, County Galway



Ireland’s Gaeltacht Districts

Irish Eye on Hollywood

A journey through Ireland’s native Irish-speaking areas shows the beauty of the countryside and the language. By Sharon Ní Chonchúir


Brendan Gleeson takes on the role of Donald Trump, and other Irish film news.

Cover Story: Paul Boskind



Psychologist, businessman, Tony Award-winning producer, and gay rights activist Paul Boskind talks to Patricia Harty about his life, his work, his passion for human rights, and his castle in Ireland. By Patricia Harty

2019 Business 100 Celebrating the Irish in corporate America, who excel in business and share a love of their Irish roots.



Window on the Past

Read about the two writers that gave us Peter Pan and The Wizard of Oz.

p. 88

Madame Bluebell

Those We Lost



Tragedy in the Kerry Mountains December 17, 1941: a U.S.military transport plane crashed in Ireland’s tallest mountain. The wreckage, still to be seen, reminds us of those who died in WWII. By Christopher Warner



Listen Now Again

6 10 12 16 96 102 104 106


On the Edge of our Seats A chat with the Queen of Suspense, Mary Higgins Clark, who has penned more than 50 novels. By Mary Gallagher


We Banjo3 A band from Galway that plays a blend of traditional Irish, old-time, and bluegrass music they call Celt-grass has a growing fan base in the U.S. By Christine Kinealy

Great Irish Americans who have passed on, including Irish America Hall of Famer Denis Kelleher.

p. 106

A new National Library of Ireland exhibition celebrating the life and work of Seamus Heaney gives an overview of the poet laureate’s life and work. By Kelly Candaele


Honors for Mother Jones and President Obama, and exciting photos from IrishAmerican events.

Christmas with a Drop of Scottish

The amazing Margaret Kelly, who went from Dublin foundling to Folies Bergère to the French Resistance to Las Vegas and beyond. By Rosemary Rogers



p. 28

Louis Sullivan, the son of Irish immigrants, was an architectural genius who became known as Chicago’s “Father of the Skyscraper.” By Ray Cavanaugh


p. 16


Letters First Word Irish News Hibernia Books Roots Crossword Photo Album


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 1606, New York, NY 10001. Telephone: 212-725-2993. Fax: 212-244-3344 Email: 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. 217. 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.


If you’re lucky enough to be Irish, you’re lucky enough.

Congratulations to Visa, Inc. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Al Kelly and all other honorees of Irish America Business 100.

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caint | readers forum

Love of Country

Tom Deignan evaluated Ken Burns’ documentary Country Music, and its lack of focus on Irish influences.

Tom Deignan’s insightful review of Ken Burns’ Country Music documentary identifies a significant flaw in the PBS presentation of America’s country music tradition. He notes that “a film that runs over 16 hours…could have spent a bit more time focusing on distinctly Irish or Scots-Irish influences, rather than speaking so broadly about ‘the British Isles’.” The documentary’s short statement that “The Bard of Armagh” became the country staple “The Streets of Laredo” was misleading by being incomplete. The ballad of the Bard of Armagh (1697) celebrates the exploits of Dr. Patrick Donnelly, a Catholic priest who took the name of a travelling harper, Phelim Brady, during the time of Britain’s Penal Laws in Ireland. He ministered and celebrated Mass in South Armagh in disguise as a wandering minstrel and became known as the Bard of Armagh. Irish immigrants fleeing famine and oppression carried “The Bard of Armagh” to America, where it would evolve through a variety of lyrics and change rhythms. One path led west to become “The Streets of Laredo.” Another path led to the Mississippi Delta and New Orleans’ rich musical tradition. Lyrics were changed and time signature adapted from three to four beats per measure, and “The Bard of Armagh” became “St. James Infirmary Blues,” Louis Armstrong’s signature jazz piece (1928). The three-century history of this one song speaks volumes about the links between Irish and American folk and country music. Another compelling example is demonstrated in the evolution of a late 16thcentury country-dance tune, “The Irish Washerwoman” (“An Bhean Níocháin Éireannach”), first published in 1785 in Dublin. Pete Seeger, one of America’s leading folk singers, describes: “When you speed up ‘Rock My Soul in the Bosom of Abraham,’ you end up with ‘The Irish Washerwoman’.” He speculates that plantation slaves may have heard a fiddler playing this jig in the slave master’s mansion, and they carried it back to their quarters and transformed to its present form in their hoedowns. Leroy Anderson made “The Irish Washerwoman” the first movement of his Irish Suite (1947). The other movements are well-known Irish melodies: 2. “The Minstrel Boy,” 3. “The Last Rose of Summer,” 4. “The Rakes of Mallow,” 5. “The Wearing of the Green,” and 6. “The Girl I Left Behind Me.” Yo-Yo Ma, founder of the Silk Road Project Inc., commented on the global circulation of music: “I have had lots of extraordinary teachers in my life, among them the violinist and fiddler Mark O’Connor and bass player Edgar Meyer, both wonderful musicians. They introduced me to Appalachian music, which has been influenced by musical traditions from Ireland, from Scotland, and from Scandinavia... One of the most useful things that Mark taught me was the importance of oral traditions in which music is transmitted but also changed, through emigration and diaspora. For example, eighteenth- and nineteenth-century immigrants from Anglo-Celtic lands brought their jigs, reels, and hornpipes to the New World, where successive generations of musicians transformed them into a range of different styles and repertoires. These days, there is little common ground between the repertoires of a Texas fiddler and a fiddler from Ireland, yet the two traditions reveal an unmistakable kinship.” (Notes from 1998 conversation with Theodore Levin, Dartmouth College ethnomusicologist). Ken Burns calls country music “a uniquely American art form”. What makes it so rich and unique is that many of America’s country musicians would harvest from Irish and Scottish settlers, beginning in the 18th century, the sounds and rhythms and techniques that speak of the experience of the people, their loves – Bob Lyons, submitted by email and losses. It is the sound of America. 6 IRISH AMERICA DECEMBER / JANUARY 2020

McSorley’s Old Ale House Geoffrey Cobb reviewed the history of one of N.Y.C.’s oldest bars and its owners’ insistence on sticking to tradition.

The article about McSorley’s Old Ale House (now my favorite bar in the world) brought me back to my very first time in New York. I was a third-year law school student in town for 12 hours for an interview at the Bronx DA’s office. After the interview, I had about eight hours before I had to fly back to Chicago, so I took the subway back to Manhattan and just hopped off wherever. The first bar I came across was McSorley’s; I planned to stop in for a pint, and continue hopping north towards Penn Station to catch the train back to Newark. Instead, I ended up spending all day posted up at the bar listening to the regulars and bartenders swap stories, and falling in love with New York City. – John Cooper, submitted via email

Great article! My grandfather was Daniel O’Connell and my mother Dorothy, father Harry and brother Dan. The photo is not of Matt Maher but of Richard Walsh. Thanks. – Eileen Lipston, submitted online

My dear friend Steve Graeme “resides” on a shelf in McSorley’s – hug him for me. – Peter McMullen, submitted online

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caint | readers forum In East Mayo: A Community Where Past Is Prologue Gerry O’Shea explored the town of Swinford, Mayo, and its close relations to the U.S. in honor of its 250th anniversary.

“Forty Shades of Green” at 60

It was great to be at home for this memorable event. I really enjoyed the session on genealogy and I was impressed with all the experts present. I thought the walking tour of Swinford was outstanding, very informative and I wondered several times during the walk why we were not told all this when we were growing up. I have dined out on this experience several times since. I was also impressed with the number of people who took part despite the weather. There was a remarkable atmosphere when the two bands played up and down Main Street. – Tom Grufferty, submitted online

Christine Kinealy looked back at Johnny Cash’s hit song and his visits to the island he fell in love with.

Recollections of a Bronx Irish Catholic

Before watching Ken Burns’ country singers documentary, I didn’t realize just how much Johnny Cash loved Ireland. All I can say is that it is an easy place to love. Maith thú.

Peter Quinn recalled the days of his youth in St. Raymond’s parish. (May / June 2019 Issue)

– Mary N. Cain, submitted online

My favorite story of “Forty Shades of Green” I heard from Rosanne Cash, when she and her father were singing in St. Luke’s cafeteria as a fundraiser, which her children attended. This was in the 1990s. She shared that she was backstage when Johnny was performing the song in Ireland. A stage hand said, “He really sings our songs great.” Rosanne informed him that actually her father wrote “Forty Shades of Green.” “Ah go on now, that’s an Irish folk song.” She couldn’t convince this man that her father wrote “Forty Shades of Green.” – Lori Cassels, submitted online

Great article with new information. I have a weakness for “40 Shades of Green.” It’s a real earworm. Love the lines: “But most of all I miss a girl in Tipperary town, / And most of all I miss her lips as soft as eiderdown.”

Sláinte! The Great October Fair Edythe Preet wrote about her visit to the oldest horse fair in Europe and its history.

In the Shoes of Refugees Christine Kinealy documented her experiences treading the path of 1,500 exiled Irish from Roscommon to Dublin in 1847. (August / September 2019 Issue)

Everyone should read this article. It is beautifully written and recalls a dark time in history that many of us know little or nothing about. Thank you for writing this article. – Sarah Rupert, submitted online

Of much Irish heritage (a bit of Italian, too!), I had the pleasure of growin’ up in “Da Bronx” and going to Catholic school, A.K.A. St. Nicholas of Tolentine on Andrews Ave. Have seen and enjoyed your shows re: The Irish and the Bronx. Thanks. – Richard Mac Dowell, submitted online

The Last Irish Saloon Patrick Fenton reminisced about the good old days spent in Farrell’s Bar, a pillar of the Bronx frequented by writers Pete Hamill and Jimmy Breslin (May / June 2019 Issue)

For almost 300 years there has been an October horse fair in Ballinasloe, County Galway. My husband’s maternal grandmother, Elizabeth Bannon, was born in Ballinasloe in 1876, so she most likely attended this fair.

I grew up at 105 Windsor Pl. My mom worked in Ballard Pharmacy and my dad Richie Finch worked in Farrell’s for John Farrell in the late ’60s-early ’70s. On the morning of 6/18/73 my dad had a major stroke and heart attack while in Farrell’s. He passed ten days later, never waking up. Thanks to Mr. Farrell my mom, who is 90, still gets disability income. I went to Holy Name school as well. – Maureen Duffy Murphy, Facebook My great-grandfather Daniel and grandfather Daniel owned Lanahan’s on 8th Ave and 5th Ave. I loved your article on Farrell’s and still have memories of getting a Coke from my dad and sitting at the “back.” So glad the Visit us online at Irishamerica.com to leave your comments, or write to us: documentary is being done. Send a fax (212-244-3344), email (submit@irishamerica.com) or write to Letters, Irish America Magazine, 875 Avenue of the Americas, Suite 1606, New York, NY 10001. Letters should include the writer’s name, address, and phone number and may be edited for clarity and length. 8 IRISH AMERICA DECEMBER / JANUARY 2020

– Mary Finch Kay, submitted online

Thank you for continuously delivering.

Congratulations to Don Colleran on your recognition by the 2019 Irish America Business 100.

Š 2019 FedEx.

Your vision and efforts exemplify what we deliver to our team, our customers, and our community.

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In 1932, we created a company dedicated to introducing Americans to the beauty and magic of the Emerald Isle. More than 87 years later, we’re proud to continue to bring the spirit of Irish hospitality to travel. With guided group tours, self-drive options, and custom private-driver vacations, CIE Tours sends more U.S. visitors to Ireland than any other travel company. We are delighted to congratulate our CEO, Elizabeth Crabill, and the rest of this year’s honorees for their extraordinary accomplishments.


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# Vol. 35 No. 1 December / January 2020

IRISH AMERICA Mórtas Cine Pride In Our Heritage

Founding Publisher: Niall O’Dowd Co-Founder/Editor-in-Chief: Patricia Harty Art Director: Marian Fairweather Deputy Editor / Sales and Events Coordinator Mary Gallagher Editorial Assistant & Social Media Coordinator: Sarah Loughnane Financial Controller: Kevin M. Mangan Accounts: Mairead Bresnan

IRISH AMERICA 875 Avenue of the Americas, Suite 1606 New York NY 10001 TEL: 212-725-2993 FAX: 212-244-3344

Subscriptions: 1-800-582-6642 EMAIL:

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 1606, New York, NY 10001. Telephone: 212-725-2993. Fax: 212-244-3344 Email: 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. 217. 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.


the first word | By Patricia Harty

The Dreamers of Dreams "We are the music makers / And we are the dreamers of dreams, / Wandering by lone sea-breakers, / And sitting by desolate streams; / World-losers and world-forsakers, / On whom the pale moon gleams: / Yet we are the movers and shakers / Of the world for ever, it seems. – “The Music Makers” by Arthur O’Shaughnessy


elcome to our annual Business 100 issue. Congratulations to all our honorees. You are part of a mighty group of Irish who are world leaders on the national and global business stage. You ply your trade in so many different areas of industry, and come from so many different backgrounds and skill sets – you are a wonder to behold. From Irish-born to fifth-generation: our past and present is celebrated in your stories, in your quotes on your ancestors, and what your heritage means to you. It is heartening to see that the connection to Ireland is strong after so much time has passed. One of our honorees, Peter Murphy, is the descendant of Thomas Addis Emmet, who together with his brother, Robert Emmet, led the United Irishmen Rebellion of 1798 – that’s how far back we go. While Robert was hanged by the British, Thomas escaped and became a well-respected New York lawyer and politician. We will not forget their contribution, nor those of your ancestors that made our future brighter. We are pleased, at our upcoming Business 100 luncheon, to give our Dreamers of Dreams Award (named for the Arthur O’Shaughnessy poem), to an Irish-born builder, Mike Clune, who is based in Chicago. We honor Mike, not just for building houses that take low-income families into account, but for building dreams, and through the Irish American Partnership, helping kids back home achieve an education so that they too can dream big. He is the embodiment of generations of Irish who worked in the building trade. They were and are following in the footprints, or rather blueprints, of Louis Henry Sullivan, “The Father of the Skyscraper.” Louis, the son of Irish immigrants, forever changed the landscape of America. We are proud to bring you his story in this issue. Turning to our cover story on Paul Boskind, we brings you a new kind of Irishman, one of the many who have discovered that they are Irish through a DNA test. Having grown up in San Antonio, Texas, knowing nothing about his O’Shea ancestors, Paul has already made a big contribution to Ireland. He bought, and is renovating, a 15th-century castle in rural County Galway. The castle once belonged to the O’Kelly clan, who had at one time 80 castles in Galway and its surrounds. Many of the clan left for Europe after the Siege of Limerick in 1691, as part of the Wild Geese. It’s wonderful that Boskind, with such a recent connection, has an appreciation for the history and beauty of the Clonbrock, and is bringing it back to its former glory. The O’Kelly clan are still remembered in Ireland for the “Welcome of the O’Kellys.” They were good landlords and wonderful hosts. Centuries ago, in 1351, Chieftain Buí O’Kelly invited all the poets and writers in the land to his castle for a party that lasted a month. Given Boskind’s involvement in the arts, his social and political savvy as a fundraiser, and the legendary fundraisers he often hosts in his Manhattan penthouse, I believe that there will be many good times to come at Clonbrock Castle. Boskind says that he finds Ireland “refreshing.” I had never heard anyone say that about my Ireland, unless they were referring to the weather – the “fresh” breezes blowing in off the Atlantic, perhaps – but it was good to consider Ireland from the perspective of a global human rights activist, and to acknowledge that our small island is embracing the question of what it means to be human over what it means to be Irish. We have come a long way – who ever anticipated that Ireland would become a gay wedding destination? Perhaps one day soon, having had our first gay Taoiseach of Indian heritage, we will see a female Taoiseach (the title, which means “chieftain,” I’m told, is gender-neutral). In the meantime, we have many wonderful features in this issue that embrace the past and applaud the present. Happy reading! Mórtas Cine – Patricia On a sad note: As we went to press, Denis Kelleher passed away. He was a giant among men – a corporate chieftain. We will not see his like again! See our tribute on page 28.


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O Minister Simon Coveney officially opened the Georgia Southern Global Hub.



eorgia Southern University is the first public university in the United States to open an outreach learning facility in Ireland. On November 20, the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney officially opened the Georgia Southern Global Hub – Ireland in Wexford Town. There is a strong historic connection between Wexford and Savannah, with a large percentage of the city’s population tracing their roots there. Now, the 26,000 students of Georgia Southern can take that journey in reverse. The university encourages its students to study and intern abroad. With this end in mind, it will be launching a series of


pilot courses at the Global Hub – Ireland in the spring and summer semesters of 2020. Commenting on the opening, Dr. Howard Keeley, director of Georgia Southern’s Center for Irish Research and Teaching said: “Georgia Southern University is excited to make a significant investment in international education by committing to Global Hub – Ireland… Our ambition is to develop it as our primary educational venue for Europe. While the principal users will be our 26,000 students, we also anticipate and welcome use by our sibling institutions in the University System of Georgia, which serves some 333,000 students.”

n November 13, the Financial Times named Prepaid Financial Services’ Valerie Moran as one of the Top 100 Most Influential BAME Leaders in Technology. One day later, European CEO magazine named Noel Moran as the first-ever double winner of the European Entrepreneur of the Year award. Noel and Valerie Moran came up with the idea for their financial services company, Prepaid Financial Services Ireland Limited (PFS), in their kitchen at home in Navan Town. It has since grown to become one of the leading names in payment technology solutions. Last month, the company entered into a binding agreement to sell 100 percent of its share capital to EML Payments Ltd. for an upfront enterprise value of £226 million, excluding cash on hand, plus an earn-out component of up to £55 million.



lobal poverty and climate change can be averted by 2030. That’s according to Declan Kelly, a businessman from Portroe in Tipperary. Speaking on Ireland’s Late, Late Show in November, Kelly outlined “Global Goal Live: The Possible Dream,“ which aims to do just that. The United Nations has 17 global goals for sustainable development and Kelly is focusing on three of those: gender equality, climate change, and poverty eradication. He was inspired to do so by a meeting with Hugh Evans, CEO of Global Citizen, an international movement aimed at ending extreme poverty by 2030. “It changed my life when I met him because I suddenly realized there was something else worth doing that was much more important than what I was doing,” said Kelly. Kelly co-founded Teneo in 2011 and it is now the world’s largest advisory firm, with 820 employees working in 20 countries. Now, he and Evans have planned a year-long fundraising campaign. “We’re going to raise awareness to get commitments up to $350 billion between now and the 26th of September next year,” said Kelly. “That’s what it costs, every year for the next 20 years, to eradicate global poverty and climate change.” Their campaign will culminate in a global media event that will span five continents. Like Live Aid before it, it will feature big-name music acts, but unlike Live Aid, people won’t be asked to donate money. Instead, Global Goal Live is calling on governments, philanthropists, and the private sector to provide the $350 billion that is needed. 12 IRISH AMERICA DECEMBER / JANUARY 2020

Declan Kelly with his mother, Nan, at the Tipperary dinner at the Harvard Club, November 14.

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Kenneally were honored in the field of business and education. Dubliner Drechsler moved to Britain in 1978, worked for businesses inPresident Michael D. Higgins and First Lady cluding Imperial Chemical Industries Sabina Higgins entertain and is currently the president of the the Distinguished Service Confederation of British Industry. awardees at a reception Dr. Michael Kenneally and Dr. following the ceremony. Rhona Richman Kenneally have worked together to promote Irish educational interests in Canada, most significantly through the foundation of the School of Irish Studies in Concordia University, Montreal. he Irish have made their mark all over the world. Following Father Patrick Clarke from Dublin and Bernard Lynch were the 2011 Global Irish Economic Forum, the Irish governhonored for their charity work. Father Clarke is a Spiritan misment inaugurated the Presidential Distinguished Service Award sionary who has worked with the most vulnerable and impoveras a way of recognising their impact on the international stage. ished members of Brazilian society for the past 40 years. Announcing the 12 recipients of this year’s awards, Tánaiste Bernard Lynch served as a missionary in Africa before moving Simon Coveney said: “The contribution of the Irish abroad, in so to the United States in the 1970s. There, he served as a chaplain many countries and in so many ways, has been immense, and to Dignity / NY for LGBT Catholics. When AIDS hit in the 1980s, the range of the contributions they have made can be seen in he ministered to those affected and campaigned for justice for the diversity of this year’s award recipients.” them. He now lives in London, where Charlotte Moore, Ciarán O’Reilly, he continues to work on HIV / AIDs and Ian Gibson were honored in and LGBT issues. the field of arts, culture, and sport. The awards were presented on Moore and O’Reilly founded the November 21, 2019 by President Irish Repertory Theatre in New Michael D. Higgins at Áras an York. Gibson is a distinguished Uachtaráin, the official residence and author, scholar, historian, and workplace of the president, who broadcaster who has lived most of throughout his term in office has his life in Spain. His work on emphasized the global nature of Federico García Lorca is considered Ireland’s cultural heritage, the signifito be an indispensable reference cance of the diaspora, and the for all who have an interest in the common history and identity we Spanish poet. share “despite the borders, oceans, Paul Drechsler, Michael President Michael D. Higgins with Charlotte Moore and Ciarán O’Reilly. and miles that may separate us.” Kenneally, and Rhona Richman



A CITIZEN’S ASSEMBLY ON A UNITED IRELAND A united Ireland seems more possible now than at any point in our history.


“Brexit has catapulted this issue forward,” says Pádraig Ó Muirigh, advisor to the Republican Sinn Féin Party. “There is a real sense that we’re living in historical times.” In October, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson effectively agreed to place the de facto future border in the sea between mainland Britain and Northern Ireland. This put both Irelands – the Republic and Northern Ireland – in one economic zone. It also showed Unionists that the English Conservatives considered them expendable.

In the Republic, Taoiseach Varadkar has said that Irish unification is something that he would like to see in his lifetime, but only with the consent of the majority of people in Northern Ireland. A group calling itself Ireland’s Future – consisting of 1,000 academics, artists, and public figures, including musicians Christy Moore and Mary Black – made an official request to the Taoiseach in October. It asked him to establish a citizen’s assembly on a united Ireland, in the hopes of holding a referendum on the issue in the near future.

The government responded by saying that now was not the time for such action, but that it would consider the issue further. A recent poll carried out in Northern Ireland found that 46 percent of people would vote for a united Ireland, while 45 percent would vote for the North to remain in the U.K. When those who said they didn’t know or wouldn’t vote were excluded, it broke down as 51 percent for unification and 49 percent against. Some 69 percent said they felt Brexit had made Irish unity more likely in the foreseeable future. DECEMBER / JANUARY 2020 IRISH AMERICA 13

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reland is a tale of two countries. While the economy is booming, the country is also facing the worst homelessness crisis in living memory, according to one of its leading homeless charities, Focus Ireland. There is now a record total of 9,689 people homeless, a number that includes more than 4,000 children. “The worrying thing about how systemic homelessness is becoming is that we are now seeing babies being born into homelessness,” said Focus Ireland advocacy manager Roughan MacNamara. “Over 140 babies of the homeless families we are supporting were homeless when they were born.” It’s not just a Dublinbased problem either. “The way things are going now, there are nearly 500 families and 1,000 children who are homeless outside of Dublin, so it’s a real sign that homelessness has gotten worse,” said MacNamara. Focus Ireland helped more than 13,000 people from January to the end of September this year, a sixpercent rise on the 12,270 helped in the same period in 2018. It also supported more than 350 people in securing a home and escaping homelessness. The group is now hoping to raise €1.5 million in its Christmas appeal to support a new family center, which will open by the end of this year.

President Higgins with members of the Tipperary Peace Committee

President Higgins welcomed members of the Tipperary Peace Committee to Áras an Uachtaráin, to mark the initiative’s 35th anniversary.


nspired by the World War I song “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary,” the Tipperary Peace Convention was founded to promote peace and cooperation, awarding the first Tipperary Peace Prize to Sean McBride in 1984. Since then, the committee has honored many international leaders, including Nelson Mandela, Bill Clinton, Mary McAleese, Malala Yousafzai, Ban-ki Moon, and former Colombian

president Juan Manuel Santos. As part of his work promoting ethical and human rights-based foreign policy, President Higgins has made the promotion of peace and sustainable development a cornerstone of his presidency, highlighting the importance of international cooperation and respect for human rights.

THE IRISH POST AWARDS The Irish who have made their mark on the cultural life of Great Britain were celebrated at the Irish Post Awards on November 15th.


he awards were presented by Eamonn Holmes and Aoife Ní Thuairisg. First to the stage was Boy George, who received the award for Outstanding Contribution to Music. Next was actress Anna Friel, who was presented with the award for Outstanding Contribution to Film and Television. She spoke of her family roots in Belfast and Donegal. The Donegal-born businessman Tim Kelly received the award for Outstanding Contribution to Business, while Sister Rita Lee won the Outstanding Contribution to the Community award for her years of charity work in Ireland and the U.K. Journalist Piers Morgan was honored

with the award for Outstanding Contribution to Broadcasting and Journalism. Then Paralympic cyclist Katie Dunlevy was presented with her award for Outstanding Contribution to Sport. Last to the stage was actor Colm Meany, who was given the Lifetime Achievement award for the contribution that he has made to the world of TV and film. The evening also featured performances from the Irish dance troop Fusion Fighters, the rock band Aslan, button accordionist Sharon Shannon, and Úna Healy from the pop group The Saturdays.

FROM TOP: Anna Friel and Colm Meany; Boy George; Eamonn Holmes and Piers Morgan.



reland’s leading literary lights were honored at this year’s An Post Irish Book Awards, which took place in Dublin on November 20. The winners were chosen by members of the public, who cast over 115,000 votes across 16 different categories. Author and journalist Colm Tóibín received the Bob Hughes Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of the central position he has held in the cultural life of Ireland for over three decades. Joseph O’Connor’s Shadowplay won the Eason Novel of the Year Award. Other award


winners included Vicky Phelan, cervical cancer victim and campaigner, for her book Overcoming, Sinéad Gleeson for her non-fiction book Constellations and Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen for the third book in their Aisling series Once, Twice, Three Times an Aisling. Commenting on this year’s winners, the chairperson of An Post Book Awards, Marie Dickinson, said: “Both the winning authors and all our shortlisted titles are a terrific testament to the strength and vitality of Irish writing – long may this continue.”

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slew of Irish talent, from both sides of the Atlantic, is having a homecoming of sorts to shoot a comic thriller – with feminist undertones – set in Ireland. Irish actors Dylan Moran and Colm Meaney are teaming up with Irish American Alec Baldwin, as well as Brits Olivia Cooke, Daryl McCormack, and Ben Hardy to shoot Pixie, which is named after the film’s main character (Cooke). According to deadline.com, Pixie “wants to avenge her mother’s death by masterminding a heist, but her plans go awry and she finds herself on the run with two young men (Hardy, McCormack) who are way out of their depth ... chased across the Wild Irish countryside by gangsters. She has to pit her wits against everyone, taking on the patriarchy to claim the right to shape her own life.” Pixie will be directed by producing veteran Barnaby Thompson, who has his own ties to Ireland. “I am excited to be returning to the Emerald Isle, the birthplace of my father, and where I started my career directing documentaries, to make a comedic thriller with a wonderful cast against an extraordinary landscape,” Thompson was quoted as saying. Thompson’s producer credits include both Wayne’s World movies, as well as An Ideal Husband, based on the Oscar Wilde play. Pixie will be shot in and around Belfast, as well as western Ireland.

By Tom Deignan

From top: Alec Baldwin, Daryl McCormack, and Olivia Cooke.



rish actor Brendan Gleeson better get ready to spend some time in the makeup chair, to achieve a certain orange hue. Gleeson has signed on to play President Donald Trump in a forthcoming TV miniseries based on the book A Higher

Brendan Gleeson and his next part.

Loyalty by former FBI director James Comey. Further details are still sketchy, with reports suggesting that the series might air on Showtime, or the CBS TV network, or possibly both. What we do 16 IRISH AMERICA DECEMBER / JANUARY 2020

know is that veteran actor Jeff Daniels will play Comey. Screenwriter Billy Ray was also quoted as saying only a special kind of actor could tackle the, um, unique personality of the president. “It’s hard to imagine a bigger acting challenge than playing Donald Trump. You have to have presence, and a singular kind of dynamism,” Ray said. “You also have to have the courage and the will to play Trump’s psychology from the inside out. Oh, and you have to be spectacularly talented and watchable. Not many actors check all those boxes. Brendan does.” The star-studded cast also includes Holly Hunter, Steven Pasquale, Brian d’Arcy James, as well as Hollywood royalty Oona Chaplin, who happens to be Charlie Chaplin’s granddaughter and Eugene O’Neill’s great granddaughter.



he ascension of Sally Rooney from promising young Irish writer to A-list entertainment mogul continues at a breathtaking pace. The latest proof? A fawning report in Vanity Fair, from the set of the much-buzzed-about TV series based on her book Normal People. The swanky magazine describes Rooney’s novel as a “complex portrait of modern love, touching on class and politics, the lasting effects of trauma, and the limits of communication, whether digital or face-to-face.” Correspondent Keziah Weir adds that Rooney had already been dubbed “the first great millennial novelist” and “Salinger for the Snapchat generation,” following the release of her 2017 debut, Conversations With Friends.  Weir continues: “The publication of Normal People in the U.S. earlier this year has only increased the Irish author’s momentum: Her fan base includes Zadie Smith and Taylor Swift, her books spawn dozens of think pieces, and her readings sell out not only bookstores but also concert halls.” Rooney had a hand in writing the screenplays for the Normal People adaptation, with Irish Oscar nominee Lenny Abrahamson directing some episodes. The series, like the book, takes place from 2011 to 2015, and follows the trials and tribulations of an Irish pair of teens, as they move from high school through Trinity College Dublin. Rooney, who has moved from Ireland to New York to work as a Cullman Center Fellow at the New York Public Library, told Vanity Fair: “My favorite scenes from the book generally took the form of conversations between the two protagonists – in abandoned houses, in apartment kitchens, in cars, and in bed. I’m excited to see those dynamics beginning to unfold in a new way on the screen.” Look for Normal People on Hulu and the BBC in 2020.

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n other adaptation news, Irish actress Ruth Negga has taken a lead role in a highly anticipated film called Passing, based on the groundbreaking novel of the same name. Passing will also star Tessa Thompson (who appeared in the Irish Famine era TV show Copper) and be directed by actress Rebecca Hall. Passing is based on the novel by Nella Larsen. Published in 1929, it is about two mixed-race friends whose lives have gone in different directions since one decided to “pass” as a white woman and the other did not. Negga, raised in Limerick – by an Irish mother and Ethiopian father – had been taking things a bit slow since earning an Oscar nomination in 2016 for Loving. But after an appearance in the Brad Pitt flick Ad Astra, Passing should propel Negga back into the forefront of the entertainment scene. Hall, meanwhile, will be making her directorial debut with Passing. She has appeared in many films, including the Irish Boston crime flick The Town.

on’t tell Sharon Horgan the movie musical is dead. The Irish writer and actress has joined the cast of Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, a musical drama based on the hit show of the same name. The cast also features Max Harwood, Richard E. Grant, and Sarah Lancashire.  The plot was inspired by real-life events, which are pretty well summed up by the title of a 2011 documentary: Jamie: Drag Irish Queen at 16. actress, writer, If you can’t wait until October 2020, and need a quicker fix of and director Sharon Horgan, sign up for Hulu and check out the anthology Sharon Horgan. series Modern Love, based on the New York Times column of the same name. Horgan directed an episode, which stars Tina Fey and Irish-American Mad Men alum John Slattery. The episode was based on a Times essay written by Ann Leary, about a tense moment in her marriage to Irish-American star Denis Leary. Horgan recently told vulture.com: “I have been in awe of Tina for years and her biggest, borderline-psycho fan. And just having watched Slattery for years, thinking he’s the funniest man in drama and why he isn’t doing more comedy... I started out very nervous! When you meet people you look up to and you’re having to tell them what to do... First of all, it’s just like the weirdest imposter syndrome times a hundred. You realize you have to sort of slap yourself and say, Just f***ing get a grip! Because you can’t do that job and be shy about it. So I think I started out a bit shy and it quickly changed, and I think we all enjoyed it and had a blast.” Horgan will also star alongside Vince Vaughn in the 2020 romance The Last Drop.


D Actress Jessie Buckley.

ecades from now, when we look back on this era of “peak TV,” shows like The Sopranos, Mad Men, and Breaking Bad are sure to appear near the top of many “Best Of” lists. But in the humble opinion of this entertainment writer, the FX series Fargo deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as those other iconic shows. On the surface, the show would seem destined to fail. True, it is based on the excellent Coen brothers movie from 1996….except that it’s really not, because the TV show creators don’t use any of the memorable folks from that film. But even if they did, it wouldn’t matter because the cast has changed with each season. So even if the characters and plot did mesh into something magical...it would start all over again the following season. And yet the show has gotten better and better. For season number four coming out soon, Irish actress Jessie Buckley – who earned raves for her lead role in Wild Rose – joins the cast, alongside Chris Rock, Jason Schwartzman, and Irish American Jack Huston. The show is consistently unpredictable, offbeat without being weird, serious without being pretentious, dramatic without sacrificing humor. Check it out.


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The 2019 Irish America Wall Street 50 honorees, gathered in the Presidents’ Ballroom at the Metropolitan Club.

Mark Gallagher, Silicon Valley Bank

Singer Ciarán Sheehan performed “You Raise Me Up” for a rapt audience.

Bill Murphy, Blackstone

Irish America co-founder and editor-in-chief Patricia Harty presents honoree and 2019 keynote speaker Kathleen Murphy with her award.

From left: Honoree Martin Kehoe, his wife Mary Kelly Kehoe, brother George Kehoe, and Linda and Gavin Pickering.


GALA DINNER Irish America’s 22nd annual Wall Street 50 were feted at a gala dinner at the Metropolitan Club on October 3. We were joined by illustrious guests: Grammy winner Judy Collins and Broadway singer Ciarán Sheehan, who both performed for the gathering. After remarks from Editor-in-Chief Patricia Harty and Consul General Ciarán Madden, 2018 headliner Eileen Murray introduced this year’s keynote speaker Kathleen Murphy, president of Fidelity Personal Investing, who spoke about the global impact of Irish women.

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Honoree Shane Clifford with Patricia Harty.

From left: Mike and Mary Ellen Casey (brother-in-law and sister of Kathleen Murphy), Patricia Harty, Kathleen Murphy, and her husband George Hornyak.

Honorees Dennis McCann and Sharon Sager, both from UBS.

Kathleen Murphy enjoying Ciarán Sheehan’s performance (foreground: Consul General Ciarán Madden).

Bernie Reidy, Bank of America Loretta Brennan Glucksman, chair of NYU’s Glucksman Ireland House, with honoree Harry Moseley, CIO of Zoom.

Tony O’Callaghan, UBS

Kathleen Murphy with 2018 keynote speaker Eileen Murray. Honoree Mike O’Brien with his wife, Pauline.

From left: Amir Lear and Marguerite Wagner, chairman & CEO and executive vice president of Mutual of America Capital Management LLC; Joan Squires; honoree Rosemary Berkery, chairman & CEO (retired) UBS Bank USA; Mutual of America board of directors; her husband Robert Housen; and Angela Lear.

For more photos and video coverage of the event, visit irishamerica.com/wall-street-50/.

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HIBERNIA • O’Neill Award



indness, humor, affection and even love (were) on display,” tweeted Counsel General Ciarán Madden, summing up the mood as the Irish American Writers & Artists presented Peter Quinn its Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award on October 21. The Manhattan Manor’s beautiful Skylight Room was filled to the rafters to celebrate that “New York Paddy.” The O’Neill Award honors an individual for his or her exemplary contributions to the arts. Quinn, a novelist and contributor to many publications, including Irish America, is an authority on the Irish-American story and a respected figure in our midst, beloved for his generosity and wit. Hosting the event, IAW&A President Mary Pat Kelly observed that through his writing, notably Banished Children of Eve, the magisterial novel of the New York City Irish experience during the Civil War, “The Mighty Quinn rescues us from cliché and stereotype, illuminating our history with his unforgettable characters…” Family, friends, fans, and representatives of the Irish cultural groups – Glucksman Ireland House, the Irish Repertory Theatre, the Yeats Society, and the Irish

Arts Center – all came out to join IAW&A members in honoring Peter, who was a founding member and IAW&A’s first president. Opening the tribute part of the evening, singer Ashley Davis hushed the room with her thrilling a capella rendition of “Raglan Road.” Consul General Ciarán Madden lead off the tributes, followed by Siobhan McCourt delivering wishes from her father Malachy McCourt, who was away in Limerick.

Two Pulitzer Prize winners joined in the tribute. Novelist and IAW&A’s first O’Neill Award recipient in 2009, William Kennedy said that Peter Quinn, “… takes history by the throat and makes it confess.” NY Times writer Dan Barry said of his friend, “Peter Quinn so vividly summoned a distant time and city. If I had written Banished Children of Eve, I would have stopped writing. I would have thought, I’ve already conquered literature, so I might as well have learned to dance.” CLOCKWISE: Attorney and writer Fred Peter Quinn and Wistow, like Quinn, a Bronx his wife, Kathy (second from left) native, recalled Peter’s corpopose with fans at rate days as editorial director the O’Neill for Time Warner. Then Irish Award event. America’s editor Patricia Harty, IAW&A president a former O’Neill honoree, Mary Pat Kelly presented Peter with the handand her mother crafted Tiffany glass award. Mariann; Peter with fellow The honoree, with his members of the trademark erudition and wit, IAW&A group; rewarded the crowd with his Peter with his old acceptance speech, declaring, pal, the Pulitzer Prize-winning “I’m so tired of hearing about author William Peter Quinn.” Kennedy. The SRO crowd didn’t tire of hearing him and rewarded his eloquent words with a standing ovation. As Ashley Davis told him, “As always, your speech was a homer.” – By Karen Daly Photos: James Higgins / higginsphotonyc


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members; within a few years, 300,000 men had joined. Jones had force, she had wit, and above all, she had the fire of indignation. Mary Harris immigrated with her family to Canada as a child, fleeing the Great Hunger. Educated as a schoolteacher and dressmaker, she moved to the United States as a young adult. In 1861, she married Iron Molders Union member George Jones in Memphis, TN, and had four children. When yellow fever struck the city in 1867, Mary lost her husband and all four children; she was grief-stricken and resentful of “the rich and the well-to-do,” who fled to escape the disease. Mary was devastated yet again when the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 claimed her shop. Destitute, she turned to the Knights of Labor for help. In the ensuing years, her dedication to the labor movement flourished as she aligned with a number of efforts focused on the working poor. Mary

Fame by Elliot Gorn, the author of The Most Dangerous Woman in America: Mother Jones. Professor James Walsh of the University of Colorado Denver, accepted the Mother Jones citation. Walsh has done much study around the topic of Irish immigration to the U.S. Rocky Mountain

spoke out against low pay, 12-hour days, and detestable working conditions. By raising hell, she raised consciousness, setting the stage for the labor laws we all value today, changing not only the mining industry, but all industry, forever. Jones was nominated to the Hall of

region, particularly in the Denver and Leadville areas, and is raising funds to erect a memorial in Leadville’s Evergreen Cemetery recognizing the Irish miners buried in unmarked graves there. – Text excerpted from Mining Hall of Fame video on Mother Jones.


he National Mining Museum in Leadville, Colorado, inducted Mary Harris “Mother” Jones into its Mining Hall of Fame on September 14. Mother Jones, born in Cork, was one of the most famous labor activists who ever lived. Her battle cry, “Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living,” truly said it all. Her powerful speeches and knack for theatrics encouraged many to form unions and strike for fair wages and safe working conditions. Known as the “Miner’s Angel” for her advocacy on

TOP RIGHT: Mother Jones supporting strikers in Calumet, Michigan, in 1913. ABOVE: Mary Harris “Mother” Jones. ABOVE RIGHT: James Walsh accepting the Mother Jones award presented by emcee Barb Arnold. BRIAN WALSKI, COLORADO VISIONS

RIGHT: Guests dressed up in period costume to celebrate Mother Jones’ induction.

their behalf, Mother Jones’s activism set the stage for the labor and safety laws we all benefit from today. A champion of the working class, she organized numerous miners’ strikes against low pay, 12-hour days, 7-day work weeks, extreme mortality rates, and child labor, and railed against the servitude of company stores and company housing. When she began organizing for the United Mine Workers Union in the 1890s, it had 10,000 22 IRISH AMERICA DECEMBER / JANUARY 2020

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Honoree Shane Clifford with Patricia Harty.

From left: Mike and Mary Ellen Casey (brother-in-law and sister of Kathleen Murphy), Patricia Harty, Kathleen Murphy, and her husband George Hornyak.

Honorees Dennis McCann and Sharon Sager, both from UBS.

Kathleen Murphy enjoying Ciarán Sheehan’s performance (foreground: Consul General Ciarán Madden).

Bernie Reidy, Bank of America Loretta Brennan Glucksman, chair of NYU’s Glucksman Ireland House, with honoree Harry Moseley, CIO of Zoom.

Tony O’Callaghan, UBS

Kathleen Murphy with 2018 keynote speaker Eileen Murray. Honoree Mike O’Brien with his wife, Pauline.

From left: Amir Lear and Marguerite Wagner, chairman & CEO and executive vice president of Mutual of America Capital Management LLC; Joan Squires; honoree Rosemary Berkery, chairman & CEO (retired) UBS Bank USA; Mutual of America board of directors; her husband Robert Housen; and Angela Lear.

For more photos and video coverage of the event, visit irishamerica.com/wall-street-50/.

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ovember 1: For the eighth year, Glucksman Ireland House at NYU welcomed the winner of one of the poetry world’s most coveted prizes, the Seamus Heaney Centre for Poetry Prize for First Full Collection as judged by a select committee at Queens University Belfast. This year’s judges were Professor Nick Laird, Chair of Creative Writing at the Seamus Heaney Centre; Professor Edna Longley, critic and Professor Emeritus at Queen’s University Belfast; and Dr. Stephen Sexton, poet and lecturer at the Seamus Heaney Centre. The winner, Ned Denny, read from his  Unearthly Toys: Poems and Masks,  (Carcanet Press, 2018) at the annual Tom Quinlan Lecture in Poetry.  Seamus Heaney himself inaugurated the first Tom Quinlan lecture in 2011 at Glucks-

ABOVE: Stephen Sexton,Nick Laird, Edna Longley, and Ned Denny.

man Ireland House NYU to endorse the importance of the first published book of Left: Tom poetry in a poet’s literary Quinlin. life. The lecture series, established by the Quinlan family, is named for Tom Quinlan in honor of his nearly 70 years as a poetry teacher and scholar. Quinlan, a member of Glucksman Ireland House since 1997, also read at this event.




rofessor Ian Greer, president and vice-chancellor for Queen’s University, Belfast, for a Seamus Heaney event on Monday, October 28, 2019. The VC was hosting the event to celebrate 15 years of the Seamus Heaney Centre at Queen’s. Held in the Drawing Room at the Lotte New York Palace Hotel, the evening included contributions from Nick Laird, the N.I. novelist and poet who now holds a chair with the Heaney Centre, the poet Leontia Flynn, and the painter Colin Davidson, who shared his experiences of painting Seamus Heaney. Davidson is now working on a portrait of the late Tom Moran, the former CEO of Mutual of America, who served as chancellor of Queen’s University for many years.

ABOVE: Portrait of Seamus Heaney by Colin Davidson RIGHT: The writer Zadie Smith is pictured with her husband, novelist and poet Nick Laird, and Glenn Patterson, director of the Seamus Heaney Centre at Queen’s University, Belfast. FAR RIGHT: Joe and Mary Lou Quinlan and Ian Greer, Vice Chancellor for Queen’s University.

LEFT: Patricia Harty and Natalie Trott of Queen’s University.

BOTTOM RIGHT: Painter Colin Davison and New York City councilman Daniel Dromm.


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he 29th annual Flax Trust New York banquet took place in the 21 Club on October 9, honoring Edward A. McDermott Jr., president and CEO of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research; Niall J. Murray, managing principal and founder of Rockabill Consulting & Development; and Patricia Harty, cofounder and editor-in-chief of Irish America magazine. The honorees were each presented with a Bog Oak award, featuring a silver Flax flower representing the charity’s emblem. The banquet co-chairs John Kelly, managing partner at Hanover Stone Partners and Tom O’Brien, director and audit chair of Prudential Financial Annuity Funds, paid tribute and toasted the work of the Flax Trust – in particular, of director and founding member Sister Mary Turley. Using the slogan, “Enrichment through respect for difference,” The Flax Trust was formed in Belfast in 1977, during the height of the conflict referred to as the Troubles, which saw violence and destruction across the North, but particularly in Belfast. In the over 40 years since its founding, the Trust has lived up to its mission statement. From literally starting with nothing, in its first year it transformed the former Brookfield linen mill from a state of dereliction into a 232,000 sq. ft. business center accommodating over 70 small businesses, and over the years it’s become a business incubator for all of Belfast, creating over 400 businesses, and provided training and personal development for several hundred people each year through the Brookfield Business School. In 1982, Flax Trust America was set up, with support from Mutual of America’s powerbrokers Bill Flynn, Tom Moran, and Ed Kenney, all of whom played a part in the peace process. Over the years, contributions from Flax Trust America have helped

The banquet co-chairs John Kelly (left), managing partner at Hanover Stone Partners, and Tom O’Brien (far right) pictured with Sister Mary Turley, and honorees Ed McDermott, Niall Murray and Patricia Harty. RIGHT: Brigid and Ed Kenney, last year’s honorees, with Patricia Harty. BOTTOM: Loretta Brennan Glucksman and Sister Turley.

develop such programs as an international arts center – theatre, art gallery, dance studio, and the Pittsburgh Bar & Steelers’ Restaurant; initiated a community association and health and social programs, which have served thousands of Meals on Wheels in addition to day-care center meals; built a medical center housing Ardoyne Community Healthcare Centre, Ardoyne / Shankill Healthy Living Centre, medical and dental surgeries, and an elderly day care center; built a shopping center including a supermarket, post office, pharmacy, fancy goods store, florist, community-based organizations, café, offices and workshops providing services, and much, much more. This past year, a housing development program of £20,000,000 was negotiated for the people of Ardoyne and Old Park, North Belfast, and the Flax Trust Arts presented the musical Oliver during Community Week, staged in a unique “Big Top” setting comprising people from the North and Greater Belfast areas.

Friends of Sinn Féin president Mark Guilfoyle, Sean Mackin, Sinn Féin president Mary Lou McDonald, Joe Smith, Rita O'Hare (U.S. Representative, Sinn Féin), Jim Donaghy, Ciarán Quinn (director of publicity, Sinn Féin).

THE FRIENDS OF SINN FÉIN GALA The Friends of Sinn Féin held its annual dinner on Thursday, November 7, at the Sheraton New York Hotel in Manhattan, raising a reported $700,000. Friends of Sinn Féin was established in 1995 to provide an effective and efficient way for people in America to help Sinn Féin consolidate the peace process and achieve the aim of an independent, united Ireland. PHOTO: NUALA PURCELL


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Loretta Brennan Glucksman Honored amily, friends, leading figures in the Irish world, and a


contingent from the University of Limerick (UL) converged on Glucksman Ireland House at NYU on Sunday, November 17 to witness UL’s conferring of an honorary degree of Doctor of Letters on Loretta Brennan Glucksman. PHOTOS: JAMES HIGGINS: HIGGINSPHOTONYC.COM

Joanna Geraghty; Kate Johnson; Judy Collins; Colleen Kelly

Judy Collins Opens Concern Gala


oncern Worldwide U.S.’s Seeds of Hope annual awards  dinner got off to a good start with singing legend Judy Collins singing her classic “Both Sides Now,” and classic anthem “Amazing Grace,” telling how she first came across the song. The event took place on Tuesday, October 29, at Cipriani South Street. Concern honored Microsoft and Kate Johnson (President, Microsoft U.S.) Dominic MacSorley, the CEO of Concern talks about the 50-year-old organization founded by Irish missionary priest Father Aengus Finucane. “The lifeblood that started Concern all those years ago is what drives our 3,500 staff every day to work in some of the toughest places on earth.” Dominic citied Concern’s work in Afghanistan as an example. “Today almost four million children are currently out of school in Afghanistan, sixty percent of them girls,  but in the areas where Concern is working we have increased female school attendance to eighty percent. But this achievement can be fragile, especially where security continues to deteriorate.   “Our Irish heritage contains many tragic reminders of the desperate plight of migrants fleeing their country either because the land had failed them or to escape insecurity and decades of conflict... It is this history that doesn’t just  create empathy; it  creates an obligation to respond. “

Edna O’Brien Takes New York


resh on the heels of her success with her latest book, Girl, Edna O’Brien was at Symphony Space for an evening of tributes and a one-on-one interview with Robert Ford, the American novelist and short-story writer. A host of authors and actors, including Gina Apostol  (Insurrecto), Maeve Higgins  (Maeve in Edna O’Brien and America), Zainab Jah (Deep State),  Robert Ford. Aedín Moloney  (Yes! Reflections of Molly Bloom), paid homage and read selections from some of O’Brien’s most celebrated works. O’Brien’s 20th novel, Girl, released in the U.S. in October, is set in Nigeria during the reign of terror of the Islamist insurgency group Boko Haram, and has as

The descendant of four Irish immigrant grandparents, Loretta has made – and continues to make – an outstanding contribution to Irish life, particularily in arts and education. Her many contributions to UL include the development of the uniTOP: Loretta Brennan Glucksman versity’s Concert Hall, and Mary Harney, chancellor of University of Limerick. ABOVE: the Frank McCourt Loretta and her daughter, Kate. Chair in Creative Writing at UL, and the endowed Glucksman Chair in Contemporary Writing in English, and the Glucksman Distinguished Visitors Program.

its focus the fictional story of one of the girls, Maryam. O’Brien spoke about her research, how she had to abandon her own landscape and comfort level and reimagine herself thoroughly to bring the work to fruition. O’Brien, at 88, is a warrior queen. On stage she’s regal. When she speaks, there is not a sound from the audience – her voice still has the cadences of Clare, and Clare is nothing if it’s not music. She engaging and succinct in her answers, plays up her foibles, explaining that she’s “nervous,” and can be “difficult,” and thought that perhaps the nuns she stayed with in Nigeria were surprised that she could produce a book. It was an unforgettable evening, and one felt privileged to be there. DECEMBER / JANUARY 2020 IRISH AMERICA 25

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New York Hurling Classic 2019


our all-star hurling teams descended on the city of New York to battle it out for the top spot in the New York Hurling Classic 2019 in mid-November. Tipperary, Kilkenny, Wexford, and Limerick faced off against one another at Citifield in Queens. The festivities kicked off at the Harvard Club on Thursday, November 14, at a dinner honoring Tipperary, the reigning All-Ireland hurling champions, their manager Liam Sheedy, and captain Seamus Callanan. Declan Kelly and Teneo, the team’s sponsor, hosted the dinner. The following evening, the Gaelic Players Assocation (GPA) hosted their annual New York dinner at Capitale, featuring allstar players and legends of Gaelic games. Special entertainment was provided by folk legend Finbar Furey.   Over 11,000 fans came out to support the teams on the brisk morning of November 16 to watch the four teams battled it out on the New York Mets’ home field in Queens. Limerick and Kilkenny claimed victory on the day. The celebrations did not end there, as the 7 train transported fans back to Mustang Harry’s in N.Y.C. to commemorate the day. Mustang’s owner, Cian Conroy, a former Tipperary hurler, and his brother, Cullen, hosted an after party where serendipity ran riot, neighbors met neighbors, cousins ran into cousins, and both the Irish and Irish-American communities celebrated in full style. The 2018 camogie all-stars also faced the 2019 camogie all-stars in Gaelic Park on Saturday, November 23, 2019. The event was an exhibition game hosted by Liberty Insurance – Sarah Loughnane


TOP LEFT: Declan Kelly and Paul Collins. TOP RIGHT: Ian Conroy, Killian O’Dwyer, and John Slaherty. ABOVE (left to right): Fiona Hudson (played for Dublin ladies and married to Paul Flynn, who is CEO of the GPA), Sinead Finnegan (former Dublin ladies footballer), Catriona Cormican, Laura MacSweeny (wife of ex-Kerry footballer Darran O'Sullivan), Maria Kinsella (Carlow ladies footballer and chairperson of the WGPA). RIGHT: Finbarr Furey

LEFT: Cian and Cullen Conroy. BELOW LEFT: Martin Dunne (center) and unidentified guests. BELOW: Editor Patricia Harty with her nephews: Patrick Duggan, Matthew Harty, Sean Webb, Brian and Rory Harty, with Clodagh Boyle and Mary Sugrue from the Irish American Partnership.


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The convent school finally took the statue and placed it in a recently constructed oratory, and asked Sr. Concepta to decorate the altar behind the statue. The convent’s mother superior was so awed by her work that she asked Sr. Concepta to decorate the entire oratory. Lynch transformed the bare, austere oratory walls with a profusion of Celtic colors, shapes, and designs. Some motifs she copied from ancient manuscripts, others were of her own invention and were strikingly original. Etienne Rynne wrote: “her work is ever mouvementé, vibrant with life; her birds squawk, bite tiny chapel, just outside of Dublin City Centre in the and even dance, her serpents wriggle and knot themselves, pleasant seaside town of Dún Laoghaire, houses a as do her quadrupeds.” stunning jewel of Celtic Sr. Concepta was a part of an Revival decoration, yet the small enclosed order, which meant she building is so unobtrusive that even could not even leave the grounds of many native Dubliners have no idea the convent to purchase paint and of its existence. Hidden behind the other materials for the decoration. town’s Bloomsfield Shopping Center, Amazingly, she had to rely on the Oratory of the Sacred Heart is a students whose families donated veritable three-dimensional Book of ordinary house paints for the project. Kells sprung to life and an enduring The oratory also received stainedtestament to the faith, passion, and glass windows from the foremost prodigious talent of its creator, Sr. Irish stained-glass glazier, Harry Concepta “Lily” Lynch. Clarke, who worked under Sr. Born in Dublin in 1874, Lily spent Concepta’s direction. most of her time in her father’s For 16 years, Sr. Concepta labored studio learning his celebrated callion her masterpiece, painting after graphic methods of Celtic illuminateaching a full load of classes. She tion called the “Lynch Method.” created stencils for the designs, Lily’s mother died when she was which included interlacing designs, just six and her father died in 1887, animal motifs, and a high cross, and orphaning her when she was only then applied the stencils to walls. In 16. She inherited the business from 1936, arthritis forced her to stop her father and ran the studio work, leaving the ceiling and part of successfully until fire destroyed the a wall undone. Three years later she shop when Lily was just 22 years old. died and was buried in the convent Lily decided to join the Dominican cemetery. order, taking the name Sister C The Dominican Convent was sold oncepta. in the 1990’s and razed to make way Sr. Concepta began to teach art, for a new shopping center, and the embroidery, and music at St. Mary’s oratory almost suffered the same convent school. On Saturdays, she fate, but thanks to a tenacious group taught the Lynch method to local of preservationists led by current children using large charts she deIrish president Michael D. Higgins, signed, which today are preserved who at the time was Minister for Arts, Culture and as graphic treasures in the archives of the National TOP: The the Gaeltacht, the oratory was saved for posterity. Gallery of Ireland. In addition to her artistic talents, Oratory of the Later, the decorations were restored with E.U. fundLynch also wrote hymns in honor of St. Thérèse of Sacred Heart, created by Sr. ing and a new building now encases and protects it. Lisieux, to whom she was devoted. Concepta “Lily” The oratory is still not open year-round, and the Sr. Concepta’s life changed in 1919 at the end of Lynch. tiny size of the chapel means that no more than 15 the First World War. Many Dún Laoghaire young people can visit it at a time in the summer, when it is men had died serving in the British Army in Northern ABOVE: A close-up of one only open twice weekly. This year will mark the France and the French sought to honor the sacrifice of the features hundredth anniversary of Sr. Concepta’s starting of the young men by donating a statue of the sacred depicted. to decorate the oratory, and Dún Laoghaoire heart to the local Christian Brothers School the plans a number of events to celebrate this amazing young men had attended, but in the wake of the artistic achievement. Irish struggle for independence, the school did not want to – Geoffrey Cobb highlight the fact that many of its former students had fought for the British. 




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James Boyle

(1938 – 2019) ireman and former president of the Uniformed Firefighters Association James Boyle died in late October, aged 80. Boyle was a tireless advocate for 9/11 first responders, among whom was his son Michael, another firefighter, who died that day in his efforts to rescue people from the North Tower. Jimmy was born and raised in Queens, and lived in New York all his life; after marrying Barbara, whom he met at an Irish dance, they settled in Westbury, where they raised their family of five. He joined the FDNY in 1962 and remained on the job for 25 years, serving twice as head of the union before retiring. And on September 11, 2001, he ran to the collapsing towers to do what he could to help. When it was discovered that his son had not survived the wreckage of the towers, Jimmy spent months combing the debris. Even after Michael’s money clip was finally found, Jimmy resumed his role as an advocate, working to ensure better equipment for firemen and to keep alive the memory of those heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice. “My son was one of the 60 off-duty firefighters who weren’t supposed to be there,” Jimmy said in an interview with The Chief after Michael’s death. “They were doing God’s work that day,” he added – work he did his best to honor. “I can’t believe how much Michael meant to me and how proud of him I am. But my strength is, I have a way to help other people, and that seems to take my mind off my grief.” Jimmy’s daughter, Mary Lynch, noted that even as his illness made walking and talking difficult, her father would not rest. “He was on the phone, getting in touch with people, trying to find ways to help them,” she said. “He just thought everybody should get along, that people should help each other, that life was too short and you had to do what you could to make things better.” Jimmy leaves behind his wife Barbara, four children, two sisters, and seven grandchildren.


Joe Murphy

(1931 – 2019) oe Murphy, co-founder of the Irish Voice and the Irish Echo and a passionate activist for the Irish diaspora in the U.S., died in mid-October, aged 88. His thorough report of Irish affairs in New York made him a respected leader in the state’s Irish community and the recipient of numerous awards from organizations including the Kerrymen’s Association of New York, New York’s Young Ireland Camogie Club, and the Cork GAA Board. Born in Cullen, County Cork, the youngest of ten children, Joe emigrated to the United States at 25, where he attended Fordham University and launched a lasting career in journalism – as a columnist, then advertising manager for the Irish Echo; the New York correspondent for the Cork Examiner and RTÉ;


and co-founder of the Irish Voice newspaper in 1987 and Irish Connections magazine in the 1990s. Joe was an strong advocate for the Irish peace process and an avid supporter of legalizing undocumented Irish. His efforts helped to establish the Irish Immigration Reform Movement, which enabled thousands of Irish people to obtain visas after the 1965 Immigration Act made it nearly impossible. “We lost a legend today. Rest in peace, favorite son of Cullen,” tweeted AOH in America National Director and Immigration Chair Dan Dennehy. “You have given more people their start in this land and widened the door for the rest of us.” Joe is predeceased by siblings Nellie, Bridie, Sr. Paul, Violet, Jimmy, Matt, John, Denis, and Paddy. He is survived by his wife Judy and several nieces and nephews.

Ed Ward

(1945 – 2019) d Ward, founder of Milwaukee’s Irish Fest, died in late October after a long struggle with prostate cancer, aged 74. As he also founded the Ward Irish Music Archives and the Milwaukee Irish Fest Foundation. Ed’s dedication to celebrating Irish culture was recognized with Ireland’s Presidential Distinguished Services Award in 2018. Serving as a member of the Peace Corps from 1967-69 (as part of the Malaria Abatement program in Thailand), then in the U.S. Army from 1970-71 stationed in Vietnam, Ed was awarded a bronze star for his service. Upon returning to the U.S., he obtained his Juris Doctor degree from Marquette University Law School. In various turns, Ed worked on several different levels of government, and worked as a wealth advisor at Morgan Stanley. Ed launched the Milwaukee Irish Fest in 1981, and it is now one of the biggest celebrations of Irish culture in the world. The festival comprises 100 acts across 17 stages, with over 125,000 attendees – an impressive feat in a city that is not particularly well-known for its Irish population, all due to Ed’s hard work and enterprising efforts, building relationships with local government, other Irish festivals across the country, and up-and-coming Irish musicians. “We have lost a true champion of Irish and Celtic music and culture. More importantly, we've lost a dear friend,” said Linda Clark-Klibowitz, board president for CelticMKE. “His impact will be felt in the Celtic community around the world for decades to come.” “The world is a better place for having hosted Ed for 74 years,” said Conor Makem, a friend of Ed’s, in an online tribute. “A bottomless fountain of kindness and generosity, he will be missed by everyone I know who ever met him.” Ward is predeceased by his brother Chuck and son Brendan. He leaves behind his wife Cathy, brother Jack, sister Colleen, sons Patrick, Sean, and Conor, daughters Caitlin and Kelly, and granddaughter Moira.


TOP: James Boyle. (His son, Michael, is depicted in the background.) MIDDLE: Joe Murphy. BOTTOM: Ed Ward.


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those we lost |

by Mary Gallagher

Denis P. Kelleher

(1939 – 2019) rish America lost a beloved one of our own in late November with the passing of Denis Kelleher, a Kerry-born powerhouse of a businessman. Over the course of his 80 years, Kelleher built two financial services firms from the ground up, raised a close-knit family of three with his wife Carol, and held fast to his commitment to helping people who needed it. especially immigrants like himself. He was born to Michael and Abbey Kelleher in Gneeveguilla, Rathmore in 1939. Both parents were hardworking individuals who encouraged and inspired by example. Abbey read voraciously, and passionately impressed upon her son the importance of higher education and the doors it would open for him. When Michael, a shoemaker by trade, couldn’t get leather to work with during WWII, he relocated to England to run a factory, supporting the family he had to leave with the money he sent home every two weeks. “Times were very tough back then, Ireland was a third-world country,” Denis remembered in a 2011 interview with Irish America. “But we got through it because my dad was a great man.” Michael died when Denis was just 15. Determined to support his widowed mother to the best of his ability, Denis threw himself into his schoolwork at St. Brendan’s boarding school in Killarney. He flourished in math and would discuss the stock exchange regularly with his teacher, expanding on his studies with an investment in Time magazine for its financial reports. After graduating, he quickly realized the lack of opportunity at home and turned his sights west, emigrating to New York at the age of 18, and arriving with $1.50 to his name. With the help of a fellow immigrant uncle, Denis settled in the Bronx and secured a job at Merrill Lynch as a messenger. He moved up the ranks quickly, yet his sense of personal responsibility remained firmly intact, proven when he left the company for two years to serve in the army of his newly adopted home. After completing his service, he went back to work, attending school at night until he obtained his degree in marketing and finance in 1965. He and Carol, whom he met on a blind date, married in 1966 and settled in Staten Island, N.Y. They had three children: Denis, Sean, and Colleen. At a dizzying speed Denis worked his way up the corporate ladder, eventually leaving Merrill Lynch to make a name for himself, launching of Wall Street Access in 1981. Yet he never took his success for granted, nor for-


TOP: Denis Kelleher. BOTTOM: Gay Byrne.


got where he came from. He supported countless foundations, including the Staten Island Foundation, the New York Archdiocese’s Inner-City Scholarship Fund, and the Good Deeds Foundation, which he started with Carol. Project Hospitality’s CEO, Rev. Terry Troia, said of him, “His gift was his ability to see his own suffering in his youth, his vulnerability and his desire to become rooted in the American experience, in other immigrants’ lives...to experience the American dream and to give back significantly to this new country he called home.” Perhaps Denis himself summed up a meaningful life best in his interview upon being inducted into Irish America’s Hall of Fame: “Dream big, work hard, learn constantly and have fun while doing so.”

Gay Byrne

(1934 – 2019) t a quarter to three on November 4, an announcement on RTÉ Radio 1 brought Ireland to a standstill. The television and radio broadcaster Gay Byrne had died at the age of 85, leaving a unique legacy in Irish life. Uncle Gaybo, as he was affectionately known by the Irish public, was taken on as a presenter on Raidíó Éireann in 1958 and he continued to work for the Irish State broadcaster until he became ill with prostate cancer in 2016. He was best known for his daily radio show and The Late Late Show which he presented weekly for 37 years, starting in 1962. Those were times of great social change in Ireland as the country began to break with its rigid adherence to Catholic doctrine. Gaybo played an important part in this by not shying away from asking difficult questions. Viewers will remember the outrage that greeted his unfurling of a condom live on air, his interview with Annie Murphy whose son had been fathered by Bishop Eamon Casey and his discussions about women’s rights, lesbians, alcoholism, domestic violence and HIV – all taboo topics at the time. In January 1984, a 15-year-old schoolgirl called Ann Lovett gave birth alone in a religious grotto. She and her baby both died of the cold and the nation reacted with shock. Hundreds of letters were sent to Byrne’s morning radio show. These told heart-breaking stories of abortions or of giving birth alone or in secret. Byrne spent hours reading them out on air, giving a voice to women who had been silent for years. His funeral reflected the great affection in which he was held. Public figures attended, led by President Michael D. Higgins, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and RTE stars such as Ryan Tubridy and Joe Duffy. The ordinary people who loved him were there too, in the church and lining the streets outside. They all joined in one last round of applause as the cortege made its way to the cemetery. – Sharon Ní Chonchúir


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“The world spends $1.8 trillion a year on arms and munitions. The vast majority of the world’s trade with each other in donor aid goes to countries that are already doing business with each other. If they just gave the money to third-world countries – the 59 countries that are the poorest – it would eradicate the entire problem. It would go away. “There are 2,150 billionaires in the world. If they gave away one percent of their wealth, the entire thing would be solved.”

“I completed the portrait of Seamus Heaney in May 2013. He and his wife Marie had planned to come to an unveiling of sorts at Queen’s University Belfast in September of that year. But in June, and on a whim, I put the painting in the back of my car and drove it down to his house in Dublin (where the sittings had taken place) to let him see it. I’m thankful for that whim, from wherever it was prompted, because Seamus passed away that August. His funeral was held the day after the planned date of the unveiling and he would never have seen the finished painting. And this treasured photograph would never have been taken...”

– Declan Kelly, whose international advisory firm Teneo is spearheading a Live Aid-reminiscent campaign aimed at securing multibillion-euro commitments to meet the United Nations' 'Global Goals' for a better world. The year-long campaign would culminate in a global media event spanning five continents, the largest live-broadcast cause event in history. / Interviewed on The Late, Late Show, reported in the Nenagh Guardian.

– Painter Colin Davidson in an email to Irish America editor Patricia Harty / November 19, 2019

What was the last great book you read? “Say Nothing, by Patrick Radden Keefe, is a thrilling piece of nonfiction that unpacks a mystery while providing, at least for me, an education on the Troubles in Northern Ireland.


Seth Meyers of Late Night.

“Memory is an interesting thing. You remember more of the older things than the recent things. But in my case, I’m not remembering childhood stuff. I’m remembering other lifetimes’ stuff.” – Actress Shirley MacLaine [who claims “remote” Irish ancestors] interviewed by David Marchese / New York Times magazine / November 4, 2019 32 IRISH AMERICA DECEMBER / JANUARY 2020


– Seth Meyers, host of NBC’s Late Night With Seth Meyers / The New York Times Book Review / November 10, 2019

Shirley MacLaine at the Deauville film festival in 2011.

“Johnson’s Brexit would leave Northern Ireland more integrated with Ireland than with the rest of Britain. And as religion becomes less important on both sides of the border, pressure for Irish unification will grow. One recent poll found a small majority in Northern Ireland to favor leaving the U.K. and merging with Ireland – although the brakes may come from a Ireland wary of inheriting the weaker Northern Ireland economy. ‘Paradoxically, Mr. Johnson and Brexit may have done more for a United Ireland than the I.R.A. ever did,’ Jonathan Powell, who was chief of staff to Prime Minister Tony Blair, wrote in The Financial Times.” – Nicholas Kristof / New York Times / November 2, 2019

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IRELAND: There’s Never

Been a Better Time to Visit


Tourism Ireland’s Executive Vice President, North America & Australia / NZ Alison Metcalfe, explains why Ireland is a unique travel destination, offering beautiful landscapes, a wealth of things to see and do, and a host of special events coming up in 2020.


Americans with Irish heritage will clearly be drawn to Ireland, but what motivates visitors with no ancestral ties? The top reasons American travelers without ancestral connections visit Ireland include its outstanding natural scenery and landscape; heritage and culture, which can be expressed through our ancient and unique history, literature, music, and art; as well as the warmth of welcome. Ireland is also being increasingly seen as a great destination for an active vacation, especially walking and cycling in an unspoilt environment. Visitors today are looking not only for unique experiences wherever they travel, but also immersive experiences that allow them to feel, touch, and learn about a new culture or specific interest, and Ireland is seen as offering a wealth of things to do and see. Screen tourism (TV and movies) is also a key motivator for some travelers, who would not ordinarily have had Ireland on their “bucket list.” Examples include HBO’s blockbuster series Game of Thrones, which has turned Northern Ireland into a hotspot for fans looking to visit Winterfell, Westeros, the Dark Hedges, and other locations in counties Antrim and Down, as well as Star Wars and its filming locations along the Wild Atlantic Way, including Skellig Michael in County Kerry; Malin Head, County Donegal; and Loop Head, County Clare. Have you big plans for marketing in the U.S. in 2020? Yes, of course! We will be launching the second phase of our new global communications campaign “Fill Your Heart With Ireland” on TV in key markets across the U.S., and across digital and social media channels from the end of December. Our overall marketing approach is underpinned by a set of sustainable marketing principles, which puts a renewed focus on encouraging more travelers to visit the


What’s the outlook for tourism from the US to Ireland – you’ve enjoyed several years of double-digit growth. Total U.S. visitors to the island of Ireland have doubled in the last six years, to almost 2 million. Within this total, the U.S. market is now the number one source market for holiday visitors, as American travelers tend to spend more and stay longer than other markets. Such strong growth has helped the island of Ireland weather some of the uncertainty created by Brexit, which has impacted growth from Great Britain and some European markets. Looking ahead to 2020, while we expect choppier waters globally, with some macroeconomic conditions in key source markets that could impact travel, we remain cautiously optimistic that the U.S. market will remain steady.

regions of Northern Ireland, to ensure the economic benefits of tourism are spread around the island all year round. We will also continue to work closely with key Irish industry and U.S. market tour operators and airlines to drive sales, and continue our extensive outreach and collaborations with top-tier travel and lifestyle media, to share the rich Irish tourism story with culturally curious travelers. There are more flights going to Ireland from the U.S. than ever before – does this make your job easier? Absolutely. As an island, the importance of convenient and affordable non-stop air access is fundamental to growing tourism, and has been a key driver of much of our success. We know from our consumer research that when people are looking for travel inspiration and researching potential destinations to visit, a key consideration is ease of access. This is especially the case for U.S. travelers with limited vacation time. There are currently non-stop flights from 16 U.S. gateways to Ireland (Dublin and Shannon), including two new services that launched in 2019, notably Minneapolis-St. Paul to Dublin, operated by Aer Lingus, and Dallas to Dublin, operated by American Airlines.

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What are theinopportunities conferences Ireland? for holding meetings and Opportunities are extensive. For corporate meetings, Ireland is home to a large variety of unique venues, rang-

ing from luxury castles, historic venues, distilleries, and other iconic attractions to suit meetings of all sizes. With Ireland’s excellent air connectivity at the heart of Europe, combined with sector strengths in areas such as global tech, science and aviation, and professional event and supplier services, Ireland offers an attractive package. Ireland also continues to grow in popularity among conference and event organizers as a destination for hosting international conferences and conventions, and offers a range of options including two large state-of-the-art, purpose-built convention centers – the Convention Centre Dublin (CCD) located in Spender Dock and ICC, Belfast, formerly Belfast Waterfront. The “Meet in Ireland” team, together with the seven convention bureaus located around the island of Ireland, can assist organizers with a wide range of services. These include help with venue and accommodation selection, sharing case studies from previous business events, business support, and making introductions to professional conference organizers (PCOs) and meeting planners. The unique combination of people, place, and proximity lends itself to the delivery of world-class business events.

Is golf tourism still a big draw in Ireland? Yes. The number of golfers traveling to play in Ireland, mainly from North America, has remained steady at over 200,000, contributing in excess of 270 million EUR / $300 million to the Irish economy annually. Golf visitors typically spend almost three times more than the average tourist. The U.S. market is one of the most important markets for golf tourism on the island, and the North American market alone makes up 47% of the total number of golf tourists. Tourism Ireland undertakes an extensive annual golf marketing program in the U.S. under the “Golf Ireland” brand, in partnership with Fáilte Ireland and Tourism Northern Ireland. Activity highlights include TV and digital campaign activity with NBC Golf Channel around the Majors, exhibiting industry suppliers at the annual PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, and assisting leading U.S. golf media to visit and cover Ireland’s world-class golfing experience. In 2020 we will be looking to capitalize on the legacy of the very successful 148th Open, and the significant global media coverage that showcased the Irish links experience at Royal Portrush and beyond. We will also be promoting the 2020 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open, which will be held at Mount Juliet Estate in County Kilkenny from May 28-31. While the iconic links courses continue to be the main draw for U.S. golfers – Royal County Down, Old Head, Ballybunion, and Lahinch to name just a few – a key focus is to continue to showcase some of the hidden gems to U.S. golfers, such as those in the Northwest – Ballyliffin, Murvagh, and Rosapenna in County Donegal, Rosses Point and Enniscrone in County Sligo, and Ardglass in County Down. Ireland continues to punch above its weight in the golfing arena and also looks forward to the return of the Ryder Cup in 2026, when Adare Manor in County Limerick hosts the biennial contest between Europe and the US. What’s new for 2020 – any special events happening? Yes, here are three highlights: In 2020, Galway becomes the European Capital of Culture, with a rich program of events running from February 2020 to January 2021. Throughout the program the themes of language, landscape, and immigration will be brought to life. For foodies, “Taste the Island,” a new island of Ireland festival, will run from September through November, showcasing the island’s world-class food and drink culture via authentic experiences and high-quality local ingredients. The three-month program will include everything from visits to food producers, distillers and brewers, food trails and festivals to opportunities to forage and fish, as well as the chance to just sit back and enjoy the best of modern Irish cuisine in unique and traditional locations. And for U.S. college football fans, Notre Dame will play Navy in Dublin on August 29, 2020 at Aviva Stadium as part of the Aer Lingus College Football Classic. A further game has also been announced between Nebraska and Illinois August 28, 2021..

Plan your 2020 vacation now at Ireland.com


Home to the hum of festivals. To the thrilling notes of traditional music. To the chatter of family and feasts shared with friends. And to the legendary buzz of the Irish pub. Listen carefully because Ireland is calling, from the fast-paced beat of the Titanic city to cozy corners where laughter rises to the roof. There, against a backdrop of Ireland’s one hundred thousand welcomes, memories are prompted, acquaintances rekindled and promises made to stay connected. They say you should always listen to you heart, and it’s telling you to come home. Find your way home at

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ers from Connemara, Mayo, and Kerry. This was redress for a centuries-old injustice, when farmers were forced from County Meath by Oliver Cromwell, who gave them the choice of “Hell or Connacht.” When their descendants returned, the Irish language had died out in Meath. But they brought it back, and it remains strong there to this day. You’ll hear it all around you if you visit in June, when there’s a summer festival called Féile na Gealaí. This festival showcases exciting artists who combine the contemporary with the traditional, such as Kneecap, a hip-hop band from West Belfast who rap in Irish. Donegal’s Gaeltacht is much further away from Dublin, but Ireland’s second-largest Gaeltacht rewards its visitors for their efforts many times over. There are beaches such as An Trá Mhór to be walked and mountains such as Cnoc Fola and Earagail waiting to be explored. What’s amazing about these places is how unspoiled they are. Donegal’s remoteness means that you’re quite likely to have these beach walks and mountain hikes all to yourself. When you do develop a hankering for human company, you won’t have to go far to find it. In Áislann Rann na Feirste, you’ll be told about the literature that has been produced by people from this locality. In Caifé Kitty in Bunbeg, you can listen to locals chatter while you have a cup of tea. Later on, be sure to make your way to Tigh Húidí in that same village. Their Monday and Friday night music sessions are said to be mighty! Mayo’s Gaeltacht is next on your itinerary. It consists of scattered settlements from the Mullet Peninsula in the northwest to the shores of Lough Mask in the south, with Achill Island (Ireland’s largest island) in between. Its landscape varies from bog land and mountains to towering sea stacks such as Dún Briste and sandy 36 IRISH AMERICA DECEMBER / JANUARY 2020

beaches. Its history is ancient. The Céide Fields are the oldest stone wall systems in the world and the interpretive center here tells of life in Neolithic Ireland. There are lots of opportunities to learn about the language and the culture here. Both the Achill Island Summer School and the Seosamh MacGabhann Summer School in the tiny village of Kilmovee offer classes in traditional musical instruments, as well as classes in Irish dancing, the Irish language, and crafts such as basket-weaving. Due south is Connemara, Ireland’s largest Gaeltacht. It stretches along the coast of Galway Bay and into the mountain range of the Twelve Bens and Maamturk, with so much to see along the way. There’s Spiddal with its craft village of glassmakers, ceramicists, weavers, and what are said to be some of the best scones in Ireland. The Aran Islands lie offshore. National Geographic described Inis Mór, Inis Meáin, and Inis Oirr as some of “the world’s top island destinations,” and there are many reasons for this.

TOP LEFT: Bikeriders on a day trip in Galway. TOP RIGHT: Patrons enjoying an outdoor lunch at Tigh Neachtain, a pub in Galway. ABOVE: Novice bagpipers midlesson. ON THE RIGHT: Ballyferriter Village in County Kerry.

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A journey throught the native Irish-speaking areas in Ireland.

By Sharon Ní Chonchúir



ABOVE: Entering the Connemara Gaeltacht. TOP: Comeragh Mountains across Dungarvan Bay from Helvick.

hese are the words of welcome that Irish people have greeted visitors with for centuries. They may well be the words that greet you when you visit. If they are, I urge you to take time to grasp their deeper meaning. Venture beyond the tourist hotspots and gain an insight into an older Ireland by exploring its Gaeltachtaí. These are pockets of the country where the Irish language (Gaeilge) is still the living language of the local community, and where the centuries-old cultural traditions of Gaelic Ireland are very much alive. There are nine of them in total, each offering visitors an opportunity to experience an Ireland that remains richly informed by its native language and culture. You’ll find most of them scattered along the western seaboard, and each one merits a detour. If your flight lands in Dublin, that detour needn’t be long at all. A mere 44 miles away, you will find the Meath Gaeltachtaí of Baile Ghib and Rathcairn. These differ from other Irish-speaking regions in that they are resettled communities. The Irish government of the 1930s redistributed the estates of absentee landlords as small farm holdings to poor farmDECEMBER / JANUARY 2020 IRISH AMERICA 35

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A bilingual sign at Howth Head in Dublin.

Inis Mór has Dún Aonghasa, a prehistoric fort that sits at the edge of a 300-foot-high cliff. Inis Meáin was a retreat for playwright John Millington Synge, and continues to attract artists today. Inis Oirr has Tigh Ned, with its traditional music sessions and its arts center, which offers excellent courses in music and art. Back on the mainland, make sure you visit Patrick Pearse’s cottage in Ros Muc. Its visitor’s center tells the story of the Irish patriot while also bringing you on a journey through the language, culture, and landscape of this part of south Connemara. Continuing south, the next Gaeltacht you’ll visit is my home in Corca Dhuibhne (the Dingle Peninsula). Your best bet here is to leave the seaside town of Dingle behind and venture west. Take the Slea Head Drive. Its narrow winding roads are hewn into the cliffside, giving you breathtaking views at every turn. You’ll soon spot the Blasket Islands, which have a unique place in Ireland’s literary history. At the turn of the last century, several of the island’s inhabitants wrote their autobiographies and these works have gone on to become classics of the Irish language literary canon. They have been translated into several languages, and names to look out for include Peig Sayers, Tomás Ó Criomhthain, and Muiris Ó Súilleabháin. The islanders were forced to leave the Great Blas-

Here are some Irish phrases that you can practice on the Muiris Ó Súilleabháin locals on your trip around Ireland’s Gaeltachtaí. I’ve written the phonetic pronunciation in parentheses. Dia dhuit (“dee-ah gw-it”): This is how you say hello to one person. Dia dhaoibh (“dee-ah yeev”): For when you’re saying hello to more than one person. Tá an lá breá (“taw un law braw”): It’s a fine day. Tá sé fliuch (“taw shay fluck”): It’s wet – something you’ll probably say a lot in Ireland Le do thoil (“leh the huh-ill”): Please Piúnt, le do thoil (“pew-unt, leh the huh-ill”): A pint, please Go raibh maith agat (“guh rev mo og-ut”): Thank you Cé méid (“kay made”): How much? Ceol (“keo-ull”): Music Slán (“slaw-un”): Goodbye. Níl ach cúpla focal Gaeilge agam (“knee-ill uck coo-pla f-uck-ull Gay-ill-geh ag-um”): I only have a few words of Irish Tá mé ag foghlaim (taw may egg fow-lim): I am learning. As Béarla, le do thoil (oss Bay-ur-la, leh the huh-ill): English, please.

ket in 1953 and it’s now uninhabited. But it makes for a great day trip from the mainland, provided the weather is amenable. If it’s not, the next best thing is a visit to the Blasket Interpretive Centre. It’s packed with exhibitions about daily life on the island, the traditional fishing and farming methods used by the islanders, the language they spoke, and the literature they wrote. Back on the road, keep an eye out for Clogher Beach. There are some great cliff walks along here and the beach itself sees thunderous waves crash in during Atlantic storms. In the village of Ballyferriter, make time to visit Músaem Chorca Dhuibhne. Housed in a schoolhouse dating from 1875, its exhibits relate to the ge-

It’s also worth knowing that slightly different dialects of Irish are spoken in the different Gaeltachtaí. This means that the accent and some of the words will vary as you travel from one to the other, just as it would if you were to travel from New York to Louisiana. Go dté mar atá tú (“guh day mar a-taw too”): How are you? (In Donegal) Cén chaoi a bhfuil tú (“kay-un key a vill too”): How are you? (In Galway and Meath) Conas atá tú? (“Kun-ass a-taw too”): How are you? (In Kerry, Cork and Waterford)


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ology, archaeology, and heritage of the area. You can expect to see everything from standing stones with Ogham inscriptions (Ogham is an ancient form of Irish writing) to information about the area’s many archaeological sites. Try to visit some on your way back to Dingle. An Riasc – with its ruined dwelling places, inscribed pillar stones, and grave sites – is a relic of early monastic Ireland. Gallarus Oratory, a tiny church in the shape of an upturned boat dating from 900 AD, is another popular destination. Say slán (“goodbye”, pronounced “slaw-n”) to Corca Dhuibhne and continue south to Kerry’s other Gaeltacht on the Iveragh Peninsula (Uíbh Ráthach). Here, you’ll find Skellig Michael, the ancient monastic hermitage site that featured in recent Star Wars movies. Visitor numbers to Luke Skywalker’s hideout are limited so be sure to book in advance. Don’t despair too much if you can’t get a ticket. This area is on the Ring of Kerry Drive, which means that if all you do is drive around, you’ll still be impressed by its looming mountain ranges, lakefilled valleys, and colorful villages, each with a character of its own. Jam on the brakes as soon as you see the sign of the Skellig Chocolate Factory. You can live out your Willie Wonka fantasies by taking one of their free tours. Not to be outdone, Cork also has two Gaeltachtaí, one on the mainland and one offshore. Múscraí lies just outside the town of Macroom and it boasts areas of great natural beauty such as the Gougane Barra lake, chapel, and forest park. It also has an arts and music venue in Ballyvourney. The Ionad Cultúrtha hosts exhibitions and per38 IRISH AMERICA DECEMBER / JANUARY 2020

formances by local and national artists. Call in and you could well find yourself staying for a concert. Failing that, you could pay a trip to Cúil Aodha to find out if its village choir is performing at Sunday Mass. Established by renowned local musician Seán Ó Riada in 1964, its renditions of traditional songs are a pure treat. Oileán Chléire or Cape Clear Island lies off the coast. Its soaring sea cliffs, secluded coves, and wealth of archaeology are worth exploring, so consider staying overnight in the Cape Clear B&B. This family-run business grows its own food and keeps its own bees, so you couldn’t ask for a more locally-produced breakfast. There’s just one more Gaeltacht to visit, and that’s An Rinn in Waterford. Six miles southwest of Dungarvan town, it’s famous for its musical heritage. The traditional Irish band Danú hail from here, as does the acclaimed writer and folklorist Liam Clancy. Coláiste na Rinne, the area’s 100-year-old Irish language school, keeps this heritage alive by organizing a céilí (a session of Irish music and dancing) most nights in the summer, as well as Irish classes. An art gallery like Joan Clancy’s is an unexpected find in the heart of the Gaeltacht. It showcases the work of some of Ireland’s best painters, with exhibitions changing regularly. There’s one final thing you should do before you leave the Gaeltacht behind. That’s pay a visit to the Sólás na Mara Wellness Centre on Helvick Pier, where you can take one of their blissful hot seawater and seaweed baths. As you soak in the goodness, you can reflect on all that you’ve seen, done, and learned on your whistle-stop tour of Ireland’s Gaeltachtaí. Go dtí go gcasfar le chéile sinn arís. (That’s Irish IA for “Until we meet again.”)

LEFT: Road signs putting Irish first near my home in Corca Dhuibhne. TOP RIGHT: Helvick Cove in County Waterford. ABOVE: Joan Clancy, widow of Tom Clancy, at her gallery in Dungarvan, County Waterford.

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34th Annual Business 100 Keynote Speaker: Paul Boskind

The Chieftain of

Clonbrock Castle

BACKDROP: Paul Boskind’s 15thcentury Clonbrock Castle in Galway. INSET: Paul with his Tony Award for The Normal Heart; with singer Annie Lennox in his apartment; with Presidents Obama and Clinton.

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Paul Boskind, Ph.D is a psychologist, Chief Executive Officer, national LGBTQ activist, philanthropist, and Tony Award-winning producer and owner of a castle in Ireland.


aul Boskind couldn’t have picked a better time to visit Ireland. As he checked into the Fitzwilliam Hotel, the desk clerk warned, “It’s going to be crazy here tomorrow. It’s the parade.” It was June 23, 2017, just ten days after Ireland had elected one of the world’s first openly gay leaders, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. The parade was Dublin’s 15th annual Pride Parade, and for Boskind, an LBGTQ activist, it was significant. Paul already knew Ireland had been the first country in the world to approve same-sex marriage by popular vote, so when he heard Varadkar speak to the group, he was inspired. This day came not long after he discovered, much to his surprise, that he was mostly Irish. “I found out through the 23&Me genetic testing,” he explains, adding he grew up not knowing anything about his O’Shea ancestors, who, generations earlier, had emigrated from Cork. And, he admits, he didn’t know a whole pile about Ireland, either. Ireland did not disappoint on that first trip and has not disappointed since. “I found the Irish to be a generous, convivial people and was impressed by the country and the countryside. I looked at castles, stayed in castles, then, in that same trip, bought a castle – that’s how I operate.” I realized, over three interviews, that Paul makes fast decisions, always going with his gut. But still I felt something greater pushing him, a sense he’s racing against time. He is; his eyesight diminishes daily. He lives in a penthouse in New York’s theatre district, where, over lunch, he told me about his childhood, growing up in San Antonio. His family had four children and no money, so young Paul would sell peppers door-to-door, making about a three-dollar profit. He used the money to buy a Christmas present for his mother, “maybe a drugstore hand cream.” His father fixed things up, including cars, and sold them. “To get to school on time, we would get up early and spend time cajoling an old car to move.” Paul remembers saying to his parents, “I’m hungry,” only to be told to eat some cornflakes. His father had brought home a crate of cornflakes that he’d gotten cheap because a forklift had sliced through the container. “For months on end, we had corn flakes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.” There wasn’t a whole lot of money for luxuries

for Paul and his two older sisters and a younger brother, but his mother made him take piano lessons. Today, in the corner of his living room, a grand piano is thrown into relief against the modernist décor and 360-degree view of Manhattan’s skyline. He doesn’t play anymore, but the piano, graced by a photograph of Annie Lennox, still gets plenty of use. Today, Paul is an activist, who’s hosted numerous Democratic fundraisers for presidential, senatorial, and congressional candidates. He’s on the Democratic National Committee (DNC) finance committee and also serves as national co-chair on its LGBTQ council. He’s committed to raising funds for the DNC, but is no easy mark. “When candidates come to raise money in New York City – and they all do – they come knocking on my door, I open it, have them sit with me here on this couch and don’t hold back in vetting them.” He doesn’t hold back with advice either. “[Presidential candidate] Pete Buttigieg was talking to me about his religious faith and I said you’ve got to be careful with that. I reminded him that twenty-three percent of Americans are non-believers.” Buttigieg listened. “At the LGBTQ Victory Institute when we endorsed him as a presidential candidate, he told me, ‘Paul, I’m coachable,’ which I found so pleasing and impressive.” Youth Paul grew up a Seventh-Day Adventist schooled in the Scriptures and the Second Coming of Christ, but his family left the church when they discovered the minister was having an affair with a member of the congregation. Paul, at first, was happy. “Saturday, the cartoons came on television, and finally I could watch because I didn’t have Sabbath school.” But as he entered adolescence, he was looking for guidance. The guys in his neighborhood were changing. “They had started using marijuana and drinking beer. I was like, ‘I don’t want to do that.” He looked for something different: “I was 16, had my driver’s license, and was independent; I visited about ten or twelve different churches until I found a Lutheran church I liked.” A born leader, Paul became the president of the Youth Action Ministry and managed to convince the potsmoking, beer-drinking kids to join the congregation. In adulthood, his zeal turned into profound dis-


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ABOVE: Paul with a bottle of his Vines of Mendoza wine. The label “Igualdad” is Spanish for Equality. CENTER: Paul with Hillary Clinton. FAR RIGHT: Paul with Secretary Madeleine Albright along with the members of the Equal Voices Council, which Paul co-founded.

illusion: Paul’s journey from religious ministry to non-believer is rooted in his anger at the Christian right’s rhetoric that seeks to demonize gay people. “They say gays are going to destroy the family, and all kinds of other, nasty stuff. And when we got marriage equality in the United States, the evangelicals moved abroad and they’re doing the same hateful things they did here.” He mentions the American evangelical support of Vladimir Putin, a despot they nonetheless view as a guardian of traditional values. “This is, in part, why I have become so anti-religion, and frankly, I’m an atheist. I think the whole biblical god stuff is nonsense. And so I’m into that group of the twenty-three percent of Americans who consider themselves non-believers,” he says. To earn money for college, he sold bibles door-todoor in Virginia and North Carolina, and once, over a long weekend, he made a trek up to New York City that would stay with him forever. “It was thrilling. I was, like – ‘Wow! Look at all these skyscrapers.’” He also remembers not being able to afford a Broadway ticket, but still, the seed was planted – he returned to Broadway as an award-winning producer. With his bible money, Paul moved out of the dorm and bought a mobile home. He changed universities and then enrolled at the University of Texas at San Antonio, but found he couldn’t focus. “I changed my


major seven times. I would enroll and then dis-enroll. I was averaging a 2.0, and I wasn’t even sure I would finish the semester.” Then a day came when he couldn’t see a protozoa in a lab microscope. He’d worn glasses since the sixth grade, but this was different. He hoped there was something wrong with the microscope, but when he still couldn’t see through another one, he realized that it was his eyes. What followed were many trips to his local medical school looking for an answer. “I probably had twenty student physicians looking in my eyes and asking questions.” Worse, the doctor who would give him the grim diagnosis had an obscene bedside manner. “I was all alone in a room and he came in, all pleased with himself, ‘We know what it is.’” The doctor remained smug, “It’s Stargardt’s disease. You are going to go blind.’” Paul couldn’t believe it, “You mean like pitch-black dark blind? When is this going to happen?” In an attempt at black humor, the doctor said, “You’ll be the first to know.” Paul had arranged to meet his mother after the appointment. She’d been picked for a dance review and had co-opted Paul to be her partner. “It was a rehearsal and as we danced around, she asked me how the appointment went.” Mid-dance, he answered, “The ophthalmologist told me I’m going to go blind.” After the initial shock Paul says it focused his attention on the future. The diagnosis put him on the fast track, “I had this, I-got-to-do-this-beforeI-go-blind kind of mentality.” After nearly flunking out of college, he turned it around. “I got 30 hours of credits in one semester. I’d grab a marketing book and read it over one weekend and then take the Advanced Placement test and get credits for courses,” he recalls. He graduated and was accepted into grad school at Hofstra for a doctorate in clinical and counseling psychology. Hofstra, in Hempstead, Long Island, had much to offer the kid from Texas, but its biggest attraction was the short commute to midtown Manhattan and the theatre. He took in as much of New York as time and money would allow, but after getting his degree as a psychologist, he moved home to Texas. “I probably moved back too soon, but my sister was pulling for me to come back home,” he says now. After working for a large medical practice with a

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cally, you’re making a house call.’ And I said, ‘Well, I guess you could look at it that way.’ She answered, ‘Okay, then I’ve got some more patients I’d like you to see.’ Back in my office, I asked the staff who would be interested in working with the geriatric and disabled population – so many jumped in, ‘Yes!’ And that’s how we started providing psychological services in nursing homes, all from that one paraplegic patient. Now we have nearly 700 employees, and we’re providing services in thirty states around the country and growing.”

behavioral health specialty, he decided to go into private practice and made a go of it right away. “I’m a really good clinician,” he explains, crediting his success to a results-oriented mentality. He’s not the kind of therapist who wants to see his patients return year after year. “I put a lot of pressure on the patient to get better,” Paul explains, “I don’t ever want to be working harder than my patient. From the beginning, I make sure we are very clear about what we're working on, what our goals are, and what the prognosis is.” Clinical Psychologist He established clear standards for his practice: everyone, whether the physician or the pediatrician or the neurologist or the counselor or the schoolteacher, must communicate with each other, so that the patient is getting a clear directive on moving forward. Word of mouth about his work, especially with children and adolescents, spread, and his company was awarded a contract with child protective services to treat abused and neglected children. “The goal was integrating kids back into the family, but only if the parents or caregivers could prove they could be responsible. With contract in hand, he opened up five new locations in South Texas, and soon had 23 outpatient locations throughout Texas. Expansion Into Nursing Homes A drive-by shooting opened a window onto another group who were in serious need of mental and behavioral therapy. At the request of a friend, a physician, Paul made a visit to see a patient at a nearby hospital. His caseload was full, and he didn’t want to take on any more patients, but he changed his mind when he met the victim of the shooting, who was now paraplegic. The doctor who contacted Paul was enraged – the psychiatrist who had seen the patient wrote a prescription for Prozac and walked away. Paul remembered, “He was lying on his back, with tears rolling down his face. I knew this guy needed therapy, so I stepped in. My doctoral dissertation is on adjustment to physical disability with a specialty in blindness. I was like, ‘We’re going to get him into another room, and get his bed next to the window. Let him look up at the clouds and the blue skies.’ In time, he went into a nursing home, where I continued therapy. A nurse approached me and asked, ‘Help me understand this. You’re a psychologist?’ I said yes, explaining I had seen the patient at the hospital and I was checking to make sure he was adjusting well. She said, ‘So basi-

Campaign for Equal Rights As his business was growing, Paul was also changing. During college, he was engaged, but before the wedding he broke it off, admitting to his girlfriend that he was gay. In embracing his own homosexuality, he was keenly aware of the challenges facing others. And Texas being second to California in states with the most total active duty and reserve members of the military, Paul was drawn to the campaign to repeal, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” The official U.S. policy on gays serving in the military service had been instituted by the Clinton administration on February 28, 1994. The law discriminated against openly gay and lesbian individuals serving in the armed forces, and for 17 years, the Human Rights Campaign fought to change it. Paul was there on September 20, 2011, when President Obama certified the repeal. It was a high point in his life, and it served as a stepping stone to further activism. Continued Activism “I was on the national board for Servicemembers Legal Defense Network and then also joined the board of directors of the Human Rights Campaign and then that progressed to involvement with the global arena,” Paul says. He also joined the National Democratic Institute (NDI), a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization working to support and strengthen democratic institutions worldwide, and co-founded, under the NDI umbrella, Equal Voices for Democracy, which is an initiative that expands LGBTQ participation in political life. This past October he was in Tunis, Tunisia, for an NDI Board meeting where he met the president of Tunisia. “I had an opportunity to meet with some LGBTQ leaders in that country where it is criminalized to be homosexual.” He has also traveled with Equal Voices to Columbia, Ukraine, and Georgia. And here in the U.S., he has consistently served as a crucial bridge and unifying voice between LGBTQ organizations and helped coalesce organizations such as Equality Texas, the Tyler Clementi Foundation, HRC, and the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN). And, though his board membership with the NDI, Paul is at the frontline of political movements. Broadway Calling In 2007, Paul upset the religious right when he produced Southern Baptist Sissies at the Church Theater in San Antonio, which he owned and operated. The play, by Del Shores, is about four gay young men who have grown up in the Baptist church, loving Jesus and the community of the church but finding themselves at odds with it. The play was a huge success in spite of – or perhaps because of – the protest lobbied against it by the evangelicals. Paul CONTINUED ON PAGE 104

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Wall Street Access and Kelleher Financial Advisors are proud to congratulate founder Denis Kelleher; his son, Wall Street Access president and managing partner Sean Kelleher; and his daughter, Kelleher Financial Advisors CFO Colleen Kelleher for being named to

The Irish respect for family and tradition shines brightly in this trio, who embody a legacy of strong values in the pursuit of excellence. Together, they have achieved it. Comhghairdeas libh, Denis, Sean, and Colleen!

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Now in its fourth decade, the Irish America Business 100 has a long history of providing recognition to a fundamental core of American business. It can be easy to assume that the Irish in America and their descendants are a monolithic bloc, but as this list has continually shown, there is no single story of Irish-American success, interest, venture, or course. Those we celebrate here come from all aspects of the unique environment of American entrepreneurs, from start-ups that promise to revolutionize overlooked markets to generations-old staples of the American consumer landscape. They are connected by their shared Irish heritage, and motivated by the same sense of immigrant drive, whether it was passed on through their ancestors or, as for our Irish-born honorees, compelled them to immigrate to the United States in the first place. It was not that long ago that the act of hiring an Irish man or woman would have been considered a potentially risky act of diversification. Today, it’s impossible to think of corporate America without the Irish. Our honorees are a testament to the power of new cultures, new people, and new ideas. They are a living tribute to the fact that diversity, in all its forms, is what compels innovation and makes American life better for all Americans. We are honored to do our part to salute that ideal. Congratulations to all our honorees. Beir Bua!

“My Irish roots mean more to me than I can ever express, and my love of the music and culture of Ireland and its legacy is everything to me.” – Anita Daly 46 IRISH AMERICA DECEMBER / JANUARY 2020

“My great-grandfather helped put the world on wheels so everyone could enjoy the benefits of mobility. Our vision is to expand on that thinking so that personal mobility remains viable in a crowded world.” – Bill Ford

“Growing up in an Irish household shaped me. I learned to work hard in pursuit of my dreams.” – John Galvin

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“Growing up in a family proud of its Irish heritage provided me with the work ethic, charity, loyalty, and humor to meet all challenges head-on.” – Al Small

“I have found that being Irish has been a real door-opener in life and business. There is a real trust in Irish people that is very special.” – Kathryn Spain

“Where we came from shapes who we are and where we are going.” – Andrew O’Flaherty

Top Counties: Dublin • Galway • Cork • Derry • Kerry • Limerick “I feel the culture and attitude role-modeled by my grandparents and later adopted by me was a big part of this success. They taught me to work hard, play ethically, constantly learn new things, be comfortable with change, and embrace the fact that you must successfully work with and through others to accomplish great things.” – Tom Finn

Top Colleges Mentioned: University College Dublin Trinity College Dublin University of Notre Dame University College Cork Queen’s University Belfast Ancestral Links: 1st Generation

“My Irish heritage has always inspired pride in me growing up, and the first time I visited Ireland I felt immediately connected to the land and the people – and when I hear Irish music I feel the melodies in my soul.” – Meghan O’Brien Marton

I“As the descended values embraced still canfamilies hold far trace, that back dear.” Ifrom Ias

Irish Born


12% 2nd Generation



5th 6% Generation

14% 13% 8%

3rd Generation 4th Generation


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A proud “Intuitive Irishman, Resilient he sums Independent up his Irishness Smart with and Humorous.” a clever acronym: – James Carroll



Ayers & Associates PC, Financial Management

J.P. Morgan Chase

It isn’t every financial manager who started as a child actor but Ken Ayers had an advantage: he sprang from a showbiz family. Both parents were fixtures in Broadway musicals for two decades. From 1956 to 1973, Ken performed in 75 radio and TV commercials, but after high school he put acting behind him and majored in accounting and economics at Queens College, and went on to receive an M.B.A. in finance from University of Texas, Austin. Ken is a CPA and CFP™. Employed in various analytical and managerial positions at KPMG, IBM, and J.P. Morgan, he founded his own company, Ayers & Associates, PC in 1993, providing financial advisory, litigation support, and tax advice. While his company keeps him busy he still finds time to coach children in basketball, baseball, and soccer; in 2007 he was recognized by the City of New Haven for his outstanding service to youth. Ken’s great-grandparents hail, respectively, from Westmeath and Roscommon and he recently visited both counties, his first trip “home.” His grandfather James Brennan was a Queens sheriff who, on retirement, sold his Jackson Heights home to Louis and Lucille Armstrong. More show biz!

Mary Callahan Erdoes is chief executive officer of J.P. Morgan Chase’s Asset & Wealth Management line of business, one of the largest and most respected investment managers and private banks in the world, with more than $3 trillion in client assets. She is also a member of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.’s Operating Committee. Mary joined J.P. Morgan in 1996 from Meredith, Martin & Kaye, a fixed income specialty advisory firm. Previously, she worked at Bankers Trust in corporate finance, merchant banking, and high-yield debt underwriting. Mary is a graduate of Georgetown University, where she is now a board member, and Harvard Business School, where she is now active on its advisory board and Harvard University’s. She is a board member of Robin Hood, the U.S. Fund for UNICEF and the U.S.-China Business Council. She also serves on the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Investor Advisory Committee on Financial Markets. An Illinois native, her great-grandparents emigrated from counties Cork and Tipperary. She lives in New York with her husband and three daughters.




GoDaddy International


Moët Hennessy North America

As president of GoDaddy’s International Business, James manages and drives all operations for GoDaddy’s international P&L; including strategic planning, marketing, localization, and the development of global technologies. Prior to joining GoDaddy in 2013, James was senior vice president at Yahoo, running the company’s global R&D centers in China, India, and the Middle East. He also oversaw Yahoo’s content, social, and membership platforms as well as the international delivery of all Yahoo products and services. Before Yahoo, James spent 13 years at Microsoft as general manager, managing the MSN international team and, later, the Windows and Windows Live international teams. He also spent five years at Claris/Apple as a project leader working on the full suite of Apple and Claris products on Mac and Windows managing engineering, internationalization and localization efforts. A native of Dublin, James attended the National University of Ireland at Maynooth where he obtained his Bachelor of Science in math, applied math, and computer science. He is on the advisory board of the Irish Technology Leadership Group.

Kieran Claffey is a partner at PwC. He has over 36 years of diversified experience serving multinational clients and dealing with litigation, risk management, and regulatory issues. He is chairman of the global board of PwC’s business trust and is a vice president and director of Madison Indemnity of New York. Kieran represents PwC on the technical standards committee of the AICPA. Kieran was a founding member and director of the Ireland Chamber of Commerce in the U.S. and a director of the European-American Chamber of Commerce. He is the national treasurer, executive committee member, and board member of the Ireland-U.S. Council. He is chairman of the finance committee, a member of the executive committee, and on the board of trustees of the Gateway Schools. Born in Dublin, he is a graduate of University College Dublin and a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland. He is an active supporter of the Gaelic Players Association. Kieran, who has won several all-Ireland dancing medals, lives in Manhattan with his sons, Ryan, CJ, and Steven.

With over 40 years of experience in the beer, wine, and spirits industry, Jim Clerkin became president and CEO of Moët Hennessy North America in November 2015, having served as president and CEO of Moët Hennessy U.S.A. since 2010. Clerkin began his career in Ireland, where he rose through the ranks at Guinness, eventually becoming a member of the board of directors. He joined Moët Hennessy in 2008 to take on a new role as executive vice president and COO with responsibility for global brands such as Hennessy Cognac, Moët & Chandon, Dom Perignon, Veuve Clicquot, Grand Marnier, and Belvedere. In his current role, Clerkin helms the U.S. markets in addition to the growth markets of Canada and Mexico, which combined contribute to a volume of nearly six million cases annually. Clerkin, who served as the Business 100 keynote speaker in 2015, was born in Rostrevor, County Down, and has been involved with a number of charities including Co-operation Ireland, where he serves as chairman. He is the proud father of four children and resides in Manhattan.


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DREAMER OF DREAMS AWARD MICHAEL T. CLUNE Clune Construction orn in Dublin, Ireland, Michael T. “Mike” Clune began his career in the construction business at an early age in Europe and the Middle East. In 1978 he moved to Chicago, Illinois. Shortly after his arrival, he secured an entry-level job at the company that would ultimately be the foundation for building his own firm. Over the years, Mike’s personal work ethic and entrepreneurial spirit guided him in transforming that company into Clune Construction. Mike served as CEO for 30 years and personally oversaw the growth of the company from one office in Chicago to five offices across the country, with an annual volume exceeding $1 billion. In addition, Clune Construction is now an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP), or employeeowned company. Retired from day-to-day operations, Mike still serves as Clune’s chairman and sits on the company’s board of directors.


COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT Clune Construction is actively involved in every community in which it is located and annually donates a percentage of its profits to local and national charities. Clune has also pledged to donate more than $1 million to cancer research. Among the organizations Mike supports are The Irish American Partnership; C.R.A.S.H. USA, of which he is co-founder; Mercy Housing Lakefront; Rebuilding Together; Emeritus of Chicago House, as board director; Loyola Academy on the Facilities and Building Committee; and Joseph and Mary Retreat House, on the board of directors. Mike and Clune Construction have also actively supported and sponsored many Irish athletes and Mike with sporting events, including hisS sister Padraig Harrington, Michael Delia and Conlon, Saint Patrick’s Athletic brother Tom. F.C., Dublin Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA), the Irish Everest Team, and Junior Olympics. As chairman of the board of the Irish American Partnership, a non-profit that funds education and community development programs across Ireland, North and South, Mike and the Partnership have had a major role in supporting Irish education, particularily in the rural areas.

Partnership CEO Mary Sugrue explains: “In the predominantly small, rural schools that our grants benefit, the money goes a long way. Each school has a story, and each grant provides a unique purpose. For instance, many schools operate in very old buildings and spend all their government funding on necessary repairs; thus, a Partnership grant alleviates the burden of schools needing to choose between fixing a leaky roof and buying new books or science supplies. Parents and local communities fundraise as much as they can, but too often come up short.” No school demonstrates this better than Inishbofin National School. The only primary school left on the island, it is the glue that binds the community together. Only 11 km off the coast of Connemara lies the island of Inishbofin, a stunning sea-

faring community with a single primary school, a church, two pubs, and a handful of seasonal hotels. Dotted with Iron Age forts, medieval monasteries, and sandy white beaches, Inishbofin has long been a popular destination for those seeking a bit of adventure. Yet, for the 180 year-long inhabitants, life can be lonely and difficult.

For Mike and his children, Inishbofin represents nearly 100 years of philanthropic commitment to a community that has profoundly impacted their lives. The association began with Clune’s grandfather, Michael J. Clune, who served as postmaster of Clifden, County Galway, from 19231935. Every time the postmaster visited Inishbofin, he grew more inspired by its hardworking people and more determined to give them as much as he could. He passed this legacy of commitment and love to his son, Michael A. Clune, who passed it on to his son, Michael T. In June 2016, Mike brought his children back to the island to pledge $25,000 to Inishbofin National School through the Direct Grants to Primary Schools program. His grant has been used to purchase iPads, computers, a telescope, and a weather station for the school, connecting students to the outside world. While new technology may seem frivolous in this rugged, rocky environment, it is paramount for keeping students competitive in the modern economy. With the decline of fishing as a source of livelihood, islanders need new ways to survive. They hope that their children will harness their technological skills to stay and make a living in this tightknit community – blending the benefits of modernity with the character of smalltown life. However, this cannot be achieved without a strong foundation in STEM at their local primary school. In 1996, Mike’s work ethic and entrepreneurial spirit earned him a place in the Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame. Sponsored by the University of Chicago, the award is given to innovative business leaders in the Chicago area who have spearheaded private companies, overcome challenges, and exhibited high levels of excellence while demonstrating consistent sales growth, employment generation, innovation, and profitability. Irish America is delighted to honor Mike with its Dreamers of Dreams Award, for his commitment to local and national charities, to building relationships between Ireland and America, and for helping to provide a steady foundation in education from which children can grow, and build their own dreams.


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Kramer Levin

Federal Express

Colleen Coda is managing director in the Blackstone Innovations group. She runs technology for the private equity family of businesses in addition to several major corporate initiatives enabling the firm to identify ways to reduce risk, create efficiency, enable new business and / or create competitive advantage using technology and process. In her eight years at Blackstone, Colleen has taken on additional responsibilities – creating a strategic technology roadmap for the businesses she oversees, building a team of highly skilled designers / business analysts designing the processes and platforms and developed an offshore strategy for technology. Prior to joining Blackstone, Colleen worked at Capital IQ , a division of Standard & Poor’s, for 11 years, where she was most recently the chief of staff for product development. She received a B.S. in Computer Information Systems from Sacred Heart University. Colleen’s Irish heritage is on her maternal side – the Vaughans and Murphys, from counties Kerry and Limerick. Her great-grandfather and his 14 siblings all immigrated and settled in N.Y.C. She looks forward to taking her three young children to visit her relatives in Ireland in the next few years.

The oldest of seven children born to a mother from Cork and a father from Kerry, Sean Coffey is an accomplished trial lawyer who handles some of the nation’s most high-profile lawsuits. He offers clients the unique combination of a big-law lawyer and former plaintiffs’ lawyer once labeled “Wall Street’s New Nemesis” by Bloomberg Markets  magazine. Sean also served as a federal prosecutor in the Southern District of New York. An Annapolis graduate, Sean flew Cold War missions hunting Soviet submarines, interned for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and served as the personal military assistant to Vice President George Bush. Sean attended Georgetown Law at night while stationed in Washington, then returned home to New York to practice law. Sean continued to serve in the Navy Reserve for 18 years, during which he commanded a P-3C Orion squadron and a component of the  USS Enterprise carrier battle group staff. Sean retired as a captain in 2004 after 30 years of uniformed service. In 2010, he ran a spirited but unsuccessful campaign for the Democratic nomination for New York attorney general.

Don Colleran is president and CEO at FedEx Corporation, having been appointed in March 2019. Prior to that, Colleran served as the company’s executive vice president and chief sales officer, leading a global organization of approximately 15,000 team members responsible for more than $70 billion in worldwide revenue across multiple FedEx operating companies. Global Sales & Solutions teams execute on the FedEx growth strategy and help customers grow their businesses through unique selling solutions, and by providing opportunities to reach new markets, eliminate trade barriers and expand their businesses globally. Don is also a member of FedEx’s strategic management committee. Don began his FedEx career in 1989 and served in a variety of leadership roles in the Asia-Pacific region, Canada and Memphis, Tennessee. A native of Boston, he is a third-generation Irish American with roots in Galway and Cork. He holds a B.S. in business administration from the University of New Hampshire and is a member of the board of ABM Industries, EastGroup Properties, Youth Program / FedEx St. Jude Classic, and the University of Tennessee Health Science Center.




Castle Connolly

CIE Tours International

Davidson Investment Advisors

John J. Connolly, Ed.D., the nation’s foremost expert on identifying top doctors, is the cofounder of Castle Connolly Medical Ltd., publisher of America’s Top Doctors and other consumer guides to help people find the best healthcare. He is also chairman and CEO of Castle Connolly Private Health Partners, LLC, one of the nation’s leading concierge medicine companies. Dr. Connolly is extensively involved in healthcare and community activities and has served on a number of voluntary and corporate boards, including the board of the American Lyme Disease Foundation, of which he is a founder and past chairman, and the Culinary Institute of America for over 20 years as a trustee and past chairman. He is the author / editor of over a dozen books. He holds a B.S. from Worcester State College, an M.A. from the University of Connecticut, and an Ed.D. in college and university administration from Teachers College and Columbia University, as well as three honorary degrees. He grew up in Worcester, M.A., and his ancestors hail from County Kerry (the Flynns) and County Clare (the Connollys).

Elizabeth Crabill is CEO of CIE Tours International, the largest Irish-owned tour operator in the U.S. With more than 15 years’ experience leading sales, marketing, and strategy for some of the travel industry’s best brands, she is one of the leading travel and tourism executives in the United States. She took the reins of the 85-year old highly established tour operator in 2016, with a mission to expand the digital footprint of the brand, raise the visibility of Irish tourism expertise, and introduce a new generation of travelers to the tour experience. CIE Tours currently sends 50,000 travelers into Ireland and Britain each year, and hosts a team of Irish university students to Morristown, New Jersey, headquarters annually for a year-long student work experience program. A graduate of Smith College with an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School, Elizabeth, whose Irish heritage is on her mother’s side of the family, is actively involved with the promotion of international tourism and development of new travel experiences throughout Ireland for all ages and interests.

Ed Crotty is chief investment officer and a member of the executive team overseeing Davidson Investment Advisors, an SEC-registered multi-asset investment adviser that manages more than $2 billion for individuals and institutions. He began his career in the investment industry in 1998, and currently serves as co-portfolio manager for the Davidson Equity Income and Taxable Fixed Income strategies. Prior to joining Davidson in 2007, Ed worked at Goldman Sachs as a research analyst and portfolio manager. He is a member of the New York Society of Security Analysts, CFA Society of Seattle, and serves on the board of directors for Davidson Investment Advisors. Ed holds a master’s degree and bachelor’s degree in engineering with honors from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and an M.B.A. in finance with honors from Columbia University in New York City. A Southside Chicago native (St. Thomas More Parish) and dual citizen of Ireland and the United States, his grandparents emigrated from counties Clare, Mayo, and Clare Island. He currently resides in Seattle with his wife and three daughters.


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Daly Communications LLC

J.P. Morgan

Goldman Sachs

Anita Daly is the founder and president of Daly Communications LLC, a company specializing in promoting Irish entertainment in the U.S. The company thrives on its ability to pinpoint Irish-American audiences on a national, grass-roots level and create marketing campaigns geared specifically to this consumer. The success rate of the company speaks for itself, as it is in its 24th year with Anita at the helm. Daly Communications’ client roster includes Celtic Woman, Van Morrison, Riverdance, The Chieftains, The Pogues, The Saw Doctors, The High Kings, and Finbar Furey. Corporate clients include Live Nation, HBO, A&E, PBS, Sony, and Universal Music. A fifth-generation Irish American, Anita was born in Brooklyn and was raised in an IrishCatholic household with six siblings in Queens. Her Irish roots come from County Clare and County Cork. “My Irish roots mean more to me than I can ever express and my love of the music and culture of Ireland and its legacy is everything to me.” Anita is a founding member of Women in Music and a voting member of the Irish American Hall of Fame.

James Darmody, CFA is a vice president within asset management at J.P. Morgan, focusing on hedge fund research within healthcare, emerging markets, Europe, and Asia Pacific. Having been with the company since 2011, he is a graduate of Stanford University, where he studied economics and political science. In addition to his professional work, he is currently pursuing a masters of information and data science at UC Berkeley with a focus on machine learning. Outside of work, James’ interests include music, hiking, and green technology to combat climate change. You can find him spending some quality time at the New York Philharmonic, or hiking off-trail, trying to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights. A second-generation Irish American, James says, “my Irish heritage was learned largely through my grandfather, who grew up a farmer in Tipperary. Humble, hardworking, and gracious, he taught his children and grandchildren what it meant to be Irish through his example everyday.”

As a private wealth advisor at Goldman Sachs, Julie  provides advisory services to ultra-high net worth individuals, families, and non-profit organizations. She helps clients with all aspects of investment and wealth management, including advising on asset allocation, portfolio construction, and presale planning prior to liquidity events. Julie has a passion for working with female founders and investors and is a leader of Goldman’s Investment Management’s Women’s Network, cultivating events for women across the firm. In addition, she serves on the Junior Board of Harmony Program, an afterschool musical education program for underserved children in New York City. Julie is a fourth-generation Irish American with roots in County Cork. Her great-grandparents immigrated to Chelsea, M.A., in the early 1900s and met at a dance for a local church. They eventually moved to Rhode Island for opportunities at Union Rubber and Shepard’s, sending money home to Ireland. She credits her persistence and love for finance to the spirit of her grandfather, who taught her that you can never give up on yourself, and most importantly, you can never give up creating a beautiful life for your family.




Susan Davis International


DeHayes Consulting Group

Susan Ann Davis, whose family hails from Cork and Clare, is chairman of Susan Davis International, a global strategic communications firm headquartered in Washington, D.C., with 74 agency partners worldwide. She is internationally known for expertise in reputation management, market entry and expansion, crisis communications, and public affairs. She chaired the landmark U.S.-Ireland Business Summit, creating the groundbreaking U.S.-Ireland R&D Partnership, and spearheaded the Global Irish Forum’s recommendations to create a global Smart Ageing hub in Ireland. She is co-founder and board director of SALLI (Smart Ageing Living Labs of Ireland) and was board vice chair of the Ireland Smart Ageing Exchange. Davis is a board director of the Ireland Funds; board chair emeritus of Vital Voices Global Partnership, the preeminent NGO begun by Hillary Clinton supporting emerging women leaders in 144 countries; board chair of the Zabuli School for girls in Afghanistan; board chair of the Irish Breakfast Club; and co-chair emeritus of the Washington Ireland Program Trustees Council.

Shannon Deegan is Google’s senior director of Workplace Innovation and Governance. Joining Google in 2007 as the director of People Operations, he led the M&A team, served as lead business partner to Google’s global business organization, and as head of central staffing. Previously, he worked as a management consultant at McKinsey & Co. in New York, in the financial industry in Asia, and as an advisor to the prime minister of Canada. He also played hockey at a professional level with the Los Angeles Kings. Shannon has a B.A. from the University of Vermont, an M.Phil. in international studies from Trinity College Dublin, and an M.B.A. from the Yale School of Management. Born in Verdun, Quebec, Shannon lives in Ottawa, Ontario, with his wife, Patti, and their three children, Conal, Orla, and Bridget. In the late 1840s, Shannon’s ancestors sailed to Canada to join Montreal’s growing Irish community in Pointe St. Charles.

A. James DeHayes is chairman of DCG Corporation, a financial services consulting firm he founded in 1983. The firm specializes in strategic acquisitions as well as marketing and distribution enhancements. He has successfully guided clients through the complex process of designing and developing distribution systems tailored for new products, enhancing productivity and profitability of existing distribution, and adjusting legacy distribution to new competitive realities. He is an alumnus of Harvard Business School’s Owner / President Management Program, a chartered life underwriter and chartered financial consultant from the American College, and holds an M.B.A. from Pepperdine University. Jim is a member of the North American advisory board for the UCD Smurfit Graduate Business School, and a second-generation Irish American, whose mother’s family has roots in Belfast. Jim is a native of Milford, C.T., and a resident of northern California since 1977. He and his wife, Carolyn, celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary last year. DECEMBER / JANUARY 2020 IRISH AMERICA 51

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24 Seven Enterprises Holdings Inc.

Heineken U.S.A.

Northwell Health

James Delaney is the founder and chairman of 24 Seven Enterprises Holdings Inc., which owns Vin-Go, Pack n’ Ship and 24 Seven Direct. These are the leading U.S. companies that specialize in the temperature-controlled shipping and logistics within the wine and beverage space. He was also the co-founder of the leading Irish transport and freight company City Air Express Ltd.   James immigrated to the United States in 2000 with his wife, Mary Beth, and five children, Kathryn, Edmund, James, Elizabeth, and Hannah from Ratoath in County Meath, Ireland. He was educated at Clongowes Wood College in County Kildare and graduated from Trinity College Dublin. He is a keen golfer and was a member of the St. Margaret’s Golf Club in County Dublin and is currently a member of The Links at Union Vale, the Emerald Golf Club, and is the president of the Gaelic Golf Club. James and his wife Mary Beth currently reside in Longboat Key, F.L., during the winter and Warwick, N.Y., during the summer.   James is an active board member of the National Association of Wine Retailers.

John Doolan serves as vice president of Sales Operations for HEINEKEN USA, the world’s most international high-end brewer, and brewer of some of the world’s most popular beers and ciders. Throughout his 15-year tenure, John has led sales strategy and key-stakeholder engagement for the company’s 16 beers and ciders within its portfolio, including Heineken, Heineken Light, Amstel Light, Dos Equis, Newcastle Brown Ale, and many more. His passion for the beer industry was fulfilled when he began his career at the Guinness Import Company in 1995. John has a track record for strong business results, most notably for his term as Regional Vice President, Northeast, which remains one of the company’s strongest and most vital revenue streams. John grew up on Long Island, N.Y., with parents from Cork City and Longford. He earned a B.A. in English from Iona College, and a certificate of Business Management from the University of Notre Dame. He lives in Connecticut with his wife Mary and daughters Cate and Elizabeth, is active in the Gaelic-American Club of Fairfield, C.T., and is a member of the Knights of St. Patrick.

Michael Dowling is president and CEO of Northwell Health. He began his career as a faculty member at Fordham University as a professor and the assistant dean at the Graduate School of Social Services. In 1983, under Governor Mario Cuomo, he served as deputy secretary and director of Health, Education, and Human Services. He became executive vice president and COO of Northwell in 1997, and was named president and CEO in 2002. Born and raised in Knockaderry, County Limerick, Michael had to help support his family from an early age, inspiring him to push further and achieve his dreams. No was never an option, he says. “If you tell me I can’t do something, that’s when I become determined to get it done.” A University College Cork graduate, he was the first person in his family to attend college. Afterwards, he went to New York and earned a master’s from Fordham. Michael and his wife, Kathy, live on Long Island with their two children, Brian and Elizabeth. In 2017, he had the honor of serving as the grand marshal of the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade.




Bank of Ireland

Verizon Consumer Group


Tony is Bank of Ireland’s U.S. country manager; he joined the bank in 2011 after moving to New York. Bank of Ireland operates a corporate banking and markets and treasury business in the U.S. through its branch in Stamford, C.T., and representative offices in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles. Its NYC Innovation Lab supports the bank’s customers as they seek to grow their business, as well as providing an event space for the Irish-American community. As country manager, Tony has overall responsibility for all of the group activities in the U.S. and also holds the position of the U.S. branch’s chief operating officer. Tony holds a Bachelor of Commerce from University College Dublin, is a qualified accountant (FCCA) and CFA charter holder, with over 20 years’ experience of working in the financial services industry. He is on the board and executive committee of the Institute of International Bankers and is the treasurer and secretary of U.S. Friends of Munster Youth Rugby. Tony lives in Manhattan with his wife Andrea and their two young children.

Ronan Dunne is executive vice president and CEO of Verizon Consumer Group, the largest division of Verizon Communications, the leading U.S. telecoms provider. He leads the teams responsible for delivering wireline, TV, and wireless connected experiences to more than 100 million consumers every day. Ronan is a board member and officer of CTIA, the U.S. telecoms industry body, and speaks globally on the power of technology to drive positive outcomes for our society. He serves on the advisory board of the Kairos Society, whose mission is “focusing the next generation on problems worth solving” and is a counselor for the One Young World charity. Born and raised in Dublin, Ronan maintains strong links with Ireland, including membership in the Global Irish Network and the Irish International Business Network, (IIBN) and works closely with Enterprise Ireland, the IDA, and Invest NI. “I’m very proud of my Irish heritage and of the role played by the Irish diaspora globally,” he says. “As a business leader I draw heavily on that heritage and value greatly the opportunity to represent our country and our culture.”

Born in the U.S. to Brendan from Ballinalee, County Longford and Rita (née McAuliffe) from Knockbrack, Knocknagoshel, County Kerry, Brendan was raised in Longford Town, where his family owned O’Farrell’s Bar and Grocery . Brendan, a graduate of Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT), lives in Denville, N.J., with They are proud parents to Dylan and Brianna. Brendan started his financial services career in the mid ’80s at the Bank of New York. In 1996, he founded Xcitek Solutions Plus, a leading provider of corporate actions processing software. Brendan sold XSP in December 2012 and is currently enjoying a role as managing director at Broadridge Financial Solutions, Inc., a global, $15-billion Market Cap SaaS provider to the financial services industry and a member of the S&P 500. Brendan remains deeply connected to his Irish roots through his involvement with many Irish organizations, including the Ireland Fund, the St. Patrick’s Day Foundation, the American Friends of Athlone Institute of Technology Foundation, and IMMRAM, which he founded. In 2011, Brendan was an Irish finalist in the Ernst & Young, Entrepreneur of the Year Awards.


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Procter & Gamble

Fitzpatrick Hotel Group

Chuck Feeney was never one for the limelight, but his selfless actions over the years have propelled him into it whether he liked it or not. In 1996, it emerged that he had donated over $600 million, a huge portion of his personal wealth, to create Atlantic Foundation, the fourth-largest philanthropic organization in the U.S. The co-founder of Duty Free Shops, Feeney, a New Jersey native, was identified as the donor only after the sale of the chain of stores. Feeney holds dual citizenship in Ireland and the United States and has always gone to bat on all things Irish, from lending his considerable support in bringing American involvement to bear on the Irish peace process to supporting efforts to help illegal Irish immigrants. Born in 1931, Feeney was raised in a working class section of Elizabeth, N.J., during the Great Depression. His father, the son of an emigrant from County Fermanagh, Ireland, was an insurance underwriter and his mother was a nurse. In 1948, at age 17, Chuck enlisted in the United States Air Force, serving for four years in postwar Japan and Korea.

Tom Finn is the president of Procter & Gamble Global Health Care, a position he has held since 2007. Tom has spent over 30 years with P&G in a variety of global leadership roles. He has served as a long-standing board member for both the largest hospital system in Cincinnati and the Cincinnati Health Collaborative. He is an appointed member of Ohio Governor Kasich’s Advisory Council on Health Care Payment Innovation and holds a B.A. in economics from Hamilton College. Tom, a native of Syracuse, New York, is a secondgeneration Irish American with paternal ancestry from County Cork. He credits his Irish heritage as playing a big role in his professional career, saying, “I feel the culture and attitude role-modeled by my grandparents and later adopted by me was a big part of this success. They taught me to work hard, play ethically, constantly learn new things, be comfortable with change, and embrace the fact that you must successfully work with and through others to accomplish great things.” Tom and his wife, Deborah, live in Cincinnati with their two children, Lindsay and Ashley.

John Fitzpatrick is president and CEO of the Fitzpatrick Hotel Group, North America. He served as chairman of the American Hotel & Lodging Association and was chairman of the Hotel Association of New York City for three terms. He is the chairman of the Ireland Funds and on the board of the Ireland-U.S. Council. Active in a number of philanthropic activities that aid children and advance the peace process in Northern Ireland, John was conferred with an honorary OBE in 2008. Queen’s University Belfast awarded him an honorary Doctorate of Science in economics in 2011, and in 2013 Dublin City University bestowed him with an honorary philosophy degree. He received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor in 2002. In 1993, John founded the Eithne and Paddy Fitzpatrick Memorial Foundation in memory of his parents. The foundation has generated more than $4 million for charities.




Ford Motor Company


The Retro Flame

As executive chairman of Ford Motor Company, William Clay Ford, Jr. is leading the company that put the world on wheels into the 21st century. Bill joined Ford in 1979 as a product planning analyst. A member of the board since 1988, he became chairman in 1999 and is also chairman of the board’s finance committee. He served as CEO from October 2001 to September 2006. Bill is vice chairman of the Detroit Lions football team, a member of the boards of the Henry Ford Foundation and the Henry Ford Health System, and chairman of the New Michigan Initiative of Business Leaders for Michigan. In 2015, in recognition of his commitment to education and his devotion to the Detroit community, Bill was given the Ambassador for Humanity Award by the USC Shoah Foundation Institute. Bill holds a B.A. from Princeton University and an M.S. in management as an Alfred P. Sloan fellow from MIT. He is the great-grandson of founder and innovator Henry Ford, who was the son of an Irish immigrant from County Cork.

Kevin Fortuna is an entrepreneur, author, and filmmaker. He runs Gramercy Labs, the NYC-based incubator that has launched successful startups such as Tasting Room (www.tastingroom.com), the #1 personalized wine subscription platform in the nation, and GeistM, the fastest-growing MarTech platform in the world. Kevin is also the former president of Quigo, an advertising technology company that was sold to AOL Time Warner in 2007. Kevin serves on the board of Irish-born charity Concern Worldwide U.S. and his Irish heritage (from Cobh, County Cork) has found its way into his writing: his critically acclaimed debut collection of short stories, The Dunning Man, features an edgy cast of Irish and Irish-American characters. His feature film by the same name has been screened internationally at 37 festivals and garnered 19 awards, including seven for “best feature film.” Kevin is currently at work on his second film, Flogging Maggie, another adaptation from his short story collection. He graduated summa cum laude from Georgetown University and earned an M.F.A. in fiction from the University of New Orleans.

Erika Fox is a fashion and lifestyle blogger / YouTuber at Retro Flame. She grew up in Glenbeigh, County Kerry, where her mom, Helena, is from. Her dad, Tadhg, is originally from Westmeath. With both parents immigrating to and meeting in New York at her age, she took it as a sign to try NYC for herself. Erika’s first encounter with New York was during her J1 summers, interning with fashion brands Refinery29 and Whitney Port. After graduating with a commerce degree from NUI Galway she decided to move back. She was a social media manager for renowned fashion brand Vince Camuto while working on her blog, Retro Flame, eventually deciding to apply for an 01 visa to work on it full-time. Retro Flame documents Erika’s work, travels, outfits, and inspirations. She has been featured in a wide range of publications including Teen Vogue, Seventeen, and The Sunday Times STYLE Magazine and was named one of New York’s Top 20 Fashion Bloggers. She has collaborated with brands such as Samsung, Lexus, Vogue, Tommy Hilfiger, and Google. Her current fan base is over 250,000 followers.


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BPI Group

Pier Sixty LLC

Adaire Fox-Martin is a member of the executive board of SAP SE, leading Global Customer Operations in 71 countries. She is responsible for SAP’s business across the globe with a resolute focus on the success of over 437,000 customers and over 14,000 GCO employees worldwide. Adaire is passionate about helping customers realize greater business value through technology in their own unique environments. Adaire founded the SAP One Billion Lives Ventures, a social intrapreneurship program focused on improving the lives of one billion people around the world through creation of sustainable business ventures that have social mission at the core of their operations. With Adaire’s support, SAP and Social Enterprise UK have created a dedicated content channel that promotes current thinking from the world of social enterprise. Taking the name from its purpose – to improve one billion lives – the One Billion Lives platform aims to bring social entrepreneurs and corporate leaders closer together to accelerate the movement. In 2019, Adaire was named to Fortune Magazine’s Top 50 Most Powerful Women International List for the third time running.

Susan Gallagher is president and CEO of BPI Group, a global leadership, talent development, and transition consultancy headquartered in Chicago. Formerly a partner at Andersen public accounting firm where she started her career, she has a strong track record of building high-performing leadership teams and growing organizations. She is dedicated to her community and serves as chair of the board of Mercy Hospital and Health System in Chicago, focusing on healthcare equity for the poor and underserved. She is former chair of the board of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago, and immediate past chair of The Chicago Network. She has served and held leadership positions with several other not-forprofit boards throughout her career. She is a recipient of the U.S. President’s Volunteer Award for her work with The American Red Cross. Susan is third-generation Irish. Her mother’s parents are from Sligo and Donegal. The O’Connell-Walsh clan were blacksmiths and came to Hudson, Wisconsin, to help build the U.S. railroads. Susan lives in Park Ridge, Illinois, with her husband and has four adult children.

Born and raised in Dublin, Ireland, Paul Gallen is the general manager of Pier Sixty LLC at Chelsea Piers, a collection of three of New York’s premier event venues located on the Hudson River well known for their high quality hospitality. He has been responsible for the dayto-day management of this multivenue catering and events operation since 2012. With 25 years of executive leadership in the New York hospitality industry, Paul’s commitment to talent development at all levels has garnered him key positions at the Plaza Hotel, the American Museum of Natural History, and the Waldorf-Astoria. Some of Paul’s proudest moments over the course of his career have been the opportunities to work with and support important Irish-American organizations including the Ireland Funds, Irish America magazine, the Irish Business Organization, the Flax Trust, Concern, GOAL USA, ICCUSA, Self Help Africa, and many others. Paul and his wife, Bebhinn, who also hails from Dublin, have lived in New York City since 1994 and have four sons: Hugh, Finn, Pearse, and Ronan.




Triskelion Consulting


Synergy Investments

John is a highly collaborative coach, advisor, and consultant. He started Triskelion Consulting with a focus on leadership coaching and business consulting. His work focuses on helping emerging and high-potential leaders improve their performance and team dynamic using a design-based approach to achieve specific goals. John has extensive experience in running a global business, with hundreds of millions of dollars in annual revenue, overseeing engineering and software development, business development, sales, marketing, and customer acquisition. Prior to Triskelion he worked for Intel, where he was a vice president in the Sales and Marketing Group and general manager of the Public Sector Team, where he partnered with Intel Capital to form and run an Ed Tech Accelerator working with two cohorts of start-ups and coaching them on their business plans. John’s parents were born in Kerry and met and married in New York. “Growing up in an Irish household shaped me. I learned to work hard in pursuit of my dreams, and as a leadership coach I now enjoy helping others pursue their dreams.”

As U.S. Chief Integration Officer for mcgarrybowen, Phil is focused on reinventing how an advertising agency could and should work to better serve clients in the digital age. Phil is responsible for all mergers and acquisitions and integrating those new capabilities across mcgarrybowen’s U.S. offices, while forming strong partnerships with other Dentsu Aegis Network brands (mcgarrybowen’s parent company) across the U.S. and the globe. A consumer strategist by trade, Phil has 19 years of industry experience, ten with mcgarrybowen. He has created award-winning strategies for some of the world’s biggest brands, including Verizon, Burger King, Budweiser, Apple, Chevron, AT&T, Corona, Under Armor, Crayola, J.P. Morgan Chase and American Express. Born and raised in Shannon, County Clare, Phil attended the University of Limerick where he earned a Bachelor of Business Studies. He and his wife, Alison, now live in New York. “Having had the privilege to travel the world due to my job, I can honestly say that there’s no place like Ireland and I’m thankful to still have family and friends there to connect to, both personally and professionally.”

David Greaney is the president of Synergy Investments, a Boston-based real estate investment firm that owns and operates 25 Boston area buildings comprising approximately 3,000,000 square feet. Over 350 companies, retailers, and organizations occupy space in the Synergy portfolio. A native of Limerick, David is a graduate of University College Dublin, and a Certified Public Accountant in Massachusetts. Prior to founding Synergy, David held positions in the investment management groups of Harvard University and PwC. He has received numerous awards from organizations, including the Boston Irish Business Association and the Irish Chamber of Commerce. In 2015, David was included in the Boston Business Journal’s Power 50, which recognizes the most influential Bostonians. He has served on the Irish American Partnership’s board of directors since 2016. Through the partnership, David gives back to his former secondary school, St. Nessan’s (now known as Thomond Community College), by funding academic achievement awards for 20 students annually.


Congratulations to the Business 100 and Irish America Magazine

Andy McKenna

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Mutual of America

Ford Motor Company


John R. Greed is chairman, president, and chief executive officer of Mutual of America Life Insurance Company. Previously, John was Mutual of America’s Chief Financial Officer, a position he held until April 2015. Prior to joining Mutual of America in 1996, John was a partner with Arthur Andersen. He currently serves on the board and executive committee of the Greater New York Councils of the Boy Scouts of America, the board of the Police Athletic League, and the Citizens Budget Commission, as well as the board of trustees of La Salle University and Thirteen WNET NY. He is also a member of the Archdiocese of New York Finance Council. He makes his home in Philadelphia with his wife, Theresa, and has two adult children, Timothy and Megan.

Jim Hackett was named president and CEO of Ford Motor Company in May 2017. Under Hackett’s leadership, together with Bill Ford, Ford is committed to becoming the world’s most trusted company, designing increasingly intelligent vehicles that are connected to the increasingly intelligent world around us – all to make life better for everyday customers, communities, and our climate. In March 2016, Hackett was named chairman of Ford Smart Mobility, a subsidiary of Ford formed to accelerate the company’s plans to design, build, grow, and invest in emerging mobility services. Before Ford, Hackett retired as CEO of Steelcase after spending 20 years leading the global office furniture company. He graduated from the University of Michigan with a bachelor’s degree in 1977.  The Hacketts are from the southern and central parts of Ireland, from counties Waterford and Cork in the south to County Carlow in the east and County Galway in the west. The family moved to Ohio in 1852, leaving his great-grandfather, William, the last to be born in Ireland, in 1851. Both he and his later son, William J. Hackett, married women of Irish descent and all were farmers in central Ohio.

Mike Hanrahan is the CEO of Walmart’s Intelligent Retail Lab, part of Walmart’s Store No. 8 technology incubator, where he and his team build artificial intelligence products and tools for Walmart’s stores. Prior to joining Walmart, Mike was co-founder and chief technology officer of online retailer Jet.com, which was purchased by Walmart for $3.3 billion in 2016. Mike is a member of Chartered Accountants Ireland and also serves as a board member for Genetx Bio-therapeutics, a company targeting a cure for Angelman Syndrome.   Mike was born in New Ross, County Wexford. His first job was as a salesman in the shoe shop his mother operated, learning early the importance of empathy between clerk and customer. His mother is from Tramore, County Waterford, while his father hails from New Ross, County Wexford, and was present during John F. Kennedy’s 1963 visit to his homestead in the town. “The Irish immigration story has always resonated locally given this connection,” he says. Mike attended the Waterford Institute of Technology and immigrated to the U.S. in 2010. Mike and his wife, Jo, have four children: Molly, Tom, Rosie, and Rory. They live in New Jersey.




Handy Technologies


American Express

As chief product officer of ANGI Homeservices, the world’s largest digital home services marketplace, and CEO of Handy Technologies, Oisin Hanrahan is transforming the way that home services are delivered. He leads product innovation for ANGI Homeservices, whose U.S. and international brands, including HomeAdvisor, Angie’s List, Handy, and Fixd Repair, are leaders in the $400 billion home services market. Oisin founded Handy Technologies at Harvard Business School in 2012, successfully building it into a market leader in on-demand home services while securing nationwide services partnerships with the world’s top retailers, including Walmart, Crate & Barrel, and Wayfair. He joined ANGI Homeservices in 2018, when the company acquired Handy. As a serial entrepreneur, Oisin previously started a political technology platform in Dublin and a real estate development business in Budapest. He also co-founded The Undergraduate Awards, a foundation that supports and celebrates outstanding undergraduate students globally. He studied at Trinity College Dublin, London School of Economics, and Harvard Business School.

Brian Hart is the founder and president of Flackable, a national, full-service public relations agency he brought to life in 2014 at the age of just 27. The agency, based in Philadelphia, represents a national client base of financial and professional service firms. Born in Reading, Pennsylvania, Brian graduated from Temple University with a B.A. in strategic communications and frequently returns to the university as a guest speaker and lecturer. His bylines include  Inc. Magazine  and  Business Insider, and his insight has been featured in national news outlets including The New York Times, CNBC, and Reuters. Brian’s previous recognitions include PR News’s 2017 Rising PR Stars 30 & Under, Lehigh Valley Business’s 2016 Forty Under 40 and Adweek’s 2015 PR Industry 30 Under 30.   Brian is a fifth-generation Irish American. “When I think of my Irish heritage,” he says, “I think about the hardworking, industrious men and women in my bloodline who immigrated to America to provide future generations a shot at the American dream. It’s that proud heritage that helps me fuel my drive as an entrepreneur.” 

As president of American Express Travel, Audrey Hendley leads one of the largest multi-channel consumer travel agencies in the world. Audrey is responsible for delivering premium travel and lifestyle (dining and entertainment) services to card members through a network of more than 5,000 travel and lifestyle consultants, overseeing the digital travel booking experience, travel benefits and programs, supplier partnerships, and marketing and engagement strategies for the premium card member base. Audrey has earned many of American Express’s top awards and was inducted into the company’s Hall of Fame in 2012. Her teams have also won the Chairman’s Award for Innovation. As an advocate for women in business, Audrey serves as chair for the New York Women’s Interest Network. She also serves on the board for World Education Services, a non-profit organization that helps international students and professionals to achieve their educational and professional goals. Audrey is an honors graduate of Trinity College in Dublin, where she received her master’s in marketing management. She and her husband live in Westchester with their two growing teenagers and the family dog.



And All Honorees!

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Cosimo Ventures

Daire Hickey is a managing partner at 150Bond, a strategic advisory firm in New York that works with Fortune 500 firms, venture capitalists, and high-growth tech companies. The firm has offices in New York and Dublin. Previously Daire co-founded Web Summit. Daire was instrumental in building the Web Summit’s relationship with the media and has also worked with many of Web Summit’s key partners including Facebook, Google, and NASDAQ , as well as helping to produce much of Web Summit’s editorial content in its first seven years. Previously, Daire was a freelance journalist having written for The Irish Mail on Sunday, Irish Daily Mail, The Irish Independent, and TheJournal.ie. He also worked at RTÉ. Daire is also an active angel investor. A graduate of economics from the University of Dublin, Trinity College, Daire is also a World Economic Forum Young Global Shaper.

James J. Houlihan is a graduate of Manhattan Preparatory School (1970) and of Fordham University School of Business (Gabelli School of Business 1974). He represents the fourth of five generations in a family business: Houlihan-Parnes Realtors, LLC, founded in 1891 by his great-grandfather, Daniel Houlihan. Jim is the managing principal of his multi-faceted commercial real estate firm and has managed daily operations since 1987. Jim has served as chairman of the Great Hunger Memorial Committee of Westchester County that created a monument commemorating “An Gorta Mór.” He also conceived and curated the acclaimed exhibit “The Fighting Irishmen: A Celebration of the Celtic Warrior.” The Irish Arts Center awarded Jim with its “Spirit of Ireland” award in 2001, and he received the Irish American Building Society award in 2007. He also received the Croagh Patrick award from St. Patrick’s Home at their 80th Anniversary dinner in November 2011, and was honored by the Knights of St. Patrick in 2017. Jim and his wife Pat currently reside in Bronxville, New York and Nantucket, Massachusetts. They have five grown children and four grandchildren.

Ciarán Hynes is a founder and managing partner at COSIMO Ventures, a deep tech investment firm headquartered in Boston with an office in Dublin. He also sits on the boards of emerging technology companies, including the leading Fintech company Gecko Governance and Lingar, an innovative augmented reality solution. He is also a director of Oneiro, which recently launched the world’s first buoyant virtual currency, NDAU. Ciarán was born in Dublin but has lived in Boston for the past eight years and has been a serial entrepreneur since his mid-20s. He speaks regularly on Blockchain and the transformative nature of that technology and its impact on the entire financial industry in particular. He is also actively involved with the Irish Network, BIBA, and the Irish American Partnership, and chairs Boston’s UCD Alumni Chapter. He is also a member of the North American board of the UCD Smurfit Business School and a founding member of the Boston Friends of the GPA. Ciarán is married to Amanda and has three children, Elle, Jess, and Nathan.





Columbia Care


Kathy Ireland, a former supermodel, is chair, CEO and chief designer of Kathy Ireland Worldwide (kiWW), one of the most powerful brands in the world. kiWW is responsible for billions of dollars in retail sales, and the recipient of many awards, including several Good Housekeeping Seals. While Kathy is recognized one of the most influential leaders in the fashion and furniture industries – she twice graced the cover of Forbes magazine – she is also known for her compassion. Kathy and kiWW support many non-profits including YWCA Greater Los Angeles, for which she is an ambassador, Dream Foundation, Providence Educational Foundation, 911 for Kids/AEF, and the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. She is an ambassador for the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation and is International Youth Chair for the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation. Kathy, whose Irish ancestors came to the U.S. by way of Liverpool, lives in Santa Barbara, where she grew up. She and her husband, ER physician Greg Olsen, have three children: Erik, 25, Lily, 20, and Chloe, 16.

Nicholas “Nick” Keane Vita is the founder and CEO of Columbia Care Inc., one of the nation’s leading cannabis companies. Columbia Care cultivates, manufactures, and dispenses its products while putting its focus on its guests’ experiences, their personalized treatment, and interactions with their individual wellness specialists (including PharmDs, pharmacists with PhDs in pharmacy). This model has made Columbia Care one of the most successful of all network dispensaries in the United States. A graduate of Columbia University, Nick began his career at S. G. Warburg then as a member of the Healthcare Investment Banking Department at Goldman Sachs. Prior to Columbia Care, Nick was a partner and served as the chairman of the investment committee at Apelles Investment Management, LLC. In 2018, Nick was awarded a Tribeca Film Festival Disruptive Innovation Award for his efforts to combat the opioid crisis as CEO of Columbia Care. His grandmother Helen  Keane  was born in Ireland.

Thomas “Tom” Keaney is the chief strategy officer for Rubenstein, a strategic communications and reputation management firm, where he has worked since 2001. Tom’s role encompasses a range of communications activities, including crisis management, digital and content strategies, entertainment, and media, as well as corporate, public and policy affairs. Tom’s clients include Jerry Seinfeld and David Letterman, and Tom is also an Emmy-nominated executive producer of Letterman’s My Next Guest television series on Netflix. Prior to joining Rubenstein, Tom worked on Capitol Hill for 15 years. He served as chief of staff to Representative Robert Matsui (C.A.) for nine years, after having been Matsui’s press secretary and legislative director. Tom and his wife Judy live in Brooklyn with their 15-year-old triplets, Ella, Tommy, and Nora. He graduated from the University of Michigan, and is a board member of the Prospect Park Alliance in Brooklyn.  His Irish ancestors hailed from Caladh an Chnoic in Connemara, where he visits often. His Irish ancestry also extends to the Martin, Keefe, and Real family names.


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SKOUT Cybersecurity

Kelleher Financial Advisors

Wall Street Access

Aidan Kehoe is founder and CEO of SKOUT Cybersecurity. He has been actively involved in all aspects of the firm’s development and expansion since its founding in 2012. At SKOUT, Aidan has built a team that delivers the highest level of cyber security technology and service, making cyber security accessible to all companies. Prior to SKOUT, Aidan founded a number of other enterprises, including the risk management company Oxford Global (acquired by Willis Towers Watson) in 2013. Over the past ten years he has served as a board member to both public and private equity-backed companies throughout the U.S., Canada, and Europe. He has extensive experience in leading and building teams, and has spent years working in an investment capacity for an institutionally sized private family office. Previously, Aidan was the chairman of the U.S. Leaders Council of Cordaid and currently serves on the board of Autism Speaks. He says, “Being Irish in the U.S. has been the greatest advantage I could have ever received; everyone I meet either has been there and loved it or wants to go. In the modern world, there are not many countries left that you can say that about.”

Colleen Kelleher Sorrentino launched Kelleher Financial Advisors in 1995 and works with individuals, families, foundations, and corporations to build diversified, multi-asset class portfolios of cash, bonds, stocks, mutual funds, ETFs and REITs for their liquid assets. In addition, Colleen provides advice on a wide range of services in alternative investments, cash management, concentrated stock, income needs, estate planning, insurance and annuities, lending, mortgages, and retirement planning. A graduate of the University of Rochester with an M.B.A. in finance from the Stern School of Business at New York University, Colleen is the daughter of Kerry native Denis Kelleher, who founded the Wall Street Access firm. She was awarded the Chartered Financial Analyst designation in 2000 and in 2008, and the Wealth Manager of the Year award in 2011 by Manhattan magazine, and has been featured in ProActive Advisor Magazine amongst other publications. Additionally, Colleen is a member of the Executive Women’s Council ofeasurer of the Friends of New World Prep.

Denis Kelleher was founder and chairman of Wall Street Access, which combines an independent, entrepreneurial culture with a powerful platform to build and operate a diverse set of successful  financial service businesses. He began his career in 1958 as a messenger with Merrill Lynch. He rose through the ranks at Merrill Lynch and was the head of operations at Ruane Cunniff and treasurer of Sequoia Fund. In 1981, he founded Wall Street Access. A native of County Kerry, Ireland, he was a graduate of St. John’s University, where he also served as chairman and member of the board of trustees. He was a board member of the Staten Island Foundation, a director of The New Ireland Fund, and a former member of the board of trustees of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In 2005, Denis was grand marshal of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in New York City. He received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor and was inducted into the Irish America Hall of Fame. Sadly, as we went to press on this issue, Denis passed away after a long illness. Our deepest sympathies to his wife Carol, their children and grandchildren.




Sony Music Entertainment

Wall Street Access

Visa Inc.

Kevin Kelleher recently assumed the role of chief operating officer of Sony Music Entertainment after serving as the company’s chief financial officer for over 20 years. Since he joined Sony Music in 1992, he has helped actively manage the company’s worldwide operations through the changing music landscape. Throughout his tenure he has played a leading role in the development of Sony Music’s core strategies and the implementation of its key operational initiatives. Prior to joining Sony Music Entertainment, Kevin was a partner in the Media / Entertainment Group of PriceWaterhouseCoopers. A certified public accountant, Kevin graduated from Middlebury College with a B.A. in economics and holds an M.B.A. in finance/accounting from Rutgers Graduate School of Management. He also received an honorary doctorate degree from Five Towns College. A third-generation Irish-American with ancestors from counties Clare and Cork, Kevin doesn’t take for granted the hardships his Irish ancestors had to endure in paving the way for what he calls an “interesting life with a wonderful family and many great opportunities.” Kevin is married with three children.

As president  of Wall Street Access, the financial services organization founded by his father Denis Kelleher, Sean has helped guide the firm through successful ventures in online brokerage, institutional research,  global execution services  and trading, fixed income,  and asset management. In 1992, Kelleher joined the firm as a clerk and now manages a team of more than 50 analysts, traders, and salespeople. A graduate of Wagner College, Kelleher now serves on the college’s alumni board. He also served as cochairman of the Staten Island Film Festival, served on the board of the Staten Island Zoo and co-founded the Gerry Red Wilson Foundation to support spinal meningitis research. He is actively involved in New World Preparatory charter school, Camp Good Grief and Project Hospitality. Kelleher, who spent the summers of his youth in Ireland working in the bog, says the catalysts behind his love for Irish culture are his family and playing Gaelic football in his father’s village in County Kerry. He lives on Staten Island, New York with his wife Wendy and their three children, Maggie, Jack, and Denis.

Al Kelly is the chairman and CEO of Visa Inc. Prior to joining Visa in October 2016, Kelly was president and CEO at Intersection, a technology and digital media company, which is an Alphabetbacked private company based in New York City. Mr. Kelly was a management advisor to TowerBrook Capital Partners, L.P. in 2015, while simultaneously serving as chair of Pope Francis’ visit to New York City. Kelly was also the president and CEO of the 2014 NY/NJ Super Bowl Host Company, the entity created to raise funds for and host Super Bowl XLVIII. Previously, Kelly held senior positions at American Express for 23 years, including serving as president from July 2007 to April 2010. Kelly currently serves on the board of directors of Visa as well as several entities in the Archdiocese of New York. He is chairman of the board of the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation. He is also a trustee of New York Presbyterian Hospital and Boston College. Kelly holds a B.A. degree in computer and information science and a masters of business administration degree from Iona College. He is second-generation Irish American with roots in Cork.



Jim DeHayes

Chairman & CEO DeHayes Consulting Group

www.dcgcorp.com (916) 782-8321 2999 Douglas Blvd. Suite 320 Roseville, CA 95661

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RSi Communications


Municipal Art Society of New York

Laird is the founder / owner of RSi Communications, a company specializing in medical communication and education for physicians. Founded in 1976, RSi was the producer of the first commercially supported program using what became the internet (1977) and the inventor of the digitally controlled audience response system (1982). The company specializes today in the use of quizzing as an editorial feature for medical websites. Laird’s father’s side emigrated from Liscannor in Clare in the 1870s. His mother’s family came to America to fight for the colonists in the Revolution, earning land grants they used to settle in the territory that became Tennessee. Laird received a B.S. in journalism from Northwestern University and a certificate from the Owner / Presidents Management course at the Harvard Business School. He is CEO of a non-profit, Uptown Paddling, which gives underprivileged kids a chance to kayak on the Hudson. Born in Topeka, Laird is working on a book entitled Greetings from Liberal Kansas, about the 100year period when Kansas was a seedbed for liberal, progressive, and socialist thought.

Liam J. Kelly became president and chief executive officer of Teleflex on January 1, 2018. He has been a director of Teleflex since May 2018. He joined Teleflex in April 2009 and shortly thereafter assumed responsibility as president of EMEA. He was then promoted to the position of executive vice president and president, International in June 2012. In April 2014, Liam was appointed Executive Vice President and President, Americas. In April 2015, he was named Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. From May 2016 to December 2017, he served as President and Chief Operating Officer. Prior to joining Teleflex, Liam worked at HillRom where he held senior leadership positions from 2002 to 2009. He was the vice president of International Marketing and Product Development and previously had been Managing Director of their UK and Ireland businesses. Liam holds a Bachelor of Business Studies from University of Limerick.

Tara McCammon Kelly is the vice president of Policy & Programs at the Municipal Art Society of New York, a non-profit organization dedicated to educating and inspiring New Yorkers to engage in the betterment of the city. Previously, she was executive director of Friends of the Upper East Side Historic Districts. She serves on the board of directors of the Isles of Shoals Association, the board of advisers  of the Historic Districts Council, as well as the Island Heritage & Artifacts and Property Standards Committees of the Star Island Corporation. She holds an M.S. in historic preservation from Pratt Institute and a B.S. in linguistics from Georgetown University.     Tara traces her Irish heritage through Michael J.  Kelly,  who arrived in Paw Paw, Illinois, from County Clare around 1870. John McCammon, another ancestor, originated in Derry and settled in territory south of the Ohio River (Tennessee) in about 1785. The McCown family, on her maternal side, have been in America since at least 1769. Tara  lives in Brooklyn with her husband Joe Palazzolo (not Irish), along with their cat and dog (also not Irish).




Conrad O’Brien PC

Lion Group Consulting


Kevin Kent is a shareholder in the Philadelphia law firm of Conrad O’Brien PC. He advises clients nationally on risk management in high legal exposure industries, identifying proactive steps to avoid litigation and defending them in litigation when it occurs. He represents companies and government entities in matters involving public funding and infrastructure, civil fraud, fiduciary liability, professional malpractice, government civil enforcement actions and audits, and white-collar criminal defense. Kevin’s clients come from a broad spectrum of industries, including government contractors, public utilities, law firms, real estate development, life sciences, insurance, casino gaming, and education. In addition to his practice, he is a member of the firm’s three-person executive committee that manages and oversees the firm. He is also licensed as a solicitor in Ireland, England, and Wales, and is currently the chairman of the Irish American Business Chamber and Network. He received his J.D. from Vanderbilt University Law School and his B.A. from Boston College. Married with four children, Kevin’s roots lie in counties Galway, Cavan, Kilkenny, and Derry.

Patrick Keough is founder, president, and CEO of Lion Group Consulting, which provides strategic corporate communications counsel and develops compelling internal and external content that increases employee engagement and improves the public image of leading companies and brands. As corporate storytellers and content creators, Lion Group Consulting works with clients to develop communications strategies, build effective messaging, and produce impactful videos and other collateral materials to achieve critical communications milestones that create sustained value. Before founding Lion Group Consulting in 2009, Patrick managed the multi-platform communications needs of such illustrious global brands as Johnson & Johnson, Chevrolet, Samsung, and Coca-Cola. Patrick holds a B.A. from the University of Notre Dame, where he also currently serves as an executive fellow of the Keough School of Global Affairs, and an M.A. from the University of Georgia. Patrick and his wife, Megan, live in Rye, New York, with their four children.

Cillian Kieran is CEO and founder of privacy company Ethyca. Cillian has extensive technical experience working with legacy enterprise organizations such Heineken, Sony, Dell, and Pepsi building data platforms, visualization tools, and leading strategic advisory in change management and data governance policy definitions liaising with CIO, CDO, and legal counsel. Ethyca is aiming to power companies’ ethical data privacy management in the same way that Stripe has managed payments through an API, with a focus on fast-growing, data-driven commerce and enterprise companies. Cillian was taught BASIC by his mother as child on his C64 before self-teaching as a teenager HMTL and C+, which led to Java before studying. Cillian continues to play a hands-on role in product design, system architecture, and engineering while having a unique ability to interpret non-technical business requirements into code. Born in Dublin, Cillian is based in New York and lives in the city with his wife Ella.


Congratulations to this year’s honorees from all at Bank of Ireland

Through our US offices, Bank of Ireland is committed to offering a strong and diversified range of Corporate and Treasury products in the US. Our goal is to build quality, long-term relationships by delivering consistent and timely financing solutions for our customers. Speak to us to find out more. Tony Dunne US Country Manager +12034615806

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Morgan Stanley

Lyons McGovern

Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis

Sean Lane is a senior vice president and financial advisor at Morgan Stanley with over 23 years of experience in the industry. He is responsible for providing expert financial planning, risk management, and investment advice to ultra-high networth individuals, families, endowments, and foundations. Sean holds an honors post-graduate diploma in business and a B.A. in French and English literature from the National University of Ireland, Galway, and is a board member of the university’s foundation. He holds both the Chartered Financial Analyst and Certified Financial Planner designations. Born in New York, Sean is chairman of the N.Y.C. St. Patrick’s Day Parade and vice chairman of the St. Patrick’s Day Foundation. He is also on the board of the 69th Regimental Trust, the Abbey Theatre Advisory board, and the leadership circle for the Northwell Health Department of Medicine. His mother hailed from County Mayo and his father from Galway. Sean lives in Garden City, New York, with his wife, Cielo, and their two children, Sarah and Ryan.

A founder of the New York-based law firm Lyons McGovern, LLP, Desmond manages the legal needs of domestic and international high-growth companies, finance professionals, government entities, and high net worth individuals. Desmond acts as outside counsel to businesses, corporate boards and executives, advising on all areas of contracts, litigation, employment / HR law and strategic planning. Desmond is also a member of the Lawyer’s Committee for the Inner-City Scholarship Fund and the Ireland-U.S. Council. His peers have selected Desmond for several years running as a Super Lawyer in the New York metro area. Desmond has appeared as a legal analyst on the FOX News Channel and on WFAS News Radio. He resides in Westchester County with his wife Kerry and their five children Liam, Ciara, Kevin, Declan, and Cormac. He was recently awarded the Dave Wade Heart of Gold Award by Abbott House, a notfor-profit that serves families with complex needs. Des has a deep affection for Ireland, County Cork in particular. Des’s father, Dr. Michael J. Lyons (a former Irish America Top 100 honoree) emigrated with Des’s mom to the U.S. in 1960.

Nicholas Malito is counsel at Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP. He primarily represents national and regional clients in commercial leasing and retail property development. Nick also represents clients in matters in federal and state courts. His broad litigation experience includes prosecuting and defending appeals, business torts, breach of contract claims, real estate disputes, bankruptcy proceedings, and claims for discrimination.  Nick is president of the Irish Business Organization of New York – a nonprofit business networking organization which seeks to promote, foster, and advance the business interests of Irish and Irish-American businesses and individuals. He was an inaugural recipient of the Belfast Ambassador Medal at the Belfast International Homecoming (2018). He was named to the Irish Rising Stars list by the Irish Legal 100 (2017), and also named to the Irish Top 40 Under 40 (2016), and received the Irish-American Small Business Excellence Award (2014), both awarded by the Irish Echo newspaper. Nick, who received his B.A. from Fordham University and his J.D. and LL.M. from St. John’s University School, traces his Irish ancestors to Clare, Kerry, and Longford.





UHY Advisors LLP


Jim McCann is a successful entrepreneur, business leader, author, media personality, and philanthropist whose passion is helping people deliver smiles. Jim’s belief in the universal need for social connections and interaction led to his founding of 1-800-Flowers.com, which he has grown into one of the world’s top gifting companies. He has expanded the company’s offerings with brands including Harry & David, Cheryl’s Cookies, Shari’s Berries, The Popcorn Factory, Simply Chocolate, and 1-800-Baskets.com. Jim’s willingness to embrace new technologies has enabled him to stay at the forefront of consumer and social trends. His focus on customer engagement has enabled the organization to stake out an industry-leading position in social and mobile commerce, earning numerous awards for its initiatives in these exciting business areas. A third-generation Irish American with roots in Armagh and Limerick, Jim is chairman of 1800-FLOWERS.COM, Inc and is a director for Scotts Miracle-Gro Company, International Game Technology PLC, and Amyris, Inc., as well as for several private and non-profit boards.

Steven P. McCarty, C.P.A., C.M.A. is the CEO of UHY, a top CPA firm in the United States, part of the 16th largest financial services firm in the world. Steven also leads UHY Corporate Finance, an investment banking firm focusing on dynamic middle market companies. McCarty has been both a repeat nominee and winner of Crain’s Detroit Business “Dealmaker of the Year” award. He is a regular speaker on cutting-edge tax strategies, operational excellence and best-in-class corporate controls. McCarty recently presented at the UHY International meeting in Dublin, Ireland, this summer. He is also assisting a client in expanding global operations to Ireland and is working actively with the UHY offices there. McCarty continues to host events raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for charity in memory of his brother Danny. Growing up as the youngest of eight boys in a close-knit IrishCatholic family, loyalty and integrity have helped him evolve into the respected businessman, husband, father, and person he is today. McCarty resides in Michigan with his wife Kristen and daughters Jenna and Megan, a current student at Michigan State University. Go Spartans! 

Amy McDonough is the senior vice president and general manager of Fitbit Group Health, where she is responsible for empowering multinational employers to run effective and engaging corporate wellness programs with the help of Fitbit’s wearable fitness technologies. Before joining Fitbit, Amy held multiple positions with CNET Networks, including director for strategic partnerships. She was named as one of Fast Company’s “Top 100 Most Creative People of 2016.” “Being part Irish reminds me that all Americans came to this amazing country from somewhere else,” says Amy, whose maternal ancestors emigrated from County Armagh in 1807. “I am glad to have a piece of my story told by the Irish.” Amy has a B.A. from Merrimack College in Andover, Massachusetts, and a professional certificate in integrated marketing communications from the UC Berkeley extension program. At present, she is based in San Francisco and lives with her husband, Joseph, and two sons, Leo and Callen.


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Strategic Corporate Communications | Content Creation | Employee Engagement

Lion Group Consulting congratulates the 2019

Irish America Magazine Business 100 honorees. With heartfelt thanks

Patrick Keough


Ambassador’s 2020

Congratulations to

Irish American Business Chamber & Network’s 2019 Ambassador Award Honoree Liam Kelly Chief Executive Officer, Teleflex 2017 Taoiseach Award Honoree Eileen McDonnell Chair & Chief Executive Officer, The Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company Irish American Business Chamber & Network Chairman Kevin Dooley Kent, Esq Shareholder, Conrad O’Brien PC on being named to the

Ambassador Award Honoree Accepting on behalf of Aer Lingus: Sean Doyle, Chief Executive Officer

Taoiseach Award Honoree Reverend Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD President of Villanova University

Uachtarán Award Honoree Accepting on behalf of the Connelly Foundation: Josephine C. Mandeville, Chairwoman of the Board and Emily C. Riley, Executive Vice President


2019 Irish American Business 100

Friday, Feb. 28, 2019 The Union League of Philadelphia

Connect with the Irish Chamber! Find us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Flickr, & Instagram.

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Penn Mutual Life


Liberty Mutual Insurance

Eileen McDonnell is the chairman and CEO of Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company, a position she has held since 2013. She is a graduate of Molloy College and went on to complete her M.B.A. in finance and investments at Adelphi University. She received an honorary doctorate from Molloy College in 2011. In 2019, Eileen was honored to receive Women Corporate Directors’ 2019 Visionary Award for Strategic Leadership. Eileen is a native New Yorker and is a secondgeneration Irish American with ancestry from counties Clare, Leitrim, Mayo, and Sligo. She takes inspiration from her heritage, saying her grandparents’ “courage and optimism embodies the spirit of the Irish which I’m proud to have inherited.” Eileen belongs to a number of organizations, including the Irish American Business Chamber and Network. In recognition of her Irish heritage, she was the recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor. Eileen has also been awarded the honor of being inducted into the Business Excellence Institute’s Excellence Hall of Fame in Dublin.

Mary M. McEvoy is currently vice president of PepsiCo Beverages’ North America Procurement located in Purchase, New York, where she leads procurement for PepsiCo’s $22 billion North America Beverage business. Most recently, Mary held the position of vice president of Commodities. Mary has held positions in R&D spanning ingredients and packaging during her 20-year career at PepsiCo. Mary earned a B.Sc. in physics and chemistry from the University of Dublin and began her career in chemistry in New York. A native of Kilkenny, she is an inveterate hurling fan, and an avid supporter of the “Black and Amber” Kilkenny county team. A terrific athlete herself, Mary was an active camogie, soccer, and Gaelic football player who played for New York at the all-Ireland junior football level. Off the field, Mary brings her positive approach to her community. She serves on the advisory board of Self Help Africa, is a board member of Women’s Business Enterprise National Council, and is the cofounder of LEAP, a novel leadership acceleration program which links Irish and Irish-American female professionals with community organizations to solve real business challenges.

With over 25 years of cross-industry technology experience, James McGlennon was appointed as chief information officer for Liberty Mutual Insurance in 2009. In an era of massive disruption and quickly evolving consumer expectations, James is responsible for transforming Liberty Mutual’s technology capability and building innovation that drives unprecedented possibility for the 107-year-old insurance company in its pursuit of becoming a Top 3 Property & Casualty insurer. James is chairman of Liberty IT, a subsidiary of Liberty Mutual Insurance with offices in Belfast and Dublin. He holds bachelor and master’s degrees in engineering from the National University of Ireland and has completed Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program. He’s currently on the board of the Irish International Immigration Center, which serves as Boston’s welcome center for 3,500 immigrants and refugees from more than 120 countries every year. Born and raised in Galway, James is a first-generation Irish American. He’s a proud father and a two-time marathon finisher (New York and Boston).




24Seven Enterprises Group

McDonald’s & Bunzl Retail Services


Brian McGuinness is the CEO for the 24Seven Enterprises Group of Companies. Brian has held this position since joining the organization in 2014. In his tenure with the business, Brian and the team have grown the group to over five times the size it was when he arrived. Previously, Brian had a 20-year career with United Parcel Service (UPS). Brian, who is a second-generation Irish American with ties back to the McGuinness and Brady families of County Cavan and the Donovans of County Cork, feels his Irish heritage has taught him the importance of respecting individuals and getting to know the people around him. “Some of the most important things we have are our family, friends, coworkers…the people around us. We don’t know how much time we have together…more reason to make the most of every moment,” he says. Born in the Bronx, Brian obtained his B.B.A. and M.B.A. in international business, with a minor in mathematics, from Iona College. He also studied at the Marino Institute of Education (Dublin) and the Irish Institute for European Affairs (Leuven Belgium). He lives in Fishkill, New York, with his wife Chen, son Patrick, and daughter Maura.

Andrew McKenna is one of Chicago’s premier businessmen and a member of the Irish America  Hall of Fame. Currently, he serves as chairman emeritus of McDonald’s Corporation and chairman of Bunzl Retail Services. He is also a director of Ryan Specialty Group and the Chicago Bears Football Club. The father of seven, grandfather of 24, and great-grandfather of eight, Andrew is a native Chicagoan who himself is one of six children. His father, Andrew J. McKenna, Sr., was a first-generation Irish American with roots in counties Mayo and Monaghan. In addition to his private sector positions, he is a director of Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, the Ireland Economic Advisory Board, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, and Metropolis Strategies, among others. A Notre Dame graduate with a B.S. in business administration, Andrew was awarded the university’s Laetare Medal in 2000. He served as the chairman of the board of trustees from 1992 to 2000 and continues on the board today. He earned his J.D. from DePaul University.

In his role as North America Head of Services Sales for SAP, Kevin McManus has responsibility for all customers in the U.S. and Canada. Since joining SAP in 2005, Kevin has helped develop SAP Services into one of the largest professional services organizations of its kind. With a specialty in Mergers and Acquisitions, he has been involved in over 18 post-merger consolidations utilizing SAP technology, and has held many roles within field services. His passion is to enable SAP clients to purposefully utilize SAP technology, and in this way, improve the lives of all people. He serves on the board of directors for Engage Hope and is actively involved in their outreach and relief work in Uganda. With roots in Fermanagh and Sligo, Kevin is a fourth-generation Irish American who takes pride in the McManus line of hardworking, honest people who were full of grace and grit. “As far back as I can trace, the families I descended from embraced values that I still hold dear.” Kevin was born in Rochester, New York, and obtained a B.A. in economics and finance from the University of Texas at Dallas. He remains based in Dallas with his wife, Alexia, and three sons, Ian, Gavin, and Donovan.


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CDX Advisors


Fidelity Investments

James McVeigh is the founder and CEO of CDX Advisors LLC and Cyndx Networks LLC. CDX Advisors is a rapidly expanding financial services firm focused on strategic advisory and private placements services in the technology, media, and Telecom sectors with global execution capabilities.  Cyndx Networks is the leading search platform that leverages AI and science to power M&A activity, fundraising, and general business growth.  Jim has more than 20 years of investment banking experience at Salomon Brothers, DLJ, Credit Suisse, and Bank of America / Merrill Lynch, where he ran the internet and cable banking groups. He has advised amongst others, Comcast, TimeWarner, Charter Communications, AOL, eBay, Expedia, Facebook, GSI Commerce, Getty Images, Google, Kynetic, LinkedIn, OpenTable, Priceline, SurveyMonkey, and Zynga, and Monster.com. Jim earned his bachelor’s in business administration from the University of Notre Dame and an M.B.A. in finance from the Columbia Business School. He also served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy for over four years and served during operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

Bill Mullaney is a managing director in Deloitte’s insurance practice. In this role, he works with life, annuities, property, and casualty clients on a wide range of strategic and operational issues. In addition, Bill is very active in understanding the growing influence of fintech / insurtech companies and counsels clients on the potential disruption these start-ups can create to the products and business models of insurers. He has over 30 years of insurance industry experience. Born in the Bronx, Bill is a first-generation Irish American whose parents hail from counties Roscommon and Cork. “Growing up, we learned the value of hard work and perseverance mixed with a strong dose of Irish and American pride,” he says. “I see it in my siblings and my children. It has served us all well.” He received a B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh, his M.B.A. from Pace University, and a chartered life underwriter designation from the American College. Bill and his family live in New Jersey.

Kathleen Murphy is president of Personal Investing, Fidelity Investments. She assumed her position in January 2009 and today oversees a business that has grown to more than $2.7 trillion in client assets, 23 million customer accounts, and over 15,000 employees. Her business is the nation’s number one provider of individual retirement accounts (IRAs), one of the largest brokerage businesses, one of the largest providers of investment advisory programs, and one of the leading providers of college savings plans. Prior to joining Fidelity, Kathy was CEO of ING U.S. Wealth Management. She received her B.A. summa cum laude from Fairfield University and earned her J.D. with highest honors from the University of Connecticut. Fortune magazine has consistently named her one of the Top 50 Most Powerful Women in American business. She is a third-generation Irish American – her father’s family is from County Cork and her mother’s family is from Kerry. She is married with one son.




Trident General Contracting

Merrill Lynch

Bridgewater Associates

Patrick Murphy is president and CEO at Trident General Contracting, one of the premier open-shop, high-end superstructure trade contractors in New York City. Formed with the assets of Advanced Contracting Solutions, the two companies have completed over $400 million worth of work within the five boroughs and have earned a reputation for delivering high-quality projects on time and on budget. Prior to Trident, Patrick served ten years in the U.S. Navy as a lieutenant commander, flying search and rescue helicopters, deploying to the Seventh Fleet and Iraq multiple times. A native of Florida, he is a first-generation Irish American whose parents hail from Cavan and Cork. He holds a B.S. in economics from the U.S. Naval Academy and an M.B.A. from the Naval Post Graduate School. He is a member of the board of Patriot Pads, an active volunteer pilot for both Angel Flight Northeast and Patient Airlift Services, and lives in Manhattan with his wife, Christina, and daughter, Maura.

Peter Murphy has been in the financial services industry for 39 years, helping hundreds of clients achieve their financial goals. For the past eight years he has been proud to work as a financial advisor at Merrill Lynch in Southbury, Connecticut.  Peter’s Irish ancestry extends far back on both sides of his family. On his mother’s side, he is descended from Thomas Addis Emmet, a member of the Society of United Irishmen and Peter’s great-great-great-grandfather. He was the older brother of Robert Emmet, the leader of the 1803 rebellion. The Emmets were originally from County Cork and the Murphys were from County Fermanagh.  Murphy is currently engaged in research on the life of Thomas Emmet in order to complete a biography of his life. Over the past few years and after several trips to Ireland to speak at conferences and conduct research, Peter feels a much greater affinity for Ireland and her culture, history, and, of course, her people. To him, it is humbling to know that he is descended from the Emmets, who sacrificed so much for their native land.

Eileen Murray  is an award-winning leader in the financial services industry and currently serves as co-CEO at Bridgewater Associates, L.P. She has over three decades of Wall Street experience, having held senior leadership roles at Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse, where she was appointed the first female member of the executive board, and Duff Capital Advisors. Eileen currently serves as a board member of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and the Irish Arts Center.  In 2015, she received an honorary doctorate degree from Manhattan College, from which she also holds B.S. in accounting. One of nine children, Eileen grew up in Upper Manhattan’s Dyckman Housing Project (“as diverse a community as you can imagine”). With roots in counties Cork and Galway, she credits her parents’ Irish values, work ethic, and views on diversity as a key advantage to doing business in a global economy. “Diversity of thought was encouraged,” she says. “As a result, what I tend to focus on are commonalities: what brings people together, not the differences – which is what keeps these Irish eyes smiling.” DECEMBER / JANUARY 2020 IRISH AMERICA 67

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Dermot J. O’Brien is the chief transformation officer for ADP, a global market leader in human capital management (HCM) technology and service that is ranked 239th on the 2019 Fortune 500 list, and is a member of the company’s executive committee. Dermot joined ADP in 2012 and leads the company’s efforts to transform itself for future success by accelerating its focus on delivering a best-inclass experience to clients and associates globally. Dermot started his financial services career at Morgan Stanley, spending nine years in various roles, including head of human resources for Japan. He is a founding member of the Human Resource-50 Group, served as a member of the Peer Round Table, Center for Executive Succession Advisory Board and Hackett Advisory Board Council; and is a fellow of the National Academy of Human Resources (NAHR). A native of Dublin, he holds a degree in finance from the Lubin School of Business at Pace University, where he has been a frequent guest lecturer. Dermot is the son of the late Dermot O’Brien, 1957 All-Ireland GAA captain for County Louth and well-known Irish entertainer.

Elaine O’Brien is head of finance for Yves Saint Laurent Beauty, within the L’Oréal Group in New York City. Elaine’s time in L’Oréal has spanned brands such as Lancôme, Giorgio Armani, SkinCeuticals and La Roche Posay. Elaine joined L’Oréal U.K. and Ireland, based in London, in 2014 and transferred to New York in 2016, where she led the commercial finance division of the active cosmetics division. During that time, Elaine worked on the acquisition and integration of CeraVe – the largest acquisition of L’Oréal USA. Currently, Elaine manages the finance team for Yves Saint Laurent, the fastest-growing brand in the L’Oréal Luxury division. She is a member of the YSL management committee and is focused on the growth strategy and expansion of the business in the U.S. market. Prior to joining L’Oréal, Elaine worked in Transaction Services at KPMG Ireland, where she qualified as a Chartered Accountant. A graduate of Trinity College in Dublin, where she studied business and economics, Elaine played an active role in the school’s business programs, acting as chairperson of the Foresight Business Society in 2010.

Meghan O’Brien Marton is the director of Custom Publishing at DK, a subsidiary of Penguin Random House, who works with large retailers to create and sell custom and exclusive content. Meghan is driven to deliver exciting and innovative books and related products to her customers and providing them with exceptional customer service throughout the custom process. After working in the publishing industry for over 15 years in various sales roles, she was able to find her passion in custom publishing and has helped build the custom department at her company.  Meghan holds a B.S. in communications, public relations, and journalism from Monmouth University. She says, “My Irish heritage has always inspired pride in me growing up, and the first time I visited Ireland I felt immediately connected to the land and the people – and when I hear Irish music I feel the melodies in my soul.”





Golf Links Malahide


Tom O’Brien is a lifelong bank executive. Tom began his banking career in 1977, almost straight out of college. He was made president and CEO of North Side Savings Bank in 1984 at the age of 33. He has been a senior executive with six area banks, including five where he served as CEO, most recently the $2.5 billion Sun National Bank. Tom did his undergraduate work at Niagara University, where he earned a B.A. in political science and economics. He completed his studies for an M.B.A. in finance at Iona College. He currently serves on the board of the Prudential Insurance Company Funds, where he is the audit chairman. He is also a director and treasurer of the Jacob Marley Foundation, which is the legacy of his close friend killed in the World Trade Center in 2001. He has volunteered for many years on the board of the Flax Trust in Belfast and supported St Patrick’s College in Maynooth, Ireland. Both organizations have honored him for his efforts. Tom, whose Irish roots are in counties Clare, Tipperary, Waterford, Limerick, and Galway, has three wonderful sons: Thomas, Jr., Christopher, and Stephen.

Adrian O’Connell founded the Irish-based development company Brown Bear Corp in 2017. The company is now involved in a number of substantial home construction projects in Dublin. He currently chairs the board of property management company Golf Links Malahide Ltd., also serving on the board of Nemuca Business Consultants Ltd. Having retired in 2016 from serving 30 years with the highly successful City Air Express group of companies involved in the air freight, air charter, and logistics industry based throughout Europe and in North America, Adrian continues to maintain his close links with his friends and colleagues in all things logistics and aviation. His two sons Alex and Donal continue to “fly the flag” with the same passion, both working in senior pilot roles in Europe. Adrian served as captain to St. Margaret’s Golf & Country Club in 2003-04. As a keen golfer, he holds a membership in the renowned Irish golf links the Island Golf Club, and is also a member of Forrest Little Golf Club.

Nuala O’Connor is the SVP and chief counsel, digital citizenship at Walmart. She oversees the digital citizenship team responsible for providing advice across the company on issues related to privacy, use of data and data governance, use of emerging technologies, cybersecurity, and records management. Before joining Walmart, she served as president and CEO of the Center for Democracy and Technology. In the private sector, Nuala served in a variety of privacy leadership and legal counsel roles at Amazon, GE, and DoubleClick. In the public sector, Nuala served as the first chief privacy officer at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. She also served as deputy director of the Office of Policy and Strategic Planning, and later as chief counsel for technology at the U.S. Department of Commerce. She began her legal career in private practice at Sidley Austin, Venable, and Hudson Cook. Nuala, who is originally from Belfast, holds a B.A. from Princeton University, an M.ED from Harvard University, and a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center. She lives in the Washington, D.C., area with her partner, Peter Bass, and their six children.


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Mutual of America Life Insurance Company

Shutterfly Inc.

As national vice president and head of industry for SAP’s retail practice, Manhattan native Andrew O’Flaherty leverages lessons learned across the regions while assisting and supporting the firm’s GTM strategy. He joined SAP in 2005 and has held numerous positions there, including senior program director, director of the retail project management office, and director of retail consulting services. In 2013, SAP named him North America’s Vice President of the Year. Andrew is a second-generation Irish American with Galway and Roscommon ties. He has studied the story of his family name in great detail, saying, “The inscription over the Gates of Galway – ‘The ferocious O’Flahertys from whom God defends us’ – indicates the family’s colorful history.” He adds, “Pride in my heritage that I have passed down to my sons, Brendan and Connor, will be passed to my new grandson, Keane. Where we came from shapes who we are and where we are going.” Andrew holds a degree in business from the State University of New York and lives in upstate New York with his wife, Colleen.

Paul O’Hara is senior vice president in the marketing division of Mutual of America Life Insurance Company and has been with the company for 32 years. He oversees research and competitive analysis and his team provides a variety of support services for the company’s sales operations. Throughout his career, he has had wide exposure to the Irish community and affairs that were passionately embraced by Mutual’s CEO, the late, great Tom Moran. He has been a longtime supporter of the Irish humanitarian group Concern Worldwide since the early days of the organization’s presence in the U.S., and had the opportunity to travel to Haiti to see firsthand the impact and outstanding work of Concern in action. He enjoys music and is passionate about piano. Paul is a third-generation Irish American, who is one of 11 children born to Jim and June O’Hara, childhood sweethearts who were reared in Brooklyn. His paternal grandmother hails from Limerick, and his wife, Mary, from Offaly. They reside on Long Island with daughters Lauren and Jane.

Ryan O’Hara has served as the Shutterfly Inc. president and chief executive officer since June 2019. Prior to joining Shutterfly, Mr. O’Hara served as chief executive officer of Move, Inc., a real estate portal company, since January 2015. Prior to joining Move, Mr. O’Hara served as president of Content, Distribution & Sales at The Madison Square Garden Company, for which he led media assets MSG and Fuse network, as well as technology and marketing partnerships. Mr. O’Hara was previously president and chief executive officer of private equity-backed The Topps Company. Mr. O’Hara served on the board of REA Group Limited, a digital advertising company that operates Australia’s leading property and real estate websites in Europe, Asia, and the United States, from 2017 to 2019. Mr. O’Hara received a bachelor of arts degree in economics from Stanford University and an M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School. He says, “My Irish heritage always bonded my father and me. He loved Ireland, for what it stood for as a country and for its people. We shared that connectivity through our lives together.”




MAP Digital, Inc.


Mutual of America

Mary Ann Pierce is the founder and CEO of MAP Digital, Inc. For over 20 years she has forged the digital space to investment banking conferences and built MAP Digital: MetaMeetings™, an event platform-as-a-service. Headquartered in New York City, MAP Digital produces events globally. She is the co-founder of the Equality Moonshot, which supports womenrun STEM businesses solving the U.N. Sustainability Development Goals 2030. Mary Ann serves on the board of Digital Irish, which provides soft landings for Irish technology companies in the U.S. and produces events and podcasts featuring Irish innovators worldwide. She was an adviser for Inspirefest in Dublin and produced its New York Salons. In 2018 she was named a Belfast Ambassador at the Belfast Homecoming and awarded the first Technology Award at the Belfast: Be the Bridge Conference 2019. Also in 2019, Mary Ann opened 56 Ludlow, an exhibition space dedicated to the fusion of art. Her grandparents hail from Glangevlin, Cavan, and Ahenny, Tipperary. She makes Dublin her usual port of entry for most international travel.

Wayne Reuvers is the founder and chief strategy officer of LiveTechnology Holdings, a dominant player in marketing automation, versioning, and customization industry. He has founded seven companies and is an investor in nine, having raised and invested more than $35 million in these organizations. At  the age of 14, he developed, marketed, and sold his first software product, a technical analysis program for the stock market called Graph-It. After a short period of time in the military, he produced derivative modeling software, created the fastest  fingerprint-matching algorithm, rolled out the first web-pixel tracking system, designed a web programming language, built a high transaction object oriented database, and is now leading development in two untapped markets: personal clouds and content networks. A South African-born, Irish-Dutch-American businessman, engineer, software inventor, and investor, Wayne has made his horse farm just outside New York City his home with his wife, four dachshunds, and a multitude of farm animals. His grandfather, James Donnelly, was born in Portadown, County Armagh.

Jim Roth is senior executive vice president and general counsel of Mutual of America. He is also chairman, president, and CEO of Mutual of America Investment Corporation and Mutual of America Institutional Funds, and a member of the board of Mutual of America Holding Company LLC and the Mutual of America Foundation. Prior to joining Mutual, he enjoyed a 25-year career as an FBI agent, including almost 13 years as the chief counsel for the FBI’s New York office. Jim is a graduate of Fordham Law School and was a member of the adjunct faculty at Fordham University School of Law from 2001 through 2015. He is also a member of the Lawyers Committee for the Inner City Scholarship Fund. Jim is one of eight children of Mary and John Roth, and he had grandparents on both sides who were of Irish descent. He and his wife Frances (née McTague) have three children and four grandchildren and reside in New York City. Jim said: “My Irish heritage means loyalty to family, friends, and country, as well as helping those who are less fortunate.”


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BNY Mellon

Cambridge Associates

Pebble Beach

Brian is the CEO of BNY Mellon Government Securities Services & Collateral Management and a member of both BNY Mellon and Pershing Executive Committees. Government Securities Services is a subsidiary of BNY Mellon, formed in 2017 to enhance the capabilities, governance, and resiliency of U.S. government securities and U.S. tri-party repo markets. In the aftermath of the financial crisis, Brian was a key voice on the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Tri-party Repo Infrastructure Reform Task Force. Born in the U.S. and raised in Dublin, Ireland, Brian attended Colaiste Eanna School, Dublin before admission to the Chartered Association of Certified Accountants in the U.K., and received his M.B.A. from Hofstra University, Zarb School of Business, New York. Brian is a member of the board of directors of Promontory Network, a Washington. D.C.-based financial technology firm. He also serves on the North American Emeritus Board of the UCD Michael Smurfit School of Business and Hofstra University’s Zarb School of Business. Brian’s father Anthony is from County Mayo and his mother Rose Reilly is from County Longford. Brian is married to Anna Lynch from Dublin and they have four children Sarah, Emma, Jack and Ellie.

Sheila Ryan is a partner at Cambridge Associates, Boston, where she manages private investment portfolios for a select number of institutional clients. She is a voting member of several of the firm’s investment committees, including private equity / venture capital, co-investments, secondaries, and private credit. She was recently recognized by CIO magazine as one of ten Knowledge Brokers for 2018. Prior to Cambridge Associates, Ryan worked for Intel Capital, and during her tenure there, she completed over 50 transactions, including the largest deal ever completed by the firm, a $600 million investment into a wireless telecommunications company. Prior to Intel, she spent 12 years on the trading floor at Salomon Brothers. Ryan earned her B.A. in economics from Stanford University, where she graduated with distinction. While at Stanford, she played varsity soccer and was a member of the sailing team. Her mother, Kathleen, is from Longford and her father, Patrick, from Dublin. Her paternal grandfather, Liam O’Riain, was a member of the Dublin Irish Volunteers and fought in the Easter Uprising in 1916, for which he earned a medal of honor which Ryan proudly displays in her home.

Tim Ryan is vice president of global alliances and past chairman of corporate sales for the 2019 U.S. Open Championship at the world-famous Pebble Beach Resorts. He was responsible for the same for the past two U.S. Open championships at the resort in 2000 and 2010. Ryan has, in fact, been integral to the resort’s business growth strategy since joining the company 28 years ago as its director of sales. He is one of few industry professionals who has had the opportunity to lead corporate hospitality sales efforts for milestone events such as the U.S. Open, along with being a part of the Pebble Beach Resorts sales team partnering with the annual AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and the Concours d’ Elegance on sales efforts for those acclaimed events. A New Jersey native, Tim’s Irish roots are in County Limerick. He holds a B.S. in business administration from the Sigmund Weiss School of Business at Susquehanna University. He is on the advisory boards of Great Golf Resorts of the World and California Polytechnic State University school of Experiential Management.





LTC Global Inc.

Castle Brands

John Saunders is president and CEO of public relations giant FleishmanHillard and was Irish America’s 2016 Business 100 keynote speaker. Other more recent speaking engagements included Web Summit in Lisbon, annual Leadership Lecture at Dublin City University, Collision in Toronto and he was recently honored at the first Douglas Hyde Foundation Awards in New York. Saunders began his career as a journalist at RTÉ. In 1990, he joined FleishmanHillard and helped develop it into Ireland’s largest public relations consultancy. He later served as regional president for Europe, Middle East and Africa. Saunders is only the fourth individual to hold the CEO title in FleishmanHillard’s 73-year history. He is an honorary life member of the Public Relations Institution of Ireland and was inducted into the ICCO Hall of Fame in 2011. From Dublin, Saunders has been married to wife Jean for 39 years. They have three children: Colin, Caroline and Hannah; and three granddaughters: Matilda, Maisie and Lucy. He currently lives in St. Louis, Missouri, and has been grand marshal of the city’s St. Patrick’s Day parade.

Dan Schmedlen is CEO of LTC Global, Inc., a national finance and insurance distribution company. Under Dan’s leadership, LTC Global has grown significantly and in July 2018 successfully executed the first-ever rated term securitization of long-term care insurance commission assets. Prior to joining LTC Global in 2007, Dan was a global finance partner in the New York City office of Nixon Peabody LLP. Dan earned a B.A. from Yale University and a J.D., cum laude, from Washington & Lee University School of Law, where he was an editor of the Law Review. Dan, who grew up in central Philadelphia with one brother, is a sixth-generation Irish American through his mother, with dozens of Hearn and McCaffrey aunts, uncles, and cousins.  “Our extended family’s Irish warmth (including in song) and unconditional love contributed greatly to our confidence, both as boys, and adults,” he writes. Dan and his wife, Nida, and their three children, Jurgis, Elena and Henry, live in Cos Cob, Connecticut, where Dan coaches his sons’ tackle football teams and races dinghies in the Long Island Sound during the winter.

Alfred J. Small is senior vice president and chief financial officer of Castle Brands, a producer, marketer, and distributor of spirits with a strong portfolio of Irish brands, such as Clontarf Whiskey, Boru Irish Vodka, and Brady’s Irish Cream. He has over 20 years of experience in finance, operations, and compliance in the spirits industry. Alfred joined Castle Brands during its early stages in 2004, playing a critical role in taking the company public and in its growth over the subsequent years. Previously, he was a practicing accountant at Grodsky, Caporrino & Kaufman. He is a certified public accountant and holds a B.S. from the State University of New York. A fourth-generation Irish American on both sides of his family, Alfred traces his father’s lineage back to County Tipperary, and his mother’s to County Clare. “Growing up in a family proud of its Irish heritage provided me with the work ethic, charity, loyalty, and humor to meet all challenges head-on,” he says. Alfred lives on Long Island with his wife, Joanna. They have four children, Alfred, Matthew, Gabriella, and Giovanna.


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Congratulations to Keynote SpeaKer

Paul Boskind


all the 2019 Business 100 honorees.

From Sean Coffey

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National Grid U.S.

Credit Suisse

Castle Brands

Margaret Mary (Peggy) Smyth is CFO for National Grid U.S., one of the world’s largest publicly owned electricity, natural gas, and clean energy delivery companies serving more than 20 million people.   Under Peggy’s leadership, National Grid is driving the transition to the clean energy future, developing financing models for new energy solutions like battery storage, solar energy, and the expansion of electric vehicles (EV). Peggy’s paternal ancestors come from Sligo while the maternal side hails from Leitrim. Peggy, her husband, and her two sons have dual citizenship. They own her mother-in-law’s family home in Fairymount, County Roscommon, to which they travel every year.  Peggy says that her Irish heritage is an integral part of who she is, and she suspects she is one of the few honorees who knows what the expression “hairy engine” means.   “I’ve been surrounded by my Irish heritage my entire life. My maternal grandparents lived on the second floor of my parents’ two-family house in the Rockaways,” she says. “My Irish heritage suffused my upbringing, shaped my values, and is a fundamental aspect of my family’s identity and shared experiences.”

Kathryn Spain is the head of European equity sales in North America for Credit Suisse. Currently based in New York, she previously managed the international distribution platform for the western U.S. out of San Francisco for 12 years. Prior to Credit Suisse, she held positions with Investec Asset Management, Barings Asset Management, and Bank of Ireland. “At a time when the European and Irish economy are really coming into their own, I am proud of being able to represent a European bank known for excellence in research in the North American markets,” she says. Born in Dublin and a graduate of University College Dublin, Kathryn has worked in the U.S. for over two decades. “I have found that being Irish has been a real door-opener in life and business,” she says. “There is a real trust in Irish people that is very special.” Her surname comes from the Spanish armada that shipwrecked off the west coast of Ireland in 1588. She and her husband, Tom, live in New York with their three children, Emily, Cara, and Laurel.

Kelley Spillane is senior vice president of global sales at Castle Brands. He joined Castle Brands during its start-up and has been an integral part of the company’s substantial domestic and international growth. Previously, Kelley was with Carillon Importers, where he was instrumental in the development of Absolut Vodka and the launch of Bombay Sapphire Gin. Kelley takes enormous pride in his Irish heritage, noting, “The company I helped start was primarily focused on Irish products and they represent today a significant portion of our overall sales.” He says that growing up in an IrishCatholic home with 11 brothers and sisters “made for an extraordinary experience and has provided my children a wonderful extended family to form bonds with. As I grow older, I look forward to making contributions to the Irish community at large that will advance opportunity and strengthen bonds between our two countries.” Spillane is third-generation Irish American with his father’s family originating in Ballyspillane, County Kerry, while his mother’s family comes out of Ballyferriter in Dingle.




Senior Market Sales, Inc.

Ted Sullivan is vice president of Telecommunications, the media and entertainment industry leader for North America, and a global client partner at SAP America’s consulting practice, serving over 300,000 customers in 190 countries. With more than 18 years of experience focusing on strategy and operational consulting, Ted previously held executive positions at PwC, IBM, and KPMG. Ted traces his mother’s ancestors to County Tyrone, and his father’s to County Cork. He is a founding member of the Metro Atlanta Police Emerald Society and has served as the Georgia president of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, as well as on the national board. He has served twice as parade chairman of the Atlanta St. Patrick’s Day Parade. He also serves on the boards of Wildlife Aviation Group and Adaptive Learning Center. Ted visits Ireland every year to reconnect with friends in Navan, Cork, and Northern Ireland, where he has participated in various political forums. He holds a B.S. in accounting and finance from Troy State University and currently lives in Atlanta. He enjoys playing golf with his daughter, Mary Lois. 

Jim Summers is the president of Senior Market Sales, Inc. (SMS), a leading independent marketing organization in the insurance and financial services industry. Under Jim’s leadership, SMS has grown to serve more than 60,000 independent agents and advisors, providing access to health and wealth solutions, technology, and support that help agents better serve the growing retirement market. Jim has served on many industry committees and was honored as the Underwriter of the Year by the Nebraska Association of Health Underwriters in 2013. Born and raised in Kansas City, Jim graduated from Rockhurst College with a degree in marketing. He served for over a decade as a key organizer of the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Kansas City. “The best parade was the year my uncle Ben Teevan, born in Ireland, was the grand marshal of the parade,” he says. Jim’s mother was the first child in her family born in the U.S.. They hailed from County Cavan. His father’s family, from County Cork, moved to a small farm community in Missouri. Jim and his wife Deb, live in Omaha, Nebraska. They have three married children and two grandchildren.

“My Irish heritage suffused my upbringing, shaped my values, and is a fundamental aspect of my family’s identity and shared experiences.”

– Margaret Smyth


Congratulations to all the

Business 100 Honorees and

James J. Houlihan 914-694-6070 houlihanparnes.com

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by Ray Cavanaugh

Skyscraper Sullivan: The Visionary Behind our Modern Towers of Babel


Wikimedia Commons

ew things convey a sense of progress and modernity like skyscrapers. Whether or not one finds them aesthetically appealing, such buildings dominate a city’s appearance and also let the world know that a particular city has arrived. For centuries, many an architect had wanted to build taller buildings. But not until the late 1800s did the mass production of steel facilitate the construction of tall, thin buildings that were impossible to build with previously available materials. The man known as the “father of the skyscraper,” Louis Sullivan, was born in Boston on September 3, 1856. His mother, Adrienne List Sullivan, was a native of Switzerland. His father, Patrick Sullivan, came from an unspecified part of Ireland. This father was the only child of a widowed itinerant landscape painter who abandoned him at a county fair when he was age 12. Louis Sullivan’s autobiography relates how his father “wandered barefoot about the countryside” with a “curious little fiddle.” Through these performances he obtained enough money for survival. Making his way to London, Patrick Sullivan focused on the art of dancing. Immigrating to the U.S. in 1847, Louis Sullivan, circa 1895 he later established his own 74 IRISH AMERICA DECEMBER / JANUARY 2020

dancing academy in Boston. Louis Sullivan, the second of two children, attended Boston public schools. At age 16, he enrolled as an architecture student at MIT, but dropped out after only one year to apprentice himself to an architecture firm in Philadelphia. Several months later, he relocated to Chicago, where he worked in a separate architecture firm. In 1874 he headed to Europe and received further instruction in Paris. Returning the following year to Chicago, he worked as a draftsman for a series of firms. The big launching point in his early career came in 1879, when he joined the firm of Dankmar Adler, a German native who was 12years-older than Sullivan and already a prominent practitioner in his field. Adler noticed Sullivan’s exceptional promise and made him a partner in the firm only two years after he joined. Soon, Sullivan was in charge of the firm’s architectural design. Adler tended to handle the interpersonal side of the business. This was a good idea: Sullivan was not an easy man to get along with. He had an abrasive tongue and scant patience for clients who wanted things rendered in a way contrary to his ideals. With Sullivan at the designing helm, the Adler & Sullivan firm would produce such high-profile structures as the Wainwright Building in St. Louis, Missouri; the Prudential (Guaranty) Building in Buffalo, New York; the Old Chicago Stock Exchange Building; and the Auditorium Building in Chicago, which was “the largest, tallest, heaviest, and priciest building of its era,” according to the website of the Chicago Architecture Center. In Sullivan’s view, the new style of urban corporate building “must be every inch a proud and soaring thing, rising in sheer exultation.” Though he is often dubbed the “father of the skyscraper,” this probably

gives him too much credit: There were contemporaries, and even a predecessor or two, who built similarly tall structures. And yet it was Sullivan who – through the force of his design and the apt articulation of his architectural ideas – emerged as the “father.” He had also been “the first to bring art and technology into something approaching a union,” contends Carter Wiseman in his American Heritage article “The Rise of the Skyscraper and the Fall of Louis Sullivan.” Sullivan’s architectural philosophy was that “form follows function” – a mantra that became as sacred as scripture to many modern architects. Although Sullivan clearly sought to emphasize the functional over the aesthetic aspects of architecture, his style is somewhat difficult to categorize, as he also tended to make abundant use of decorations, including ones of a Celtic theme. Despite being on the cutting-edge of his profession, not everything about Sullivan was so modern. When addressing his primary influences, he credited Vitruvius, a Roman architect who was born before Jesus. Of course, no architectural influence could combat

Wikimedia Commons, Courtesy Cornell university library

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TOP LEFT: Entrance from the 1893 Chicago Stock Exchange building, saved and reinstalled at the Art Institute of Chicago. ABOVE: The old Chicago Stock Exchange Building, circa 1894. CENTER: Ornamentation on the Transportation Building, Chicago, 1893-94. LEFT: Prudential Building, also known as the Guaranty Building, Buffalo, New York, 1894.


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| Credit: Harold allen, pHotograpHer / library of Congress

window on the past

TOP: Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Cathedral, exterior, 1918. TOP RIGHT: Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Cathedral, interior. RIGHT: Thrift Building (Peoples Federal Savings & Loan Association), downtown Sidney, Ohio. BELOW: The front side of the Getty Tomb, designed by Louis Sullivan, in Graceland Cemetery, Chicago, Illinois.

the impact of the financial Panic of 1893 (an economic decline that lasted until 1897), which stultified many projects, particularly ones of a Sullivan-sized caliber. In 1895, Sullivan’s longtime collaborator, Adler, decided to leave their joint firm. This decision was one Sullivan regarded as betrayal. Adler himself regretted it and soon after tried to reestablish their partnership, but Sullivan was in no mood to entertain a reunion. Without Adler, Sullivan did manage to obtain a few high-profile projects, such as the Bayard-Condict Building in Manhattan and the Schlesinger & Mayer department store in Chicago (now known as the Sullivan Center). But Sullivan, regardless of his brilliance, had needed Adler’s networking and interpersonal skills in order to secure contracts for significant projects. So, instead of designing lofty buildings in Chicago and other high-profile areas, Sullivan was reduced to bidding for the opportunity to work on banks in such locations as Grinnell, Iowa; Sidney, Ohio; and Owatonna, Minnesota. Unable to cope with his skydive from greatness, Sullivan and his frayed emotions took to the bottle. Two decades of alcoholism ensued. This man had been a challenge to get along with even when his career was triumphant. After his fall from greatness, his company became all but impossible. Credit: wikipedia.


His wife, Margaret Davies Hattabough, whom he had married in 1899, left him in 1906. They were officially divorced about ten years later. No children emerged from their union. Mounting financial woes compelled Sullivan to sell most of his possessions. He kept downgrading offices, until he could no longer afford one at all. His living quarters were eventually reduced to a single room, subsidized by persons who pitied him. Sullivan, who had been battling kidney and heart problems, died in Chicago on April 14, 1924, at age 67. His combativeness and self-destruction likely would have been even worse had he known that future decades would see the wrecking ball taken – often for no legitimate structural reason – to many of his buildings. Fortunately, the latter part of the 20th century saw a rising public interest in the preservation of Sullivan’s old buildings. This newfound concern largely managed to safeguard the fruits of Sullivan’s talent, along with the myriad hours provided by tradesmen and laborers who worked, almost always at dangerIA ous heights, to fulfill his grand designs.

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Margaret Kelly


“Madame Bluebell” From Dublin foundling to Folies Bergère to the French Resistance to Las Vegas and Beyond By Rosemary Rogers “She came into the world with the all the odds against her and showed what you can do with a will.” – Margaret’s son, Patrick


adies: who among us hasn’t at least briefly entertained the fantasy of having Catherine Deneuve portray you in the movie of your life? Okay, even if that’s not the direction you would go casting-wise, know that one Margaret Kelly had that distinct honor. Catherine Deneuve played a character based on her in the classic François Truffaut film, The Last Metro (Le Dernier Metro). Set in Paris during the Nazi occupation, Deneuve’s Marion Steiner is the owner and leading lady of a theater who fights to keep the show going while also hiding her Jewish husband from the Gestapo. This drama faithfully retells two very tumultuous years of Margaret’s life with one exercise of artistic license: Unlike Marion, Margaret wasn’t French, she was Irish. Margaret was born in Dublin’s Rotunda Hospital in 1910. Two days after her birth, her feckless parents, Margaret, Sr. and James Kelly, with a quick “Slán” and a vague claim about sending for the baby, took off. No one believed they would return, so a local priest handed her over to a religious family invariably known as “the three Murphy spinsters,” who doted on the newborn. The eldest and most devoted, Mary Murphy, a housekeeper and seamstress, took charge of the baby. Concerned by Margaret’s poor health, Mary Murphy took her to a Dublin doctor. Upon looking into her bright blue eyes, he shouted, “You’re my little Bluebell!” and the moniker stuck for the next 90 years. Ever protective, Mary Murphy was alarmed when the 1916 Easter Rising left Dublin in chaos. With Ireland’s chronic poverty causing the highest child mortality rate in Europe, she promptly whisked Bluebell away to Liverpool. In Liverpool, she found work doing the cleanup in a hospital ward and enrolled Bluebell as a day student in a convent school. Another doctor recommended dance lessons to strengthen Bluebell’s spindly legs, quite a financial stretch for the single surrogate mother. But Bluebell, only eight years old, drew on the entrepreneurial spirit that would make her both world-famous and very rich. To help pay for the lessons, she delivered milk, dug potatoes, and worked as a golf caddy. She made her stage debut at 12, and within two


years left the nuns to join a dance troupe with a jaunty name, The Five Hot Jocks. Soon another, much classier troupe, The Jackson Girls, recruited her, and she joined the line of high-stepping gals, touring Europe for five years. A scout for the Folies Bergère took in a show and took in her legs, so much longer than those of French girls. In 1932, Bluebell, as the saying goes, hit the big time. The Folies hired her as a chorine and choreographer but soon recognized a unique talent and asked her to form a troupe within their troupe – the eponymous Bluebell Girls were born. Bluebell, only 22, faithfully wrote Mary Murphy, sending her money and pictures from the Folies review. The still-devout spinster immediately got busy painting brassieres and underpants on the dancers, just in case a neighbor or the parish priest dropped by. Bluebell found herself in a feud with the Folies headliner, Mistinguett. The legendary diva, now pushing 60 and still recovering from being dumped by Maurice Chevalier, was threatened by her much younger, much leggier co-star. Refusing to compete with a shrieking prima donna, Bluebell moved to the Paramount Cinema and formed another troupe, Les Blue Bell Paramount Girls. They performed during the intervals between films and became so popular that they were cast in movies, and were now highkicking both on the stage and up on the screen. Two years went by, and with Mistinguett muzzled, the Folies asked Bluebell to come back and gave her more autonomy. She was able to experiment with art direction, stage design, and elements of fantasy, most famously when her dancers surrounded Josephine Baker. Bluebell still maintained the Paramount troupe and formed a summer touring company – this was the beginning of her franchise, several troupes scattered over different countries. By 1938, she was the leading impresario of Europe’s most famous company of precision dancers. She set the standard for the ideal Bluebell: 5’ 9” or taller with very long legs, preferably British, commitment to teamwork and a background in ballet. The convent school girl was something of a Mother Superior, who demanded teamwork, discipline, and especially virtue from her girls. She absolutely forbade consorting with the clientele, saying, “I created cho-

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rus girls with class,” and would intercept billet-doux from the girls’ admirers and block stage-door-johnnies with her own body. In 1939, she married Marcel Leibovici, a stateless Romanian Jew, composer, and pianist at the Folies Bergère. Marcel was also a savvy businessman who thought Bluebell and her dancers should have a presence in the growing cabaret scene. They formed a separate company for cabaret, a prescient move since during the Occupation, French (and German) audiences turned to cabaret. Knowing the Nazis were stormtrooping their way to France, the Leibovici’s, with their new baby, rushed to Bordeaux to get on the last boat to the U.K. Elbowed out by fleeing diplomats, they returned to the City of Light, now dark and silent, to wait. On June 14, 1940, France fell, Hitler’s army was in Paris and the following December, the Nazis were banging on the Leibovici’s door. They came not for the Jewish husband but instead for his wife, again pregnant, now condemned by her British passport. Bluebell was sent to an internment camp, where she refused, as was her wont, to take any guff. When a prison guard gave her clean-up assignments, she announced, “I don’t do housework in my own home, and not going to start now.” Silence. She wasn’t shot, as expected, but excused from work detail, and later, at her insistence, the camp observed daily tea. Back in Paris, a frantic Marcel went to the Irish legation, where he enlisted a now-forgotten character in Ireland’s history, the Minister Plenipotentiary to France, Count Gerald Edward O’Kelly de Gallagh. The count, as flamboyant as his name and title, appealed for Bluebell’s release on the grounds that she was a citizen of neutral Ireland. It worked, she was sprung, and took some Sisters of Mercy with her.

A year later, it was Marcel’s turn to be arrested. In early 1942, he was rounded up in Marseilles and sent to a Jewish camp in the Pyrenees. Bluebell was now a pariah. Her former colleagues crossed to the other side of the street when they saw her coming; even the Folies, while asking her to choreograph a show, told her to stay away from the theater: they had their reputation to consider. But she continued to direct the cabaret, her sequined chorines offered a remnant of glamour to a city that reeked of defeat. In the camp, Marcel reunited with a former music student, now in the French Resistance. The student helped him escape and Marcel made his way back to Paris and to Bluebell. For two-and-a-half years, she hid him in an attic, bribing the concierge, a known collaborator, with francs and eggs. Daily she heard the radio announcing that anyone who sheltered Jews would be summarily executed, and daily she rode her bike to Marcel, keeping him fed by scouring the black market and exhausting her ration card. She also managed to get pregnant…twice. There’s a chilling scene in The Last Metro that re-

ABOVE: Margaret with her Bluebell Girls, 1948. OPPOSITE PAGE: Kelly backstage with one of her dancers.


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Margaret Kelly


enacted an incident in Bluebell’s life: the Gestapo hauls the wife in for interrogation; she keeps a cool façade, giving nothing away. But, unlike the movie character, Bluebell was seven months pregnant at the time. And if the Germans thought it unseemly that the wife with a missing husband was pregnant, they blamed libido à la française and not a spouse squirreled away in a nearby garret. The redoubtable Bluebell grew bolder – she refused to send a company of her dancers to Berlin, giving a wan excuse about upsetting relatives in the British army. She never had any relatives, anywhere, saving Mary Murphy, now over 80. The war over, the Bluebell business was booming once again. Madame Bluebell was the artistic force and Marcel the financial manager when Irish and always called myself an they brought the Bluebell Girls (and Irishwoman.” When asked if she ever searched for her parents, she their male counterpart, The Kelly would huff, “Why should I? After all, Boys) to the glittering Paris Lido. they never did anything for me.” But There they made show business hisshe finally admitted she did look for tory – they created the concept of the them. In Dublin, she obtained her dinner show. Le Lido offered supper, birth certificate and went to the addancing, champagne, and especially dress her parents had given. She Bluebells in a spectacular floor show asked the landlord about a couple 365 nights a year. The Lido soaked the named Kelly and she recalled he customers in overpriced drinks and made a sound like a snort, “Everyone supper and the show became Paris’s around here is named Kelly.” second-biggest tourist attraction, after In six decades, she left a legacy the Eiffel Tower. that would have been extraordinary Madame Bluebell formed a partnereven for one who was both moneyed ship with a glitzy American producer, and mollycoddled, let alone a Donn Arden. Her tall beautiful dancers ABOVE: Margaret with foundling who grew up in poverty. By sheer will, were now in scantier costumes, higher heels, and peacock her son Francis. she recruited and trained 14,000 Bluebells, set up tails as their flying kicks kept a frantic rhythm on the stage. Bluebells were wowing audiences all over the TOP: Margaret with her troupes over the world, received countless awards including the Legion d’honneur and the Order of the husband, Marcel world, and their charms were not lost on Marcel. The Leibovici. British Empire (OBE), had an audience with the hubby, stubby and short, got busy seducing the statuesque pope, and was the subject of a book and BBC docAmazons (Men!) and a deeply wounded Bluebell, recallumentary. Today the proper woman once known as Margaret ing how she risked her life for him, forever distanced herself from Kelly, beloved of Miss Mary Murphy, is part of a permanent Las him. But she never dismissed any of his paramours, probably realizVegas exhibit named… SHOWGIRLS! ing they were victims of a crime, then without a name – sexual haToward the end, she lived in her Paris penthouse atop the Avrassment. Marcel died in a car crash in 1961 and was replaced in the enue Foch, and could still dance the can-can, lie about her age, organization by their eldest son, Patrick. and smoke a pack of cigarettes a day. She lived to 94 and the night Bluebell found her greatest triumph in the Nevada desert when after she passed, Le Paris Lido put together a fête, attended by she and Donn Arden brought the Bluebells to the Las Vegas strip. four generations of Bluebells and Kelly Boys, the Irish and British Miss Bluebell caught Vegas fever, and her show exploded into an ambassadors, and world press. They came to celebrate Madame extravaganza that included live camels, jugglers, Roman gladiaBluebell, who, everyone agreed, lived all the days of her life. tors, illusionists, ice skaters, strong men and, waterfalls. She sold Margaret Kelly-Leibovici was buried in Cimetière de Montout the Stardust Hotel and the MGM Grand where she later fought martre, a bronze sculpture of her – in stern old age – stood atop off its famous 1980 fire. her stone. Shockingly, graverobbers helped themselves to the bust, In the early 1960s, Miss Mary Murphy officially turned over but the theft was fortuitous, a glass sculpture of a very young Blueher grave: the Bluebells went topless. bell was put in its stead. Bluebell rationalized, “If this is the way the world is going, I must A fan left this note: go with it.” The dancers who chose to expose their breasts kept a Dear Margaret, your bust was stolen some years ago and these distance from the audience and it was, as Bluebell said, a “celebralast weeks, a new – very new and modern – picture of you as a tion of the female body.” Nonetheless, an Arab sheik offered to buy young beautiful dancer was placed on your grave. Behind you, a the company, an Italian magnate upped the ante by offering 16 white violinist is playing forever. Ferraris while Vegas mobsters merely got menacing, demanding the We love you, Margaret. You have inspired François Truffaut girls mingle with customers. Bluebell, having already faced down in his Last Metro. François is not very far from you in this same the Gestapo, would have none of it. All backed off when confronted cemetery. with her wrath and her resounding, “Harrumph!” Yours truly, Invariably thought of as British because of her Liverpool accent, IA Oedipa aka Kay Harpa she gave an interview to The Irish Times, saying, “I always felt 80 IRISH AMERICA DECEMBER / JANUARY 2020

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Congratulations UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School, Dublin, Ireland proudly congratulates members of our North American Advisory Board, Emeritus Board and Alumni Community Kieran Claffey, PwC Susan Davis, Susan Davis International A. James DeHayes, DeHayes Consulting Group Michael Dowling, Northwell Health Anthony Dunne, Bank of Ireland John Fitzpatrick, Fitzpatrick Hotels


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The wreckage of a U.S. military transport plane lies scattered in Ireland’s tallest mountain range, reminding us of those who gave their all in WWII.

By Christopher Warner


he MacGillycuddy Reeks, Ireland’s tallest mountain range, stretches across the Iveragh Peninsula in the southwest section of the Emerald Isle. The area is steeped in ancient mythology and its scenic landscape is dominated by jagged, narrow spines cloaked in billowy clouds and flocks of sheep grazing in the glens below. Sadly, however, this picturesque setting also served as the location of a tragic accident involving American soldiers during WWII. On December 17, 1943, a C-47 en route to England crashed in bad weather just below a mountain peak called Cnoc na Péiste (Irish for “Hill of the Serpent”). All five men aboard were killed. The aircraft and crew most likely would have taken part in D-Day – but more than seven decades later, the exact cause of the horrific event remains a mystery. John O’Sullivan is a local guide who has lived his entire life at the foot of the “The Reeks.” Having traversed its vast network of trails hundreds of times, O’Sullivan holds a wealth of knowledge regarding these hallowed grounds: this familiarity includes the whereabouts of the infamous crash site, along with its well-hidden remnants still entombed on the mountain. The C-47 “Skytrain” played a vital role through-


out the war as a workhorse plane. The cargo transporter provided a wide range of duties such as carrying paratroopers, towing combat gliders, and delivering vital supplies – often behind enemy lines. The ill-fated journey of C-47A 43-30719 began with its delivery on October 10, 1943, at Baer Army Air Base in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Coincidentally, the field had been named for WWI ace, Paul Baer, who died in an airplane accident in 1931. A foreboding omen, indeed. The flight crew comprised the following men: 2nd Lt. John L. Schwarf (pilot) of San Ardo, CA: 2nd Lt. Laurence E. Goodin (co-pilot) of Springfield, O.H. 2nd Lt. Frederick V. Brossard (navigator) of Washington D.C; Staff Sgt. Arthur A. Schwartz (radio operator) of Pittsburgh, pa; Staff Sgt. Thomas L. Holstlaw (Engineer) of Iuka, IL. All of them were married and in their 20s, with the exception of the 31-year-old Holstlaw. As reinforcement soldiers, the men would be experiencing combat for the first time. The allies massive build-up for the Normandy invasion ultimately involved 1.2 million troops – and nearly every available C-47 in British Guiana, Brazil, Ascension Island, and North Africa. Along the way, Brossard penned a letter to his family back home, expressing a wide-eyed inno-

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cence shared by many young men of the era: “Flying high (10,000 ft.) over the white rolling carpet overhead [sic] gives one an ethereal feeling and a feeling of joyous importance in being able to do it that incomparable.” On December 16, 1943 at 10:30pm the Skytrain departed on the final leg from Port Lyautey in French Morocco bound for RAF Station St. Eval in southwest England. The nine-and-half hour path took them mostly over open water, including the Bay of Biscay, where German aircraft frequently patrolled; as a result, Allied planes operated under strict radio silence. Prior to reaching this airspace, the C-47 was scheduled to change course at the halfway point near Cape Finisterre in northern Spain. But for reasons never fully explained, 4330719 headed due north for Ireland and directly into the eye of a brutal winter storm. At approximately 7:00 am on a cold, dark morning, the crew found themselves above County Kerry – home of the highest summits in the country. Lt. Schwarf presumably dropped altitude in search of recognizable landmarks, unaware that they were flying dangerously low in an area of 3,000 ft. peaks. Heading southwards direction, the C-47 slammed into a north-facing ridge. Four of the crew died instantly on impact. Staff Sgt. Schwartz, a burly 6’4” man, would be found 30 yards away from the others, suggesting he may have crawled from the burning wreckage. Several locals recalled hearing a loud explosion that morning, but the combination of thick fog and heavy snowdrifts kept the disaster concealed for several weeks. Meanwhile, military officials in England immediately launched a rescue operation when 43-30719 failed to arrive with the other C-47s in its group. Notices were sent out to next of kin and followed by daily telegrams stating the soldiers had

been listed as missing. However, on December 29, the Army officially abandoned the search, assuming the “Skytrain” had gone down somewhere in the Atlantic. Finally, on February 3, 1944, a local farmer named Dan O’Shea and his neighbor discovered the camouflaged wreckage while tending to sheep near Cnoc na Péiste. The discovery proved grim. O’Shea quickly notified the Gárda Síochána (local police station) in Beaufort and the next morning an Irish Army detachment arrived at the scene. Foul weather, unstable terrain, and the steep incline made the recovery of the victims extremely difficult. Among the rubble, part of a lady’s green shoe was found, bought as a present in Brazil by one of the airmen for his wife. The deceased were coffined inside a shed in Mealis before being taken Killarney, where they received full-honor burials. In early June of 1944, around the time of D-Day, their remains were exhumed and reburied at the GI Cemetery near Belfast. Two years later, the bodies of the three officers, Schwarf, Goodin, and Brossard, were permanently interred at the U.S. Military Cemetery, Cambridge, England. At the request of their respective families, Staff Sgt. Holstlaw was reburied in Luka, Illinois, and Staff Sgt. Schwartz was reburied in Beni-Israeli Jewish Cemetery in Wilmington, North Carolina. Over the years, both the cause of the accident and the exact date when it was first discovered had produced much debate. Various rumors asserted that witnesses heard and saw the smoldering plane

FAR LEFT: The MacGillycuddy Reeks. ABOVE LEFT: In 1984, the Warplane Research Group of Ireland unveiled this plaque near the fatal site. Christopher Warner is pictured. TOP RIGHT: 2nd Lt. John L. Schwarf (pilot) of San Ardo, C.A. ABOVE: Martin O’Shea, whose father, a local farmer, discovered the wreckage.


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ABOVE: The wing of the Sky Train lies sumerged in Lough Cummeenapeasta RIGHT: The remains of the plane’s engine.

shortly after impact – and that some items may have been looted. O’Shea’s son, Martin O’Shea, grew up hearing stories about the tragedy and still lives in the area. In a recent interview, he explained how poor visibility and challenging weather would have made access on the upper mountain next to impossible; additionally, loud sounds in the Reeks are fairly common as “stone ditches in these parts crashed often and made rumbling noises,” he said. But as for how an American C-47 ended up hundreds of miles off course, several different scenarios have been examined. To date, however, no evidence indicates any human error occurred. The most likely explanation points to navigational issues such as faulty instrumentation. In 1984, the Warplane Research Group of Ireland held a memorial ceremony to commemorate the victims and unveiled a plaque near the fatal site. A small number of the surviving relatives attended. Additionally, a separate memorial honors the victims at Cronin Yard, a campground in Mealis and the traditional starting point for ascents of Ireland’s highest peak, Carrauntoohil. A few pieces of signif-


icant wreckage can still be seen – that is, if you know where to look. A large portion of a wing that had slid down now lies permanently submerged in nearby Lough Cummeenapeasta, and one of the massive twin engines rests ominously in a rocky graveyard about a half-mile from where it initially struck the mountain. Although the loss of life during wartime is expected and the names of those killed add to an endless scroll, Martin O’Shea wants readers to know that the young men who died in southwest Ireland on that fateful winter day “will never be IA forgotten.”

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AGAIN A new National Library of Ireland exhibition celebrating the life and work of Seamus Heaney gives an overview of the poet laureate’s life and work. By Kelly Candaele


hen Seamus Heaney was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995, the Swedish Academy noted the “lyrical beauty and ethical depth” of his work. His poems, though often suffused with allusions to Dante, Homer, and the other greats, are written with startling directness and offer intimate portraits of his life: his mother’s head “bent towards my head,” as they peel potatoes “While All The Others Were Away At Mass,” or his father crying at the funeral of his younger brother in “Mid-Term Break.” Heaney, himself, died unexpectedly at just 74, in 2013, but the intimacies that defined the man and his work are not lost. Two years before he passed Heaney donated his archives, some 10,000 piecees of paper, to the National Library of Ireland “carrying in the boxes himself,” his son Mick recalled. And that archieve is now central to an exhibition that offers an overview of the Nobel laureate’s life and work. Titled “Seamus Heaney – Listen Now Again,” the exhibit, at the new cultural space in the grand 18thcentury Bank of Ireland building in Dublin, explores the poet’s early life on a farm in Derry, his


first creative success, the impact of what he called the “life waste and spirit waste” of the violence that surrounded him and his endurance as a poet and public figure. Curated by Geraldine Higgins, director of Irish Studies at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, the exhibit is a kind of labyrinth, shaped like one of Heaney’s poems, weaving past a digging spade, pens, envelopes, notebooks, letters, and the actual first drafts of a number of his poems. There is even a pile of dark brown turf – burned to provide warmth but also a densely layered source of creative inspiration. The title of the exhibition, “Listen Now Again,” is derived from his 1996 poem “The Rain Stick.” An actual rain stick, a dried and hollow cactus stalk with small, hard seeds inside, is featured in the exhibit. Upend the rain stick, as the poem asks you to do, and take in what you hear. Heaney heard a “music that you never would have known to listen for.” “Downpour, sluice-rush, spillage and backwash Come flowing through. You stand there like a pipe Being played by water,”

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Turn it over again, even “a thousand times” writes Heaney, and the wonder is undiminished. Does it matter where the music comes from, Heaney asks, even if it’s simply the “fall of grit or dry seeds through a cactus?” To enrich your life, “Listen now again.” Heaney described the poem to fellow poet Dennis O’Driscoll in the book of interviews Stepping Stones, as capturing his middle-aged desire to “keep the lyric faith,” by being open to moments of being “irrigated by delicious sound.” That faith in the power of his unique poetic voice began early. He was keenly attuned to the feel, smell, and sounds of the rural world around him – the thatched cottage where he grew up, and the pastoral countryside. “Digging,” from his first published book of poems when he was 27 years old, is featured at the entrance to the exhibit. The poem describes his father and grandfather, bent low digging among the flowerbeds and potato drills. They dig “down and down,” for the quality turf, which makes a “squelch and slap” as the turf spade is plunged into the soggy ground. But the poet can’t follow “men like them.” He finds other ways to work by developing his creative life. “Between my finger and my thumb The squat pen rests. I’ll dig with it.” The early poems are full of sensual images of nature, household, and fieldwork. There are dunghills, gross-bellied frogs, cow’s milk, black berries like “thickened wine,” and on churning day “gold flecks” of butter that “dance” in their crocks. For Harvard professor, critic and friend of Heaney’s Helen Vendler, the early works are poems of “agriculturally tamed nature,” “beauties of arrangement” that Heaney would develop in his poetry and prose. Heaney described men and women working with their tools: spades, barrows, pitchforks, divining rods. Arms ached, hands blistered, and muscles toughened. What rescues the early poems from rustic sentimentality, writes Irish journalist Fintan O’Toole, are undercurrents of sex and violence and “a tang of sweat and the ache of toil.” “Listen Now Again” grants a good deal of space to the pervasive death of Northern Ireland’s “Troubles.” Heaney grew up in a Catholic household in County Derry, at a time when Catholics were marganilized. Violence exploded there in 1968, with thousands killed over the next several decades before a peace process initiated in the mid 1990s resulted in the Good Friday peace agreement of 1998, brought the worst of the bloodshed to an end. The “Troubles,” according to Vendler, “entered the poet’s domain with such suddenness.” There are copies of newspapers announcing the death of Irish Republican Army (IRA) hunger striker Bobby Sands and pictures of British check points and bombedout shops. A striking picture of a mummified corpse, still embedded in dirt, visually introduces one of the central metaphors Heaney used to explore what he saw as the “archetypal pattern” of violence that was afflicting Northern Ireland. Heaney had read a book by P.V. Glob on The Bog People, a study of Iron Age bodies discovered in Denmark. Glob surmised that many of the dead were victims of ritual sacrifice to a fertility goddess to ensure the next season’s crops. In a series of poems in Wintering Out, published in 1972, and his 1975 book North, Heaney uses the stark imagery and sacrificial theme of the bog bodies to reflect on what seemed to be a primal urge towards violence and vengeance in Northern Ireland. The years between 1972 and 1975 were some of the worst of the conflict.


Heaney presses together images of death, beauty and terror in poems that evoke the bog as a “memory bank” of personal and historical consciousness. The “Grauballe Man” from his book North, seems to weep, “The head lifts, the chin is a visor raised above the vent of his slashed throat.” He is “perfected in memory,” “hung in the scales with beauty and atrocity:” before, in the final stanza the hard facts, “the actual weight of each hooded victim, slashed and dumped” jolts the reader out of the past into the present. In the sectarian bloodletting in Northern Ireland, “enemies” were often hooded, interrogated, and then shot. Irish literary critic Declan Kiberd wrote that Heaney risked sanitizing and prettifying violence through aesthetic distancing in the bog poems, also pointing out that “archetypes” are not subject to real changes that politics and social movements can bring. What saves the poems from historical evasion is Heaney’s own self-critical wisdom. Writing, Kiberd concludes, was Heaney’s alternative to violence, “his way of taking power.” There are moments, as Heaney clearly knew, when hope and history could indeed rhyme. In 1972, Heaney and his wife, Marie Devlin, moved their family out of Northern Ireland to a cottage he referred to as his “listening post” in Wicklow, just south of Dublin. Heaney said the move was

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“Listen Now Again,”exhiibit showcases the life of poet Seamus Heaney.

not politically motivated but driven by an “inner necessity as a writer.” His own reflections didn’t stop some journalists and activists from branding his relocation a “betrayal.” In the poem “Exposure,” the final poem in North, he describes himself as having “Escaped from the massacre,” an “inner émigré, grown long-haired and thoughtful;” and adopting a “protective colouring” at his poet’s desk in the countryside. From another poem in the same volume he is the Irish Hamlet, “dithering,” “blathering,” and “jumping in graves” at a safe distance from the fight. Ever since achieving notoriety as a poet and writer, Heaney had been pressured to make statements for the Catholic and nationalist struggle in Northern Ireland. Political partisans demanded to know “what the bog had to do with the Bogside,” Heaney quipped, a reference to the Catholic working-class area of Derry and stronghold of the I.R.A. In his 1995 Nobel speech, he outlined what he saw as his complex dual role – being “true to the impact of external reality and …sensitive to the inner laws of the poet’s being.” And in his essay “Frontiers of Writing,” part of a lecture series he delivered while teaching at Oxford University, he reflected upon his “need to be true to the negative nature of the evidence and at the same time show an affirming flame, the need to be both socially responsible and creatively free.” Stamina is a theme that recurs in Heaney’s poetry and life. In the poem “Keeping Going,” Heaney praises his brother Hugh, who stayed to work the family farm, as having “good stamina,” as he

does his daily work amidst the bloodshed that stains newly painted white walls. “You stay on where it happens,” Heaney writes. “Your big tractor Pulls up at the Diamond, you wave at people, You shout and laugh above the revs, you keep Old roads open by driving on new ones.” While Hugh cannot “make the dead walk or right wrong,” he keeps going. Heaney understands that violence and death cannot be whitewashed away, but that endurance and hope is a kind of heroism amidst the killing. It is the same commitment that sustains the initial excitement that revs up a poem, through to a successful composition. “Listen Now Again” makes clear that Heaney was worried about and worried over words. Numerous typed and written worksheets for poems show edits and changes in word choice as he digs down for the right image or “musically satisfying order of sounds.” Heaney warned against a binary language, the “Irish-English antithesis, the Celtic-Saxon duality,” that locked minds and spirits into predictable and dreary patterns. He was always divining, trawling, and letting down shafts in search of “unnamable energies” that fueled his poetry. If people were more attuned to the complex language of poetry they could be inoculated against the flimsy and now pervasive filthy rhetoric of hollow politicians. You might say that some of Heaney’s non-binary language made it into the 1998 Good Friday peace agreement that recognized the right of the people of Northern Ireland to identify themselves as “Irish or British, or both…” This is a fluid language with verbal nuances that might prefigure an alternative political imagination. As you exit the exhibit there is a small room with Heaney’s last words “Don’t Be Afraid,” printed in large block letters on a slate wall. He had texted the touching words – in Latin – to his wife Marie shortly before he died. Visitors can write their own messages – or poetry – on the wall. Sophie Doyle, who is part of the educational team that gives public tours of the exhibit twice a week during the summer, says that over 110,000 people have visited the installation since it opened a year ago. In 2011, Heaney himself brought boxes of material to the National Library, where his papers are permanently placed and open to the public and scholars. “There is a competition over who is Ireland’s most loved poet, Yeats or Heaney,” Doyle said. “We are an art- and culture-based society,” Doyle added, “and so many people feel a deep connection with Heaney because he was so available, did so many readings and book signings, and was in the public eye.” Doyle points out that towards the end of his life Heaney’s poetry became more personal, dealing with family, friends and newborn grandchildren. Heaney described it as making space “for the marvelous as well as the murderous.” In his last book of poetry The Human Chain, in the title poem Heaney evokes imagery of working in solidarity with others “hand to hand,” and “eye to eye” as he helps with the task of lifting bags of food meant for the needy onto a trailer. There is an “unburdening” after the “next lift” and a “letting go IA which will not come again. Or it will, once. And for all.”

“Seamus Heaney: Listen Now Again” is open Monday through Saturday 10 AM to 4 PM at the Bank of Ireland Cultural and Heritage Center, Westmoreland Street, Dublin 2. It will run until the end of 2021.


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We Banjo 3

We Banjo 3

A Piece of Galway in Connecticut The band from Galway that plays a blend of traditional Irish, old-time, and bluegrass music they call Celtgrass is being touted one of the best live acts to come out of Ireland in recent years. By Christine Kinealy


he banjo has a long, contested, and even controversial history. Musicologists now generally agree that an early form of the instrument was first brought to America by enslaved people from west Africa. It was possibly an akonting, a three-stringed instrument with a long neck, mostly associated with Gambia. The modern American version of the banjo is credited to Joel Sweeney, who was born in Virginia in 1810. He, in turn, probably learned about the instrument from enslaved African Americans.


Sweeney popularized the playing of the banjo by bringing it over to Europe during his successful tour in the early 1840s. In 1844, the “Virginia Minstrels” made it to Ireland. In the advance publicity, Sweeney was described as “the original banjo player,” although the Minstrels included Dan Emmet, also a banjo player. Other members played the violin, the tambourine, and the bones. Their repertoire included “negro melodies,” which they promised would be delivered with “not a shade or trace of vulgarity.” The Virginia Minstrels played in Belfast, Dublin,

Photo by Marianne Mangan

music |

Photo by Marianne Mangan

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and Cork. In the latter, the lord mayor introduced them as “the greatest combination of novelty and talent for years produced in this city.” The Minstrels did not make it to Galway. Today, however, County Galway is a hub of banjo activity: since the 1980s, handcrafted Irish banjos have been made in Clarinbridge, while the county is the home to the stunning musical quartet collectively known as We Banjo 3. The name reveals their passion; hearing them play in concert reveals their genius. We Banjo 3 are Enda Scahill (banjo, mandolin, and tenor guitar); Martin Howley (banjo, mandolin, and tenor guitar); David Howley (banjo, vocals, and guitar); and Fergal Scahill (fiddle, guitar, and bodhrán). Enda and Fergal are brothers, as are Martin and David, leading to the description, “two sets of brothers in perfect musical harmony.” In the space of a few years, they have taken the transatlantic music scene by storm; String Theory, their fourth album released in 2016, topped the Billboard’s World Music charts, making them the first independent Irish band to do so. We Banjo 3’s style of music is hard to define. Sometimes described as “Celtgrass,” it is much more, being a fusion of Irish traditional, bluegrass, country, pop, and soft rock. In their harmonies, the

Photo by Marianne Mangan

Old World meets Americana, and the New World rediscovers its traditional musical roots. To this cultural fusion, the African origins of the banjo alternatively lend a plaintiveness and a jubilation that take the listener from the west coast of Ireland to the east coast of America, and back to the west coast of Africa. Disparate lives, histories, and musical influences are thus simultaneously explored and extended to create a sound that is unique and breathtaking in its range and complexity. Occasionally sad, for the most part it is joyous and uplifting. We Banjo 3 recently played in the Jorgensen Centre in the University of Connecticut as part of their “Roots to Rise” tour. I had the immense pleasure of chatting with them before they went on stage. Despite an intense travel and performance schedule, they were relaxed, charming, articulate – and modest. When asked the best thing about being siblings,

they agreed it was having a “universal understanding” of what they were doing and being able to hold “conversations without speaking.” This easy intimacy is evident when listening to their music and hearing them play on stage. Regarding what brought them to love string music, especially banjos, parental influence was important; they grew up listening to Hank Williams and Lester Flatt. Tennessee-born Flatt was a bluegrass guitarist and mandolinist who frequently performed with banjo picker Earl Scruggs. Enda’s journey began in America; when visiting some of the southern states, he decided to learn to play banjo, and the rest is history. Other musical influences – and they are diverse – include Paul Brady and Chris Cornell (Martin); Bela Fleck and Gerry O’Connor (David); Frankie Gavin and Pink Floyd (Enda); and Mark O’Connor and the Beatles (Fergal). A highlight of the band’s achievements and accolades, which have been many, was being selected to play for President Barack Obama and Taoiseach Enda Kenny at the annual “Friends of Ireland” luncheon in Washington in 2016. President Obama praised their performance calling it, “Great music. Incredible performanc.” But the band’s overwhelming memory of the day is David’s response: “Thanks very much, man.” Martin, Fergal, and Enda have not let him forget this. More seriously, since 2018, the band have been trying to raise awareness about mental health and help break through some of the taboos that continue to surround it. Consequently, a lot of their concerts and CD sales while on tour have also acted as fundraisers for Mental Health America. This issue is something that is particularly close to David’s heart; he believes that it is necessary to “know your own darkness.” But he also believes that from these dark places, there always comes hope. There was time for one final question before this incredible band went on stage: “What do you want to be doing when you are 64?” David – be home, happy and with a dog, good coffee and a brewery; Fergal – be alive, and living on an organic farm with a great work / life balance and a wood chipper; Enda – happily married and living an outdoor life, possibly in North America, but somewhere where there is yoga, walking, and fishing; and Martin – surfing, preferably in Doolin, County Clare. They all agreed that whatever else they do, they want to continue to make great music and to reach new audiences in ways that are meaningful. The final words belonged to Enda: “And an Emmy would be nice!” We Banjo 3 will return to the United States early IA in 2020.

BELOW: Martin Howley, David Howley, Fergal Scahill, Enda Scahill, prseting a check of funds raised to Mental Health America. FAR LEFT: The band performing at Sellersville Theatre, where they’ll be again in January.

We Banjo3 presenting a check to the folks from Mental Health America for the proceeds from their summer tour. The band donated $2.00 from the sale of every t-shirt and CD to the organization. So far in 2019 they have donated $7,000.00. L-R We Banjo 3’s Enda Scahill, Martin Howley, David Howley; Mental Health America’s Catherine Reynolds and Kevin Rushton; and We Banjo 3’s Fergal Scahill.


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On the Edge of Our Seats: A CHAT WITH AUTHOR MARY HIGGINS CLARK By Mary Gallagher

Clark’s latest novel, Kiss the Girls and Make Them Cry, is available now where books are sold.

he Queen of Suspense did not come by her title overnight – Mary Higgins Clark’s 40+-year career in literature and consistent domination of the New York Times Best Seller list have made her a household name in the mystery genre from the release of her very first suspense thriller, Where Are the Children? She has since been renowned for her ability to keep her readers suspended on knife-edged tension up to the last second. Narration and ingrained bias from multiple perspectives, blocked or faulty memories in key characters, and a range of sinister motives from several suspects are key tools that Clark uses to craft a puzzle that takes an eagle-eyed, discerning reader to solve before the big reveal that never disappoints. Clark is a shining exemplar of the adage that it is never too late for your dreams to be realized. After losing her first husband Warren at 36, she scraped by writing scripts for radio shows to support her five children on her own, making the time to write from 5:00-7:00 am each morning. Her rise to fame as an author only launched in her late 40s, after years of perseverance. That perseverance is a resonant echo of her Irish heritage, which oddly enough shines brilliantly through her heroines, as well. Clark’s own father, who died when she was 11, was an immigrant from County Roscommon, and her mother was a first-generation Irish American. They both ingrained in her the value of a good story, which has served her well over the years. Her latest novel, Kiss the Girls and Make Them Cry, explores the vicious underbelly of corporate America in a post-MeToo era, as victims of sexual harassment in the workplace of a news outlet are dying in incidents too systematic to be coincidental.



For her interview with Irish America, Clark delved into heritage, her process, writing through loss, and more.

You’ve been working with Alafair Burke on the Under Suspicion series, and before that you worked with your daughter Carol on several Christmas-themed suspense works. How does the process change when working with a co-author? Is it vastly different when the co-author isn’t your daughter? When I worked with Carol years ago, we sat side by side to write together. Although we were doing suspense, our goal was to have a lot of humor in the books. With Alafair, the strategy is different. We meet and lay out a plot, and then Alafair gets started on the writing. She sends me the pages and I edit them to assure that they have the same feel as one of my solo novels. On using song titles / lyrics for book names: It puts a chilling spin on some beloved songs, which has a great payoff in the novel itself. But what inspired that choice? When are they selected in the process of the entire project? I always liked when a song title or a line from a nursery rhyme might give a glimpse of what the plot is about. The first time I used this was on my third novel. I was halfway through the manuscript when I was sitting with a friend in Washington, D.C. I gave her a brief description of the plot and told her I was fishing for a title. She asked me which was my favorite nursery rhyme. I told her it began, “When the bough breaks...” We finished the next line together: “...the cradle will fall.” I immediately realized I had the title for my book. That was the beginning of using familiar lines from songs and nursery rhymes as titles. Obviously I stuck with that strategy with my latest, Kiss the Girls and Make them Cry. You’ve mentioned that each project begins with the questions “What if?” or “Suppose?” Could you walk us through the

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you’re a well-known name? If so, who / when about? An Irish story? I also liked the title Aspire to the Heavens. It was George Washington’s mother’s family motto. But it didn’t work well when I was an unknown writer. The few stores that carried the book put it in the prayer book section! That said, it was a good story. I’m so pleased it found new life and success as Mount Vernon Love Story. I don’t think I would try another historical fiction novel. Trying to write a solo book every year and collaborate with Alafair on a second book fills my writing schedule. As for an Irish story, I’ve already done that in my autobiography Kitchen Privileges.

inspiration for this latest novel: what were those questions asking in this instance? When searching for an idea for a novel I try to choose a topic that people are talking about. I knew the MeToo movement and the issues it raised would be with us for a long time. But I wanted to add a new twist to the stories that were being reported in the news. Almost any corporation would prefer to keep a MeToo situation quiet by settling with the victims. Suppose the corporation went a step further. What if the company was so desperate to keep the scandal from becoming public that women who refused to remain quiet started to die from accidents? With that thought in mind, I knew I had the idea for a story. Mount Vernon Love Story (originally Aspire to the Heavens – I love this title, personally) found a second wave of greater success after being re-released. Would you consider historical fiction again, now that

Author Mary Higgins Clark. (Courtesy Simon & Schuster)

You’ve said yourself you have “shamrocks on [your] DNA” – so do your protagonists, usually. What do you feel your Irish heritage has brought to you as an individual? Does it bring the same to those characters fortunate enough to share it? I’ve always believed the Irish were born storytellers. When I was young, if I kept quiet at the table I was able to listen while the adults discussed extended family members and people in the neighborhood: “This one is up to no good,” or, “Her late husband was barely in the ground when she remarried,” or, “The last time I saw him on the street, I knew he wouldn’t be with us much longer. He had death in his eyes.” They spoke about life’s struggles interspersed with faith and humor that would see them through. This philosophy that helped me overcome life’s challenges invariably found its way into my characters. My heroine is typically a nice young woman who does not go looking for trouble. It finds her. Her life is invaded by evil. Her strength of character and her faith in God and herself will allow her to prevail. Some of your novels have been adapted into films with stars including Nastassja Kinski, Gabrielle Anwar, Kim Cattrall, and even Carol! To what degree were you involved in the making of those films? Did you find it rewarding? Or frustrating to deal with the story changes? My involvement is rather minimal. Screenwriting is a different talent than writing novels. I pretty much leave that to the experts in that field. If they have to change something in the plot to make it work better on the screen, so be it. So far I believe the adaptations have been a mixed bag: some quite good, others really disappointing. I wish the great filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock had been around to create a movie out of one of my stories. I loved what he could do with psychological thrillers.


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On the Edge of Our Seats... We were so sorry to hear when your husband, John Conheeney, passed away a year ago. The story of how the two of you met and made a match later in life was incredibly heartwarming just to read about, and we’re so sorry for your loss. Have you found writing during this time to be a helpful task, or cathartic in any way? Yes, I have. It’s not so much cathartic. It’s more about filling a void. When a beloved spouse or family member dies, there is an empty space where that person used to be. If you have an activity you love, one that you can lose yourself in, that’s healthier than spending the whole day dwelling on what you’ve lost.

March 15, 2011: Publisher Niall O’Dowd inducts Mary Higgins Clark into the Irish America Hall of Fame.

There is an intensely psychological element to most of your books – in many cases the key to the mystery relies on memories a character has blocked out or can’t access without help, and the narrative is often in the hands of a depraved and/or calculating killer. Is it difficult to go to such a dark place? How do you channel something like that well enough to write from such an alien perspective? It’s easy to understand the motivation behind the good things people do: generosity, kindness, altruism, fairness. As a writer I’m equally interested in the driving forces behind evil acts: hatred, greed, jealousy, revenge, anger, mental illness. Whether they’re doing good or evil, people have reasons for what the actions they take. The optimist in me that I instill in my characters gives them the tools they need to defeat the evil which has invaded their lives. You’ve described the series of clues and dead-end leads that confront the reader throughout your novels as “breadcrumbs and smooth stones” in an incisive Hansel and Gretel metaphor that sums it up quite nicely. Is it important to you that the reader be able to figure out whodunit with the evidence at hand before the killer is revealed, or do you prefer they be surprised? I want a discerning reader to have a good chance prior to the end to figure out who the killer is in my story. The last thing I want, and that I find disappointing in some books I read, is to have the killer come


totally out of left field. The writer created no case for that character to be the killer. I love it when my readers tell me “I missed this clue,” or “I should have paid more attention to what happened in this scene.” They’re telling me that in hindsight they had sufficient information, enough “breadcrumbs and smooth stones,” to solve the mystery on their own.

Your mastery of suspense thrillers is renowned across the globe, but you’ve mentioned you also wrote poetry and short stories when you were a young girl and earlier in your career. How did you find your niche? My niche found me. In my twenties and thirties I had a houseful of kids. I managed to find the time to write short stories. At that time magazines such as the Saturday Evening Post would publish original fiction from new writers. The short story market dried up and I wanted to try something more lasting. Another key motivation was that my husband had died and money was tight. Although the historical novel Aspire to the Heavens didn’t sell, it proved to me that I could start, stick with, and finish a book. I took a look at my bookshelf to see the types of novels I most enjoyed reading. They were mysteries and suspense stories. Three years later I finished Where Are the Children? and my life changed forever. Your latest novel explores sexual harassment in the workplace in a postMeToo world. What are your feelings on the movement, and its reverberations on the corporate and political level? It goes without saying that women who are victimized should be listened to. Their accusations should be taken seriously. On the other hand, we have to recognize that not all accusations are true. The accused also have rights. It’s tough to get the pendulum to stop in the correct place in the middle. I’m not a sociologist or a philosopher. I don’t have solutions to the difficult issues raised by the MeToo movement. But as I thought more about it, I quickly recognized that a company going to extremes to cover its MeToo problems would be the basis for a good story. Do you have any advice for young / aspiring writers? The best advice ever given to me was, “Write what you know.” Use the situation you’re familiar with whether it’s medical world, banking, academia, and set your story there. There’s a better chance it will ring true. The other thing I would do is explore the opportunities to self-publish. If readers enjoy your story, they will recommend it to their friends. Thank you, Mary Higgins Clark.


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review of books | recently published books FICTION

Once, Twice, Three Times an Aisling

The Family Gift by Cathy Kelly

by Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen


reya Abalone adores her family, her job and her new house. But she’s not so crazy about Mildred – her critical inner voice that won’t let her off the hook for even a second. And when husband Dan’s glamorous first wife Elisa suddenly appears back on the scene, Freya can’t help fretting about what’s going to happen to her relationship with her adored stepdaughter Lexi. Lexi – the baby Elisa walked out on, the baby she signed over to Freya. The baby who’s now a teenager and just ready to be bowled over by makeup and other shiny prizes. Then there’s the slight issue of the incident that Freya is not yet ready to talk about with her family. The incident that has her relying on sleep aids and threatens to overwhelm her whenever she is reminded of it. A tiny local café near the family’s new house proves to be an invaluable source of much-needed friendship and support, which helps Freya cope with the dreadful illness that continues to steal her beloved Dad from his family, as well as all of the other stuff she has going on. Infused with Kelly’s trademark warmth, humour and love of all things family, this is a surefire winter warmer for her fans. – Darina Molloy $16.71 / Orion / 368 pages


isling’s turning 30, and she’s still a “complete Aisling,” as goes the tagline for this latest outing in Ballygobbard. Her café, BallyGoBrunch (well, what else could one call it?), is doing a roaring trade in secret-recipe sausage baps, she herself has put ex John behind her, and is fully enjoying a fling with the glorious (if reticent) James Matthews. With best friend Majella expecting the hen to beat all hens in Tenerife, and Aisling fiercely reluctant to indulge in a big blow-out for her 30th birthday, not to mention all the worrying she has to do about her lovelorn brother Paul in Australia, life is as crazy as ever. At times, however, it feels as though Aisling is a character pulled a bit too thin over three books, with apparently two more planned in the series. Even Bridget Jones, whom she is often compared to, didn’t last quite as long. Still, many readers will no doubt stick with her till the bitter end, which obviously won’t be bitter at all, not a chance, not with a nice girl like Aisling. And with a nod of approval from the queen of Irish fiction – the one and only Marian Keyes – this is a series that will continue to shine. And appear under the Christmas tree of every Aisling and Ashling from here to Clare. – Darina Molloy $19.88 / Penguin / 408

Three Little Truths Akin

by Eithne Shortall


he neighborly closeness on the idyllic Pine Road is lovely and comforting, but the very thought of the neighbourhood WhatsApp group (ostensibly started to coordinate the monthly poker game) would send most of us running for the hills. The thumbsup emoji is fast becoming the most dreaded phone symbol known to any busy parent, with a cluster of WhatsApp groups haunting them from dawn to dusk. Rant over, back to Pine Road! New resident Martha has moved to Dublin under mysterious circumstances but can’t seem to settle in her new life. What happened in Limerick to make her so nervous? Robin’s back living at her parents’ house with her four-year-old son, determined to leave her ex in the past, but also struggling to find her feet. Edie just wants a baby, but her husband seems to be dodging any attempts at making a start on their family. She’s also a little needy when it comes to the other women and feels like the outsider of the group. What unites the three women? Ah, you’ll have to read the book to find out. This is Shortall’s third novel and she has definitely established herself as a welcome addition to the Irish popular fiction scene – it’s an entertaining and fast-paced read, with likeable characters and very believable storylines. – Darina Molloy $13.37 / Corvus / 496 pages 96 IRISH AMERICA DECEMBER / JANUARY 2020

by Emma Donoghue


oah Selvaggio misses his wife Joan something rotten. Luckily, she’s still very much present in his head, and 40 years of togetherness ensure he still converses with her regularly in their Upper West Side apartment. He’s about to turn 80 and has finally accepted that retirement is the right course of action, much as he had loved being a chemistry professor. A month into said retirement, and he has planned a trip to Nice, the city of his childhood, to see if he can track any more of the history of his grandfather – a famous photographer. Out of the blue, Noah gets a call from a social worker who tells him she needs someone to take on the care of his 14-year-old grand-nephew. The boy’s father is dead, as is his paternal grandmother (Noah’s sister), and his maternal grandmother has also just passed away. With his mother still having two years to serve on her prison sentence, Michael will have to go into care if a family guardian can’t be appointed. As you can imagine, this goes down like a lead balloon with Noah – he and Joan never wanted, nor had, children. As you can also imagine, it sets the scene for what will either be a disaster or an unmitigated triumph. Reader, it ends beautifully. But that’s as much of a spoiler as you’re going to get – sorry! – Darina Molloy $18.99 / Little, Brown and Company / 352 pages

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review of books | recently published books FICTION

A Letter Marked Personal


by J.P. Donleavy

by Edna O’Brien



Letter Marked Personal is a posthumous offering from the late J.P. Donleavy. The book was completed in 2005, with Donleavy intending to finesse it at some indeterminate point in the future. He never did. It is tempting to speculate as to why he elected not to publish this considered volume before his death in 2017. Not withstanding the fact that it could have benefitted from some scrupulous editing, there are some very obvious parallels to be drawn between the storyline and events in the author’s private life. Events, which as it transpired, eclipsed in their absurdity anything Donleavy could ever hope to fashion out of fiction. Viewed in this light, A Letter Marked Personal, is both a cautionary tale and a perfectly executed parting salvo to those who otherwise blighted his existence on this earth. The chief protagonist, Nathan Johnson, is “in lingerie,” figuratively, at least. He is a happily married multi-millionaire with a chain of lingerie stores throughout New York and the east coast. With one eye fixed on the future and another on the bottom line, so to speak, what could possibly go wrong? Alas, things do go spectacularly awry, or “tits up,” as they say in the business. Surprisingly, given the subject matter, Donleavy diverges from his trademark acerbic wit and Machiavellian posturing, to give us a novella that illumines him at his stoic best. Nathan Johnson, for all his apparent success, is a man defeated. Preoccupied with death and legacy issues, he retreats from the superficial world of glamor to brood and listen to classical music amidst the decay of an old office, in the Flatiron Building. Where once he had enough self-regard to imagine himself as “an ordinary guy with elegantly exotic tastes,” he has morphed in old age to become an inveterate snob. He acquires a country pile in upstate New York to bolster himself against his own feelings of inadequacy in a social milieu that is the preserve of “old money.” Shunned, if not ostracized, by the local gentry, this social isolation only serves to further accentuate his creeping sense of his unutterable aloneness. Then into his life saunters “the wonderfully willowy”, Iowa, a midwestern girl, straight out of the pages of the worst kind of pulp fiction - a regular ray of sunshine in a floodlit world. If she symbolises anything to him, it is, as a shot at redemption. The plot takes a sudden, if not unexpected twist, with the introduction of the ‘letter’ referred to in the title. Donleavy’s unrelenting miserabilism finally comes into sharp relief as fine prose, just as the plotline veers off towards its inevitable conclusion. Donleavy was quite without peer in ruminating upon the plight of desperate men and their change in fortunes. An inveterate snob himself, he never spurned the opportunity to brandish his own very chappist credentials, often with comic results. This book diverges from that narrative, in that the central character, a thinly disguised Donleavy, is in the final analysis, quite without hope as he prepares to “meet his maker”. Perhaps, Donleavy did not rush this book to print, as he himself, had not quite given up the ghost, just yet. Perhaps. – Noel Shine $25.42 / The Lilliput Press / 304 pages


he may or may not ever be awarded the Nobel Prize. But with each new novel she puts out, the literary world has no choice but to reckon with the astonishing career of Edna O’Brien. And not just because of what she did decades ago. Not unlike Philip Roth – her close pal and ally in sexually-groundbreaking work – the work she is producing later in life is, in many ways, just as challenging as the work that made her famous. After decades of exploring the simmering emotions of men and women across Ireland, England, and New York, O’Brien shook things up with her 2015 book Little Red Chairs, which was set in Ireland, but revolved around a war criminal from the Balkans. Her latest book, Girl, moves away from Ireland, exploring Nigeria and the crimes of Boko Haram, particularly as they scar one particular victim. As different as Girl might seem from Irish classics like The Country Girls and House of Splendid Isolation, O’Brien is still exploring disturbing extremes of violence and vulnerability. As Terrence Rafferty wrote in an Atlantic Monthly review, “Despite the obvious contrasts in circumstances, this girl isn’t so different from O’Brien’s young Irish heroines. She lives in a world that’s testing her, daring her to survive.” Meanwhile, in late November, O’Brien was awarded the U.K.’s David Cohen prize for lifetime literary achievements, which The Guardian characterized as “a precursor to the Nobel… Many recipients, including VS Naipaul, Doris Lessing and Harold Pinter, went on to become Nobel laureates.” On the eve of her 89th birthday, O’Brien was asked about her chances of nabbing the big prize. “The fortune tellers have yet to come over the hills about that news, as such,” she told The Guardian. Girl is just the latest proof that those fortune tellers in Stockholm should get moving over that hill once and for all. – Tom Deignan $20.49 / Farrar, Straus, and Giroux / 240 pages

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An Irish Christmas with a Drop of Scottish Head back to Kansas with Dorothy, fly to Never Never Land with Peter Pan, and read about the two writers that gave us these wonderful characters. Edythe Preet

Mary Martin, taking to the air in her iconic role as Peter Pan.


t’s mid-November and we are solidly into my favorite time of year. After the clocks are turned back and it gets dark early, for a brief three months I invariably long for the halcyon days of my youth. Then all I had to worry about was doing my homework, practicing my piano music, and helping Mom with her holiday cookiemaking marathon. Serendipitously, the darkest days included the two-week winter school holiday, Christmas Eve, Christmas, my birthday, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day. If I was really lucky, we’d have a blizzard. No matter if we didn’t, as the icy temperatures gave Mom a reason to keep me indoors and offered me an opportunity to indulge in my favorite winter activity – reading! The dark days at the beginning and end of 1956 were especially wonderful. On January 9, Mom and Dad joined me in front of our black-and-white television to watch the smash hit Broadway musical Peter Pan air on NBC. In my mind’s eye, I can still see Mary Martin swinging through the air while chortling “I’ve Gotta Crow” after Wendy Darling sewed Peter’s shadow back on the heels of his shoes. The next time the Philadelphia Library’s Bookmobile came to our neighborhood, I borrowed a copy of J. M. Barrie’s tale of Peter Pan, the boy who wouldn’t grow up and whose best friend was a fairy named Tinker Bell. For a week, I read about their adventures in Never Never Land. At night I dreamed I could fly because I’d been sprinkled with Tinker Bell’s fairy dust! Born in Scotland and knighted for his contribution to English literature, Sir James Matthew Barrie’s talent for storytelling was apparent even as a child. The


boy often used that skill to distract his mother from the grief she experienced after Barrie’s older brother died in a skating accident at only 14. Years later, after becoming a respected London playwright, Barrie met a family whose young sons inspired him to write the famous play about Peter Pan. When their parents died, Barrie, who was childless, became the boys’ guardian and he cared for them as if they were his own children. Before his death, Barrie turned over the rights for all his Peter Pan works to Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children. To this day, a statue of Peter Pan stands in the hospital’s garden. As 1956 drew to a close and the dark days returned, they delivered another reading bonanza, again ushered in by television. On November 3, the original 1939 film The Wizard of Oz was broadcast on CBS. The opening sequences were in black-and-white, but when Dorothy stepped out of the house that had landed on the wicked witch, everything magically changed to brilliant color. I was instantly hooked on Oz. On that week’s trip to the Bookmobile, I learned that unlike Barrie, who wrote mainly for the stage, L. Frank Baum had penned a treasure trove of stories – 14 books about the wondrous Land of Oz, plus 41 other novels, 83 short stories, over 200 poems, and at least 42 scripts for both stage and screen. For Christmas 1956 I received a first edition of Baum’s fourth Oz book, Dorothy and The Wizard In Oz. Written shortly after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, in this tale, while out buggy-riding Dorothy, her cousin Zeb, Jim (the buggy horse), and Dorothy’s independent (and delightfully snarky) cat Eureka are caught in a quake and fall through a crack in the earth to the land of the Mangaboo vegetable people. As the travelers try to convince the locals that they did not cause rocks to fall from the sky and damage the Mangaboos’ glass buildings, a hot air balloon descends, carrying the Wizard himself in its basket. And that’s all I’m going to tell you because I want you to enjoy reading about the group’s adventures yourself. Although I read Dorothy and The Wizard in Oz so many times that the binding fell off, and I also read many other Oz books (adding several more first editions to my collection), there was one thing I never understood. Of all the colors in the rainbow, why was the Emerald City green? It finally made sense when I learned that L. Frank Baum was an Irish American. A compulsive writer all his life, while still a child,

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An Irish Christmas with a Drop of Scottish Head back to Kansas with Dorothy, fly to Never Never Land with Peter Pan, and read about the two writers that gave us these wonderful characters. Edythe Preet

Mary Martin, taking to the air in her iconic role as Peter Pan.


t’s mid-November and we are solidly into my favorite time of year. After the clocks are turned back and it gets dark early, for a brief three months I invariably long for the halcyon days of my youth. Then all I had to worry about was doing my homework, practicing my piano music, and helping Mom with her holiday cookiemaking marathon. Serendipitously, the darkest days included the two-week winter school holiday, Christmas Eve, Christmas, my birthday, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day. If I was really lucky, we’d have a blizzard. No matter if we didn’t, as the icy temperatures gave Mom a reason to keep me indoors and offered me an opportunity to indulge in my favorite winter activity – reading! The dark days at the beginning and end of 1956 were especially wonderful. On January 9, Mom and Dad joined me in front of our black-and-white television to watch the smash hit Broadway musical Peter Pan air on NBC. In my mind’s eye, I can still see Mary Martin swinging through the air while chortling “I’ve Gotta Crow” after Wendy Darling sewed Peter’s shadow back on the heels of his shoes. The next time the Philadelphia Library’s Bookmobile came to our neighborhood, I borrowed a copy of J. M. Barrie’s tale of Peter Pan, the boy who wouldn’t grow up and whose best friend was a fairy named Tinker Bell. For a week, I read about their adventures in Never Never Land. At night I dreamed I could fly because I’d been sprinkled with Tinker Bell’s fairy dust! Born in Scotland and knighted for his contribution to English literature, Sir James Matthew Barrie’s talent for storytelling was apparent even as a child. The


boy often used that skill to distract his mother from the grief she experienced after Barrie’s older brother died in a skating accident at only 14. Years later, after becoming a respected London playwright, Barrie met a family whose young sons inspired him to write the famous play about Peter Pan. When their parents died, Barrie, who was childless, became the boys’ guardian and he cared for them as if they were his own children. Before his death, Barrie turned over the rights for all his Peter Pan works to Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children. To this day, a statue of Peter Pan stands in the hospital’s garden. As 1956 drew to a close and the dark days returned, they delivered another reading bonanza, again ushered in by television. On November 3, the original 1939 film The Wizard of Oz was broadcast on CBS. The opening sequences were in black-and-white, but when Dorothy stepped out of the house that had landed on the wicked witch, everything magically changed to brilliant color. I was instantly hooked on Oz. On that week’s trip to the Bookmobile, I learned that unlike Barrie, who wrote mainly for the stage, L. Frank Baum had penned a treasure trove of stories – 14 books about the wondrous Land of Oz, plus 41 other novels, 83 short stories, over 200 poems, and at least 42 scripts for both stage and screen. For Christmas 1956 I received a first edition of Baum’s fourth Oz book, Dorothy and The Wizard In Oz. Written shortly after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, in this tale, while out buggy-riding Dorothy, her cousin Zeb, Jim (the buggy horse), and Dorothy’s independent (and delightfully snarky) cat Eureka are caught in a quake and fall through a crack in the earth to the land of the Mangaboo vegetable people. As the travelers try to convince the locals that they did not cause rocks to fall from the sky and damage the Mangaboos’ glass buildings, a hot air balloon descends, carrying the Wizard himself in its basket. And that’s all I’m going to tell you because I want you to enjoy reading about the group’s adventures yourself. Although I read Dorothy and The Wizard in Oz so many times that the binding fell off, and I also read many other Oz books (adding several more first editions to my collection), there was one thing I never understood. Of all the colors in the rainbow, why was the Emerald City green? It finally made sense when I learned that L. Frank Baum was an Irish American. A compulsive writer all his life, while still a child,

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sláinte | good cheer

RECIPES Classic Scottish Shortbread Squares 2 11⁄4 1



Film poster for 1939’s The Wizard of Oz, with Judy Garland as Dorothy, holding Toto.

he and his brother self-published a booklet of stories called The Rose Lawn Home Journal. When he began raising exotic Hamburg chickens, Baum wrote a book about the breed, and when he started collecting stamps he wrote two books about the hobby. As someone who enjoyed adulation, Baum was drawn to theater. His big success, especially with Irish audiences, was The Maid of Arran, a musical melodrama set on an island off the coast of Ireland, for which Baum wrote the script, the music, and acted in too. In 1882, Baum married Maud Gage, daughter of Matilda Joslyn Gage, a renown women’s suffrage and feminist activist who may have inspired several strong female characters in the Oz books. When the threesome moved to the Dakota Territory, Baum opened a store, but sold so much on credit that it went bankrupt. Then he became editor of The Aberdeen Saturday Pioneer, but it too failed, motivating the family to move to Chicago. In the Windy City, Baum’s fortunes improved, first as a reporter for the Evening Post, then as founder and editor of Show Window. The magazine, which extolled the use of mannequins and props to merchandise department stores and their sidewalk windows, still exists as VMSD (Visual Merchandising & Store Design). While in Chicago, Baum wrote his first children’s book, Mother Goose in Prose (1897), a collection of Mother Goose rhymes written as prose stories. Mother Goose was a moderate success, enabling Baum to publish Father Goose, His Book (1899), a collection of nonsense poetry that became the best-selling children’s book of the year. In 1900 when Baum was 44 years old, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was published. It remained the best-selling children’s book for two years and has never been out of print. For more than 100 years, the stories spun by J. M. Barrie and L. Frank Baum have enchanted millions of children (and adults too!). Now that the dark days have arrived, I suggest that you get all cozy with a plate of holiday cookies and read one of these fabulous tales, ideally aloud and snuggling with a favorite youngster. I’m betting it will be a IA winter’s day you will long remember. Sláinte!

cups flour tsp salt cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature cup confectioner’s sugar

Preheat oven to 300ºF. Line an 8x8” square pan with parchment paper. Sift together flour and salt, set aside. Place butter in a medium bowl and beat until light and fluffy (2-3 minutes). Gradually add confectioner’s sugar and beat until fluffy (2 mins). Scrape down sides of bowl, then add flour mixture and mix until just combined. Put dough in prepared pan and pat so that it reaches the sides and is a uniform thickness. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Cut dough into 16 two-inch squares. Using a wooden skewer, prick all over to let steam escape during baking. Place in preheated oven and bake approximately 20 minutes. Rotate pan and bake another 20 minutes. Bake until golden brown in center approximately 40 minutes. Watch closely and do not over-bake or bottom will burn. Remove pan to a wire rack and cool for ten minutes. Remove shortbread from pan by lifting parchment paper. Re-cut into two-inch squares. Note: Shortbread is attributed to Mary, Queen of Scots (15421587). It’s believed that cooks she brought from France created the recipe. Composed of luxury items, it was a treat reserved for special occasions such as Christmas and New Year.

Chocolate Mocha Shortbread Wedges ⁄2 ⁄4

1 1

2 ⁄2




cup plus 3 tbsp flour cup cocoa powder Pinch of salt tsp instant espresso powder cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature cup confectioner’s sugar

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line an 8” springform pan with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, salt, and espresso powder. Set aside. In a separate bowl, beat butter until light and fluffy. Add confectioner’s sugar and beat again. Scrape down side, add cocoa-flour-espresso mixture and beat until completely combined. Place dough in the prepared pan and press evenly to pan edge. Put pan in oven and bake approximately ten minutes. Rotate pan and bake another 3-5 minutes. Watch closely and do not over-bake or bottom will burn. When dough has pulled slightly away from pan side and top is mostly firm, remove pan to a wire rack and cool for ten minutes. Unlock springform pan, loosen shortbread edge from paper and keep on wire rack until completely cool. Remove shortbread from pan by lifting parchment paper. Carefully cut shortbread into eight equal wedges. Note: Chocolate Mocha Shortbread is a purely American spin on the Scots-Irish classic.


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Name! ess ree ey

Business 100 honoree Adaire FoxMartin

Eddie Rabbitt

being obviously native was not advantageous. Many of the families who had dropped their prefix during these periods restored them again in the latter end of the 19th century, when the Gaelic revival movement was active. With some names, however, the prefix did not sit well, and has hardly been restored at all. For instance, it is rare to find a Carthy, Manus, or Allister since all of these names invariably have a “Mac” prefix, as does McGuire, McNamara, and McMahon. The Ryans, Murphys, Kellys, Doyles, Donnelly, Foleys, Hogans and many others have generally not

restored the “O” prefix that was originally theirs. A further cause of name variation was the process of translation (often incorrectly) of Irish names into English. This was done to make the names more English-sounding. The many Smiths in County Cavan, for instance, are almost all originally McGowans or O’Gowans, gabhan being the Irish for blacksmith. Similarly, the many Fox families are derived from translations of names like O’Sionnach, which can be translated as “fox.” Many of these translations are completely incorrect in regard to the original meaning of the Gaelic name. Thus the name Bird derives from the Gaelic name McEneany or Heany, from the fact that part of the name (ean) resembles the Gaelic word for “bird.” Similar pseudo-translations have led to the names Kidney (from the Irish O’Dubhain, which resembles the word for “kidney”); Oates (from the Irish O’Cuirc, which is also translated phonetically into the name Quirke); Peoples

(from the Irish name O’Duibhne, which resembles daoine, the Irish word for “people”); Rabbitte (from the Irish O’Cunneen); Woods (from various Gaelic roots such as Quill, which resembles coill – the Irish for “a wood,” and also from other names which sound like various types of wood); Waters (from the Irish O’Fuarisce, uisce being the Irish for water); and Salmon (from the Irish O’Bradan). Another process of change was to convert Gaelic names into English names or words that sounded somewhat similar. Thus the Irish Byrne became the English or Scottish Burn, Downey became Downing, Quirke became Kirk, the Gaelic O’Maoileidigh became Melody. Some branches of the Lehanes and Lynes became the English Lane, the Irish O’Maolbhearaigh became Mulberry, and the Irish O’Cafaigh became Coffey. Add to all of this confusion the extra complications which must have arisen when emigrant families arrived at immigration ports and had their names taken by clerks of varying nationalities, and you may start to appreciate the variety of names that the Irish are blessed with. Sites like 23&Me and Ancestry.com have identified even more people of Irish blood that you’d never know from the surname – such as this year’s Business 100 keynote speaker, Paul Boskind. See our James cover story on him on Woods page 40. IA

COAT OF ARMS FROM THE TOP: Collins Fitzgerald Fox O’Coffey Ryan



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realized that theater could be used to educate audi- LEFT: Modern art piece how My Fair Lady provided audio description for pain Paul’s apartment, trons who are blind or low-vision, with prompts such as ences to pro-equality issues and entertain people at celebrates the passage “Now Eliza’s moving towards the center of the stage.” the same time. He turned his attention to Broadway, of the same-sex “It was so wonderful. I cried. Tears literally ran down and from not being able to afford a ticket on his first marriage leglislation. my face,” he tells me. Hopefully audio descriptions visit to New York, he went on to producing a string RIGHT: Paul is pictured will become a theater norm. of successful gay-themed plays. with his Andy Warhol His Broadway credits include highly acclaimed lithograph of Senator runs of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (2011), The Clonbrock Castle Ted Kennedy. Best Man (2012), and Mother and Sons (2014). He Paul is not one to dwell on stuff that can’t be helped. His won the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play for life is full, and when talk turns again to the castle, he’s the 2011 Broadway debut of The Normal Heart. The groundbreak- especially animated, discussing the renovation he’s carrying out on ing drama showcased the tribulations of the early 1980s AIDS crisis the 15th-century Clonbrock Castle, which was on the market on that in New York City. first trip to Ireland in 2017. He finalized purchase in February 2018. Located in Ahascragh, a village in rural Galway near the town of Ballinasloe, and situated on a tributary of the River Bunowen, the Sláinte While he still keeps a home in San Antonio, Paul’s main residence property also has a 18th-century gardener’s house, and two other is in New York City, where he navigates easily around his neigh- one-bedroom cottages, where he stays on his monthly visits to overborhood. He grabs his “blind-boy cane,” and we walk the three see his renovations. Paul has high praise for his contractors, but he’s blocks to his favorite neighborhood restaurant, where everyone actively involved. “We’re getting close to finalizing the tower house and I’ve already had the furniture delivered. knows his name and his food preferences. I ask, “What’s your long-term plan for the castle?” Paul answers, His eyes miraculously held out against the encroaching blindness for years. It’s only recently – in the past few years – that his “It’s my residence.” He’s even looking forward to the damp Irish winvision has deteriorated. He still has enough sight to clink my glass ters – a fire in the grate, a good glass of wine, and good company. Paul brings to mind another castle owner: William Bui (“golden in a “Sláinte.” I ask him about that and he says, “it’s because I can see the red of the wine held up against your white shirt.” We are haired”) O’Ceallaig (O’Kelly). During Christmastime 1351, drinking a Malbec, an inky dark red. It’s his favorite wine, and it’s O’Kelly sent invitations – the opening words, “Like the surge of the blend that his winery in Argentina makes. Here, too, the bottle the stream is my welcome to you” – to all the poets, storytellers, carries a message. The wine label reads “Igualdad,” which is Span- musicians, and entertainers across Ireland. They were to come to a feast at his castle. What happened next was the one of the greatish for Equality. It’s easy to forget that Paul is visually impaired – he moves with est parties in recorded history, lasting well over a month. Later, grace and is fast on his feet. Stargardt’s robs the central vision of the O’Kellys were forced out of Ireland, and they joined the legthe eyes, leaving the peripheral vision. When he’s checking some- endary Wild Geese who fought and served with honor around the one or something out, he turns his head to the side to see. He’s in world. The chieftain now in residence at Clonbrock Castle shares a support group of other visually impaired adults, which includes an Irish woman, Fiona, who is a good friend. He often leads the O’Kelly’s activism in political issues supporting global human support group by placing a box of tissues on the table. “It’s okay rights. He’s also a patron of the arts and while we’re not expecting Paul Boskind to invite every poet in Ireland to a month-long to cry,” he tells new members. I ask him what he misses most, and he says theatre. He used to feast in his castle (or are we?), there’s sure to be good times manage well enough sitting a row or two from the stage, but now ahead, good parties to look forward to, and some great discusIA that’s not enough. Sad for a beat, he brightens up when he tells me sions. Sign me up! 104 IRISH AMERICA DECEMBER / JANUARY 2020

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photo album | Michael Rogers

“What’re You Having?” 1939 – ASTOR BAR, NEW YORK


y father, Michael Rogers, was a bartender at New York’s legendary Astor Bar from 1936 to 1965. The photo above was taken for the N.Y. Daily News series, “The Correct Thing,” on tipping bartenders. It’s not a good shot of him, as it doesn’t do justice to his hair, wavy and deep black, a color he likened to “the inside of a raven’s wing.” He was born in Drumlish, County Longford, in 1900 or 1903 (accounts vary) and, in 1926, he and his Longford mate, Hughie Prunty, having never visited Dublin, were on their way to New York. They walked from Longford to Cork to travel steerage on a dumpy tub with a devout name, The Celtic Cross. After a long but fun-filled crossing, they arrived in New York. Hughie looked the city over, decided it wasn’t for him, and headed west, to Nevada. My father, on the other hand, headed north to Harlem, where he lived for a ABOVE: Michael Rogers, with his shock of dark hair.

few years and later, moved to the Bronx. It was in the Bronx that he met my mother, Rose Flood, a native of County Monaghan. They were together at the Longford Association Annual Dance when my father won a round-trip ticket to Ireland and ever-gallant, offered her the prize. The Depression had left her unemployed and living with her brother and his hideous wife. She was so happy being

LEFT: Michael Rogers bartending in the Astor Bar. The picture was taken by the New York Daily News for its pictorial series called “The Correct Thing,” the subject for this particular segment being “tipping bartenders.”

home in Ireland (and away from her sisterin-law) that she stayed for well over a year. Her mother and sisters begged her stay, but she returned to her boyfriend in the Bronx and they married in 1938. From the 1930s to 1950s the Astor Bar was a watering hole for the glamourous and famous but it was so much more than that – it was the essence of New York sophistication. It even making its way into a classic Cole Porter song, “Well Did You Evah!” “Have you heard that Mimsie Starr / She got pinched in the Astor bar.” The farm boy from Longford with a fifth-grade education learned some life lessons on the job. It was a steep learning curve, as he saw stuff that didn’t happen in Drumlish or (at least, openly), even in Dublin. Men he knew to be married would swan to the bar with much younger women he knew not to be their wives. He frequently saw grown men passionately kissing, the Astor being the only upscale, gay-friendly bar around. But what shocked him most was the realization that rich people could be cheap, very cheap. Not to name names but there was Rex Harrison who once tipped four cents after many rounds of drinks. Ed Sullivan came up empty after poking around in his pants for loose change, as did Joe DiMaggio. By contrast, there was Jackie Gleason, whose tip was always much greater than his substantial tab; the former mayor of New York, James J. Walker; and Tallulah Bankhead – all were not only were generous, but greeted him with a “Hiya Mike.” But the most generous was Frank Sinatra, who said my father was his favorite bartender. In fact, on the day I was born, Frank gave him $100 “for the baby” in addition to his usual tip. Ol’ Blue Eyes insisted he not pool the $100 with the other bartenders, dishwashers, and bellhops (it was, after all, my money), but at the end of the night, my father did just that. – Submitted by Rosemary Rogers

Please send photographs along with your name, address, phone number, and a brief description, to Patricia Harty at Irish America, 875 Sixth Avenue, Suite 1606, New York, NY 10001. If photos are irreplaceable, then please send a good quality reproduction or email the picture at 300 DPI resolution to submit@irishamerica.com. We will pay $65 for each submission that we select.



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Profile for Irish America Magazine

Irish America December 2019 / January 2020  

In this month's issue our Editor and Chief Patricia Harty interviews our cover star Paul Boskind. They talk about his amazing life story, fi...

Irish America December 2019 / January 2020  

In this month's issue our Editor and Chief Patricia Harty interviews our cover star Paul Boskind. They talk about his amazing life story, fi...