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T H E B U S I N E S S 1 0 0 : C E L E B R AT I N G T H E I R I S H I N C O R P O R AT E A M E R I C A


The Image Maker JOHN SAUNDERS From Irish broadcaster to President & CEO of global PR giant FleishmanHillard

CANADA $4.95 / U.S. $3.95

”The biggest gift you can give to other people is your energy.” – John Saunders


Ireland’s Ancient East


The Fabulous Murphys


Dinner With “The Dead”


Ruth Negga in Loving


Dead Shot Mary Sweeney

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contents | december / january 2017



32 Ireland’s Ancient South East

The west of Ireland gets a lot of attention, but the southeast coast is just as storied. By Sharon Ní Chonchúir

Irish Eye on Hollywood

Ben Affleck, Michael Fassbender, Caitlin Fitzgerald, & more.

38 John Saunders: The Image Maker FleishmanHillard’s president and CEO John Saunders talks the value of authenticity. By Adam Farley

p. 14

Thomas Addis Emmet’s NYC Monument

44 2016 Business 100

Celebrating the best Irish and Irish American corporate leaders.

Robert Emmet’s brother has his Lower Manhattan obelisk restored.

78 The Fabulous Murphys

Gerald and Sara Murphy were the premier couple at the center of 1920s expatriate life in Paris and the Riviera. By Michael Burke

p. 20

Chicago Miracles

82 Dead Shot Mary

Mary Agnes Shanley was a force unto herself in the NYPD. By Rosemary Rogers

84 Loving’s Ruth Negga

Limerick-born Ruth Negga becomes a bona fide movie star. By Cahir O’Doherty

86 John Quinn’s Nationalism

The Irish American lawyer who funded the Irish literary renaissance. By Peter Quinn

32 84

p. 28

The Irish Rep stages a bold adaptation of James Joyce’s “The Dead.” By Neil Hickey

The Last Word

94 Sláinte! The Joyous Season

Newgrange’s magic and Ireland’s ancient Christmas traditions. By Edythe Preet

86 78

98 Playing in the Band

Wake the Dead is a Celtic-rock Grateful Dead cover band. By Kristin McGowan


100 What Are You Like?

Singers Keith and Kristyn Getty take our questionnaire. By Adam Farley

102 There’s Something About Morag

106 Paddy’s Papal Absence

Despite having one of the most hard-fought Catholic traditions, Ireland has yet to produce a pope. By Ray Cavanaugh


Quote / Unquote: The Election Irish and Irish American responses to the 2016 election.

90 Dinner and “The Dead”

An interview with novelist Morag Punty, who writes as Kate Kerrigan. By Darina Molloy

The Cubs’ win was a foreshadowing of Ireland’s underdog victory over New Zealand’s Rugby team. p. 22


Cahir O’Doherty on the Irish American imperative to fight discrimination. p. 114

DEPARTMENTS 6 8 10 26 104 105 110 112

First Word Readers Forum Hibernia Those We Lost Books Film & Television Crossword Photo Album

Cover Photo: Kit DeFever

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Vol. 32 No. 1 • December / January 2017


Pride In Our Heritage

Founding Publisher: Niall O’Dowd Co-Founder/ Editor-in-Chief: Patricia Harty Vice President of Marketing: Kate Overbeck Art Director: Marian Fairweather Deputy Editor: Adam Farley Advertising & Editorial Assistant: Áine Mc Manamon Copy Editor: Bríd Long Financial Controller: Kevin M. Mangan Editorial Assistant: Olivia O’Mahony

875 Avenue of the Americas, Suite 201, New York NY 10001 TEL: 212-725-2993 FAX: 212-244-3344 Subscriptions: 1-800-582-6642 E-MAIL:

Irish America Magazine ISSN 0884-4240) © by Irish America Inc. Published bi-monthly. Mailing address: P.O. Box 1277, Bellmawr, NJ 08099-5277. Editorial office: 875 Sixth Avenue, Suite 201, New York, NY 10001. Telephone: 212-725-2993. Fax: 212-244-3344 E-mail: Subscription rate is $21.95 for one year. Subscription orders: 1-800-5826642. Subscription queries:1-800582-6642, (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 080995277. IRISH AMERICA IS PRINTED IN THE U.S.A. 6 IRISH AMERICA DECEMBER / JANUARY 2017

the first word | by Patricia Harty

A Nation of Immigrants?


“Immigration policy should be generous; it should be fair; it should be flexible. With such a policy we can turn to the world, and to our own past, with clean hands and a clear conscience.” – John F. Kennedy

his past Thanksgiving, as I made my way to a home-cooked meal with friends, I couldn’t help but reflect on my first decade in America, when I had to work every holiday. I was so grateful for my waitressing job, being an undocumented alien. Some might say I lived “on the fringes,” but for me life was exciting, a rich tapestry. I had a dream of freedom, classlessness, and opportunity, and I was determined to make it come true. “If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere” always struck me as odd, because here in New York is exactly where I wanted to be – and stay. This holiday I have adopted – and the recent election – had me feeling bittersweet and hyper aware of the immigrants I encountered at each stop towards my final destination. At Welcome Wine & Liquor, as I picked up my favorite Californian pinot noir from the Russian River (the grapes picked by Mexican migrant workers), I chatted to the Indian owner about what we have in common – a history of British colonialism and national flags that have the same colors. At Godiva Chocolates, one of the shop assistants was from Ghana, the other from the Dominican Republic. At the mention of the Dominican Republic my mind flashed back to a long-ago St. Patrick’s Day and my favorite chef, Roberto. Trying to maneuver in a jampacked restaurant with a tray over my head, I “tenderly” kicked a firefighter in the leg. He yelped and got me in trouble. The owner’s son, Danny, called me a donkey and I fled to the kitchen in tears. Roberto, seeing my distress, left his burgers on the grill to pour me a glass of cooking wine. “It’s okay, Flaco,” he said gently. And it was. I’m no longer the skinny girl who earned the nickname “Flaco” from my Spanish-speaking workmates, but my memories are vivid of the short order cooks, the busboys, the cleaners, the waiters (particularly Bruno from Brazil!), that I met over the 12 years it took me to get my papers. We were all from somewhere else, and that was our deep bond. We were all happy to be in America. No matter how hard the work and long the hours, we lived in hope. The 1965 Immigration Act, which still holds firm today, just about closed the door on legal immigration from Ireland. Those of us who emigrated after that were a long way from that first rung on the ladder. It didn’t matter how far earlier generations had climbed, we were stuck in limbo. We couldn’t go home and we couldn’t move up. But we never gave up. You see, the American dream is not so much a dream as a hope. The same hope that I had back then is burning in the thousands of undocumented Irish today whose path to citizenship is even more tenuous, more uncertain, given the unprecedented political stage. Those of us armed with papers, legal status, voting rights, must give a voice to those who can’t speak for themselves – the immigrants whose labors enrich our lives, who uprooted themselves and left their families for the chance to grow here and make a home – to become an American. The cab driver who stopped and picked me up after my wonderful Thanksgiving dinner was from Senegal. We chatted about his name, Mor, which I told him in Irish means “big,” as in “big heart.” He laughed and said that he had a passenger earlier who told him that in Turkish, mor means “purple.” In my vision of America, the rainbow has a purple hue. It’s the color you get when you mix red and blue. Mórtas Cine.

Note: President John F. Kennedy believed passionately that what gave America its “flavor” and “character” was “the interaction of disparate cultures.” He wrote about this in an essay called “A Nation of Immigrants,” which was published as a book in the runup to the 1960 election. It has recently been republished by the Anti-Defamation League.

For information on the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform visit:

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letters | readers forum I am a huge fan of Irish America. I moved here from Ireland four years ago and it makes me very proud of my heritage when I read about all the incredibly talented Irish American people here. Keep up the great work!

Galvea Kelly, Submitted online

What Are You Like? Donal Ryan

This Q&A was (without any exaggeration) a joy to read. Even without studying English literature and language, reading Donal’s theory on why he thinks Ireland produces such great writers felt right. I wholeheartedly agree.

First Word: A Penny Well Spent

Patricia Harty’s First Word on the Irish penny certainly brought back many memories of school in Waterford with the Convent of Mercy Nuns. Just this past week I was explaining to some friends here in Litchfield, CT about the “pennies for the black babies.” Whilst some were astounded, the Irish religious raised lots of money for the missions. However, I am also thinking of my poor mother raising eight kids and having to come up with all those pennies. The gobstoppers or the ha’penny toffee squares won over many times!

Margot Conway-Wick, Litchfield, CT

Brava, Marsha Sorotick and Mary Chase and Irish America, for publishing this terrific article. I saw a production of Harvey back when I was an actor. As a


Big Thanks to @GoToIrelandUS @IrelandinNY @billycondon123 @irishamerica and all the friends we met along the way

THE STORY HOUSE @TSHIRELAND • NOV. 5 God, but don’t you just love Donal Ryan? @irishamerica


Congrats @osullivanEcon + all #WallStreet50 honorees. TY @irishamerica always celebrating Irish accomplishment in US


Congratulations to all honorees and to @irishamerica team Tourism Ireland pleased to be part of another excellent event in #NYC

The TrumpPence Irish Connection and a Different Kind of Wall

Adrianne Magill, Submitted online

Mother of Orphans

Thank you for the feature on Margaret Haughery, “mother to the motherless.” We take great pride in Leitrim that Margaret was born here and that she made a great contribution to America.

John Flynn, Submitted online

It’s just horrible that Trump would admit to global warming in Ireland but completely act like it’s a myth out in the U.S. Glad you wrote about this.

Saira Delacruz, Submitted online Members of the New Orleans community who helped rededicate Margaret’s statue.


Mary Chase: The Woman Behind Harvey

child I spoke Irish and could tell you Irish faery tales in that language. I love language, literature and history, as well as this well-written, exciting article; I will remember it! And thanks for telling me Harvey came from my own Irish roots!

Peter Garland, Submitted online

Visit us online at to leave your comments, or write to us:

Send a fax (212-2443344), e-mail (submit@ or write to Letters, Irish America Magazine, 875 Avenue of the Americas, Suite 201, New York, NY 10001. Letters should include the writer’s name, address and phone number and may be edited for clarity and length.

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hibernia | news from ireland McGregor Trailblazes UFC


ltimate Fighting Championship featherweight champion Conor McGregor (below) became the only mixed martial artist in history to hold two UFC titles simultaneously in November, when the Dubliner took down hitherto lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez at Madison Square Garden. Alvarez’s loss came as a secondround technical knockout, with the referee calling the fight off when McGregor landed the finishing blow. “To be honest with you, that first shot, I had no clue what it was,” Alvarez, who is half Puerto Rican and half Irish American and grew up in the heavily Irish neighborhood of Kensington in Philadelphia, said in a subsequent appearance on podcast You’re Welcome with Chael Sonnen. “I had no clue, and my butt was on the ground, and I remember in my head going ‘what the fuck was that?’” In the lead-up to trading blows in the ring, McGregor and Alvarez had traded barbs on various public platforms. Alvarez downplayed his opponent’s abilities, claiming that “his defense is terrible” and that he would “give him some humility.” McGregor, known for his offensive strategies in the ring and the press alike, asserted that he would “really, truly rearrange [Alvarez’s] facial structure. His wife and kids will never recognize him again.” UFC 205 was the Championship’s debut in New York City, and McGregor’s record has made the occasion all the more historic, according to organization president Dana White. “I don’t think that record will ever be broken,” he said in the post-fight press conference. “Jesus is going to have to fight the devil to break that record.”


by Olivia O’Mahony

Bono Named Among Glamour’s Women of the Year


2 lead and lifelong humanitarian Bono (right) was named among Glamour magazine’s ten Women of the Year in November, breaking a 26year-long precedent of honoring, naturally, women. The magazine wrote that, while for years the Women of the Year advisory board, which is made up of past winners and Glamour editors, “put the kibosh on naming a Man of the Year on the grounds that men aren’t exactly hurting for awards in this world,” several events this year, including Obama declaring himself a feminist and the United Nations’ #HeforShe campaign, opened the board to the idea of naming a man. “When a major male rock star who could do anything at all with his life decides to focus on the rights of women and girls worldwide – well, all that’s worth celebrating,” the magazine wrote. Officially, the magazine named Bono their first Man of the Year, and recognized his work on the campaign “Poverty is Sexist,” which


aids the world’s poorest women and seeks to establish a link between poverty and gender. Bono recognized the irony of the award in his acceptance speech in Los Angeles on November 14, joking, “I know how ridiculous it is for me to be on this stage accepting this award. But if I didn’t know how ridiculous it was, I did have the blessed Internet to remind me.” He also acknowledged that he, as well as all men, must contribute to the demand for gender equality. “If it is the measure of a man’s maturity – his relationship to and with women – well, there’s a large part of me that reckons if I could someday be worthy of this award, this faith you have placed in me this evening, then I might become the man that I aspire to be.”

Irish Designer Clodagh Wins Humanitarian Award

merican-based Irish designer Clodagh received the prestigious Manfred Steinfeld Humanitarian Award in November for her work with the Thorn Tree Project in Kenya. The award, given by Hospitality Design magazine, is given to the industry figure who has demonstrated extraordinary humanitarian spirit. Clodagh, who was born in Cong, County Mayo, has been involved with the Thorn Tree project since it was founded in 2002. The Thorn Tree Project focuses on providing basic education to the nomadic Samburu tribe in northern Kenya, one of the country’s most isolated. “I visit the children in Africa as much as I can, and watch them grow up from afar and become citizens of the world. I am determined to make their lives and the lives of others so much better,” Clodagh told Hospitality Design. Since 2002, the Thorn Tree Project has built 12 preschools, three elementary schools, as well as dormitories, and educated more than 1,500 children of the Samburu tribe, including putting some of the

earliest students through college. In addition to the Thorn Tree Project, Clodagh also works with the Azama Project, which provides schooling and healthcare for the isolated town of Azama, Ecuador, and Ape Action Africa, which supports one of the largest primate sanctuaries on the continent. Among Clodagh’s professional projects include the Modern terrace at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the White Horse Spa in Doonbeg, County Clare, and the W Hotel and Residences in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.

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Irish Government Funds Aid for Syria

n October, the Irish government made a contribution of €5 million ($5.55 million) to the Turkey Refugee Facility for victims of the Syrian civil war. Following a subsequent meeting with E.U. Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management commissioner Christos Stylianides, Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Charlie Flanagan announced that another €2.5 million ($2.78 million) would be given to the cause. “Commissioner Stylianides provided me with a very comprehensive update on the humanitarian situation in Syria,” Flanagan (left) said after the meeting. He added that these specific funds, to be distributed by the U.N. and Red Cross, will “enhance Ireland’s contribution to meeting the challenges the people of Syria face in accessing food, water, and healthcare.” This contribution will bring Ireland’s total funding of Syrian refugee aid to over €62 million ($68.88 million) since 2012. Last year, the country spent over €142 million ($157.77 million) on humanitarian aid across the globe. “Every evening on our television screens, we see the human toll which the unprecedented number and scale of humanitarian crises is taking,” Flanagan said. “There is an onus on all of the international community to do what we can to help alleviate this human suffering, and Ireland will continue to play its part.”

Christos Stylianides.


Donegal Woman Bakes for Unity

he third annual “International Bake Bread for Peace Day” was celebrated across the world on October 24th this year on Facebook, with countless people baking and posting photos of their bread loaves on the site. As global as the day now is, its origins are resolutely local, begun by Breezy Kelly of Glenties, County Donegal. Last year, Kelly took to the roads of Northern Ireland with her dog, Sheila, and a bag of soda bread in hand. Journeying through all six counties, she baked bread, sang, and told stories with the people of every town. She ended her trip on the steps of the government buildings in Stormont, Belfast, where she baked with members of the Northern Irish Assembly from different political parties in a public demonstration to promote peace. Breezy chose breadmaking as a common ground for peacebuilding because the practice is present in almost all world cultures. With the help of social media, she encouraged schools, workplaces, and households to bake loaves of bread to help foster international “harmony, neighborliness and a sense of community.” Since then, she has been welcomed to homes in Ireland, the U.K., and beyond to roll out her vision. “Baking bread is something ancient, something shared by people of all races, religions, and perspectives,” said Breezy, who also organized the Born and Bread project for the One Donegal Diversity Month in 2013. “It is a universal sign of peace, something we can do together. This might be a simple idea, but from small acorns, big oak trees grow.”

Ciaran Murray to Chair ICON plc


CON plc, a Dublin-based global provider of drug development solutions and biotechnical, pharmaceutical, and medical device services, announced in October that Irish America Business 100 honoree Ciaran Murray will transition from the role of company CEO to chairman of the board of directors, effective March 2017. Acting chairman Declan McKeon thanked Murray (right) for his work as CEO, saying that since 2011, “Ciaran has led ICON through a transformative phase of our development which has seen the company deliver outstanding financial and operational performance and broaden its strategic capabilities.” “Through our focus on innovation, investment in talent and by continuing to enhance and broaden our service capabilities, we have driven significant growth and shareholder value,” Murray said in his official statement. “The last five years as ICON’s CEO have been the most exciting and fulfilling of my professional career.” DECEMBER / JANUARY 2017 IRISH AMERICA 11

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hibernia | news Belfast Airport to Lose U.S. Link


orthern Ireland is set to lose its only direct flight to the U.S. United Airlines chose to end the Belfast to Newark service, effective from the start of January, citing the route’s “poor financial performance” despite the promise of a multi-million-pound support package from the Northern Ireland Executive in order to secure its continued operation. “United Airline’s decision will leave visitors and investors with no other option but to travel via the Republic of Ireland, which will heighten the need for clarity on how the border will operate following the U.K.’s departure from the E.U.,” said Roger Pollen of the Federation of Small Businesses. He added that the direct air route had been fundamental because of “the signal it sent about [Northern Ireland’s] role in the international economy.” “This is a vital link for businesses and losing it will be a body blow,” Belfast International Airport managing director Graham Keddie said. “This is a bad day for the executive and a bad day for Northern Ireland, which is still finding its feet after a generation lost to conflict.”

Ireland Tops Best Hotels of 2016


he Ballyfin Hotel of Co. Laois (pictured right) was named the best hotel in the world by Conde Nast Traveller in an October listing. Two other Irish hotels made the top ten, with Waterford Castle and the Lodge at at Ashford Castle in Co. Mayo (which was itself recently ranked as the world’s best hotel by Virtuoso Travel) ranking seventh and ninth respectively. The rise of interest in luxury Irish hotels has been attributed to its reputation as a safe travel destination among high-spending individuals. “[Travellers] are increasingly seeking security but also the attention of the ‘big house,’ epitomized in shows like Downton Abbey,” Shane Leahy of Ireland Chauffeur Travel told the Irish Times. “These properties lavish attention without the intrusions of the outside world and modern life. Ballyfin


embodies this ideal.” “If you’ve ever dreamed of summering at a country house, you couldn’t do much better than this stately, 20-room Georgian home,” Condé Nast said while making the announcement, going on to highlight “having a butler row you out on the lake before enjoying a sumptuous lunch at the picnic house” as one delight of the Ballyfin experience. “We should only ever aspire to the highest standards, the highest classification system, and benchmark ourselves against the highest international standards,” said Irish Hotels Federation president Joe Dolan. “[The award] is not a surprise. The industry has been investing in product, services, and staff all along.”

Church of Scientology Arrives in Dublin

new Church of Scientology National Affairs Office has made its home in Merrion Square, Dublin, and will be used to deliver Scientology-supported social programs in Ireland, such as rights awareness campaigns, educational courses, and resources for recovering drug addicts. “By opening the doors of the Church of Scientology National Affairs Office for Ireland, we are continuing in the tradition of our founder L. Ron Hubbard, who himself held an office at 69 Merrion Square,” David Miscavige, Chairman of the Board of the Religious Technology Center and ecclesiastical leader of the Scientology religion told The religious movement was founded in 1954 by L. Ron Hubbard, an American science fiction and fantasy author. Since its inception, Scientology has been accused of medical malpractise, immoral treatment of members, and infringement of copyright laws among he largest forest grove of giant redwoods outside of California other criticisms, and is not will be planted through a public participation project by Birr officially recognized as a Castle and the Irish environmental organization Crann – Trees for religion in many countries. Ireland. The initiative, called Giants Grove, was announced in October The church has recently and celebrates the 30-year anniversary of Crann and the 80th birthday been linked to controversy of Brendan Parsons, the 7th Earl of Rosse in Birr Castle, Co. Offaly. in Ireland due to rumours The redwoods of Giants Grove will be the first rooted in Irish soil of a ban on the Irish since the most recent Ice Age, symbolizing Ireland’s global concern release of Louis Theroux’s for biodiversity enhancement and conservation in a time where climate 2015 My Scientology change throws the future of California’s own redwood population into Movie, with the director uncertainty. questioning whether “This project is very close to my heart,” Lord Rosse said in a public blasphemous investigatory statement. “Our grandchildren, their grandchildren, Birr, Ireland, and content would prevent the world will benefit from this magnificent forest grove.” Planting it from reaching Irish begins in spring 2017. theaters.

Birr Castle Plans Largest Redwood Grove Outside California

T Brendan Parsons, the seventh Earl of Rosse at the site of the future Giants Grove.


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hibernia | irish eye on hollywood Live by Night on Christmas Day

t’s not exactly a typical holiday feel-good movie, but Live by Night – directed by and starring Ben Affleck, based on the novel by Irish American master Dennis Lehane – is set Ben to be one of the big movies of the Christmas Affleck and Brendan season. Gleeson. In fact, the flick – a kind of Great Gatsby meets Boardwalk Empire – will be released on Christmas Day. Live by Night also stars Irish great Brendan Gleeson as well as Elle Fanning, Sienna Miller, and Chris Cooper. Live by Night is based on the second book in Lehane’s Joe Coughlin trilogy, which kicked off with The Given Day and concluded with World Gone By. Live by Night follows Joe Coughlin, the son of a Boston police captain (played in the film by Gleeson) who falls into a life of crime. Coughlin (Affleck) at first is working with the Irish mob in Boston. But after ending up in prison, Coughlin heads to Florida and elsewhere in an attempt to become the kingpin of a new criminal empire. Lehane’s book captures the complicated position of Irish Catholics in the 1920s. They were assimilating and gaining respectability in big cities, from police precincts to city hall, but were still over-represented in the underclass, all the while being targeted by nativists and bigots represented by the anti-Catholic and anti-immigrant Ku Klux Klan. This, of course, isn’t the first time Ben Affleck will play an Irish American. He catapulted to fame playing Chuckie Sullivan in the South Boston classic Good Will Hunting. After a limited Christmas Day release, Live by Night will open nationwide in January 2017.


Fassbender Heads to Spanish Inquisition rendan Gleeson will actually be having himself a busy Christmas


movie season. On December 21, Gleeson’s latest movie Assassin’s Creed opens. Starring fellow Irish actor Michael Fassbender, Assassin’s Creed is based on the popular video game of the same name, though don’t assume the movie is light on plot. Fassbender plays Michael Callum Lynch, a criminal who Fassbender in Assassin’s is saved from execution – but Creed. only if he participates in a project which may put him in touch with a distant ancestor from the time of the Spanish Inquisition. (That’s the plot you get with a budget pegged somewhere between $150 and $200 million.) Assassin’s Creed also stars Marion Cotillard as well as Jeremy Irons (who is, of course, married to Irish actress Sinead Cusack, both of whom spend lots of time at their castle in Cork). 14 IRISH AMERICA DECEMBER / JANUARY 2017

by Tom Deignan

Double Duty for Liam Neeson

lso opening around Christmas will be not one, but two flicks featuring Liam Neeson. First, there is Martin Scorsese’s latest film, the religious epic Silence, which stars Neeson, as well as Northern Irish veteran of stage and screen Ciaran Hinds. The film is set centuries ago in Japan, and also stars Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver. Neeson will also lend his voice to the fantasy film A Monster Calls, based on a book concept from late Irish author Siobhan Dowd. A Monster Calls tells the story of young Conor O’Malley (Lewis MacDougall), who is mourning the loss of his mother and finds an unlikely healing source in a monstrous, storytelling tree.


Three Times a Star rish American actress


Caitlin Fitzgerald (left) is

bringing 2016 to a rousing end. Aside from starring in season four of the ongoing Showtime series Masters of Sex, she appears in three films as the year comes to a close. In December, Fitzgerald – whose grandfather, Desmond Fitzgerald, was a top official with the CIA under President John F. Kennedy – stars alongside Mackenzie Davis in the psychological thriller Always Shine. The flick garnered positive buzz at numerous festivals, with Variety saying director Sophia Takal took on “Tinseltown misogyny and the toxic rivalry between friends, but that’s mere prelude to a gonzo meta-fiction that deconstructs itself nearly to death.” You can also see Fitzgerald in the film Mercy (currently streaming on Netflix) as well as in This is Your Death, starring Josh Duhamel and Famke Janssen.

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Lenny Abrahamson Takes a Chance

irector Lenny Abrahamson earned an Academy Award nomination for his adaptation of Lenny Emma Donoghue’s Room. Up next Abrahamson for the Dublin-born filmmaker is a makes the move to Hulu TV show and a controversial boxing film. TV. Abrahamson is currently producing the TV show Chance, starring Hugh Laurie, in the British actor’s return to TV after years playing the lead character on House. In fact, just as in House, Laurie’s character’s name again provides the show its title. Abrahamson directed several Chance episodes, which are now available on Hulu. Meanwhile, Abrahamson is also putting together a movie about American boxer Emile Griffith. Griffith was a title-holder in the 1960s. However, he also struggled with his sexual identity, living as a bisexual at a time – and in a sport – that did not tolerate such things. Abrahamson told the radio show Second Captains Sunday on RTÉ 1, “Occasionally you read a story where you go, ‘My God, that is so much stranger than fiction and that is so extraordinary.’ That’s Griffith. It’s such an incredible story because it’s about sexuality, it’s about masculinity, it’s about sport, but ultimately – and the thing that I’m always interested in is – it’s just about that particular person.” Abrahamson added, “He lived this double life between the Times Square underground gay scene and his continuing interest in ladies’ millinery on the one hand, and boxing on the other. His story becomes very, very powerful as it goes on. It’s just such an amazing world. I’m always drawn in stories to people whose sense of themselves gets radically interrupted.” Abrahamson closed by saying that he hopes to make a movie similar to Martin Scorsese’s classic Raging Bull, as “a sports movie” that’s “not ultimately about the sport. Good work is always about going from surface to depth and a sports movie is good if the sport becomes part of the leverage or the ‘crowbar’ that opens up that character.”


The Irishman Set to Make DeNiro Young Again

peaking of Scorsese, more details are emerging about his upcoming mega-project The Irishman, starring Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino. Though it is still in the pre-production phase, anticipation for this flick is already running high. The Irishman is based on the book I Heard You Paint Houses by Charles Brandt, which bills itself as the final word on who killed famed union leader Jimmy Hoffa. (Irish American teamster and criminal Frank Sheeran, according to Brandt.) Reports now suggest The Irishman will begin shooting next year, with a release date sometime in 2018. DeNiro (right, c. 1980) recently spilled some details in a podcast interview hosted by Empire magazine, saying that the filmmakers are experimenting with technology that might make DeNiro and others look younger in flashbacks, so that younger actors do not need to be hired. “I’m working on The Irishman with Marty Scorsese,” DeNiro said, “and there are sections, earlier periods in the film, where we’re experimenting with how I can [look younger], like Benjamin Button. Not only me, but the other actors too.”


9/11 and Bobby Sands Subjects of New Streaming Documentaries

im Sheridan’s latest Irish movie The Secret Scripture, Days. This grueling documentary takes an unsparing look at the based on Irish writer Sebastian Barry’s novel, premiered hunger strikes that rocked the world back in 1981 and their longat the Toronto Film Festival, though there is no word yet lasting impact on Irish history. The documentary was released on a wide release. It may not help that early reviews of in December and should be available via streaming or DVD A still from The Secret Scripture have been quite negative in early 2017. Bobby Sands: If you can’t wait to judge The Secret 66 Days at Scripture yourself, Sheridan recently gave Sands’s funeral fans a little taste of something new. He in Belfast. directed a short film based on the story of Irish journalist Lise Hand, who was in New York on 9/11. The film is called The 11th Hour. “I just made a little movie now about 9/11 with Salma Hayek, just a kind of movie to show that once, America was all immigrants working together, including Muslims,” Sheridan recently said. While you’re online looking up Sheridan’s movie, also look up a recently released documentary, Bobby Sands: 66


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hibernia | events Wall Street 50 – Oct. 12

On October 12, Irish America celebrated the 19th Annual Wall Street 50 Awards Dinner at the Metropolitan Club in Manhattan. Daniel Keegan, co-head of Global Equities for Citigroup, delivered the keynote speech, a humble and funny talk that tied his own early academic struggle with the greater idea of teamwork on Wall Street, including his predecessor and mentor at Citi Rick Bartlett, and the Irish obligation to aid today’s immigrants. Keegan was presented with the House of Waterford Crystal Essence Vase Keynote Speaker 1 Award by co-founder and editor Patricia Harty and founding publisher Niall O’Dowd.

Photos by Margaret Purcell







Healthcare & Life Sciences 50 – Oct. 5

On October 5, 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 Harvard Club in Manhattan, co-hosted by ICON Plc. The keynote address was delivered by Dublinborn Dr. Barbara Murphy, chair of medicine at Mount Sinai Health System. “You cannot underestimate the importance of a patient’s trust in their doctor to help calm their fears and contribute to their 1 3 overall wellbeing,” she said. Co-founder and editor Patricia Harty and founding publisher Niall O’Dowd presented Murphy with the House of Waterford Crystal Essence Vase Keynote Speaker Award.

Photos by Nuala Purcell







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1 Dan Keegan with his wife Beth and the House of Waterford Crystal award. 2 Niall O'Dowd, keynote speaker Dan Keegan and Patricia Harty. 3 Barbara Jones and Bill Flynn. 4 Rubicoin honorees Emmet Savage and John Tyrell. 5 Honoree Shane Clifford and his wife. 6 First Republic honoree Erin Fitzsimmons and guests. 7 Kieran Claffey and honoree Niall O'Donnell. 8 Dan Keegan with his wife and parents. 9 Honoree Barbara Koster. 10 Irish America VP of Marketing Kate Overbeck and honoree Kate Healy. 11 Honorees Shaun Kelly, Sean Lane, and Peter Merrigan. 12 Ed Kenney, Lorraine Turner, Kristen Packett, Alison Metcalfe, Sr. Mary Turley, and Jack Haire. 13 George Heslin, founder of the Origin Theatre, and singer Niamh Hyland. 14 Honorees Martyn Curragh, Vin Colman, and Martin Kehoe.

1 House of Waterford Crystal shamrock award. 2 Honorees Joe Mulvehill and Barbara Murphy. 3 Co-host Ciaran Murray of ICON. 4 Keynote Speaker Barbara Murphy receives House of Waterford Crystal award. 5 Honoree Frank Reynolds and his wife Mary. 6 Honorees Jim Watson, Brian Dougherty, Owen O'Connor, John Neylan, Mike Mullen, Barbara Murphy, and Peter Fogarty. 7 David Anderson, honoree Liz McKee Anderson, Sheila O'Brien, and honoree Stephen O'Brien. 8 Kathleen, Orlaith, and Ciaran Staunton. 9 Honoree Michele Cleary. 10 Honoree John Neylan. 11 ICON's Simon Holmes, honoree Justin McCarthy, Ciaran Murray, and Alan Maine of Pfizer. 12 Honoree Brian Dougherty with his son Patrick. 13 Honoree Mike McLoughlin. 14 Honorees Michael Mullen, Jim Watson, Barbara Murphy, and Kevin Horgan. 15 Cyndi and Craig Flanagan with Patricia Harty.


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hibernia | out & about

Ciarán O’Reilly presented the award to Malachy McCourt.


Airways where as CEO, he oversaw the merger of British Airways and Iberia forming IAG in January 2011. Walsh, who was introduced by Brian Stack, President of the Council, gave a humorous speech relaying that he often gets mistaken for Michael O’Leary, the outspoken CEO of Ryan Airlines. He also apologized to Presidentelect Donald Trump for any disparaging remarks he may have said about him in the past. The U.S. Council builds links between Irish and American business leaders and sponsors a number of scholarships and student internship programs.


rish American Writers and Artists Inc. (IAW&A) presented Malachy McCourt, the legendary actor, author, and radio host with the Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award on October 17, 2016 at the Manhattan Club in New York. Celebrities from the worlds of film and theatre as well as previous O’Neill Award recipients, including writers William Kennedy, Pete Hamill, and John Patrick Shanley, joined in the celebrations. The award ceremony was presided over by Mary Pat Kelly, president of the IAW&A, while the co-founders of New York’s Irish Repertory Theatre Charlotte Moore and Ciarán O’Reilly, presented the award to Malachy.



Malachy McCourt Honored

Irish Olympic Stars at UCD Gala niversity College Dublin’s Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School’s 14th annual New York Benefit Dinner took place at the Metropolitan Club in Manhattan on October 19. Pictured above are Marie O’Connor, the first woman to make partner at PwC Ireland, and Paul and Gary O’Donovan, the Irish rowers, who earned Ireland’s first ever Olympic rowing medals when they won the silver in Men’s Lightweight Double Sculls in Rio in August.


Concern’s Seeds of Hope Dinner

Building Irish & American Business Links


John Fitzpatrick (President, Fitzpatrick Hotel Group New York), Willie Walsh (Chief Executive Officer, IAG) who received the 2016 Award for Outstanding Achievement, Brian Stack (President, The Ireland- US Council) and Barbara Koster (Senior VP, Prudential Financial).

he Ireland U.S. Council honored Willie Walsh, CEO, International Airlines Group (IAG) at its 54th annual dinner at the New York Metropolitan Club on November 10. Walsh, born in Dublin, began his career as a pilot for Aer Lingus and went on to became the company’s CEO. He eventually moved to British 18 IRISH AMERICA DECEMBER / JANUARY 2017



oncern Worldwide U.S., the Irish relief organization, held its 20th annual Seeds of Hope Award Dinner at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York on November 29. John Greed, president and CEO of Mutual of America was honored. Greed, pictured below (left) with Anne Anderson, Ireland’s ambassador to the U.S., and Tom Moran, chairman of Concern Worldwide U.S., gave an emotional speech, noting that he was the first in his family to go to college. Drawing on his working class Philadelphia roots, he talked about how Concern is giving a hands up to the poorest of the poor around the globe.

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hibernia | out & about


Gaelic Sports Stars Take New York

he biggest annual celebration of Gaelic games in the U.S. marked its fifth anniversary on October 6, when 500 guests packed into the gilded ballroom of New York’s Plaza Hotel for a gala dinner hosted by the Gaelic Players Association (GPA). The Master of Ceremonies was RTÉ’s PHOTOS: JAMES Marty Morrissey, and a host of all-star HIGGINS players, male and female, were in attendance, including Tipperary’s senior LEFT: Irish America hurling team captain Brendan Maher and editor-in-chief Patricia Harty with Tipperary Dublin’s football captain Denis Bastick, senior hurling team both fresh from their All-Ireland captain Brendan Maher. initiative on the night – the Mark Your Man triumphs. The Women’s Gaelic Players RIGHT: Bob McCann of Campaign – aimed at both saving and transformAssociation was represented by chairperson Aoife UBS and Stephen ing lives. Two players, Alan O’Mara and Conor Lane and Gemma Begley. Kavanagh of Aer Lingus Cusack, spoke eloquently about the challenges for The event was an opportunity to celebrate the were honored. people suffering from emotional distress and how past sports season and highlight the success of the new campaign can help tackle those issues. various GPA programs that make a real difference to the lives of Ireland’s outstanding amateur Gaelic athletes. The Ireland-U.S. Gaelic Heritage Award went to business leader, philanthrolub Choice Ireland director Larry Byrne was in New York in November to promote pist and inspirational human tailor-made golfing vacations in Ireland’s east and southeastern counties. being Robert J. McCann, Hailing from County Wexford, Byrne, who runs the company with his son Tiernan, is chairman of UBS Americas, passionate about promoting golf in their part of Ireland. whose admiration of Gaelic “We have some of the country’s best courses including Portmarnock, the European games and its amateur Club and the K Club. Through Dublin International Airport and the surrounding road players was expressed in network, we now have unrihis acceptance speech. valled access into our region. Aer Lingus CEO Stephen We believe that the east and Kavanagh received the southeast are underrated as a Spirit of Ireland Award. Aer golfing destination and we are Lingus has a long tradition determined to change that,” in supporting sporting Byrne said. events and is a proud In just three years, Club partner of the GPA. Choice has delivered thousands Lifetime Achievement of golfers from the U.K. and Awards were also presented over €5 million in tourism revon the night to two very enue to the east and southeast. special players from the The company is now looking Offaly football teams of the forward to bringing its personal1960s, ’70s, and ’80s. ized, value-for-money product Legendary goalkeeper to the U.S., and has launched Martin Furlong and iconic Heritage Choice Ireland, a new forward Seamus Darby PHOTO: JAMES HIGGINS initiative, with a view to marrywere re-united from either Larry Byrne (Club Choice ing golf and heritage vacations that would showcase side of the Atlantic to Ireland) and Alison Metcalfe Ireland’s Ancient East, the world’s best golf courses, and celebrate their remarkable (Tourism Ireland), at the Irish Irish hospitality. careers. Consulate on November 10. For more information contact: The GPA launched a new


New Golf & Heritage Tourism Initiative


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hibernia | remembrances


Irish Patriot Remembered

bout 75 people turned out in rainy weather on a late October Thursday afternoon for the rededication of the 1818 monument honoring Irish patriot and New York lawyer, Thomas Addis Emmet, at St. Paul’s Church on Broadway and Fulton Street in Manhattan. Among those in attendance were numerous descendants of Emmet, including Alexandria Emmet Schlesinger, the wife of the late great historian, Arthur Schlesinger, and the couple’s adult son, Robert Schlesinger. Thomas, a member of the revolutionary United Irishmen, a nonsectarian organization whose objectives were Catholic emancipation and the end of British rule in Ireland, was

free Ireland from the shackles of British authority was through rebellion. Arrested on the eve of the 1798 Rebellion, Thomas was imprisoned until 1802 when he was exiled to Brussels. He later moved to Paris, where he tried to enlist French help in the fight for Irish freedom. It was in Paris where he heard of his brother Robert’s execution for his part in the Irish rebellion of 1803. Heartbroken over his brother’s death, whose political views he had nurtured, Thomas immigrated to the U.S. in 1804 with his wife, Jane Patten, and became one of the most respected lawyers in the nation and served as New York State attorney general from 1812 to 1813. He died of a heart attack in 1827 in a New York courtroom while trying a case. After Thomas’s death, his friends erected an obelisk in his memory in St. Paul’s churchyard. It is said to be the oldest standing Fenian or Irish Rebel monument in the United States. Over the past 200 years, nature had taken its toll on the monument, rendering the inscribed texts in English, Latin, and Irish illegible. A visitor from Ireland and admirer of Emmet, William McCarthy, offered born April 24, 1764 in the Ham- Robert Schlesinger, his to make a donation to the mond’s Marsh area of Cork City mother Alexandria Emmet church to fund the restoraSchlesinger, and Consul to Dr. Robert Emmet from General Barbara Jones. tion of the monument. Now, County Tipperary and Elizabeth a year later, the project has Mason from County Kerry. been completed. The Emmets were an affluent family of IreTarara McCarthy, a niece of William’s, land’s Protestant ascendency class. Thomas read a message from her uncle at the dedicawas educated at Trinity College and the Uni- tion ceremony. Other speakers included Conversity of Edinburgh, from where he gradu- sul General Barbara Jones, Eric M. Reuben, ated with a degree in medicine. Following the Managing Partner, Emmet, Marvin & Martin, death of his elder brother Christopher, a lead- LLP, and Hillary Sweeney, Irish language lecing Irish barrister, Thomas then decided to turer at Glucksman Ireland House NYU, who study law. As a barrister, he defended Irish read a poem in Irish, which translated reads: political prisoners, including the patriot He wished for prosperity leader James Napper Tandy. A close associate For the land of his birth; of Wolfe Tone, Thomas became the legal He honored and was praised adviser to the Society of the United Irishmen, In the land of his death. – Patricia Harty who became convinced that the only way to 20 IRISH AMERICA DECEMBER / JANUARY 2017


New York City Street Renamed for Easter Rising


ew York’s Irish bonds were celebrated in November at the renaming ceremony of a municipal stairway in Maspeth, Queens. The step-street, now officially “Easter Rising Way,” overlooks Calvary Cemetery, the final resting place of many Irish Americans native to the area. Also visible is the Fenian Monument, erected by the Irish Revolutionary Brotherhood in 1907 to commemorate the 50-year anniversary of the 1867 Fenian Rising. The Brotherhood would go on to be involved in planning the 1916 Easter Rising. “As Easter Rising Way ascends, this staircase symbolizes the struggle of Irish people who fought for freedom and peace for centuries,” said Irish American congresswoman Elizabeth Crowley (who proposed the renaming) during her speech at the ceremony, which was also attended by City Councilman Danny Dromm, Consul General of Ireland Barbara Jones, and Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams. “There would not have been an Easter Rising in Ireland without the support and inspiration of people from this very state,” added Consul General Jones. “We’re getting better at remembering. What we choose to remember is really vital in this uncertain world.” – O.O.

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Chicago Miracles

hibernia | sports

Miracles happen in threes, but few foresaw this one coming when Ireland’s rugby team met the New Zealand All-Blacks in a historic match November 5 at Chicago’s Soldier Field, home to the Chicago Bears.


uphoria reigned that week in Chicago, where the lovable-loser Cubs had just broken their 108-year failure to win a World Series in dramatic, come-from-behind, fashion. Many of the Irish and Kiwi fans flocking to Chicago for the rugby match joined the millions – yes, an officially-estimated five million Cubs fans – who packed the streets of Chicago the day before the rugby match for the Cubs’ victory parade and rally in Grant Park. Irish American comic actor Bill Murray, a life-long Cubs fan, had led the seventhinning stretch tradition of singing of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” and attended every one of the seven games, becoming the national face of Cub fandom. He also led three of the Cubs in a skit for his alma mater, Saturday Night Live, that night. Miracle number two became obvious Saturday morning when Irish fans woke up to weather that never visits Chicago in November. Those heavy coats they’d brought to shield themselves from the cold winds off Lake Michigan were left in hotel rooms as they strolled to Soldier Field in green short sleeves. The high reached 75 degrees in Chicago that Saturday, probably the warmest since President Barack Obama held his 2008 victory party on a 70-degree November 4 night in Grant Park. The Irish were almost universally expected to lose nobly to the Kiwis, who had beaten them in 28 of the 29 previous match-ups over the last 111 years, with one draw in 1973. But at least the Irish would put up a better fight than the Americans the previous year, the Kiwis conceded. The New Zealand team paid respect to Irish player Anthony Foley, who died three weeks before the match. They laid out his Jersey as the performed their traditional Maori-based haka ritual and the Irish team formed a number 8 on the field – Foley’s number. A loud cheer went up as it was announced that a record had been broken. Some 62,300 fans – the largest number ever for a rugby match in the United States – packed Soldier Field. Green shirts clearly outnumbered black, but both sides cheered enthusiastically. The game started and, almost immediately, the Irish took a 3-0 lead on a penalty by Irish fly-half 22 IRISH AMERICA DECEMBER / JANUARY 2017

BELOW: Bill Murray and his son Luke at the Chicago Cubs game. BOTTOM RIGHT: Captains Kieran Read of New Zealand, left, and Rory Best of Ireland lead their teams onto Soldier Field ahead of Ireland’s surprising 40-29 win over the All-Blacks Nov. 5.

Johnny Sexton. Some New Zealand fans smiled with amusement, confident in the final outcome. But as the Irish ran up the score 30-8 47 minutes in, those smiles were gone and the Irish cheered in near disbelief. The Kiwis have rallied back from big deficits before and it seemed as if they had the momentum Saturday, coming back to 29 to Ireland’s 33. But then Irish center Robbie Henshaw broke their line and scored the game-clinching fifth try in the 76th minute and there was no turning back. The Irish won 40-29, breaking the only winless streak older than the one the Cubs avenged days earlier. Green-shirted Irish fans cheered with joy in the stadium and fanned out across the town sharing the joy throughout the pubs and restaurants of Chicago. There was to be no third miracle, however. Two weeks later, the teams met again in Dublin and all was back to normal. The Kiwis beat the Irish 21-9. – Abdon Moriarty Pallasch


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hibernia | by Olivia O’Mahony U.S. Police to Investigate IRA Infiltrator


wo American police officers, NYPD Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence and Counterterrorism John Miller (below, top) and LAPD Deputy Chief Mike Downing (below, bottom), will join the group conducting Northern Ireland’s Operation Kenova, an investigation into a series of IRA murders and the role played by an alleged spy of the British Army who infiltrated the IRA known only by the codename “Stakeknife.” Stakeknife allegedly operated for 25 years within the IRA’s “internal security,” the division of the organization responsible for the interrogation of suspected informers, which often led to execution. Allegations have long been leveled at the British government for the sanction of Stakenife’s purported participation in upwards of 40 murders in order to protect his cover. The operation will be lead externally by Jon Boutcher, chief constable of Bedfordshire, England, at the request of chief constable of the Police Services of Northern Ireland George Hamilton. Boutcher has said that each member of the assembled group “has experience of complex investigations that will have engaged similar legal challenges and have involved historical cases,” adding that the group’s role will be that of a “sounding board” or “critical friend.” “There is an absolute determination to get to the truth for the families,” Boutcher said in a statement. He has promised “a meaningful, honest, authentic investigation to get to the heart of what happened.”


Aisling Irish Center Celebrates 20 Years


On September 30, the Aisling Irish  Community Center  celebrated their 20th anniversary honoring three honorees, Consul General Barbara Jones, Hilary Bierne of the St. Patrick’s Day Foundation, and Kerri Ann O’Connor of St. Barnabas Parish. Above, left to right, Orla Kellaher, Executive Director, Aisling Irish  Community Center; Honorees Kerri Ann O’Connor, Consul Barbara Jones, and Hilary Beirne; and Agnes Delaney, Aisling Irish  Community Center  Board Chair.

ew York’s Aisling Irish Center celebrated its 20th year of providing community programs and social services to Irish immigrants in October. As revealed by executive director and Kerry native Orla Kelleher in an IrishCentral interview, the center saw its beginning in the town of Bainbridge in Chenango County, New York. “From what I’ve been told, it was set up by a few people in the back room behind a bar to help the most vulnerable of Irish immigrants,” she added. “So that’s how it got together. Just a few people shouting, trying to figure out a way to help those who needed help.” In 1996, the Aisling Center relocated to McLean Avenue in Yonkers, where it still stands today. “One third of our funding comes from the Irish government, the Irish Abroad Unit, the immigrant program,” said Kelleher. “There is also great support, not just from the local community, but from the Irish American business community.” Since the center’s opening, it has expanded its reach to aid those of all nationalities, running weekly lunches for seniors, counselling services funded by the Irish government, classes in Irish culture, language, and dance, computer courses, and Spanish conversation lessons. “It’s like an extra gene or cell in us,” Kelleher says of the Irish compulsion to give back. “It’s a great thing about the Irish community here that they are always willing to help somebody else out, and not just Irish people exclusively.”

Irish American Tavern Named World’s Best Bar


rish American tavern The Dead Rabbit Grocery and Grog in New York claimed the top spot on Drinks International magazine’s World’s 50 Best Bars list for the second year in a row in October. The Lower Manhattan establishment arrived in the wake of Hurricane Sandy in 2012, brought to New York by Jack McGarry (named 2013’s International Bartender of the Year by Tales of the Cocktail) and Sean Muldoon, the former manager of The Merchant Hotel, Belfast. The pair met as children in the Northern Irish capital, and the Dead Rabbit taproom ceiling pays homage to this with over 800 hanging photographs of daily life in their home city. 24 IRISH AMERICA DECEMBER / JANUARY 2017

“The Dead Rabbit is more than the sum of its liquid parts, fusing as it does colorful historical references to the city’s 19th century Water Street roughneck pub set and Lower Broadway’s genteel cocktail imbibers in an atmosphere of IrishAmerican hospitality,” said the competition’s organizers when explaining why the bar continues to rank first. “The Dead Rabbit feels like a bar that gives you a hug,” bar manager Jillian

Vose, who accepted the award, told CNN. “The music’s right, the lighting’s right, the staff are friendly. You’re not waiting forever for a drink… All of those things come together to make a special bar.”

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hibernia | people Archbishop Joseph Tobin to Lead Newark

Former Boston Mayor Immortalized


he Raymond L. Flynn Marine Park of the South Boston Seaport District was officially dedicated to the former mayor of Boston on November 12 in a gathering of city and state officials, tourism officials, labor activists, and local community leaders. Flynn, a lifelong Catholic who grew up in South Boston, served as mayor from 1984 to 1993

and U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican from 1993 to 1997. During his tenure as mayor, Flynn received much praise for his political actions to bridge the distance between Boston communities with affordable housing, jobs, and the reduction of homelessness. “Naming this facility for Ambassador Flynn is symbolic of so much that he has fought for every day over a 45-year career in public life,” said Francis J. Doyle, co-chair of the city commission that nominated Flynn for the honor. “Everybody counts in Ray Flynn’s Boston. Whether you arrived here yesterday or many generations ago, upholding the dignity and respect of all was the guiding principle.” Standing on the parkland is the current Marine Industrial Park, the a former Army/Navy property that toed the line of abandonment before being granted to the city’s Economic Development and Industrial Corporation in 1977. “The park is about what the Flynn Administration was about: economic development that creates jobs,” said the Flynn Commission in a letter to current Boston mayor Marty Walsh. “It is now how to over 200 businesses and more than 3,000 employees. Given all that Ray Flynn stands for, we can think of no more appropriate place for the Flynn name to stand.”


Mayor Marty Walsh pictured with Cathy Flynn and Mayor Flynn unveiling the Raymond L. Flynn Marine Park.


oderate clergyman Joseph Tobin was named the new Archbishop of Newark by Pope Francis in November as part of a larger effort to reformulate the Roman Catholic Church’s hierarchy in the United States. Tobin, who formerly served as the Archbishop of Indianapolis, is known for his supportive stance on the role of both women and refugees in Catholic society. Before his time in Indianapolis, Tobin served as the second-highest official in the Vatican for matters involving priests, brothers and nuns. During this tenure he acted as an advocate for nuns over the course of two formal investigations into concerning individuals reported to have strayed from doctrine. “Women Religious see Archbishop Tobin as a friend,” said Sister Mary Pellegrino, president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. “The folks I know in Newark

are delighting in this, and that says a lot.” Raised in a large Irish American family of 13 children in Detroit, Tobin learned early that “you can’t hog the bathroom” – a philosophy of sharing that shone strongly in 2015, when he publicly rebuffed then-Governor of Indiana Mike Pence by insisting that Catholic charities should continue to settle Syrian refugees in America. Tobin was also among the 17 churchmen selected for elevation to cardinal status, making him the first cardinal to ever lead the Newark diocese. He expressed his surprise at being chosen by Pope Francis, telling the New York Times, “Sometimes I think the Pope sees more in me than I see in myself.”

Jim Clerkin Receives Spirit of the Diaspora Award in Northern Ireland


im Clerkin, an Irish America Business 100 keynote speaker and one of Northern Ireland’s most successful overseas businessmen, was honored with a special diaspora award by Northern Irish Connections ahead of the Belfast International Homecoming conference in October. Rostrevor-born Clerkin (right), president and CEO of Moët Hennessy North America, was presented with the award at Stormont in recognition of his ongoing commitment to helping promote Northern Irish business and cultural links around the world. Now based in New York, Clerkin began his career in the drinks industry with Guinness. He was one of the first supporters of Northern Irish Connections, the non-profit organization, which helps facilitate business, tourism and cultural opportunities by connecting people at home with a network of people overseas who have links to Northern Ireland. “I hope that the award will inspire others to get involved in helping Northern Ireland live up to its potential, whether they are living at home or abroad. It is now essential that the diaspora plays a role in informing Northern Ireland’s future ambitions,” Clerkin said. Praising Clerkin’s “proven track record over many years of supporting the peace and our political, social and economic progress,” Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said. “Through his personal dedication and determination promoting business opportunities and investment in the north of Ireland many lives have been improved. Jim has been a real champion of reconciliation who never forgot his roots.” DECEMBER / JANUARY 2017 IRISH AMERICA 25

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those we lost | passages

Kevin Curran


FROM TOP: Kevin Curran, Peter Leo Gerety, and Tom Hayden.

1957 – 2016 elevision comedy writer Kevin Curran, best known for his work on Late Night with David Letterman, Married… With Children, and The Simpsons, died at his Los Angeles home in October following a battle with cancer. He was 59 years old. Curran was the winner of three Emmy awards for material produced for Late Night with David Letterman, including Letterman’s first “Top Ten” list, titled “Top Ten Things That Almost Rhyme with Peas.” In 1989, he joined the writing team for Married… With Children, for which he produced 11 episode scripts. In 2000, Curran joined The Simpsons as co-executive producer, where he won three additional Emmys and was nominated for a 2010 Humanitas prize for his episode “The Greatest Story Ever D’ohed.” Born in Hartford, Connecticut, Curran attended Harvard University and began his writing career as an editor at the university’s Harvard Lampoon. He went on to write for the National Lampoon, acting as editor for the Letters and Cartoons sections, though remained in touch with fellow Harvard student Al Jean, who years later would serve as showrunner for The Simpsons. “He was one of the funniest guys I ever met,” Jean told Variety. “He also had one of the biggest, sweetest hearts.” From 1999 to 2006, Curran was in a relationship with Helen Fielding, author of the Bridget Jones’s Diary series. He is survived by their two children. – O.O.

Peter Leo Gerety


1912 – 2016 he world’s oldest living Catholic bishop, Bishop Peter Leo Gerety, died at the age of 104 in Toweta, New Jersey in September. Gerety served as the Archbishop of Newark, New Jersey from 1974 through 1986. In 1942, he became director of New Haven’s Blessed Martin de Porres Center, an interracial social and religious organization that ministered to the African American community. It evolved into St. Martin de Porres Parish in 1956, with Gerety as its


first pastor. There, he first became engaged in black civil rights activism and promoting programs to eradicate poverty, and, in 1963, he became coordinator and director of the Diocesan Priest’s Conference on Interracial Justice. For this, he was named a Prelate of Honor by Pope Paul VI. He became the eighth Bishop of Portland (Maine) in 1969, where he provided housing for the elderly and expanded the Diocesan Bureau of Human Relations. As Archbishop of Newark, he created the Office for Pastoral Renewal (now RENEW International, which provides faith-sharing facilities for small Christian communities across the Americas) and began a ministry to divorced Catholics. Born in Shelton, Connecticut, Gerety began training for the priesthood in 1932 at St. Thomas Seminary, Bloomfield, and later continued his studies in Issy, France. In 1939, he was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Hartford at the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris, and on his return to Connecticut was appointed curate of St. John the Evangelist Church, New Haven. Upon resigning as Archbishop of Newark, Gerety said he had “done [his] best,” and was “very happy now to step aside.” He was succeeded by Bishop Theodore Edgar McCarrick. – O.O.

Tom Hayden


1939 – 2016 nti-war, civil rights and radical intellectual counterculture advocate Tom Hayden died in October in Santa Monica, California at the age of 76. Hayden, who was director of the Peace and Justice Center in Los Angeles County, was best known for his political activism in the 1960s. Born to an Irish American family in Detroit, Hayden attended the University of Michigan, where he initiated the birth of influential leftist student activist group Students for a Democratic Society, serving as its president from 1962 to 1963. After a controversial tour of North Vietnam and Hanoi in 1965, the high point of the war, he published The Other Side. He made several more-publicized trips thereafter, and, alongside his wife Jane Fonda, to whom he was married from 1973 to 1990, and others, collaborated on the documentary Introduction to the Enemy, which depicted his group’s travels through North Vietnam in 1974. Hayden made a primary-election challenge to California U.S. Senator John V. Tunney in 1976, telling the New York Times that “the radicalism of the 1960s is fast becoming the common sense of the 1970s.” He finished at a close second, but later served in the California State Assembly (1982 – 1992) and State Senate (1992 – 2000). “A political giant and dear friend has passed,” tweeted Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti after Hayden’s passing was announced. “Tom Hayden fought harder for what he believed than just about anyone I have known.”

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In addition to Fonda, Hayden is survived by his third wife, Barbara, and his two sons, Troy and Liam. – O.O.

Robert Kiley


1935 – 2016 etropolitan Transportation Authority chairman Robert Kiley, who was credited with rescuing the New York subway system from its decline into decay in the 1980s, died in August at his home in Chilmark, Massachusetts. He was 80. When Kiley was appointed chair of the MTA in 1983, concerns about graffiti, defective trains, and decomposing tracks saw New Yorkers rejecting subway travel. In response, he oversaw a subway train clean-up project, with the first rejuvenated car being nicknamed “Snow White” by its cleaners. Five years later, train breakdowns were down 75 percent. Kiley also tackled the issue of crime on the subway. “I believe there ought to be order in the station,” he said in 1989. “We’re not proposing jackboots, whips, and clubs. We’re asking our police officers to enforce the rules.” Despite public dubiousness, they did, and annual subway murders dropped from 20 to just one or two. Kiley was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and attended the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, graduating magna cum laude before moving on to the Harvard Graduate School. In 1963, he joined the CIA as manager of Intelligence Operations, later serving as executive assistant to agency director Richard Helms. Prior to moving to New York, he was chair of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority in Boston. In 1974, Kiley lost his wife, Patricia Potter, and two children in a car accident. He is survived by his second wife of 40 years, Rona Shuman Kiley, and their two sons. – O.O.

Joan Murphy


1937 – 2016 ook County Commissioner Joan Murphy, who transformed the face of gender dynamics in Chicago-area public service, died at her Crestwood, IL home in September after complications with treatment for breast cancer. Despite a prognosis given in spring that she had only weeks to live, Murphy cast her superdelegate vote for Hillary Clinton in Philadelphia this July from a wheelchair. She was 79. A Boston native and graduate of State Teacher’s College, Murphy’s political career was studded with milestones – she was the first woman elected to public office in Crestwood, as well as the first woman elected clerk in Worth Township, south of Chicago, and Worth Township supervisor. In 2002, she was elected to the county board following a patronage position and chaired the board’s labor committee. Prior to being elected Crestwood’s village clerk in 1965, Murphy founded the Women’s Club at Incar-

nation Parish in Palos Heights. Her new position brought new challenges, her daughter, Tricia, told the Chicago Tribune. Local firefighters welcomed her by pasting a Playboy centerfold to her office door, with a photograph of Murphy’s face covering the model’s. When her husband, Donald, advised her to stay tough, Murphy followed through. “She added a little bubble that read, ‘Naughty naughty, you’ve been peeking’ and nobody ever said anything again,” Tricia said. Murphy was elected Worth Township clerk in 1977, and promoted to supervisor in 1989. She held the position for eight years. In addition to her husband, she is predeceased by her son, Donald, Jr. She is survived by her daughter, Tricia, sons, Tim and Tony, and five grandchildren. – O.O.

Kay Starr


1922 – 2016 elf-described “hillbilly singer” Kay Starr died in her Beverly Hills home in October. Best known for her series of 1950s hits, Starr was among the first female artists to experiment with mixing the jazz, blues, pop, country, and rock n’ roll genres. She was 94. Born Katherine Laverne Starks to an Irish American mother and Iroquois father, her career began at the age of seven when an aunt discovered her singing to the family chickens in their Dallas backyard. She was entered into a local radio competition and won, becoming a twice-weekly performer. It was then that she changed her last name to Starr, as listeners often misheard it this way. At fifteen she sang with violinist Joe Venuti during his stay at the Peabody Hotel, all the while keeping to her parents’ midnight curfew. At sixteen, Starr made her first records, “Baby Me” and “Love With a Capital You” with the Glenn Miller Orchestra. She went solo in 1946 and released her breakthrough hit, “You Were Only Fooling (While I Was Falling in Love)” in 1948. Two years later, her rendition of country song “Bonaparte’s Retreat” sold over one million copies. “When they brought in rock, hard rock, and acid rock, I thought God was trying to tell me it was my turn to get off the stage,” Starr once admitted. She was, however, dauntless, continuing to perform for devoted fans in Las Vegas and Atlantic city into the 1990s, and, in 2001 recorded a duet with Tony Bennett for his album, “Playin’ With My Friends.” – O.O.

FROM TOP: Robert Kiley, Joan Murphy, and Kay Starr.


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hibernia | quote unquote “The American people have spoken and the American people have elected their new champion. I come to this moment deeply humbled and grateful to God for his amazing grace.”

Vice President-elect Mike Pence.

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump at the second, town hall style debate in St. Louis October 9.

“To all Republicans and Democrats and independents across this nation, I say it’s time for us to come together as one united people. It’s time. I pledge to every citizen of our land that I will be president for all Americans, and this is so important to me. For those who have chosen not to support me in the past, of which there were a few people, I’m reaching out to you for your guidance and your help so that we can work together and unify our great country. [...] “We are going to fix our inner cities and rebuild our highways, bridges, tunnels, airports, schools, hospitals. We are going to rebuild our infrastructure, which will become, by the way, second to none. We will put millions of our people to work as we rebuild it. We will also finally take care of our great veterans.”

Donald Trump in his acceptance speech to become the 45th President of the United States.

“They killed us but they ain’t whooped us yet.”

Tim Kaine, channeling Faulkner in one of the losing team’s biggest applause lines.

“Acknowledge that Donald Trump is not crazy. Obviously, he has been known to act crazy in public. But if you met him at a private social occasion you would probably find him to be a fairly pleasant person. I say that as someone who once got a letter from Trump telling me I had the face of a dog. But the next time I saw him at a lunch meeting he was fine. Told interesting jokes about how much money he got for product placement on his TV show. Obviously, this isn’t the equivalent of ‘Theodore Roosevelt reincarnated.’ But we’re trying to work with what we have here.”

Step two of New York Times columnist Gail Collins’s “10 Steps For Trump Trauma.” Step one: “Start with a night of heavy drinking. Already done that? Good, you’re on your way.”


“He took over the Doonbeg [golf course] complex for something very reasonable, I think it was €5 million, and that created up to 250 to 300 jobs. He is one of the biggest employers in west Clare outside of Moneypoint [a local power station]. The amount of people he brings in during the summer and I think that is only going to get better. It’s really going to put Clare on the map and the whole of west Clare. Of course we have double-connections, Mike Pence has close connections in the parish of Doonbeg. His people originated on both sides from Doonbeg. So not only do we have the president but also the Vice President. I’d say 99 percent of the people here are behind Trump. It’s a great day for Doonbeg and America.”

Local publican Tommy Tubridy speaking on the Ryan Tubridy Show on RTÉ Radio One.

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Hillary Clinton receives a shamrock sweater at the 2015 Irish America Hall of Fame.

“During a 10 minute conversation the Taoiseach congratulated Mr. Trump on his electoral success and both men committed to working together to the mutual benefit of Ireland and the United States. The President-elect confirmed to the Taoiseach that in the spirit of the strong ties between the two countries, the long-standing tradition of Taoisigh attending the White House for St. Patrick’s Day celebrations would continue and extended an invitation to the Taoiseach in that regard for next year, 2017.”

Statement from the office of Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny.


“I believe we are stronger together and will go forward together. And you should never be sorry that you fought for that. Scripture tells us, ‘Let us not grow weary in doing good, for in due season, we shall reap, if we do not lose heart.’ My friends, let us have faith in each other. Let us not grow weary. Let us not lose heart. For there are more seasons to come and there is more work to do.  I am incredibly honored and grateful to have had this chance to represent all of you in this consequential election. May God bless you and God bless the United States of America.”

Hillary Clinton in her first public speech since conceding the election.

“The peaceful transfer of power is one of the hallmarks of our democracy. And over the next few months, we are going to show that to the world.”

President Obama on the transition to the administration of President-elect Donald J. Trump.

“In the face of something that might strike you as horrible, I think laughter is the best medicine. You cannot laugh and be afraid at the same time, and the devil cannot stand mockery.”

Stephen Colbert signs off on the 2016 presidential election, live on election night on Showtime.

“I’m personally offended that you’d think I’d manage a campaign where that would be one of the philosophies, it was not.”

Campaign manager Kellyanne Conway on criticism of Steve Bannon, a man accused of fanning the flames of racism and white supremacy on his website Breitbart News. Bannon is Donald Trump’s pick as his White House chief strategist.

“America has just elected a fascist and the best thing that good people in Ireland can do is ring him up and ask him if it’s okay to still bring the shamrock on St. Patrick’s Day.”

Aodhán O’Riordáin, an Irish Labor Party Senator, who gave a passionate speech regarding the Irish government’s reaction to Donald Trump’s victory. DECEMBER / JANUARY 2017 IRISH AMERICA 29

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A stroll through Ireland’s mystical past, from ancient castles and rugged stone monuments to lively taverns and modern day crafts.

Ancient South East

By Sharon Ní Chonchúir



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recently paid a visit to Ireland’s Ancient East. What’s that, you say? You haven’t heard of such a place? Well, I was once the same as you. In fact, I was sceptical about the very idea of it. But now I’m a convert and I’m writing this article to tell you why. Back in 2014, Ireland’s “Wild Atlantic Way” was opened and it’s since attracted thousands of foreign and domestic tourists, all keen to experience the twists and turns of this coastal driving route. Eager to attract more tourists of their own, the people of the southeast decided to launch their own tourism initiative, calling it Ireland’s Ancient East. (You can see why I thought it might be a bit of a wheeze…) My mind was changed by a recent whistle-stop tour of Kilkenny and Wexford. I started my travels in Kilkenny, where I stayed in the Pembroke Hotel, right in the heart of the city. This hotel used to be a garage run by a man who was passionate about cars. The management decided to pay tribute to his passion by retaining one of his old cars – a Ford Racer which is displayed in the courtyard – and by holding regular classic car conventions in the hotel. There was a Bentley convention on while we were there, which made my car-obsessed partner delirious with excitement. The staff of the hotel are wonderfully welcoming, even going so far as to bring us up to the hotel rooftop to point out the different places of historical interest in the city. Be sure to take advantage of this service if you stay here. Our first evening in Kilkenny was spent enjoying dinner in the hotel bar and then strolling through the town. We walked down the hill past the castle and then took a left up High Street. We heard the sounds of chatter and laughter coming down a little alleyway and followed it until we found ourselves in a tiny pub. Appropriately called the Hole in the Wall, this Elizabethan tavern dates from 1582 and it’s retained its original features, including lots of oak beams, one of which serves as a bar. The entire pub measures 20 feet by 20 feet at most and that evening there were two local brothers playing the accordion and singing, a young forester from Wexford, and a family from Vancouver sitting at the bar. Once my partner and I were added to the mix, the place was full. We eventually tore ourselves away from the revelry because we knew we needed our energy for the following day. That day started with a trip to Kilkenny Castle, which dominates the city from its riverside setting. There has been a castle there since Strongbow built one in the 1100s. His was a wooden construction and the current stone-built castle was completed by one of his heirs in 1213. That castle was square-shaped with towers at each corner, three of which survive to this day. The fourth, along with one whole side of the castle, was demolished by Oliver Cromwell during his siege of Kilkenny in 1650. We started our visit by watching a multimedia presentation in one of the castle towers. This gave an outline of the castle’s history, beginning in medieval times and continuing up to the Irish Civil War when Republican forces sheltered there. It also told of CLOCKWISE: Jerpoint how the castle passed into the hands of the Irish Abbey, Co. Kilkenny. State in 1967 and of the painstaking restoration The chief delight of the works that have been carried out since then. These Abbey is the sculptured details deepened our insights as we walked through cloister arcade with unique carvings. the castle afterwards. Just outside the entrance to the castle is the The historic bridge Kilkenny Design Centre and National Craft Gallery. leading to the village of Inistioge on the River This part of Ireland is renowned for its crafts and we Nore. were soon wishing we had space in our suitcases and money in our bank account to bring some back home A Viking longboat in with us. Wexford’s Irish National Heritage Park. Instead, we dragged ourselves away and continDECEMBER / JANUARY 2017 IRISH AMERICA 33

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TOP: Kilkenny Castle, which was built in 1195 to control a fording-point of the River Nore and the junction of several routeways. ABOVE: The portrait hall at Kilkenny Castle, some of which dates to the 16th century.

ued along Kilkenny’s Medieval Mile, a route which begins at the castle and takes in most of the must-see sights of the city. Rothe House was next on the agenda. Built in the late 1500s, this house is still much the same as it was when then-Mayor of Kilkenny John Rothe Fitz Piers lived here with his wife and twelve children. The rooms have oak-beamed ceilings, open hearths and leaded windows. There are several internal courtyard areas and lots of treasures to discover as you wander through the building. These include the antlers of a giant Irish deer, a species that’s been extinct for 10,000 years. There are paintings by John Lavery, including a portrait of his wife who famously appeared on Irish banknotes in the 20th century. And there is also a collection of 18th and 19th century costumes, including wedding dresses, parasols and hats. By the time we’d finished, we were hungry for lunch and made our way to Kyteler’s Inn, which boasts its own fascinating history. A woman called Alice Kyteler opened it in 1263. Alice went on to become known as something of a merry widow, marrying and losing four husbands in her lifetime and amassing a large fortune along the way. Unfortunately, she also amassed enemies who conspired to accuse her of witchcraft. Their accusations led to Ireland’s only witch trial taking place in Kilkenny in 1324. Alice was found guilty but was


able to escape to England before her execution could take place. Her lady’s maid was not so lucky. She was paraded through the streets of the town, beaten and burned. We travelled further back in time at our next destination. Saint Canice’s Cathedral is one of the showpieces of Kilkenny City. A church has stood here for the past 800 years and the one that stands today is certainly impressive, with its renowned stained glass windows and tombs encasing members of Kilkenny’s noble elite. However, what I most enjoyed about the cathedral was the round tower outside. It’s one of only two round towers that you can climb in Ireland and as I made my way up its rickety ladders, I couldn’t help but imagine myself as a medieval monk fleeing from marauding Vikings. Being in that dark tower made me feel a truly tangible link with history. Our journey along Kilkenny’s Medieval Mile ended in Smithwick’s Brewery. Not being a big beer drinker, I was surprised to find myself enjoying our tour of this brewery as much as I did. Our guide was so enthusiastic, telling us how the history of beer brewing on the site began with monks and was then taken over by the Smithwick’s family. He explained the process of beer brewing too, demonstrating how water, yeast, barley, and hops were mixed to produce the ruby-red ale that is drunk all over the world today. He brought each chapter of Smithwick’s long history to vivid life and I couldn’t wait to sample the different beers at the end. Those beers were to be our pre-dinner drinks as we had booked an early dinner in the nearby Foodworks Kilkenny. This restaurant blends the old and

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new by taking the very best in Irish ingredients and cooking them in an innovative and modern way. We’re still raving about the braised beef with chard, carrot purée, and beef gravy. The next day saw us leave Kilkenny for Wexford. There, we visited Bennettsbridge, with its picturesque bridge over the River Nore and its amazing craft shops. Within the space of an hour, we saw candle makers, potters, and wood turners at work. Next was Jerpoint Abbey, which was built in 1180 and is now in ruins. But oh, what ruins! We were entranced by its ancient stone crosses, sculptured cloisters, and beautiful carvings. We couldn’t resist stopping off at Inistioge, the picture-perfect village that was the setting for the

film version of Maeve Binchy’s Circle of Friends. Its riverside setting and woodland surroundings made it the perfect place for a walk. Finally, we ended up at the Dunbrody Famine ship in New Ross. This is a reconstruction of the socalled coffin ships that crossed the Atlantic during the darkest years in Irish history, bringing starving men, women and children to a new life in the Americas. We were guided through the ship’s cramped quarters and introduced to two actresses who played women from the era. Once was a shopkeeper’s wife who was scathing about the filth and squalor of those travelling in the bowels of the ship. The other was the mother of five children whose husband was dying of a fever he’d contracted on board. You could almost smell her desperation. One of those who left Ireland during the Famine years was Patrick Kennedy, whose homestead we visited later that afternoon. It’s now famous because

CLOCKWISE: A typical “family” bunk on the Dunbrody, a replica of a Famine-era sailing ship that bought thousands to the New World. Ogham stones being explained at the national heritage park. St. Canice’s Cathedral, Kilkenny, dates to the 13th century and boasts a 121-step, 9th century round tower with panoramic city views. View of the River Nore with the backdrop of Kilkenny Castle in the medieval city of Kilkenny.


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A replica of a 1,500year-old Irish ringfort, where you can stay overnight and live as your long-ago ancestors did, situated in Wexford’s Irish National Heritage Park.

it was the place to which his great-grandson, John F. Kennedy, returned when he visited Ireland in 1963. There’s now an interpretive center there which tells the story of how the Kennedy family progressed from fleeing the Famine to reaching the pinnacle of U.S. politics within the space of a few generations. It’s well worth a visit, particularly if you get a chance to meet the latest Patrick Kennedy, a distant cousin who is utterly obsessed with his links to JFK. There’s more to see in Wexford, too. We visited Hook Lighthouse, one of the oldest lighthouses in the world. It was built 800 years ago by monks who wanted to warn seafarers of the dangers of Wexford’s rocky shore. It’s an evocative building with its thick stone walls and worn stone steps. It’s a beautiful place that offers a changing view of the Atlantic waves pounding the shoreline with each of the 115 steps to the top.

Sharon visited the following places: The Pembroke Hotel The Hole in the Wall Tavern Kilkenny Castle Kilkenny Design Centre The National Craft Gallery Rothe House Kyteler’s Inn Saint Canice’s Cathedral Smithwick’s Brewery Foodworks Kilkenny Inistioge The Dunbrody Famine Ship The Kennedy Homestead The Hook Head Lighthouse The Irish National Heritage Park Dunbrody House


The Irish National Heritage Park was supposed to be the last destination on our tour of Ireland’s Ancient East, and it proved to be just as intriguing as those that had gone before. Set in natural forestry, it’s an outdoor museum that allows visitors to explore 9,000 years of Irish history. What this meant was that we got to wander through reconstructed Stone Age buildings, to cross a lake to a crannog, to sit in a Viking household, and even to see how food was cooked in a fulacht fiadh – a pool of water that was heated by stones from a fire and then used to cook meat. I was most fascinated by the Iron Age ringfort. It’s available for overnight stays and I’m already daydreaming of returning to spend the night in one of its stone cottages, wearing period costume and cooking over the central hearth. Fuel, beer and mead are provided for these stays and visitors can book archery lessons or rudimentary bush craft lessons in the park. What an experience that would be! We were reluctant to return to the modern world too quickly after our trip to Ireland’s Ancient East. That was why we decided to stop off at Dunbrody House on our way home. Situated on the Hook Peninsula, this Georgian country house is run by Kevin Dundon and his wife, Catherine. Kevin is one of the best-known chefs in Ireland and he and his wife have created a wonderfully relaxing place to be, a place that embodies the luxury of the past where guests enjoy food that is a treat for all the senses. We had to return home eventually, but ever since we’ve returned, we’ve been talking about returning to Ireland’s Ancient East. Whether it’s monks brewing beer or saving sailors’ lives, Kilkenny and its buildings that tell tales of Norman invasions, medieval merchants, and witchcraft, or New Ross with its ties to those who emigrated during the Famine, the time you spend here will give you a true sense of Ireland’s long, rich, and endlessly IA fascinating history.

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The Image



FleishmanHillard CEO John Saunders believes brands get the reputation they deserve, and he wants to keep it that way by holding them to responsible, authentic, and purpose-driven missions and practices.

LEFT: With Paul Newman and Budweiser marketing guru Mike Roarty at Barretstown days before the opening of the camp in 1994. OPPOSITE: FleishmanHillard has many highprofile clients, including Fitbit, worn here by Saunders.


t all began with a horse race. It was late 1985 when the news broke that Budweiser would begin sponsoring the Irish Derby, catapulting its status to the richest horse race in the world and promising to bring a massive influx of capital to Ireland. John Saunders, who was then 27 and head of a fledgling PR company in Dublin he’d founded only three years prior, was a little peeved he hadn’t been tipped off. Saunders, who had worked at RTÉ as a sportscaster, got to work calling his news contacts to learn more. The announcement had come from New York, his RTÉ contact had said, so Saunders called Don Criqui, an NBC football broadcaster he knew (and current radio voice of Notre Dame football). Criqui didn’t know anything about it either, but he knew Mike Roarty, the director of marketing at Anheuser Busch (who is credited with the ad slogan “This Bud’s for you”), and passed along his number to Saunders. Saunders called and, very politely, he says, was told that he’d have to get in touch with the company’s PR firm, FleishmanHillard. Now, 30 years later, Saunders is president and CEO at FleishmanHillard, only the fourth in the company’s 70-year history. At six-foot-one, Saunders is an attractive man who looks younger than his 58 years and has a strong positive presence. Conversation comes naturally to him. He’s a good listener with an ability to create a meaningful connection, whether it’s through a common interest in sports, the arts, or keeping fit. These days, Saunders, who relocated from London to St. Louis for the new job, is busier than ever, traveling between Europe, Asia, and the Americas regularly. His wife, Jean, who he met during his time at RTÉ, still lives in Dublin. His children – Colin (33), Caroline (30), and Hannah (26) – all now live in London. It’s a trying schedule, and he depends on his Fitbit to keep him on track. Fitbit, the brand that changed our approach physical health by recording your daily fitness activity, is also one of FleishmanHillard’s premier clients. Others include Anheuser Busch, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, and Monsanto. It’s an extraordinary rise for a self-made kid from Artane, a hardworking neighborhood in north Dublin, but Saunders has always had a knack for making things happen and putting projects together. (It’s worth noting, too, that Artane itself has a history of producing extraordinary people, including Annrai O’Toole, who founded Iona Technology, and U2, which played their first show in the kitchen of drummer, Larry Mullen, one of Saunders’s close neighbors.) When Saunders was 14, he founded the first soccer magazine in Ireland simply, he says, “because



By Adam Farley

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“From the very first time I came here in 1978, people were incredibly kind to me. Irish America was incredibly kind to me. People went out of their way to help me. And that has made all the difference in my life.”

there wasn’t one,” and that same year managed to get permission from his school to take a half-day to interview soccer superstar George Best. At 16, he was doing the public address announcements for Shamrock Rovers. By 19, he was on RTÉ radio and making the first of many connections he would later use to score the Irish Derby account eight years later. Partly, this exceptionalism comes from Saunders’s own insatiable appetite for making connections and building reputations, but he also recognizes the credit that is due to his parents and his school, Belvedere College, for encouraging his extracurricular habits to the point of careerism. Saunders describes his mother as the more sociable parent, who counseled him that everybody gets the reputation they deserve, good or bad, a thought that stays with him today. His father, who worked in the civil service, was the well-known Irish language writer Cathal Ó Sándair (Charles Saunders). He wrote upwards of 160 detective novels in Irish, and his contributions to updating the Irish language for the 20th century are manifold, though the most famous may be the coining of the word déagóir for “teenager.” Ó Sándair was born in England to Irish and English parents, but moved to Ireland as a child and published his first Irish language story by the time he was 16. (When he died in 1996, one publication noted that the two men who made the greatest contribution to the Irish language were Ó Sándair and Patrick Pearse.) His parents both worked hard to send him and his two brothers to Belvedere, a fee-paying Jesuit school in Dublin. It was there, with his teachers’ encouragement and parents’ blessing and example, that Saunders was able to develop the skills and the confidence he has carried with him throughout his incredible career. Acknowledging this, Saunders remains humble, speaking of his professional highlights with a reassuring frankness and always paying thanks where it’s due. In the PR industry, relationships and personal connections are everything, and, as Saunders knows, people and companies get the reputation they deserve. Saunders’s own is well-earned; it’s his goal to ensure his clients earn theirs, too.


How did you get your start?

Everything that I’ve ever really done in my professional life – RTÉ, PR – came out of my first visit to New York in August 1978. My friends, all college students, were in New York for the summer to work. We stayed out in Flushing, Queens, which at that time was a real Irish enclave. One of my pals, Paul Keogh, had a job at the Guinness-Harp Corporation and he told his boss Connie Doolan about my interest in sports journalism. Connie was very much the public face of Guinness in North America at the time, and he had great connections. He set up a meeting between me and Don Criqui, who did the early morning sports on WOR. And so, I found myself at four a.m. heading to the radio station to meet Don. And he was great to me. CBS were launching a made-for-TV movie at the 21 Club later that day and Don invited me to meet him there. I was thinking to myself that I had done incredibly well to bring a suit with me, just in case “something” happened. I remember that it was sweltering hot. I had my shirt and tie on, but I had left the top button open, because it was just so hot. Don met me on the street outside the club. He just came up to me, tied my top button, and said, “John, you’re in New York now.” Here I was, 20 years of age in the 21 Club. I meet LeVar Burton who played Kunta Kinte in Roots and was in Star Trek. And then, Don took me to the U.S. Open Tennis Championship that evening, and I got to see Vitas Gerulaitis and Tracy Austin play. I loved it and I loved America. People were incredibly kind to me. Irish Americans were incredibly kind to me. People went out of their way to help me. And that has made all the difference in my life.

What brought you to PR?

I suppose it started when I was a teenager. I always had a knack for putting stuff together. We had a big back garden with quite a high wall, and a young lad used to come up to our house – it was sort of the barter between his mother and mine – they used to get rhubarb from us and we used to get

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something from them. And one day this boy, he was only 8; I was 16, asked me what we kept in the back garden. And I don’t know why, but I said, “We keep an elephant there.” I’d be on my way to school and I’d find him trying to look over the wall. And he’d say, “I can’t see the elephant.” And I’d say, “The elephant’s inside. The elephant will come out some day.” I discovered that the kid’s ninth birthday was coming up, so I wrote to Fossett’s Circus and I said, “Look, if you give me a loan of your elephant to come up to my house and put it in the back garden, I will get you publicity.” And they wrote me back a lovely letter and said, “On Saturday the 3rd of August or whatever, we will arrive at 10 o’clock in the morning with the elephant, the clowns and everything else. We planned it all out with his parents and others in the neighborhood to keep it a surprise. We put the elephant in the back garden and then we brought him over to meet, “Cindy the elephant.” It got pretty big coverage in the papers. I was always doing stuff like that. I remember coming home from school and my mother met me at the door asking, “What have you done now?” Two fairly burly looking police detectives were sitting in our living room and they wanted to talk to me. What had happened was that my brother was about to get married and I wanted to surprise him with a helicopter that would pick him and his new bride up after the church and take them to the wedding reception. I wrote to Irish Helicopters saying, “I have no money, but I will get you publicity if you give me a helicopter.” And they wrote back and said, “we can’t do it for nothing, but we’ll give you a year to pay, and we’ll charge you 30 pounds,” which was about $50. So deal. At the time, though, the Troubles were happening in Ireland, and there had been a couple of incidents where aircraft had been hijacked, so every helicopter maneuver had to be reported to the police. So that’s why the detectives, who had received a call from the helicopter company, were checking up on me.

You had your own soccer magazine at 14; how did that come about?

I was lucky to go to a very good school which had a very positive environment. I was pretty bright but I sort of fell off a cliff when I discovered sports and stuff, and I went from top of the class to bottom of the class. But the teachers and the priests were always incredibly supportive. I remember at science class, the teacher asked one of the guys, “What’s an atom?” then he asked me who won the all-Ireland football final. Everyone laughed but the teacher said, “No, no. John is never going to be a scientist, but he is going to be a journalist, and we’ve got to help him.” In history class I was always allowed to do the readings, because our teacher from Donegal would say, “Boy Saunders will be on the radio some day and we’ve got to support him.” Soccer wasn’t a big thing in Ireland at the time, it was all about Gaelic games. I remember I got kicked out of gym for kicking a basketball soccer style. So I started a magazine with the money from the sale of a cow that I owned on my grandparents’ farm. It was the first soccer magazine in Ireland. I had a contract with the local parish newspaper. I did the layout, the interviews, did everything, and they printed it. And, with some of the guys from the neighborhood, I sold it on the terraces and at the football grounds. Then when I was 15, 16, I started doing the public address announcing for Shamrock Rovers, and Home Farm, two of the famous soccer teams in Dublin. Then I was asked – I was still in school – to do the international soccer matches. These were big games, like with 50,000 people. My French was terrible, is still terrible, but I can remember going to one of the Jesuits and saying, “Ireland is playing Switzerland in a World Cup game in a month’s time. Can you teach me how to do the opening in French?” And to this day I remember, Mesdames et messieurs, je voudrais bien faire… – which was the greeting I learned word-for-word in 1975 from Father Murphy.

How did you land at RTÉ?

So much of life is luck, and good fortune about being in a particular place at the right time. Within a couple of months of leaving school, RTÉ held audi-

“I like to think there’s a common thread of a generosity of spirit that goes through Irish America, and it’s why Irish America is so helpful to the Irish coming over.”

PHOTOS FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: Dublin 1990: Sealing the joint venture with FleishmanHillard’s John Graham. John with the ICCO Hall of Fame award. ICCO is the global association for the PR industry. With Julian Davis and Rhona Blake. John has worked with Rhona since 1985 and Julian since 1987. Rhona now leads the FleishmanHillard business in Ireland. Colin, Jean, George and Caroline as well as Hannah at Caroline’s wedding in 2013.


IA.Saundersfinalfinal 2b_IA Template 11/30/16 9:07 PM Page 42

“The biggest gift you can give to other people is your energy.” tions for the first time in seven years. I knew the journalist conducting the auditions had a big love of a particular football team. It was kind of his private passion. So I did my audition about what a great team they were. They weren’t doing well at the time, but I talked of their legacy and everything like that. Anyway, I got the audition. And then in 1977 I started doing some reports on cricket matches, soccer, bits and pieces, one-minute reports. And within a few months, RTÉ decided to completely revamp its morning radio program, a big leap in Irish radio at the time. And I was asked to do the sports news – five mornings a week! I did that at the age of 19 with a guy called Mike Murphy. They added news, and light-hearted pieces, and they started introducing humorous letters read by a guy called Dermot Morgan who went on to became a legend as an Irish comedian. It was the only morning show in Ireland. It was the only show in town. Everybody listened to it, but one learned to stay modest. My name became pretty well-known but I was reminded often that it wasn’t because I was a great sports announcer or broadcaster; it was because I was a time check. “It’s now 25 past eight. Time for sports news. Here’s John Saunders.” And people would say, “Oh my God I need to be out of the house.” Or, “I should be at this point in the traffic.” Or, “I should be wherever.” If it was John Saunders it was 8:25.

When did you switch to PR?

When I was 22, O’Connor O’Sullivan, one of Ireland’s leading advertising agencies at the time, decided they wanted to start a PR company, and they asked me to head it up. They said I could continue to work in radio if RTÉ allowed. That was a good deal to me, so I say yes. I had met a lot of business people through sports and my first clients included the National Sports Council, and the head of Bristol Myers. It was a great grounding in that the firm covered a lot of different areas – you were doing a little bit of healthcare, a little bit of crisis work, you’re doing brand work. I stayed there for only a year, and then some really seismic events in my professional life happened. I started my own PR firm and won an account for Manufacturers Hanover, the U.S. bank. Then the news came through that Anheuser Busch was going sponsor the Irish Derby. I phoned the sports desk at RTÉ, where I had a connection, and was told the announcement had come out of New York, not out of Ireland. Next I phoned my friend Don Criqui. He said, “I don’t know anything about it, but I have a very good friend at Anheuser Busch called Mike Roarty.” I phoned Roarty’s office and they were very polite and said I should talk to the company’s PR firm, and directed

Continued on page 88



1 Welcoming Senator Edward Kennedy to the 1985 European Special Olympics. 2 John Forsythe of Dynasty fame along with Jean and the Budweiser Irish Derby Trophy at Dublin’s Mansion House.




3 With Steelers’ owner Dan Rooney. 4 Showing early signs of a flair for publicity. John persuaded Fossetts famous circus to bring an elephant and clowns to a children’s birthday party at his parents’ home. He was 16.


7 Greeting U.S. Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith and Taoiseach Albert Reynolds T.D. at Dublin Castle.



5 With Nobel Peace Prize winner John Hume. 6 Having a light-hearted moment with Newt Gingrich. 8 With “Mean” Joe Greene, four-time Super Bowl winner.


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

“My family brought a wealth of Irish values and a strong work ethic to America. Those make a great foundation for us to be proud of and build upon.” Mike Brady, AIG

“Our cultural heritage has equipped us with the ability to interact with anyone, anywhere in the world. I believe that the Irish have acquired certain skills, such as empathy and pragmatism that allow us to flourish in an international environment.” John Moore, 3D4Medical 44 IRISH AMERICA DECEMBER / JANUARY 2017

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“Being the third of seven kids, I developed a competitive spirit very early in life, but it also taught me important lesson about the value of empathy and compromise. My rich family life and Irish upbringing also instilled me with a strong sense loyalty and integrity in all relationships.” Ray O’Connor, Topcon Positioning

“The Irish culture is associated with humility, kindness, and a deep appreciation for these qualities in others. [...] This enables all of us to work together and coalesce around our shared purpose of building a better working world.” William M. Casey, Ernst & Young

“My Irish ancestry, because of having studied the well-documented struggles of the Irish coming to America, has instilled a ‘never quit’ mentality in the face of uncertainty or adversity that I employ daily.” Patrick M. O’Keefe, O’Keefe

“Growing up in Ireland and now living and working in the U.S. has given me the unique ability to think globally and with a broad perspective, while maintaining both confidence and humility in my day to day life.”

Top Counties: Cork • Dublin • Kerry Mayo • Tipperary • Galway Top Colleges Mentioned: Trinity College Dublin University College Dublin University of Notre Dame College of the Holy Cross Fordham University Ancestral Links: 1st Generation 5th Generation or more

Irish Born


4th Generation




2nd Generation 3rd Generation




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BUSINESS100 “I have always believed it was my duty to achieve something that would honor [my ancestors’] journey and their struggle.”

– Tom Higgins | First Data


Neil Ayton is an independent serial tech entrepreneur who consults with startups in New York, San Francisco, and Seattle to scale their operations into new markets and product lines. He is an industry leader in producing strategies for Irish startups aiming to expand their operations to Silicon Valley. Neil arrived in the United States from Ireland in 2010, working first in Seattle. He joined Y Combinator-backed startup Exec in San Francisco until it’s acquisition by Handy. Neil founded to revolutionize the framing industry, successfully raised funds with tech investors, including 500 Startups. Additionally, Neil is a former director of Rock the Vote and is an active member of the Irish Network Bay Area. “I’m Irish, true and true,” says Neil, who was born in Co. Dublin. “It means a lot to me, and being in the U.S. makes me even more conscious of it.” Neil is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin and holds a Bachelor of Arts in economics. He currently resides in San Francisco with his wife, Stephanie Chow.

JOHN BARRETT Western & Southern Financial Group

John Barrett is the chairman, president, and chief executive officer of Western & Southern Financial Group, a Fortune 500 financial services enterprise with assets owned and managed totaling $68.5 million. Previously, John served as president of the Association of Ohio Life Insurance Companies, and chairman of the Cincinnati Business Committee and Ohio Business Roundtable. John is a fifth-generation Irish American. His mother’s family comes from Co. Mayo, while his father’s comes from Co. Kilkenny, where John has many cousins. “I am proud of my Irish heritage and have passed its importance on to my children,” he says. “Irish Americans have had a tremendous and positive impact on the U.S.A.” Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, John obtained a B.A. in business administration from the University of Cincinnati, where as an active alumnus he was recently honored with the university’s Economics Center’s Economic Empowerment Award. He remains based in the city with his wife, Eileen. They have three children, Charles, Anne, and Christine.





American International Group

APR Energy

Grainne Barron is founder and CEO of Viddyad, where she is responsible for commercial product development internationally. She is a recognized expert in video advertising technology and has been featured on numerous leading news outlets, including the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg TV, TechCrunch, USA Today and others. Grainne is a founding member of Startup Ireland, and a member of both IBEC’s CEO Forum and Techpreneurs. She won the PwC Most Innovative Startup award as well as the Web Summit Spark of Genius award for Best European Technology Innovator, and recently the International M.B.A. Entrepreneur of the Year Award for achievements in the innovation and technology sector. She was a judge at the 2014 Web Summit Technology Award, which Viddyad had won the year before, and has been listed as one of the most influential business leaders in technology in Ireland. Grainne grew up in Co. Wicklow before moving to New York to study business as an undergraduate at Fordham University.  Outside of work, she enjoys sailing, travel, and hiking. 46 IRISH AMERICA DECEMBER/ / JANUARY 2017

Mike Brady is the global chief technology officer of American International Group, overseeing technology, application development methodologies, and infrastructure services. He is also involved with the company’s Dublin technology center. For over 25 years, Mike has led technology teams in global organizations such as Citigroup, General Electric, Merrill Lynch, and Kaiser Permanente, and has been recognized as a Computer World Premier 100 IT Leader. A second-generation Irish American, Mike saw evidence of the Brady family’s Cavan roots in the family crest that decorated their nice glassware, brought out every Thanksgiving and St. Patrick’s Day of his childhood. “My family brought a wealth of Irish values and a strong work ethic to America,” he says. “Those make a great foundation for us to be proud of and build upon.” A New Jersey native, Mike was awarded a U.S. patent in Network Security and attended undergraduate and graduate studies at Golden Gate University, California. He lives in New York with his Irish American wife, Renee Brady (née Cahill), and three children, Jennifer, Melissa, and Jessica.

As the chairman and chief executive officer of APR Energy since its creation in 2004, John Campion oversees the temporary provision of electricity in international communities recovering from natural disaster or experiencing power shortages, such as during the aftermath of the 2011 Japanese tsunami, when the company assembled a power facility in just 45 days. Born in Co. Cork, John immigrated to the United States at 21 with nothing more than an airline ticket and $25 to his name. In 1987 he founded Sharepower Inc., a California-based company that provided portable generators for groups such as U2, AC/DC, Kiss, the Rolling Stones, and Michael Jackson. John was a force behind the launch of the Team Ireland Foundation, a national group designed to help young sports drivers, and is a partner of the Just A Bunch of Roadies global humanitarian group, which he provided with relief resources in Haiti following its 2010 earthquake. In 2016, he was awarded for his philanthropic work by receiving the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.

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Henning & Carey Trading Co.

Ernst & Young


Charles P. Carey is a partner in the firm Henning & Carey Trading Company. He is on the board of directors at CME Group, Inc., Chicago Mercantile Exchange, Inc., and BM&FBovespa SA. Previously, Charles served as vice chairman of the CME Group from 2007 to 2010. He served as chairman of the CBOT from 2003 to 2007; as vice chairman from 2000 to 2002, and first vice chairman from 1993 to 1994. He also served as a member of the CBOT’s board of directors from 1990 to 1992 and again from 1997 to 1999. In 2007, he delivered the Keynote Address at Irish America’s Wall Street 50 dinner. Charles began his trading career in 1976 at the MidAmerica Commodity Exchange prior to becoming a CBOT member in  1978. He serves on numerous management committees and is currently a member of the CME Group’s Executive, Finance and Strategic Steering Committees. A lifelong resident of Chicago, he received his B.A. in business administration from Western Illinois University. His great-grandfather was born in Ireland.

William M. Casey is the EY Americas vice chair of transaction advisory services. He joined the firm in 1983. Over the last decade, he has worked to help double the talent and revenues of Americas TAS practices. Earlier in his career, he  leveraged his fluency in both Spanish and Portuguese while working on company transactions in Latin America for over ten years. Bill is a first-generation Irish American with both sides of his lineage based in Mayo. “The Irish culture is associated with humility, kindness, and a deep appreciation for these qualities in others,” he says. “I work hard to connect with those around me because I want to understand their strengths and how best to communicate with them. This enables all of us to work together and coalesce around our shared purpose of building a better working world.” Bill was born in Chicago and attended the University of Illinois, where he obtained a degree in accounting. He earned his M.B.A. at DePaul University. He and his wife, Amy, live in Miami with their two children, Sarah and Hannah.

JIM CLERKIN Moët Hennessy North America

With over 35 years of experience in the beer, wine and spirits industry, Jim Clerkin became president and CEO of Moët Hennessy North America in November 2015, having served as president and CEO of Moët Hennessy U.S.A. since 2010. Clerkin began his career in Ireland, where he rose through the ranks at Guinness, eventually becoming a member of the board of directors. He joined Moët Hennessy in 2008 to take on a new role as executive vice president and COO with responsibility for global brands such as Hennessy Cognac, Moët & Chandon, Dom Perignon, Veuve Clicquot, Grand Marnier, and Belvedere. In current role, Clerkin helms the U.S. markets, in addition to the growth markets of Canada and Mexico, which combined contribute to a volume of nearly six million cases annually. Clerkin, who served at the Business 100 Keynote Speaker in 2015, was born in Rostrevor, Co. Down and has been involved with a number of charities including Co-operation Ireland where he serves as the chairman. He is the proud father of four children and resides in Manhattan.

Kieran Claffey is a partner at PwC. He has over 35 years of diversified experience serving multinational clients and dealing with litigation, risk management and regulatory issues. He is chairman of the global board of PwC’s Business Trust and is a vice president and director of Madison Indemnity of NY, Inc. Kieran represents PwC on the Technical Standards Committee of the AICPA. Kieran was a founding member and director of the Ireland Chamber of Commerce in the U.S. and a director of the European-American Chamber of Commerce. He is the national treasurer, executive committee member, and board member of the Ireland-U.S. Council 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. Born in Dublin, he is a graduate of UCD and a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland. He is an active supporter of the Gaelic Players Association. Kieran, who has won several All-Ireland dancing medals, lives in Manhattan with his sons, Ryan, CJ, and Steven.


Tom Codd is PwC’s U.S. Human Capital leader, North Texas managing partner, and vice chairman. He joined PwC in 1982 and, prior to his human capital role, spent his career serving manufacturing and distribution companies.. 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 is chairman-elect of the Dallas Regional Chamber and 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, and the Circle 10 Council/Boy Scouts of America. 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.

“I love the fact that as a small nation, we Irish take our international responsibilities seriously and work hard to contribute on a global stage. We understand that the faster way to a better state is not always a straight line.”

– James Douglas | Microsoft


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FedEx Services

Mayer Park Capital

United Airlines





CBS Television Network


Since 2006, Don Colleran has been executive vice president of Global Sales & Solutions for FedEx, leading a global team of approximately 15,000 members responsible for more than $50 billion in revenue across multiple operating companies, and management of the ongoing customer relationship – from strategic business consultants to teams who develop and deliver back-end systems, tools, and integrated digital shipping platforms. 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 vice president 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.

Jude A. Curtis is chief ethics and compliance officer of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. Based in New York, he leads PwC’s ethics and compliance program in the U.S. and abroad. Before joining PwC, Jude was senior vice president and chief compliance officer at John Hancock Financial Services in Boston and was previously a partner in the law firm of Hale and Dorr (now part of WilmerHale). Jude serves on the board of directors of the Ethics Compliance Initiative and has previously served as treasurer and on the board of directors of the HealthCare Chaplaincy in New York City; on the board of trustees and as chairman of the board of his alma mater, St. John’s Preparatory School in Danvers, MA; and on the board of the Big Sister Association of Greater Boston. He graduated from the College of the Holy Cross and from the National Law Center at George Washington University with honors. A native of Salem, Massachusetts, Jude’s ancestors come from Leinster. Jude lives in New Rochelle, New York with his wife, Liz, and their three daughters, Mary, Kate, and Maggie. 48 IRISH AMERICA DECEMBER/ / JANUARY 2017

Sean Costello is the founder and CEO of Mayer Park Capital, a private investment management firm based both in New York and London. With over 20 years of financial markets experience in the U.S. and Europe, Sean leads Mayer Park’s practice servicing some of the most prominent global family offices in the Americas, Europe, and Africa. He has previously worked in senior roles at firms including Morgan Stanley, Lehman Brothers, and Barclays. Born in Holyoke, Massachusetts, Sean is the great-grandson of four Irish expats from counties Kerry (on his father’s side) and Cork (on his mother’s). Currently, he and his husband, Sean Mahon (a native Dubliner), live between New York and Dublin. “Growing up in Holyoke, I have always been proud of my Irish heritage and the values and work ethic it has taught me,” he says. “Now, living in Dublin, I can actually see those fundamental traits in the Irish people.” Sean obtained his B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and an M.B.A. from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University, where he also sits on the European advisory board. He holds membership with the Irish Network NYC and Irish Network Dublin.

Marty Daly is the senior vice president and director of News and Late Night Sales for the CBS TV Network. He started at CBS as a traffic clerk in 1974 and now manages all the marketing and sales for CBS This Morning, The Evening News with Scott Pelley,  The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and The Late, Late Show with James Corden. Marty, whose parents hail from Co. Kerry, went to All Hallows High School in the Bronx, NY and graduated from Iona College. He says, “My parents taught us the value of hard work and the importance of education. The example they set by putting their children’s education in front of any personal comforts for them is the reason we were able to achieve the American dream!” Marty was inducted into the All Hallows High School Hall of Fame in 2011, where he now serves as chairman of their board of directors. He and his wife, Kathy Daly, whose parents were born in Co. Cork, have three grown children, Laura, Ryan, and Colin, and a very Celticnamed one-year old granddaughter, called Nuala.

As national account manager for United, the world’s largest airline as of October 2012, Patricia Cunningham oversees leisure accounts throughout the U.S. and is responsible for local marketing activities for Europe, including the island of Ireland. She started her airline career at Varig Brazilian Airline and served as director of Airline Sales for Virgin Atlantic Airways, before joining Continental Airlines in 1997. In 2011 she was hired by United during the merger process of Continental and United Airlines. Patricia is a past president of the Airline Sales Manager Association in New York City and was the first female president of SKAL in New Jersey. She is a second-generation Irish American with roots in Roscommon on her father’s side. Of her Irish heritage, she says it “has been a source of immense pride, and has provided me with strong work ethics and commitment to my family, faith and hard work in both my professional and personal life.” She resides in Neptune, New Jersey.

Shannon Deegan is director of the Program Management Office for Real Estate and Workplace Services at Google. Joining Google in 2007 as the director of People Operations, he led the M&A team, served as lead business partner to Google’s Global Business organization, and as head of central staffing and the global Talent and Outreach Programs, including Diversity. He most recently led Google's Global Security Operations organization for three years. Previously, he worked as a management consultant at McKinsey & Co. in New York, in the financial industry in Asia, and as an advisor to the Prime Minister of Canada. He also played hockey at a professional level with the Los Angeles Kings. Shannon has a B.A. from the University of Vermont, an M.Phil. in international studies from Trinity College, Dublin, and an M.B.A. from the Yale School of Management. Born in Verdun, Quebec, Shannon lives in San Jose, California with his wife, Patti, and their three children, Conal, Orla, and Bridget. In the late 1840s, Shannon’s ancestors sailed to Canada to join Montreal’s growing Irish community in Pointe St. Charles.

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DeHayes Consulting Group

VINGO LLC / Cool Way Direct

James Delaney is founder and chairman of VINGO LLC and Cool Way Direct LLC. These companies specialize in the temperature controlled shipping and logistics of adult beverage and produce. He was also the founder of the leading Irish transport and freight company; City air Express Ltd. Which still operates successfully today. James immigrated to the United States 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 at Clongowes Wood College in County Kildare and graduated from Trinity College Dublin. He is a keen golfer and was a member of the St. Margaret’s Golf Club in County Dublin. James is currently on the board of the Irish humanitarian organization Concern Worldwide U.S. He is also an active board member of the National Association of Wine Retailers.

Starcom USA





Mediavest Spark

Northwell Health

A. James DeHayes is chairman of DCG Corporation, a financial services consulting firm he founded in 1983. The firm specializes in strategic acquisitions as well as marketing and distribution enhancements. He has successfully guided clients through the complex process of designing and developing distribution systems tailored for new products, enhancing productivity and profitability of existing distribution, and adjusting legacy distribution to new competitive realities. Previously, Jim served as chief marketing officer for a major diversified financial services company. He is an alumnus of Harvard Business School’s Owner/President Management Program, a chartered life underwriter and chartered financial consultant from the American College, and holds an M.B.A. from Pepperdine University. Jim is a member of the North American advisory board for the UCD Smurfit Graduate Business School, and a second-generation Irish American, whose mother’s family has roots in Belfast. Jim is a native of Milford, CT and a resident of northern California since 1977. He and his wife Carolyn celebrate their 44th wedding anniversary this year.

James Douglas has been a partner group manager with Microsoft Corporation for the past 25 years, leading his team to ensure a quality Microsoft Office experience for international customers. He has also guided the development of the company’s Dublin engineering team. Born in Dublin, James received his bachelor’s degree in electronic and electrical engineering from Trinity College Dublin. His mother’s family is based in Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow, while his father (James Douglas Sr., the original writer of The Riordans, the second Irish soap opera to appear on RTÉ), came from Bray, Co. Dublin. Prior to his arrival in the U.S., James served as marketing manager with Philip Netherland BV in the Eindhoven area of the Netherlands. “I love the fact that as a small nation, we Irish take our international responsibilities seriously and work hard to contribute on a global stage,” James says. “We understand that the faster way to a better state is not always a straight line.” He is currently based in Seattle with his wife, Jennifer, and daughter, Leigh.


Michael Douglas is an acknowledged leader in the New York media industry with 18 years of experience in multi-media marketing and advertising. Currently, he serves as the senior vice president, U.S. Investment Lead on the Publicis One Team, overseeing all media buying efforts for Citibank. Mike holds hundreds of key relationships with media partners and ad tech companies in NYC and across the U.S. Raised in Hendersonville, NC, Mike graduated from Sewanee, the University of the South. His parents pushed him to be a leader and encouraged him to stand on his own two feet, to work hard, and to never hurt anyone, he says. His mother’s family immigrated from Mullies, Co. Leitrim to the Bronx when she was seven, and lived a couple of blocks from his father (who lived on Briggs Avenue), to whom she has been married for 44 years and who served as a detective in the NYPD. Mike and his wife Brett live on Lake Hopatcong, New Jersey with their two children, Connor (8) and Annabel (5), and their two pets, General Patton (dog) and Rocket (kitten).

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.

Michael Dowling is the president and CEO of Northwell Health and was Irish America’s 2015 Healthcare and Life Sciences 50 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 Northwell (then 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 University College Cork 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.

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CME Group Inc.

Terrence A. Duffy has served as executive chairman and president of CME Group since 2012. Previously, he was chairman of the board of CME and CME Holdings since 2002 and executive chairman since 2006. He is vice chairman of the CME Group Foundation, president of the CME Group Community Foundation and serves as co-chair of the Mayo Clinic Greater Chicago Leadership Council. In 2002, Terrence was appointed by President Bush to serve on a National Saver Summit on Retirement Savings and was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in 2003 to the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board. A third-generation Irish American, Terrence attended the University of WisconsinWhitewater. In 2007, he received a Doctor of Humane Letters from DePaul University.

J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.

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 J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.’s Operating Committee. Mary joined J.P. Morgan in 1996 from Meredith, Martin & Kaye, a fixed income specialty advisory firm. Previously, she worked at Bankers Trust in corporate finance, merchant banking, and high yield debt underwriting. Mary is a graduate of Georgetown University and Harvard Business School. She is a board member of Robin Hood, the U.S. Fund for UNICEF and the U.S.-China Business Council. She also serves on the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Investor Advisory Committee on Financial Markets. An Illinois native, her great-grandparents emigrated from counties Cork and Tipperary. She lives in New York with her husband and three daughters.


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 graduates of Drexel University and George Washington University respectively.






Procter & Gamble

John Michael Farrell is a senior  partner on  KPMG’s  executive leadership team  in New York, with over 28  years of  strategic, management and risk consulting experience.  John, who received his Master of Science in accounting, and a Master of Business Administration in finance from Long Island University, is also a certified public accountant in New York State and belongs to the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants. John is a fourth-generation Irish American with roots in County Monaghan on his father’s side. His grandmother was one of eleven children born at the turn of the century in New York. John’s great-grandparents came to America from Ireland in the 1880s.


Irial Finan is executive vice president at The Coca-Cola Company and president of Bottling Investments. With over 35 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 the 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 from the 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.

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.

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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, and the National Advertising Review Board. He is chairman of the Atlanta St. Patrick’s Day Parade and St Joseph’s Health System 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

Ford Motor Company

Gramercy Labs

During his 34 years with Mutual of America, Bill Flynn established himself as a 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.


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.

Jim Flanagan is the U.S. managing partner and vice chairman for PwC focused on identifying and maximizing PwC’s operational strengths, creating an enhanced experience for employees, and developing stronger relationships with stakeholders. His previous roles included serving as east region vice chairman, Client Service; U.S. leader of PwC’s Financial Services practice where he was also part of PwC’s global financial services leadership team; and leader of the U.S. Transaction Services business (M&A/Deals). In all these roles, Jim’s goal was the development of committed relationships between clients and PwC for a broad range of assurance, tax, and advisory services.  Jim serves on the board of the Ronald McDonald House of New York and is an active supporter of the Children’s Medical Research Foundation in Dublin.  His parents are from Armagh and Galway and he says, “Their core values of hard work and commitment to family are what define me.” He loves to visit Ireland and take on its links golf courses. Jim and his wife, Kathy, live in Lloyd Harbor, NY and have three children.

Kevin Fortuna is a technology entrepreneur. Currently, he is the founder of Gramercy Labs, an NYC-based incubator that has launched successful startups such as Lot18, Popdust and GeistM. He is also the former president of Quigo, an advertising technology company that was sold to AOL Time Warner in 2007. Kevin 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. Kevin 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 was made into a featurelength film that will be released in 2017. Directed by Michael Clayton, the movie will star James Carpinello, Dawn-Lyen Gardner and Nicoye Banks.

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Merrill Lynch

Sean is a 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, alternative investments and uncovering unique opportunities to support each client’s specific goals. Currently, Sean serves on the board for three Irish non-profits – Co-operation Ireland, which focuses on peace and reconciliation throughout the isle of Ireland; the Children’s Medical Research Foundation, which supports Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital in Dublin; and the Irish International Business Network. In addition, Sean is proud to be a mentor with the U.S.-Northern Ireland Mentorship Program and the Irish Executive Mentorship Program. All of Sean’s 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. Born in the Bronx and raised in New Jersey, Sean resides in Rockville Centre, NY with his wife, Allison, and their two sons, Aiden and Liam.


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. In 2016, 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. In 2015, the Irish Technology Leadership Group recognized him as one of the 50 Most Influential Irish Business People of Silicon Valley.





Mutual of America



Joanna Geraghty is JetBlue Airlines’ executive vice president of Customer Experience, a role in which she leads over 12,000 employees across 100 airports, the customer support team, and the inflight service team. Joanna joined JetBlue in 2005, first as the airline’s vice president and associate general counsel and director of Litigation and Regulatory Affairs, and the executive vice president chief people officer from 2010 to 2014. Previously, she served as a partner at law firm Holland & Knight. Joanna received her B.A. from the College of the Holy Cross, New York in 1994, and went on to earn a master’s degree in international relations from Syracuse University’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs in 1997 and a J.D. from Syracuse University College of Law in the same year. Joanna is a third-generation Irish American and is an active member on the board of the Irish non-profit organization Concern Worldwide U.S. Though a resident of New York, she considers herself based in all locations that JetBlue flies.


After nearly a decade as CFO, and one year as president, John Greed assumed the role of CEO of Mutual of America Life Insurance company on April 1, 2016. Mutual provides retirement related services to more than 18,000 organizations and their employees, with a focus on non-profit, and social welfare clients. Recently appointed to the board of the Life Insurance Council of New York, Greed also serves on the board of the Citizens Budget Commission, and the Greater New York Councils of the Boy Scouts of America. He is a longstanding supporter of his alma mater, LaSalle University. Honored by Concern, the international relief organization founded in Ireland in 1968, Greed, who is German and Irish, drew on his own working class roots in Northeast Philadelphia, and the “hand-up” he received from people along the way. Greed joined Mutual of America in 1996, after 14 years at Arthur Andersen.  He lives in Philadelphia with his wife, Teresa, and has two adult children, Tim and Megan.

Donard P.  Gaynor, former senior vice president of Corporate Development at Beam, is currently dedicating his time to various non-executive director roles in the global business arena with companies such as Glanbia, H&K International, Amboy Foods, and Kyro Distillery, and for charitable organizations, such as Co-operation Ireland, the Ireland-U.S. Business Council, and the Children’s Medical Research Foundation. Donard spent 15 years at PwC, and later served nearly 10 years at the Seagram Spirits & Wine Group and nine years at Beam before his retirement in 2012. He graduated from the Sligo Institute of Technology and is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland. He and his wife, Janet, live in New Jersey and have four children, three of whom are out of college, pursuing careers; their fourth currently attends Georgetown University. Having spent most of his professional career based in the U.S., Donard says, “I’m delighted that I now spend significant time in Ireland pursuing my non-executive and charitable activities.”

Oisin Hanrahan is the co-founder and CEO of Handy, the on-demand home cleaning and repair service. Prior to Handy, Oisin founded Clearwater Group, a real estate development company in Budapest when he was only 18. From there, he established the Undergraduate Awards, the world’s only pan-discipline awards program. Oisin continued his success in 2009 by co-founding MiCandidate, which has become one of the leading sources for online election information across Europe. Oisin is a native Dubliner and a graduate of Trinity College Dublin, where he received degrees in business and economics. Oisin ties his successful career and business acumen to his Irish heritage, saying, “Building and fostering relationships is the core of what it means to be Irish. I wouldn’t be where I am today without my experience growing up in Dublin.” Oisin is also involved with a number of Irish organizations, including the New York Digital Irish. In 2014, Oisin was a candidate for Ireland’s Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year award. He currently lives in New York, and enjoys traveling, cooking, and snowboarding.

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Bunge Food & Ingredients

First Data

Hearts & Science

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 Co. 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 honored as Alumnus of the Year in 2015. 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.”

Since 2013, Tom Higgins has been the chief administrative officer of First Data, where he leads the company’s security operations. A U.S. Navy veteran, Tom is also the driving force behind the company’s Military and Veteran’s Affairs function, focusing on the employment of veterans and their families. Born in Flushing, New York, Tom holds a B.S. from the SUNY Maritime College. He previously held a 24-year tenure with the U.S. national security and foreign policy governmental bodies and most recently was head of operational control at J.P. Morgan Chase. “My Irish ancestors on both my father’s and mother’s sides of the family came to the U.S. to seek opportunity, freedom, and success,” Tom says. “I have always believed it was my duty to achieve something that would honor their journey and their struggle.” He is second-generation Irish American on his father’s side, with connections to Claremorris and Castlebar in Co. Mayo, and fifth-generation on his mother’s side, which is rooted in Co. Kerry. Tom and his wife, Fiona (whose own family comes from Co. Armagh) live in New York.

Larry Hunt, senior director, Integrated Video Investment for Hearts & Science, is a first-generation Irish American from New York. He earned his bachelor’s in business administration at Baruch College, CUNY, and joined Hearts & Science in 2016. Hearts & Science is a data driven marketing agency that is pioneering the future of how brands and people will interact in the post-media world. Hearts is coming off a very successful 2016 where it secured full media responsibilities for AT&T. 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, where his father was able to create the opportunity for his children to be successful on top of caring for his wife suffering from MS for more than half her life. 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.




Keurig Green Mountain


Conrad O’Brien PC

Brian Kelley is vice chairman of the coffee company Keurig Green Mountain, Inc. after having previously served as president, CEO, and director since 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, Ohio. 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.

Shaun is the global chief operating officer for KPMG International. In this position, he manages the day-to-day operational aspects of KPMG’s global strategy and oversees the delivery of the firm’s global initiatives. 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. Shaun earned a Bachelor of Commerce, first class honors, from UCD, is a fellow of Chartered Accountants Ireland, and a CPA. Shaun is cochair of KPMG’s Disabilities Network, and a member of KPMG’s Diversity Advisory Board. He is treasurer and member of the executive committee of Enactus. He also serves as chairman of 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.

Kevin Dooley Kent is a shareholder of Conrad O’Brien PC, one of the leading litigation and government investigations law firms in the United States. He is licensed as a lawyer not only in the U.S., but also in Ireland, England, and Wales, and his experience includes a broad range of complex commercial litigation and compliance matters, focusing on class actions, alleged fraud, director and officer liability, professional malpractice, fiduciary, securities, and employment litigation.  Kevin is chairman of the Irish American Business Chamber and Network. He is also active in charitable organizations, having served on the Corporate Leadership Team for the American Heart Association’s Go Red Campaign for the last several years, and is an officer of American Friends of the Arts in Ireland. He received his J.D. from Vanderbilt University, and his B.A. from Boston College, where he participated in BC’s Irish Studies program. He also studied at the U.N. Center for Peace and Conflict Resolution, Magee College, University of Ulster. Kevin has roots in counties Galway, Cavan, Kilkenny, and Derry. DECEMBER / JANUARY 2017 IRISH AMERICA 57

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Lion Group Consulting

Domino’s Pizza

Dennis Maloney is a senior marketing and technology leader with over 20 years of experience creating and growing both consumer and Internet brands with expertise developing breakthrough brand strategies as well as coordinating the marketing and engineering resources needed to execute those strategies, a rare hybrid combination of creative and technical experience. Currently, Dennis serves as Domino’s Pizza’s vice president and chief digital officer, responsible for all Domino’s U.S. digital programs, including digital marketing and digital experience development. He joined Dominos in 2010 as vice president of Multimedia Marketing. Prior to joining Domino’s, Dennis was director of Global E-Commerce at Coca-Cola from 2006 to 2009 and previously held senior roles at and Procter & Gamble. A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy with a B.S. in mechanical engineering as well as the Catholic University of America with a Master of Mechanical Engineering, Dennis served over seven years with the U.S. Navy as an instructor of systems engineering at the U.S. Naval Academy as well as a submarine officer.


As a senior vice president of CBRE, Matthew McBride serves as an advisor to corporate, government and nonprofit organizations on their real estate needs throughout major U.S. markets. In 20 years, Matthew has led the company in transactions totaling more than 17 million square feet. Raised in Omagh, County Tyrone, Matthew came to the U.S. for the 1994 World Cup and never left. Over two decades later, his love for his home country has remained with him, and he has partnered with many Irish organizations, from the Bank of Ireland to the government itself, to serve their U.S. real estate needs. He is heavily involved with the Real Estate Board of New York and the American Ireland Fund. Matthew graduated from the University of Liverpool, England with an honors degree in urban estate management and is a certified member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. He lives in Connecticut with his wife, Casey, and sons, Liam, Max, Jude, and Callum, who join him in visiting Co. Donegal every summer.




NBC Sports Group


Patrick Keough is president and CEO of Lion Group Consulting, a company he founded, which develops strategic marketing and 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 Coca-Cola Company. Patrick  holds a Bachelor of Arts from Notre Dame, a Master of Arts 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.

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, 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, and In addition to serving as chairman of the board of directors for, 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. 60 IRISH AMERICA DECEMBER/ / JANUARY 2017

Emmy Award-winner Mike McCarley serves as president, Golf for NBC Sports Group, and has been at the helm of Golf Channel since February 2011. He oversees all of NBC Sports Group’s golfrelated businesses and content, including Golf Channel, broadcast golf coverage on NBC, Golf Channel Digital, GolfNow, and the company’s portfolio of golf lifestyle brands. Since McCarley’s tenure began as president in 2011 when the network became part of the NBC Sports Group, Golf Channel has scored its five best years ever. Prior to his current role, Mike served as senior vice president, Communications, Marketing and Promotions, NBC Sports and Olympics since August 2008 where he created the award-winning “Sunday Night is Football Night” campaign. He has been with NBC since 2000, when he began as the communications director for NBC’s Olympic division. Prior to NBC, McCarley worked with USA Triathlon in association with the U.S. Olympic Committee, the Dallas Mavericks and the University of Arizona. A native of Memphis, TN, and graduate of the University of Arizona, McCarley resides in the Orlando area with his wife and four children.

Tamara McCleary is the CEO of Thulium, a brand strategy and social influence agency. She is ranked by Klear in the Top one percent of global social media influencers and is also listed by Onalytica as a 2016 Top 15 Social Media Marketing Influencer, a  Top 50  Big Data & Digital Transformation  Influencer, a Top 25 Artificial Intelligence and Top 100 Internet of Things Influencer in 2015 & 2016. Tamara is an IBM Futurist and ranked by LeadTail as the fourth most mentioned and retweeted person on Twitter by Chief Marketing Officers in 2016.  An in-demand international speaker,  Tamara presents keynotes and workshops on the topics of branding, social influence, women’s empowerment, marketing to millennials and women, women’s leadership, diversity, social economics, digital disruption and the innovation economy. She is the creator of the trademarked RelationShift branding method. Tamara is fourth-generation  Irish American, with her mother, Bonnie McCracken, being descended  from the McCracken and Kennedy families who arrived in the United States in the early 1800s.

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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 nearly 83,000 employees and two-millionplus-person ecosystem in executing SAP’s vision 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 335,000 customers in 190 countries. With more than 120 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 best-selling 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.

Penn Mutual

Eileen McDonnell is chairman 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 received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor in 2016.

Fitbit Group Health




Phoenix Suns


XL Group plc

Currently in his fourth season as general manager of the Phoenix Suns, Ryan McDonough is considered one of the brightest minds in NBA player evaluation. With a successful track record in the NBA Draft, in 2016 he landed the team two of the draft’s top eight picks. Prior to joining the Suns, Ryan worked for 11 seasons in various positions with the Boston Celtics, for whom he helped orchestrate the biggest season-to-season turnaround in NBA history, moving from 24 wins in 2006-07 to 66 and an NBA title in 2007-08. Ryan, who has roots in Rossaveal and Carraroe in Co. Galway, reveals that his grandfather “was an Irish immigrant who worked on the railroad in south Boston.” He adds, “My family has always honored our Irish heritage by working hard to positively impact our community.” Born in Hingham, Massachusetts, Ryan is the brother of ABC/ESPN broadcaster Sean, and Arizona Cardinals vice president of player personnel Terry. He holds a degree in journalism and mass communication from the University of North Carolina and lives in Phoenix with his wife, Valerie. 62 IRISH AMERICA DECEMBER/ / JANUARY 2017

Mary McEvoy is senior director of Global Procurement at PepsiCo, where she has global responsibility for over $1 billion of sweetener spend. After starting in PepsiCo as an R&D chemist, she has held positions of increasing responsibility across the portfolio during her 18-year career. Mary earned a B.Sc. in physics and chemistry from the University of Dublin and began her career in chemistry in New York. A native of Kilkenny, she is an inveterate hurling fan, and an avid supporter of the “Black and Amber” Kilkenny county team. A terrific athlete herself, Mary was an active camogie, soccer, and Gaelic football player who played for New York at the All-Ireland junior football level. Off the field, Mary brings her positive approach to her community. She serves on the advisory board of Self Help Africa, is the co-chair of the New York chapter of the Irish International Business Network, and is the cofounder of LEAP, a novel leadership acceleration program which links Irish and Irish American female professionals with community organizations to solve real business challenges.

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

Since 2008, Mike McGavick has served as CEO of XL Group plc, the parent company of the XL Catlin insurance and reinsurance companies. He is an award-winning executive with over two decades of industry experience. Mike is currently the Chairman of the Geneva Association, and also serves on the boards of the Global Reinsurance Forum, the American Insurance Association, the Insurance Information Institute and the International Insurance Society. In addition to his professional affiliations, he has been involved in a number of industry, political, public affairs and community service activities including as the founding chairperson of the Business Partnership for Early Learning and is also on the board of Landesa, a nonprofit organization that helps the rural poor around the globe obtain land rights. This year he was awarded the Leslie C. Quick Leadership Award from the American Ireland Fund. A native of Seattle, Mike holds a bachelor’s in political science from the University of Washington. He and his wife, Gaelynn, have three sons, Jack, Gates, and Marco.

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McDonald’s/Schwarz Supply Source

SAP America


Andrew McKenna is one of Chicago’s premier businessmen and a member of the Irish America Hall of Fame. Currently, he serves as chairman emeritus of McDonald’s Corporation and chairman of 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.

In his role as the senior vice president and general manager of Southern Services of SAP America, Kevin McManus has responsibility for all customers in the Southern U.S.A. Since joining SAP in 2005, Kevin has been involved in over a dozen post-merger consolidations utilizing SAP technology, and has held many roles within Field Services. His accomplishments include the largest global implementation of SAP CRM Service, the largest SAP upgrade, and the successful deployment of SAP’s Industry Solution for Media. With roots in counties Fermanagh and Sligo, Kevin is a fourth-generation Irish American who takes pride in the McManus line of “funny men” – his great-grandfather was a well-respected vaudeville performer. “In a world of text messages, I want an Irishman to deliver context and humor,” he says. Kevin was born in Rochester, New York and obtained a B.A. in economics and finance from the University of Texas at Dallas, where he remains based with his wife, Alexia, and three sons, Ian, Gavin, and Donovan.

James McVeigh is the founder and chief executive officer of Cyndx Networks LLC, a rapidly expanding financial services firm focused on strategic advisory and private placements services across several industries with global execution capabilities. Jim has more than 20 years of investment banking experience at Salomon Brothers, DLJ, Credit Suisse, and most recently Bank of America/Merrill Lynch where he ran the Technology, Media, and Telecom banking group. Among others, Jim has advised,, eBay, Expedia, Exponential, Facebook, Glam, GSI Commerce, Getty Images, Google, Kynetic, LinkedIn, Opentable, Priceline, QuinStreet, Rubicon, SurveyMonkey, Synacor, TripAdvisor,, Yahoo, and Zynga. He currently sits on the board of the job-listing site Jim earned his Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Notre Dame and an M.B.A. in finance from Columbia University School of Business. He also served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy for over four years.





GE Asset Management


As the chief executive officer of North America for Citi, Bill Mills heads Citi Community Development and International Franchise Management in over 100 countries worldwide, and is also responsible for the operations of Citi Holdings and all Citi business in Japan. He has worked with the company for 34 years. From 2008 to 2010, Bill was CEO of Europe, Middle East, and Africa, where he was responsible for the performance of all of Citi’s client segments across EMEA, including consumers, corporations, institutions, and governments. Prior to this, he was chairman and CEO of Citi Markets and Banking for EMEA. Bill is a board member of the CitiFinancial Credit Company, CitiGroup Global Markets Inc., the Citi Foundation, and City Harvest. He is a fellow of the Foreign Policy Association. Born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Bill is a 1977 graduate of Denison University. He is currently based in New York with his wife, Wendy, with whom he has a son, Carter, and a daughter, Stewart.


Maureen is president of 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, the birthplace of her mother. She has two daughters, with whom she has traveled throughout Ireland.

Margaret Molloy, from Offaly, is the global chief marketing officer at Siegel+Gale, the strategic branding consultancy and part of Omnicom. A marketing thought leader, Margaret has held previous leadership roles at Gerson Lehrman Group, Siebel Systems, and Eir; has published in Forbes, Harvard Business Review, and elsewhere; and is recognized as one the most influential CMOs on Twitter. She is also an influential advocate for Irish design, launching the #WearingIrish initiative this year, encouraging everyone to wear Irish fashion once in March and to post their pictures on social media. For her part, she donned fashion and accessories by Irish designers every day in March. Her vision is for #WearingIrish to be an annual movement. She also sits on the board of the Origin Theatre. Margaret earned her M.B.A. from Harvard and her undergraduate degree from the University of Ulster and La Universidad de Valladolid, Spain. Growing up the eldest of six children on a farm, Margaret credits her accomplishments to her parents’ work ethic and thirst for education. She lives in Manhattan with her husband, Jim O’Sullivan, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics, and their sons, Finn and Emmet.

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Mutual of America

Thomas J. Moran has been chairman of Mutual of America since March 2016, and was appointed chairman of the board in 2005. During more than three decades of service, over which he also served as president, CEO, and 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.

Campbell Soup Company

Denise Morrison became president and CEO of Campbell Soup Company in 2011, after more than eight years at Campbell and more than 30 years in the food business. She is regularly named among the Fortune and Forbes Most Powerful Women. Denise is a founding member of the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation and serves on the board of the Grocery Manufacturers Association. Denise was named as a co-chair of the Consumer Goods Forum in 2015 and serves on the organization’s board. In 2012, she was named to President Barack Obama’s Export Council. She was elected to the MetLife, Inc. board in February 2014 and is on the board of directors for Catalyst. A third-generation Irish American with roots in Mayo and Cork, Denise earned her B.S. in economics and psychology from Boston College, graduating magna cum laude. She was inducted into the Order of the Cross and Crown Honor Society for academic and extracurricular achievement. Of her Irish heritage, Denise says, “I see the world through Irish eyes and they are smiling.” She and her husband, Tom, have two children, Michelle and Kelly.




Bank of America


Fidelity Investments

John Moore is the founder and chief executive officer of 3D4Medical, a global developer of medical applications and the 2016 winner of the celebrated Apple Design and Innovation Award. Headquartered in Dublin, 3D4Medical was founded without any venture capital and, in addition to Ireland, now has offices in the U.S., Russia, and Poland. John was also a finalist for the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award this year. John is a native Irishman whose maternal and paternal families come from counties Kerry and Meath respectively. “Our cultural heritage has equipped us with the ability to interact with anyone, anywhere in the world,” he says. “I believe that the Irish have acquired certain skills, such as empathy and pragmatism that allow us to flourish in an international environment.” John, whose father was the first Irish person to get a scholarship to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, studied for a B.Sc. in pure mathematics from Trinity College Dublin, where he lives with his wife, Tatiana, and sons, John Jr. and Michael.

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. Bank of America is recognized as a top employer by Working Mother magazine, the Human Rights Campaign, and G.I. Jobs magazine. Moynihan participates in several organizations that focus on economic and market trends, including the World Economic Forum International Business Council, the Financial Services Forum, the Business Roundtable, and the supervisory board of The Clearing House. Moynihan leads the company’s Global Diversity and Inclusion Council and 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.


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 and 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 Fidelity Personal Investing. She assumed her position in January 2009 and oversees a business with more than $1.9 trillion in client assets under administration, more than 17 million customer accounts, and over 13,000 employees. Her business is the nation’s number one provider of individual retirement accounts, one of the largest brokerage businesses, one of the largest providers of investment advisory programs, and one of the leading providers of college savings plans. Prior to joining Fidelity, Kathy was CEO of ING U.S. Wealth Management. She received her B.A. summa cum laude from Fairfield University and earned her J.D. with highest honors from the University of Connecticut. Fortune magazine has consistently named her one of the Top 50 Most Powerful Women in American business. She is a third-generation Irish American – her father’s family is from County Cork and her mother’s family is from Kerry. She is married with one son.

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ICON plc

Bridgewater Associates


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.

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




ADP, Inc.

Denis O’Brien is a leading international businessman with interests in radio, media, property, leisure, and oil distribution. He is the founder and chairman of Digicel, one of the largest cellular phone companies in the world. Chairman of the Clinton Global Initiative Haiti Action Network, Denis is a dedicated philanthropist. He funded the rebuilding of the iconic Iron Market in Port Au Prince following the 2010 Haitian earthquake. A major education project in Haiti has recently been completed with the construction of 150 schools. Last year the O’Brien Centre for Science at University College Dublin was officially opened. Denis currently serves on the board of directors of Concern Worldwide, U.S. In 2012, he served as Irish America’s Business 100 keynote speaker.

David Nihill is the founder of FunnyBizz, a community, writer platform, and conference series, where business meets humor to abolish boring content. He is also the author of the bestselling book Do You Talk Funny? Born in Firhouse, Dublin, David holds a certificate in business management from IT Tallaght, a Bachelor of Commerce from University College Dublin, and a master’s in international business from the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School. Since coming to the U.S. in 2005, he has worked with Enterprise Ireland, PwC, and as director of operations at Education First, a position which took him to London, San Francisco, Dubai, and Shanghai. He has been a featured speaker at many technology-based conferences such as Google’s author talks series, Web Summit, Collision Conference, Prezi’s Present Conference, Lead.ers, and the LeanStartup Conference. His online presenting workshop, which has enrolled over 10,000 students, has been rated among the best in the world by Prezi. David is based in San Francisco, and wears a tie, but only when bungee-jumping.

Dermot J. O’Brien is the chief human resources officer for ADP, where he leads the global HR team in enhancing a diverse performance culture. ADP is a human-capital-management provider ranked 248th on the 2016 Fortune 500 list. Dermot joined the company in April 2012 and leads its global human-capital strategy for 55,000 associates. 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.

“Diversity of thought was encouraged. As a result, what I tend to focus on are commonalities, what brings people together, not the differences — which is what keeps these Irish eyes smiling.”

– Eileen Murray | Bridgewater Associates


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Susan is founder & CEO of Smigin, a language learning company with a unique focus on conversation skills. Having lived and worked in eight countries, Susan realized that there was nothing on the market that helped users with simple, everyday conversation, as most products focused heavily on grammar and structure. NYC-based Smigin offers users a suite of products: an iOS/Android app for travelers and a browser based language learning product available in multiple languages. Smigin has users in over 175 countries. Susan has held executive positions in both public and private companies in the U.S. and Europe. An experienced, action-oriented executive with proven track record of building brands that significantly elevate businesses and drive revenue, with 15 years of sales and marketing experience in over 30 countries globally Susan has an innate knowledge of global sales strategies. Susan is co-chair of the Irish International Business Network, NYC and executive director of LEAP, the Leadership and Executive Acceleration Program for young Irish and Irish American women.

Tesla Motors

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.




Topcon Positioning Systems, Inc.


Penn Mutual

Entrepreneur, author, and educator Patrick O’Brien is CEO and co-founder of, an organization that provides comprehensive online tools to executors. Patrick also co-founded Making It Count, an organization that partnered with firms such as Apple, PwC, Microsoft, and P&G to deliver live motivational programs to more than 25 million students. The author of Making College Count, Patrick is a regular contributor to USA Today on college and career success. He co-created and teaches “Real Strategies for Real Business” on a pro bono basis at his alma mater, Miami University. He also cofounded the Farmer School Golf Classic charity golf tournament at Miami, and serves as an advisor to former students in their entrepreneurial ventures. He credits his Irish heritage as defining factor in his career, saying, “My family taught me to invest deeply in people, compete fiercely but within the rules, and make a positive difference wherever I can.” Patrick is married to Marilyn (Muldowney) O’Brien, and has two children, Megan and Sean. Megan is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and Sean is currently a freshman there.

Ray O’Connor is president and chief executive officer of Topcon Positioning Systems, Inc., a position he has held since 2002. He also serves as president of the Positioning Operating Company, a component company of Topcon Corporation, where he holds the position of senior managing executive officer. Ray joined Topcon in 1993 as the founding member of its laser business development team. In 2013, Ray became the youngest ever inductee to the Association of Equipment Manufacturers Hall of Fame, was named the Geospatial Business Leader of the Year in 2012, and in 2006 he received the prestigious Toshiba Business Performance Award. Raised one of seven in Naas, Co. Kildare, Ray says, “My rich family life and Irish upbringing also instilled me with a strong sense loyalty and integrity in all relationships.” He is an alumnus of the Dublin Institute of Technology, by which he was also awarded an honorary doctorate for his achievements in international business and innovation. He and his wife of 33 years, Nancy, live in the San Francisco Bay Area, and have three grown children. 70 IRISH AMERICA DECEMBER / JANUARY 2017

Patrick M. O’Keefe is founder and CEO of O’Keefe. Patrick is nationally recognized as an expert in strategic advisory services, enterprise consulting, corporate reorganization, debt restructuring, turnaround consulting, due diligence support, valuation, and litigation support. For over 30 years, Patrick has been active as a financial consultant and turnaround advisor to under-performing businesses in various industries including, retail, construction, automotive, manufacturing, and real estate. Recently, he was named among the Top 100 Restructuring and Turnaround Professionals by Global M&A Network. Patrick says his Irish ancestry has made him a better consultant for troubled corporate transactions as a calming influence who is not afraid to deal objectively with the perils of adversity. Born in Detroit, Patrick graduated magna cum laude from Michigan State University and holds an M.B.A. in finance from Wayne State. He is a fourth-generation Irish American with a paternal Co. Cork connection, and believes that the Irish people’s “strong commitment to family” has made him a better father to his children, Bryan, Caitlin, and Matthew. He lives with his wife, Carol, in Michigan.

David O'Malley is the president and chief operating officer for the Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company and has overall responsibility for all of the company’s operating areas, which ensures a seamless experience for both producers and clients. Dave joined Penn Mutual's Investment Department in 1994 and his extensive knowledge in the investment field enabled him to build a highly successful career that has led to positions of increasing complexity. His expertise in derivatives and asset-liability management has been instrumental in designing the company’s hedging and risk management programs. Additionally, Dave serves on the board of managers of the full service broker firm Janney Montgomery Scott LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Penn Mutual. He also serves on the Saint Joseph University’s Academy of Risk Management and insurance board of governors, on Drexel University’s President’s leadership council and serves as trustee with Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. Dave graduated summa cum laude from Drexel University in Philadelphia, with a bachelor's degree in finance and economics.

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Rosie O’Neill is the co-founder and chief creative officer of Sugarfina, a nationwide gourmet candy boutique. In 2012, she and her fiance, Josh Resnick, launched Sugarfina, which now has 22 stores and 15 Nordstrom shop-in-shops across North America. Before Sugarfina, Rosie spent seven years as marketing director for Barbie at Mattel. Rosie is a fourth-generation Irish American who believes she inherited her “go big or go home” entrepreneurial gene from her greatgrandfather, a Boston pharmacy-owner who lost his business in a prize-fight bet. “I first learned I was Irish when my mom served me Lucky Charms on St. Patrick’s Day at age six,” she says. “I’ve always considered we Irish to be some of the most determined people around!” Born in Kansas City, Missouri, Rosie holds an undergraduate degree in communication studies from UCLA and an M.B.A. in marketing and strategy from the UCLA Anderson School of Business Management. She lives in L.A. with her fiance, Josh, and stepchildren, Samantha, Elan, and Natasha.

MAP Digital

For 20 years, Mary Ann Pierce has fused the Internet to events. As founder and CEO of MAP Digital, she co-created with her investment banking clients, MetaMeetings, a FinTech event management platform and has built immersive experiences for financial services, marketing agencies, pharmaceuticals, and C-Suite conferences worldwide. With ancestors from counties Cavan, Leitrim, Galway, Cork, and Tipperary, Mary Ann has organized events that have had a significant impact on the Irish American experience. She produced the Bards for St. Bridget fundraiser with Peter Quinn, John Lee, and Paul Dougherty that helped save St. Bridget’s, the “Famine” church on New York’s Lower East Side. She produced the initial IAW&A Eugene O’Neill Award honoring William Kennedy, and was awarded IIBN-NY 2014 Spirit of Excellence Award for producing OpportUnity, IIBN’s Global Conference. Mary Ann sits on the advisory board of Digital Irish and IIBN. She frequently spends time in Ireland in search of technology partners and talent. When working in Dublin, she shares an office with ChannelSight at One O’Connell Street.

Boston Herald




Bloomberg L.P.


Pebble Beach

As a New York-based anchor at Bloomberg TV, Vonnie Quinn presents Bloomberg Markets Americas daily, engaging with global discussions on economics, finance, investment, and geopolitics. Born in Co. Limerick, Vonnie moved stateside in 2004, joining Bloomberg in 2006 after the completion of her studies at Columbia University, where she earned an M.A. and M.S. in journalism. Now internationally recognized, she has been awarded the ABC Frank Reynolds Fellowship, a French government medal, a Swiss Government Scholarship, and a National University of Ireland Travelling Studentship. The family of Vonnie’s father is based in Clooneybeirne, Co. Roscommon, and her mother’s in Nine-Mile-House, Co. Tipperary. “My mother was the first Tipperary woman to be hired as a Pan American air-stewardess,” says Vonnie. “My dad traveled the world as chief civil engineer for Ireland’s electricity supply board. I’m proud to continue the family tradition of representing an Irish upbringing (full of music, dance, culture and education) on a global stage.” She adds, “Being Irish, to me, means having an unbounded curiosity about the world.” 72 IRISH AMERICA DECEMBER / JANUARY 2017

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

Patrick Purcell began his career in the news business as an office boy for the New York Daily News. He is currently owner, president, and publisher of the Boston Herald and president of Herald Media, Inc. After 10 years at the Daily News and publications like the Village Voice and New York Post, he purchased the Herald from News Corp in 1994. Two years later, he launched Herald Interactive, comprised of Boston Herald Radio,,, and He has been involved with numerous civic, charitable organizations, including the 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.

Tim Ryan is chairman, Corporate Sales for the 2019 U.S. Open Championship at Pebble Beach and is a member of the championships’ executive planning committee. Tim joined the Pebble Beach Company in 1990 from Princess Hotels. Previously he worked at Westin Hotels and American Express Travel Services in sales and event management. In addition to his role with the 2019 U.S. Open, he serves as vice president of Sales and Global Business Development for the Pebble Beach Company. A New Jersey native, Tim’s Irish roots are in Limerick. He holds a B.S. in business administration from the Sigmund Weiss School of Business at Susquehanna University. He is on the advisory boards of Great Golf Resorts of the World and California Polytechnic State University school of Experiential Management.

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Pluto TV

Tom Ryan is the CEO and co-founder of Pluto TV, America’s leading free internet television service that partners with major networks and digital studios to deliver over 100 channels. Prior to the founding of Pluto TV, Tom served as the senior vice president of Digital Strategy at EMI Music. He also co-founded Cductive, an early digital music retail company that he merged with eMusic. With roots in counties Cork, Waterford, Leitrim, and Tyrone, Tom is a second-generation Irish American. Irish passport in hand, he moved to Europe for several years after graduation, and at one point toured the island with his parents to trace their roots. “It was a very important trip and one I’ll never forget,” he says. “My parents passed away when I was in my 20s. My Irish heritage is important to me for many reasons, but above all, it connects me with them.” Tom holds an A.B. from Dartmouth College and an M.B.A. from INSEAD, France. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Anjannette Padilla Ryan, and children, Roane, Stella, and Frankie.

Omega Flex

Timothy Scanlan has been general counsel of Omega Flex, Inc. since he joined the company in 2006, He also serves as corporate secretary and is a director of the subsidiary, Omega Flex Limited. Prior to joining Omega Flex, Tim was associate general counsel of its former parent association, Mestek, Inc., from 1993 until 2006 and previously served G.E. in various legal, manufacturing and finance positions. He is a member of both the Massachusetts and Pennsylvania Bar Associations. The third-generation descendant of Co. Clare migrants, Tim recalls the story of his father, who as a schoolboy told his friends that his ancestors were Irish kings. When teachers reported this to Tim’s grandfather, he says, “he replied indignantly that every word of it was true!” Born in Peabody, Massachusetts, Timothy is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts with a B.A. in English, and holds a J.D. from the New England School of Law. He is currently based in Connecticut with his wife, Patricia, with whom he has two children, Patrick and Maura.

Castle Brands, Inc.





Brian W. Stack is president of the Ireland-U.S. Council and president emeritus of CIE Tours International, one of the largest producers of tourists to Ireland, Scotland, and many other areas of Europe. This year is the 85th anniversary of the company. 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, and is currently vice chairman of the Irish American Cultural Institute. 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, New York, Brian is married to Anne-Marie and has two grown children with five grandchildren. He is a Dublin native.

Castle Brands, Inc.

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. 74 IRISH AMERICA DECEMBER / JANUARY 2017

Annalise Stack is a native of County Dublin. She manages Business Development in the United States and Canada for FEXCO, which operates in 29 countries and is Ireland’s most successful multinational payments, financial, and business solutions provider. Annalise supports the company’s premier tax-free product, the Horizon card. Working with tour operators and travel agents across the country, she ensures that all non-E.U. tourists to Ireland have the ability to claim their VAT taxes. She is based is New York but works closely with the corporate head office in County Kerry. Prior to this role, Annalise was a business analyst at the global corporate office of Starwood Hotels & Resorts. She holds a Master of Business Administration in sustainability, a bachelor’s degree in English, and a LEED designation. Annalise has strong roots in Dublin and returns as often as possible with her husband and three daughters.

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

Ireland U.S. Council

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As chief security officer at Uber, Joe Sullivan oversees all aspects of information security and safety for the company. Previously, he was chief security officer at Facebook. He has also held security and legal positions at PayPal and eBay, and has been active with the National Cyber Security Alliance and Bay Area CSO Council. Prior to that, he spent eight years with the U.S. Department of Justice where he served as a federal cyber crime prosecutor. Joe’s paternal great-grandparents emigrated separately from Ireland, meeting around 1900 in Boston and beginning a new life together. His O’Sullivan relatives remain in Milltown, Co. Kerry, and, he says, “were not happy the ‘O’ didn’t make the trip across the Atlantic!” As newlyweds, Joe and his wife, Suzanne, paid them a visit. “My cousin plays the Irish pipes and we were graced with front-row seats and a honeymoon toast at his band’s performance in the Fishery Pub.” Born in Vermont, Joe obtained his B.A. from Providence College and his J.D. from the University of Miami. He and his wife, Suzanne, have three daughters, Bridget, Celia, and Audrey.


ChartOne Media




Alexander Nash


Amalgamated Family of Companies

Daniel Waldron is a Galway-born inter-dealer broker and initial investor in and co-founder of the bespoke tailoring label Alexander Nash, based in New York. The company, founded in 2011 by Waldron and tailor Alex Summer, now has over 175 clients and is worn by the New York Knicks, Instagram giant Iman Shumpert, model Tyson Beckford, and Irish golfer Rory McIlroy. Waldron, whose background is in event management and finance, was one of Summer’s first clients (the two met at the Marquee nightclub in New York where Summer was working security) and soon after they opened the first studio in Chelsea. The company now employs five people, including three full-time tailors. And, while suits will cost at minimum about $3,500, all the materials are from New York fabric stores, while the wools come from Italy, England, or Australia.


Ted M. Sullivan is a global client partner at SAP Americas Consulting Practice, serving over 300,000 customers in 190 countries. Prior to this role, he was co-founder and chief customer officer of dRSTi360, an IBM executive, and managing director within KPMG’s Entertainment and Media Practice with more than 18 years of 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 Northern Ireland, where he has participated in various political forums. Ted holds a B.S. in accounting and finance from Troy State University and currently lives in Atlanta. He enjoys playing golf with his daughter, Mary Lois.

Niall Wall is the senior vice president of business development and platform sales at Box, a company devoted to online file sharing and content management for businesses. In the last two years, the company went public on the New York Stock Exchange, a process in which Niall was instrumental. Prior to joining Box, he held senior leadership roles Symantec, Oracle, and Digital Equipment Corporation. Niall, who was born in Ireland, has relatives in counties Mayo and Antrim and knows that his family arrived in the country in 1169 as the De Bhailis clan. He holds a B.A. and M.A. from the National University of Ireland Galway, and began his career as a sales representative for Guinness. “Growing up in Ireland and now living and working in the U.S. has given me the unique ability to think globally and with a broad perspective while maintaining both confidence and humility in my day-to-day life,” Niall says. Currently based in Redwood City, California, Niall is married to Sheila Capero and has two sons, Shane and Aidan.

Gemma Toner is a media and telecommunications leader driving innovation at the intersection of big data, technology, and digital media and holds a patent for the “System and Method for Set Top Box Viewing Data,” which enables the use of set top box data to measure audience viewing patterns. Gemma is the founder and CEO of ChartOne Media, an OTT platform, data, and content company. She also serves on the boards of Sandvine, which provides network management hardware and software for fixed, mobile, and converged networks, and Concern Worldwide U.S. Previously, Gemma delivered groundbreaking, first-to-market cable industry products at Cablevision, including Optimum Online and Optimum WiFi. She also helped AMC Networks drive network distribution and develop multi-platform content for emerging distribution platforms. and has been a past chairperson for the Cable and Telecommunications Association for Marketing. Gemma credits her pioneering spirit to her Irish immigrant parents, who achieved their American dream through hard work, grit, faith, and the unwavering support of the Irish American community.

David J. Wash is president and CEO of the Amalgamated Life Insurance Company, CEO of Alico Services Corporation, and oversees operations for the entire Amalgamated Family of Companies. His leadership team is credited with improving the organization’s infrastructure and expanding its offerings and national footprint. Previously, he served in senior executive positions at AIG and Swiss Re and also served as director of Insurance and director of International Trade for the State of Alaska. Walsh earned a master’s degree in professional studies, industrial and labor relations from Cornell University, a J.D. from the University of Wisconsin, an M.B.A. from Alaska Pacific University, and a bachelor’s in psychology from Loras College. He is currently working toward a Ph.D. from University College Dublin. Born and raised in an Irish enclave in Iowa, and a proud member of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick and the Northern Ireland Children’s Exchange, Walsh says of his heritage, “I am proud of our relentless intellectual curiosity, passion and perseverance, our music, literature and culture.”

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The Fabulous

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Gerald Murphy and his wife, Sara, were the golden couple at the center of glamorous expatriate life in Paris and the Riviera in the 1920s, with a social circle that included many of the great artists and writers of the day. Michael Burke goes behind the scenes to look at the dynamic Murphy family’s early beginnings.


PATRICK: The Salesman

atrick Francis Murphy, one of 13 children of Irish immigrant parents, born around 1855, turned out to be not only a natural born salesman, but also someone with a knack for marketing. He made a fortune that his children managed to run though in one generation. Hired by Henry W. Cross, first as a clerk and then as a salesman, for Cross’s saddle, harness, and trunkmaking company, Patrick persuaded his employer (Cross was an Irish immigrant who had honed his saddle-making skills in London) to expand their equestrian merchandise to include small luxury items such as purses, wallets, and notebooks. Sales took off and the business thrived. Murphy quickly became an integral part of the operation and eventually bought the business from the Cross. In 1892, Murphy proved himself far-sighted again when he moved his now upscale, luxury leather goods emporium to New York. New York had eclipsed Boston as the financial, cultural and social center of the country, and Murphy believed, it would be a more open venue for his business, and, at the same time, a place better suited for the social advancement of himself and his family. Murphy leased space for his flagship store in the most fashionable section of town on the corner of Broadway and Murray Street, a building owned by John W. Mackay, the Irish-born silver miner and cable company magnate. Murphy’s instincts were good and the store flourished. By 1893 there were two additional Mark Cross stores, one back in Boston and another in London. Later there would be one in Paris and another in Milan. But the market-savvy Murphy soon came to realize that the “horseless carriage” was here to stay and the need for equestrian equipment would drastically shrink. He therefore switched the focus of his operation. While retaining his signature luxury leather goods, he minimized riding equipment while adding various high-end pieces, including china, crystal, silver, decorative items and even some men’s and women’s apparel. Mark Cross soon became known for innovative goods such as cocktail shakers, liquor decanters, and even the first thermos. The stores also carried a full line of Scottish-made golf clubs. Later, during


World War I, the firm introduced the first wristwatch. The company had always provided a mail order service, producing an extremely well put together catalogue, which literally came to be considered a work of art, as several volumes remain in the permanent collections of various museums today. The Murphy family, Patrick, his wife Anna (née Ryan), sons, Frederick and Gerald, and daughter, Esther, were now wealthy. They had a house in one of the better sections of Manhattan and a summer home in the Hamptons. Patrick’s outgoing personality made him a popular after-dinner speaker. Eventually he became so sought after that he attended and spoke at a different business dinner almost every night. He became a member of several important clubs, including the Manhattan Club and the Lambs Club in New York City and the Southampton Club on Long Island. Patrick’s children, however, would remember him as a distant parent, and their mother Anna, as a strict Irish Catholic. Her son, Gerald, referred to her as a “Calvinist.”


GERALD: The Artist

s a young boy, Gerald was sent to Blessed Sacrament Academy on West 79th Street, but his mother decided that this school wasn’t strict enough and sent him to boarding school in Dobbs Ferry, New York where he said, “the nuns flogged me with wooden laths for wetting the bed.” Fortunately, his college preparatory school proved a better fit. The Hotchkiss School, a private, nonsectarian, school in Connecticut specialized in getting its graduates into Yale, a service Gerald was in great need of. As it turned out, both Fred and Gerald attended Yale. However, Gerald had to take the entrance exam three times before

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LEFT: Gerald Murphy, Ginny Carpenter, Cole Porter, and Sara Murphy. BELOW: Gerald Murphy, “Boatdeck,” 1923. Now lost. At it’s debut at the 1924 Salon des Indépendants, the Paris Herald reported that the 18-by-12-foot piece “could scarcely be seen, so great a crush was around” it.

finally passing. Both sons were expected to join the family firm upon graduation. Fred, who had been sickly most of his life, dutifully obliged, although his weakened condition – exacerbated by his voluntary enlistment in the Army during World War I – often kept him away from work. He married Noel Haskins, a debutante from an old New York family and a close friend of his sister’s, retired from the company early and moved to France where he died in 1924. Noel remained in France for the rest of her life. They had no children. Gerald had little interest in business, and decided to go his own way. His tenure at Yale was lackluster at best, his only distinction being accepted into various clubs, including the prestigious Skull and Bones. He was also at one point voted best dressed. “I was very unhappy there,” he said of his time at Yale. “You always felt that you were expected to make good in some form of extracurricular activity, and there was such constant pressure on you that you couldn’t make a stand against it – I couldn’t, anyway.” Gerald’s father considered him a disappointment, and often expressed this opinion. It didn’t help when he married, against his parents’ wishes, Sara Sherman Wiborg, who was five years his senior. (They met when he was 16 and she 20). Sara’s family had a summer home near the Murphy’s

house in Southampton. The Sherman Wilborg’s an established family (the American Civil War general William Tecumseh Sherman was an uncle of Sara’s mother) whose wealth came from a mid-western ink-manufacturing business, also opposed the marriage. The couple had their way though, and married in 1916. After an unhappy time working for his father, Gerald and Sara spent two years in Cambridge, where Gerald studied at the Harvard School of Landscape Architecture before they moved with their three children to France in 1921. In both Paris and on the Riviera, Gerald and Sara entertained frequently and lavishly, soon winning many friends, notable among them Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, John Dos Passos, Jean Cocteau, John O’Hara, and a childhood schoolmate of Gerald’s, Dorothy Parker, among many others. Their social circle was extremely wide, encompassing at various points almost everyone involved in the arts and letters, including James Joyce. They have been credited with innovating the “summer season” on the Riviera where they christened their house Villa America. Apparently no one had thought of using the Riviera as a summer playground before, only as a winter retreat. They were also cred-

FAR LEFT: Gerald Murphy. LEFT: Sara Sherman Wiborg.



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Gerald and Sara Murphy on La Garoupe Beach, Antibes, summer 1926.

ited with coining the term “sunbathing.” The pair figured prominently in much of the art and literature of the period. Picasso, who seemed to have been somewhat smitten with the beautiful Sara, did five paintings of her. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Tender Is The Night is dedicated to them, as they were the original models for the characters Dick and Nicole Diver. Apparently, Fitzgerald was also smitten with Sara. Despite their munificence to him during his struggling times, Ernest Hemingway would treat Sara and Gerald rather shabbily in his memoir, A Moveable Feast. Years later, their friend, New Yorker magazine writer Calvin Tomkins, would write a book about them, entitled with the now familiar phrase, Living Well Is The Best Revenge. Sara and Gerald had come to know most of their European friends through the Ballets Russes of Serge Diaghilev. Soon after arriving in Paris, some of the company’s scenary was destroyed and they both volunteered to work as unpaid apprentices to help restore it. It was around this time, Tomkins

Henry W. Cross, born in Ireland, learned the craft of saddlemaking in London as a young man. After honing his skills in this trade, he immigrated to Boston, Massachusetts, and in 1845 founded his own saddle, harness, and trunk making business. He named the firm after his son, Mark W. Cross. The company was both a manufacturing and retail enterprise. The business prospered and soon, in addition to their own products, they were selling high-end equestrian leather goods imported from England. They were doing so well, they needed more staff. Among their new employees was an Irish American, Patrick Murphy, just 17 at the time, whom they hired first as a clerk and then as a salesman. The acquisition of this lad would prove to be a wise move. The Mark Cross company was held by several interests over the years, until it was sold to the A.T. Cross Company (maker of the famous pens, but no relation), who expanded the operation to 23 stores. They, however, eventually closed the line and the Mark Cross name was finally brought to a close in 1998, after 151 years. The brand was revived in 2010 and is now available through Barney’s New York.


writes, that Gerald started painting. “Walking down the Rue de la Boëtie one day, Murphy stopped to look in the window of the Rosenberg Gallery, went inside, and saw, for the first time in his life, paintings by Braque and Picasso and Juan Gris. ‘I was astounded,’ he says. ‘My reaction to the color and form was immediate; to me there was something in these paintings that was instantly sympathetic and comprehensible and fresh and new. I said to Sara, ‘If that’s painting, it’s what I want to do.’” This was the beginning of Gerald’s career as a painter – a career that lasted for only seven years, but produced paintings that are now considered to be major works of American modernism. One entry into a Paris exhibition was the 18-by-12-foot painting, “Boatdeck” which, because of its size, made copy for three days in the Paris Herald. He also designed sets for ballets and co-wrote a ballet, Within the Quote, with his old friend from his Yale days, Cole Porter, that was performed in Paris in 1923.

ESTHER: The Heiress Who Loved Women


erhaps the most unique and unusual member of patriarch Patrick Murphy’s family was his only daughter, Esther. Despite two rather strange marriages, she was openly gay for most of her life. Although the Murphys were not actually in the upper echelons of the wealthy, Esther always thought of herself as an heiress, and behaved as such. She did not attend college and never worked. She did, however, possess a fine mind and her parents arranged for much of her education to be completed at home. Esther also seems to have had a photographic memory. Her social life was the most important thing to her and she attended numerous parties and events where she would dominate the conversation, expostulating on her views of history, politics and current events. She may have inherited her speaking ability from her father, along with a taste for alcohol. But while Patrick was known to overindulge occasionally, Esther did so frequently. However, she did manage to have many articles published and was considered a talented writer. Her last work was a biography of Madame de Maintenon, the secret wife of King Louis XIV of France, which she worked on for fifteen years and was still unfinished at the time of her death. Esther’s love life, however, was an ongoing disaster. Her first husband, John Strachey, a cousin of Lytton of Bloomsbury fame, was an impoverished upper class socialist politician and early member of Britain’s Labor Party. Although he claimed to genuinely love Esther, he was open about marrying her for her money, demanding a large dowry from Patrick Murphy. He was elected to parliament, but his career was checkered and basically unimpressive, as was their marriage, which did not last long. The main love of Esther’s life was the fabulously wealthy American, Natalie Clifford Barney, one of the most influential American expatriates in Paris

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and an accomplished writer, poet, and playwright. Natalie was an outspoken proponent of free love. Unfortunately, Esther’s love for her was unrequited. Esther had a rival at the time, the Irish born Dorothy (Dolly) Wilde, niece of Oscar. For some unexplained reason Esther decided to marry a second time. This choice was even more misguided than the first. She married Chester A. Arthur III, grandson of the late president, who used Gavin as his first name. Gavin may not have been of the best husband material but was an interesting person in his own right. He abandoned the successful lifestyle of his father and grandfather to pursue varied paths, including living in Ireland after quitting college and working for the Irish Republican movement in America, for which he was briefly jailed in Boston. Although he was married three times, he was also openly bisexual. Esther and Gavin soon separated and were eventually divorced in 1961, but she chose to keep Arthur as her name for the rest of her life. The last romance of Esther’s life was with the writer Sybille Bedford, whom she met in New York in 1943. They traveled extensively together but gradually drifted apart, although remaining lifelong friends. Esther died of a stroke on November 23, 1962 at age 65. Her story is chronicled in the multiple biography, All We Know, Three Lives, by Lisa Cohen.

From her we learn that they never really overcame the loss of their two sons. While they remained in love and stayed married for the rest of their lives, they became somewhat distanced from each other. Patrick’s illness was not the only blow that the Murphy family in 1929 suffered. Like so many others, the stock market crash hit them hard. Sara’s income was affected to some extent, but the Mark Cross Company suffered greatly as the demand for high-priced luxury items plummeted, if only temporarily. In his will, Gerald’s father, who died in 1931, left control of the company to his long-time mistress, his secretary, Lillian Ramsgate. Whatever skills Ramsgate may have had, business management proved not to be among them. To prevent her from running the company entirely into the ground, Gerald, as chairman of the board, took over as chief operating officer. Surprisingly, he possessed enough business acumen to keep the company from going under, but it required a great deal of work, something he was unaccustomed to, but that he would have to do for much of the rest of his life. He held on to the company until 1948 when he finally sold it, but stayed on until retiring in 1955 at the age of 68. Their once large fortune gradually shrinking, Gerald became ill with intestinal cancer. Sara remained by his side and was devastated by his death, on October 17, 1964 at the age of 76. She went to live in Washington, D.C. with Honoria and William, and died there in 1975 at the age of 91.


A Sense of an Ending

erald and Sara seemed to be living an idyllic, carefree life until tragedy struck, with the deaths of their two boys, both in their teenage years. The boys had been named to honor Gerald’s Irish heritage. Patrick was diagnosed with tuberculosis in 1929, which brought the family back to New York. But it would be their other son, Baoth, who died first, in 1935, after contacting spinal meningitis at 15. Two years later, Patrick died at 16. Only their daughter, Honoria, who in the words of the Murphy biographer Calvin Tomkins, “looked like a Renoir and was dressed accordingly,” survived. Honoria attended Rosemary Hall School in Greenwich, Connecticut, and the Spence School in New York, and went on to work in the theater and act with Bernard Shaw’s muse, Mrs. Patrick Campbell, who created the role of Eliza Doolittle in Pygmalion in 1914. Honoria, who married Captain William Donnelly, a WWII war hero with whom she had two sons and a daughter, would later publish an account of her parents’ unusual lives, simply titled, Sara and Gerald.


Artistic Acclaim

TOP: Gerald Murphy, “Cocktail,” 1927. Oil and pencil on linen, 29 x 30 in. Now part of the Whitney Museum of American Art permanent collection. ABOVE: Gerald Murphy, “Wasp and Pear,” 1929. Oil on canvas, 37 x 39 in. Now part of the Museum of Modern Art permanent collection.

fter his return to America in 1929, Gerald Murphy never painted again. But before his death in 1964, he would receive recognition for his work as an artist. In 1960, his paintings, produced between 1922 and 1929, received their first exhibition in America when Douglas MacAgy mounted a show at the Dallas Museum for Contemporary Art. In a letter to MacAgy, Murphy, then 63, wrote, “There is some-thing [sic] very reassuring (in a disorderly world) about knowing that there exists a catalyst-mentor who discovers and reveals that one had builded [sic] better than he knew. […] Most certainly you have been the kinetic force in the exhumation of those few canvases of mine. Where will it all end?” Two more exhibitions of Murphy’s painting, at the Museum of Modern Art in 1974 and the Brooklyn Museum in 2008, renewed interest in Murphy’s work. Though he produced only 14 paintings (seven of which remain), he now has a permaIA nent place in the history of American art. DECEMBER / JANUARY 2017 IRISH AMERICA 81

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wild irish women |

by Rosemary Rogers

Sure Shot Mary

New York City police officer and detective Mary Agnes Shanley (1896-1989) was the first policewoman to use a gun in an arrest. She made over 1,000 collars in her career and, at just 160 pounds, had the strength to subdue an adult male.


orn in 1896, Mary Shanley and family left the poverty of Ireland for the mean streets of Manhattan. Growing up it seemed to her that it was the police and the priests who got all the respect (and free food) but it also seemed to Mary that, for a female, becoming a policeman was as impossible as becoming a priest. Besides, she had been brought up to believe that a Catholic marriage should be a woman’s only goal and bearing children her only reward. So, Mary tried to conform. Briefly. She went to work as a switchboard operator, a job way too boring and sedentary for the restless redhead. One day in 1931, she’d had enough, tore off her headset and joined the handful of women in the New York Police Department. It was a brazen, trailblazing move, especially since women had been given the vote only eleven years earlier. On the force, Mary faced the “Blue Wall,” a brotherhood of policemen who despised the few female officers, belittled their looks and were suspicious of their sexuality. Subject to sexism and the silent treatment, Mary was defiant in public but in private she told her family that she felt like an exotic animal in the zoo. During her months of training she dreamed of wearing a police uniform, but it wasn’t meant to be. Mary was put on “the woman’s beat,” going undercover to nail pickpockets, mashers*, shoplifters, purse snatchers, fortune tellers and seat tippers.** She often took a decoy, her niece Mary, and the two posed as mother and daughter. Little Mary Mullins proved to be an excellent cover; many years later, she related that Aunt Mary once confided that she could actually “smell a crook.” Mary’s undercover guise was impressive: a snappy


* A blanket term to describe a sexual predator; a male who, believing himself irresistible to females, makes unwanted sexual advances. ** According to the New York Times, a tipper is a midtown thief who sits behind women in theaters, and spotting a handbag on an empty seat, he tips the seat from the rear with his foot and loots the bag. Tippers frequent tearjerkers, more effective in distracting sentimental women.


frock, smart hat, gloves, white patent leather pocketbook, and sturdy shoes that could only be described as old-fashioned nun shoes. She was supposed to look like a middle-class housewife on a shopping spree but in truth she looked more like a prison matron going to Sunday mass. She was 5’8” and claimed to be 160 pounds, although photos indicate that estimate to be somewhat conservative. She was fast, athletic, and stronger than most men. When, in 1934, policewomen were allowed to carry guns, Mary was the first to make an armed arrest. From then on, she always carried her .32 caliber gun in her trusty purse, along with her (also trusty) flask of Irish whiskey. In publicity shots, of which there were many, she’s aiming her gun at an unseen perpetrator on her right. In others, her grim mug is facing the camera with a look that says “Go ahead, make my day,” or words to that effect. She broke another barrier in 1939 when she was promoted to detective first grade. Mayor LaGuardia praised her as a “worthy representative of the police department,” sent her to London to arrest an international ring of scam artists, and upped her salary to a whopping $4,000 a year. While her penchant for photo-ops irritated her (already irritated) fellow officers, it made her something of a celebrity in 1930s and 1940s New York. Even her minor triumphs made the news and the tabloids dubbed her, alternately, “Dead Shot Mary” or the “Annie Oakley of the NYPD.” The famed illustrator of the day, Nell Brinkley, featured an idealized Mary – younger, slimmer and definitely more feminine – in her “Heroines of Today” column every Sunday. Mary Shanley was a character unique to the New York of her day, a colorful place of gangsters, molls, fast talking dames, and gumshoes packing heat. Her adventures offer a de facto visit to a bygone time in a bygone city:

Macy’s: – 1938, she pinched a pickpocket by swatting him across the face with her pocketbook, knocking him on his keister. “Well, I got him,” she told two patrolmen who had rushed to the scene to help, “and I can take him in myself.” – She thought that two men entering Macy’s with large flats of cardboard looked fishy, tailed them and made her arrest as they were shoving men’s suits in a box. – A mental patient was shooting up the perfume counters as customers and salesladies ran for cover

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notorious for snatching the purses and picking the pockets of the faithful rapt in prayer. She caught them by firing several shots in the air. And it was during High Mass, too. – Fans were disturbing Grace Kelly’s trousseau shopping on Fifth Avenue until Mary, convinced the crowd was lousy with pickpockets, stepped in and provided the princess-to-be with a onewoman security detail.



hen she was on the job, Mary was all bravado, guts, and grit. She loved her independence. She also loved prizefights, Jimmy Cagney’s movies, Billie Holliday’s singing, and, especially, her best friend and confidant, Jiggs, her bulldog. But she lived a life that, saving Jiggs, was devoid of companionship, male or female. Whatever sexual appetites she may have had were successfully repressed or channeled into her work. She still played the salty broad in the macho culture of the precinct house but at home, she was alone and lonely. She tried and failed to find solace in her Catholic faith. In time, the occasional nip from her flask of Irish whiskey became steady guzzle and, really, who could blame her? By 1941, she had a serious problem. In March of that year, at 3 a.m, she entered a Queens bar already having had quite a snootful. She and until Mary commanded, “Put down the gun, boy!” He did. TOP: Shanley pulling Jiggs sat on a stool and Mary asked for a drink. a pistol from her – Sniffing around the Macy’s fur department, she caught handbag, 1937. The bartender refused. She showed her badge and a woman stuffing a Persian lamb coat into her girdle. he still refused. At the other end of the bar John LEFT: Shanley being Huljes began insulting Mary, making fun of her congratulated by The Cinema: figure and worse, knocking the Irish. The fatMayor La Guardia, – She chased a masher (the nature of his mashing not 1937. shaming racist proved too much for Mary, she specified) in 1935 around the cavernous Savoy theater only pulled out her .32 caliber, shot twice in his general to have him turn around, punch her in the face and throw her direction but missed. Headlines, and not the kind she was used to, down a flight of stairs. Mary got on her feet, made the collar, came the next day and she was demoted and suspended. After a hauled him in to the station and only later, took herself to the hosyear (which may have included a nervous breakdown), she was pital. reinstated and her career took off for another 15 years. – Life imitated art (or rather, a cheesy movie) when, during a In the course of 27 years, Mary made an astonishing 1,000 showing of Vera Cruz, Mary shot at a seat tipper on the run. The arrests. Still when the estimable New York Times announced her shots from her gun accompanied the shots from Burt Lancaster’s retirement, they called her “Mrs. Shanley,” claiming, falsely, that gun on the screen, a scenario that sent the tabloids into a frenzy. she was heading off to a log cabin (the “Mrs.” part of the story, more unlikely than even the log cabin). The Underbelly: When Mary joined the police, Americans were still uncomfort– In 1937, the gimlet-eyed detective saw two career criminals – able with women voting and being in the work force. Thanks to heading, as she later found out, to an armed robbery – descending her high profile and bravery, she inspired countless women to folthe stairs of the Times Square IRT station. Mary took off in hot low careers usually reserved for men, careers where they relied pursuit, shot a volley of gunfire, stopped the crooks and horrified on their brains and determination rather than their looks and typthe straphangers. ing skills. She made the way for generations of women to enter law enforcement or the armed forces but by the time she died, in Miracle Mile: 1989, very few, if any, had ever heard her name. – She charged down Fifth Avenue after notorious racketeer, It’s also important to recognize that, despite her remarkable “Chinatown Charlie,” weaving in and out of well-heeled shoparrest record and shooting skills, Mary managed to never kill a sinpers, waving her gun until she caught him. gle one of her 1,000 suspects. There’s been no one like her since. IA – In St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Mary closed in on two con artists Mary Shanley was one of the finest of New York’s Finest. DECEMBER / JANUARY 2017 IRISH AMERICA 83

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Ruth Negga isn’t just an actress; she’s a movie star. By Cahir O’Doherty


bout ten minutes into Loving, director Jeff Nichols’s remarkably powerful new film about a couple whose court challenged ended the interracial marriage ban in America, something quickly becomes clear: Irish and Ethiopian actress Ruth Negga, 34, isn’t just a talented screen presence, she’s a bona fide movie star. Cast as Mildred Loving, one half of the real life couple on which the film is based, Negga dazzles opposite screen husband Joel Edgerton in a film that focuses not on dramatic court cases or complex civil rights tussles, but on how discrimination impacts ordinary lives. What Negga also delivers, unforgettably, is a complex portrait of a long and happy marriage, to which she brings considerably artistry, of a kind that would have been applauded in the golden age of Hollywood. On screen, Negga’s expressive mastery frequently has reminded some critics of the young Bette Davis, and when I tell her she immediately lights up. “I love her! My favorite film is All About Eve. I’ve basically been channeling her my whole life and seeing if it hits or misses.” Critics already agree that she hits every mark. Already there is Oscar buzz about her slow burn performance, but as she travels the globe promoting the new film she’s finding herself increasingly missing her large family in Ireland and her home in London. “Funnily enough – and I’m not just saying this because I’m talking to Irish America – it’s one of the parallels with Mildred Loving and myself. There’s a deep homesickness in her. It really helped me understand her character.”

Tell a young person that it was illegal to marry someone of a different race in the southern states of the union until the late 1960’s and they’ll gasp. Discovering that too quickly forgotten nugget was what inspired director Jeff Nichols, 37, to helm Loving and focus on the quietly committed couple whose court challenge ended the interracial marriage ban in the United States. Nichols was raised in Arkansas, where he attended Little Rock High. His school had been the site of a desegregation crisis in the late ’50’s but he had never heard of Richard and Mildred Loving. That oversight, together with a call from Martin Scorsese suggesting the subject matter, set the rising star director on course to direct the film. The cruel absurdity of the marriage ban contrasts strongly with the unarguably happy marriage between Negga and Edgerton’s characters and the actresses confesses to me that she used her feelings about Ireland to get a firm grasp of her role. “I would ask myself, ‘God, imagine being told I could never go home to Ireland again?’ I immediately felt this wave of homesickness about it. Mildred and Richard had been repeatedly warned they’d be imprisoned if they ever returned together to Virginia.” Growing up Ethiopian and Irish in Limerick, her own experience was pretty delightful, she tells me. In fact she didn’t encounter any anti-black sentiment until she moved away to London she says. “I think that each persons experience in Ireland is quite individual. When I was little I thought that everyone wanted to hold me as a baby because I was this thing of fascination. But rather than this thing that wasn’t quite right, I just felt that my dif-

“We live in a society that says if you’re this you must be that.

I’ve had it all my life. You can’t be Irish. Why can’t I be Irish? Why can’t these two people in this story who love each other be together?” 84 IRISH AMERICA DECEMBER / JANUARY 2017

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ference was something that was probably very exotic. I didn’t know any black people in Ireland, there were none where I was growing up.” Seeing anything or anyone out of the ordinary in Limerick in the ’80s was actually an event, she says. “I remember seeing my first punk rocker in Limerick and he just absolutely flabbergasted and amazed me in a brilliant way; I was fascinated.” But her childhood was pretty idyllic. “I have a very large family and I just felt very loved. And also because my dad had died as well (tragically, he was killed in a car crash when Negga was seven) there was probably an extra sort of defensiveness around me.” Things changed when the family moved to London, though. “I did feel it quite keenly when I moved to London, because being Irish and black became an issue there for some people, that’s when I first felt that gosh I’m really different.” “Some people would say to me you don’t sound very Irish. It’s because I have this tendency to iron out my accent. Not because I’m ashamed of it but because it makes my life easier if I don’t keep having to repeat myself.” Clearly, this is an issue that she thinks about often. “We live in a society that says if you’re this you must be that. I’ve had it all my life. You can’t be Irish. Why can’t I be Irish? Why can’t these two

people in this story who love each other be together?” Does she think the message of Loving is timely in our polarized new era? “There’s fear and there’s divisiveness now that I haven’t felt this strongly in a long time. This real kind of fear of one another. There’s an aggression, an accusatory atmosphere, people are quick to point fingers for whatever bloody reason. “I really feel that Loving taps into that. It shows us that this isn’t how it has to be. We’re capable of great goodness and great kindness towards one and other. I think that this film shows us we don’t need walls. Walls are what create fear. They beget it. I think our film does highlight that because it’s about this couple that all they want to do is get married. They have different identities but I think that’s great. I think in a modern society that’s something we should aspire to you know?” IA Loving is now playing nationwide.

TOP: Irish-born actress Ruth Negga. ABOVE: Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga as Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial couple who are sent to prison in Virginia in 1958 for getting married.


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John Quinn The Forgotten Irish John Quinn, the unpretentious Irish American lawyer who funded the Irish literary renaissance by supporting Ireland’s leading writers of the day (including W.B. Yeats and James Joyce), is less well-remembered for his involvement with Irish nationalism and his friendship with Roger Casement, the Irish-born diplomat who was knighted by King George V in 1911 and executed for his role in Ireland’s Easter Rising in 1916. By Peter Quinn

TOP RIGHT: Irish American nationalist John Quinn. RIGHT: Sir Roger Casement.


ohn Quinn defies easy categorization. The son of Famine-era immigrants, he was born and raised far from Irish American urban centers like New York and Chicago in Fosteria, Ohio. At 19, he left Ohio to serve as a private assistant to the Secretary of the Treasury. From there, he leapfrogged to Harvard Law School. Still in his mid-20s, he descended on New York in what his biographer describes as “Algeresque fashion” to make his fortune in the thickets of corporate law. Undeterred by barriers of religion, ethnicity, and class, he did so in rapid fashion. Quinn is primarily remembered as a pioneering, perspicacious advocate of literary and artistic modernism. A close friend of Ezra Pound’s, he purchased original manuscripts from James Joyce, Joseph Conrad, T.S. Eliot, and W.B. Yeats, in the process serving as supporter and patron. He defended Joyce’s Ulysses in the New York courts against obscenity charges. Among the earliest American collectors of the works of Van Gogh, Picasso, Matisse, Brancusi, et al., he sponsored the Armory Show of 1913, a turning point in the history of American art that shocked New York audiences and raised public awareness (if not acceptance) of abstractionism and the avant-garde. Less well remembered is Quinn’s involvement with Irish and Irish American nationalism. What-


ever social disadvantages or prejudices he might have faced, he made no attempt to disguise or distance himself from his Irishness. Neither did he try to hide his contempt for what he saw as the narrow-minded provincialism and cultural parochialism prevailing in much of Irish America. He was especially bitter over the raucously hostile reception of J.M. Synge’s masterpiece The Playboy of the Western World, a controversy that left him with a lasting animus toward “that old fool,” John Devoy. Quinn took a keen interest in the reinvigorated effort of the Irish Parliamentary Party to bring about Home Rule. He fulminated over the uncompromising militancy of Sir Edward Carson and the Unionists, while at the same time decrying John Redmond’s cautious, irresolute response as certain to encourage “braggarts, boasters, and treason mongers.” Quinn’s position never changed. He supported a united, self-governing Ireland that maintained its tie to Great Britain. In 1922, at the outbreak of civil war over the AngloIrish Treaty, he wrote to Douglas Hyde, “I would

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American Nationalist not shed the blood of a single Irish wolf-hound for the difference between a republic and free state.” Despite his adamant opposition to physicalforce nationalism, when Padraig Pearse paid a visit to him in New York, Quinn was taken by his intellect and sincerity. “However much one may differ from his political beliefs,” he wrote in the wake of Pearse’s execution, “one must admire his ideality [sic], his undaunted spirit, and the purity of his motives.” Quinn’s initial reaction to the Easter Rising itself was less kind. A staunch supporter of the Allied cause, he found himself depressed and repulsed “by the horrible fiasco in Ireland.” The execution of the Rising’s leaders affected a change. Quinn’s nationalist sentiments, stoked by British intransigence and the courage with which Pearse and his companions went to their deaths, were ignited by the fate of Sir Roger Casement. Quinn met Casement in 1914 when he came on a fundraising trip for the Irish Volunteers. An admirer of Casement’s idealism as a defender of human rights in Africa and South America, Quinn hosted him in his apartment and put him in touch with potential sources of funds. Though their friendship was tempered by

Quinn’s dismay at Casement’s unabashedly proGerman sympathies, the death sentence handed down in an English court led Quinn to put aside his enmity for the Central Powers and mount a campaign to spare Casement from hanging. Casement’s treason in trafficking with Germany, Quinn argued, had to be balanced against his motives as an Irish patriot. Quinn wrote a long memorandum to the British Foreign Office arguing for commutation of Casement’s sentence. He gathered the signatures of prominent Americans and pressured the State Department to send a cable. Quinn’s efforts were to no avail. Casement was hanged in London’s Pentonville Prison on August 3, 1916. Ten days later, on August 13, Quinn published an elegy in the New York Times Magazine in which he wrote: “Roger Casement is dead. Tried in an English court upon the charge of treason, convicted by an English jury, sentenced by English judges, judgment affirmed by an English court of appeal, hanged in accordance with English law, his body buried in quicklime in a nameless grave, his case is now transferred from the English courts and English public to the court of history and to the judgment of the world.” Soon after the execution, Quinn learned that in the interests of dampening calls for sparing Casement’s life, the British government had stealthily circulated diaries detailing his “degenerate” behavior as a closeted homosexual. Furious at what he saw as a vile smear directed against his dead friend, Quinn threatened to take the matter public and expose the diaries as forgeries. Presented with convincing evidence the diaries were authentic, Quinn dropped his plan. Still, he wondered, how did Casement’s private sexual behavior justify his being hanged for high treason? For his part, John Quinn never renounced Roger Casement’s friendship. He never recanted his admiration nor questioned the sincerity of Casement’s sacrifice. He knew the man’s courage and the cause he sacrificed his life for. Was Casement a patriot or a traitor? Was he one with those in the Dublin GPO whose “excess of love bewildered them till they died?” Was he to be numbered in their song? John Quinn had little doubt what final judgment history and the world would reach. IA

An admirer of Casement’s idealism as a defender of human rights in Africa and South America, Quinn hosted him in his apartment and put him in touch with potential sources of funds.


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The Image Maker

Continued from page 42 me to FleishmanHillard. And, we won the Derby account. In 1990, FleishmanHillard Saunders, was founded, and it grew to become Ireland’s number one public relations agency and one of the firm’s most successful offices.

Tell me about your Irish American experience.

It’s lots of things, but I like to Chatting about the think there’s a common thread of a movie Philomena Dame Judi Dench. generosity of spirit that goes through Irish America, and it’s why Irish America is so helpful to the Irish coming over. I certainly wouldn’t be really need to change your behavior. The doing what I’m doing today without people firm needs to change its behavior.” I think like Charlie McCabe at Manufacturers we do our best work when we’re working Hanover and Don Criqui at CBS television, for people who are trying to treat their staff Dennis Long and Mike Roarty, the president well and treat their customers well. And they and director of marketing of Anheuser are the companies that I would want to be Busch. And later on people like Dan Rooney associated with. at the Pittsburgh Steelers. He brought the There is a profound change happening in Steelers to play the Bears in Dublin and we business. I see it breaking out everywhere, worked on that game. Everywhere I turned where companies are really trying to find out people helped me. And not just in small what’s their purpose, and it’s coming for ways, in very significant ways. many reasons, but it’s very much coming The generosity of Irish America has made from their staff. It’s coming from millennials such a huge difference in my life. I don’t who are purpose-driven in a way that maybe want to generalize, but I think my generation people of another generation weren’t and of Irish had talent, but sometimes I think a they’re asking why are we doing this? lot of us lacked confidence. The Irish Amer- What’s our legacy? I think these are all very icans had confidence. I made my first trip to important subjects. New York in 1978, before that most of my trips out of  Ireland were to the U.K. where What’s the difference you were not made to feel that good about between PR and advertising? The big difference between what we in PR yourself if you were Irish. Now, that has all changed and we stand shoulder-to-shoulder do and what advertising does is they are paid with the U.K., but back then it was some- and we are earned. We are trying to persuade what different. For me it was like you get off audiences of our argument, or the argument the plane here in New York and within the of the client, through content, through video. There’s a phenomenal shift towards the first 48 hours realize that for the first time in your life not only was it okay to be Irish, it back-to-basics idea that content is king; companies that are succeeding online have was good to be Irish. to have really good, quality content, and if What’s the secret to being it’s not done in a way that’s attractive, people a good PR person? won’t read it. I’m a great believer in it being real, and The blogosphere has created huge oppormy mother, who professes not to understand tunities for people in terms of storytelling, a lot about PR, will say, “we all end up get- too. And who better to tell the stories than ting the reputations we deserve, whether it’s PR people? in our personal lives or professional lives.” And to my core, I believe FleishmanHillard It seems that integrity is gets the reputation we deserve and I want us a priority for you. Well, I wouldn’t want to in any way claim all in the firm to work to make sure that our clients get the reputations they deserve. exclusivity over it. I think most of us are Sometimes companies are made of great brought up by our parents or family or engineers, but they’re not great communica- friends to do the right thing, and I do think tors, so we try to help them be understood. trust and reputation are hard earned; the repAlso, very importantly, is when we can turn utation of great brands is hard earned and it to a client and say, “That’s not good; you can be blown very easily. 88 IRISH AMERICA DECEMBER / JANUARY 2017

So much of the time now people are looking for the story behind the brand, or they want to know that a brand comes from an ethical owner. That’s an increasing phenomenon of our time. And I think in the same way with my staff and me, I have to ask, “Am I just about vacuous words?” or, “What do I stand for?” I don’t get to make that decision; companies don’t get to make them – other people decide what your reputation is. I’m very conscious of that and therefore one has to be authentic. I do my best to engage with everybody in my life in a way that’s based on treating everybody as a peer.

What do you see that unites people globally?

First of all, as a big sweeping generalization, I think the biggest gift you can give to other people is your energy, your personal energy. I think no matter where they are around the world people like being around people who are upbeat. There are some nuances in that; I think there are some countries where it’s a little darker, but I think people like that. And people are always trying to do better. I remember being in Tehran 14 or 15 years ago and talking to people there and I would repeatedly ask, “If you couldn’t be in Iran, where else would you like to be?” And every single one said America. America has the sense of positivity about it. Energy, being positive, I think people are attracted to that. The other thing that is really important for us all to learn, I need to learn it myself, is that God gave us one mouth and two ears so that we would listen twice as much as we talk. And everybody wants to be listened to.

What has your first year as CEO been like?

I was responsible for 15 percent of the business and the next day I had oversight of 100 percent. That’s a big responsibility and in this job it’s important to stay fit – mentally fit, physically fit – you owe it to people. I see my position as a joyous responsibility. People are looking to me to give leadership. I try to do that with very regular communication with staff. I try to show empathy toward people. It’s a very competitive market and the achievements in terms of this year would be that we’re going to have a very good year. We have a couple months to go, but, unless we screw it up, this will be the best year in the 70-year history of the company.

Thank you.


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The Irish Repertory Theatre mounts an immersive production of James Joyce’s famous short story “The Dead.” By Neil Hickey



ublin, January 6, 1904. The Feast of the Epiphany. At the townhouse of the elderly Morkan sisters, Kate and Julia, their annual dinner and musicale is in full swing and a dozen guests are in spirited holiday mode, dancing, laughing, singing, reminiscing, and retailing old family stories. Among the revelers: Gabriel Conroy and his wife Gretta who, before the long evening is over, will have epiphanies of their own that will reveal deep emotional undercurrents in their marriage that have long gone unexamined. Thus: the setting for James Joyce’s most celebrated short story, “The Dead,” the masterpiece of Dubliners, his suite of tales about the city that occupied his imagination and his art for all of his life. An audacious venture in stagecraft brought “The Dead” to the Fifth Avenue mansion of the American Irish Historical Society for a limited run of live performances (November 19 – January 7) in which a few privileged theatergoers – 40 people each night – become, in effect, the guests of the Morkan sisters and are embedded as extras in the action of the play, enjoy the festive dinner, and move with the actors from room to room as the story unfolds. The production is the brainchild of the novelist Jean Hanff Korelitz who, after attending a reading of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol at the American Irish Historical Society, was struck with the notion of creating an “immersive” theater experience in that luxe Victorian townhouse built in 1900, a stone’s throw from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She raised the idea with her husband, Paul Muldoon, the Armaghborn poet, winner of the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, humanities professor at Princeton University, and poetry editor of the New Yorker. They decided to collaborate on a script based on “The Dead” and took the idea to Chris Cahill, executive director the AIHS, who enthusiastically replied that if they developed the project, he’d give it a home.


“We’d never done anything like this,” Cahill told me. “It’s a large undertaking, but it fits so well into this space.” From there, it was full speed ahead. Jean and her sister, Nina Korelitz Matza, promptly created Dot Dot Productions, and started raising money. But who would actually design the production, cast, stage and direct it? “We started looking for the right partner,” Jean Korelitz told me. “At such a moment, all roads lead not to Rome but to the Irish Repertory Theatre” – and its founders, Ciarán O’Reilly and Charlotte Moore – which has the best track record of any company in the U.S. in bringing powerful, elegantly mounted stage productions of “works by Irish and Irish American masters and contemporary playwrights to American audiences,” in the language of its mission statement. (Brian Friel said of the Rep, “Because the best theater involves an experience of the spirit, the ground they occupy has now been made sacred by them. They have made the space hallowed.”) I asked Paul Muldoon why he and his wife chose “The Dead” as the work they’d adapt for their ambitious project. “‘The Dead’ is the greatest short story ever written,” he said. “It presents a complete world in a very few deft strokes. There’s so much going on under the surface, behind the fabric.” Creating an adaptation was “a bit daunting, a dangerous thing to do,” and needed the addition of “new scenes not in the story” to expand a few of the relationships. Joyce obsessives, close readers, and exegetes will decide for themselves if those

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FAR LEFT: James Joyce in his mid-twenties at the time he wrote the short story, “The Dead.” TOP: Boyd Gaines as Gabriel in the Irish Repertory Theater’s production of The Dead. CENTER: Kate Burton and Aedin Moloney in The Dead. BELOW: Kate Burton who plays Gretta.

departures and emendations are sufficiently respectful of Joyce’s holy writ. Hardly a soul in 1904 Dublin could afford to attend this new staging of the story. The tickets were pegged at $300 each for the performance and the holiday feast, which approximates the hearty meal described in the original text. As the director of “The Dead,” the Rep’s O’Reilly loves the venture because, as he told me, “It’ s exactly the kind of thing the Rep would do if we’d thought of it ourselves.” As he spoke, he was roaming the upper room where the famous final scene between Gabriel and Gretta takes place. “The guiding principle is that, from the moment the audience steps inside the building, they should feel it’s 1904, and we’ll accomplish that in every way we can, with music, costumes, lighting, props.” A big challenge, he added, is “focus.” With a large cast and 40 extras moving from place to place, the task of directing the

audience’s attention to the actor who is speaking – a simple matter on a proscenium stage – is a lot trickier in the more fluid, free ranging, immersive mode. “I’ve loved ‘The Dead’ all my life,” said Ciarán. He’s pleased to have acquired as his lead actors the prominent American (Georgia-born), fourtime Tony Award winner Boyd Gaines, and the Swiss-born, Welsh American Kate Burton, daughter of Richard Burton and his first wife Sybil. Gaines told Irish America: “I’m thrilled and honored for the opportunity to work with this wonderful group of artists on one of the finest pieces of writing in the English language.” He added, “This unique and evocative setting coupled with the words of James Joyce is a grand adventure for actors and audiences alike.” Three major adaptations of the story have preceded the current one, including Hugh Leonard’s one-act version in 1967. John Huston’s universally admired (posthumously released) 1987 film starred Donal McCann and Angelica Huston along with a cast of two dozen, including such stalwart Irish veteran players as Donal Donnelly, Dan O’Herlihy, Helena Carroll, Frank Patterson, and Marie Kean. Roger Ebert called it “one of the great romantic DECEMBER / JANUARY 2017 IRISH AMERICA 91

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TOP RIGHT: Kate Burton and Boyd Gaines, who play Gretta and Gabriel. TOP LEFT: Ciarán O’Reilly, in the act of directing the show, with Paul Muldoon and novelist Jean Hanff Korelitz, who had the idea to do “The Dead” as an immersive theater production. ABOVE: Anjelica Huston and Donal McCann in the film version of “The Dead.”

films, fearless in its regard for regret and tenderness…. a film as quiet and forgiving as the falling snow.” Vincent Canby in The New York Times declared it “a magnificent adaptation of the James Joyce story…. That Huston should have dared search for the story’s cinema life is astonishing. That he should have found it with such seeming ease is the mark of a master.” Christopher Walken starred as Gabriel in a 1999 Broadway musical that won a Tony for Best Book of a Musical. All of “The Dead” leads inexorably to the epiphanic moment in the closing pages when Gretta, upon hearing one of the guests sing “The Lass of Aughrim,” is overcome by the memory of a tubercular youth, Michael Furey, whom she had loved deeply years earlier in the west of Ireland and who died, she imagined, from love of her after he imprudently braved the elements to meet her in a wintry rain. As Gretta weeps at the recollection, “choking with sobs, and overcome with emotion,” Gabriel is envious of her dead swain, and is saddened at the realization that an ardor so profound has never been part of his own nature. He thinks, “Better pass boldly into that other world, in the full


glory of some passion, than fade and wither dismally with age.” And then, finally, perhaps the most famous and surely one of the most alluring paragraphs in all of literature. A few scholars have claimed to detect its antecedent in an 1876 story by Bret Harte titled (yes) “Gabriel Conroy” that opens with a rolling, rhythmical description of the Sierra mountains: “Snow. Everywhere. […] It had been snowing for ten days; snowing in finely granulated powder, in damp spongy flakes, in thin feathery plumes, snowing from a leaden sky steadily, snowing fiercely.” Joyce’s borrowing of Harte’s title suggests he was acknowledging the loan of those harmonies and repetitions to bring his own, far greater story, to a consummation: “It had begun to snow again. He watched sleepily the flakes, silver and dark, falling obliquely against the lamplight. […] snow was general all over Ireland. It was falling on every part of the dark central plain, on the treeless hills, falling softly upon the Bog of Allen, and farther westward, falling softly into the dark, mutinous Shannon waves. It was falling too upon every part of the lonely churchyard on the hill where Michael Furey lay buried. […] His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling , like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead.” Joyce, astonishingly, was in his mid-twenties and in the first fine rapture of his talent when he wrote “The Dead.” The story was Joyce’s “valedictory” to his homeland, the scholar Harry Levin wrote. “Gabriel Conroy was what Joyce might have become had he remained in Ireland.” Instead, he exiled himself to the Continent – Trieste, Rome, Paris, Zurich. But for all his wanderings, his freakish genius always had but one subject – Ireland. IA

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Joyous Season The

Ireland’s ancient Christmas traditions and the magic of Newgrange. By Edythe Preet

ABOVE RIGHT: Dublin’s Christ Church Cathedral. BELOW: Winter solstice light penetrates the burial tomb at Newgrange.


he winter holidays are a time to gather with family and friends, to share abundance, to feast, to reflect on joyful memories, and to hope the future will be peaceful and prosperous for all. It seems someone is slicing a fruitcake or pouring a glass of holiday cheer wherever one goes. Bombarded as we are by Madison Avenue merchandising, it’s easy to forget that we are participating in one of humanity’s oldest rituals. Eons before the birth of Christ, the sun’s movement through the heavens was a wondrous cycle. Our ancestors planted crops in the spring, nurtured them through summer and reaped the harvest in fall. Winter was another matter. Daylight waned, cold winds blew, and plants withered. Food ran out and people starved. Perhaps the sun might disappear altogether and plunge the world into eternal darkness. Hoping to prevent this calamity, early humans honored the sun with ritual and ceremony on the shortest day of the year, winter solstice. Many nations have famous ancient solar observatories: Egypt’s Great Pyramid, Mayan Mexico’s Temple of the Sun, England’s Stonehenge. Few know that earth’s oldest sacred sun site stands in Ire-

land. Less than an hour’s drive from Dublin, massive Newgrange in County Meath has been a silent sentinel of the sun’s celestial journey for more than five thousand years. Long ago, people gathered there in the inky black of the mid-winter night, waiting to honor the sun. The southeastern sky would brighten, heralding its approach. Then, as the golden orb rose over the horizon, the first ray of sunlight passed through a small opening over the mound’s entrance, crept down a long narrow passageway, illuminated the inner chamber and slowly crept out again as soundless as it had come. The phenomena and ceremonies that took place at Newgrange indelibly marked our ancestral memory. By the time Christianity became Europe’s dominant religion, winter solstice observances were so firmly fixed in the lives of the continent’s populations, there was no getting rid of them. Since the date of Christ’s birth was unknown, the Church decreed December 25 as the Feast of the Nativity. In a way, it made sense.

Newgrange, Co. Meath




ewgrange, the Neolithic monument in the Boyne Valley, County Meath, was built approximately 3200 B.C. and predates by many centuries every other ancient solar site on Earth. Rising 39-feet high, covering an acre of land, and containing over 200,000 tons of material, its astounding size testifies to the engineering genius of its Stone Age builders. Ringed by 97 immense “kerbstones,” many engraved with artwork, the massive structure’s primary feature is a 61-foot-long passageway leading from the entrance to three adjacent interior chambers. For millennia, Newgrange lay undisturbed, its mounded presence merely a stimulus for legends about the mythical Tuatha Dé Danaan. Then, on December 21, 1967, archaeologist Michael J. O’Kelly happened to be examining the inner chamber before dawn and became the first person in modern history to witness the extraordinary sunrise event. For the next few years O’Kelly returned to Newgrange daily in the pre-dawn hour, ultimately confirming that the solar phenomena occurs only on the five days surrounding the winter solstice. Access to Newgrange is by guided tour exclusively from the Brú na Bóinne Visitor Centre. To experience the winter solstice phenomenon from inside Newgrange, one must enter a Visitor Centre lottery. At the end of September, 50 names are drawn, 10 for each morning the chamber is illuminated, with two places awarded to each winner. More than 32,000 people entered the lottery to witness the 2016 winter solstice. For more information, visit

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sláinte | good cheer

RECIPES Vegetarian Mincemeat (Personal recipe)

⁄4 lb mixed tart apples (peeled, cored, & chopped) 1 tbsp minced candied citrus peel 2 tbsp slivered almonds 2 ⁄3 cup halved seedless grapes 11⁄2 cups raisins 11⁄2 cups currants 3 ⁄4 cup golden raisins grated rind and juice of 1 lemon 1 ⁄2 tsp ground cinnamon 1 ⁄2 tsp ground allspice 1 ⁄4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg 1 ⁄2 cup light brown sugar 2 tbsp melted butter 1 ⁄2 cup brandy 3


Winter solstice revelries honored the sun god’s light. The Christ child was the son of God and the “Light of Redemption.” With hardly a blink, ancient pagan rituals were incorporated into the new faith’s celebration. When Rome brought Christianity to Ireland, sacred druid symbols were absorbed and still adorn homes in this day and age. Plants that magically remained green all year now drape windows and mantles. Holly that bore red fruit amid winter’s snow was considered a fertility symbol. Today, it decks the halls. Mistletoe that thrived in the skeletal branches of oak trees was so revered that when enemies met beneath it, they cast off their weapons and embraced in peace. It became our delightful kissing ball. The purpose of winter solstice festivities had been to dispel fear of the dreaded dark. In homes and public places, lamps, candles and hearth fires blazed forth. People put aside chores and made merry. In the 17th century, when Ireland felt the hammer blow of Oliver Cromwell’s Puritan iron fist, everything changed. From cities to hamlets, town-criers chanted “No Christma-a-as!” Decorative greenery was dismantled and burned. Revelry was forbidden. Priests were imprisoned. But the Irish celebrated despite the hazard. Those troubled times launched the custom of putting a candle in the window on Christmas Eve. Primarily, the candle’s flame symbolized “welcome” to Mary and Joseph, who sought shelter on the first Christmas night in Bethlehem. It also signaled that any priest could secretly and safely say Mass in that household. In our time, one candle has multiplied to hundreds of glittering lights on the eaves and window frames of homes during the Christmas season. Another Christmas Eve tradition based on Mary and Joseph’s fruitless search for shelter was common practice in many Irish homes. After the evening meal had been cleared, the front door was unlatched and the kitchen table was set with a pitcher of milk, a loaf of bread studded with raisins and caraway seeds, and a lighted candle. This offering of hospitality to the holy family, or any other wayfarer who might be traveling on the “Night of Nights,” birthed another modern tradition – the cookies and milk children set out for Santa Claus.

Mix all the ingredients together, cover and place in the refrigerator until ready to use. Keeps one month. If you have some left over after making your pie, it’s delicious stirred into hot oatmeal for a special breakfast treat!

Beef suet, beef, venison, or other meat, once a requirement for fruity mincemeat pies, is no longer necessary.

Mincemeat Pie (Personal recipe) 2 1 11⁄2 1 ⁄2 1 ⁄2 1 2

cups all-purpose flour tsp salt tsp baking powder cup olive oil cup very cold water egg yolk tbsp milk

Mix the dry ingredients and set aside. Mix the olive oil and water then pour into dry ingredients. Use a fork to stir the ingredients together. Divide the dough in half, wrap each piece in plastic wrap, and chill in refrigerator for 2 hours. When ready to bake your pie, roll each piece of dough into circles at least 2-inches wider all around than your pie pan. Transfer one circle of pastry to a 8-inch pie pan leaving a 2-inch overhang. Mound the mincemeat in the center and cover with the second piece of dough. Cut a few 1-inch steam holes in the top pastry. Tuck the edges on the pastry under and make a decorative fluted edge. Combine egg yolk with cream and paint the pie’s top surface. Bake at 350F for approximately 40 minutes, or until the pastry is golden and the fruit has released its juices. Remove pie to a wire rack and cool at least 4 hours or overnight before cutting. Serves 8-12.


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sláinte | good cheer Baking fruitcakes begins in late October when grocery shelves fill with spices, sultana raisins, and candied fruit peels. Regularly doused with whiskey, the fruitcakes age until a week before the holidays. Then, they are covered with sheets of almond marzipan, iced with snow-white royal frosting, and decorated with holly designs cut from candied citron and cherries. Three fruitcakes were usually prepared months in advance. The first, served at midnight on Christmas Eve with glasses of whiskey and cups of tea, marked the beginning of the season’s 12 joyous days. The second appeared at midnight on New Year’s Eve, accompanied with similar liquid refreshment and wishes for a prosperous new year. The third cake was saved for Women’s Christmas. Better known as the Feast of the Epiphany, it marks the twelfth day after Christ’s birth when Mary carried her son to the temple to be blessed by the elders. During the season, Irish kitchens also bloomed with the scent of two other delights – seed cakes and mincemeat pies. Seed cakes were speckled with caraway seeds, a common medieval spice. Mincemeat, another specialty of the Middle Ages, originally included chopped meat and suet, but today is a mixture of chopped apples and nuts, candied citrus peels, raisins, lemon juice, wine, brandy, and spices representing the exotic gifts of the Magi. As with all holy eves, December 24 was a fast day and people were forbidden to eat meat. For the night before Christmas dinner, even poor families managed to acquire a bit of fish that was stewed with vegetables in a thick cream sauce. After dinner, small seed cakes

were distributed, and woe to anyone whose cake crumbled before tasting, an omen that augured bad luck for the coming year. Oliver Cromwell forbade making mincemeat pies for two reasons. Originally baked in an oval crust representing Christ’s cradle, Cromwell considered the form a heretical use of a sacred image. The ban also condemned the pie’s rich ingredients and liquors, sinful indulgences that Puritan dogma prohibited. After the Restoration, the pastries became legal again, but during the forbidden years Irish women risked imprisonment by continuing to bake mincemeat pies for secret Christmas celebrations. Except for the oppressive Cromwell years, Irish church bells have always rung on Christmas Eve. For centuries the bells began tolling at 11 o’clock and ended with the 12 strokes of midnight. Known as “the devil’s funeral knell,” the practice echoed the folk belief that Satan died when Christ was born and the sound would protect their parish from evil for the next 12 months. Bells still ring, but only to call the faithful to midnight Mass and announce the start of the joyous season. New Year’s Eve is when one of Ireland’s national treasures is most appreciated. For then, we raise a glass of uisce beatha (“water of life”) and wish a year of good fortune to all. Though we Irish have many toasts, here’s one of the best for sharing: “Health and long life to you! Land without rent to you! The mate of your choice to you! A life of peace to you! And may you be half an hour in heaven before the devil knows you’re dead!” In this and every season. IA Sláinte!

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music | by Kristin McGowan

in The Band For the perfect pairing of Grateful Dead and traditional Celtic sound, look to Wake the Dead, a California group of experts musicians.


or almost 17 years, Wake the Dead has dug deep into the canon of Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter, releasing their fourth album, Deal, this past fall. Founding member Danny Carnahan, vocalist, fiddler, and Grammy-nominated songwriter, explains. “We weren’t pounding a Grateful Dead square peg into a Celtic round hole because there was already such overlap and so much mutual respect for the various traditions,” he says. “I was listening to the Grateful Dead really loud, practicing my fiddle, walking in circles in the living room when I first discovered it,” said Danny. I was playing a reel and “China Cat Sunflower” came on and I found myself locking in with the two guitar licks of Garcia and Weir. I remember thinking, ‘WHOA …this is something worth noticing.’” Danny wasn’t the only one to make the connection. Harper Maureen Brennan, part of the acclaimed Harpistry collection, would toss bits and pieces of Dead songs into gigs on the harp to amuse herself when she thought no one was listening. Mandolin player Paul Kotapish had also heard the cool underpinnings of the British Isles pervading certain Garcia/Hunter songs. The trio met at a party and quickly assembled a group of the best and coolest people they could think of to play with and jokingly tossed a CD of their efforts to some of the people who ran the Grateful Dead. Two days later they had a deal with Arista Records and a gig opening for Bobby Weir at the Fillmore. “All seven of us had never been in a room together so that was a steep learning curve. We didn’t even have a name when we were signed. ‘Wake the Dead’ dropped out of the clear blue sky. It was perfect,” says Danny. On their self-titled debut album, Danny, Maureen, and Paul were joined by strings genius Joe Craven, who had played with Jerry Garcia’s band earlier in his career, and vocal giant Sylvia Herold, who, iron-


ically, had missed the Grateful Dead movement completely. Rounding out the group were jazz double bassist Cindy Browne and Kevin Carr on fiddle, uilleann pipes, and pennywhistle. Hand percussionist Brian Rice stepped in permanently for Joe in 2006. Individually, the members had been touring as Celtic and folk musicians for decades, collectively gathering thousands of tunes. “We didn’t come at this haphazardly,” says Danny. “We’re all so deep in the various folk traditions and so conscious of how everything is connected. When we try to put something together we really listen and think about whether it will work.” More often than not, it did work, due in large part to Jerry Garcia and Richard Hunter’s own foundations in folk music. “It infused their music in ways that frankly, most of the Deadheads missed,” says Danny. “We stripped all these songs down to their underwear and dressed them back up in different clothes.” With Danny and Sylvia on lead vocals, the lyrics are not lost; their artful harmonizing is showcased on the first album in “Black Muddy River” and on the second, Buckdancer’s Choice, in “Prodigal Town,” a Hunter tune never performed by the Grateful Dead. The joy these friends feel isn’t lost, either. Amidst the mandolin, harp, pennywhistle, and piping is a genuine love of this music, this coalescence of sounds, and this voyage to a destination unknown on a ship built of an unlikely combination of material. “We’re all using the same notes that Bach used, just in different order. We were lucky to find each other and have the free time to explore the possibilities, to discover phrasing in an O’Carolan tune (“Lord Inchiquin”) that leads into ‘Sugaree,’ grinning at each other thinking, ‘this is cool.’” A collaboration that still delights Danny from the early days is “Friend of the Devil.” “It’s the one in which so many weird things seem to work for reasons we still can’t put words to. It combines at least six or eight different themes and feels and brazenly toggles between reel time and jig time in a way we never really did again. It was a very in-your-face, look-what-we-can-do kind of exercise. It’s the quintessential statement of what we did then in the early

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days that was making us all sort of grin at each other all the time.” In the early days, the joy extended to their shows and watching their differing devotees come together. “Our demographic is not just Deadheads – we also have the Celtoids, whom we love equally. Their individual ideas of themselves and the rest of the world is very distinct and the boundaries were very distinct. I remember playing at a Celtic festival to mostly Celtic fans, but it was near Marin County, California, which was ground zero for the Grateful Dead. The buzz was out and the Deadheads came. From the stage, the Celts were bobbing and clapping (the song begins with the traditional Irish jig ‘Banks of Lough Gowna’), but as soon as the lyrics were identifiable as ‘Friend of the Devil,’ 50 tie-dyed hippies jump up and start dancing in front of the stage. And the others were looking like, ‘What the hell just happened? Who are these people?’ It was this wonderful meeting of two cultural groups. It took them a while to make peace with each other but they started really enjoying it.” Danny Carnahan’s own passage to Wake the Dead came through the California Celtic explosion he helped set off in the 1980s as half of the groundbreaking Celtic duo Caswell Carnahan. “I wasn’t born in Ireland; I’m Irish, but I wasn’t born there. I spent a whole lot of time there learning Irish music, but I can’t claim to be a traditional musician because I didn’t learn from the old guys in the village pubs; I learned it more academically. So I’m kind of a posttraditionalist, a contemporary Celt. Some of the purists didn’t like me from day one as a result of this. We tossed Scottish, Irish, and Breton music together, some Balkan music, and started writing new stuff that was deeply informed by that but was new.” In Deal, Wake the Dead grows from their Grateful

Dead roots into the Summer of Love, incorporating the Youngbloods, Buffalo Springfield, The Beatles, Bob Dylan, and more. All the tracks were recorded together, live, including vocals. “The Grateful Dead was the glue that started the whole concept, but we quickly realized that the music of your puberty years is the most powerful. It’s locked in with so many emotions and yearnings. The Dead was just one of those bands we were marinating in back then.” Danny likens their ability to expand to a traditional pub session. “You just string tunes together – one pops in your head and it leads to another and you end up stringing three or four together before you reach for your drink.” Each tune triggers a memory, creating an instant playlist. “When you’ve been on the planet as long as we have you literally have thousands of songs and tunes to pull from. There’s lots of songs waiting to be done” Deal brings the beautifully clear voices of Danny and Sylvia together in Bob Dylan’s “Just Like a Woman.” On Dylan winning the Nobel Prize in Literature this year, Danny is delighted. “Entirely appropriate. I’m a great believer in the oral tradition, whether it’s written down or not. There’s intent and mostly unappreciated power in poetic expression. I think history will remember him as a real towering literary figure of the 20th century. I can’t think of another ‘popular’ songwriter that even remotely qualifies for the Nobel Prize. He’s in a category all by himself.” Dylan, on Irish contemporary Van Morrison, once described him as “merely the vessel and the earthly vehicle” for “Tupelo Honey,” because of how perfect a song it was. Of Wake the Dead, with their seemingly effortless erasure of musical boundaries and expert interpretation, Dylan could easily say the same. IA

LEFT TO RIGHT: (Back row) Sylvia Herold, Maureen Brennan, Cindy Brown, and Kevin Carr. (Front) Danny Carnahan, Paul Kotapish, and Brian Rice.


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Keith & Kristyn Getty what are you like? | by Adam Farley

The Northern Irish duo reinventing the hymn


eith and Kristyn Getty have written music together since 2001 (and have been married since 2004). Both born near Belfast, they now live between Nashville and Portstewart, Co. Derry. The transatlantic life is an apt parallel to their musical style, which combines classical, folk, traditional Irish, and contemporary genres to form a modern catalogue of hymns, both new and old. Keith (41) and Kristyn (36) have each been playing music since their teens, but it was 2001’s “In Christ Alone,” which Keith co-wrote with English composer Stuart Townend, that originated the new genre of the “modern hymn” that is their calling. For the past nine years, it was the most frequently sung hymn in the U.K. By the estimates of Christian Copyright Licensing International, which keeps track of song information and resources for churches, the Gettys’ songs are today sung by over 100 million people globally each year. Since 2006, the duo has released two live albums and six studio albums – their most recent, Facing a Task Unfinished, debuted at number one on U.S. and U.K. charts this year. They have garnered a devoted international following, too, performing at churches and globally acclaimed venues alike, including Belfast’s Waterfront Hall, Royal Albert Hall, Carnegie Hall, and Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium. Since 2011, they have also toured an annual Christmas show, “An Irish Christmas – A Celebration of Carols,” one of the largest annual Christmas concerts in the U.S. This December, the show hits 20 dates spread across central and eastern America, including the Perelman State at Carnegie Hall on December 20. The goal of the show is simple, says Keith, who answered our questionnaire on behalf of the pair – to get people to sing together. “What a great opportunity that Christmas brings for this,” he says. “To join voices, from so many states and even other countries, and sing joyfully together about this unimaginable good news of Christmas.”

What is your current state of mind?

Thankfulness – for the breath in our bodies, the privilege of making music, the joy of human love, my wife, my girls, my family, and for this happy time in life.

What do you see as the importance of hymns?

Hymns have several purposes. They remind us of what we believe and what it is we truly worship. (Each of us, after all, becomes like those things we love.) They also bind us together as communities, both the local community we are part of and those generations that have gone before us.

What is a “modern hymn?”

The “modern hymn” was an attempt to re-invent the traditional priorities of Judeo-Christian congregational singing, where people learned their faith and deepened their sense of community by singing together. The term has only become popular since we cowrote “In Christ Alone,” though we didn't expect it to become a genre.

What is the importance of your Irish heritage in your music? Your religion?

My faith is everything to do with it, but I'm also aware that my Irish heritage is what has given our music such a unique identity – our sense of melody, of passionate missional Christianity (not always welldirected!) and our heritage of hymns (“St. Patrick's Breastplate” dates back to the fourth century while “Be Thou My Vision” dates to the seventh).

Do you strike up conversations on long plane journeys?

Not right now – the lady beside me is sleeping and I'm trying to finish this questionnaire so I can be off for Thanksgiving!

What is on your bedside table?



iPhone, notebook, Bible, and a spare pacifier for my daughters should one of them do something crazy during the night and in my tiredness I can't find it.

What is your most prized possession? My wife and my daughters.

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Where do you go to think?

Beaches on the north coast of Ireland (to really think), golf courses (well, really to stop thinking). I think a lot on planes actually – the whole blue sky thinking thing.

ABOVE: The Gettys in County Antrim. OPPOSITE: Keith and Kristyn during last year’s Christmas tour, which was broadcast on public television.

Do you have a hidden talent?

If I do, I haven't found it. Though I suppose I think I could have managed the Irish rugby team or Liverpool Football Club if the opportunity would have come my way.

What quality do you seek in friends?

In close friends, loyalty. For social friends, people who love to laugh and are not boring. Many of my creative ideas come out of late night conversations with interesting thinkers – usually in fields unrelated to music.

What is your perfect day?

This Thursday – Thanksgiving with my girls; then, the first day back in Ireland every summer; then Christmas in New York City; the day of our Carnegie Hall show.

Favorite country you’ve visited? South Africa, Switzerland, Italy.

The country you would most like to visit? Israel, Far East.

still love it when Kristyn and I discover a new place together – for some reason the sense of the first-time newness and discovering it together still is better than anything.

Favorite smell? The sea.

Do you have a secret passion?

Getting people singing, so it’s not so secretive...

Your biggest pet peeve? Ingratitude.

What is your earliest memory?

Family events – they were always a big deal – and then music – there was always music around our house.

Your most embarrassing moment?

Listening to a speech at a private school about how my hymns had profoundly affected how the children learn their faith and then watching them perform them by memory, while my daughter, Eliza, who had sneaked into the choir, didn't know the words. There really was nowhere to hide.

Your favorite opening line in a book or piece of music?

“Irish Carol,” “Once in Royal David's City” at the start of a carol service, and Debussy’s “Clair de Lune.”

The best advice ever received?

A movie you will watch again and again?

What is one thing people might not get about you?

We are boring hymn writers – most of the exciting things we get to do are kind of by accident.

Chariots of Fire.

Your greatest extravagance? Steinway piano.

Your favorite place?

The whole north coast of Ireland is the greatest place in the world. I also

Ensure your faith grows faster than your music.

If you weren’t a musician, what would you be doing?

Never wanted to do anything else for a single day, IA which is just as well. DECEMBER / JANUARY 2017 IRISH AMERICA 101


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There’s Something About

Morag Prunty, who writes as Kate Kerrigan, talks about growing up in London with Irish parents.

By Darina Molloy


here are two ways it can go when you interview a former journalist. Either they are notoriously tight-lipped, all too aware of what their words will look like in print, or they are generously loquacious, probably having been on the business end of an awkward interview often enough to want to be the total opposite. Thankfully, Morag Prunty is firmly in the latter category – she is entertaining and candid, and delightful company. Our lunch meeting in Ballina fits in with her writing schedule – she works out of her accountant’s office in the Mayo town in order to minimize the distractions of a busy home life. Prunty, who writes as Kate Kerrigan, is the author of the Ellis Island trilogy of historical novels (books two and three are City of Hope and Land of Dreams), as well as Recipes for a Perfect Marriage, The Miracle of Grace, and The Lost Garden. The Dress, her first novel under former Maeve Binchy editor Rosie de Courcy, was not her first foray into contemporary fiction, however, as she had written four earlier novels under her birth name. Her newest book, It Was Only Ever You, was published in Ireland and the U.K. in October, and will be out in the U.S. in spring 2017. It’s set in the showband era of the late 1950s and takes place


between Ireland and New York City, a place to which she keeps returning. What attracts her to the Big Apple? “I think just because it’s such an exciting, vibrant city and when I first visited, I just got this really strong sense of it being the exciting city that the Irish went to, over and above Dublin and London,” she muses. Having been raised in London by Irish parents during the 1970s and ’80s, she admits to being quite envious of the Irish American experience. Her “British-slash-Irish” background, she explains, left her with a deeply conflicted sense of identity, because of the difficulties between the two nations at the time. “The Irish Americans have a very different sense of identity of their own,” she says. “They’ve taken the very best of their heritage and whatever was fun and glamorous and exciting about being Irish and they’ve fed it through the prism of America. So they created something in America that still felt very Irish but was very fresh.” In her view, Irish Americans have “a great sense of belonging,” which she felt she missed out on growing up in London. That, she says, is why she keeps returning to those times and to that one U.S. city in particular: “I always think it helps a book if you have a sense of joy, and New York for me is quite a joyful place, a place of possibility.” Born in Scotland to a Ballina mother and Longford father who had met in Dublin and studied in Scotland, Prunty moved with her parents to London when she was two years old. One of four siblings, she moved to Ireland in the early ’90s and worked for ten years as editor of Irish Tatler. Now she and her graphic designer husband live with their two sons (ages six and fourteen) in Killala, County Mayo. She feels strongly rooted in Mayo and is certain that living there helps her writing. “Even though I might be setting books in America, the roots of them are here in Ireland,” she says. “This is the place where everyone came from. Just living

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here is an awful lot of my research.” Did her background in journalism help her with her start in writing fiction? “I think it helped in some ways and hindered in other ways,” she says. “It helped me structure things and be quite technical about things which helps a lot when you’re writing fiction.” On the other hand, she points out, it can be difficult to get your head around writing speculatively when you’ve been used to being paid by the word, she says. “And also, journalism is all about writing what you know, while fiction is about leaping into the unknown.” Along with the fiction writing, and the odd column or piece of journalism she still contributes, Prunty is a mentor for writing students at the National University of Ireland Galway. Her own writing, she says, is done mostly during the day, and she keeps to office hours as much as she can, in order to have time with her family. “If I was given my choice, I would just write the whole time until the book was finished, but I can’t do that any more,” she admits. From time to time, she escapes on her own to London or to one of

the many writing retreats in Ireland – Annaghmakerrig or the Heinrich Böll cottage in Achill. “My husband knows it’s actually less annoying for him to have me gone out of the house than to have me locked in the office panicking and working,” she laughs. Writer’s block isn’t an issue, she says, as “it’s the thing I dread the most, so I try to make sure I never get it.” With It Was Only Ever You almost at the final stage of editing at the time of our meeting, Prunty says she has “no idea” for her next book, but is mulling over an idea for a long short story, as it were, and there are a few other irons in the fire. She has a long-standing interest in taking a serious and in-depth look at the lives of second-generation Irish in the U.K. “There was more bad feeling coming over to Ireland and having an English accent than there ever was having Irish parents in London,” she says. “It caused a lot of confusion and that’s still there.”As long as Prunty can use that confusion to good effect in her Kate Kerrigan novels, her readers IA will thank her for it.

ABOVE: Morag Prunty, who writes under the pen name Kate Kerrigan. OPPOSITE: The Dress (Head of Zeus, 2016) is Prunty’s eighth book as Kate Kerrigan.

The Dress by Kate Kerrigan is available in U.S. bookstores. It was Only Ever You is due for U.S. publication this spring.


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review of books | recently published books Dear Mr. Beckett: Letters from the Publisher

By Barney Rosset, edited by Lois Oppenheim, and curated by Astrid Myers Rosset


ore than anything, Dear Mr. Beckett is a scrapbook – a loving collage of memorabilia ranging from letters to contracts to doodles – illustrating the relationship between publisher Barney Rosset and his favorite writer, Samuel Beckett. Their relationship, rare in the world of publishing, “seemed to float,” according to Rosset, “on a sea of tranquility and trust.” In 1953, they met, or rather, collided, not unlike a pair of heat-seeking missiles in an avant-garde galaxy. It was in Paris (where else?) in the Pont Royal Hotel, the meeting set up by James Joyce’s publisher, Sylvia Beach. As Rosset recalls, “This very handsome gentleman walked in wearing a raincoat and said, ‘Hi, nice to meet you. I’ve only got forty minutes.’” Ten hours later, they were celebrating over champagne as Rosset (and his Grove Press) had acquired the American publishing rights to Waiting for Godot. The irrepressible Chicagoan and the quiet Dubliner soon moved from business partners to soulmates. In short order, “Dear Mr. Beckett” became “Dear Sam.” The two spent countless nights wandering the streets of Paris and even made a movie together, Film, with Buster Keaton. When Rosset was ousted from Grove, Beckett remained loyal, giving him sole rights to publish his last work. Rosset, in tribute to their kinship, named his son “Beckett.” Thirteen years after the writer’s death, he obtained his Irish passport, saying “I’m half-Jewish and half-Irish and my mother and grandfather spoke Gaelic.” In Ireland, he lectured at Trinity College Dublin, Beckett’s alma mater. Dear Mr. Beckett is a great counterpoint to the Cambridge University four-volume set, The Letters of Samuel Beckett, a work of intense scholarship detailing the dedication and precision Beckett put into his work. But, as Beckett was notoriously private, the reader needs to glean bits and pieces of his private life from the letters. The lighter and more intimate Dear Mr. Beckett manages to give us all – the artist, the man, and, especially, the great friend.

– Rosemary Rogers (Opus / 480 pp. / $32.95)


The Clancys of Queens By Tara Clancy


hen Tara Clancy was growing up, “playing” often meant just “trying to punch each other in the face.” This was in the heavily-Irish enclave of Broad Channel, Queens, “a bread crumb of an island,” she writes, “with a single through street,” where “far off in the distance you can see Manhattan, its familiar miniature metal geometry in a strange frame of fog and reeds.” In her heartfelt and engaging new memoir, The Clancys of Queens, Clancy writes of growing up in separate, wildly distinctive worlds. The first is humble Broad Channel, where Clancy’s cop father lived in the neighboring O’Reilly family’s old boat shed, the only place he could afford after her parents’ divorce. But then there is the “geriatric Italian village on 251st Street in Bellerose, Queens,” where Clancy’s maternal relatives settled. Among them were her grandmother, who once burst into a Brooklyn pool hall to beat her son because she thought he might be joining a gang and who, at 75, “won a tug-of-war with a purse snatcher in an Atlantic City casino by busting the guy’s nose open with an elbow to the face.” Bursting with such colorful stories and characters, The Clancys of Queens is a celebration – at times hilarious, occasionally unsettling – of ethnic Catholic New York, part Alice McDermott, part Goodfellas. But Clancy also travels out to the fancy environs of the Hamptons after her mother – divorced and working as a cleaning woman – falls in love with a successful businessman. Clancy comes of age shuffling between these worlds, which, though geographically close, sometimes seem as distant as Asia, Africa, and Antarctica. In the end, though, Clancy, a widely published writer as well as featured storyteller on NPR programs such as The Moth Radio Hour, is clearly a product of this melting pot, the kind of person who can comfortably inhabit different worlds and emerge to tell poignant, often dazzling, stories about them.

– Tom Deignan (Crown / 256 pp. / $27)

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streaming reviews | film & television

Winter Watch List

The holiday season brings with it some much-needed time off for rest and relaxation. Sure, it’s important to catch up with family and friends, but it’s also a great opportunity to catch up on some of those Irish and Irish American movies and TV shows you never got a chance to watch. Here is a selective list of Irish entertainment currently streaming online.

– Tom Deignan

The Siege of Jadotville Netflix

This is an original Netflix production and stars Fifty Shades of Grey lead Jamie Dornan. The film, directed by Richie Smyth, tells the story of 150 soldiers from Ireland who took on 3,000 troops who were fighting on behalf of international mining companies. Based on real-life events, The Siege of Jadotville, set in 1961, is both informative and inspiring.

The Fall • Netflix

Jamie Dornan, as well as Gillian Anderson of X-Files fame, stars in this excellent crime drama, which is set in Belfast and originally aired on BBC. Anderson plays a detective on the hunt for a serial killer. The Fall, now in it’s third season, also features veteran Irish actor John Lynch (In the Name of the Father).

Rebellion and Peaky Blinders Netflix

If you like your TV dramas with a historical spin then check out these two shows. The first tells the sprawling story of the 1916 Easter Rising while the second features Irish star Cillian Murphy and explores the life of a ruthless English street gang and the Irish police officer sent to bust them up in post World War I Birmingham.

Glassland • Netflix

Writer director Gerard Barret gives us the dark side of Dublin in this release from last year. Jack Reynor plays a cab driver trying to make ends meet and keep his mother alive in this flick, which should make you feel a little bit better about your own life.

Rescue Me and Brotherhood Hulu / Showtime

On the Irish American side of things, these shows were initially on FX and Showtime respectively. If you didn’t get a chance to see them the first time around, they’re worth a try. Rescue Me features Denis Leary as a firefighter dodging

ghosts (sometimes literally) in post 9/11 New York City, while Brotherhood is an intense exploration of family ties and local politics, featuring Fionnula Flanagan as a particularly dark matriarch.

Morgan Murphy: Irish Goodbye Netflix

To cheer yourself, up check out this stand up special by the Oregon native, who has also written for TV shows such as Two Broke Girls and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.

Shameless and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia Showtime / Netflix

If it’s Irish American comedy you want than you can’t beat these two shows. Always Sunny is 30 minutes of absurd, rapidfire zaniness, while Shameless mingles ribald comedy with surprising emotional depth as it follows the struggles of the Gallagher clan of Chicago.

Frank • Netflix

Before he hit it big with the Academy Award nominated Room, Irish director Lenny Abrahamson made this strange little flick, which stars Michael Fassbender, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Domhnall Gleeson. Fassbender plays a mysterious musician who always wears an oversized mask on his head. This quirky film follows the ups and downs of the musical life and while Frank certainly isn’t for everyone, you’ll like it if you take your movies with a strong dose of oddball.

The Commitments and Waking Ned Devine Netflix

Finally, the holidays are a great time to reacquaint your self with these Irish classics. The first, based on Roddy Doyle’s novel of the same name, was unavailable for some time, even on DVD. But now it’s back and it stands the test of time. Directed by Alan Parker, The Committments stars Robert Arkins, Angeline Ball, and a very young Glen Hansard (Once). Then, of course, there’s the 1998 classic Waking Ned Devine, in which Irish villagers attempt to fool lottery inspectors in order to claim money won by the titular dead man. Starring David Kelly, and also Fionnula Flanagan, Waking Ned Devine manages to capture the charm as well as the chicanery of Irish village life. DECEMBER / JANUARY 2017 IRISH AMERICA 105

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by Ray Cavanaugh

It sure was big news when Pope Francis, the first Latin American pontiff, was chosen. And there has been talk about the prospect of having a black or Asian pope. But amid the widening papal radar, Ireland goes overlooked. Despite the nation’s overwhelming Catholic majority and hard-fought Catholic tradition, no Irishman has likely ever come close to the top position.


ABOVE: St. Killian’s altar in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Fifth Avenue, New York City.

n 2012 the Irish Independent ran a very brief piece saying that a St. Killian from County Cavan was offered the papacy around 680 A.D. but declined (the papacy wasn’t then as coveted a position as it is now) because he wanted to continue his proselytizing in Germany. However, there is no mention of Killian (also spelled Cillian) being offered the papal position in the New Catholic Encyclopedia (second edition), which describes his journey to Rome and meeting with the Pope as “certainly unhistorical.” Of 266 popes listed on the Guardian’s website, about 200 have come from Italy. The second-most common ethnicity has been French, with 15 popes. About a dozen came of Greek origin, about a halfdozen of Syrian origin and the same number for Germany, which was represented by the previous Pope, Benedict XVI, who resigned in 2013. Technically there have been a few popes from the African continent, but they were essentially Romans living in North African colonies. There have been three popes of Spanish origin, and two who came


from Portugal. Poland was represented recently with Pope John Paul II. Even Britain has had a pope (Adrian IV, in the mid-12th century). But no Irish pope to speak of. The absence of any Irish-background pope doesn’t appear to trouble too many souls in Ireland. “I don’t think it bothers anyone,” says Maolsheachlann O’Ceallaigh, who works in the University College Dublin’s James Joyce Library and runs the blog Irish Papist ( “I’ve never heard anybody complain about it, or even anyone wonder why we have never had an Irish pope. We didn’t have an Irish cardinal until 1866 [Cardinal Paul Cullen], and there was no Irish saint canonized for hundreds of years before St. Oliver Plunkett in 1975. So maybe pope just seems way above our expectations. Ireland does seem to have punched strangely below its weight considering its reputation as a Catholic country, but we don’t seem to think about it that much.” O’Ceallaigh adds, “Perhaps we felt that if England only had one [pope], it wasn’t so strange for us


Paddy’s Papal Absence

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window on the past | to have none. When Pope John Paul II was elected the first Polish pope, it was seen as a marvel. Polish and Irish Christianity are often seen as similar, so I think this adds to the feeling that ‘getting a pope,’ for a small nation, is a bonus rather than something to be expected. Indeed, there was almost the feeling that J.P. II was an ‘honorary Irish pope,’ as the two countries had such similarities in terms of history and popular piety.” Asked if he thinks there’ll be a pope of Irish descent in the 21st century, O’Ceallaigh acknowledges his temptation to say, “I hope not.” His reason is that as Catholicism is becoming increasingly represented by African and Asian nations, it would be more suitable for popes to be drawn from such nations. He sees no pope-able candidate in the current Irish Church hierarchy, but thinks that the chances may be better for an Irish American pope. He feels that Wisconsin native Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke, the current Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, would make a “great” pope. Right after Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation, the International Business Times ran an article saying that Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin – who has been widely touted for his assertiveness in taking on the issue of clergy sex abuse – had a one in 66 chance of becoming the next pope (the odds were set by the Irish bookmaker Paddy Power). Chances for New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan becoming the next pope were put at one in 25. But in the view of acclaimed historian, novelist and speechwriter Peter Quinn, author of Looking for Jimmy: A Search for Irish America and purveyor of, Cardinal Dolan has “zero chance of being pope.” He feels that Boston’s Cardinal Seán Patrick O’Malley is a “far more likely candidate,” explaining that current Pope Francis picked O’Malley over Dolan when forming a council of advisors. Quinn adds that, “O’Malley shares Francis’s desire to enlarge the role of women in the church, which has to be a priority for any future pope.” In his “nearly 70 years,” Quinn never heard anyone he knows express dismay over Paddy’s papal absence. He says, “The focus was always on having an Irish American president, an aspiration fulfilled by JFK. The Irish Americans I grew up with in the Bronx were always happy with Italian popes.” Current differences within the Church have little to do with ethnic background and more to do with the extent to which Catholic orthodoxy should be applied to current daily life. As Quinn says, “Catholic liberals would be delighted with a progressive; Catholic conservatives with a traditionalist. A number of women would only be happy if the first Irish American pope is a woman.” In Quinn’s view as a practicing Catholic, “What matters is the character of the pope and his embod108 IRISH AMERICA DECEMBER / JANUARY 2017

iment of the humility and compassion central to Christianity. I don’t want to see a reactionary as pope, whether he’s Polish or Irish or Zambian. I think Pope Francis is a wonderful pope and a role model for those who follow, no matter their nationality.” Apparently, pope-less means anything-but-hopeless for the Irish. As O’Ceallaigh points out, “I think Irish Catholics are very proud of their contribution to the Church, especially as regards evangelization, and other matters such as the innovation of private confession (which came from Ireland). So we don’t really feel any sense of being marginalized.” And so, Irish Catholicism marches on proudly in this modern era, regardless of whether an Irish pope IA ever need apply.

Ray Cavanaugh is a freelance scribe from Massachusetts. His mother comes straight from Kerry, and his father is a few generations removed from Wexford.


Adrian IV: The Culprit

entioned above is the sole English pope, Adrian IV (below), the culprit who gave Ireland to England in an 1155 Papal Bull. The pope dispatched King Henry II and his troops over the Irish Sea to enforce British rule but Archbishop Lawrence O’Toole of Dublin intervened, negotiating a treaty between the Irish and the invaders. The king soon violated the treaty and Ireland’s freedom ended, 800 years of misery began, and Lawrence O’Toole died of a broken heart. While O’Toole was quickly – in 1225 – canonized, the “Isle of Saints and Scholars” did not produce another saint until 1975 when Blessed Oliver Plunkett, after a very long wait, received the official nod. In those intervening 750 years, the Catholics of Ireland were persecuted and martyred for their faith as centuries of suppression only fueled their spirit. Holy men and women were denied sainthood, a mysterious snub since the early Church in Ireland brought forth so many bold, poetic, mystical saints – Patrick, Brigid, Columba, Ita and so many more. Vatican inbreeding can explain the papal exclusion but can’t explain the lack of saints in the most fervent Catholic country in Europe. A sorrowful mystery for sure. – Rosemary Rogers, author of Saints Preserve Us!: Everything You Need to Know About Every Saint You’ll Ever Need.

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4 Eighth astrological zodiac sign (7) 7 (& 21 down) Munster rugby coach and former Ireland player who died prematurely in October (7) 8 See 3 down (4) 11 (& 12 down) Indigenous Irish grocery and clothing chain store (6) 13 Responsible by law (6) 14 Pack of playing cards with a somewhat sinister aspect (5) 16 See 15 down (5) 17 See 34 down (5) 18 Prompt for actor to arrive on stage (3) 19 (& 29 across) Recently-retired Ireland soccer star with the all-time record for goal scoring (6) 23 See 32 across (3) 24 See 40 down (7) 26 The Saw Doctors’ Galway home (4) 29 See 19 across (5) 31 See 48 down (5) 32 (& 23 across) Beloved Boston team, led by Bill Carrigan to two World Series titles (3) 33 The symbol associated with zodiac sign Cancer (4) 35 Cúig by another number (4) 36 See 30 down (5) 37 Out-house (4) 38 (& 8 across) See 3 down (2)

by Darina Molloy

41 Narrow lane between buildings (5) 44 Orange County, California (1,1) 45 See 50 across (7) 46 Towers along Dublin coast, erected during Napoleonic Wars (8) 47 Italian mafia (3) 49 (& 31 down) Founder of the Irish Land League (7) 50 (& 45 across) Director who will take on film version of Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch (4)


1 Irish languagespeaking area (9) 2 Mayo birthplace of 49 across (7) 3 (& 38 across, & 8 across) January 6 is Epiphany, Little Christmas, or this in Ireland (7) 4 Fishy gathering (5) 5 These are larger in Ireland than in the U.S. because of the difference between customary and imperial measurement systems (5) 6 The Irish World Cup soccer chant, back in the days of Jack’s Army (3) 9 See 22 down (5) 10 ______ Dame (5) 11 Clare town renowned for its traditional music scene (6) 12 See 11 across (6) 15 (& 16 across) No

Win a subscription to Irish America magazine

20 21 22

25 27 28 30

31 33

one can agree which of these two Irish teas is the “best” (6) See 28 down (5) See 7 across (5) (& 9 down) Former Irish Foreign Affairs minister who died late last year (5) See 33 down (4) See 36 down (7) (& 20 down) Halloween specialty cake in Ireland (4) (& 36 across) Margaret Atwood novel featuring memorable Irish character which will be screened on Netflix later this year (5) See 49 across (6) (& 25 down) Co. Down property made famous by Game

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, 2017. 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 accepted. Winner of the October/November crossword: Rebecca Wolfe, Ogden, UT.


of Thrones (6) 34 (& 17 across) Clare herbalist accused of witchcraft in 19th century (5) 36 (& 27 down) Irish artist and Republican who married Joseph Plunkett hours before his 1916 execution (5) 38 A brief record or short informal message (4) 39 From the humble ____ grows the mighty oak (5) 40 (& 24 across) This Dublin native, who


42 43 48

died in October, made his mark on policing in New York, Philadelphia and Miami (4) Before there were music downloads, or even CDs, this reigned supreme (5) Bacterial infection: ______ Disease (4) Adult female horse (4) (& 31 across) The winner of the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature (3)

October / November Solution

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photo album | the fight for irish freedom



his photograph, of the officers of the 2nd Tipperary Brigade, was taken in May 1920 by Ed McGrath, the brigade’s vice commandant. My maternal grandfather, Michael “Mike” Dwan, is pictured (back row, far left). All four of my grandparents were born and raised in Ireland, with the paternal side coming from Ballymoe, County Galway, and my mother’s parents coming from Drangan and Thurles, County Tipperary. Mike Dwan proudly fought for the cause of Irish freedom during the War of Independence as the quartermaster of the brigade. In March 1921, he was ambushed, captured, and sentenced to die. He was interned in Spike Island Prison, County Cork, where he witnessed atrocities like the execution of his dear friend, James Casey, who was buried in a shallow grave outside Mike’s prison cell wall, as a reminder of what was to happen to him. Luckily, the truce was agreed upon before the execution order was carried out, and Mike was released. When the Irish Civil War broke out, Mike left Ireland. He didn’t want to fight his own countrymen and women. He found peace and refuge in America,

and a home in Throgs Neck – a section of the Bronx that was home to many Irish immigrants. On a boat ride back to Ireland, he met Nellie Strappe from Drangon. She was impressed with his clean fingernails. They struck up a romance and married shortly upon their return to America. They had four daughters, Estelle, Violet, Frances, and Patricia, and 16 grandchildren, of which I’m the last. It was said that when people arrived from Ireland, their first stop was Nellie and Mike’s. My grandfather’s example of volunteerism and willingness to sacrifice his life for a cause greater than himself serves as my motivation to help others. I try to carry on his legacy by making a difference in America, the country that he loved, and with organizations such as Co-operation Ireland, the Children’s Medical Research Foundation, and the Irish International Business Network. I’m honored to be recognized on this year’s Business 100 list as a result of this work, but without his example, I don’t know that any of it would have been possible. As such, I dedicate this year’s award to him. I only wish he was alive to see it. – Sean Gaffey

The officers of the 2nd Tipperary Brigade IRA. Back row: Michael Dwan (Q.M.), Michael Cleary (Vol.), Michael Kennedy (Lt.), James “Big Jim” Stapleton (Lt.), and James Lea (Brig.). Front row: Patrick Kinnane (Capt.), Jerry Ryan (Col.), John McCormack (Asst. Q.M.), and Egan Killahara.

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 We will pay $65 for each submission that we select.


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last word |

by Cahir O’Doherty


Remembering Irish Hard Times



That’s why it has disappointed me so much to see just how many of the descendants of the immigrant Irish lined up to participate in the same kind of immigrant bashing that once menaced their own ancestors. Their cries of “Build the wall!” echoed the voices of those who tried to prevent our great-grandparents from making lives for themselves here, free of insult and discrimination. The rich have always prospered by encouraging the poor to attack each other. From their golden mansions they incite the rabble, then stand well

back, protected by their wealth from the consequences of their foul actions. Immigrants are rarely protected by wealth. Instead, they mostly live at the business end of racism and bigotry. It’s not a comfortable place to find yourself. We should know that. We should remember the hard experiences of the Irish people who came here before us. We should be handing down the lessons they learned, not reenacting the hatred they encountered. I actually have some hope that we can end this stupid anti-immigrant pantomime that deforms our politics once and for all. We can do this by just remembering where we came from, and on whose shoulders we are standing We can (and should) honor the brutal sacrifices of the first waves of immigrant Irish by ensuring that no one else is ever forced to make those sacrifices. Fight for today’s immigrants. Make your voice heard. speak out and up. And if you need motivation, look at the people who are fleeing hardIA ship, war, hunger, and see ourselves.


iscrimination, when it’s directed at you, can shape the course of your life. It can prevent you from having a say in what happens to you, where you can go, what you can do. It shuts you up and shuts you out. That’s actually its main function, to rob you of your voice. By almost every metric I know I’ve been happily married to my American husband for 18 years, but the Supreme Court ruling that permitted us to marry under the law was only decided in 2015, meaning there was still not enough time for me to become a United States citizen and vote in the presidential election last week. Now, I have lived and worked here legally for all that time, I have paid my taxes, and tens of thousands of dollars in lawyers’ and visa-processing fees, but I have enjoyed fewer rights for all that expenditure and I still do. One thing I know for certain is that my halting journey toward citizenship didn’t affect you or benefit me. It has simply robbed me of making my full contribution, or of reaching my full potential, over and over again, because I was hamstrung by laws that have their origin in prejudice. So in a real sense, everyone loses. If I had a vote in the presidential election last week, I would have cast it for a candidate who wanted to expand rights, not remove them. I would have voted for the candidate who respects all Americans, and all intending Americans, and not just the favored few. There’s something very 19th century about my experiences in the 21st century. More than once I have found myself thinking of our despised and feared Irish forefathers as they stepped off coffin ships near the New York Five Points district in the late 1840s and 1850s. Exiled from home and unwelcome abroad, there was seemingly no end to the discrimination that would shape the character of their lives; they must have felt like strangers on Earth. They must have wondered who made the world the way it was, and who exactly benefited from it. They must have been radicalized by their own experiences, too (when they were not being driven to despair or criminality or alcoholism by a system that seemingly existed only to cheat them). Now I know that I would be able to look the Irish of the Five Points in the eye. I understand the baleful forces that surrounded them because those forces have persisted and have been handed down, in one form or another, all of this time.

Newspaper illustration, circa 1910, by unknown artist.

Cahir O'Doherty is a contributor to, and the arts editor of the Irish Voice. A version of this piece was published on IrishCentral.

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Profile for Irish America Magazine

Irish America December / January 2017  

The 31st annual Business 100 Issue, featuring president and CEO of FleishmanHillard John Saunders. Interviews with "Loving" actress Ruth Neg...

Irish America December / January 2017  

The 31st annual Business 100 Issue, featuring president and CEO of FleishmanHillard John Saunders. Interviews with "Loving" actress Ruth Neg...