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DECEMBER / JANUARY 2016
“It’s no longer about what can I achieve; it’s about what I can get others to achieve.”
Jim Clerkin CEO & PRESIDENT
MOËT HENNESSY North America
CANADA $4.95/ U.S. $3.95
IRISH EYE ON HOLLYWOOD
A CHILD’S CHRISTMAS
THE LUCKY WWII DOG
CELTIC COLORS MUSIC & DANCE
YOUNG SKINS WRITER COLIN BARRETT
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contents | december / january 2016
Hibernia Highlights J-1 Visa Changes
32 Canada’s Celtic Heart
What do the new restrictions on J-1 visas mean for young Irish immigrants?
Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia hosts the Celtic Colours International Festival. By John Kernaghan
36 Moët Hennessy’s Jim Clerkin
Hennessy turns 250 this year. The president and CEO of the newly-created North American division talks to Adam Farley.
Irish Eye on Hollywood
This winter, movies with Liam Neeson, George Clooney, Leonardo DiCaprio, and more. p. 14
42 30th Annual Business 100
Celebrating three decades of the top Irish and Irish-American corporate leaders.
78 Lucky Dog
The story of “Smoky,” the World War II Yorkie rescued from the South Pacific by an Irish-American G.I. By Jerri Donohue
82 Kathy “White House” Buckley
The head White House chef for three presidents was an Irish woman from Listowel, County Kerry. By Sharon Ní Chonchúir
Remembering Maureen O’Hara
Ireland’s most famous actress is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
Irish America Celebrations
84 What Are You Like?
Coverage from the 2015 Wall Street 50 and Healthcare and Life Sciences 50.
Michael Flatley takes our questionnaire on the occasion of his final show, “Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games.” By Patricia Harty
88 “From Ellen to Eileen”
An excerpt from Megan Smolenyak’s new book, In Search of Our Ancestors: 101 Stories of Serendipity and Connection.
Evelyn Walsh wins the 2015 Séan Ó Faoláin short story prize. p. 94
90 Breakout Writer Colin Barrett
The author of the award-winning debut short story collection Young Skins talks literary angst and anguish. By Julia Brodsky
96 Music Review: Joanie Madden
The Cherish the Ladies leader’s new album is a charming and compelling addition to her repertoire. By Mary Pat Kelly
100 Memoir: A Brooklyn Christmas In the borough of Jim Murphy’s childhood, Ireland seemed especially close at Christmas time.
102 Sláinte! Coming Up Ginger
Ireland, Edythe Preet discovers, is a land of ginger (root) lovers and innovation.
Departments 7 8 10 29 92 98 104 106
First Word Readers Forum Hibernia Quote-Unquote Books Crossword Photo Album Those We Lost
Cover Photo: Kit DeFever 4 IRISH AMERICA DECEMBER / JANUARY 2016
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Vol.31 No.1 •December/January 2016
IRISH AMERICA Mórtas Cine
is working on a Master’s degree in Irish studies at NYU, focusing on modern and postmodern Irish literature. She interviews Colin Barrett for this issue. She is from Philadelphia and now lives in Brooklyn.
who writes about the Celtic Colors Festival, is a freelance writer based in Oakville, Ontario. He began his career in journalism as a photographer for The Armagh Guardian and a reporter with The Portadown News. In Canada, he worked as an editor of a community newspaper chain and then as an investigative reporter, sports columnist, restaurant reviewer and travel writer for daily newspapers. He is now an editor on the national desk of Postmedia News.
, Irish America’s deputy editor, interviews Jim Clerkin for this issue. Adam joined the magazine in 2012. He holds a Master of Arts in Irish and Irish American Studies from NYU’s Glucksman Ireland House, where he specialized in modern and contemporary Irish poetry. Adam, who is from Washington State, attended the University of Washington, and lived on Brooklyn Avenue in Seattle. He now lives in Brooklyn but not on Washington Avenue.
Pride In Our Heritage
Founding Publisher: Niall O’Dowd Co-Founder/ Editor-in-Chief: Patricia Harty
who contributes “A Child’s Christmas in Brooklyn” to this issue, directed the Irish Studies Program at Villanova University from its inception 1979 to his retirement in 2010. The program is now one the largest undergraduate Irish Studies programs in the U.S., with outreach to NUI Galway and to the Abbey Theatre. Jim and his wife Kath live in Villanova, PA.
6 IRISH AMERICA DECEMBER / JANUARY 2016
Deputy Editor: Adam Farley Art Director: Marian Fairweather Advertising & Events Coordinator & Music Editor: Tara Dougherty Copy Editor: John Anderson Financial Controller: Kevin M. Mangan Editorial Assistants: Julia Brodsky R. Bryan Willits
875 Avenue of the Americas, Suite 201, New York NY 10001
A freelance writer in Brecksville, Ohio, Jerri Donohue’s work has appeared in regional, history and religious publications. Jerri’s favorite subjects always relate to World War II and in this issue she writes about Smoky, the lucky WWII Yorkie.
Vice President of Marketing: Kate Overbeck
TEL: 212-725-2993 FAX: 212-244-3344 Subscriptions: 1-800-582-6642
is a genealogist and the author of six books, including In Search of Or Ancestors, and Who Do You Think You Are?, a companion to the TV series. She has uncovered the Irish heritage of everyone from Barack Obama, Barry Manilow, and Bruce Springsteen, and contributes a personal family story to this issue.
E-MAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org www.irishamerica.com Irish America Magazine ISSN 0884-4240) © by Irish America Inc. Published bi-monthly. Mailing address: P.O. Box 1277, Bellmawr, NJ 08099-5277. Editorial office: 875 Sixth Avenue, Suite 201, New York, NY 10001. Telephone: 212-7252993. Fax: 212-244-3344 E-mail: email@example.com. Subscription rate is $21.95 for one year. Subscription orders: 1-800-582-6642. Subscription queries:1-800-582-6642, (212) 725-2993, ext. 150. Periodicals postage paid at New York and additional mailing offices. Postmaster please send address changes to Irish America Magazine, P.O. Box 1277, Bellmawr, NJ 08099-5277. IRISH AMERICA IS PRINTED IN THE U.S.A.
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the first word | By Patricia Harty
The French Connection
s we struggle with the magnitude of the recent terror attacks in Paris and live with the renewed fear of attacks here at home, we all find personal ways of coping. Mine is to reflect on the past and the great tragedies that we have overcome; to remind myself that life goes on. Jim Clerkin, the subject of our cover story, responded to the devastating news by flying to Paris to be on the ground with his French colleagues. It’s the sort of thing you would expect from Clerkin, the North American head of Moët Hennessy, who is based in New York. He grew up in Northern Ireland during the worst of the Troubles, and knows that you can’t let terror reign over your daily life. Just days prior to the attacks, the Irish America team had the pleasure of visiting the Moët Hennessy headquarters on Manhattan’s west side. It was an opportunity to talk about French Irish connections, and the close associations – cultural, political, and intellectual – that we have enjoyed throughout our history: from the Wild Geese through WWI and beyond. France was a haven of refuge for the Irish during Britain’s attempt to colonize the island, which began when Anglo-Norman troops arrived in Wexford in 1169. Denied the opportunity to practice Catholicism in the subsequent occupa-
General Oliver Harty
tion, the Irish found religious freedom in France. And in turn, they contributed to the French nation in a number of ways, not least of which was militarily. Irish regiments fought for France in the 16th, 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. One of those soldiers was Richard Hennessy, who at the age of 20, joined the Army of King Louis XV. Injured at the Battle of Fontenoy, he settled on the banks of the Charente River and there he founded the Hennessy cognac distillery in 1765. One of my relatives had also been a soldier in France, and my visit to Moët Hennessy prompted a Google search that turned up some interesting information on my long-ago ancestor Oliver Harty. Born on December 2, 1746, Oliver left Ireland for France as a 16-year-old to join the Berwick Regiment. He went on to a distinguished military career but never forgot his Irish roots. In the French attempt to free Ireland of British rule, his was one of the few French ships to land at Bantry Bay in 1795. When the attempt to rout the British failed, Oliver returned to France and went on to play a part in the Napoleonic campaigns. And “for his courage and gallantry” he was created Baron de Pierrebourg by Napoleon on June 30, 1811. Intrigued, I wondered how best to make a connection with Oliver’s descendants – over the years we’ve had some limited correspondence. Alas, with a pressing print deadline, I decided further research would have to wait. I turned my attention to this issue and a story by Megan Smolenyak our Roots detective. Megan and I often talk about the unusual amount of serendipity she encounters during her genealogical research. The surprising ways that ancestors have of coming through to us is nothing new to me, but here I was surprised a few days later to receive an e-mail with the subject line, “The Baron de Pierrebourg.” Had I conjured Oliver up? Perhaps it was that sip from the special bottle of
Hennessy X.O that did the trick? The writer of the missive was Cécile Déjardin, a French historian who had recently met with Monsieur Olivier de Pierrebourg – Oliver Harty’s descendant; “Is it possible that there is a family connect?” In a subsequent e-mail Cécile included a portrait of Oliver Harty thought to have been painted around the time of the Bantry Bay expedition in 1795. The family resemblance is striking. It’s remarkable to see that the Harty nose has been passed down through the generations! Then came the news of the Paris attacks. “It’s hard to think properly today after having seen this violence in Paris, next door,” Cécile wrote, adding, “Messages of concern from my Irish friends have been delivered since this morning: this helps a lot.” And so it is that I find myself turning to the past for consolation. From the Irish Famine Memorial in lower Manhattan you can look out over New York Harbor and see the Statue of Liberty, France’s gift to America in celebration of democracy. This comforting sight welcomed so many Irish refugees to America, people who had no choice but to leave their homeland in order to survive. Let us hope that as we consider the plight of today’s refugees from Syria, we will be guided by this French torch of enlightenment and act, not with fear, but with compassion; and respect for those who came before us. Mortas Cine.
DECEMBER / JANUARY 2016 IRISH AMERICA 7
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letters | readers forum
The Irish of Barbados
Thank you so much for the article on the Irish in Barbados (Oct./Nov. issue). I know a few of the people mentioned, as I live in St. Joseph. These people are very resilient no matter what life throws at them. I really do admire them and will continue to marvel at their resourcefulness. They may not have land or money, but they are people with big hearts and have included me on a number of occasions as if I were one of them. – Sue Barker, submitted online
I am truly shocked and saddened to read about the plight of these folks who have suffered poverty for such a long period in the Caribbean. I also wonder about the responsibility of the government of Barbados in this situation. Surely this is not something any country could be proud of. – Jennifer Hosten, submitted online
There is no evidence for white “slavery” or Irish “slavery” in the historical record in the Caribbean. The Irish were, however, indentured servants. The differences in these terms and the material conditions they describe cannot be overstated. Efforts to appropriate the rhetoric of enslavement and its attendant conditions for the Irish are false and misleading. Please consult my following publications on this matter. Washed by the Gulf Stream: the Historic and Geographic Relation of Irish and Caribbean Literature (University of Delaware Press 2008) and Caribbean Irish Connections, coedited (University of the West Indies Press 2015). Additionally, please see the recent article at http://www.thejournal.ie/readme/irish-slavesmyth-2369653-Oct2015/ for further rebuttal. I would appreciate seeing a new article that is filled with the nuance and complexity that the Irish in the Caribbean deserve.
– Prof. Maria McGarrity Ph.D. Long Island University, Brooklyn, NY
Editor’s Note: There are many reports that mention the Irish as “slaves” including the following from Minority Rights Group International, 2008: “In 1659, the English also shipped many Irish and Scots to Barbados as slaves. Furthermore large numbers of people from Ireland and Scotland also went as indentured servants. More British exiles were also shipped in after 1685 following the crushing of the Protestant Monmouth Rebellion in England.”
8 IRISH AMERICA DECEMBER / JANUARY 2016
TOP: A scene from “Bloody Irish.” BELOW LEFT: The Irish in Barbados. Photo by Sheena Jolley. BELOW RIGHT: A headstone unearthed by Annie CastelnovaMcMullen.
Bloody Irish on PBS
My Irish-American husband of 40 years and I saw this exciting musical tribute to the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rebellion. “Inspiring,” “awesome,” and “heartfelt” are the adjectives that come to mind.
– Della Curran, submitted online
I spent half the show yelling “Bloody Damned British” at my television! “Bloody Irish” is a compilation of mainly familiar Irish songs, woven into the Easter Rising of 1916.
– Mary Jo Kittle, submitted online
Forgotten Famine-Era Graves Discovered in Mass.
Wonderful work. Thank you from myself and I’m sure the many who hail from the area with ancestors from Ireland. I’m from Cambridge and fortunately I know the grave sites of my Murphy, Sullivan, Mulcahy, Costello grandparents that came from Galway and Cork.
– John Murphy, Cambridge, MA
Thank you, Annie, for undertaking this project. There is so much information online about the plight of our ancestors who thought they were coming to the “New World” for a better life, and finding the opposite. – Sarah Boyle, submitted online
Thank you ever so much for picking up our story. There is so much more to the story than what was published in the paper – my husband’s great-great-uncle, Charles McMullen, who hailed from Meenadreen, County Donegal, was the individual who started me on the search for his grave. I just want to let you know that since this original article was published we have had a work weekend and were able to successfully unearth 161
headstones which have accounted for approximately 400 Irish Catholics who were previously “Unknown” and lost to time. We have plans to utilize groundpenetrating radar to locate additional stones and graves as well, which we hope to have underway in the next month. The headstones we have unearthed are in pristine condition – almost all contain the names of the individuals in the grave and also the county and parish from which they hailed, which is so valuable to anyone searching their Irish ancestry. A second article was also published with some fine photos documenting the headstones that were uncovered. We are in the process of transcribing and photographing and compiling an index of individual names. We have also set up a Go Fund Me site (gofundme.com/churchstheadstones) to help raise the funds for the scanning, and your readers might want to follow the progress and my updates on this as well.
– Annie Castelnovo-McMullen firstname.lastname@example.org
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hibernia | news from ireland Peter Robinson Steps Down as N.I. First Minister
eter Robinson announced he is to step down as Northern Ireland First Minister and leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) just days after a new deal was struck to break a months’ long political deadlock in Stormont late November. Robinson, 67, told Northern Ireland newspaper the Belfast Telegraph that he will not contest next May’s assembly elections and will step aside as leader, most likely just after Christmas, ending over 40 years in politics. “I am telling you this now, because I think it would be disrespectful to the party membership if I was to go through a conference with the pretense that I would be leading the party into the next election. I think they have a right to know what the circumstances are,” he said. Leader of Sinn Féin Gerry Adams extended his best wishes to the First Minister and said it would not affect his party’s relationship with the DUP: “Sinn Féin will continue to work with the DUP and Peter’s successor and with the other political parties as part of the effort to deliver on the recent agreement and to resolve outstanding issues from other Robinson. agreements.” Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness commented on his good relationship with Robinson despite their political differences: “We have had a close and professional working relationship and, despite media perception, it has always been courteous and amicable,” he said. In May 2015, Robinson suffered a heart attack, and, though he denies that his health is the reason for his decision, he admitted that the lifestyle he leads in his current roles does not allow him to follow the medical advice given to him after the attack. Robinson joked that he may become a journalist when he retires. He intends to stay in Northern Ireland. – Frances Mulraney
Same Sex Marriage Wins Historic N.I. Vote
aking history in November, a majority of Northern Ireland’s Assembly members voted in favor of same-sex marriage for the first time. Fifty-three ministers supported the motion, while 52 voted against. But the motion was immediately blocked by the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) who submitted a “petition of concern” requiring that the proposal achieve a cross-community majority to pass, effectively vetoing it. Patrick Corrigan, Amnesty International’s Northern Ireland Program Director, told the Belfast Telegraph that the vote is nevertheless a “significant milestone on the journey to marriage equality.” Northern Ireland is the last part of the UK where gay marriage is still not legal. The situation as it currently stands creates serious legal anomalies for LGBT couples whereby their marriage is reclassified as a civil partnership in Northern Ireland when they arrive there from other parts of the UK or Ireland. Two court challenges to the ban will be now heard in the courts in Belfast in November and December. – Dara Kelly
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Changes to J-1 Visa Requirements
he two sponsoring bodies that administer the vast majority of Irish participants in the J-1 Summer visa program have announced a plan to introduce a new requirement for applicants to secure a job prior to arriving in the U.S. beginning in the 2016 application cycle. The change affects applicants from countries in the Visa Waiver Program, which includes Ireland, as well as France, the U.K., the Czech Republic, and others, who are currently exempt from the U.S. State Department’s requirement of employment prior to arrival and allows for visafree travel for up to 90 days. Michael Doorley, managing director of the Shandon Travel Group which oversees the Irish J-1 agency SAYIT, told our partner publication the Irish Voice that the new changes “should make it easier” for Irish students to secure jobs in the U.S., but Irish officials have expressed concern over the change’s implications. “For almost 50 years, the J-1 experience has been a rite of passage for many young Irish students and has played an important and positive role in strengthening the Ireland-US relationship,” Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Charlie Flanagan said in a statement. “I raised the matter with very senior members of the U.S. Administration during my visit to the U.S. last month and I have also written to Secretary of State Kerry outlining my concerns. I have also been in contact with the U.S. Ambassador in Dublin, Kevin O’Malley, on the matter and appreciate his helpful engagement on the issue,” he said. Taoiseach Enda Kenny also raised the J-1 visa change during remarks in the Dail last month. “I am not keen on a situation where there could be an abrupt ending to the J-1 system as we know it, through the dramatic introduction of a requirement for pre-employment,” he said. The sponsors, CIEE (who work with travel agent USIT), and Interexchange (who work with the travel agency SAYIT), say the new job requirement is keeping in line with the State Department requirements from other, non-visa waiver countries. Up to 8,000 Irish students take advantage of the program each year. – A.F.
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hibernia | news from ireland
Trinity College and UCSF to Establish Global Brain Health Institute
he Atlantic Philanthropies, created in 1982 by Irish-American tory and the largest ever received by Trinity College Dublin. businessman Chuck Feeney, is giving €138.4 million [$177 Speaking ahead of the announcement on November 17, million] to Trinity College Dublin and the University of Taoiseach Enda Kenny said: “The Atlantic Philanthropies’ support California, San Francisco (UCSF) to establish the Global Brain over the last 20 years for research in the biomedical area has enabled Health Institute (GBHI), a ground-breaking initiative that aims to Trinity College to become a recognized leader in aging research. tackle the looming dementia epidemic and This, however, forms only a part of Chuck Feeney’s eduFrom left: Trinity Professors improve health and dementia care worldwide. cational and research legacy in this country, for which we The landmark award is the largest program Ian Robertson (psychology) are very grateful.” and Brian Lawlor (old-age grant Atlantic Philanthropies has ever made and psychiatry) who will lead the “Our goal is to create a generation of leaders around the is the biggest philanthropic donation in Irish his- research project. world who have the knowledge, skills and drive to change both the practice of dementia care and the public health and societal forces that affect brain health,” Christopher G. Oechsli, president and CEO of The Atlantic Philanthropies, said. Co-led by Trinity College Dublin and UCSF, the GBHI initiative will train 600 global leaders over 15 years in the U.S. Ireland and across the world to carry out dementia research, deliver health care, and change policies and practices. It will be partnering with other institutions worldwide in Latin America, Vietnam, South Africa, Asia, and Australia. GBHI will have shared operations in Trinity and UCSF that will be led by Trinity’s Professor of Psychology Ian Roberston and Professor Bruce Miller, MD, a behavioral neurologist and director of the Memory and Aging Center at UCSF. At Trinity College Dublin, the GBHI will be housed in the Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience. It will be led by Professor of Psychology Ian Robertson, and Conolly Norman Professor of Old Age Psychiatry Brian Lawlor.
rish scientist William C. Campbell, a researcher at Drew University in New Jersey, has been awarded the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine along with Satoshi Ōmura and Tu Youyou. Campbell, from Donegal, is the second ever Irishborn scientist to win the Nobel Prize (after Ernest Walton in 1951). The 2015 prize winners all made discoveries that are being used to fight parasitic diseases, especially in the developing world. Campbell’s and Ōmura’s discoveries have led to the development of drugs that are highly effective in treating diseases like river blindness
and lymphatic filariasis, which are caused by parasitic worms. A drug using ivermectin was developed by Campbell while working at Merck, a pharmaceutical company. Stressing the importance of looking to nature for cures to disease, Campbell told Adam Smith, the Chief Scientific Officer of Nobel Media, “there is a certain amount of hubris in humans thinking that they can create molecules as well as nature can create molecules in terms of the diversity of molecules, because nature consistently produces molecules that have not been thought of by humans.”– R.B.W.
PHOTO BY:JUSTIN MAC INNES/ TRINITY COLLEGE DUBLIN/PA WIRE
Irish Scientist Wins Nobel Prize
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hibernia | news from ireland NUI Galway Research on Antibiotic Resistance
esearch by NUI Galway and Oxford University has led to a breakthrough in how antibiotics are prescribed. The initiative to improve the prescribing of antibiotics for urinary tract infections resulted in better-quality prescribing of first-line antibiotics, according to the new research published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. The study, “Supporting the Improvement and Management of Prescribing for UTIs,” began in 2011 when NUI Galway researchers found that a variety of antibiotics were prescribed by general practitioners for urinary tract infections. As the spread of antibiotic resistance continues, the researchers set out to improve antibiotic prescribing for UTIs in general practice and designed a cluster randomized intervention. The study involved 71 physicians, 30 general practitioners and 3,500 patients in Galway and Roscommon. Overall, a 20-percent absolute increase in prescribing of antibiotics according to guidelines was observed in the intervention groups. However, general practitioners also increased overall prescribing of antibiotics for urinary tract infection. The World Health Organization has deemed antibiotic resistance an immediate threat to world health. Overuse and over-prescribing of antibiotics are major contributors to antibiotic-resistant diseases. Urinary tract infections are one of the most common illnesses for which antibiotics are prescribed. Efforts to curb overuse must involve patients, physicians and other health care workers, pharmaceutical companies and policy makers.
R “Lightning Wires,” by Matthew Gleeson.
UL’s Lightning Wires
atthew Gleeson, postgraduate researcher at the University of Limerick (UL), is the winner of Science Foundation Ireland’s Research Image of the Year competition for his picture “Lightning Wires.” The winning image was selected from over 40 submissions and will appear on the cover of the 2015 SFI Annual Report. This optical image shows sodium niobate micro/nano wires, grown using a method similar to pressure cooking called hydrothermal synthesis. The image shows the largest of the wires, which have widths fractions of the diameter of a human hair. The bright white color of the wires is due to the wires’ refractive index. The contrast is due to the difference in refractive index between the wires
and supporting glass slide. The wires are grown for novel ICT technologies, such as using light to transfer information in microchips and optical information processing. The image was taken as part of a Ph.D. project under the supervision of Dr Ning Liu and Dr Christophe Silien at the University of Limerick. Speaking at the recent SFI Science Summit in Kilkenny, which was attended by 300 researchers, Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation Damien English said: “Matthew’s image ‘Lightning Wires’ demonstrates that science has the capacity to surprise. His striking image allows us to see what is not visible to the naked eye and it really captures the viewer’s attention. I congratulate him on this success.”
n November 2nd, 2015, schoolchildren all over the world engaged in a lesson in Boolean mathematics and logic through the launch of University College Cork’s Bring Boole2School program. The date marks the bicentennial anniversary of the birth of George Boole, the English mathematician, logician, and philosopher who is often called the “forefather of the information age.” Boole was a math professor and dean at UCC whose application of algebra to human thought processes gave birth to “Boolean logic.” This logical process is now used in designing virtually all of the technology we use on a daily basis. George Boole was born in Lincoln, England and received little formal education beyond primary school. His knowledge of languages and advanced mathematics was almost entirely self-taught, and he began teaching at the age of 16 to support his family. In 1849 he was appointed as the first professor of mathematics at UCC (then Queens College, Cork), where he remained the rest of his life. He published four books and numerous papers, was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society, and won the Keith Prize before passing away in 1864. Bring Boole2School is part of the George Boole 200 Program, which runs throughout 2015 and celebrates Boole’s life and legacy. – J.B.
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PHOTO: DARAGH MCSWEENEY / UCC
George Boole Celebrations O
Adam Donovan, who plays George Boole in the UCC tours; Dr. Michael Murphy, President, UCC; and Emeritus Professor of Mathematics at UCC, Patrick Fitzpatrick, with pupils from Bunscoil Chríost Rí, Greenmount National School and St. Maries of the Isle in Cork.
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hibernia | irish eye on hollywood Leonardo DiCaprio as Hugh Glass.
True Story of Irish Frontiersman
he new year will kick off with three movies showcasing lots of young Irish acting talent. First up is the highly anticipated new epic from Birdman director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu. Entitled The Revenant, the film stars Leonardo DiCaprio as well as Irish thespian Domhnall Gleeson, fresh off his latest star-making turn alongside Saoirse Ronan in the Irish immigrant tale Brooklyn. The Revenant is based on a true story and is set in the early 19th Century, chronicling the harrowing tale of frontiersman Hugh Glass. Glass was born in Philadelphia (to Irish immigrant parents, according to most historians) but became an accomplished explorer of the wide open American frontier. But one expedition went wrong and Glass’s partners left him for dead. The film explores Glass’s journey back from the brink of death to seek revenge on his enemies. Expect the critics to rave about this epic (the film is expected to run over two hours and thirty minutes) which seems to combine action adventure with an art house sensibility.
By Tom Deignan
Macken Goes From the Night Shift to the Forest
Next up is the horror flick The Forest, starring Dublin native Eoin Macken. The 32-year-old Macken, who attended University College, Dublin, is branching out after spending several years as a model for major brands such as Abercrombie and Fitch and Ralph Lauren. The Forest is set in Japan and revolves around unexplained events which keep on happening in a spooky forest. The Forest also stars Nick Antosca, Sarah Cornwell, Natalie Dormer, and Yukiyoshi Ozawa. Macken was recently seen in the psychological thriller Christian Blake as well as the Irish TV drama Fair City. Down the road, look for Macken in the heavily-Irish romantic comedy The Callback Queens, alongside fellow Irish performers Amy-Joyce Hastings (The Tudors), Seán T. Ó Meallaigh (Charlie), and Ger Ryan (Intermission). Producers of The Callback Queens have high hopes that an American film distribution company will be picking up the film soon. Macken is also the star of the NBC medical drama The Night Shift, about the trials and tribulations endured by the staff at a San Antonio hospital.
Jesus Makes Another Comeback
Finally, in January, there is Risen, a new telling of the Biblical story of Jesus’ resurrection. This version is told through the eyes of a skeptical Roman named Clavius, who sets out to prove that nothing special happened when a carpenter named Jesus, who ran afoul of the local authorities, supposedly rose from the dead following his crucifixion. Risen stars Joseph Fiennes and Tom Felton as well as Antrim native Stephen Hagan. Hagan has appeared in films such as Against the Dark as well as the British TV show Mistresses. Hagan is also slated to appear in the upcoming Belfast thriller The Truth Commissioner, as well as a new British TV show called Stan Lee’s Lucky Man. 14 IRISH AMERICA DECEMBER / JANUARY 2016
The Forest actor Eoin Macken.
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Clooney on the Money
eanwhile, in March 2016, two celebrated English actors with strong Irish roots will team up with a trio of Hollywood legends for a movie entitled Money Monster. Directed by Oscar winner Jodie Foster, Money Monster looks to be a biting satire of our money- and celebrity-obsessed culture, which also stars George Clooney and Julia Roberts. The film is about an average fellow who dumps all of his money into the stock market on the recommendation of a TV celebrity with inside information. When the stock goes south, the TV personality is threatened with death – which only leads to a spike in the ratings for his TV show. Also starring in Money Monster is Dominic West, best known for his work on acclaimed cable dramas such as The Affair and The Wire. West, though born in England, has spoken regularly about his strong Irish heritage. He attended Trinity College in Dublin, and married his wife in Limerick. Also starring in Money Monster is Jack O’Connell, who stunned audiences in the Belfast thriller ’71, and whose father was born in Kerry.
Sarah Bolger Is Into The Badlands Dubliner Sarah Bolger (left) was seen recently in the (American) football film My All American, alongside Aaron Eckhart, Finn Wittrock, and Robin Tunney. Also in late 2015, the actress – best known for starring alongside her sister Emma in Jim Sheridan’s touching 2003 Irish immigrant film In America – kicked off the new AMC martial arts series Into the Badlands. Also starring in Into the Badlands is Wicklow actress Orla Brady.
Clooney and Jack O’Connell on set.
Keogh – From Scorpion to King Fergus Irish actor Glenn Keogh (right) – who has appeared in the cable drama Sons of Anarchy as well as one of the entries in the Transformers film franchise – will star as King Fergus in an upcoming two-hour episode of ABC’s fantasy series Once Upon a Time. Keogh is also a star in the CBS drama, Scorpion.
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hibernia | irish eye on hollywood Liam Neeson in Silence.
Liam The Monster
ichael Fassbender – whose mother was from Antrim and who was raised in Kerry – has done the serious art film thing, from Shame (which earned him a slew of award nominations) to 12 Years a Slave to his recent Shakespearean turn in MacBeth. So now it’s time to bring on the video games and superheroes! Next year, look for Fassbender in a film based on the popular game Assassin’s Creed, as well as in the latest X-Men film. Fassbender will also appear alongside Irish actor Brendan Gleeson in the British political thriller Trespass Against Us.
iam Neeson and Ciaran Hinds have wrapped up their latest prestige project – Martin Scorsese’s new movie. The film’s producer recently said Scorsese is now editing the movie Silence, which is about the persecution of two Jesuit priests in 17th Century Japan. (In other words, it’s a far cry from being yet another movie in which Liam Neeson cracks skulls to save someone with his “particular set peaking of folks with Irish parents, Oscar-winof skills.”) Scorsese and movie executives are ning director Danny Boyle has made some of hoping to get Silence ready for a premiere the most respected and praised movies in recent around the Spring of 2016. “The hope is for the years, including Slumdog Millionaire and, more film to premiere at the 2016 Cannes Film Festirecently, Steve Jobs. But the Scottish-born Boyle val,” the film’s producer, Gaston Pavlovich, introduced himself to the world with a wild little said recently, of the French movie fest that is independent flick called Trainspotting. Well, pubtraditionally held in May. Pavlovich did add lished reports now suggest that a Trainspotting that the editing schedule may change. Either sequel is in the works, just in time for the original’s way, it’s a good bet Silence will be in theaters 20th anniversary. some time next year. Scorsese and Neeson are Speaking to the BBC at the recent London prere-teaming for the first time since the Irish miere of Steve Jobs, Boyle said: American immigrant epic Gangs of New York. “We’re going up to Scotland next week very Neeson, as always, remains busy. He will early and we’re going to do a week’s workshop up play the titular monster in the late 2016 fantasy in Edinburgh working on the script.” movie A Monster Calls. The film revolves Boyle added that the original actors are all interaround a troubled boy whose mother is sick and ested in appearing in the follow-up, and simply who is bullied at school. So, the boy escapes have to work to rearrange their schedules to make it into a fantastical world of his own creation. The happen. film is based on a book by Patrick Ness and Boyle added: “We’re filming in May and June of Siobhan Dowd, an English-born activist whose .” parents were born in Ireland and who herself succumbed to a fatal illness in 2007. Next year, Neeson will also have an outsized role in the KoAnd finally, looking ahead to 2017, the aforementioned Leonardo DiCaprio is rean War pic Operation reportedly producing a Robin Hood origin movie. The cast has not yet been Chromite. Neeson will assembled, but one actress who has apparently landed a role is Dubliner play American general Eve Hewson – daughter of Bono – who is slated to play Maid Marion. Douglas MacArthur.
Trainspotting – The Sequel
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hibernia | a final salute
Farewell to Our Beloved
The funeral cortege arriving in Arlington.
Maureen FitzSimons Blair 8•17•1920 – 10•24•2015
aureen O’Hara has died at the age of 95. Born on August 17, 1920 in Dublin, the legend of the silver screen passed away on October 24 at her family home in Boise, Idaho. Her family said in a statement: “It is with a sad heart that we share the news that Maureen O’Hara passed away today in her sleep of natural causes. Maureen was our loving mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and friend. She passed peacefully surrounded by her loving family as they celebrated her life listening to music from her favorite movie, The Quiet Man.” Asked in a 2004 interview with Patricia Harty to sum up John Wayne, her co-star in The Quiet Man, she said of her life-long friend: “Such a fine man is very hard to sum up in one sentence. A decent, fine, wonderful man, loved his family, adored his kids, was very loyal to his friends – never let a friend down – even if he had to put himself in danger he would do it… So there aren’t enough words in the English language to describe a person like John Wayne.” A champion of Ireland who believed that hard work could make dreams come true, Maureen was inducted into the Irish America
Hall of Fame in a ceremony in New Ross in August, 2011. She had previously been honored as the magazine’s Irish American of the Year in 2007. One of her proudest moments, she told Harty in the same 2004 interview, was when she was Grand Marshal of New York City’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade on March 17, 1999. But she was not just about St. Patrick’s Day, she belonged to our Thanksgivings and our Christmases too. In Miracle on 34th Street, she plays Doris Walker, the harried event director for Macy’s who persuades Edmund Gween to take over as Santa Claus. Her family said that she “especially loved it when children recognized her from her role in Miracle on 34th Street and asked her: ‘Are you the lady who knows Santa Claus?’ She always answered: ‘Yes I am. What would you like me to tell him?’” Though Maureen was a proud American citizen, she remained Irish to the core. As she wrote in her memoir ’Tis Herself, “Being an Irishwoman means many things to me. An Irishwoman is strong and feisty. She has guts and stands up for what she believes in. She believes she is the best at whatever she does and proceeds through life with that knowledge. She can face any hazard that life throws her way and stay with it until she wins. She is loyal to her kinsmen and accepting of others. She’s not above a sock in the jaw if you have it coming. She is only on her knees before God. Yes, I am most definitely an Irishwoman.” Tony O’Reilly, the founder of the American Ireland Fund, once said of Maureen: “There is no doubt that Maureen O’Hara is a descendant of some great Celtic queen, and should Ireland have a queen today, surely it would be she.” It was with this kind of honor and respect that the star was laid to rest on November 9. Her remains were carried into St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church near Washington DC. to accompanying music from The Quiet Man by the 45-strong Shannon Rovers Irish Pipe Band from Chicago. Following requiem mass and eulogy delivered by her grandson Conor FitzSimons she was laid to rest next to her beloved husband Brig. General Charles F. Blair at Arlington National Cemetery. It was a perfect ending for an Irish woman who inspired so many with her career in Hollywood, her love of family and pride in her Irish heritage. God bless you Maureen. Thank-you for being you and for the legacy you’ve left for everyone. – June Parker Beck, Editor, Maureen O’Hara Magazine
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hibernia | space
Scott Kelly Breaks Space Record
cott Kelly, 51, an American astronaut and commander of the International Space Station’s Expedition 45 crew, has set the record for the longest time spent in space by an American citizen after reaching 382 cumulative days and counting. The Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka holds the current world record for days in space, clocking 878 days off the earth. Kelly will have reached 522 total days by the time he is set to return on March 3, 2016. “Records are meant to be broken,” wrote Kelly in a Twitter missive sent back to earth from the ISS. “Look forward to one of my colleagues surpassing [mine] on our Journey to Mars!” Kelly, who is also somewhat of an artist, and has captured some of the most breathtaking images of our planet while orbiting the Earth in the International Space Station, where he and his crew are studying the health effects of spending protracted amounts of time in space. Their mission is part of the early research being done by NASA that seeks to find a way to send astronauts farther into the solar system than ever before. In time, NASA hopes to send astronauts to nearby asteroids and to send them to Mars, and Scott and his identical twin brother, Mark Kelly, who has also
20 IRISH AMERICA DECEMBER / JANUARY 2016
traveled in space, are crucial to that study. Because the Kellys have virtually the same genetic material, NASA can study how long-duration space flight affects the body and mind, using Mark as the control. Mark, now retired, spent more than 50 days in space and is one of only four individuals who has visited the International Space Station on four different occasions. That the Kellys, who both hold the rank of Captain in the U.S. Navy, volunteered for the study is not surprising to those who know them. When they were eight, three years after man landed on the moon, they told their grandmother, “Grandma, we’re going up in space someday,” their father Richard Kelly, a retired police captain who lives in Flagler Beach, Florida, recalled in a 2006 interview with Irish America. Their mother, Patricia, a retired police officer like her husband, said that she wasn’t surprised that her sons chose similar career paths. “I really do believe there is a genetic disposition for certain things,” she said. To keep the twins on equal footing, their parents refused to tell them which one was older until they were 16. Mark is older by six minutes. – R.B.W.
ABOVE: Twin astronauts Mark and Scott Kelly. BOTTOM RIGHT: This incredible photograph, taken by astronaut Scott Kelly, shows the difference between North and South Korea In South Korea, at the top of the photo, and China, at the bottom, there are a series of bright yellow lights glittering away. But in between the two nations there is a noticeable lack of lights – revealing how North Koreans struggle with little or no electricity. Astronaut Kelly, who posted the photo on Twitter, said: “Feel bad for the people of #NorthKorea when I see with my own eyes they live without electricity.” BOTTOM LEFT: A recent photograph of Scott Kelly on the International Space Station.
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for being named to Irish America Magazine’s Business 100. For further information contact: Tony Condon, Director of Development Email: email@example.com Tel: + 353 1 716 8895
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hibernia | sports
College Football Trophy Unveiled
new trophy has been added to the roster of college football trophies, only this one is different from the bowl game and rivalry cup trophies most Americans are familiar with, because this one will solely be awarded in Dublin. The Keough-Naughton trophy bears the names of two powerhouses of Irish America – Don Keough, former head of Coca-Cola and the first inductee into the Irish America Hall of Fame in 2010, and Martin Naughton, whose support fostered Irish studies programs in the U.S. It will be the perpetual prize for the annual Aer Lingus College Football, a regular-season game played by American college teams at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium each September. The inaugural trophy, made by Waterford Crystal, was unveiled in the U.S. at both Boston College and Georgia Tech’s respective games in September. Boston College and Georgia Tech will compete for the inaugural KeoughNaughton Trophy in next September’s Dublin game. Appropriately, the Georgia Tech unveiling took place at the University of Notre Dame, where the Yellow Jackets were the visiting team in South Bend, IN in September. Notre Dame’s Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies was the first academic institution of its kind in the U.S. dedicated to the scholarly study of Irish language, literature, and history, and both the Keough and Naughton families were onhand to give the final seal of approval for the trophy. Neil Naughton, chairman of the steering group created to maximize the business opportunity between Ireland and the United States around future college
football games in Dublin, was joined by Aer Lingus CEO Stephen Kavanagh and Boston College athletic director Brad Bates at the unveiling ceremony in Boston College. Both Fergal and Neil Naughton then met with Mickie Keough, widow of the late Don Keough, in South Bend after Georgia Tech had played Notre Dame. “Don Keough was a charismatic leader, often described as the best president America never had,” Neil Naughton said at the Notre Dame / Georgia Tech unveiling. “He was a dynamic presence in Irish America, where he supported Irish business, education and culture in multiple ways. Don brought wise counsel, good humor, and vigor to strengthening the relationship between Ireland and America,” he said. The Keough-Naughton trophy was designed by Matt Kehoe, head of Design at House of Waterford Crystal, where the trophy was hand-crafted at the company’s Waterford factory. Featuring a football mounted on three individual crystal pillars, Kehoe’s concept for the trophy was a ball in flight, and the pillars represent the players’ arms catching the ball. “One ambition that the families share is to bring major American college football games to Dublin every two years, where elite universities will bring the spectacle and the drama of their sport to Irish turf,” Naughton continued. “These games offer huge publicity potential, practical economic benefits, and a genuine expression of the close ties between our two countries.” – A.F.
Super Bowl 50 For San Francisco Bay Area
uper Bowl 50 will be played February 7, 2016 at Levi’s Stadium in the San Francisco Bay Area, which is fitting as the first ever Super Bowl was held in California on January 15, 1967, when the Packers beat the Chiefs at Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles. The NFL will kick off Super Bowl 50 festivities in the Bay Area by hosting participating teams in primetime at Super Bowl Opening Night Fueled by Gatorade on Monday, February 1, 2016 at SAP Center in San Jose. Super Bowl Opening Night is a shift from the traditional Media Day held on Tuesday morning. This will be the first time the players and coaches address the 22 IRISH AMERICA DECEMBER / JANUARY 2016
media while in the Bay Area. The event will begin at 5:00 p.m. PT with interviews from approximately 5:15 to 6:15 p.m. PT and 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. PT. on Monday. “We are excited to enhance an annual event and provide a unique experience for more fans in both the San Francisco Bay Area and nationwide, while continuing to provide access to the Super Bowl teams for media from around the world,” said NFL Senior Vice President of Events Peter O’Reilly. “By elevating the event to primetime, fans across the country can experience even more of the excitement of Super Bowl leading up to the game.” Fans will sit in the stands of the arena and watch thousands of media members
Pictured at the presentation of the KeoughNaughton Trophy at Boston College were: Neil and Fergal Naughton with Mickie Keough, widow of the late Don Keough
“We hope to add an exciting international chapter to the rich narrative of American college football, which brings famous franchises like Boston College, Georgia Tech, Penn State, Notre Dame, and Navy to Dublin.” – Neil Naughton The trophy was on display at Notre Dame until October 10th where it was unveiled at the Notre Dame Ireland Council Meeting before making its way to Atlanta for a number of engagements in November, the highlight being Georgia Tech vs. Virginia Tech on November 12th at the Bobby Dudd Stadium.
interview the Super Bowl players. Gift bags will be distributed to fans and will include a radio to tune into the NFL Network coverage including some of the individual player interviews from the podium microphones. In addition, there will be musical performances and player and cheerleader appearances. The San Francisco 49ers, which play at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, won the Super Bowl championship a record of five times, including back to back Super Bowls in 1989 and 1990. Tickets for Super Bowl Opening Night Fueled by Gatorade will be available for purchase later this fall for less than $30 at SuperBowl.com.
"Truth is to be found in adventure" —James Hennessy
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hibernia | events Wall Street 50 – October 1, 2015
On October 1, Irish America celebrated the 18th Annual Wall Street 50 Awards Dinner at the Metropolitan Club in Manhattan. In his keynote speech, Shaun Kelly, KPMG’s Chief Operating Officer, Americas, discussed what it means to come from the North during the troubles, and what that has meant for his career trajectory. “Since the 17th century financial services have been the backbone of the economy of this city. And the role of the Irish and Irish Americans has been critical to that success,” he said. Kelly was presented with the House of Waterford Crystal Colleen Vase Keynote Speaker award by co-founder and editor Patricia Harty and founding publisher Niall O’Dowd.
Healthcare 50 – October 7, 2015
On October 7, Irish America celebrated the work of the top Irish-born and Irish-American professionals in the medical industry at the Healthcare and Life Sciences 50 Awards at the New York Yacht Club in Manhattan, co-hosted by ICON Plc. Michael Dowling, president and CEO of Northwell Health, delivered the keynote address, threading together themes of privilege, medical and moral obligation to immigrants, and what he called the desire “to defeat the dictum that it cannot be done,” referring to a historical culture of imagination and progress among the Irish in medical fields. Co-founder and editor Patricia Harty and founding publisher Niall O’Dowd presented Dowling with the House of Waterford Crystal Colleen Vase Keynote Speaker award.
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Street 50 7
1 Honoree Sean Lane, Patricia Harty and Joe Mulvehill. 2 Niall O’Dowd and Irish Ambassador to the U.S. Anne Anderson present Shaun Kelly with a House of Waterford Crystal Colleen Vase. 3 Kate Overbeck, Irish America’s VP of Marketing and honoree Tony O'Callaghan. 4 Awards reception co-hosts Gary Hanley and Andrea Haughian of Invest NI with Shaun Kelly. 5 Mike Beckerich and Tony Condon. 6 Ambassador Anne Anderson with honoree Barbara Koster and her Prudential Financial guests. 7 Shaun Kelly, Tom Moran, and Mary Kelly. 8 Mary Deady performs. 9 Honoree Siobhan Dunn. 10 Honoree Martin Kehoe. 10 Sister honorees Tara and Kathleen McCabe with their parents, John and Bernadette McCabe. 12 Matt Gorman of Credit Suisse. 13 Alison Metcalfe of Tourism Ireland.
1 Michael Dowling with Niall O’Dowd. 2 The Waterford Crystal Shamrock which was presented to each of the honorees. 3 Honorees BJ Casey, John Nolan, and Christina Brennan. 4 Steve Cutler COO of ICON Plc. 5 Mary Pat Kelly and mother Mariann. 6 Honorees Sean Hogan, Terry McGuire, Tom Flynn and John McDonough. 7 Trudy Avery of Caron Treatment Center, honoree Ruth Riddick, and Karen Curtin, also with Caron. 8 Otto Bohlmann, honoree Michael Hall, Patricia Harty and Holly Millea. 9 Honoree Walter Fahey with Brendan Buckley, CMO of ICON. 10 Tony Ward of Fighting Blindness. 11 Honorees Barbara Murphy and John Kennedy. 12 Honoree Brian Kelly. 13 Honorees Daniel O'Connell and Mike Duffy. 14 Honoree Elaine Brennan and Patricia Harty. 15 Honoree Michael Sheehan. 16 Honoree Sean McCance.
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hibernia | awards Music & Literary Honors
usician Joanie Madden, founder of Cherish the Ladies, received the 2015 Turlough O’Carolan Award for Musical Achievement. And longtime Irish America contributor Mary Pat Kelly, the author of Galway Bay and Of Irish Blood, who received the 2015 William Butler Yeats Award for Literary Achievement from the Council of Irish Associations of Greater Bergen County.
Front Page Award for Journalistic Excellence
olumnist and feature writer Holly Millea received a Front Page Award on November 12 for her feature in Elle magazine “Trial by Twitter” which chronicles the murder of 16-year-old Skylar Neese who was stabbed to death by her two best friends. The Front Page Awards, presented by the Newswomen’s Club of New York, honor journalistic excellence by newswomen in newspapers, television, wire services, photography, online, magazines and radio.
TOP: Musician Joanie Madden and author Mary Pat Kelly. TOP RIGHT: Adi Roche. ABOVE: Columnist and feature writer Holly Millea FAR RIGHT: Actress Fionnula Flanagan and Irish Post editor, Siobhan Breatnach. BELOW: Consul General Barbara Jones and 2015 recipients of the Hugh L. Carey Awards Father Kevin Mullen and Siobhan Dennehy.
Irish American Heritage Museum’s Gala Celebration
he Irish American Heritage Museum hosted the 2015 Governor Hugh L. Carey Award Gala on October 17 at the Desmond Hotel in Albany, New York. Father Kevin Mullen was honored for his work at the St. Francis House in Boston, which caters to homeless men and women. And Siobhan Dennehy, Executive Director of the Emerald Isle Immigration Centre in New York, was honored for her work on immigration reform. The center caters to immigrants coming to the United States from all over the world. For many years, the late Governor Hugh L. Carey served on the museum’s Board of Trustees, providing guidance and helping facilitate the museum’s educational programs and events.
of Children” Award, sometimes referred to as the “Nobel Prize for Child Advocacy,” at a ceremony in New York on November 5. Roche founded Chernobyl Children in 1991 to give support to children living in the aftermath of the Chernobyl meltdown. She received the award in recognition of “the incredible impact she continues to have on the lives of thousands of children from the Chernobyl region” in a ceremony that re-united her for the first time with one of the child survivors of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster. She was one of six humanitarian campaigners – from Sierra Leone, Ghana, Colombia, Mexico, United States, and Ireland – who were honored “for having dramatically improved the lives of children around the world.”
World of Children Laurels for Roche
di Roche, the Irish-born founder and voluntary CEO of the Chernobyl Children International charity, received the “World
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The Irish Post Awards
PHOTO: MALCOLM MCNALLY
ver 600 people joined The Irish Post newspaper as guests for a night of fun and festivities, stars and surprises at the annual Irish Post Awards on October 23 at the London Park Lane Hilton. Hollywood legend Fionnula Flanagan was honored for her Outstanding Contribution to the Film and Television Industry.
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hibernia | events
PHOTO: NUALA PURCELL
LEFT: Brian W. Stack, President of the Ireland – U.S. Council, Siobhán Talbot and Donard Gaynor, dinner chairman and council board member.
he Ireland – U.S. Council, a business organization dedicated to building business ties between Ireland and the U.S., presented its 2015 award for Outstanding Achievement to Siobhán Talbot, managing director of Glanbia, one of Ireland’s most successful companies. The award was given at the Council’s 53rd annual dinner, at the Metropolitan Club in New York City on November 12.
RIGHT: Hugh McGuire, Breege O’Donoghue and Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh at the UCD Smurfit School dinner.
The UCD Smurfit School
he UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School held its 13th annual New York benefit dinner on October 21 at the Metropolitan Club in New York City. This year’s honorees were Hugh McGuire, CEO, Global Performance Nutrition Glanbia Plc., and Breege O’Donoghue, group director, Business Development & New Markets Penneys/Primark. The honorees are pictured above with Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, dean, UCD School of Business, which is Ireland’s leading business school and research center.
The American Ireland Fund’s Boston Gala
ore than 1,100 guests gathered on Thursday, November 12, for The American Ireland Fund’s 34th Annual Boston Dinner Gala at the Westin Boston Waterfront on. Dinner Chairman Mike Mahoney, CEO of Boston Scientific, announced that record-breaking $2.6 million – the largest amount ever achieved at the Boston Gala – was raised.
Friends of Sinn Féin
he annual Friends of Sinn Féin Dinner took place on November 5 at the Sheraton Hotel in New York City. Pictured below are Mary Lou McDonald TD (vice president, Sinn Féin), Gerry Adams TD (president, Sinn Féin), Terry Sullivan (general president, LIUNA), and Rita O’Hare (U.S. representative, Sinn Féin).
PHOTO: NUALA PURCELL
Ireland-U.S. Council Dinner, New York
The Legal 100
he Irish Voice held its eighth annual Irish Legal 100 event on October 22 at the Washington, D.C. home of Irish Ambassador to the U.S. Anne Anderson. Honorees flew in from all over the U.S. to take part in what has become the premier networking event for Irish Americans involved in the legal profession. “From San Diego to Alaska and from Texas to Boston, the Irish Legal 100 is a network of some of the most distinguished and accomplished men and women of Irish blood in the legal profession,” said John Dillon, business development manager for the Irish Legal 100.
ABOVE: Steve Greeley, Vice President of Major Gifts and New England Director of The American Ireland Fund; Anne Finucane, Dinner Honoree and Vice Chair of Bank of America; and Anne Anderson, Irish Ambassador to the U.S.
RIGHT: Nebraska physicians and trial lawyers Dr. Joseph Cullen and his wife, Alison; his brother, Dr. Patrick Cullen and wife Kelly, are pictured with Ambassador Anne Anderson (center) at the Irish Legal 100 Gala. PHOTO: NUALA PURCELL
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Flax Trust Honors James Nesbitt
he Flax Trust honored James Nesbitt, actor and chancellor of Ulster University, and John Kelly, a partner at Hanover Stone Partners LLC, at its 21 Club Banquet on October 7. It was the organization’s 25th annual New York event, and a packed Pictured left to right: the other from the new.” He paid tribute to the work Tom Moran, honoree audience were in attendance. carried out by the Flax Trust and in particular its supJohn Kelly, Sr., Mary The Trust, formed in Belfast in 1977, is committed Turley, Trustee/Director port of Ulster University, referring to some of the to the reconciliation of a divided community through of Flax Trust, honoree activities that the Trust supports in partnership with economic and social development, and the banquet James Nesbitt, and the University, including the School for Social EnterJim Quinn. brought together Irish Americans from all walks of life prises in Ireland, master classes in Social Enterprises who were informed and entertained by the speakers. Means Business and the Advanced Diploma in Social Enterprises, Tom Moran, chairman & CEO Mutual of America, who also and said that as Chancellor he was committed to providing a route serves as Chancellor of Queen’s University Belfast, introduced the into higher education for those who traditionally would not have honorees and presented Mr. Nesbitt with his award. considered higher education to be an option. Emphasizing the The actor, who most recently starred in the hit 8-hour thriller- importance of education in the development of society, Nesbitt said, series The Missing (shown in the U.S. on Starz network), was born “Individually, we do not change the world – we can change parts in Ballymena, County Antrim, and attended the University of Ulster of it – but collectively we really can change the world.” before transferring to the Central School of Speech and Drama in The actor finished off by reading Postscript a poem by Seamus London. Heaney which describes “a drive out west into County Clare.” The In his acceptance speech, Nesbitt applauded the “distinguished poem ends with the lines: and influential supporters of Ireland” in attendance, saying that they You are neither here nor there, were the personification of the words of former Irish President Mary A hurry through which known and strange things pass McAleese when she said “The immigrant’s heart marches to the As big soft buffetings come at the car sideways beat of two quite different drums, one from the old homeland and And catch the heart off guard and blow it open.
atricia Harty, the cofounder and editor-inchief of Irish America, received the prestigious Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award from Irish American Writers and Artists, Inc., on October 19, on the 30th anniversary of the founding of the magazine. Luminaries who were in attendance included journalist and writer Pete Hamill and playwright John Patrick Shanley. Hamill complimented Harty on her editing and writing skills. And Shanley, who remarked on her work building a contemporary, national community of Irish Americans, joked that Harty is, in fact, too good, adding that in order to make it interesting for her biographers she should do something “to blot her copybook,” like run for politics – as a Republican.
The evening, which was held at the Manhattan Club, was moderated by IAW&A vice president Mary Pat Kelly, who co-presented Harty with the crystal award, along with Consul General Barbara Jones. Many of Irish America’s past editors, writers and interns were in attendance, as were Robert Downey, Sr. and his wife Rosemary Rogers, who writes Irish America’s “Wild Irish Women” column; awardwinning novelist Peter Quinn; actor Michael Murphy; Irish soprano Mary
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ALL PHOTOS BY JAMES HIGGINS.
The Eugene O’Neill Award
Deady, who sang “Song for Ireland” and “I Happen to Like New York;”and actor, author, and raconteur Malachy McCourt, who closed out the evening by leading the audience in a version of “Will You Go Lassie.”
ABOVE LEFT: Patricia Harty, cofounder and editorin-chief of Irish America, receives the Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award from Ireland’s Consul General of New York Barbara Jones and IAW&A Vice President Mary Pat Kelly. ABOVE RIGHT: Robert Downey, Sr. LEFT: IAW&A Board members John Kearns, Maria Deasy and Mark Butler are pictured with Pete Hamill (2nd from right).
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quote unquote | hibernia
“The truth of the matter is, if we want wages to go up, we’ve got to get 11 million of our neighbors out of the off-the-book shadow economy and into the full light of an American economy. That’s what our parents and grandparents always did, that’s what we need to do as a nation.... Yes, we must protect our borders, but there is no substitute for having comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship for 11 million people, many of whom have known no other country but the United States of America.”
Presidential candidate Martin O’Malley, who reminded his fellow candidates and the nation that “Our symbol is the statue of liberty, it is not a barbed wire fence.”
Martin O’Malley, the first candidate to join the new “DAPA Dinners” effort, visits the home of the Ramirez family of Austin, TX. The family is headed by an undocumented immigrant.
“After looking into the industry, we quickly realized that it is no longer, and hasn’t been for years, a countercultural product.”
Brendan Kennedy, a founder and the chief executive of Privateer Holdings, a Seattle company that aims to become a big, recognizable name in a mainstream marijuana industry.
“He laid on a lot of Catholic guilt. He basically said that I had to do this, that I was the only person who could step up and unify this conference.” Speaker of the House Paul Ryan in an unaired 60 Minutes clip on how former Speaker John Boehner convinced him to ake the job, one he initially didn't want. At 45, Ryan, whose ancestors emigrated from Kilkenny during the Famine, is the youngest congressman in more than 140 years to serve as Speaker of the House.
“More than 95 percent of the approximately 1.1 million dairy cows in Ireland feed on the extremely green grass that grows in abundance because of the relatively temperate climate year-round. Their diet makes for milk that’s more cream-colored than white and tastes especially rich and luscious.”
– Shivana Vora writing in The New York Times on Ireland’s “delectable milk chocolate.” DECEMBER / JANUARY 2016 IRISH AMERICA 29
Dublin A Breath of Fresh Air An invigorating city, Dublin is a center of life, art, and history. The capital is a city of celebration with festivals dedicated to film and food, and museums filled with priceless works of art and ancient texts. Visitors are never far from live music and gourmet delicacies. The picturesque fishing towns along the coast, the centuries of European history, the famed charm of an authentic Irish pub: there is no end to the ways Dublin will enchant you.
Over 1,000 Years of History
Whispers of history fill the bustling streets of Dublin. Trinity College in Dublin is home to some of Ireland’s most treasured relics, including the Book of Kells. Dublin Castle welcomes visitors to explore the stories of 19th century high society. Moving through history, roam past Conway’s pub on Parnell Street where the Easter Rising famously came to an end. At Dublinia, the city’s Viking and Medieval museum, an immersive and unique experience awaits. Visitors can try on Viking clothing and learn Medieval games. Walking tours, dozens of museums, and the famous haunts of legendary artists and writers are all pieces of the 1,000 years of Dublin history waiting to be explored.
Food & Drink
One of Dublin’s finest pleasures is its ever-evolving food scene. Top chefs combine the warm comfort of Irish traditions with a modern spin to delight diners. Whether you’re in search of a pint and tasty treats at a cozy pub or fine fresh seafood at an upscale restaurant, Dublin will satisfy all your Irish cravings.
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Outside The City
Just beyond the buzz of the city, some of the most beautiful stretches of Irish coastline await. Along the horseshoe curve of Dublin Bay, coastal villages tell tales of Viking past. Beautiful shorelines provide peaceful strolls and nearby Dublin mountains are home to spectacular hiking trails.
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The Celtic Heart
of North America
he estrangement ran for more than 45 years, but when a vagrant Irish heart landed on the shores of Cape Breton, love was restored. The nine-day Celtic Colours International Festival fanned the embers of musical memories born in weekend trips around Ireland to hear traditional music in small towns and villages back in the late 1960s. And the finest memory was the night, at a Portadown ceilidh, when the late Tommy Makem, of the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem, toasted my Canadian roots with the folk song, “Four Strong Winds.” That was always going to be a tough act to follow, perhaps accounting for the near 50 fallow years that followed. It was fiddles, harps, and spoons, fiddledee-dee, bring on the Stones and Zeppelin. Until, that is, the night at Celtic Colours in October when a mass of musicians jammed at the Festival Club at The Gaelic College, the only institution of its kind in North America. A clutch of fiddles expertly wielded and backed by guitars, pipes, and an organ created a wall of sound that washed across some 700 music fans. If this does not inspire one, one has no pulse. The tiny dance floor throbbed and heaved as ten32 IRISH AMERICA DECEMBER / JANUARY 2016
minute jigs and reels thundered through the hall. Be warned, this can be a contact sport at times as whirling bodies careen around the small space. In sweeter, less aggressive moments, octogenarians danced with teenagers and rural hipsters shared steps with matrons. It was the distillation of Cape Breton culture, where fretwork is taught on the knees of elders and making music and dancing to it is as natural as talking and walking, in many ways speaking for itself. For Dawn Beaton, artistic director of the festival, it began at age four with step dancing, then again at six when she took up the fiddle. The Beatons are one of several sprawling Cape Breton families who form the backbone of the island’s music culture and industry. Dawn step danced and played fiddle in the first festival in 1997, when there were 27 performances staged. This year there were 47 and that could expand in 2016 for the 20th anniversary festival. “That means many more performers, of course, and the number of programs we run year-round has increased from about 50 to more than 160,” she said. But Beaton says the quality has been stellar from the beginning. “I think we had the Chieftains the first year. The
PHOTOS BY PAM MARTIN/PERIWINKLEDRAGONFLY.COM
For nine days in October, Cape Breton Island is home to a unique celebration of music and culture, with the finest of storytellers, musicians, and dancers from around the globe taking part in the festivities. John Kernaghan was there, awash in nostalgia.
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Left: Sunset on the road to Sydney Mines. Right: Fergus O’Byrne and Jim Payne at the Festival Club. Below left:The author discovering the rugged shore at Mabou Mines. Below right: The choir Men of the Deeps, all former miners or people who work in related industries in Sydney Mines on Cape Breton. Bottom: Dawn Beaton and Anita MacDonald at the Festival Club.
Irish component has always been a big focus, including one year when Irish music and dancing was the main focus.” The island bills itself as the Celtic Heart of North America – hard to dispute as you make your way through a music marathon. More than 20,000 tickets were snapped up at this festival, about 15 percent by American visitors. Most of the performers are local, playing at a half dozen spots around the island daily. And if you are so lucky to get blue skies and the peak of autumn colors, drives along the Cabot Trail and other rugged routes provide a magical backdrop. The music, nurtured from roots imported from Ireland, Scotland, and England, endured through the generations simply because of the island’s isolation, says Heather Sparling, Canada research chair in Music Traditions at Cape Breton University. Separated from the Nova Scotia mainland until a causeway was built, Cape Breton’s music remained pristine and the principal entertainment during harsh winters. Even now, with instant Internet and social media, young people are drawn to trad music, as it is called, and the dance steps that accompany it, notes Sparling. She attributes that to a continued “sense of community and belonging” that extends to folks who
had to leave the economically challenged island to find work. “Most of them come back when they can because there is comfort in the music and culture; it reinforces their sense of identity.” First-time performers on Cape Breton pick up on that quickly. “There is such strong support for their own heritage,” noted David Kilgallon of Mec Lir, a Manx band who delighted audiences with their music and banter over several days. “The festival is very community-focused. With little over 150,000 living on Cape Breton Island, it’s easy to see why. We were cooked dinner each day by volunteers and also caught (Canadian) Thanksgiving whilst we were there, so ate a lot of turkey dinners.” Veteran performer Fergus O’Byrne, a former Dubliner who has made music in Canada for almost 50 years, called Celtic Colours “extraordinary, it’s just huge everywhere in the Celtic world.” O’Byrne and Jim Payne played several venues over several days, and Payne’s “Waltz Around the Cape” became the unofficial anthem of the visit, even though it was penned about Newfoundland. It was fitting to see them perform it twice on one epic day of music and touring. At noon, it was the quartet Mec Lir, from the Isle of Man, at the Alexander Graham Bell National DECEMBER / JANUARY 2016 IRISH AMERICA 33
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Top: View along Cabot Trail, the serpentine road that follows the North Shore. Right: Crab dinner at North Shore fire hall. Far right: Perfect Pairs concert at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Sydney Mines.
IF YOU GO For festival information: www.celtic-colours.com For group trips to Celtic Colours: www.periwinkle dragonfly.com
Historic Site, which honors the inventor of the telephone, who resided in Baddeck. Mec Lir fiddler Tom Callister was also a comedian of stand-up quality, treating music fans to a hysterical take on Manx history, including the tale of the two surviving Manx Gaelic speakers. Due to a 50-year feud, they never talked to one another. Then it was on the road along the Cabot Trail, the scenic route that traces the rugged coast, for a twohour drive that could have stretched to four since there were so many majestic vantage points. The destination, Keltic Lodge, is a dramatic resort perched on a rock promontory in Cape Breton Highlands National Park. It was built by a Bell business associate and offers good food and fine views of the ocean. After a late lunch, it was back down Cabot Trail in the gloaming, so torturous at times it puts me in mind an Irish cousin’s take on a corner “so tight I could see the back of my neck.” We were headed to Sydney Mines, a gritty precinct with the loveliest pale blue church, St. Andrew’s Presbyterian, rising in its midst. There, in a sanctuary featuring a sweeping balcony, O’Byrne and Payne provided another rousing version of “Waltz Around the Cape.”
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Then it was off to the Festival Club, which opens at 11 p.m. and offers the artists who performed around the island that day jamming in concert until 3 a.m. That meant more welcome Payne and O’Byrne. The Festival Club is a petri dish for emerging musicians comparing licks with veteran performers. “There’s a piano in the back room, which led to many impromptu sessions with some world-class musicians,” explained Mec Lir’s Kilgallon. “Also had plenty of craic. With the help of a nightly cask of local ale, the music and chat went on until at least 6 a.m. We came back broken but gleaming from the whole experience.” Although the festival’s big final act was Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder (something of a controversial choice amongst traditionalists) we wrapped it up with Men of the Deeps, the Cape Breton miners’ choir which enters the darkened hall with headlamps aglow, and another late night at the Festival Club. A fairly large knot of music marathoners made it through to the 4 a.m. opening of The Gaelic College’s cafeteria for breakfast before boarding buses home. Bent but reborn, I was among that number. IA
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Jim Clerkin is the president and CEO of Moët Hennessy North America. Hennessy is celebrating its 250th birthday this year, and Clerkin is currently the longest-serving CEO in the alcoholic beverage industry in the U.S.
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From County Down to downtown Manhattan, Jim Clerkin has moved around, and systematically up, in the world. After a career in the alcoholic beverage industry, he’s landed the top position in Moët Hennessy in North America. Now that he’s there, his goal is to help others do the same. By Adam Farley
PHOTO: KIT DEFEVER
im Clerkin has had a relationship with Hennessy since before he was born. His father’s drink was cognac and ginger ale. His brand – Hennessy. Clerkin remembers serving his father while working part-time at a friend’s bar in Rostrevor, where he grew up. It probably wasn’t the most unlikely of drinks, given that Hennessy was the first cognac to be imported to Ireland in the 19th century. But of all the kids in County Down whose fathers or mothers drank the same mix, Clerkin is the only one to head a division of the brand. He now serves as the president and CEO for Moët Hennessy North America, working with several wholesalers across Mexico, Canada, and the U.S., and managing 13 of the world’s most famous brands of spirits and wine, including Dom Pérignon, Moët & Chandon, Veuve Clicquot, Glenmorangie and Ardbeg scotches, Belvedere vodka, and, of course, Hennessy. It’s a role he’s held for only a month, but that’s a technicality. In 2008, Clerkin was appointed chief operating officer for Moët Hennessy U.S.A., and in October 2010 he was promoted to president and CEO. Now, his responsibility has been extended to Canada and Mexico, creating the North America division. It is a telling promotion, and, consequently, he is now the longest-serving CEO in the industry in the U.S. – for good reason. Charlie Marinoff, chairman and CEO of the Charmer Sunbelt Group, one of Moët Hennessy’s primary distributors, calls Clerkin a “remarkable leader with a talent for building brands and creating brand value,” and Moët Hennessy’s VP of Legal, Chris O’Rourke, cites his “tremendous energy and passion” as key to the company’s recent growth. On one hand, it’s a job Clerkin has been groomed for his entire professional life. He began working for Guinness in Northern Ireland in 1976, spending 18 years with the company and rising in the ranks until becoming sales director and joining the board at 36. He then spent five years as managing director of Gilbey’s of Ireland and subsequently served as president of Diageo’s North American
Western Division, president of Allied Domecq U.S.A., and senior vice president and president of North America for Beam Global Spirits. It is the trajectory of a businessman, and it’s not hard to see how Clerkin ended up here, with roles of increasing responsibility and more geographic autonomy. He’s been a stalwart figure in the alcoholic beverage industry for nearly 40 years. On the other hand, it might just as easily never have happened. His entrée to the industry was born of unlikely happenstance in the Rostrevor pub where he served his father Hennessy and ginger ale. He had graduated from both Newry Technical College and Lisburn Technical College and was two years into a job as a time and motion study engineer, which he already knew was not for him. A sales manager from Guinness came into the bar with co-workers and, in Clerkin’s words, “because I didn’t own the bar, I managed to tell them a few things about what I thought of their company and the way they were servicing us.” Instead of taking offense, the manager, who was actually head of sales, offered him an interview. That man, John Lavery, who became Guinness’s managing director and would be Clerkin’s mentor for the remainder of his time at Guinness. Coincidental as it was, it shouldn’t be surprising that Clerkin negotiated his way into the industry with determination. He’s also run four marathons, on a bet. “A gentleman from my hometown many years ago who claimed that squash – which I played at a competitive level – that squash players weren’t real athletes; we just ran little sprints. He said, ‘Real men run marathons,’” Clerkin recalls. His first time wasn’t good enough for his friend, so the bet escalated, as they do, until Clerkin could run a sub-three-hour time. He did in 1983, coincidentally the same year that Maurice Hennessy, of the Hennessy Hennessys, ran the marathon, though Clerkin didn’t know it at the time. At 61, he is still fit, though these days he prefers golf to marathons and can shoot in the low to mid 80s. He is handsome in the way that men from the rural North tend to be, DECEMBER / JANUARY 2016 IRISH AMERICA 37
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which is to say that his skin betrays a childhood spent outdoors working on the land. He is toned, but not tan; his hair is neat, but not overly combed; he is as easily pictured in coveralls as he is in a tailored suit. You can see it in his eyes when he poses for photographs – a self-serious mode of looking that says, “There’s work to be done.” Clerkin is the oldest of nine siblings, eight boys and one girl, and grew up on a small farm in the foothills of the Mourne Mountains, outside of Rostrevor, where most of his siblings still live. “I guess we were close to being poor, but it never felt like that,” he says. “While it seemed completely organic and natural, it’s only now that I realize we were living off the farm, so we had our own potatoes, our own vegetables, our own lettuce, our own carrots, our own animals. “And while there wasn’t a great deal of money, there was a fantastic amount of love and affection within a big family,” he says, echoing one of his mother’s phrases he remembers her saying of her own childhood – we weren’t rich, but we were rich in love. This care would prove important to Clerkin’s professional growth. His father was the one who encouraged him not to turn down the Guinness offer. Clerkin calls him his “best friend” and his first role model. “You know people talk about hard work, but if you have a farm, you are on call 365 days a year and there are no holidays because of the animals. I spent a lot of time with him, working with him, going to the markets with him. We were like buddies,” he says. “I never felt, ever, that there was a subject that I couldn’t talk to him about. And not only was he my dad, he was a great leader, he was a great people person, he was a great motivator. A lot of people would come to my father for advice, and he was extremely well known in our village. He was known as someone who could fix things, who could get problems sorted.” The same can be, and is, said of Clerkin. “He reminds me of the Sean Thornton character in A Quiet Man,” says Wayne Chaplin, president and CEO of Southern Wine & Spirits, who has worked with Clerkin for over a decade. “He is thoughtful and introspective yet forceful and strong willed when the situation demands.” Peter Sheridan, CEO of Co-operation Ireland, speaking of Clerkin’s dual roles heading both Moët Hennessy North America and as chair of the U.S. Board of Co-operation Ireland, says “I am often convinced Jim can divide himself in two.” “It would be easy for him to say ‘I am too busy,’ but that’s not in his vocabulary.” he says. “He is thoroughly determined that young people coming out of the conflict in Northern Ireland will not have to experience the tragedies he did as a boy during the Troubles. His compassion and drive mean many young people in the North will have a brighter future.” Now, Clerkin is the father of four grown children – James, Jennifer, Rachel, and Luke – is about to become a grandfather, and lives a long way from a farm. When we meet in Moët Hennessy’s offices in 38 IRISH AMERICA DECEMBER / JANUARY 2016
Clerkin (center, #3713) at the finish line of the 1983 Dublin Marathon. He finished with a sub-three-hour time after four friendly bets.
lower Manhattan, he’s talking about run-ins with Clint Eastwood and Bono at the Moët Hennessy Golden Globes after party, attending the premiere of the new James Bond movie in Mexico City the day before, and the noise of living in Manhattan that he still struggles to get used to, before the formal interview even starts. When we begin, he eases into the corner of a couch in his office, assuming the posture of a man confident in his surroundings, and looking like a man who could be comfortable almost anywhere. It is the posture of someone happy to tell stories, and he does. The following has been edited for clarity and length. PHOTO COURTESY JIM CLERKIN
Did you have a dream job growing up?
When I was attending Newry Technical College, a good friend of mine, Jeffrey Prince from Warrenpoint, and I always had a dream of becoming helicopter pilots in the Royal Navy. We had a dream of getting the best possible training, and then after training and graduation we would become professional pilots – commercial pilots looking after fires and spraying crops. But it ended up being what it was, nothing but a dream.
How do you think you have changed since growing up in a rural environment to now?
I think it’s been an evolution, not a revolution. When I started playing squash, I wanted to become the club champion and it took many years before that happened. When I started running I wanted to run a marathon and that took many years. And when I ran a marathon I wanted to run it in under three hours, and that took many years. When I took up golf I wanted to break 80, and that took years. In other words, I seem to be someone who when I get to my objective I’m not necessarily happy to stay there, I like to try and see how far I can go. But in the more recent times, it’s no longer about what can I achieve; it’s more about what I can get others to achieve. Up until I became the managing director of Gilbey’s, I guess I could be described as being very ambitious. And once I became the managing director, it became obvious to me that if I really wanted to progress, I had to think more about others and surround myself with good people, try and get them into the right jobs. And I’ve also discovered that you can get good people, but if you put them in the wrong job, everybody ends up in tears. Particularly in the last ten years, any success I have had has been built upon the efforts of getting great teams together.
Are there qualities you think have stayed the same?
I think the strongest quality that I hear given back to me from competitors or customers or wholesalers, which I really appreciate, is that “he’s a straight-talking guy.” It’s not that I’m direct at all, but I really like to try and get the issues on the table as quickly as I can. Not in any way to become confrontational, because I don’t like confrontation – I’m not afraid of it, but I don’t particularly like it. The
key to getting something on the table relatively early is to try to either find a solution or quickly figure out where the differences are, so instead of wasting a lot of time on areas that we clearly agree on, lets challenge the area where there’s a difference and set about resolving it.
Do you find yourself doing that in your personal life, too?
I think if I have a weakness, and I’m sure I have many, one of them that’s pointed out by my children is that occasionally I fall into the trap of trying to communicate and react with my family a bit like I do at work. And because sometimes work can be relatively intensive, it probably takes a couple days away from work before I become Jim the father, as opposed to Jim the businessman. As my children have gotten older, they have reminded me more often by saying things like, “Dad, you’re not at work now.”
Is it hard managing a work/life balance?
Yes. There is no doubt about that. The world of alcoholic beverages is closely associated with the world of entertainment. The company organizes 14,000 events every year. Some are large, like the Golden Globes; some are relatively small, as in tasting dinners for 20 people. I don’t try to go to all of those, that would be impossible, but there’s a lot of planning. When you finish your day in the office, while there is not a necessity to attend events every night, there is a magnetism to some of the events indeed. And I attend and very often speak at some of the events in the evenings. Our head office is six hours ahead in Paris. That’s not a problem for me as I like getting up early. So it’s not uncommon for my day to start at 6:30 a.m., leave here at 7:30 p.m., attend a dinner or event, and
get home at midnight or later. Now, it could be argued that you don’t have to do it all the time, and that is very true. And that’s where the challenging balance of work and life comes in, and it’s something I think all the senior management teams, including my competitors all around the world, have to deal with.
Has there been a favorite or a most memorable event you’ve attended?
My colleagues and I are so fortunate to be involved and present at some magnificent events, and along the way I’ve met presidents, prime ministers, mayors. But there is one event that is extraordinary – the Golden Globes. I think it’s an event where some of the most famous stars on earth relax a little bit under this very social environment where Moët & Chandon is the centerpiece, because everybody is relaxed and having a good time. The actors and the actresses, I think for that day, forget about the fact that they’re actors and actresses and they’re just hanging out
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TOP: Clerkin (second from left), with John Lavery (far left), honoring Stephen McComb (far right) on the occasion of the opening of his new hotel in Belfast, c. 1990. BELOW: The Château de Bagnolet in Cognac was the Hennessy family home in France since from 1841 to 1963, when it was sold to the company by Francis Hennessy. It now serves as the official embassy of the Maison Hennessy. BELOW CENTER: Richard Hennessy.
Hennessy’s Irish Links
he brand known today as Hennessy was first distilled in 1765 in Cognac, France by an Irishman from Cork. Richard Hennessy was born in 1724 in Killavullen, Co. Cork, the youngest son of Lord Ballymacmoy, and at age 20 he sailed to France to fight the English with King Louis XV. He eventually became an officer in the Irish brigade, before settling in Charente. The region already had a reputation for eaux-de-vie, “water of life,” an unaged distilled wine, and Richard was soon distilling his own variety. His name, Richard Hennessy, is now used for the most exclusive blend of Hennessy, which sells for upwards of $3,600 and of which only a handful of bottles are produced each year. Each bottle is a blend of literally hundreds of Hennessy vintages, some of which are nearly 200 years old. But it was his son James who set about expanding the distillery into the company officially known as James Hennessy & Co. James made links with the Martell Cognac dynasty, marrying Marthe Martell, and began exporting Hennessy cognac, first to Paris, and then to England and Ireland.
By 1780, it’s likely that the first barrels arrived in America, though not as an official export. The Marquis de Lafayette brought two cognac barrells with him to the fledgling U.S., in addition to his armada of French troupes to aid Washington in the Revolutionary War. Earlier this year, a replica L’Hermione made the same 3,819 mile trip, carrying two barrels of Hennessy (the most likely brand Lafayette would have carried), in honor of Hennessy’s 250th birthday celebrations. One was auctioned for around $150,000 at Mount Vernon, Washington’s home, in Virginia; the other in New York, the first American city to which Hennessy was officially exported, beginning in 1794. The Hennessy family coat of arms – a raised arm brandishing a halberd – became the trademark logo for Hennessy in 1856. Today, brothers Maurice and Frederic Hennessy, direct descendants of Richard, are still highly involved with the company and Ireland. Frederic lives at the family’s Ballymacmoy House in Cork, restoring it to its former glory, and Maurice travels the world as Hennessy’s Ambassadeur de la Maison Hennessy. For more information, visit hennessy.com. DECEMBER / JANUARY 2016 IRISH AMERICA 39
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together. Nobody seems to be more important than the other. And that includes people like myself. Everyone is treated equally as friends. So it gives you a chance to see incredibly talented people in a very friendly and enjoyable way.
What was it like moving from a large company like Guinness to a smaller company like Moët Hennessy?
I used to think as I was starting my career that big was beautiful, that big was everything. But in fact that’s far from the truth. I think size is almost irrelevant. It’s all about the quality, and the quality of the people you work with. So while Moët Hennessy is not the biggest company in the drinks business in America, we’re probably the most respected. And that’s a combination of having great brands, having I think some of the best people in the industry, which has been borne out by the fact that they’re getting promoted and leading other companies when they leave here, and also that we’re gaining market share, increasing our volumes and profitability in every category we operate. So I don’t think you have to be big to be successful.
a family perspective and for my career. It launched my career in the U.S., and incidentally I moved to San Francisco for a two-year contract, and here I am 15 years later and now a citizen of the United States.
What do you look for when you’re hiring?
Why did you want to become a citizen?
I think the core element that we look for here at Moët Hennessy is the fit – is the culture which we’ve created here going to work for this individual? The key for me is to make sure we get the right person for the right job, and therefore the culture we’ve created works for everybody. A lot of the people who join us stay for 10, 12, or even 15 years. We don’t have a lot of attrition now, because we’ve spent a lot of time at this. There’s always a small percentage of attrition, but it’s always for a good reason. People have gone as far as they can go – everybody can’t get my job – so we support them if they feel it’s right to move on and grow their own careers. Frankly, I’ve got to the stage now where I get a big kick seeing people who’ve left us continue to do well. I have no problem, in fact I enjoy, calling up other industries and saying, “I have a great person here. Would you give them an interview?” Why not? Because who knows. It’s happened many times for me here where they’ve come back again in a bigger and better role. It’s all about the way you treat people as they leave.
What is the difference between promoting a brand regionally versus globally?
I think the key to success for global brands is to really understand the local environment in which you’re operating. While I would not want to claim we look at America as 50 different countries, we do spend an extraordinary amount of time understanding the consumers from all 50 different states. Stating the obvious, the consumer in Miami is very different from the consumer in Chicago. There are as many people in Miami now speaking Spanish as speaking English. The largest population of Polish people in America is in Chicago. There are many counties in Texas today where the majority is Hispanic. If you don’t understand the multicultural makeup no global plan will work.
You’ve lived and worked in Belfast and Dublin, San Francisco and New York, how do you compare them?
There is a different style of business between Ireland and the U.S., although I do think Ireland increasingly is becoming more like the U.S. There is not a right or a wrong, but I think business in the U.S. is more about getting it done in real time – less about the social side, more about getting down to business. And I think it makes for a very efficient business model. In terms of where I worked and lived, my family and I had perhaps the best three years of our lives, at least working life, in San Francisco. I commuted to work on a ferry. And while it was good in the morning, it was particularly good in the evening, because it really helped my work/life balance in that the last ferry would leave at 7 p.m. It was a very unique, very rewarding experience, both from 40 IRISH AMERICA DECEMBER / JANUARY 2016
Clerkin with his children. From left: twins Jennifer and James (28), Rachel (30), and Luke (22). PHOTO COURTESY JIM CLERKIN
As I would get involved in both social and business discussions in America, I found increasingly that I didn’t have the same right to those conversations as people who were citizens; I didn’t have the right to vote. Over the years it became more important to me that if I wanted to be seen and treated as an equal, then I should make the effort to become a citizen. I think in a way it’s unfortunate that every American doesn’t go through that process because a lot of people born here with the right of being a citizen don’t appreciate just how fortunate they are. Despite all the challenges that America, and every country, has, this is still the greatest country on Earth. Because while I have, and will have forever, a love for Ireland, which always will be my home, we appreciate probably more than most what America did for the Irish people when the Irish people had nothing, when they were dying on the famine ships, when they landed at Ellis Island, and when America welcomed people in with nothing. In America you can come with nothing and become very successful, where you have such an incredible Irish-American community.
You still think of Rostrevor as “home?”
You know, on mature reflection, Rostrevor will always be home. I think that’s happened more strongly in the past five or six years. But I will always have a very powerful affinity to America, and indeed for the rest of my life I’m going to spend part of my life in America, and part of it in Ireland.
How often do you get back?
Thankfully, with quite good regularity. I have a little cottage in Carlingford, County Louth. So when I’m going to Paris for work I fly to Dublin on a Friday night and Dublin to Paris on a Sunday night or a Monday morning, and that gives me a weekend to visit my friends and family. So I’m there five or six times a year. But Continued on page 76 for no more than long weekends.
ONE GLOBAL COMPANY. TOUCHING THOUSANDS OF LIVES. With over 11,000 people in 38 countries, we are an Irish company that is one of the world leaders in clinical research. We are a trusted partner for pharmaceutical and medical device companies in helping them to accelerate the development of drugs and devices that save lives and improve quality of life. ICON congratulates all the Irish America Business 100 Honorees for their achievements in business. In particular we are proud to recognise our own Ciarรกn Murray for continuing to lead ICON to record levels of growth and success.
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For 30 years, this list has sought to recognize the phenomenal success of the Irish in corporate America. We are proud to have the opportunity to celebrate three decades of executives, managers, partners, and directors and prouder to recognize this landmark list. The honorees in the following pages represent some of the most innovative and impactful organizations doing business in the United States. From startups to wellestablished American entities, these companies are as integral to the economy as our honorees are to their shareholders. Those we recognize here are bound by their esteem for their heritage, whether born in Ireland themselves or maintaining close emotional ties through a more distant ancestor, they are a testament to the ever-expanding scope, power, and accomplishment of the Irish diaspora. Irish America is honored to salute this incredible group of entrepreneurs, leaders, and innovators. Congratulations to all our honorees.
“No matter how many times we fail, we have to pick ourselves up again because we are Irish and resilience is part of our DNA.” Kevin Cummings, Investors Bank
“As a child, I believed Ballyheigue to be the center of the universe as it seemed the whole world traveled there. My parents taught me Irish hospitality and how to take care of people and allow them to feel welcome, comfortable, and taken care of in our home.” Don O’Neill, THEIA
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“We’re a small country that takes some big swings on the international business stage. This is in large part down to a great community spirit amongst the Irish, matched with a willingness to learn and adapt in new cultures and, needless to say, a great gift for words.” Cillian Kieran, CKSK
“I consider the Irish to be the original social network – and boy have we gone viral! Ireland’s great balance is off the books, in our ability to connect and in the value of our connections. The Diaspora is a national treasure and one I’m proud to be a part of.” Anita Sands, Symantec
“As an Irish immigrant in New York I am extremely proud of coming from a long line of Irish people who leave, seek opportunities abroad and are fearless travelers.” Samantha Barry, CNN
“When I visit Ireland, I feel right at home, connected to the people, the land and the spirit of the place. I think I owe Ireland a debt for my sense of humor too.” Matthew Ryan, Starbucks
Top Counties: Cork • Kerry • Dublin Galway • Mayo • Limerick Top Colleges Mentioned: University College Dublin Fordham University Trinity College Dublin Harvard University Rutgers University Ancestral Links: 5th Generation or more
13% 2nd Generation
10% Irish Born
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BUSINESS100 “It wasn’t until I visited Ireland for the first time that I truly understood why I am the way I am.”
– Pat Gallagher | Super Bowl 50 Host Committee
Cork-born Samantha Barry serves as CNN’s head of social media and senior director of social news, managing all of the company’s social media teams and working with CNN Digital leadership. Previously, she served as a social media producer and journalist for BBC World News in London. Though Barry is based in New York, she travels all over the globe, training journalists and editors in using social media to optimize the scope and reach of their content. She has worked as a social media trainer for the U.S. State Department, Internews, and the United States Institute of Peace. Additionally, she was recently named one of the top 50 female innovators in digital journalism worldwide. Barry earned a degree in English and psychology from University College Cork and a master’s in journalism from Dublin City University. Her Cork roots are strong – her father’s family is from Bantry and her mother’s is from Bere Island. She cites her heritage as what spurred her toward her many achievements, saying, “I am extremely proud of coming from a long line of Irish people who leave, seek opportunities abroad, and are fearless travelers.”
Nessan Bermingham is the CEO, president, and founder of Intellia Therapeutics, a leading gene-editing company. Most recently, Nessan was a venture partner at Atlas Venture and was previously the CEO of Tal Medical, a medical device company spun out of Harvard Medical School. Nessan has more than 15 years of experience in life sciences investments, including small molecules, biologics, medical devices, and diagnostics through venture, public, and secondary markets. He was a Howard Hughes Associate Fellow at Baylor College of Medicine, earned a Ph.D. in molecular biology from Imperial College London, and received his B.S. from Queen’s University Belfast. His leadership and business successes have been recognized recently as Intellia was named a Top 10 Biotech Startup in 2014, and a Fierce 15 Top Biotech Company. Nessan was born in Cork to parents who came originally from Limerick, and he credits his success to growing up in Ireland: “The education system, core personal and family values in addition to instilling the sense of adventure and willingness to leave home were central in molding me into who I am today.”
Allied World Assurance
Tom Bradley joined Allied World Assurance Company in September 2012 as executive vice president and chief financial officer. In this role he is responsible for financial strategy, reporting and analysis, management of corporate capital structure, development and maintenance of financial controls, corporate planning, and corporate development. Before joining Allied World, Tom was executive vice president & chief financial officer at Fair Isaac Corporation. Prior to that, he spent 29 years in the insurance industry holding senior financial and operational positions at Zurich Insurance Group, and USF&G/St Paul Companies. Mr. Bradley received his M.B.A. from Loyola University and a B.S. in accounting from the University of Maryland. He works in New York City and lives in St. Paul, MN with his wife Michelle and son Andrew. Tom is a third-generation Irish American. His great-grandfather, Thomas Bradley, came to Newtown, CT from the west coast of County Clare, fought in the Civil War, raised seven sons, and rose from a factory worker to become the town’s selectman and postmaster. 44 IRISH AMERICA DECEMBER/ / JANUARY 2016
Michael Callahan is vice president, general counsel and secretary at LinkedIn where he is responsible for worldwide legal affairs including corporate, commercial, IP, litigation, compliance, and privacy matters. Before joining LinkedIn, Michael served as the chief legal officer at Auction.com, the nation’s leading online real estate marketplace, where he oversaw the company’s legal, regulatory, compliance, ethics, intellectual property, government relations, and corporate governance matters. He was also previously executive vice president, general counsel, and secretary at Yahoo!. Callahan holds a B.S. from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and received his J.D. from the University of Connecticut. Michael is married to Dana Weintraub and has two children. He was born a third-generation Irish American in Memphis, TN with an ancestry stemming from Co. Cork. He attributes his tenacity, diplomacy, and loyalty, to an Irish heritage that was proudly evinced by his parents and family, and says that these traits have served him well in both his personal and professional life.
James Carroll is the executive vice president international for the world’s largest technology provider for small businesses, GoDaddy, which recently opened a customer care center in Belfast. Prior to joining GoDaddy in early 2013, he had decades-long experience in the business world, beginning as general manager for Microsoft and moving to Yahoo! as senior vice president. 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. A proud Irishman, he sums up his Irishness with a clever acronym: “Intuitive Resilient Independent Smart and Humorous.” He is on the advisory board of the Irish Technology Leadership Group. Among James’s many honors was his selection as one of Silicon Valley’s Top 50 Irish Leaders in Technology in 2014. He lives in Washington state with his wife Enrica and their two children, Ryan and Lia.
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THOMAS W. CODD
DONALD F. COLLERAN
Kieran Claffey is a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP. He has over 30 years of diversified experience serving multinational clients and dealing with litigation and regulatory related issues. In 2013, he was elected to the global board of PwC’s business trust where he serves as chairman. He also represents PwC on the Technical Standards Committee of the American Institute of CPAs. 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 for Commerce & Industry. He is chairman of the finance committee, member of the executive committee, and on the board of trustees of The Gateway Schools, and was a director of Legal Information for Families Today. Born in Dublin, he is a graduate of UCD and a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland. Kieran, who has won several All- Ireland dancing medals, lives in Manhattan with his wife, Michelle, and sons Ryan, CJ, and Steven.
Tom Codd is PwC’s U.S. Human Capital leader and vice chairman. He joined PwC in 1982 and, prior to his human capital role, spent his career serving manufacturing and distribution companies, ranging from private companies to multinational corporations. Tom is a director of The American Ireland Fund, serves the North American Advisory Board of UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School, and is a member of the New York City Friendly Sons of St. Patrick. He earned a B.Sc. in management from Purdue University. He also serves on many civic boards, including Boys and Girls Clubs of America, The Catholic Foundation, World Affairs Council of Dallas-Ft. Worth, SMU Cox School of Business, SMU Athletic Forum, University of Dallas, Circle 10 Council/ Boy Scouts of America, and is chairman-elect of the Dallas Regional Chamber. Tom, whose paternal grandparents were born in counties Wexford and Sligo, says, “I attribute my fundamental values of work ethic, loyalty, fortitude, charity, humor, and humility in large part to my ancestry.” He and his wife Shelly live in Dallas with their four children.
SUE CONLEY Cowgirl Creamery
Sue Conley is cofounder of Cowgirl Creamery, which she started in 1997 with Peggy Smith (also recognized on this list) in Northern California. Today, the two of them operate a cheese distribution company, two retail shops and two cheese production facilities, and work with a staff of 100 people to produce and distribute artisan and farmstead cheese. Born in Washington, D.C., Sue has been working in the food industry nearly her whole life, beginning with watching her grandfather work at Sholl’s Colonial, a D.C. cafeteria he managed throughout her childhood. After arriving in San Francisco in 1976, Sue held various roles in the kitchens of some of the Bay Area’s most notable establishments, including Hotel Obrero, 4th Street Grill, and Bette’s Oceanview Diner. Sue’s Irish heritage runs deep. The Cassidys on her mother’s side hail from Donegal and the Conleys on her father’s side from County Clare. Her great grandfather, Patrick Cassidy, owned an Irish pub in Macon, Georgia and is credited with funding the stained glass window behind the altar at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church downtown. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Tennessee.
Since 2006, Don Colleran has been executive vice president of Global Sales & Solutions for FedEx Services, leading a global organization of approximately 10,000. His organization owns the customer experience from end to end, from the trusted and strategic business consultants to teams who develop and deliver back-end systems, tools, and integrated digital shipping platforms to manage the ongoing customer relationship. Don started with FedEx in 1989. In 1992, he moved to Tokyo and began a 12-year career in international sales and operations management. In 1997 he was named VP of Sales for the Asia Pacific region. In 2000, he was promoted to president, FedEx Canada. Three years later he was named senior vice president of International Sales and moved to Memphis, Tennessee. A native of Boston, Don 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. He is a member of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center Advisory Board, the American Chamber of Commerce, and US-ASEAN Business Council.
TIM CONNOLLY Hulu
Tim Connolly is the senior vice president of Distribution and Partnerships at Hulu, where he works with partners to drive subscriber and audience growth. Most recently, he managed digital distribution and new product development for the Disney and ESPN TV networks. Prior to Disney and ESPN, Connolly served in various product management and business development roles at Ericsson working on mobile applications, networks, and professional services. He holds both an M.B.A. and Master’s of Public Policy from the University of Maryland, and a B.A. from Wesleyan University. Born one of eight children in Rochester, Minnesota, Tim is a first-generation Irish American whose father’s family hails from Limerick and Tipperary. His parents bred a serious work ethic into all their children, and Tim began working at age 12, scooping ice cream at the local Dairy Queen. “I love the humor, the optimism, the sincerity, and kindness that seems so prevalent in Irish people,” he says. “My parents and seven siblings spent so many happy nights with other Irish expats singing and telling stories. I am very appreciative of my good fortune at being born into a great Irish family.”
“My Irishness has become my calling card everywhere I go across the globe. I’m the ‘Irish Guy’ and I feel that most people respect the Irish and have a warm place in their hearts for us.”
– Brendan P. Farrell, Jr. | Sungard’s XSP
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JAMES M. DELANEY
Vin-Go / Cool Way Direct / Tide Intermodal Logistics
Dennis Crowley is the co-founder of Foursquare, a service that mixes social, locative, and gaming elements to encourage people to explore the cities in which they live. Previously, Dennis founded dodgeball.com, one of the first mobile social services in the U.S., which was acquired by Google in 2005. That same year he was named one of the Top 35 Innovators Under 35 by MIT’s Technology Review. In 2009 he won the “Fast Money” bonus round on Family Feud, and he was named one of Fortune magazine’s Forty under Forty in 2010 and 2011. His work has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Wired, Time, Newsweek, MTV, Slashdot and NBC. Dennis is currently an adjunct professor at NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program. A fourth-generation Irish American, Dennis holds a master’s degree from NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program and a bachelor’s degree from the Newhouse School at Syracuse University. His great-great-grandparents emigrated from Sneem, County Kerry.
James Delaney is founder and chairman of Vin-Go LLC, Cool Way Direct LLC and Tide Intermodal Logistics, LLC. These companies specialize in the temperature controlled logistics and distribution of beverages and produce. He was also a founder of the leading Irish transport and freight company, City Air Express Ltd., which still operates successfully today. James immigrated to the U.S. in 2000 with his wife Mary Beth and five children, Kathryn, Edmund, James, Elizabeth, and Hannah. Originally from Ratoath in County Dublin, James was educated in Clongowes Wood College in County Kildare, and Trinity College Dublin. He is a keen golfer, and was a member of St. Margaret’s Golf Club in County Dublin. James is currently on the board of Concern Worldwide U.S., the Irish humanitarian organization. He is also an active board member of the National Association of Wine Retailers.
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Kevin Cummings has been the president and chief executive officer of Investors Bank since 2008, when he was also appointed to the company’s board of directors. Previously, he served as the bank’s COO. Before joining Investors Bank, he worked for 26 years with KPMG LLP, where he became a CPA and partner. Since Cummings took the helm of Investors Bank, the company has experienced significant growth. In 2012, Investors Bank appeared among Fortune’s Top 100 Fastest Growing Businesses, and ever since then has consistently made Forbes’s Best Banks in America list. In 2011, Kevin received the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year New Jersey Award. He holds a B.A. in economics from Middlebury College and an M.B.A. from Rutgers, where he delivered the commencement address at the School of Business in 2013. He is a second-generation Irish American whose mother’s family comes from Ballyheigue, Co. Kerry. Family legend has it that his maternal grandfather had to leave Ireland for his anti-British sentiments, and though Cummings is unable to confirm this story, he believes that in being Irish, “resilience is part of our DNA.”
Reilly Devine serves as enterprise account executive at Zenefits. Ranked #1 on Forbes’s Hottest Start-Ups of 2014 list, Zenefits is widely considered to be the fastest-growing SaaS company in history. In 18 months, Devine helped Zenefits grow from 75 employees and 500 customers to roughly 1,700 employees and over 10,000 customers. Reilly is fourth-generation Irish and his great grandfather, Oshey Devine, was born in Cork. Oshey emigrated to the U.S. via New York, and ended up in Montana, where Reilly was born generations later. Reilly says his family name “when boiled down like a potato, comes from two different Gaelic terms; one meaning ‘little stag’ and the other meaning ‘perfect’ or ‘excellent’.” He wonders if his grandfather knew this when boarding the ship to America, as Reilly envisions him as “the little stag searching for the perfect life for his family.” Devine holds a degree in information systems and business management from Washington State University and lives in Seattle with his wife and two children, Blakeley and Jack.
Shannon Deegan is the director of Global Security Operations at Google. Shannon joined Google in 2007 as the director of People Operations, where he led a number of teams, including Mergers & Acquisitions, served as the lead business partner to Google’s Global Business organization, and as head of both the central staffing organization and global Talent and Outreach Programs, including Diversity. Prior to joining Google he worked as a management consultant at McKinsey & Co. in New York, in the financial industry in Asia, and in public service in Canada, where he was an advisor to the Prime Minister. He was also a professional hockey player with the Los Angeles Kings organization. Shannon has a Bachelor of Arts degree 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. A native of Verdun, Quebec, Shannon lives in San Jose, California with his wife, Patti, and their three children, twins Conal and Orla, and Bridget. In the late 1840s Shannon’s ancestors sailed to Canada and joined Montreal’s growing Irish community in Pointe St. Charles.
Fay Devlin is CEO of Eurotech Construction, which he co-founded at the age of 24 after moving to New York in 1980. With over 30 years of expertise, Fay has grown the company into one of the most successful and highly-regarded construction firms in the New York area. Eurotech is now worth more than $150 million in annual sales. Since 1985, Eurotech has been responsible for some of the highest-profile construction work in the city, performing work at One World Trace Center, Google, Morgan Stanley, Pepsi, Paramount, Sony, UBS, and Verizon. They have also worked on several landmarked New York structures, including Trinity Church, the Plaza Hotel, Carnegie Hall, and the New York Public Library. A native of Pomeroy, Co. Tyrone, Devlin is responsible for the day-to-day management, fostering relationships with key architectural firms, general contractors and business owners alike. He and his wife Rosemary are highly active in the New York Irish community, and are supporters of the Rory Staunton Foundation and Friends of Sinn Féin. Fay and Rosemary have five sons, Tommy, Connor, Ryan, Ronan, and Corey.
Purpose-driven leaders Irish America’s 2015 Business 100 recognizes the best and brightest Irish-American leaders at helms of some of the most innovative and powerful corporations in the world. We are proud to celebrate Irish America’s 30th Annual Business 100 and congratulate this year’s honorees, including Tom Codd and Kieran Claffey.
© 2015 PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, a Delaware limited liability partnership. All rights reserved.
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John Donovan is senior executive vice president of Technology and Operations, responsible for AT&T’s global network and its best-in-class mobile broadband network along with creating a modern, software-defined, cloud-based technology ecosystem to support them. Additionally, John oversees Corporate Strategy. John began his career in telecommunications in 1984 and since joining AT&T in 2008, he has made significant contributions to strengthen its network, drive the development of the software-centric network and create an innovation ecosystem at AT&T. He serves on the Board of Directors for Palo Alto Networks. He has also authored two books, The Value Enterprise, published in January 1998, and Value Creating Growth, published in 1999. John received a B.S.E.E. from the University of Notre Dame and earned an M.B.A. in finance from the University of Minnesota. John and his wife, Judy, have three children, Shaina, Rory, and Julia. A third-generation Irish American, John says, “St. Patrick’s Day was one of the most important celebrations in my home. My dad was so proud of his heritage.”
Northwell Health System
JOHN E. DREW
As CEO of Starcom USA, Lisa Donohue is driving a true next-generation media agency focused on the convergence of media, technology and creativity, enabling the design of unique human experiences in the one-to-one era of marketing, at scale, with impressive results. Under Lisa’s leadership, Starcom has exceeded challenges on behalf of the world’s leading marketers and new establishment brands, including Airbnb, Allstate, Bank of America, Kellogg Company, Kraft Heinz, Procter & Gamble, Samsung, Visa and more. She has driven Starcom’s industry-leading digital offering and invested heavily in the agency’s Data & Analytics practice. Since becoming CEO in 2009, Lisa has led Starcom to be the most awarded media agency in the country. In 2014, Starcom Mediavest Group was named Most Effective Agency Network by the North American Effies, and Media Network of the Year at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. Lisa is a third-generation Irish American on her father’s side and fourth-generation on her mother’s. Both families are from Cork.
Leah Doyle grew up in east Galway and spent her summers on the beach in Achill Island. She attended the National University Of Ireland Galway for both her undergraduate and M.B.A. degrees, then moved to Dublin and began her career in publishing at Media Planet, where she worked across a number of European cities. At age 24, she moved to New York for the Master’s in Publishing program at NYU. Over the course of the two-year program, she also worked in digital publishing across several titles at Condé Nast. She then joined the award-winning mixology start-up Liquor.com, working closely with insiders across the spirits industry on sales, strategy, and planning for the next two years. That, in turn, led her to Esquire in 2014, which she describes as her dream job. In the latest issue, the editors made this note: “The publishing masthead lists our esteemed colleague Leah Doyle as ‘Spirits and Florida Manager.’ Esquire would simply like to acknowledge that this job at the magazine is, in fact, as much fun as it sounds.” Leah would certainly agree. She was recently promoted to director of Spirits and Entertainment.
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As founder and president of the Drew Company, a Boston-based real estate management and development company, John Drew has been instrumental in revitalizing Boston’s Seaport District. He is also chairman of Trade Center Management Associates which operates the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, D.C., developer and partner of the World Trade Center Boston and the Seaport Hotel, and chairman of the World Trade Center, Dublin, which provides trade services to small and medium-sized businesses looking to grow. A second-generation Irish American and Boston native, John is a graduate of Stonehill College and Boston University and was recently recognized by Building Owners and Managers Association as the Outstanding Builder of the Year. He also holds an honorary doctorate from Newbury College. He is a member of the American Ireland Fund, serves on the boards of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, Stonehill College, the Boston Municipal Research Bureau, and is chairman of the board of Cathedral High School in Boston. He and his wife, Kathleen, have four children.
Michael Dowling is the president and CEO of Northwell Health System and was our 2013 Business 100 keynote speaker. 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 chief operating officer of North Shore LIJ in 1997, and was named president and CEO in 2002. Born and raised in Knockaderry, Co. Limerick, Michael is the eldest of five children. He had to help support his family from an early age, inspiring him to push further and achieve his dreams. “No” was never an option for Michael as he makes clear: “if you tell me I can’t do something, that’s when I become determined to get it done.” He was the first person in his family to attend college, graduating UCC while working odd jobs to pay for tuition. After graduation he went to New York and earned a master’s degree from Fordham. Michael and his wife Kathy live on Long Island with their two children, Brian and Elizabeth.
John Duffy is CEO and founder of 3Cinteractive, an enterprise software company specializing in mobile consumer engagement. With over 25 years of experience in communications and payment processing, John has helped build several successful companies. 3Cinteractive, which he founded in 2005, ranked No. 1 on Forbes’s 2013 list of America’s Most Promising Companies. In 2012, he received the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in Florida, and the Sun Sentinel’s Excalibur Award. He serves on the boards of the Dan Marino Foundation and the FAU Foundation. A second-generation Irish American with family from Carrigart, Co. Donegal on his father’s side, John graduated from Ohio University with a degree in business administration. He made his first trip to Ireland as a teenager and says that it made him understand “what it mean[s] to be Irish. Ingrained in the culture and etched on the faces of the people, I saw the characteristics I admired most in my father – loyalty and hard work.” He and his wife, Michelle, have two daughters, Emily and Annie.
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MARY CALLAHAN ERDOES
BRENDAN P. FARRELL, JR.
JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Brian Enright is the chief executive officer of Syncreon, a specialized provider of integrated logistic services. Prior to Syncreon, Brian was the CEO of Walsh Western International, a position he had held since 1999 before it was taken over by Syncreon in September 2007. Brian is an alumnus of the University College, Galway (now the National University of Ireland at Galway) where he received a B.A. in economics, sociology, and politics, and later went on to complete a master’s in information technology. He is a native of Cork with ancestry from Limerick on both his father’s and mother’s sides. Brian is a proud Irishman who speaks fondly discussing not only his own Irish roots, but the roots of his company and says he’s “always proud to raise the Irish flag.” Brian currently lives in Michigan with his wife Natasha.
Mary Callahan Erdoes is chief executive officer of J.P. Morgan’s Asset Management division, a global leader in investment management and private banking with $2.4 trillion in client assets. She is also a member of JPMorgan 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 and Harvard Business School. She is a board member of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF and the U.S.China Business Council, and serves on the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Investor Advisory Committee on Financial Markets. Bloomberg Markets magazine named her the World’s Most Influential Money Manager for 2013. Forbes and Fortune magazines also consistently rank her as one of the World’s Most Powerful Women. An Illinois native, her great-grandparents emigrated from Cork and Tipperary. She lives in New York with her husband and three daughters.
Brendan P. Farrell, Jr. is executive vice president and general manager at SunGard. With more than 30 years of experience in financial services, Brendan is responsible for the overall management and development of the company’s corporate actions businesses. Brendan was founder and chief executive officer of XSP, acquired by SunGard in 2012. In 2009, Brendan created IMMRAM, an informal network for the Irish diaspora. He has remained connected to the Irish-American community through involvement in a number of organizations including the American Ireland Fund, Self Help Africa, the St. Patrick’s Day Foundation, and the Friends of Athlone Institute of Technology Foundation. Born in New York City to Brendan, Sr. of Co. Longford and Rita McAuliffe of Co. Kerry, Brendan was raised in Longford Town, where his family ran O’Farrell’s Bar and Grocery. A graduate of the Athlone Institute of Technology, he now lives in Denville, NJ with his wife, Christine. Their children, Dylan and Brianna, are undergraduates at Drexel University and George Washington University.
DANIEL J. FINNEGAN
Procter & Gamble
Irial Finan is executive vice president at The Coca-Cola Company and president of Bottling Investments. With over 34 years of experience at Coca-Cola, he is responsible for managing a multibillion-dollar internal bottling business, Bottling Investments Group (BIG), which has operations in five continents. Irial joined the Coca-Cola Company in 2004 as president, Bottling Investments and Supply Chain, and was named executive vice president of the company later that year. Irial serves on the boards of directors of Coca-Cola FEMSA, Coca-Cola HBC, and the supervisory board of CCE AG. He is a non-executive director for Co-operation Ireland and NUI Galway Foundation. Irial is also a past recipient of the Leslie C. Quick Jr. Leadership Award, and is an Irish America Stars of the South honoree. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from National University of Ireland at Galway and is an associate (later fellow) of the Institute of Chartered Management Accountants. Most recently he received an honorary Doctor of Law from NUI Galway. Irial and his wife, Deirdre, have two daughters, Ciara and Roisin. 50 IRISH AMERICA DECEMBER/ / JANUARY 2016
Tom Finn is the president of Procter & Gamble Global Health Care, a position he has held since 2007. Tom has spent over thirty 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 is a native of Syracuse, New York and is a second-generation 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 rolemodeled 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.
Daniel J. Finnegan is the chief financial officer of the Priceline Group Incorporated, an organization he has been with since 2004, when he joined as chief compliance officer. Since that time, the company has increased in size more than 60 fold, now with 16,000 employees and valued at over $60 billion. It also now has a subsidiary in Dublin. Daniel, a member of the Gaelic Club in Fairfield, CT, is a first-generation Irish American, whose parents, Daniel and Joan (née Flanagan) Finnegan, emigrated from counties Limerick and Galway respectively. Born in New York City, he earned a B.S. in accounting from St. John’s University. “I am very proud of my Irish heritage,” he says. “My parents loved Ireland and often told us stories about growing up in Ireland. It was important to them that we understood and appreciated our Irish heritage. My wife is from Cork and we often visit Ireland with our 4 kids to see her family and my relatives.” Daniel and his wife Marion have four children, Ashlynn, Daniel, Kyra, and Caitlin.
Irish Americaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 2015 Business 100 recognizes the most influential and innovative Irish-American leaders in business today. Deloitte would like to congratulate all of the Irish America 2015 Business 100 honorees. In particular, we are proud to recognize and applaud our own William Mullaney, Director, Deloitte Consulting LLP. Congratulations Bill on your commitment to professional excellence, community involvement, and extraordinary leadership.
Looking to get ahead of tomorrow? Look to Deloitte. And be prepared to ride the wave of innovation and opportunity. Deloitte has more than 220,000 professionals at member firms around the world delivering services in audit, tax, consulting, financial advisory, risk management, and related services in more than 150 countries and territories.
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WILLIAM J. FLYNN
Fitzgerald & Co.
In 1983, Dave Fitzgerald founded the advertising agency Fitzgerald & Co., where he remains chairman. His company was named Best Agency in the Southeast by Adweek and for five straight years was named one of the best Atlanta companies to work for by the Atlanta Business Chronicle. A second-generation Irish American, Dave ran the Order of the Green Jacket of Ireland, which helped raise funds for Irish athletes in the 1996 Olympics. He is a member of the board of St. Joseph’s Hospital, Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, Road Safe America and the National Advertising Review Board. He has twice been grand marshal of the Atlanta St. Patrick’s Day Parade. He is chairman of the Atlanta St. Patrick’s Day Parade and is a member of The Global Irish Economic Forum. Dave received his B.S. and M.B.A. from the University of Dayton, where he was honored with the Alumni Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000. Having visited Ireland over forty times, he became an Irish citizen in 2004 and traces his family to the western counties of Kerry and Mayo. Dave calls his Irish heritage “a source of great pride.”
Fitzpatrick Hotel Group
John Fitzpatrick is president and CEO of the Fitzpatrick Hotel Group, North America. He serves as chairman of the American Hotel & Lodging Association and was chairman of the Hotel Association of NYC for three terms. He is the chairman of the American Ireland Fund 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 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 $2.4 million for charities.
Mutual of America
WILLIAM C. FORD, JR.
Ford Motor Company
Lot18 / Popdust
Gaffey Mellody Group
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, and served as CEO from October 2001 to September 2006. Bill is vice chairman of the Detroit Lions football team, chairman of the board of the Detroit Economic Club, and a member of the boards of The Henry Ford Foundation, the Henry Ford Health System, and is chairman of the New Michigan Initiative of Business Leaders for Michigan. In recognition of his commitment to education and his devotion to the Detroit community, in 2015 Mr. Ford was given the Ambassador for Humanity Award by the USC Shoah Foundation Institute. Bill holds a B.A. from Princeton 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 Cork. In 2011, Bill was inducted into the Irish America Hall of Fame. 52 IRISH AMERICA DECEMBER/ / JANUARY 2016
Kevin Fortuna is a technology entrepreneur. Currently, he is CEO and Founder of Lot18, one of the largest players in wine e-commerce, and Popdust, a digital media business. He is also the former president of Quigo, an advertising technology company that was sold to AOL Time Warner in 2007. Fortuna graduated summa cum laude from Georgetown University and earned an M.F.A. in Fiction from the University of New Orleans, where he studied on a full fellowship. His family hails from Cobh, County Cork, and his mother is an Irish citizen. Fortuna serves on the board of directors of Concern Worldwide, and his heritage has found its way into his writing. His debut collection of short stories, The Dunning Man, features an edgy cast of Irish and Irish American characters. The title story of his book is being made into a feature-length film.
During his 34 years with Mutual of America, Bill Flynn established himself as a great leader whose business skills were reflected in Mutual of America’s performance and recognized throughout the life insurance industry. Today he is Mutual’s chairman emeritus. Bill’s commitment to social justice continues to be felt in the success of the Irish peace process and the work of the National Committee on American Foreign Policy (NCAFP). As the first Irish-American chairman of the NCAFP, it was Bill who invited all of Northern Ireland’s political leaders, including Gerry Adams, to the U.S., a move that propelled Northern Ireland into the peace process. A graduate of Fordham University, Bill is a first-generation Irish American with roots in County Mayo and County Down. In 1996, he was grand marshal of New York City’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Bill was inducted into the Irish America Hall of Fame in 2011.
Sean is the first vice president and senior financial advisor at Merrill Lynch, where he leads The Gaffey Mellody Group. Within the group Sean crafts customized portfolios with a focus on impact investing and uncovering unique opportunities to support each client’s specific goals. Sean is a founding member of the American Ireland Fund’s Young Leaders Initiative and is affiliated with the US-Northern Ireland Mentorship Program and the Irish Executive Mentorship Program. He previously served as chairman and remains on the board of the Irish International Business Network, as well as Cooperation Ireland. All of his grandparents were born in Ireland with the paternal side coming from Ballymoe, Co. Galway and his mother’s family from Drangan and Thurles, Co. Tipperary. His Grandfather was the Quartermaster for the 2nd Tipperary Brigade IRA and was captured by the British, interned, and sentenced to die. After the truce he was released and left Ireland shortly after the Civil War began. Born in the Bronx, Sean resides in Rockville Centre, NY with his wife Allison and their two sons, Aiden and Liam.
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Silicon Valley Bank
Mark Gallagher leads Silicon Valley Bank’s Technology practice in New England, working with high growth innovation companies in the region. he has provided financial services to venture capital funds and technology and life science companies for the majority of his career. A supporter and champion of the New England technology community, Gallagher serves on the board of overseers for the Mass Technology Leadership Council and previously as a board member for the Center for Innovation and Change Leadership at Suffolk University. Prior to joining SVB in 2000, Gallagher spent three years at ABN AMRO Bank N.V. in Dublin and ABN AMRO Corporate Finance Ltd. A native of Ireland, Gallagher is a member of SVB’s Ireland task force. He was recognized in 2014 as one of the Top 20 Irish Born Business Leaders in the U.S. by The Irish Independent. Gallagher earned a B.A. in agribusiness from University College, Dublin and an M.B.A. from Trinity College, Dublin. He received a diploma in Italian from Scuola Lorenzo de Medici in Florence, Italy. He is married with three young children.
San Francisco Bay Area Super Bowl 50 Host Committee
Pat Gallagher currently serves as the executive vice president of Partnerships and Communications for the San Francisco Bay Area Super Bowl 50 Host Committee. With over 30 years of leadership experience for the San Francisco Giants, he was instrumental in the development strategy and successful bid for the San Francisco Bay area to host the 2016 Super Bowl. Pat was the Giants’ first director of marketing, where he was responsible for some of the team’s most innovative marketing strategies, including the “Croix de Candlestick.” He attended San Diego State College as well as Humbolt State College in Arcata. A first-generation Irish American with roots in Counties Donegal and Clare, Pat says that it wasn’t until he visited Ireland for the first time that he truly understood why he was the way he was: “I know where my sense of humor, attraction towards genuine people, distain for pomposity, and affinity for life’s simple pleasures come from.” Pat and his wife Joan have two children, Murphy and Katie, and split their time between San Francisco and the small town of Stinson Beach.
Matt Galligan is a serial entrepreneur and product designer based in San Francisco. He currently leads a product design and strategy practice, consulting with companies to bridge the gap between idea and execution. Previously Matt had co-founded three companies: Circa, SimpleGeo, and Socialthing. Most recently, Galligan and Circa co-founder Ben Huh hatched the idea of a mobilenative news operation in 2011. The company built a new kind of technology-driven media organization that reimagined how news content could be created, delivered, and consumed. Through the nearly four years Circa was in operation it won numerous awards and accolades, including being given App of the Year recognition in 2013 by both Apple’s App Store and Android Play Store, as well as being the subject of Wired’s cover story in December 2014. Many of the innovations they pioneered have now been adopted by some of the biggest players of the news industry. In addition to Matt’s current role, he is a mentor for TechStars and the Highway1 Accelerator, as well as an advisor to several startups including ScoreStream, Memoir, and Untappd.
JOHN J. GALVIN
John Galvin is a vice president of the Sales and Marketing Group and general manager of Intel Education at Intel Corporation with responsibility for setting global strategy and implementation of innovative technology solutions to advance education worldwide. This January, his education team launched a new product that allows schools with no Internet access to retrieve content off a central device, enabling these schools “to create a similar experience to those with Internet access, bringing them one step closer to parity,” he says. Prior to his current role, Galvin was a senior leader in the Corporate Marketing Group where he served as the director of partner marketing and market research. He was instrumental in bringing forth the Creator’s Project as well as the globally renowned Intel Inside program. He holds a B.A. from California State University, Long Beach. A first-generation Irish American, John’s parents both emigrated from very close towns in Co. Kerry, though didn’t meet until they arrived in New York. Last year, the Irish Technology Leadership Group recognized him as one of the 50 Most Influential Irish Business People of Silicon Valley. 54 IRISH AMERICA DECEMBER/ / JANUARY 2016
David Greaney is the founder and president of Synergy Investments, a Boston-based real estate investment firm. Synergy is one of the largest commercial landlords in Boston owning and operating 30 buildings and providing a home to over 400 companies. David is responsible for overseeing the acquisition, equity, and debt related activities of Synergy’s various investment partnerships. A graduate of University College, Dublin, and a CPA in Massachusetts, he has previously held positions in the investment management groups of Harvard University and PwC. David is active in the Irish-American business community and has received the Entrepreneurial Award from the Irish Chamber of Commerce and was named one of Business & Finance magazine’s Most Influential US-Irish Business Leaders. David is a board member of the MA chapter of the NAIOP, the Downtown Business Improvement District and Downtown North Association. He actively supports a number of charitable causes, including the American Ireland Fund and the Claddagh Fund, the charitable foundation of the Dropkick Murphys.
Brian Halligan is co-founder and chief executive officer of HubSpot, an inbound marketing and sales platform. Before joining HubSpot, Brian was a venture partner at Longworth Ventures and a vice president of sales at Groove Networks. He is also the author of two books, Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead and Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs, co-written with Dharmesh Shah. Brian is a third-generation Irish American with roots in Sherkin Island in West Cork. He is immensely proud of his heritage and the work his company is now doing in Ireland with its Dublin subsidiary. He says, “seeing HubSpot’s presence in Ireland grow so rapidly has been extremely rewarding. Dublin is a tech and innovation hub and I love working with the talent there; it’s great to be part of that energy.” Besides HubSpot, Brian is a professor at MIT and was named one of Ernst and Young’s Entrepreneurs of the Year in 2011 and was one of Glassdoor’s 25 Highest Rated CEOs in 2014. Halligan also serves on a number of boards including Fleetmatics Group and the Massachusetts Innovation and Technology Exchange.
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THE CHARMER SUNBELT GROUP CONGRATULATES JIM CLERKIN AND MOËT HENNESSY USA ON ITS MANY SUCCESSES TO DATE AND LOOKS FORWARD TO MANY MORE
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Bunge Food & Ingredients
Gordon Hardie is the managing director of Bunge Food & Ingredients as well as a member of the executive committee of Bunge Ltd., a global agribusiness and food company dedicated to improving the food supply chain from farm to shelf to stove top. Prior to joining Bunge, Gordon spent 12 years in Australia, where he co-led the IPO for Goodman Fielder, Ltd. on the Australian Stock Exchange. It has since become the largest listed food company in Australasia. A native of Cork, Gordon holds a B.A. in languages and psychology and a higher diploma in education from University College, Cork, and an M.B.A. from University College, Dublin’s Smurfit Graduate School of Business, where he was recently honored as Alumnus of the Year. Gordon lives in Manhattan with his wife and two children and holds dual Irish and Australian citizenship. He sees himself as part of an emerging global Irish community that believes in writer Colum McCann’s imperative to “create a contemporary Irishness that is agile enough to understand that we can live in more than two places at once.”
Daire Hickey is a co-founder of Web Summit, Europe’s largest tech startup event, which attracts everyone from the heads of fortune 500 companies to the founders of shining new startups to its worldwide events. Daire has been 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 over the past few 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 a graduate of Economics from the University of Dublin, Trinity College and is also a World Economic Forum Young Global Shaper. Daire is also affiliated with New York Digital Irish. Born in Cork, with a family tradition of service in the Navy, his maternal grandfather was in the Irish Navy while his paternal Grandfather served in the British Navy. His cousin is the first woman in the Irish Navy.
JOHN B. HYNES, III
THOMAS J. HYNES, JR.
Boston Global Investors
Larry Hunt, senior vice president, National Video for Zenith Media, is a first-generation Irish American from New York. He earned his bachelor’s in business administration at Baruch College, CUNY, and has been with Zenith Media for 14 years. Zenith is the original R.O.I. (Return on Investment) agency and has remained at the forefront of marketing innovation, but their contributions are not just in the commercial world; “Zenith Gives Back,” is a program that encourages employees to take days off to engage in charitable work. Both of Larry’s parents were born in Ireland – his mother emigrated from Donegal and his father from Kerry. The two met on his father’s second day in the country at Gaelic Park in the Bronx. Larry and his four siblings were raised in the Bronx, and he is proud of his parents’ ability to build a life for themselves and their family there, despite not having received education beyond grade school in Ireland. Larry and his wife Jennifer live in New Jersey with their three children, with whom Larry is proud to share and continue his Irish heritage. 56 IRISH AMERICA DECEMBER/ / JANUARY 2016
John B. Hynes, III is the CEO and managing partner of Boston Global Investors. Prior to the formation of BGI in April 2010, John spent ten years as CEO and managing partner for Gale International and served as the driving force in the company’s aggressive expansion both domestically and in Asia. During his tenure at Gale he was the deal originator and managing partner for the successful development of the State Street Financial Center in Boston, Songdo City Master Plan in South Korea, and Boston’s Seaport Square project. Prior to joining Gale, he spent ten years as a broker with the Codman Company and RM Bradley & Co. and ten years as the local development partner with Lincoln Property Company. Currently, John is focusing on the completion of the 6M SF mixed-use Seaport Square project, half of which is underway today. John is a graduate of Harvard College where he co-captained the 1980 hockey team. His grandfather, John B. Hynes (whose father, Bernard Hynes from Loughrea, Co. Galway, emigrated to Boston in 1888) served as Mayor of Boston from 19501960.
John Hughes is co-founder and president of Product at TubeMogul, a leading enterprise software company for brand advertising. Tube Mogul’s software is counted on every day by brands like L’Oréal, Heineken, Mondelez International, and Lenovo to put video ads on every screen and scale their efforts globally. Previously, John worked for Adobe Systems and Gateway Inc. John holds an M.B.A. from UC Berkeley, and has a B.S. from Penn State. While at Cal, John co-created the video promotion platform Oneload.com. A native of Denver, John’s paternal ancestors hail from Athlone. Bursting with Irish pride, John says of his heritage, “as a second-generation Irish American, I could not be more proud of my roots.” John’s many awards and honors include a Spark award for Outstanding Technical Achievement in 2014, the Best Advertising Platform Award from The Drum, and TubeMogul being named one of the Best Places to Work by both Glassdoor and the San Francisco Business Times. He is particularly proud of TubeMogul’s IPO on the NASDAQ stock exchange in July 2014. John and his wife Jeanne have three children.
Thomas Hynes is CEO of Colliers International’s Boston office, a full-service commercial real estate firm. In his 50 years with the firm, Thomas has represented a wide variety of tenants, institutional and corporate owners, developers and users of real estate. He was appointed president in 1988 and chairman in 2007. Tom has been the recipient of a number of real estate honors, including The Most Ingenious Deal of the Year award by The Real Estate Board of New York as well as the Boston Lease Deal of the Year from the Commercial Brokers Association for a 475,000 ft2 lease of the Prudential Center. Tom is a Boston native, a graduate of Boston College, and a second-generation Irish American whose grandfather emigrated from Galway and whose uncle, John B. Hynes, served as Mayor of Boston from 1950-1960. When his father died in 1949, leaving a widow and five children, “the extended Irish on both sides of the family tree were always there to lend their support,” he says. Tom lives in Chestnut Hill with his wife of 44 years, Nicole Hynes. They have two grown children, Vanessa and Tod and a grandchild, Thomas (son of Vanessa).
Congratulations to Business 100 honoree Jim Clerkin, President and CEO, Moët Hennessy North America, for being named the 2015 Keynote Speaker of the annual Irish America Business 100 30th Anniversary event
·· Most Honored
©2015 Moët Hennessy USA Inc., New York, NY. Moët Hennessy USA encourages responsible drinking.
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Aidan Kehoe is the co-founder and CEO of Oxford Solutions. He has been actively involved in all phases of the firm’s development since its inception. The firm is a leading provider of real time cyber security technology and services to the corporate sector. Prior to his current role at Oxford Solutions, Mr. Kehoe was responsible for co-founding Oxford Global, a global risk management business serving Fortune 500 companies. He has also held senior management positions at both Duckpond Corp, a private investment firm, and Sebonack Golf Club. Mr. Kehoe is a member of the LP advisory committee of ComVest Capital and also serves as a member of the Board of Members of Surry Capital LLC. Mr. Kehoe serves as chairman of Cordaid’s U.S. Leaders Council, and on the Board of Directors of the National Business and Disability Council, Abilities Inc; and Friends of Karen. Aidan was born and bred in Ireland with ancestors hailing from Laois on both parents’ sides.
Kevin Kelleher is the executive vice president & chief financial officer at Sony Music Entertainment which has a subsidiary in Dublin. In this role he is responsible for managing the company’s worldwide financial operations, information technology group, and business development and investment activities. He joined Sony Music in 1992 as a senior financial executive and during the past 20 years has helped actively manage the company through the changing music landscape. Kevin is third-generation Irish with ancestors from Counties Clare and Cork. He is proud to be Irish and 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 graduated from Middlebury College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics and holds an M.B.A. in finance and accounting from Rutgers Graduate School of Management. He also received an honorary doctorate from Five Towns College. Kevin has been married for 32 years to his wife Carol and has three children, Jennifer, Dr. Kevin Jr, and Kristen.
Keurig Green Mountain
Eastern Real Estate
Alexandra Keating is the CEO of DWNLD, the mobile app company she developed with former Microsoft vice-president and Pinterest investor Fritz Lanman. She has a knack for creating successful business ventures, founding the non-profit online fundraising platform GoFundraise at 20, which has since become one of the largest fundraising platform systems in Australia. Alexandra attended the University of Sydney where she completed a bachelor’s degree in behavioral health science. Alexandra is a native of Sydney and is the daughter of former prime minister Paul Keating. With fourth-generation Irish ancestry, Keating finds strength in the empowerment of Irish women. Paramount among them is Irish screen actress Fionnula Flanagan, whom Keating quotes: “I think Irish women are strong as horses, incredibly loyal and for the most part, funny, witty, bright and optimistic in the face of devastating reality.” Among her numerous recognitions and awards include Business Insider’s Silicon Alley 100, Top Women in New York Tech, and Top 30 Under 30. Alexandra currently lives in New York.
Brian Kelley became president, CEO, and director of the coffee company Keurig Green Mountain, Inc. in December 2012. His business career has spanned 30 years, with experience at P&G, GE, the Ford Motor Company (where he was the president of Lincoln Mercury), and five years as the president and CEO of SIRVA (a $4 billion global relocation company which Brian took public in 2003). He joined Coca-Cola in 2007 as president of its $6 billion non-carbonated beverages business in North America, and in 2010 led the integration of the company’s acquisition of Coca-Cola Enterprises and the formation of Coca-Cola Refreshments. Brian was the third of seven children born to an Irish Catholic family in Cincinnati, OH. His great-grandfather, Eugene, emigrated from Co. Cork in the mid-1880s. A graduate of College of the Holy Cross with a B.A. in economics, Brian has served on a number of boards including Hertz, Mazda, SIRVA, VWR, and the Internet Capital Group. He and his wife, Michelle, have two daughters, Erin and Gwen.
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Brian Kelly is a principal of Eastern Real Estate, which he co-founded with his business partner Daniel J. Doherty III in 2000. Since their professional partnership began in 1991, Brian and Dan’s entrepreneurial approach and long-term industry relationships have enabled them to develop and implement creative solutions to a wide range of commercial real estate opportunities. Over the past 25 years, they have transacted more than 25 million square feet of commercial real estate and developed more than 100 projects totaling over 12 million square feet with a value in excess of $2 billion. Brian is an advocate for autism-related causes, serving as chairman of Autism Speaks, the nation’s leading nonprofit organization related to autism. Kelly’s maternal ancestors hail from Mayo, Kerry, and Limerick and settled in New York. His paternal ancestors emigrated from County Cork during the nineteenth century. His greatgrandfather’s cousin was none other than Honest John Kelly, congressman and sheriff of New York County and national Democratic power broker, who most notably succeeded Boss Tweed as leader of Tammany Hall from 1872 to 1886.
Colleen Kelly is a partner and managing director at Triptent, an award-winning ad agency based in New York. Prior to joining Triptent, Colleen had many years experience at some of the top ad agencies in the country including Deutsch LA, Product of the Year USA, Dailey & Associates, and Vic Olsen & Partners. She is an alumna of Boston University where she obtained a degree in marketing. A native of Pinehurst, North Carolina, Colleen is a third-generation Irish American. Her mother’s family hails from Co. Tyrone, while her father’s side hails from Counties Cork and Carlow. It is from her Irish roots where Colleen says she gets her love of laughter and music. She adds, “It means working hard and playing hard. But it means love of family and good friends the most.” Besides her advertising initiatives, Colleen has served as the president of the Los Angeles Association of Advertising Agencies as well as president and founding board member of thinkLA. Colleen currently resides in New York where she says she loves the winters, but dreads the summers.
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JOHN J. KELLY
Hanover Stone Partners
The Weather Company
John J. Kelly is the founder and managing partner of Hanover Stone Partners, LLC, a holding company with targeted investments in risk management consulting, risk management services, claims and loss control services, specialty insurance brokering, and product distribution. John is on the U.S. advisory board to the Michael Smurfit Graduate School of Business at University College Dublin, is actively involved in the Ireland-United States Council for Commerce & Industry, and is a founding member of the Ireland Chamber of Commerce, U.S.A. He is also an American board member of the Flax Trust. John holds a B.A. in accounting from Baruch College and an M.B.A. from Rutgers University. John was born in Bronx, New York. His mother was born in Bellmullet, Co. Mayo, and has roots in Co. Sligo on his father’s side. He has four children, Brian, Elizabeth, Gerarda, and Kelly, and a wife, Nancy. He says his Irish heritage has given him a “lifetime of being surrounded by beautiful people who are principled, brilliant, humorous, and generous.”
Shaun Kelly is the chief operating officer for KPMG’s Americas Region. In this position, he works with the leaders of the KPMG International member firms in the region to align their respective strategies, operating structures, and business plans. A native of Belfast, Shaun joined KPMG International’s Irish member firm in Dublin in 1980 and transferred to the San Francisco office in 1984. He was admitted to the U.S. partnership in 1999. He earned a Bachelor of Commerce, first class honors from UCD, is a fellow of Chartered Accountants Ireland, and a CPA. He is treasurer and member of the executive committee of Enactus, co-chair of KPMG’s Disabilities Network, and a member of KPMG’s Diversity Advisory Board. He also serves as chairman on the North American Advisory Board of the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate School of Business, and is on the boards of the American Ireland Fund and the Irish Arts Center in New York. Shaun and his wife, Mary, who is from Donegal, live in New York City.
David Kenny is chairman and chief executive officer of The Weather Company, overseeing The Weather Channel, weather.com, and wunderground.com. IBM recently agreed to acquire Weather’s B2B, mobile, and cloud-based web properties. He stepped into the position in 2012 after serving as president of Akamai, the global leader in Content Delivery Network services. Previously, he was a managing partner of VivaKi, as well as co-founder, Chairman, and CEO of Digitas, Inc. Additionally, he is a director of Teach for America. Kenny was born in Lansing, Michigan and earned a degree in Industrial Administration from the General Motors Institute (now Kettering University) and a Master’s of Business Administration from Harvard University. A fourth-generation Irish American, his greatgreat-grandfather, David Kenny, emigrated from Kilkenny during the Famine and settled in Connecticut. David says his Irish heritage has taught him how to “take nothing for granted and to be prepared for any type of weather.”
Lion Group Consulting
Patrick Keough is president & CEO of Lion Group Consulting, a company he founded, which develops strategic marketing & communications platforms for global corporate clients, garnering a number of industry awards. Before founding Lion Group Consulting in 2009, Patrick had a distinguished career in advertising and corporate communications spanning over two decades. Working for industry leaders WPP, IPG and FD, he shepherded the advertising, marketing and corporate communications of such illustrious global brands as Johnson & Johnson, Samsung, Chevrolet, and The CocaCola Company. Patrick holds a B.A. from Notre Dame, an M.A. from the University of Georgia, and serves on Notre Dame’s College of Arts & Letters Advisory Council. Patrick and his wife Megan live in Rye, New York with their four children.
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Cillian Kieran is the founder and CEO of CKSK, a global full-service digital agency headquartered in Ireland, with offices in Amsterdam, Gdańsk, and, most recently, New York. With a background in coding, physics, and math, having attended Dublin Institute of Technology in the late 90’s, Cillian began the company in Dublin in 2006. The most rapid years of growth have happened over the last two years however, as the company opened its first offices in the U.S. in lower Manhattan in 2013. Cillian and his team work with some of the worlds leading Fortune 500 brands such as Heineken, PlayStation, Pepsi Co., and Danone. “We’re a small country that takes some big swings on the international business stage,” he says of his home country. “This is in large part down to a great community spirit amongst the Irish, matched with a willingness to learn and adapt in new cultures and, needless to say, a great gift for words.” Born in Dublin, Cillian now heads the New York offices and lives in the city with his wife Ella.
Ellen Kullman is former chair of the board and chief executive officer of DuPont. As CEO, she has championed market-driven science to drive innovation across the company’s businesses. A native of Wilmington, Delaware, Ellen began her career at DuPont in 1988 as a marketing manager. She is chair of the U.S. China Business Council and member of the business council and the executive committee of SCI-America. She is a board member of Change the Equation and co-chair of the National Academy of Engineering Committee on Changing the Conversation: From Research to Action. Ellen is on the board of directors of United Technologies Corp. She is also on the board of trustees of Tufts University and serves on the board of overseers at Tufts University School of Engineering. Prior to joining DuPont, Ellen worked for General Electric. She holds a B.S. in mechanical engineering from Tufts and a master’s degree in management from Northwestern. Ellen is a third-generation Irish American whose mother’s family came from Nenagh, Tipperary.
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Procter & Gamble
David Martin is the founder and C.E.O. of Fantasy Interactive, a human-based design agency that helps its clients “think beyond the ordinary” by combining digital strategy and user experience design. The company’s client list is as extensive as it is impressive, with brands like Facebook, HP, USA Today, and Twitter, to name a few. In 2008, Fantasy made Imagine Publishing’s list of the 21 Most Inspiring Companies, along with Apple, Virgin, and Pixar. Martin founded the agency in 1999 in Sweden, and the company currently has headquarters in New York and San Francisco. Since its inception, Fantasy has received over 200 industry awards and helped thousands of clients worldwide to further their companies’ image and brand. 2015 saw the launch of Fantasy’s new website, Fantasy.co, and the company has been nominated for Agency of the Year by Net Magazine. Martin was born in County Dublin, and his first job was working at a paint factory during the summer. He attended Institute of Technology Tallaght, and lives in San Francisco with his wife Camilla and their son Maverick.
Jim McCann is a highly 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 the founding of 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, which he has built into the world’s leading florist and gift shop. Jim’s willingness to embrace new technologies that help people connect and express themselves has enabled him to stay at the forefront of consumer and social trends. He has expanded his company’s gift offerings to become a leading player in the gourmet food and gift baskets business, including the brands Harry & David, Fannie May Fine Chocolates, Cheryl’s fresh baked cookies, The Popcorn Factory, 1-800Baskets.com and FruitBouquets.com. In addition to serving as chairman of the board of directors for 1-800-FLOWERS.COM, Jim is the non-executive chairman of Willis Group Holdings Limited and a board member for a variety of private and not-for-profit boards. He is a third-generation Irish American with roots in Armagh and Limerick.
CHRISTINE M. McCARTHY
The Walt Disney Company
A.G. Lafley is Procter & Gamble’s chairman of the board, president, and CEO. He previously served as president & CEO from 2000 to 2009. During this time, the company more than doubled sales and grew its portfolio of billion-dollar brands from 10 to 23. A.G. grew up in Keene, New Hampshire, and graduated from Hamilton College. He joined the U.S. Navy in 1970 where he oversaw all the retail and service operations for 10,000 Navy and Marine Corps members and their families in Japan. After the Navy, A.G. graduated from Harvard Business School and joined Procter & Gamble in 1977. He returned to Japan in 1994, with responsibility for P&G’s operations in Asia. In 1999, he ran P&G’s fast-growing beauty business, along with the company’s business in North America. He retired from Procter & Gamble in early 2010 and served as a senior advisor at Clayton, Dubilier & Rice until returning in 2013. A second-generation Irish American with roots in Cork, A.G. says his Irish grandmother Katherine “Kitty” Irwin was a major influence during his childhood.
Christine M. McCarthy is senior executive vice president and CFO of The Walt Disney Company and oversees the company’s worldwide finance organization, investor relations, corporate planning and control, tax, corporate treasury, corporate real estate, facilities, integrated supply chain management, and corporate citizenship. Christine previously served as executive vice president, Corporate Real Estate, Alliances and treasurer of The Walt Disney Company, and has served as Disney’s representative on the board of FM Global since 2010. Christine is also a trustee of the Westridge School for Girls in Pasadena, CA, and a mentor for the National Math and Science Initiative’s STEM program. She has been named multiple times to Treasury & Risk magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in Finance. A third-generation Irish American, Christine was raised in Wakefield, MA. She completed her bachelor’s degree in biological sciences at Smith College, where she received an award for excellence in botany. She also earned an M.B.A. in marketing and finance from UCLA. She and her husband, Michael McCormick, have two children and live in California. 62 IRISH AMERICA DECEMBER / JANUARY 2016
Kent McClelland is the third generation in his family to lead Shamrock Foods Company, which is comprised of Shamrock Farms – one of the largest family-owned and -operated dairies in the U.S. – and Shamrock Foods – one of the ten largest food distribution companies nationwide. Kent’s leadership and vision have expanded the thriving business from coast to coast, opening new food distribution centers in Portland and Sacramento, and a new dairy manufacturing facility on the East Coast. The company was founded in 1922 by Kent’s grandfather W.T. McClelland, who emigrated from County Down. Kent shares his family’s passion for Irish culture, supporting his father, Norman McClelland, in his campaign to construct a state-of-the-art library at the Phoenix Irish Cultural Center. He actively maintains contact with Irish relatives and friends through Norman and Frances McClelland’s extensive research into the family genealogy, including the publishing of four books of the progenitor families, and numerous reunions in Ireland and the United States. In 2012, the company celebrated its 90th anniversary in Shannon, Dublin, and Belfast, with customers and friends.
Ashley McCollum is the Chief of Staff to BuzzFeed CEO and Founder Jonah Peretti. She works closely with Peretti and the executive team to shape strategy for company-wide initiatives and runs point on new research and development projects to extend the company’s longterm competitive advantage. She also leads communications and is responsible for strategic positioning and media coverage of the company. McCollum has significantly increased BuzzFeed’s awareness and press coverage and has helped grow the company from a small 75 person startup with 20M monthly unique visitors to a thriving international media company with over 700 employees and 200M monthly uniques while rolling out dozens of new content verticals, hundreds of new hires, editorial initiatives, and business deals. Before joining BuzzFeed, McCollum worked in marketing & communications at NBC News and focused on digital and social initiatives. She studied economics at Presbyterian College and lives in New York City.
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Bill McDermott is chief executive officer and executive board member of SAP, the world’s business software market leader. He leads the company’s 75,600 employees and 2-plus million person ecosystem in executing SAP’s vision and strategy to help the world run better and improve people’s lives. Under Bill’s leadership, in 2014 SAP unveiled a strategy to help businesses of all sizes Run Simple in the digital economy. With the SAP HANA Cloud Platform, business applications and business networks, SAP serves nearly 300,000 customers in 190 countries. With more than 85 million users, SAP is the largest enterprise cloud company in the world with business networks that transact nearly $1 trillion in commerce annually. Since 2010, this innovation-led strategy has resulted in expansive increases in customers, total revenue, market value, and profitable growth. The SAP transformation is one of many authentic stories told in Bill’s national bestselling book, Winners Dream: A Journey from Corner Store to Corner Office. Bill is a third-generation Irish American with roots in Co. Roscommon on his father’s side.
Pier A Harbor House
McDonalds / Schwarz Supply Source
Born and raised in Dublin, Dermot McCormack is the CEO of 2D Studios & Productions, and the former global president of AOL Studios and Video. Previously, he was the head of connected content at Viacom, managing all digital content for MTV, VH1, CMT, and Logo. In his time working for AOL and Viacom, he pushed the boundaries of the ways in which digital content could expand audience engagement. McCormack comes from a long line of innercity Dubliners, including his grandfather, who was a dockworker. Dermot earned a Bachelor’s of Science in electronic engineering from Dublin Institute of Technology and was dubbed by Bono himself as “Digital Dermot from Dublin.” Though he now has lived longer in the United States than he has in Ireland, he has great pride in his heritage. “I believe as a people we are blessed with an amazing sense of humor, a sense of storytelling like no other, and a deep empathy with the human condition that transcends race,” he says. He currently lives in New York and has three children, Doran, Marco, and Giovanna.
Eileen McDonnell is the chairman, president, and CEO of the Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company, a position she has held since 2013. Prior to joining Penn Mutual, she was president of New England Financial, and vice president of Guardian Life Insurance Company. Eileen is a graduate of Molloy College and went on to complete her M.B.A. in finance and investments from Adelphi University, which also recognized her for “outstanding service” in 2013. She received an honorary doctorate from Molloy College in 2011. Eileen is a native New Yorker and is a secondgeneration Irish American with ancestry from 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. She has also been honored as one of Crain’s NY Business 40 under 40. Eileen resides in Pennsylvania with her daughter Claire.
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Hugh McGuire is CEO of Glanbia Performance Nutrition, a role he has held since 2008. He was also appointed to the Board of Glanbia in 2013 as an executive director with responsibility for Global Performance Nutrition. Previously, he held a number of senior management roles within the Glanbia group, and worked as a strategy consultant for McKinsey & Co. in the U.K. and Ireland prior to joining the group. Hugh began his career in the FMCG industry with Nestle in Ireland and worked with Leaf in Ireland and the U.K. Hugh is originally from Sandycove in Co. Dublin and grew up swimming in the 40ft. He earned his B.Sc. as well as his M.Sc. in food science from University College Dublin. He also has a Diploma in Finance from the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants. Hugh and his wife Sue live in Chicago and have four children – Aoife, Rory, Donnacha, and Grace. When not traveling, or providing taxi services to his children, Hugh is an active fitness enthusiast who works out most days and participates in triathlons and marathons.
Danny McDonald is one of America’s top culinary business owners and one of New York City’s best-known restaurateurs. He is the owner and designer of the city’s most successful restaurants and pubs, including Swift Hibernian Lounge, Puck Fair, Ulysses’ Folkhouse, The Dead Rabbit, and most recently Pier A Harbor House. Swift was said by Crain’s to have “revolutionized the Irish Bar scene” when it opened in 1995, and The Dead Rabbit was recognized at the 9th Annual Spirited Awards as Word’s Best Bar 2015. Most recently Danny has focused on Pier A Harbor House, which as an immigration hall played a major part in the Irish-American experience, including welcoming, in 1888, Danny’s own great-grandmother as a fouryear-old from Rooskey, Co. Roscommon. A leading figure in the Irish American community, Danny has created many cultural events including the NYC Oyster Festival and Bloomsday on Stone Street. For all his success, Danny says he is most proud of his daughter, Molly, a journalism junior at Boston University. Danny was born in the U.S., raised in Laois, and has a B.A. in economics and geography from Trinity.
Andrew McKenna is one of Chicago’s premier businessmen and a member of the Irish America Hall of Fame. Currently, he serves as chairman of McDonald’s Corporation and Schwarz Supply Source, a position he has held since 1964. He is also a director of Ryan Specialty Group, McDonald’s Corporation, and the Chicago Bears Football Club. The father of seven and grandfather of 24, 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 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 graduate of the University of Notre Dame 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 1992-2000 and continues on the board today. He is a graduate of the DePaul University Law School where he received his J.D.
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WILLIAM J McLAUGHLIN
THOMAS J. MORAN
McLaughlin & Morgan, Inc.
GE Asset Management
Maureen is President, Global Sales and Marketing at GE Asset Management, a global, multi-asset-class investment adviser with over $100 billion under management. In this role, she leads global distribution at the asset management arm, drawing on her more than 25 years’ industry experience to provide unique market insights. She previously held senior sales roles with Highland Capital and Bear Stearns. She is currently on the boards of the City College of New York 21st Century Foundation and She’s the First, which named her its 2015 Mentor of the Year. She also serves on the Investment Company Institute Board of Governors and is a member of the board of directors of GEAM and GE Investment Distributors, Inc. Raised in New York City, Maureen attended City College of New York and received a graduate degree from Fordham University. A four-time Business 100 honoree, she is a first-generation Irish American with roots in Sligo, where her father worked as a lobsterman before immigrating to the U.S., and Galway, birthplace of her mother. She has two daughters, with whom she has traveled throughout Ireland.
Mutual of America
Thomas J. Moran has been president and CEO of Mutual of America since 1994, and was appointed chairman of the board in 2005. During more than three decades of service, over which he also served as COO, Tom has participated in Mutual’s growth from a small retirement association to a mutual life insurance company with over $18 billion in assets. Tom is Chairman of Concern Worldwide U.S., and serves on the boards of directors of the Greater New York Council of the Boy Scouts of America, the Educational Broadcasting System, the National Committee on American Foreign Policy, and the NYC Irish Hunger Memorial. He has also been honored with an Honorary Doctor of Laws from the National University of Ireland and an Honorary Doctor of Science in Economics from Queens University, Belfast, where he also serves as chancellor. With roots in Fermanagh and Tipperary, he serves on the Irish Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Board and the boards of the Irish Chamber of Commerce and the Ireland-U.S. Council. He earned a B.S. from Manhattan College. Tom and his wife, Joan, live in New York.
WILLIAM J. MULLANEY
Bank of America
William “Bill” McLaughlin is president of McLaughlin & Morgan, Inc., a growth strategies company that assists U.S. firms entering Europe via Ireland, and Irish companies entering the U.S. Bill founded the Irish American Business Chamber & Network in 1999 and is currently chairman emeritus. He has hosted the Taoiseach and President of Ireland, and other luminaries, and has participated in the Global Irish Economic Forum in Dublin in 2011, 2013, and 2015. He serves on the board of the Global Interdependence Center, Neumann University, the President’s Advisory Council of LaSalle University, and SMART States, and is an active member of The Union League of Philadelphia and the Catholic Philopatrian Literary Institute. Bill’s maternal grandmother, Mary Murtagh, immigrated from Kiltimagh to Philadelphia where she met her future husband, Thomas Byrne, also from Mayo. His paternal great-grandfather was from Donegal. Bill and his wife Natalie now own the Mayo farm Mary Murtagh Byrne left in 1889. They reside in Newtown Square, PA and have three grown children.
Brian Moynihan leads a team of more than 200,000 employees dedicated to making financial lives better for people, companies of every size, and institutional investors across the United States and around the world. Under his stewardship as CEO, the company has simplified its operations, built capital and liquidity to its highest levels, and developed a straightforward business model providing core financial services to customers and clients. In his more than 20 years at Bank of America, Moynihan has run each of the major customer and client businesses: consumer and small business banking, wealth management, and corporate and investment banking. He is a graduate of Brown University and the University of Notre Dame Law School. Moynihan is a member of the Museum Council for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. Moynihan is also a trustee of the Corporation of Brown University.
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Bill Mullaney is a director and senior advisor in Deloitte Consulting’s Insurance practice. In this role, he works with Life and Annuities and Property & Casualty clients on wide range of strategic and operational issues. In addition, Bill is co-founder and leader of Deloitte’s auto telematics services business, D-rive, which allows insurers to cost effectively compete in the usage-based auto insurance market. Prior to Deloitte, Bill served as president, U.S. Business for MetLife, Inc. overseeing all of MetLife’s insurance, retirement and corporate benefit funding businesses in the U.S. In 2011, he was chair of the National Child Labor Committee’s 25th Annual Lewis Hine Awards for Service to Children and Youth, which recognizes individuals dedicated to youth health, education and well-being. Bill was also the chairman of the New York Blood Center’s Volunteer Leadership Campaign from 2007 to 2009. 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 is a first-generation Irish American whose parents hail from Roscommon and Cork. He is married with two children.
Kathleen Murphy is president of Personal Investing, a unit of Fidelity Investments – the largest mutual fund company in the U.S. She assumed her position in January 2009 and oversees more than $1.84 trillion in assets under administration – a record 16 million customer accounts – and over 12,000 employees. Her business is the nation’s No.1 provider of individual retirement accounts (IRAs), one of the largest brokerage businesses, one of the largest providers of mutual fund managed account 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 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.
Bluff Point Associates is pleased to congratulate the 2015
Irish America Business 100
Paula and Tom McInerney
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DERMOT J. O’BRIEN
Ciarán Murray is the chief executive officer of ICON Plc., a global leader in clinical research and one of Ireland’s most successful indigenous companies. He became CEO in 2011 and has led ICON to record levels of revenue and earnings growth. A native of Ireland, Ciarán graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce from UCD, and is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland. He was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Law from UCD in 2013, and has continued to strengthen ICON’s commitment to building ties between industry and academia. Ciarán is also a strong supporter of the Gaelic Players Association and has established the ICON-GPA Life Sciences Scholarship program, which provides funding for inter-county players engaged in undergraduate and post-graduate life science courses. He was honored by the GPA in 2013 with a Spirit of Ireland award in recognition of his contribution. Besides his work at ICON, Ciarán served as chairman of the Association of Clinical Research Organizations, and was named as a leader in CRO Innovation by PharmaVOICE 100 in 2014.
Dermot J. O’Brien is the chief human resources officer for ADP, a human-capital-management provider that ranked 251st on the 2015 Fortune 500 list. He joined the company in April 2012 and leads its global human-capital strategy for 55,000 associates. He was previously executive vice president of human resources at TIAA-CREF. Dermot started his financial services career at Morgan Stanley, where he spent nine years in various roles, including head of Human Resources for Japan. He is a founding member of the Human Resource-50 Group, a member of the Personnel Roundtable and Center for Executive Succession Advisory Board . A native of Dublin, he holds a degree in finance from the Lubin School of Business at Pace University, where he is 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.
WILLIAM M. O’CONNOR
Thompson and Knight, LLP
The Estée Lauder Companies
Domino Foods, Inc.
William M. O’Connor is a partner at Thompson and Knight LLP, and is a recognized leader in the special servicing of commercial mortgage backed securities (CMBS) and related aspects of loan workouts. Bill is president of the New York Association of the Abbey Theatre, is active in the Irish American Writers’ Society and in the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, and is a board member of the Board of NUI Galway Foundation, the advisory board of the Fighting 69th Regiment Trust, and the board of the St. Patrick’s Day Foundation. He has also been an honoree of the Irish Voice’s Irish Legal 100. He earned both his B.A. and J.D. from Fordham University in the Bronx. Bill is third-generation Irish with links to Co. Kerry on both sides of his family, in addition to maternal roots in Co. Clare. He is married to M. Patricia (Patty) O’Connor, and has three children, William, Thomas, and Robert. Bill says that his appreciation of his Irish heritage comes from the lessons he learned from his parents, grandparents, and other ancestors who have instilled in him “the Irish values of hard work, family, and faith.” 68 IRISH AMERICA DECEMBER / JANUARY 2016
Michael O’Hare is executive vice president, Global Human Resources at The Estée Lauder Companies, Inc., one of the world’s leading manufacturers and marketers of quality skin care, makeup, fragrance and hair care products. Overseeing a global network of HR professionals, he works closely with all business operations of the Company, directing the recruitment, retention, compensation, and development of the Company’s over 40,000 employees. Previously, Michael was Global Chief Human Resources Officer for Heineken N.V., and also spent 13 years at PepsiCo Inc., where he held a variety of senior HR positions. Michael was born in Northern Ireland and has lived and worked in Europe, the United States and Asia. After graduating from the University of Dundee in Scotland, he received a master’s in economics from the London School of Economics and an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago. Michael is married to Christie O’Hare, and has two children, Maggie, and Malachy. He holds that “the Irish are direct, honest, and have strong communication skills and the ability put themselves in someone else’s shoes. They embrace hard work, taking responsibility, and being yourself.”
Diarmuid joined Tesla in 2006, and currently serves as the vice president of Business Development in which capacity he manages commercial relationships and all aspects of government affairs. Before joining Tesla, Diarmuid served as chief of staff for Political Military Affairs at the U.S. State Department, where he was involved in policy and operational support to the U.S military in various theaters of operation. Before his tenure in Washington, Diarmuid worked in corporate strategy as a management consultant for Accenture, as a founder of educational software developer, Real Time Learning, and as a senior executive with both McCann Erickson Worldwide and Young and Rubicam. Over the course of his career, he has managed international operations, projects, and marketing for such brands as Coca Cola, Gillette, and AT&T, among others. Diarmuid has earned a bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College, a master’s degree in Foreign Policy from the University of Virginia, and an M.B.A. from Kellogg University.
Brian O’Malley was appointed president and CEO of Domino Foods, Inc in 2001. His career in the sugar industry started in 1982 when he joined the accounting department of Amstar Corporation, the former parent company of Domino Sugar. Brian holds an undergraduate degree in Business from Rowan University and an M.B.A. in Finance from Rutgers University. He is a former vice chairman of the Chairman’s Advisory Council to the Grocery Manufacturers Association and was president of the International Sugar Club for 2008. He is presently vice chairman of The Sugar Association in Washington, DC. He resides in Middletown, NJ with his wife Maureen and their three children, Erin, Michael, and Kevin. Brian is a first-generation Irish American. His father’s family hails from Knocknahila and Clare, and his mother’s family has roots in Waterford and Galway. Brian says, “As an Irish Catholic, my father taught me about the sanctity of the mass, about the responsibility to work hard and the importance of leadership in the family, at your business and in your community.”
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1919 Investment Council
Harry O’Mealia is the chief executive officer and president of 1919 Investment Counsel, and is a member of the New Jersey Advisory Council for The Trust for Public Land, a board member of the New Jersey Community Foundation, and a member of the Bars of the State of New Jersey and the U.S. Supreme Court. Harry’s Irish roots trace back to Westport, Mayo, and he claims Gráinne Ní Mháille, the pirate queen, as an ancestor. His family meandered to the United States in stages beginning in the early 19th century and he claimed Irish citizenship through his grandmother Agnes McDonnell Holmes. Irish quirks are his family’s behavioral norms and he says he wouldn’t have it any other way. Harry has held senior positions at JP Morgan, US Trust Company, and Tiedemann Trust Company, and served as President of O’Mealia Outdoor Advertising Company, of Black River Media, and as an associate in the corporate department of Lowenstein, Sandler. He received his B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania in English and history, his J.D. from Boston College, and his M.B.A. in finance from Columbia University.
Don O’Neill is the creative director of THEIA, an eveningwear and bridal collection and a favorite of brides and celebrities alike. Before launching THEIA in 2009, O’Neill had interned for Christian Lacroix in Paris. After moving to New York, O’Neill served as the creative director for Carmen MarcValvo for 10 years and then Badgley Mischka Platinum for three years. He is particularly proud of the brand’s involvement with charitable causes, including Concern Worldwide. Don was born in the seaside town of Ballyheigue, County Kerry, where his parents ran a bed and breakfast. While working as a chef, he entered the Irish Independent’s fashion design competition with a dress he’d designed for his sister, hoping to win the second place prize, a coat, that would look amazing on Deirdre. He won first prize, which was tuition to the Barbara Bourke College of Fashion Design in Dublin. The incredible Atlantic vistas from his childhood home, in part inspired his creativity, and he says his Irish heritage and west coast upbringing have very much “informed the man and designer I am today.” He and his fiancé Pascal Gullermie live in New York.
PATRICK J. PURCELL
James O’Reilly is managing director and cofounder of NeueHause, a private workplace collective for solopreneurs and small teams of innovators working in various creative fields. Before founding NeueHause, James was entrepreneur-in-residence at Coriolis Ventures, an early stage venture fund. After completing his M.B.A. from the Universitat Pompeu Fabra Barcelona in 2007, James joined Tungsten Partners in New York as an associate analyst, primarily focused on the expansion of the Ace Hotel Group. James was also responsible for the curation of the much acclaimed retail environment at Ace New York and originated strategic partnerships for the Ace Hotel brand, and advised many creative fashion brands and advertising agencies on their real estate strategies. James is engaged to Katie McShane, and was born in Ireland with Dubliners for both parents. He believes that “as a small nation with limited national resources in the traditional sense,” Ireland has “a rich history of doing more with less, by applying an industrious creativity to discover new ways to prosper and succeed,” and says he is particularly grateful for this “uniquely Irish characteristic.” 70 IRISH AMERICA DECEMBER / JANUARY 2016
With 19 years experience in the media business, Sean O’Sullivan recently joined Carat as an SVP Client Business partner. Beginning his career in Dublin, after leading the winning team at a young advertising professionals training conference in London during the summer of 1999, Sean joined Universal McCann’s international planning department in New York in March of 2000. There he worked on global strategic planning for CPG clients and Pan Regional specific clients. In 2003 he also added U.S. responsibilities. A graduate of the University of Limerick and the Dublin Institute of Technology, Sean is a founding member of the UM Charity Council in support of Free the Children and a member of the Communications Council for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Sean, whose parents both came from Effin, Co. Limerick, was born in the Bronx, but grew up in Killaloe, Co. Clare and used to play hurling for Clare on a team in New York. He believes that “being Irish instills in a person a belief that with hard work and perseverance any challenge can be overcome.”
Jim O’Neill is the chief people officer of HubSpot, an inbound marketing and sales software company. He previously held the CIO position from the company’s founding in 2007 until 2015. Prior to joining HubSpot in 2007, Jim was president and CTO of Pyramid Digital Solutions. He attended the Worcester Polytechnic Institute where he completed a B.S. in electrical engineering and he is still involved in various advisory roles there. Jim is a fourth-generation Irish American and in recent years, with the opening of HubSpot’s Dublin office, has been able to begin to reconnect with his Irish roots. He retains a love and respect for his Irish heritage saying, “I believe our family has always been instilled to work (and never settle), keep a sense of humility, and most important – help others – all the while never taking yourself too seriously. My family and I try to stay grounded and enjoy each day we have together.” Jim is a noted speaker at technology and cloud industry functions and events, the 2015 Boston CIO of the Year recipient, and active angel investor and advisor, and is always ready to offer help to other start-up companies looking for advice.
Patrick Purcell began his career in the news business as an office boy for the New York Daily News. He currently is the owner, president, and publisher of the Boston Herald and president of Herald Media, Inc. After ten years at the Daily News and publications like the Village Voice and New York Post, he purchased the Boston Herald from News Corp in 1994. Two years later, he launched Herald Interactive, comprised of Boston Herald Radio, Bostonherald.com, jobfind.com, homefind.com and carfind.com. Purcell has been involved with numerous civic, charitable organizations, including: Boston Symphony Orchestra, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston, Boy Scouts of America, and St. John’s University. President Reagan appointed Purcell to serve on the White House Conference for a Drug Free America in 1987. He later served as chairman of Boston Against Drugs. Purcell holds a B.B.A. from St. John’s University and an M.B.A. from Hofstra University. A Queens native and first-generation Irish American, he traces his paternal roots to county Wexford. He and his wife Maureen live in Weston, MA, and have four children and seven grandchildren.
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WAYNE REUVERS LiveTechnology
G. BRINT RYAN
G. Brint Ryan is the founder, CEO, and chairman of the board of directors for Ryan, LLC, a Dallas-based multi-national leader in the tax services industry. Ryan has become the largest indirect tax practice in North America and currently employs the largest workforce in the industry, with more than 2,100 professionals and associates servicing over 12,000 clients in over 40 countries. In 2015, Ryan was selected to the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For list. Born in west Texas, Brint is a seventh-generation Irish American whose ancestors emigrated from Tipperary and fought in the Revolutionary War. This lineage, he says, “provides me with a common link to generations of hard-working, risk-taking Irish that achieved amazing things,” and says he is lucky to have also “inherited some of these qualities from my Irish ancestors.” Brint was appointed by Governor Rick Perry to the board of regents at his alma mater, the University of North Texas, and received the Patriot Award for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve in 2010. He lives in Dallas with his wife, Amanda, and their five children.
Matthew Ryan is global chief strategy officer for Starbucks. In this role, he has responsibility for Starbucks long-term strategic planning process, identifying new avenues for growth, advancing the company’s data analytics and customer insight capabilities, and strengthening the company’s fast-growing customer relationship management and loyalty capabilities. Matt also serves on the company’s Operations Leadership Team, which is responsible for overseeing how company strategies successfully translate to operating plans. He graduated from Harvard University magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in history and literature. Matthew was born fifth-generation Irish in Buffalo, NY, and though his family has been in the U.S. for generations says, “When I visit Ireland, I feel right at home, connected to the people, the land, and the spirit of the place.” He also says he owes Ireland for his sense of humor. Matthew is further connected to Ireland through his husband, Thomas, who by mere coincidence has the same surname. His husband is second-generation Irish and is applying for an Irish passport.
MARGARET MARY SMYTH
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 companies. 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 multitude of farm animals. His grandfather, James Donnelly, was born in Portadown, Co. Armagh.
Dr. Anita Sands is currently a Board Director of three Silicon Valley public companies - Symantec Corporation, Service Now, and Pure Storage, and serves as an advisor to Grand Central Tech, a leading NYC technology incubator where she mentors startup tech companies. Dr. Sands is from Co. Louth, and proud to be a part of the Irish diaspora which she considers a national treasure. In that regard, she believes that “Ireland’s great balance is off the books, in our ability to connect and in the value of our connections.” On four occasions she has been invited by the Taoiseach to participate in the Global Irish Economic forum, and is a former all-Ireland public speaking champion. She earned both her Ph.D. in atomic and molecular physics and bachelor’s in physics & applied math from Queen’s University Belfast. She earned her M.S. in public policy and Management from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh where she was a Fulbright Scholar. She is also a member of the International Women’s Forum, the New York Women’s Forum, and a mentor for W.O.M.E.N. in America – an organization that enables women to fulfill their maximum potential in their chosen profession. 72 IRISH AMERICA DECEMBER / JANUARY 2016
Peggy Smith is a co-founder of Cowgirl Creamery, based in Point Reyes, California, along with Sue Conley (also featured on this list). Born in Texas and raised in northern Virginia, Peggy attended the University of Tennessee (where she and Sue met), and began her cooking career in the food business at Gallagher’s Pub in Washington, D.C. Peggy proudly names the Lanings of County Cork as Irish ancestors and credits them for her love of folk music – She often joined the open mic sessions at Gallagher’s Irish Pub, in D.C. After a cross-country road trip landed her in San Francisco in 1976, Peggy honed her cooking skills at numerous Bay area establishments, including Noe Valley Bar and Grill, Mount View Hotel, and eventually Chez Panisse, where she stayed until going into business with Sue in 1997 when they began producing cheese in a salvaged 200 gallon cottage cheese vat. Today, Cowgirl Creamery now operates a cheese distribution company, two retail shops and two cheese production facilities and work with a staff of 100 people to produce and distribute artisan and farmstead cheese.
Margaret Mary Smyth is CFO for National Grid U.S., one of the world’s largest publicly owned utilities. She is responsible for all finance, accounting, transactional, and regulatory and pricing activities, and leads over 1,400 finance and shared services professionals. She is also a trustee for the Irish nonprofit, Concern Worldwide. Peggy’s paternal ancestors come from Sligo while the maternal side hails from Leitrim. Her in-laws are also immigrants from Leitrim and Roscommon. Peggy, her husband, and her two sons have dual citizenship. They own her mother-in-law’s family home in Fairymount, Co. 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.”
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T. KELLEY SPILLANE
BRIAN W. STACK
TED M. SULLIVAN
CIE Tours International
Brian W. Stack is managing director of CIE Tours International, one of the largest producers of tourists to Ireland, Scotland, and many other areas of Europe. 2013 marked the 82nd anniversary of CIE, and was also the company’s most successful year to date. He was inducted into the Irish America Hall of Fame in 2014. Prior to joining CIE, Brian worked with Aer Lingus, The Irish Tourist Board, and Ocean Reef Club in Florida. Brian has served as chairman of the United States Tour Operators Association, was president of the Society of Incentive Travel Executives, is vice chairman of the Irish American Cultural Institute and is president of the Ireland-U.S. Council for Commerce and Industry. His awards also include “Man of the Year” from the Incentive Travel Industry and “International Executive of the Year” by the World Congress on Marketing and Incentive Travel, in addition to previously being honored in the Top 100 Irish Americans by Irish America. A resident of Rye, NY, Brian is married to Anne-Marie and has two grown children with five grandchildren. He is a Dublin native.
Ted M. Sullivan is a Co-Founder and the Chief Customer Officer of dRSTi360, a company that services multinational Fortune 500 clients within the entertainment and media industry. Prior to this role, he was an IBM executive and managing director within KPMG’s Entertainment and Media Practice with more than 18 years experience focusing on strategy and operational consulting. Ted traces his mother’s ancestors to Co. Tyrone, and his father’s to Co. 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. He has served twice as parade chairman of the Atlanta St. Patrick’s Day Parade and was the parade’s honorary Grand Marshal in 2005. Ted visits Ireland every year to reconnect with friends in Navan, Cork, and the north of Ireland, where he has participated in various political forums. He holds a B.S. in accounting and finance from Troy State University. Ted resides in Atlanta and enjoys spending time on the golf course with his daughter, Mary Lois.
DAVID J. WALSH
Amalgamated Family of Companies
T. Kelley Spillane is senior vice president of Global Sales at Castle Brands Inc. He joined Castle Brands during its start up and has been an integral part in the company’s substantial domestic and international growth. Prior to CBI, Kelley was with Carillon Importers Ltd., 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 and notes, “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 Irish Catholic 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 with his father’s family originating in Ballyspillane, Co. Kerry, while his mother’s family comes out of Ballyferriter in Dingle.
Anne Sweeney is former co-chair of Disney Media Networks and president of the Disney/ABC Television Group, having left her post earlier this year to pursue a career in television directing. A leading industry figure, she was named one of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Business by Fortune and one of The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women by Forbes. Anne is a recipient of the Cable Television Public Affairs Association’s President’s Award, the Golden Mike Award for Outstanding Contributions to Broadcasting by the Broadcasters Foundation of America, and the Matrix Award for television from New York Women in Communications, Inc. Anne was elected director of the International Council of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in 2001. In 2007, she was inducted into the Cable Hall of Fame. She has received the Committee of 200’s Luminary Award, and in October of 2011 became the first female executive in history to receive MIPCOM’s Personality of the Year. Anne, who earned a B.A. from the College of New Rochelle and an Ed.M. from Harvard, traces her roots to Meath, Kerry, and Mayo. 74 IRISH AMERICA DECEMBER / JANUARY 2016
David J. Wash is president and CEO of the Amalgamated Family of Companies and is the CEO of Alico Services Corporation. David significantly restructured and improved Amalgamated, its national recognition and reach and first class customer service. Born and raised in an Irish enclave in Iowa, he holds a Juris Doctorate from the University of Wisconsin, master’s degrees from both Alaska Pacific University and Cornell University, and a B.A. from Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa. He is the Chairman-Elect of the Life Insurance Council of New York and is on the boards of the Insurance Federation of New York, the Sidney Hillman Foundation and the College of Mount St. Vincent and Iona Prep. He is also a member of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick and the Northern Ireland Children’s Exchange. Of his Irish heritage, David says, “I am proud of our relentless intellectual curiosity, passion and perseverance, our music, literature and culture.”
Brian Wynne is president of NBTY Americas and CEO of its U.S. subsidiary, United States Nutrition, Inc. Brian earned a B.A. from Villanova University. He also has management certificates from Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern, Columbia, and the University of Michigan. He served for ten years on the board of the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation until his departure in December, 2014. He currently serves on the Villanova University President’s Council. Brian is second-generation Irish with roots in Longford and Roscommon. His Father’s side of the family, including his grandfather, grandmother, and all their children, were all New York City Police officers. “Being of Irish heritage has always been important to me and my family.” says Brian, “Celebrating our heritage at the Pearl River, NY St. Patrick’s Day Parade is always a highlight of our year.” He is a former member of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, and with his wife Noreen has three children, Shannon, Matt, and Allie. Shannon, their oldest, is just returning from studying abroad in Galway and Brian is “happy to see our heritage passed down to our three children.”
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But, being part of a large family, it’s never easy, because if you visit one, the others say, “Hey, why did you not come to see us?” It’s a challenge, but it’s a beautiful challenge, because if they didn’t want to see me it’d be another problem. And I wouldn’t say I’ve found the holy grail, but I have, in more recent times, tried to coordinate things like having a barbecue at my cottage or getting all my brothers and sister to come visit me, because at least that way we all get to get together.
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What are the most significant changes to the North?
Well, the biggest change is the signing of the Good Friday peace agreement – now you don’t have to worry about security or bombings like we did up until that historic day. But the other thing is that because of that Northern Ireland is now getting direct foreign investment. A lot of major companies are setting up in Belfast. I think despite all the challenges the government has done a good job in redeveloping Belfast. The place is bustling with new hotels and restaurants – we’ve now got 1,000 restaurants in Belfast and more Michelin stars than Manchester, England. It’s a hub of social activity.
What was it like working for Guinness during the Troubles?
Looking back now, it’s hard to believe that we actually worked through some of those terrible days. But it did teach all of us, and certainly we could never give in. We went to work some days, stayed at work some days, when there were terrible atrocities happening. And I sometimes think back and ask myself, “Did that really happen?” But it made me very resilient. When we have normal business challenges here in the U.S. and some of my people are getting a little edgy, I think back to the days I was working with Guinness when we just didn’t know if all our people would make it home. So when we look at a business challenge here, for me, it’s very different. And I think, “Okay, this is a problem. We just have to sit down and figure out a solution to it.” What that has helped me be, and I’ve been given some nice credits by my colleagues here for it, is that I’m very good operating under stress. Mini crisis management has no fear for me. I’ve dealt with things that are 50 times worse.
What do you think can be done in the North right now?
I would make an appeal to our ministers to sit down, work things out and start building a province that welcomes foreign investment with open arms. We’ve got fantastic education and infrastructure, so let’s maximize that by bringing in highpaid jobs for a highly skilled workforce. Our politicians need to think about not today, but what do the young people of Northern Ireland need 20 years from now.
You are the chairman of Co-operation Ireland. What kind of work do you do?
Yes, I’m involved now 25 years, and I spend most of my time and effort focused on youth and youth leadership programs, because that’s where the future is. On the one hand it’s a wonderful thing, but on the other hand it’s a little sad, because ideally I’d like to shut it down. When we shut it down it means we no longer need it. And when we no longer need it, it means we have reconciliation. The big challenge for me and for Co-operation Ireland is to give it scale. It costs money to put each person through this program, and I spend most of my time at Co-operation Ireland trying to raise funds so we can put more young people through the youth leadership program.
What is your take on the relationship between the Irish and the drink?
I think that’s a sad relationship, and sometimes difficult to challenge, because it’s very stereotypical. And I meet it a lot. And it’s almost like a joke.
You mean people say it to you.
Yes. I wouldn’t say all the time, but very often. The reality is the majority of Irish people are very socially responsible. The worst thing for our industry as a whole, and for me in particular because I am the vice-chairman, about to become the chairman in February, of the Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S., is to see someone intoxicated. It’s no good. It’s no good for our consumers; it’s no good 76 IRISH AMERICA DECEMBER / JANUARY 2016
for our industry. Because that’s not what we’re about. We’re about having a socially responsible drink, either with food, or convivially with friends. So there’s a stereotype of the Irish drinking a lot. I think it’s very unfair. Whatever truth may have been in that 200 years ago, it’s not the modern Ireland. And when I do hear about it I’m quick to point out that we need to be more accurate regarding today’s Ireland, compared to an Ireland of 200 years ago.
Who do you bounce ideas off of now?
Today, I have a boss in Paris called Christophe Navarre, and while he is my boss, he’s the person I sit down and talk to about thoughts, concerns, opportunities, and it’s a very healthy relationship in that we can share in confidence the things we need to talk about. But if it’s an American challenge, an American issue, then he likes us to get on with it. And thankfully, over the years, I’m not afraid to make decisions.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
I think from the tenth year of my 18 years with John Lavery. He said, “Listen, we over complicate this business. And let me tell you what’s important. You can put it in which ever order you like, but there are only two things that matter: people and brands; brands and people. If you think about that, if you get the two things right, most problems turn into opportunities.” Sometimes in the midst of all the hustle and bustle, I sit down and write it up on my white board: “Brands and People.” That’s it.
It’s Hennessy’s 250th year. What do you think the legacy of Hennessy is?
This has been a particularly great year for Hennessy because of that birthday. And I’m delighted to say we’re having a record year in the U.S. But the legacy I think that comes to my mind immediately is that the Moët Hennessy brands have been involved in every major social and historic occasion that there has been for hundreds of years. You see them in the movies; you see them in celebrations; you see them at the end of sporting events; you see them in music. I guess you could sum it up by saying they have been a part of life. It’s hard to think of life without these brands. I remember reading a story about a great leader who said, “in defeat I need champagne, and in victory, I will enjoy champagne.”
Do you have a favorite brand that Moët Hennessy controls?
I think it’s pretty impossible not to like any one of those brands. I really enjoy Hennessy X.O on the rocks, but I also really appreciate our wine portfolio. And I love our Cloudy Bay, from New Zealand. I am very fortunate to have such a portfolio of brands, and one of the reasons I’m here, frankly, is if you want to end your career in the alcoholic beverage industry, well, without boasting, there are no better brands on earth than the ones at Moët Hennessy.
IRISH AMERICA would like to extend a special thank you to our annual sponsors
Mutual of America The CocA-Cola Company Guinness Tourism ireland The American Ireland Fund Quinnipiac University UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate School of Business CIE Tours International House of Waterford Crystal 1-800-Flowers.com
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Bill Wynne and His Lucky War Dog,
The famous war dog who served in World War II, and Bill Wynne, the U.S. Army Air Force G.I. who adopted her. By Jerri Donohue
Photos used by permission Smoky War Dog, LLC/Wm. A. Wynne, copyright 2013.
he first time Cpl. William Wynne saw Smoky, he found it hard to believe she was a dog. “She was as big as my G.I. shoe,” Wynne says. “She weighed all of about four pounds.” In addition, the animal was almost bald; someone had hacked off most of her fur in an attempt to make her comfortable in the tropical heat. It was March 1944. The day before, Pvt. Ed Downey’s jeep had stalled in the New Guinea jungle near the 5th Air Force’s primitive encampment. As he tinkered with the engine, Downey heard an animal whimper. The G.I. investigated and discovered a scrawny little dog struggling to jump out of a foxhole. Downey brought her back to camp, but said nothing to Wynne, his tent mate and an avowed animal lover. Downey insisted he wouldn’t share quarters with “a mutt.” Instead, he gave Smoky to another buddy. The petite pooch was destined to be Wynne’s dog, however. The following day, her temporary owner needed cash for a poker game. He sold Smoky to Wynne for two pounds Australian, then worth $6.44 U.S. More than 70 years later, Bill Wynne considers this the bargain of a lifetime. Named for her coloring, the little blue-gray dog had luck to spare, beginning with her fortuitous rescue by Downey. Fortune smiled on her again when Wynne became her master. He immediately took her to the
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Quartermaster Corps veterinarian for rabies vaccinations. Fearful that Smoky would contract scrub typhus, a virulent tick-borne disease that killed dogs and sometimes humans, Wynne daily bathed her in his helmet. He fed Smoky army chow and gave her chlorinated water. During air raids, he raced with his pet to shelters where he covered her sensitive ears with his hands to muffle the booms of exploding bombs. Smoky delighted in chasing enormous exotic butterflies around the jungle, a pastime Wynne permitted while watching out for pythons that would prey on her. One day she slipped too far into the jungle and her frantic master enlisted the help of natives to retrieve her. Smoky distracted Wynne from boredom, stress, and homesickness. His forebears had come to the States from County Waterford and County Mayo and settled in Pennsylvania, but Wynne spent most of his childhood in Cleveland, Ohio. Shortly before shipping overseas, he proposed to his longtime sweetheart, Margie Roberts, and then carved their initials on the trunk of a beech in Cleveland’s Metroparks. Earlier,
PHOTO/WILLIAM A. WYNNE
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Margie had given him a mongrel puppy, Toby. When he took Toby to obedience school, Wynne discovered his own talent for dog training. Now Toby lived with Wynne’s mother. Thousands of miles away, the 22-year-old corporal taught Smoky tricks whenever he was off duty. She quickly mastered simple commands and then learned to play dead, jump through hoops, climb a ladder, cross a tightrope blindfolded, ride a scooter, and “walk” a barrel. By omitting an “e” from her name, Wynne shortened it, making it easier for Smoky to spell. She did this by choosing scrambled cardboard letters in the proper order. Smoky even “jitterbugged” with her master, lifting a front paw four times, and then spinning around as he did the same. Accompanied by his harmonica, she “sang” for two-minute stretches. Wynne gradually acquired props for Smoky’s routine such as a scooter, a sliding board, a tightrope, and a ladder. She even wore a costume – a clown suit sewn from a salvaged parachute. Wynne’s “day job” consisted of working in the photo lab. He also photographed accident sites on search-and-rescue missions for downed airmen. Hazards included sudden, violent storms, flying extensive distances over water, and the threat of crashing in the jungle. After his first mission, Wynne’s friends gathered in his tent to hear about it. Wynne recalls that one of them asked, “Hey, Wynne, if you get knocked off, can I have Smoky?” Immediately other men protested. They squabbled
over who would be responsible for Smoky if Wynne’s plane didn’t return. He interrupted them. “I said, ‘The hell with you guys! I’ll take the dog with me. She’s going to be good luck!’ “And she was.” Snug in her master’s canvas musette bag, Smoky slept through 12 combat missions hanging from the ceiling of an inadequately armed Catalina PBY5a. Meanwhile, Wynne speculated about Smoky’s unlikely appearance in the New Guinea jungle. Guessing that retreating Japanese forces had abandoned the dog, he asked an interpreter to talk to her. Smoky ignored every command in Japanese, however. Wynne also puzzled over his pet’s breed. He had never seen a creature like her. Squadron members solved the mystery when they spotted a National Geographic photo of a show-quality Yorkshire terrier, a “Yorkie.” It was a dead ringer for Smoky. Wynne was assigned to the 26th Photo Reconnaissance Squadron. When its men chose Smoky as their mascot, Wynne snapped a photo of her peering out of his helmet and entered Yank magazine’s mascot contest. Months passed before he learned that Smoky had won “Best Mascot” for the South West Pacific Area. By then, Wynne was recuperating from dengue fever in the 233rd Station Hospital. Wynne’s buddies brought his pet to visit him, and they delivered his mail, which included the issue of Yank with Smoky’s winning photo. Smoky’s triumph created a sensation. Even reformed dog-hater Ed Downey, then serving in a different outfit, made a special trip to see the Yorkie he’d rescued. Nurses took Smoky on rounds so she could cheer up soldiers wounded on Biak and Wakde Islands. She worked as a therapy dog by day and slept on her master’s cot at night. Upon Wynne’s discharge from the hospital, Smoky accompanied him on a two-week recuperative leave to Brisbane. At the invitation of the Red Cross, she showcased her repertoire of tricks for sailors and Marines at the 109th Fleet Naval Hospital and soldiers at the 42nd General Army Hospital. Fans in wheelchairs ferried her from ward to ward. Smoky’s luck held when she and Wynne returned to the combat zone. In January 1945, kamikazes attacked their convoy as the 26th Photo Reconnaissance Squadron headed for the Philippines. A shell from a nearby American destroyer struck their vessel mere feet from where they huddled, wounding eight men. Neither Wynne nor Smoky was harmed, however. When the squadron set up in Lingayen, about 80 miles northwest of Manila, the mite of a dog was a mighty big help to men of the communications section. They asked Wynne if she would pull a telephone line through a 70-foot-long culvert under the airfield. If she completed the task, Smoky would spare her two-legged buddies from exposure to strafing by enemy aircraft as they spent days digging a trench in the runway, laying wire and replacing the airstrip. Although worried that snakes or rats might lurk in the pipe, Wynne agreed.
OPPOSITE PAGE TOP: In this 1944 photo Smoky tosses back her head and “sings” with Bill Wynne (left) and his buddy, Cpl. Donald Esmond in Nadzab, New Guinea. CENTER: Yank magazine named Smoky “Best Mascot for the Southwest Pacific” and printed this snapshot of the Yorkie peering from Wynne’s helmet. LEFT: In Cleveland’s Metroparks, Bill Wynne stands by the memorial erected in 2005 to honor Smoky and dogs of all wars.
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To his relief, Smoky finished the job in just a few minutes. The feat earned her a steak and official “war dog” status. Meanwhile, Smoky’s reputation as an entertainer traveled with the squadron. In Manila, the Red Cross asked Wynne to do a show at the 120th General Army Hospital. War-weary troops also laughed at Smoky’s antics in a recreation hall on Okinawa. Japan surrendered while Wynne was stationed on Okinawa, but new dangers arrived with typhoon season. His tent vanished as soon as the first storm struck, and so he clutched Smoky, braced himself against the wind and inched his way to the mess hall. Rain drenched that flimsy building for days, however. Desperate to escape the relentless downpour, Wynne and his little dog took shelter in a burial cave.
William Wynne (fourth from right) and Edward Downey pose with unidentified 5th Air Force officers and native New Guinean islanders.
ABOVE: Smoky stands with her Champ Mascot trophy, now permanently displayed in The American Kennel Club Museum of the Dog in West St. Louis, Missouri. Here she wears a special “jacket” sewn from a card table cover by Red Cross volunteers in Australia and adorned with 5th Air Force insignia.
he squadron relocated to Korea not long after, and then received orders back to the States. Military regulations banned animals from homeward-bound ships, but Wynne would not abandon Smoky. He hid her in his oxygen mask’s carrying case and smuggled her aboard the U.S.S. William H. Gordon. Sympathetic sailors stashed larger dogs in a safe compartment. Despite threats from the commander, all the canine stowaways eventually received permission to enter the United States. With discharge papers in hand, Wynne arrived in Cleveland in November 1945. Smoky smoothly transitioned to civilian life but continued to entertain G.I.s from time to time. At a veterans hospital, an incoherent soldier abruptly reached for the dog. Wynne interrupted the act to hand him the Yorkie. The man smiled and rocked the little bundle. Weeping nurses informed Wynne that this catatonic patient had not responded to his environment in two years – until his encounter with Smoky. In 1946 Wynne and Margie married. Wynne dreamed of training dogs for movies, and so the newlyweds struck out for Hollywood with Smoky in tow. When she demonstrated her tricks, Wynne quickly landed a job as an assistant dog handler. He worked with dogs appearing in movies with Fred MacMurray, Ronald Reagan, and Claudette Colbert. Despite his grueling schedule, Wynne’s wages barely made ends meet. Margie soon suffered from homesickness, and it turned out, from morning sickness, too. Choosing his family’s needs over a career in show business, Wynne returned to Cleveland and worked as a flight photographer for the National
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Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (later NASA). He and Smoky moonlighted, performing at county fairs and orphanages, nightclubs and nursing homes. As Mr. Pokie and his dog Smoky, they entertained children on a Cleveland TV show. They also brought dog-training sessions to live television. Smoky retired from show biz in 1954. Despite a few health problems, she remained alert and active until February 1957, when she died during an afternoon nap at the age of 14. The family broke a park rule and buried their tiny terrier under the tree on which Wynne had carved his initials and Margie’s 17 years earlier. Cleveland recognized Smoky as a local celebrity, and a daily newspaper printed her obituary. When former Army nurse Grace Guderian Heidenreich read it, she contacted Wynne to relate her own wartime mystery. In December 1943, when she was Lt. Guderian and stationed in Australia, she received a Yorkshire terrier puppy as a Christmas gift from her future husband. Capt. Heidenreich had purchased the dog in Australia. When Lt. Guderian’s hospital unit was transferred to New Guinea, the Yorkie went with her. Unfortunately, the nurse took her pet to a U.S.O. show, where the terrier wandered off. Since personnel from all New Guinea bases attended that show, someone may have found the dog and brought her to Nadzab, where she got lost in the jungle. Given that few purebred Yorkshire terriers were registered anywhere during the war years, Wynne believes that Smoky must have been Lt. Guderian’s pet. Lt. Guderian married Capt. Heidenreich, a Clevelander, and settled in his hometown after the war. Smoky’s original owner had lived just blocks away from the Wynnes for most of the little dog’s life. Smoky’s fame continues to grow decades after her death. Now 93 years old, Wynne currently seeks a producer for the screenplay based on his memoir, Yorkie Doodle Dandy. The cable program “Animal Planet” devoted two episodes to Smoky and she has appeared in more than 50 books. In recent years, the Imperial War Museum in London and the National World War II Museum in New Orleans featured her in special exhibits about animals in wartime. Memorials to Smoky have sprung up throughout the United States and Australia. She represents all war dogs in a monument in Cleveland’s Metroparks, dedicated on Veterans Day, 2005. Based on Yank magazine’s winning mascot photo, a bronze statue shows the grinning Yorkshire terrier nestled in her master’s helmet.
uring her life Smoky served as a therapy dog, a war dog, an entertainer, and a first-class morale booster. All these roles resulted from her chance discovery by a G.I. in the New Guinea jungle. One of her greatest tributes is a living legacy – each year Yorkshire Terrier National Rescue recognizes extraordinary cases of abandoned Yorkies who found loving adoptive homes. It’s called The Smoky Award. IA
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window on the past | An Irish Celebrity Chef
Kathy White House Were she alive today, the odds are that Kathy Buckley would be as well-known as celebrity chefs Jamie Oliver and Nigella Lawson. Sharon Ní Chonchúir profiles the Irish woman who was head cook for three U.S. presidents.
athy Buckley was born in Upper William Street in Listowel, Co. Kerry. She was the eldest of seven. Her father worked as a cooper in a workshop at the rear of their house, and her mother came from a longestablished family of grocers and shoemakers. When Kathy was in her early teens she left school to take a job in the kitchen of the Butler Arms Hotel in Waterville. She showed a talent for cooking, and eventually that flair would take her all the way to the White House. In the early 1900s, a group of wealthy Americans, including one J.P. Morgan, visited the hotel. By now Kathy was head cook, and Morgan was so impressed by her cooking that he asked her to come and work for him in Connecticut. “Kathy told J.P. that he would have to ask her father first,” says Vincent Carmody, a relative of Kathy’s by marriage. “So J.P. wrote to Lawrence Buckley and he gave his permission, provided that J.P. promised to send Kathy home if she was unhappy or unable to settle in America.” He needn’t have worried, for Kathy settled in quickly and started to add to her culinary skills. The lavish banquets she prepared in the Morgans’ mansion soon became legendary. “She told me a story from that time that made her sad,” recalls Patrick Buckley, Kathy’s nephew, who still lives in the house on William Street where Kathy was born. “One day, she was preparing steaks for the Morgans’ dogs to eat and she couldn’t help feeling it was wrong. She knew there were many men in America and at home in Ireland who were starving. She felt guilty giving such good meat to dogs.” However, Kathy’s own story was not destined to be sad, and it held one more twist in store. J.P. Morgan had Calvin Coolidge, then the U.S. Vice President, to dinner one night and he too was taken with Kathy’s cooking. He was so taken that he asked her to become head of the White House kitchens when he became President. Kathy retained this position for the duration of his presidency and for the presidential terms of both Herbert Hoover and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. She would look
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back upon this time with fondness when she eventually retired in Listowel in the early 1950s. By that stage, she had earned the nickname “Kathy White House” in the town and she often regaled her family and friends with tales of her time among the powerful and famous. The story that stands out for Patrick Buckley is the one she told him about Charles Lindbergh. “President Coolidge hosted a private reception to honor him for becoming the first solo pilot to cross the Atlantic,” says Patrick. “After the reception, Kathy was one of the people he invited to take a trip with him on his plane. She didn’t like the idea and told him she would rather stay on terra firma. Imagine!” The Listowel short story writer Bryan McMahon had stories about Kathy too. His mother Joanna was friends with Kathy and he would often eavesdrop on their conversations. He shared many of these stories with Carmody. “Kathy told Joanna about a time when the White House staff were lined up to meet a new president,” says Vincent. “When Kathy was introduced as the head of the kitchen, she felt obliged to say that she had never voted for his party and never would. The President might have been taken aback but he told her that was her right as an American citizen. Doesn’t that show the type of character she was?” That president was Franklin Roosevelt. Another tale shows that same independence of character. Once, Kathy was about to enter the lift when a senior member of the executive, who was already in the lift and didn’t like mixing with the household staff, told her to wait for its return. “Quick as a flash, Kathy replied, ‘That’s fine, I will share with the President,’ who was coming up the corridor,” says Vincent. “She was a strong woman, never afraid to speak her mind.” Nevertheless, she was also someone who knew her place in the White House. When Joanna asked Kathy if she ever witnessed any global crises, her response was a modest one. “If my sandwiches came back from the Oval Office uneaten, I knew there was a world crisis,” she said. She brought mementos of her time in the White House back with her to Listowel when she retired. They remain there to this day. One of the most prized is the Christmas present Kathy received from President Hoover in 1930. The White House was being renovated at the time and wooden beams were replaced by steel. The President used some of the beams to make pen holders
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for his staff. Patrick Buckley now has this penholder on his wall along with the envelope and note that came with it. “All the way from the White House to William Street,” he laughs. Vincent Carmody has recipe books and menu cards that Kathy collected on her travels. “She was always looking for new dishes to serve the Presidents,” he says. There are also letters Kathy received from Herbert Hoover’s wife Lou Henry, as well as the key which President Coolidge received when he was given the freedom of Fort Worth in Texas. He gave this to Kathy as a gift when he returned from that city. Kathy broke her hip in 1969 and spent some time in a nursing home in Listowel before she died. Both Vincent and Patrick spent many evenings with her there. “Her mind would often travel back to earlier days
as she lay in that darkened room,” remembers Vincent. “She would ask me to light a fire in the Oval Office or collect a tray from the Rose Garden. She never forgot the White House to her dying day.” And her nephew will never forget his earliest memory of his aunt. “Kathy placed a huge bowl of homemade custard, rich with cream, in front of me. I was used to Bird’s Custard (a readymade brand) at the time and I told her I didn’t like hers. She threw me a look and said, ‘If it was good enough for three American presidents, it’s good enough for you.’” The people of Listowel have only just begun to remember Kathy Buckley. A plaque was erected in her honor outside her home this June, celebrating the life of a cook whose culinary talent took her from humble beginnings in north Kerry to the bustling kitchens of the American White House. IA
TOP: Kathy Buckley outside the White House. ABOVE: Vincent Carmody and Patrick Buckley pictured in the William Street house where Kathy was born. ABOVE LEFT: American Ambassador Kevin O’Malley and his wife, Dena, with local writer Billy Keane unveiling a plaque to Kathy Buckley. OPPOSITE PAGE: Kathy’s personal chicken tamale pot pie and potato muffin recipes.
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The Last Dance what are you like? | By Patricia Harty
ichael Flatley, 57, who has turned traditional Irish dancing into an international phenomenon, is retiring. It’s been his dream since he was a little boy to be on Broadway and that’s where he will be through the end of this year with his new dance show, Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games, which opened at the Lyric Theatre on November 10th to wide acclaim. The son of Irish immigrants, Michael grew up in Chicago. He has three sisters, Anne-Marie, Eliza, and Thomasina, and a brother, Patrick. He took his first dance lessons at age 11 – a relatively late start – but from the beginning his teachers knew he was something special. After winning all the top awards in the Irish dance world while still a teen, he went on tour with The Chieftains, the great Irish traditional group. But making a living as a dancer was hard. When he wasn’t on the road he supplemented his income working at this father’s construction company. All that changed utterly when he choreographed and performed in Riverdance, which ran as the interval show at the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest to spectacular success. He went on to create Lord of the Dance in 1996, which went on to mesmerize audiences around the world (videos sales are in excess of 12 million.) And In 1998, he exceeded his first Guinness World Record of 28 taps per second set in 1989 with a phenomenal 35 taps per second. Over the years, while Michael’s brand has become synonymous with spectacular artistry and grand scale productions such as Feet of Flames, Celtic Tiger, and Lord of the Dance. He is also an accomplished flautist, and has produce two albums, including the two-CD collection, On a Different Note, which mixes traditional and contemporary music. And, with the end of his dancing career in sight, he has embarked on a new career as a painter, substituting paintbrushes with dance movements to capture the mystical, performance aspect of his dancing. “Firedance,” his first exhibition of paintings, took place in London in August and reported sales of over €1 million. While Michael is leaving the stage, Lord of the Dance will go on. “I feel happy to go, happy to let some other really talented, hard-working guys take my place. [Lord of the Dance cast members] James Keegan, James Breen, Matt Smith and Lewis Childs are all great, great dancers who deserve to take over from me,” he said. Married to Niamh O’Brien, a former lead dancer with Lord of the Dance, the couple currently live in Knightsbridge, London where their son Michael St. James Flatley, who is nine, goes to school, Michael announced in October that he was putting his 18th-century Irish mansion Castlehyde House in Cork on the market. Reports that the death of his father, Michael James Flatley last March was a factor in his decision to sell. Publicly, Michael said, “We made the decision to sell Castlehyde but that doesn’t mean that I will be leaving Ireland. I love Ireland with all my heart and I always will.” 84 IRISH AMERICA DECEMBER / JANUARY 2016
Can you talk about the farewell tour and explain why now?
In the last 20 years we’ve done every major venue in the world and in New York we’ve done Radio City Music Hall and Madison Square Garden several times, but we’ve never done Broadway and that’s the jewel in the crown. It seems an appropriate place to finish my career. It’s also an appropriate time as my body taken such beating over the years. I have given my life to my art and I want to finish while I’m still dancing at the highest level.
Was there a specific moment when you knew it was time to hang up your shoes?
I recently had an eight-hour medical and M.R.I. scan of my whole body and it was immediately apparent from the results that the time is now. My spinal column and legs have taken a beating over the years. I would also like to spend more time with my beautiful wife and young son. I have also been pursuing a career in painting, and I’d like to devote more time to that in the future.
How many pairs of dance shoes do you own? And is there a pair that has a special meaning for you?
I have gone through countless pairs of dance shoes in my career. We have auctioned off most to charities over the years but I’ve kept about 20 pairs from special opening nights at Madison Square Garden, London Hyde Park and the London Palladium I have several special pairs and it would be impossible to name one as favorite.
Is there a sense of “I don’t know who I’m going to be without dance?” What emotionally will fill the place?
It’s impossible to replicate the feeling of being on stage with 50 dancers in front of 10,000 people but I’ve achieved that and it’s time for something brand new. I’m looking forward to new and exiting things including my painting career.
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Were you ever an altar boy and did you ever get up to mischief in that role? Michael Fassbender in the latest issue of Elle talked about how he used to sneak some of the wine.
No, I was never an altar boy, but yes I do love my wine!
You played the flute before you took dance lessons. When, how, and why did you decide to take up dance?
In the beginning I was dragged by my two ears to dance class by my parents. At the start I hated every minute but soon became proficient – certainly something in my genes – and if you get good at something naturally you begin to enjoy it, and I began to pursue it enthusiastically.
You made it cool for young boys to take up Irish dance. Back in your day, was there a sense that dancing was effeminate?
PHOTO: BRIAN DOHERTY
When did you realize that you had a talent for painting, what medium do you use, and from where do you draw your inspiration?
TOP: Michael Flatley performing on Broadway in Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games. LEFT: Michael working on one of his abstract paintings.
I have been painting for years but never shown my work to anyone until recently. I mainly paint with acrylic on vinyl, which is unusual I know but I like that. I try not to take inspiration from the outside, I want my work to be clean and unique and uniquely mine, so I tend to spend long periods of time on my own inside my own head – that’s what keeps my work different from everybody else. I suppose it’s a form of abstract expressionism.
Speaking of unique – you evolved Irish dance from the stiff arms by your side presentation to a more joyful form of expression. Did you take any slack from the traditionalists – any nasty comments for straying from the fold?
Yes, more than I would care to mention! Change is always difficult for some people, and this new form of dance is only my personal view. I’ve always explained to them that not everybody has to dance like me or the way I see it. I think all that has eased and dissipated over the years. I think all purists and dance teachers have had a big increase in the number of pupils trying to get into their schools, and I think that has eased the relationship a little bit. They seem to like me now.
Back in the day, Catholic bishops used to issue statements on the evils of dancing, was that when the stiff upper body style emerged?
I have tried to research that for years and never been able to get definitive answer, so if you don’t mind I won’t pass further comment on that one.
When I was young and growing up in Chicago, we didn’t tell many of our friends that we were dancers as we weren’t sure they would look on it very kindly. Those that did know often passed negative remarks. Luckily my brother Pat and I were both amateur boxers [Ed. Michael won the Chicago Golden Gloves competition when he was 17] and so it didn’t bother us as much as most. Today all that has changed, it’s really cool to be a dancer in Lord of the Dance, and we’re taking New York by storm and the lads are loving every minute of it.
In all that you do you seem to be imbued with great self-belief. Where does that come from?
I think if you work really hard at anything in life and become proficient it gives you confidence, and you have to have confidence to succeed at anything in this crazy world. The competition is fierce. You have to be willing to stick your neck out to get anywhere. Never be afraid to push hard, never be afraid to work hard. Never regret things you do in life, only the things you didn’t do.
What do you do now to physically keep in shape?
I run five miles every morning and I rehearse for an hour on stage and then dance in a two-hour show.
Offstage, you seem shy, yet onstage you are quite the showman. Is there ever an inner conflict with both these aspects of your personality?
No, never. People often mistake the man onstage for the person I am. But show business is show business and my DECEMBER / JANUARY 2016 IRISH AMERICA 85
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what are you like? private life is my private life. It seems confusing sometimes for other people but it’s not at all for me.
Is it difficult to be the choreographer, director and the principal dancer in a show?
No, it would be much more difficult to have three different people doing those roles. I think like any great painter you have to paint the whole painting yourself.
Was it difficult to make a living as a dancer in the early days?
PHOTO: BRIAN DOHERTY
It was terribly difficult to make a living. Nobody wanted to hire a dancer, let alone an Irish dancer. I couldn’t get a job as a tap dancer anywhere. I realized as a young man I would have to cut my own path and create my own show as no one was going to hire me, but I held onto my dream, however impossible it seemed at the time, and I’m thankful I did.
You were 36 when Riverdance burst on the scene. Do you wish fame happened sooner?
I believe all things happen at the right time in this life. Maybe I wouldn’t have been ready for it any earlier. Maybe I had to learn hard lessons so I can appreciate the success I have now. I take life as it comes and make the best of it. Somebody once said, “Play the cards you are dealt.” And that’s what I try to do.
Is there a credo that you live by?
Nothing is impossible; follow your dreams.
Do you have a hero – someone who inspires you?
My father was my hero. He passed away in March and I miss him terribly.
Do you strike up conversations on long plane rides?
PHOTO: BRIAN DOHERTY
I read a lot and do a lot of planning and work on planes, so I rarely sleep and I rarely strike up conversations.
Favorite first line in a book or a piece of music?
The opening lines from Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce – “Once upon a time and a very good time it was there was a moocow coming down along the road and this moocow that was coming down along the road met a nicens little boy named baby tuckoo.”
What movie will you watch again and again? Casablanca, and The Godfather.
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Where do you go to think? Ireland.
What’s next for you?
There are many things in the pipeline. I’m looking forward to new and different things. I love new challenges and I can’t wait for the next chapter. I will take what comes, but I believe the best is yet to come. IA
TOP: Michael with Niamh and Michael St. James. CENTER: A young Michael with his father at a family Thanksgiving dinner. BELOW: A section of 42nd Street renamed “Flatley Way” to mark the opening of Lord of the Dance: Dangerous Games.
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roots | By Megan Smolenyak
From Ellen to Excerpt from In Search of Our Ancestors: 101 Stories of Serendipity and Connection by Megan Smolenyak
ABOVE: Just-wed Mike and Eileen Fontana
any of us have a particular ancestor who calls to us louder than others, one with whom we feel a special kinship. For me, this is one of my great-greatgrandmothers, Ellen Nelligan. Perhaps it’s because my own grandmother – her granddaughter – told me tales of her life. Or maybe it’s because she anchors the bottom row of my pedigree – my mother’s mother’s mother’s mother. Or it could just be because her name is fun to say, giving the tongue a workout pronouncing the syllables. But whatever the reason, I’ve always been a little more intrigued with Ellen than my other ancestors. Ellen was born in County Kerry in 1832 and lived until 1927, enjoying a generous lifespan that
produced a healthy paper trail for her descendants to explore. She came to the U.S. in the early 1850s, married a man named Edward Murphy, and settled in Jersey City. Records generated by her family hinted that she may have lived for a short while in New York before moving to New Jersey, but there were so many other leads to pursue that I never quite got around to the New York possibility – until a happy accident occurred. Reading a family history publication, I came across a suggestion to try religious order records for nuns and priests in the family, and flashed back
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to a childhood memory of a nun in a wheelchair. My nana used to take me to visit her at a convent and I remember being told that she was the one who had come up with my mother’s unusual name, Seton. I knew that she was some kind of relative, but it was all hazy to me at the time – as was her name. The five-year-old Megan recalled her as Sister Algernon, but a few phone calls to older relatives quickly corrected that impression; her name was Sister Aldegonde. Fortunately, my relatives also remembered that she had been with the Sisters of Charity at Convent Station, New Jersey. I did a little online surfing and was astonished to stumble across not only the order’s contact information, but an email address for the archives director. A brief inquiry was rewarded a week later with a single sheet of paper in the mail. The document provided various tidbits of Sister Aldegonde’s life, and unexpectedly, one of these morsels was the birthplace of her mother, one of Ellen Nelligan Murphy’s daughters. Apparently, Ellen’s daughter had been born in Piermont, New York. As soon as I read that, something clicked in my brain. Piermont. I had seen that before, but where? Digging through my records, I found the obituary of one of Ellen’s brothers, Daniel. Described as the “grand old man of the Erie,” it noted that he had worked for the railroad in Piermont before the terminus had been moved south to Jersey City. For the first time, I realized that he was not the only Nelligan who had lived in Piermont. Digging into Piermont, I quickly learned that it was located in Rockland County and that there had only been one Catholic church in the town at the time, one that was still in existence in spite of a fire in the 1960s. The following day, a letter was on its way to St. John’s, and a few weeks later, I received a Nelligan bonanza – baptisms and marriages pertaining to Ellen and Daniel, as well as yet another Nelligan sibling I hadn’t known about before. As a professional genealogist, I’ve been fortunate to speak around the world. Even so, I was stunned shortly after this discovery to receive an invitation to speak to – you guessed it – the Genealogical Society of Rockland County. All these years, I had been seeking Ellen and now it seemed she was returning the favor. I happily accepted and added a few days on to the trip to
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Eileen LIBRARY ASSOC. OF ROCKLAND COUNTY’S COLLECTION ON HUDSON RIVER VALLEY HERITAGE
ABOVE: Ellen Nelligan, the author’s great-great grandmother, who was born in Co. Kerry. LEFT: A historic photo of St. John’s R.C. Church, Piermont, New York, which featured large in the Nelligan family story.
explore my roots in a town that still has a charming, old-time feel to it. Libraries, historical societies, cemeteries, and of course, St. John’s, were all on my itinerary, and I went home with still more insights into Ellen’s life. Coinciding with all this, I had managed to learn the Nelligan clan’s hometown in Ireland by following the traces left by yet another sibling, Mary, as she headed west and ultimately settled in Oregon. Since I had promised myself to return to Ireland as soon as I had a village-of-origin to visit, I made arrangements for a trip. Finally, I was going to walk in Ellen’s footsteps! I was delighted at the prospect, but because much of my family is not particularly interested in genealogy, did not rush to share details with the extended family circle. In fact, as it happens, I told no one of my recent discoveries. Shortly before my jaunt to Ireland, I received an invitation to the wedding of my youngest cousin, Eileen – another of Ellen’s great-great-granddaughters. Eileen was born and raised in New Jersey, but not able to marry in the church in which she had grown up. Seeking an alternative,
she had selected a church in the town where her fiancé resided. Imagine my reaction when I saw that the wedding was to be held in St. John’s in Piermont, New York. I took another look at the paper trail I had gathered for Ellen, examining the events associated with her life. She had made her first appearance in St. John’s records almost 150 years to the day before Eileen’s wedding was to be held. Do I think it’s a coincidence that Eileen picked the same church for her marriage a century and a half later when she had no idea of her family’s history with it? Do I think it’s an accident that events conspired for me to make this discovery just before my cousin was married in St. John’s? No, I think it was inevitable. I’ve often said that our roots claim us in ways we don’t even realize. Ellen gave this quiet gift to Eileen, and I took the opportunity of my trip to Ireland the month before the wedding to bring back some tokens of Ellen as presents for Eileen. I’ve been to plenty of weddings in my day, but Eileen was the jolliest bride I’ve ever seen. And somewhere, I know Ellen was smiling, too. IA DECEMBER / JANUARY 2016 IRISH AMERICA 89
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Buried Anguish: An Interview with Colin Barrett
Dublin breakout writer Colin Barrett talks to Julia Brodsky about his angst and anguishridden debut short story collection, Young Skins.
olin Barrett’s debut collection of short stories, Young Skins, hit the Dublin scene in 2013 and earned the 32-yearold Mayo native a score of major accolades, including the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award, the Guardian First Book Award, and the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature. The book made its way to the United States in March 2015, and has now received critical acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic, including praise from The New York Times, Colum McCann, Colm Tóibín, and Anne Enright. American author Sam Lipsyte put it most succinctly, saying, “Young Skins knocked me on my ass.” Barrett, who attended University College, Dublin, sets his collection of six short stories and one novella in the small fictional Mayo town of Glanbeigh, modeled on his native Ballina. “I am young, and the young do not number many here, but it is fair to say we have the run of the place,” says the narrator of the first story, setting the focus for the collection. As a whole, Young Skins centers mainly around young – often immature – men, their frustrations, their friendships, and their failings. A menace of violence looms over the stories, but, with a few exceptions, does not manifest in the plot. Sitting down with Julia Brodsky at New York University’s Glucksman Ireland House on the occasion of the book’s U.S. launch, Barrett spoke about the unexpected success of his collection, how he crafts his stories, and, naturally, the novel that’s up next. Are you surprised by the success of the book? Oh yeah, of course. The conventional wisdom is that short stories, especially debut collections, are hard to get published, significantly harder than a novel. And then in terms of attention and visibility, they’re always a long shot, as well. I certainly didn’t have any real expectations beyond wanting to publish a collection, and I consider it incredibly lucky that this small publisher, Stinging Fly Press, was going to do it. I was expecting maybe a couple of weeks of attention in Ireland and that might be it. Everything thereafter has been a remarkable surprise, and I am aware of just how unusual it is that it’s been getting 14 to 15 months
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of steady attention from Ireland to the U.K. and in Europe, as well, and now it’s the U.S. It’s been amazing in that respect and I’m appreciative of it. Why short stories, as opposed to a novel? I fell in love with the form. I tried writing novels before – I also love the form and it’s one I am returning to now. I was always reading a lot when I was a teenager, but that was poetry and just novels and other stuff – not short stories. And then I kind of discovered them latterly, and kind of realized that they were still alive and thriving in their own way, with magazines and journals. So that kind of acted as a spur that you could actually write – and that there were people actually publishing – short stories. It’s not always the most visible thing, even in Ireland, which has a good tradition of them. I basically did what I considered my best writing in that form because I loved it and my writing was reflecting that. What is it about the short story that makes you feel you are doing your best writing? I love the attention to language, the integratedness of the material. Everything has to count in the short story – it’s a really tight form. You have to distill the thing down into its essence. All of those technical aspects really appeal to me, and the best examples of short stories really just affected me as a reader in a way that certainly was as good as anything. Can you pinpoint a couple of short stories that have really been formative? Well, I mean, the three or four writers I read that made me really want to write short stories are: Denis Johnson’s Jesus’ Son, Flannery O’Connor, Irish writer Kevin Barry – he had a collection out in 2007 that resonated purely because it was another Irish person, more or less my age, speaking of an Ireland that I could recognize, and yet turning it into something else and something very interesting. Purely on a practical and local level that resonated with me, that oh, Irish writers can do this, too! They were kind of the first three, I think, and since then
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my reading kind of deepened, widened, and there are so many writers now I have a big debt to. What is a typical writing day for you right now? I don’t think I have any secret method that no one else has. I do a lot of procrastinating, a lot of not-writing, but I sit down and I try to take an hour or two to get into it gently. I’m happy if I can get a couple of hours of new writing done. I mean, I write new stuff now and then, but the bulk of each day is probably just rewriting and editing – moving around words that are already there on a Word document– that’s it. And I love doing it. I have a high tolerance and a high aptitude for just revising and revising. What gives you the idea for a story? Is it a character, a moment, a piece of dialogue? I mean, it could be any of these things, I think. You have to get the little details really credible and accurate and right, and if you get that right, no matter how preposterous something is in a story, the reader will actually buy it and go along with it, as long as those little details have established the texture of the world in a sort of way that people can understand. So I just work on the small scale, sentence by sentence. Can you talk me through a starting point of one of your stories? I think if I were to try and look for a pattern, I guess I’m visually inclined. I don’t necessarily start with dialogue – I usually start describing the character, you know, their inhabiting a physical space or completing a physical action. I know some people may start with a voice and then work to the physical world. But I start with building a physical picture of the character and the immediate vicinity of the world they’re in. And then working outwards. Was writing from a mostly male perspective a conscious decision? It was something I became conscious of while I was writing – these are all guys! You know, I tried other perspectives and for one reason or another, they just weren’t as good as some of the ones with the males. Being honest about it, I think it was just a limitation, but again, I think you have to take the best material and go with it. So, in that sense, there’s some sort of buried anguish in doing all these things. You’re always aware of what you’re not able to do when you’re doing something, but nonetheless, you do have to work with the tools that are at your disposal. Zadie Smith just said something very simple about it, “Writers write what they can write.” In the end, these male-centric stories, these youngish men, were what was working best for me. I certainly tried insofar as I could with the female characters in it – I wanted to make sure
they had agency and depth and weren’t just plot devices. But I wanted to avoid that with the male characters, as well, because writing about bouncers, or thugs, or lowlives can also come across as simplistic or reductive. There’s this theme of close male friendships in the book – is that something that is at all autobiographical? It wasn’t a conscious thing. Again, it was another thing I observed I was doing, but it really seemed like it was an important thing to help the stories. I feel that with being a man and having male friendships – men can be very limited in a way, the way they present themselves to the world, so I felt like I needed one of the guys to put the other one into context – to show the other aspects of the second person that they themselves wouldn’t have been able to show directly. Because they are characters who don’t maybe tend toward introspection, the way you show what they really are is through the eyes of someone else. And male friendship is a funny thing, of course, because so much is not said, and men have as much interiority as anyone else, and they don’t want it, you know? That was my half-assed idea, anyway. Is the violence in the book common in a small “everytown” in Mayo? I don’t think it is. It is something to do with maleness, with teenaged men and boys, you know, they get stuck in these little groups and because you have nothing, you get in these little territorial disputes over nothing, of course, but it’s a way of grafting meaning onto your circumstances, to sort of have these limits and borders and if anyone crosses them, you know, you’re gonna give it to them. And then it’s just the mindless expressions of complete frustration, as well. It was definitely something I was fascinated by and wanted to write about. The strange thing is, Mayo probably isn’t a very statistically violent place, but in some small towns, that menace can pervade. Do you see yourself setting more stories and maybe your novel in Glanbeigh? Probably not Glanbeigh, per se, but that kind of world, that kind of small town and the borders of it and the hinterlands. It’s still an exciting place to write about and to have a new take on. I know a lot of writers essentially write versions of the same book, and I don’t think it’s a bad thing. I think often, it’s one of those paradoxical things – your focus, if you keep it tight you can see more than what was immediately apparent and it’s a way of reaching in more original places. So I’m not afraid of staying in that milieu, necessarily, but I’d only consider it of worth if I could find something new – a new register, a new perspective. I do want to do something different – not radically different – but different. IA DECEMBER / JANUARY 2016 IRISH AMERICA 91
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review of books | recently published books The Dunning Man By Kevin Fortuna
he characters in The Dunning Man are your friends, your wives and husbands, your acquaintances you see too seldom and when you see them again you remember why you hadn’t seen them in a while. They are both better and worse versions of the people we could be and the people we know. This duality is possible because Kevin Fortuna has an ear for the way blue collar, or formerly blue collar, people talk and act. He has a sense of inherent selfdestructive behavior that can be at once charming and disarming. And he knows how to tell a story. The five stories that comprise Kevin Fortuna’s debut cover all of this ground, while challenging the notion of ethical behavior, morality, and loyalty. As the title suggests, the debt collector is ever-present. In these stories though, the debt isn’t always monetary – a man taking the train from New York to the Jersey Shore to see, impress, and reevaluate his relationship with a woman he isn’t even sure of in the first place; a wife coming to terms with her husband’s theft (it was for a moral cause); a Gulf and Iraq war vet who can’t stop creating situations he has to get himself out of, under the premise of defending the honor of a friend; a woman unsure of the role she played in encouraging her friend’s advances; a landlord plagued by his apparent inability to be firm. And yet, in all of these stories, there is something redeemable about the debtor. The payment was paid for a good cause, for a cause the character believed to be noble. So despite the acts of grave robbing, bar fights, or dashboard lines of cocaine, the characters who perform these movements behave in a socially uninhibited way. And, through Fortuna’s skill of storytelling, they become at once a caution and an aspiration. The Dunning Man takes the settings of New York City and its periphery to explore the moral divide between what being a good person means and what an ethical person might aspire to be. His cast of Irish and Irish American characters – the surnames Murphy, Sullivan, Dolan, Dunne, Ryan, and Tierney all feature – both observe and participate in the ubiquitous thought process of, “What if I did this tonight?” (Almost all of his stories take place after happy hour, and alcohol features prominently.) Fortuna’s characters follow through, and in doing so ask us to question our own confidence in social decision-making. They beg us to ask the deceptively simple question of, “Why?” It will be exciting to see what his sophomore collection brings.
– Adam Farley (Lavender Ink / 140 p / $11.95)
92 IRISH AMERICA DECEMBER / JANUARY 2016
Beatlebone By Kevin Barry
evin Barry’s Beatlebone imagines that in May of 1978, John Lennon returns to Dorinish, the Irish sland that he purchased nine years prior (the latter is actually factual). John is emotionally trapped, creatively stagnant, and feeling much, much older than 37, so he heads to County Mayo with the harebrained plan to go out to his island for three days and three nights to be alone and to “Scream” – based on the therapeutic Primal Scream technique pioneered by psychiatrist Dr. Alfred Janov. There John meets Cornelius O’Grady, his Powersdrinking, larger-than-life driver, bodyguard, and spirit guide. Their exchanges, peppered with Barry’s lyrically vulgar dialogue, drive the plot. But John’s path to the island is beset by the press, faulty cars, and drunken seisiúns, without which his inability to reach Dorinish would come off as almost Kafkaesque. Just around page 200, when Cornelius finally, definitively tells John, “We are heading for the island,” Barry himself interrupts the plot, recounting his own quest for Beatle Island, as it was locally known in the 1970s and ’80s. The intrusion is jarring at first, but then, as more details of Barry’s journey echo Lennon’s earlier in the novel, it becomes clear that the John Lennon of Beatlebone is more than just an imagining of the former Beatle returning to his bit of Ireland – and his bit of Irishness – but a blending of author and subject into an amalgam that cannot simply be read as an approximation of the real-life Lennon. John’s struggle is, at its heart, the artist’s struggle – the struggle to create, whether it is a record or a book. “Dead love stories are what make us,” John muses, and indeed, some of the most touching moments in the novel are when he imagines details of his parents’ courtship. References to Beatles songs do appear, but Barry deploys them with restraint, blending them with hints of other musicians and nods to the greats of the Irish literary canon. The penultimate section of the novel finishes with John recording a very Molly Bloom-esque monologue with a rather Beckettian opening: “and if i have nothing left to say – well okay – because when i have nothing left to say.” Barry recently received the Goldsmiths Prize, a new award for “fiction that breaks the mold or opens up new possibilities for the novel form.” Beatlebone certainly does that, jumping between tenses, narrators, and genre, but crafting a novel that is often heartfelt, frequently funny, and always true at its core.
– Julia Brodsky (Doubleday / 320 p / $24.95)
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Strangers on a Bridge:
The Case of Colonel Abel and Francis Gary Powers By James B. Donovan
ames B. Donovan’s best-selling Strangers on a Bridge, the subject of a new film, called Bridge of Spies, by director Steven Spielberg and the screenwriting duo Joel and Ethan Coen, has been re-released with a new foreword from author Jason Mathews. Strangers on a Bridge tells the story of James Donovan, a New York based Irish-American lawyer, who came to defend one of the most valuable Soviet spies ever apprehended by the FBI. While the book contains many elements of a classic Soviet-era spy thriller, what makes his telling so much more rewarding is the knowledge that the entire drama is rooted in historical fact. Through his descriptions of Colonel Rudolf Abel, the Soviet spy in question, Donovan reveals his thoughtfulness and empathy as a defense attorney and a writer. Abel, aside from being a master spy, was a polyglot, scientist, and artist, who was willing to sacrifice everything for the good of his country. Such a person emerges from Donovan’s depiction as nothing short of a hero. It is not to be forgotten, however, that while Donovan was defending Abel, he was also defending what he saw as the right of any man, enemy agents of espionage included, to a fair trial. Donovan’s foresight kept Abel from the death penalty when he argued that he might be used later for a spy swap with Soviets. This proved fruitful when Francis Gary Powers was captured after being shot down while flying the famous U2 spy plane. Through negotiations, led once again by Donovan, Powers was later exchanged for Abel on the Gleinicke bridge, which linked Soviet territory to the American sector in Berlin. Told in an intimate and matter of fact way, Donovan’s book effortlessly bridges the spy-genre with history and memoir. Filled with insightful anecdotes and abounding with Donovan’s indefatigable sense of humor, this book deserves not only its rerelease, but also its adaptation for the silver screen.
– R. Bryan Willits (Scribner / 465 p / $16)
The First Queen of Journalism By John Norris
n a journalistic landscape dripping with sensationalism and inundated with non-news attractions, the loss of journalist Mary McGrory is sorely apparent. While we may not see the likes of another Mary McGrory for quite some time, we luckily have a new biography of her life and work by John Norris to keep us satiated. Norris, who is a senior fellow at the Center of American Progress and a former friend of McGrory, offers a comprehensive view of McGrory’s life and times. Chronicling the life of a journalist who thrived on telling a good story, Norris peppers his narrative with many McGroyrisms, from her first assignment as a journalist covering the Army-McCarthy hearings in 1954 to her poignant column on President John F. Kennedy’s funeral, where she noted “it had that decorum and dash that were his special style.” Throughout her 85 long years, Norris vividly creates the back door drama and insider know-how that made McGrory a household name and champion journalist. She famously made President Nixon’s “enemies list” and was a friend and admirer of John F. Kennedy. Norris notes that there may have been an affair between Kennedy and McGrory, but quickly dismisses it, quoting Robert Kennedy’s opinion that “there was something of the Irish mother in the way she looked at him; something of the Irish sister. She loved him, and he knew he had her.” Ironically, it is McGrory’s Irishness and personal life in particular that are the weakest points of Norris’s biography. He details in a few spare pages McGrory’s early Irish Catholic upbringing in Boston, where she was the daughter of first-generation immigrant Edward McGrory, whose Irish Catholic roots never left his daughter. Norris problematically notes that “Mary decided that her public face would be that of a McGrory rather than a Jacobs, and with the zeal of a convert she became more Irish than any Irishman.” Observations like these go unexplained, which further blurs the focus of McGrory herself. More successful is Norris’s commentary on McGrory’s rise as a female journalist, starting as a book reviewer for the Washington Evening Star and moving on to reporting only when she told her boss that she wasn’t going to be married (married women were not given reporting assignments). Even as one of the top journalists in the country, McGrory was barred from entering the all male National Press Club, where she was forced to sit in the balcony, later quipping “the food was better in the balcony.” Norris’s new biography, while flawed in parts, dutifully recreates the life and lasting legacy of Mary McGrory, a voice much needed in journalism today.
– Matthew Skwiat (Viking / 352 p / $28.95)
DECEMBER / JANUARY 2016 IRISH AMERICA 93
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book notes |
Shelley’s Irish Poem
PHOTO: JOHN MINIHAN
long-lost poetical pamphlet by Percy Bysshe Shelley was unveiled at the Bodleian Library in Oxford on November 10th. Shelley wrote the pamphlet, Poetical Essay on the Existing State of Things, in 1811 to protest Britain’s involvement in the Napoleonic war and, in particular, the jailing of Irish journalist Peter Finnerty, who had been accused of libel after critiquing British military operations. Poetical Essay had been considered lost until a single copy was found in a private collection in 2006. The Bodleian Library recently acquired the copy and made it available to the public, marking the occasion with a reading of the 10-page essay by actress Vanessa Redgrave. Journalist Peter Finnerty, whose name features more prominently in the poem than does Shelley’s (the author is noted simply as a “gentleman of the University of Oxford”), is believed to have been born in County Galway, and he was involved with the United Irishmen revolutionary movement. After the 1798 rebellion, Finnerty penned an attack on the judges who condemned members of the movement to death and he winner of the 2015 Séan Ó Faoláin short was imprisoned for seditious libel. story prize is Evelyn Walsh, a first-generation Upon his release, he emigrated to LonIrish American living in Atlanta, Georgia. don and worked as a parliamentary reporter. ‘White Rabbit,’ her winning short story, was selected His criticism of the British military action in Denmark and his from over 900 entered in this year’s competition. condemnation of Lord Castlereagh, secretary of state for war, led When judge Danielle McLaughlin recalls reading to his second imprisonment in 1811. Walsh’s entry, she says the story “grabbed her from Shelley was not Finnerty’s only supporter; there was a major the very beginning and didn’t let go.” campaign to raise funds in his defense, which included After salvaging the roast she was willing TOP LEFT: Evelyn Walsh public meetings in Dublin and Belfast. Finnerty was reto let burn for the pleasure of being im- pictured with a bust of leased in 1813 and continued working as a journalist mersed in the language, McLaughlin Séan Ó Faoláin until his death in 1822. William Hazlitt, essayist and RIGHT: A portrait of Percy went back and read it again. close friend of Finnerty’s, wrote that “he loved Ireland Bysshe Shelley. “My father emigrated from Navan and BELOW: James Patterson. to the last.” – J.B. my mother’s from Cork, but I had not made it home since then – so the prize meant the world to me,” Walsh, a Philadelphia native and mother of four, told Irish America. Not only did her trip allow her to see how Ireland had “changed and how it stayed the same” since ovelist James Patterson, who grew up in 1999, she also realized how important literature still a large, working-class Irish family in the is in Irish culture after reading to a packed house at Bronx, won the National Book Foundathe Grand Parade City Library in Cork. tion’s Literarian Award, which honors individuals Walsh recalls growing up in a home with a picture for a lifetime of achievement in expanding the of Yeats hanging in the kitchen and the Clancy Brothaudience for books and reading. The prolific and best-selling author was ers on the record player. She especially remembers recognized for donating books – more than 250,000 books for children to the influence of Brian Friel, as well, whose work felt children in the United States. at once “very Irish” and “very universal.” Though Patterson, who received the award at the 66th National Book Awards “White Rabbit” takes place in the United States, Ceremony and Benefit Dinner on November 18, at Cipriani, 55 Wall Street, Walsh cites her heritage as a big part of her approach in New York City, said: “I’m doomed to being a doer.” Speaking of his to writing: “I’m very language-focused and I think efforts and issuing a call to action, he said: “Let’s make sure there’s another that’s an Irish thing. I really care about phrasing.” generation of readers out there, and bookstores and publishers.” – P.H. Walsh is currently at work on both a novel and a collection of stories. – J.B.
Séan Ó Faoláin Short Story Prize Goes to Evelyn Walsh
Literarian Award for James Patterson
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The Christmas Letter music | By Mary Pat Kelly
A forgotten Irish song of emigration tells of a mother’s longing for her children who have gone so far away, is a big hit for Cherish the Ladies.
rish music was the soundtrack to life for Joanie Madden growing up in the Bronx, NY back in the 1970s. Her father, Joe Madden, from Portumna in East Galway, was an All-Ireland accordion champion, who headed a popular 13-piece band for years, playing weddings and county dances. Her mother was a traditional Irish set dancer from Miltown Malbay, County Clare. “I was lucky – even if you didn’t want to hear it, or weren’t into it, you were learning Irish music by osmosis,” said Joanie in an interview with Irish America earlier this year. She received her musical training on the tin whistle and the flute early in life and in a short time began winning awards. She was the first American to win the senior all-Ireland championship on the tin whistle in 1984, and since 1985 has been the central force behind Cherish the Ladies, the all-female traditional Irish music group, leading them to international acclaim. The group has produced 17 albums to date. In addition, Joanie is the top-selling whistle player in history, having sold over 500,000 solo albums, and she is in high demand as a studio musician and has performed on over a hundred albums, running the gamut from Pete Seeger to Sinead O’Connor. She is also a gifted composer, and many of her tunes have become standards in traditional music circles. To celebrate the group’s 30th anniversary, Cherish the Ladies have been on a year-long tour – with sold-out concerts across the U.S. and Ireland, including at such venues as the legendary Beacon Theatre in New York City, where they played November 27, the day after Thanksgiving. Somehow they also found the time to rehearse and record a Christmas album. The group’s first album to be recorded in Ireland, it features old standards such as “Come All Ye Faithful,” and “Hark the Herald Angels Sing,” but also a beautiful rendition of “Christmas Letter,” a poignant poem that Joanie set to music, and a recitation of another poem “An Irish Christmas.” This is your third Christmas album. How do you decide what to select? Are there challenges? It’s hard to believe as we celebrate our 30th anniversary that the recording we are releasing is a third Christmas album! Our Christmas tour is now as busy as our March tour, and our fans were screaming out for a new Christmas album – so that was the deciding factor. When we received our first booking for a Christmas show many years ago, it amazed us when we started putting the material together 96 IRISH AMERICA DECEMBER / JANUARY 2016
how well the Celtic instrumentation gelled with our favorite Christmas carols. But, in a world where practically every artist has recorded a Christmas album and it being a very saturated market, being original and coming up with new material is not easy. To make the new album, we researched, we wrote songs and tunes and we found old gems that were long forgotten and made them fresh and new again. It’s the first album we ever recorded completely in Ireland in Miltown Malbay, County Clare!
You were born in the Bronx, but you now have a home in County Clare. How has that influenced your music? My mother emigrated from Miltown Malbay, County Clare and I always loved to go back with her for a few weeks every summer and visit friends and family while getting the opportunity to play great music with the local musicians. It was always a dream for me to have a house in Ireland, and that dream came true two years ago when I bought a house owned by Jack Whelan who was a great friend of the family and the president of the Miltown Malbay Social Club in New York. After Jack passed away, his family put the house up for sale and my mother and I went to look at it and when I found a picture of myself in the house – I knew it was meant to be! Tell me about the “Christmas Letter” song that’s featured on the album. It has beautiful lyrics and a haunting air. “If it’s music you want – head to Clare” is a very
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old saying, and spending more time there I started digging through County Clare’s archival recordings and I stumbled across a song called “The Christmas Letter,” which I learned was a poem written by Michael Scanlon from County Limerick in the early 1900s. It tells the sad story of a lonely mother lamenting on Christmas day because her children were forced to emigrate to America. Many families would head down to Spanish Point near Miltown Malbay and look out over the sea waiting to catch a last glimpse of the ships and their loved ones heading to America, knowing they’d never seem them again. I liked the words – and hearing all the stories down through the years from my own parents about the loneliness for their families at the holidays, I could really relate to the lyrics. The melody was a different story, so I wrote a new melody and the band reworked it and came up with the arrangement, and Don Stiffe from Galway performed it.
Could you tell the story of what the Christmas letter from Ireland meant to your parents. My parents’ eyes would light up at Christmas when the postman would arrive with cards and letters from home. It was the only time of year that it was the unspoken law that everyone had to sit down and put pen to paper and write their families far from home a letter. Neither of my parents’ families back in Ireland had phones up until the late ’70s which meant they were in New York for over 20 years before their parents got telephones and could occasionally call, so those Christmas letters, full of news from home, were always the best Christmas present under the tree for them. The album also features a poem called “An Irish Christmas Night.” Could
you tell the story about the older woman who recited the poem? After a Cherish the Ladies concert in the performing arts center, Glor in Ennis, County Clare, we went back to Friel’s Pub in Miltown Malbay for a session. At three in the morning, 87-year old Bridget Moloughney from County Tipperary asked me would it be okay if she did a recitation. I said I’d love to hear it, then she asked me if I could shush up the crowd, which I did. She blew us all away with her charisma and memories for old poetry, and we all begged for more. Knowing that she was the real deal, I searched the web and came across “An Irish Christmas Night” poem written by Nancy Kellegher from County Cork and asked her to come to the studio and record it as I loved the sentiments and loved even more Bridget’s rendition of it. You are out on tour now for most of December. Will you get home for Christmas? We always wrap up our tour in time for the girls to travel home to Ireland to spend Christmas in their own houses. I want to be with my family, and so do they – so we always finish up the tour at least in time to get them home for Christmas Eve. IA
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crossword | By Darina Molloy Across
1 Parisian theater attacked by ISIS in November (8) 6 Heaven, as Gaeilge (5) 8 Kiss this stone and you'll be full of chat, allegedly! (7) 9 (& 32 across) See 28 across (3) 13 Parliament buildings in Belfast (8) 15 Not off (2) 16 New movie starring Brendan Gleeson (11) 17 The Children of ____ (3) 19 Saw Doctors country (4) 20 (& 23 across, & 47 across) January 6 is known as this in Irish (7) 22 A claim or right given to a creditor to secure payment of a debt, usually against property (4) 23 (& 47 across) See 20 across (2) 26 See 10 down (3) 28 (& 9 across, & 32 across) The ____ ___ _____ : new book by Edna O'Brien (6) 29 See 27 down (7) 30 This Ms. Hewson is the actor daughter of Bono (3) 32 See 28 across (6) 34 (& 31 down) International charity which works to increase awareness of breast cancer, and support survivors (4)
35 See 18 down (6) 37 See 43 across (5) 41 Ireland's defeat of this soccer team ensured their place in Euro 2016 (6) 42 There are times in rainy Ireland when Noah's boat would come in handy! (3) 43 (& 37 across) The revolutionary woman who stole the heart of W.B. Yeats (4) 45 See 26 down (4) 46 (& 7 down) Mullingar man in One Direction (5) 47 See 20 across (4) 48 See 25 down (5)
2 Once Ireland's biggest industry (11) 3 An Irish high (3) 4 This amazing cemetery is a must-visit on any trip to Dublin (9) 5 New Saoirse Ronan movie based on muchloved Colm Tóibín book (8) 6 This synthetic fabric was first produced by DuPont in Delaware in 1935 (5) 7 See 46 across (5) 10 (& 26 across) ____ of the ___: beautifullyanimated Irish movie (4) 11 ______ O'Donovan Rossa (8) 12 Birth name of the
Win a subscription to Irish America magazine
24 25 26
late Maureen O'Hara (10) Comes from the Latin word mores, for habits (5) (& 35 across) Human rights lawyer who represented the Guildford Four and Birmingham Six (6) Iconic White House office (4) Boston ballpark (6) (& 48 across) He plays a rogue FBI agent in The Following (5) (& 45 across) Michael Fassbender plays this iconic CEO in his latest movie (5) (& 29 across) Co-owner of
Please send your completed crossword puzzle to Irish America, 875 Sixth Avenue, Suite 201, New York, NY 10001, to arrive no later than January 15, 2016. A winner will be drawn from among all correct entries. If there are no correct solutions, the prize will be awarded for the completed puzzle which comes closest in the opinion of our staff. Winner’s name will be published along with the solution in our next issue. Xerox copies are acceptable. Winner of the Aug./Sept. crossword: Steve Curran, Baton Rouge, LA
98 IRISH AMERICA DECEMBER / JANUARY 2016
31 33 35 36 38
Kenmare's Park Hotel and a TV celebrity in Ireland (7) See 34 across (6) Meagher of the ______: new book about Thomas Meagher (5) Singer Alecia Beth Moore is more commonly known by this name (4) Old Irish word for church or cell (4) Little symbols
used in texting and online (5) Thanks to clever marketing, these Cadbury chocolates were once the only way to say thank you in Ireland! (5) Wound or injure (4) Common prefix in Irish surnames (3) Ash repository (3)
August / September Solution
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Childs’ Christmas In the Brooklyn world of my childhood, Ireland seemed especially close at Christmas. While we kids looked forward to Santa, Mom and Dad were looking back to Ireland. Cards would arrive and Mom would cherish each and every one, especially those from her sisters, my Aunts Una and Joan, who would include letters for her to linger over, her eyes growing all teary. My parents left home in the 1920s – Mom at age 16 from Ballyhaunis, Co. Mayo, and Dad at 21 from Cloone, Co. Leitrim. They met in an Irish dance hall in Manhattan, courted, married, and worked hard to keep our family of five afloat. They are both long gone now, but each year at Christmas I hear their voices again. By Jim Murphy
ne Christmas was so much like another in those years that they now all blur into one big ball of holidays. Let me pick one sometime in the late 1940s: our apartment on Newkirk Avenue is alive with expectation because today we will bring home our tree. It’s sure to be a fine big tree because each year Dad helps Paddy Power sell trees after Sunday mass at St. Jerome’s Church on Nostrand Avenue. “Prime location, that’s the key,” Dad says. “The subway and church are right there so there’s lots of traffic. After mass people are feeling good about things and they know you’re one of their own since you’re there at the church and Paddy is an usher. Sure you couldn’t keep the man out of church, so naturally he gets the business instead of some huckster who might not even be a Christian. There’s no flies on Paddy Power, that’s for sure. He knows where his bread is buttered and, fair play to him, he’s there all year with the ushering so why shouldn’t he pick up a few dollars when the time comes? I must say, selling trees to a crowd spilling out of church is ‘easy pickins,’ as your man would say.” On Sundays leading up to Christmas, the streets are alive with families and trees moving in all directions. Sometimes a father would throw one up on his shoulder and march away, or maybe he’d hug the trunk of a bigger one, his kids grabbing the other end, and off they’d go. Lots of people from apartment buildings like ours have a tree so small they could tuck it under their arms and carry it home, but Dad doesn’t approve of those trees. “Dwarfs,” he says, “a poor excuse for a tree. You might as well bring home a twig or a stalk of celery.” For us, this year’s tree is so big it has to come home by car. Paddy Power and Dad have it all roped up and hoisted up onto the roof of our old 1938 Plymouth and tied it down tight. I’m allowed to stand in the rumble seat to make sure it doesn’t move. “Jimmy, hold tight to the seat. If the tree starts to move, give me a shout.” Off we go, and I’m like a fireman on a hook and ladder or the lucky trash-man hanging on to the back of his truck. I cling to the seat with one hand and the tree with the other, but I’m able to give a quick wave to anyone who sees us go by. “You okay back there, cowboy?” shouts Dad. When we get home, Mom and Joan have to come down to help us lug the tree up the flight of stairs to our place, apartment 2A. “Joe, that’s an enormous tree, my God. Where in the name of God will we fit such a tree? Have you gone mad?” Mom inquires.
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“‘Joe, take any tree,’ that’s what Paddy Power said to me, and so I’d say he was a shocked man to see the one we took. Isn’t that right, Jimmy? It’s one he could have sold to a bishop, but it’s here now, all ours. ‘Take any tree you want, Joe’ and so I took him at his word.” And so we huff and puff our way up the stairs. Joan and I are as happy as Larry to have such a tree. In the days leading up to Christmas the apartment building becomes a forest of evergreen as people lean their trees on the walls outside their doors. If there’s no tree by a door, it must be the apartment of one of the Jewish families, or maybe a widow, or one of the atheists we heard about and prayed for in school, or maybe a Scrooge like Mr. Madden who lives in 3B and is always telling us kids not to play in the hallways on rainy days. The ceilings in our apartment are high so our tree is always tall but this year’s tree is bigger than ever. Dad has to nail it down so it won’t topple over. Mom worries about the banging and the holes in the floor, but Dad says the rug will be put back down after Christmas and who’ll be the wiser. “Joe Murphy, you’re mad about Christmas trees. Next year you’ll be drilling a hole in the ceiling.” Dad just laughs, “A good idea, Kathleen. Maybe 2A and 3A can share a tree. We’ll just send it on up through the floor to them. We’ll be like Rockefeller Center. What do you say to that?” We all laugh to think of the Hurcombs up in 3A watching a tree poke up into their living room as we manage to make it stand and wait for Dad to cut the ropes. When he does, the branches spread like wings to nearly fill the living room. “A redwood couldn’t match it,” he says with a big smile, proud as a peacock. On the Victrola, our cherished Bing Crosby’s “Merry Christmas” collection sets the tone. There are five of us and the album has five 78 rpm records so we take turns from oldest to youngest and stack up our choices on the turntable. Dad picks “Silent Night,” then Mom takes “I’ll be Home for Christmas,” a hard choice for her since “Danny Boy” is on the flip side of that one, even though it isn’t a Christmas tune. I go for “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” instead of “Jingle Bells” on the flip side, and Joanie takes “White Christmas,” leaving my baby sister Eileen, who doesn’t know any tunes at all, with the only one left – “God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen.” Dad says, “Let the concert begin.” “Silent Night” fills the room as the tree awaits us. First, my baby sister Eileen is held up and we pre-
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in Brooklyn tend she puts the star at the top of the tree. Then Dad and I begin with the lights, each of us on a chair since the tree is so high. We slowly work our way down, passing the string of lights from hand to hand. He reaches through all the wide branches to me, with my fingers searching for his on the other side of the tree. Behind us, Mom and Joan unpack the ornaments, waiting for Dad to signal that we’re done and they can begin. Mom has two special ornaments, both from Ireland, and they are given a pride of place near the top of the tree – a crocheted star and a little cottage whose paint has chipped and dulled and whose chimney is missing. Once she has these placed on the tree, Joanie and I are free to add all the other ornaments and school cutouts wherever we wish. Then comes the finishing touch – the tinsel. We hang a few tangled strands here and there on our own, but then we give way to Dad, as if by some unspoken signal. We don’t quite measure up when it comes to hanging tinsel. It’s a special gift and Dad alone has it. His quiet patience, his silent introspection, humming as he works. “Take your pick,” Paddy Power had said, and Dad had taken him at his word, so it was his tree. We all do our part to decorate it, but at heart it is his tree. He spends hours at it, a strand of tinsel at a time, absorbed in it as we all go off to whatever else calls us. But he stays there stepping back and looking at his work, correcting some of the chaos we’ve created in our clumsy tinsel efforts, a man at peace with himself. By now, we have heard all of Bing Crosby’s Christmas songs at least twice, so our Irish records start to make their way onto the turntable, especially any one with a Christmas theme. Because he works for Hostess Cakes and at Christmas he sells fruit cakes to one and all, Dad’s favorite is the McNulty Family singing “Miss Fogarty’s Christmas Cake.” “Give us the Murphy Family version,” says Dad, and we all sing along with the McNultys, waiting to change the last line: “There were plums and prunes and cherries, / There were citrons and raisins and cinnamon too, / There was nutmeg, cloves and berries / And a crust that was nailed down with glue. / There were caraway seeds in abundance / That would work up a fine tummy ache / It would kill a man twice after eating a slice / Of a Hostess Christmas cake.” Mom’s favorite is “Christmas in Killarney” which, like “I’ll Be Home For Christmas,” makes her eyes fill up. “At home in Mayo,” she tells us, “It’s God’s truth what the song says, ‘The door is always open / The neighbors pay a call.’” Joanie and I like best when the song says, “And Santa Claus you know, of
course / Is one of the boys from home.” But Dad says, “Santa’s not a Mayo man at all, he’s a likable, lovely Leitrim lad like myself.” When we have everything all ready for the lighting, we place our manger at the base of the tree. We have Mary and Joseph, but no Baby Jesus because that’s Santa’s job when he comes on Christmas Eve. We have two shepherds but only two wise men. Dad says the third one must have followed the wrong star. “He’s like your Uncle Frank.” Last come the animals, there’s a camel, a cow, and two sheep, all of them lying down. Mom says that’s because at home in Ireland all the animals in the fields would lie down on Christmas Eve to wait for the Baby Jesus. We have no fields or animals on Newkirk Avenue, so I picture the animals in Prospect Park Zoo. Come Christmas Eve, surely the lions and tigers and elephants and rhinos will all be lying down for the Baby Jesus. When the stage is all set, Dad says, “Ready now? Close your eyes and count to three.” One, two, three, and we open. The tree fills the room with light, a waterfall of tinsel, and glistening ornaments. It is a Christmas tree of dreams. “You know, Kathleen,” Dad says, “at home in Leitrim we didn’t have a tree at all. We hung some holly around the place, candles in the windows, but no tree. No room for one in small house with fifteen of us. So we settled for the holly and the ivy all over the place, just like in the tune.” He winks at us. “No tree, but you know what, Jimmie and Joanie? Santa found us each and every year. At least we had a chimney for him. No chimney here in this apartment, but, by God, we’ll have a mighty tree for Santa when he comes.” IA
TOP: Jimmy, Eileen, and Joan with their dad, Patrick “Joe” Murphy on Christmas Day, 1948.
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Coming Up Ginger Everything’s
Ireland is known for its redheads and also, Edythe Preet discovers, for its ginger lovers. So this Christmas, make some ginger cookies, grab a glass of milk, and settle down with J.P. Donleavy’s The Ginger Man, now celebrating its 60th year.
Did you know that an American doctor living in Belfast invented ginger ale?
ith the holiday season in full swing, it’s a fair bet that after gifts and decorations the next big project on the to-do list is “make some cookies!” As every child knows, it is an absolute must to leave a glass of milk and plate of cookies out for Santa on Christmas Eve, else the Jolly Elf might leave lumps of coal instead of presents, or even worse, bypass the house altogether! At least that’s what I believed. In our home, cookie making began Thanksgiving weekend. The selection of itty-bitty goodies usually varied (especially as I got more involved in the baking), but three specialties always appeared on Santa’s plate. Mom made Italian biscotti, I honed my kitchen skills on chocolate chip Toll House, and we worked together to make Dad’s favorite: spicy, sugar-crusted, slightly chewy ginger cookies. It never occurred to me that Dad’s penchant for that particular treat was anything other than one of his personal quirks (like the drifts of nutmeg he always grated fresh on Mom’s baked custard). Recently, however, this conversation with a Dublin-born-and-raised pal revealed that Dad’s preference had deep genetic roots. Thinking I might write about gingerbread, I asked Paul if it is popular in Ireland. “Yes, sure,” he replied, “but not as much as ginger cookies.” Before I had time to digest that food fact, he continued, “No matter what happens – from christenings to nasty storms – the antidote is always a cup of sweet hot milky tea and some ginger cookies.” According to Paul, ginger cookies come in two forms: two-dunk and one-dunk. Two-dunkers are rock-hard and must be dipped in hot tea at least twice or biting one could chip a tooth. One-dunkers, however, can only withstand one brief dip and must be gobbled up quickly lest most of the cookie remain in the teacup. Well, waddya know – Dad was a one-dunk ginger cookie man. Having discovered that little tidbit, I remembered Dad also loved not only gingerbread that Mom baked regularly for him once winter winds blew, but also ginger marmalade and candied ginger (both of which my Italian-American mother thought tasted medicinal). Turns out, her opinion was spot on. Ginger is actually the rhizome (underground stem) of a semi-tropical perennial plant with large green leaves and spiked clusters of densely packed reddish flowers. Native throughout southeastern Asia, ginger probably originated in China, where every part of the plant has been a respected medicinal for more than
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4,000 years. The rhizome’s brown papery skin is used to relieve gas; the peeled flesh to treat nausea, combat dysentery, and ward off scurvy; and juice extracted from the leaves to increase appetite. By the first century A.D., traders had carried ginger to the Mediterranean region where, in addition to its medicinal virtues, it became a prized flavoring agent in early Greek and Roman cuisine. The root’s popularity lapsed, however, with the fall of the Roman Empire and did not re-emerge in Europe until the eighth century when the Venetian Republic estab-
lished a monopoly on the spice trade. Among all the exotic flavorings flowing from central Asia and neighboring regions, one of the most coveted and expensive was ginger. By the 15th century, a single ounce of powdered ginger cost as much as a full-grown sheep. With ginger commanding such an exorbitant price, it was only used regularly to flavor soups and meat stews for nobles and royalty. Adding ginger to breads and pastries began in the 15th century, and the earliest documentation of figure-shaped gingerbread biscuits occurred in the 16th-century court of Elizabeth I of England. A great fan of ginger, Elizabeth often presented her guests with gingerbread figures made in their likenesses. Thus, she is credited with “inventing” Christmas’s most famous cookie: the gingerbread man. Since the Anglo invasion and settlement of Ireland occurred during Elizabeth I’s reign, it isn’t surprising that the Queen’s preferred biscuit became a household staple in Ireland as well. Coincidentally, Queen Elizabeth I had hair the color of her favorite cookie. No disrespect intended, but I’m
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sláinte | recipes betting Elizabeth inspired the term “ginger-haired.” While red hair is the rarest natural hair color in humans, occurring less than 2% of the time, the phenomenon manifests in 10% of Ireland’s population! Geneticists theorize: a) the non-tanning skin associated with red hair may have been an evolutionary advantage in far-northern climates where sunlight is scarce, and b) lighter skin pigmentation prevents rickets in colder climates by encouraging higher levels of Vitamin D production plus also allowing the individual to retain heat better than individuals with darker skin. Theory aside, one thing’s certain – the genetic anomaly has blessed Ireland with an abundance of beautiful people! And then there’s The Ginger Man by Irish-American author J.P. Donleavy. Banned in Ireland and America when published in 1955, it tells of a rogue who attends Dublin’s Trinity College merely as a way to pass the time until his rich father dies, and instead of pursuing knowledge, pursues a life of nonstop drunkenness and debauchery. Now celebrating its 60th anniversary of being in constant print, the novel has sold more than 45 million copies, and, for its stream-of-consciousness lyrical prose, has been named one of The Modern Library’s 100 Best Novels. Before closing this investigation into Ireland’s love of ginger, it would be remiss if I omitted ginger beer and ginger ale. The former’s story is simple. Some time in mid-19th-century Victorian England, some pub owner in Yorkshire added powdered ginger to a tankard of beer and stirred it with a red-hot poker. The cloudy brew sputtered and steamed, and ginger beer was born. Soon every tavern on both sides of the Atlantic was fermenting its own version from scratch, some containing more than 11% alcohol! Ginger ale, on the other hand, is a sparkling nonalcoholic beverage that, like other now-famous early sodas, was invented by a pharmacist. In 1852, Dr. Thomas Cantrell, an American apothecary and surgeon living in Belfast, Ireland, was producing aerated mineral waters and tonics for medicinal purposes. Cantrell’s “ginger ale” was golden colored, sweet, had strong ginger flavor, was safe to serve to children, and had the bonus therapeutic effect of calming queasy tummies. Cantrell described it as “sparkling and clear as the choicest champagne, as having a most agreeable odor, perfectly free from any intoxicating quality, and yet eminently warming and invigorating, pleasant to the taste and pleasant to look at.” Teaming up with local beverage manufacturer Grattan and Company, Cantrell’s invention was marketed in bottles embossed with the slogan “The Original Makers of Ginger Ale.” It occurs to me that in addition to that plate of ginger cookies you’ll be leaving out for Santa this year, in case all the other treats he’s been eating on his rounds have given him a belly ache, a soothing glass of ginger ale might be even more appreciated than a glass of milk. Sláinte! IA
RECIPES Dad’s One-Dunk Ginger Cookies 2 1 21⁄2 1 PHOTO BY TASTE OF HOME
Mom’s Gingerbread ⁄2 ⁄2 1 21⁄2 11⁄2 1 1
cup shortening cup sugar egg cups flour tsp baking soda tsp cinnamon tsp powdered ginger 1 ⁄2 tsp powdered cloves 1 cup molasses 1 cup very hot water 1
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease one 9x9x2-inch pan or one large loaf pan and line with waxed paper. In a large bowl, cream shortening, sugar, and egg until fluffy. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, salt, and spices. In a small bowl, combine molasses and hot water. Add dry ingredients and molasses mixture to egg mixture alternately, beating well after each addition. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 4560 minutes, rotating pan halfway through the baking process. When finished cooking, let gingerbread cool completely. Makes 9 3-inch squares or 1 loaf.
⁄4 1 1 3 ⁄4 1 ⁄3 1
cups flour tsp cinnamon tsp baking soda tsp powdered ginger tsp salt beaten egg cup sugar cup shortening cup molasses a small bowl of extra sugar
Preheat oven to 375F. Sift dry ingredients together and set aside. In a large bowl, combine egg, sugar, shortening, and molasses, and mix thoroughly. Add dry ingredients to egg mixture and mix until completely combined. Roll dough into 1-inch balls. Roll each ball in the bowl of sugar until covered, then place on a baking sheet approximately 2-inches apart. Bake 10-15 minutes, checking after 10 minutes. Cookies are done when the top surfaces develop cracks. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes, then place the cookies on wire racks and let cool completely. Store cookies in an air-tight container. Makes approximately 4 dozen.
My Gluten-Free GIingerbread Men 21⁄4 cups gluten-free flour 1 cup blanched almond flour 1 ⁄2 tsp xanthan gum 1 ⁄4 tsp baking soda 1 ⁄2 tsp salt 11⁄2 tsp powdered ginger 1 tsp powdered ginger 1 ⁄4 tsp powdered cloves 6 tbsp soft butter 1 ⁄2 cup brown sugar 1 large egg 1 ⁄2 cup molasses 1 tsp vanilla
In a medium bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients, set aside. In a large bowl, beat the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Gently stir in egg, molasses, and vanilla, adding as little air as possible. Add the dry ingredients and mix well. Divide the dough in half, wrap each piece in plastic wrap, flatten to disks, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight. When ready to bake, heat oven to 350F. Remove dough from plastic wrap and roll each about 1/4 inch thick. Cut dough with gingerbread man cutters and use a spatula to place each cookie on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Chill the baking sheets of cut cookies in the refrigerator for 15 minutes, then bake for 8-12 minutes. Cookies will be firm on the edges but still somewhat soft in the center when done. Cool completely before storing in airtight containers. Makes 24-30 cookies. (King Arthur Flour recipe).
Note: You can cut these cookies into any shape you like and add icing for decoration.
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photo album | the Hanleys and the Kirwins
The Young Americans
A widow leaves her children in care of the nuns in Galway and sets out for Boston, where she finds work as a domestic servant. In doing so, she sets the course for future generations.
his photograph of my five uncles was taken in 1935, the year I was born. Pictured, left to right, are Robert (Bob), my father Peter (the oldest), William (Bill), Francis (Frank), who was no more than 17 or 18 years old at the time, and Paul. The brothers and their sisters, Mary and Margaret, were the children of Michael and Eleanor (née Hanley) Kirwin, both immigrants from Horseleap Cross in central Galway, about 15 miles from Tuam. Michael was in his early twenties when he immigrated. Eleanor was 16, and her mother, Bridget Hanley, was already in Boston. Widowed in the 1880s (for the second time), Bridget immigrated to America having entrusted her three small children to the care of the nuns in Galway. She found work as a domestic servant,
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with plans to earn enough money to bring her children over. And on July 29, 1896, 16-year-old Eleanor and her 10-year old sister, Margaret, arrived in Boston. Their brother William came over soon after. Eleanor soon found work as a domestic servant. In 1902, at just 22, she married Michael Kirwin. The couple spent much of their married life in Roxbury, Massachusetts and had eight children, one of whom, a girl named Eleanor, died when she was around one year of age. Michael, who had worked for the railroads for 20 years, did not return to work following the great Railroad Strike of 1922. With the couple’s youngest child, Frank, who was no more than four or five years old, Eleanor helped keep the family afloat by cleaning other people’s houses. The family persevered through the Great
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Depression. My uncles Bill and Frank served the short enlistment periods that were characteristic of the peace-time Army, and when mustered out and spent time in the Civilian Conservation Corps. Following the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor that drew America into WWII, Bill and Frank were soon mustered back in again. Frank joined the U.S Army Airborne as a buck private soon after Pearl Harbor. He spent most of the war as an instructor in various jump schools, eventually serving at Forts Bragg, Benning, and Campbell. He was, at different times, a member of 82nd Airborne, the 101st Airborne, and the 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team. He served in the occupation forces in both Germany and Japan, where he was stationed when North Korea invaded the South. He made two combat jumps with the 187th into North Korea, including one fall of about 800 feet with a half-opened parachute. He survived, fought that day, and retired as a major after 29 years of active service. He then went on to spend more than ten years with the Santa Clara, California Sheriff’s Department. He retired following a short career as real estate salesman (a triple dipper), and, as he put it, “Not bad for a guy with an eighth grade education!” Uncle Bill served as a Military Police officer with the 83rd Infantry, the “Thunderbolt” Division that landed in France a few weeks after D-Day and fought its way through central France and Luxembourg. He became an instant hero to me, his ten-year-old nephew, when he brought me back a jet-black German helmet and gave me his Eisenhower jacket with the iconic “OHIO” insignia. He was only somewhat less impressive
Fast Carrier Task Forces that would operate in the Pacific Theater of World War II. His job included liaison with the Navy, and he took part in several shakedown cruises in which the performance of a battleship was tested. Michael and Eleanor (Nana) didn’t come to America to get rich. All they asked was “just give me a chance,” and the hope of a better future for their children. They worked hard. Some might say they imposed their work ethic too severely in my father’s case. He worked in his old high school’s chemistry lab (Mechanic Arts, Boston) for two years following graduation. He then went to M.I.T., supporting himself as a self-taught saxophone player in a Roaring Twenties jazz band. His father (my
Eleanor and Michael Kirwin from Horseleap Cross, Co. Galway who immigrated in the 1890s to Boston, where many of their descendants still live. Their sons, Robert, Peter, William, Francis and Paul, are pictured on the opening page.
Michael and Eleanor didn’t come to America to get rich. All they asked was “just give me a chance.”
when he presented my mother, with laconic gallantry, a bottle of “stink water that I picked up for you in Paris when I passed through.” Bill went on to a successful career in media advertising, first in newspapers and later in television. A scratch golfer, many of his deals were apparently concluded on the golf course, or the so-called 19th hole. Another brother, Bob, also joined up and managed to somehow spend some time with his older brother Bill during lulls in the Army’s drive across Europe. My father, Peter, already 35 years old and married with two children, was not called up. He was working as an electrical engineer for a company that manufactured and installed air circulation and air conditioning equipment on U.S. Navy submarines and Iowa-class battleships, which were ordered by the Navy in 1939 and 1940 to escort the
grandfather), charged him room and board for the entire six years it took to complete his education, indicating that, given a choice, he valued hard work over schooling. (My three siblings and I obtained six college and advanced degrees, as a result of our father’s guidance and insistence). Michael and Eleanor had twenty-one grandchildren. With grandchildren came great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren, most of whom call Boston home, while others are scattered from sea to shining sea. – Submitted by Peter H. Kirwin Littleton, Colorado Please send photographs along with your name, address, phone number, and a brief description, to Patricia Harty at Irish America, 875 Sixth Avenue, Suite 201, New York, NY 10001. If photos are irreplaceable, then please send a good quality reproduction or e-mail the picture at 300 dpi resolution to email@example.com. We will pay $65 for each submission that we select. DECEMBER / JANUARY 2015 IRISH AMERICA 105
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those we lost | passages
Joseph Coffey 1938 – 2015
ergeant Joseph Coffey, the legendary New York City detective who took on the mob and worked on some of the city’s most high-profile cases, including Son of Sam, died at home in Levittown, New York, in late September. He was 77. Coffey decided on a career with the police at an early age when mobsters shot at his father after he resisted their attempt to influence the truck-driving union to which he belonged. “He vowed that he would catch these guys, lock them up, and that’s how he started,” his widow, Susan, told 1010 WINS, a New York City radio station. Coffey commanded a mob-busting N.Y.P.D. unit that solved over 80 mob murders and sent hundreds of mafia men to prison. Among his most famous exploits was his multiple arrests of John J. Gotti, the boss of the Gambino crime family. Coffey also investigated the Son of Sam serial killer, David Berkowitz, who killed six and wounded seven, and confessed to Coffey that the neighbor’s dog had ordered him to carry out the murders. Coffey “was one of the greatest detectives in the NYPD ever,” said Jerry Schmetterer, author of The Coffey Files, a book detailing Coffey’s work at the head of his mob-busting unit. Coffey also cracked a case involving N.Y.C. mobsters, the Vatican Bank, and the archbishop who was the bank’s president. He investigated the 1978 Lufthansa heist, in which a bounty worth $3.2 million today was stolen from JFK Airport. He also was assigned to guard boxer Joe Frazier and famously danced with first lady Nancy Reagan at a reception at the Waldorf Astoria in Manhattan while on assignment to protect her. Coffey is survived by his second wife, Susan, a sister, Patsy Lynch, six grandchildren, and three children, Kathleen, Steven, and Joseph Jr., from his first marriage to Patricia Flynn, who died in 1993. – R.B.W.
Brien Friel 1929 – 2015
Top to Bottom: Joseph Coffey, Brien Friel, and John irwin
rian Friel, the venerated and award-winning Irish dramatist, author, and director, died on October 2 at his Co. Donegal home after battling a long illness. He was 86 years old and is survived by his wife, Anne Morrison, and their children, Sally, Judy, Mary, and David. He was predeceased by his daughter Patricia, who died in 2012. Friel was born in 1929 in Omagh, Co. Tyrone, and spent much of his early life in Derry, where he attended St. Columb’s College, along with the poet Seamus Heaney, who won the Nobel Prize in Literature. Nobel Peace Prize winner John Hume and fellow St. Columb’s alum and friend of Friel said he “was a genius who lived, breathed and walked amongst us. His loss will be felt terribly by his family and his fans.” “He had a unique ability to transform the local to
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the global and bring the past to the present which enthralled people the world over. He is rightly regarded as one of the greatest Irish playwrights of all time.” Friel’s manifold accomplishments include the founding of Field Day Theater Company in Derry with actor Stephen Rea, whose first production premiered Friel’s Translations in 1980 at the Guildhall in Derry. His 1990 play Dancing at Lughnasa received three Tony Awards including Best Play and was later turned into a film starring Meryl Streep. Irish President Michael D. Higgins said, “To have had the privilege of knowing Brian Friel as a friend was an immense gift. He was a man of powerful intellect, great courage and generosity. These were talents that he delivered with great humor, grit and compassion.” Friel is often referred to as the “Irish Chekhov,” a designation deserved not only due to his translations of Chekhov’s work, but also because both writers focused their attention on rural life and on characters who cling to the past. Much of Friel’s work is set in the fictional halcyon town of Ballybeg, (anglicized Irish for “small town”), where it was not uncommon to find characters caught up in the confusion and uncertainties of modernity and change. “It was a joy to say his words and to feel secure in the hands of a master craftsman,” actor Liam Neeson said. “I hope he and Heaney are having a ‘wee one’ together now and sharing a giggle.” – R.B.W.
John “Jack” Irwin 1931 – 2015
ohn “Jack” Irwin, a first-generation Irish American and a major figure in the New York world of Hibernian activism, passed away on October 18 after a battle with Alzheimer’s disease. He was born in Brooklyn, but grew up in the strong Irish and Irish American community of Sunnyside, Queens. Irwin was a childhood actor for television and Broadway, and his resulting public-speaking ability served him well during his years advocating for immigration reform and as a longtime member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians. When the Irish Immigration Reform Movement began campaigning for visas for undocumented workers in the 1980s, Irwin was a key liaison between the A.O.H. and the I.I.R.M. In 1988, he officially pledged the order’s support for the I.I.R.M.’s aims. He was involved to such an extent in Irish American affairs that Michael O’Reilly, then Committee President of the Rockville Center St. Patrick’s Day Parade said, “There is probably no one active in Long Island’s Irish American community who is not familiar with Jack Irwin.” Irwin fought in the Korean War and worked for Merrill Lynch for 38 years, including serving as vice president. In addition to his political activism, Irwin was a Knight of the Holy Sepulchre and an Oceanside member of the Knights of Columbus. He is survived by his wife, Mary Ann, four children, and several grandchildren. – J.B.
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