by Áine Ní Shionnaigh
There’s just something about Castlerea, a town where I spent most weekends as a child that continually draws me back in. An authentic Irish town, located in the West of Co. Roscommon, it has remained untouched by both the rise and fall of the Celtic Tiger. Economically, this is challenging, but the town retains an untouched quality which is most appealing. During my childhood, I spent almost every Sunday in Castlerea. My two grandaunts, Aunt Sis and Aunt Win, had immigrated to Chicago in the twenties and had returned to Castlerea armed with more than a flavor of the Midwest. They lived right on the Main Street in the middle of the town and I got to know the town and its people through their eyes. I was lucky in that I got to spend time with them most weekends, time that I only appreciate fully now. If I could have time back with them, I would do one thing differently, I would ask more questions and wait for the answers.
When my grandaunts finished primary school in the tiny townland of Monasteraden, Co Sligo, there were no options: no secondary school, no third level college, no jobs, so they stayed in that small schoolroom in the back row concentrating on needlework, art and handwriting at which they excelled. Not surprisingly when an elderly aunt in Chicago offered an opportunity, they were quickly propelled across the Atlantic Ocean to Chicago. They went with hope in their hearts that this new city in a country they knew nothing about would grip their imagination, provide them with lifelong friendships and love, and forever alter their ideas about what life could potentially be at its fullest.
It was the roaring 20’s. Life in Chicago was pretty fast. I like to imagine that they drove automobiles, went to movies, listened to jazz, danced in chiffon gowns at palatial parties. Aunt Sis (Mary McHugh) and Aunt Win (Winifred McHugh) spent many years working at Sears Roebuck in Chicago but eventually returned and settled in Castlerea next door to each other and remained there until they passed away in the 80’s.
Just last week, my cousin found a diary which my third Grandaunt, Aunt Katherine or Kit as she was known, started when she arrived in Chicago. It read ‘Today is the first day of the rest of my life’. The rest of the diary was blank, I would love to fill in some of her blank pages but my imagination will only bring me so far. Aunt Kit (Katherine McHugh) was born in 1892 in Monasteraden and immigrated to Chicago with Sis and Win. However, she didn’t make it back and she was never spoken about. There are two stories told: that she died in childbirth, she died when her child was 2 years old. She died in Chicago. I have never heard who she married, when she married, who her child is, where her child is. I have never even seen a photograph of her. Also my grand-uncle Peter McHugh left Monasteraden for Canada. He was born in 1896 and passed away in 1949 in Canada and those are the only two facts that are known about my granduncle.
So hopefully if I get to travel to the Windy City this spring, I may find some long lost cousins. I’ll keep you all updated.
Dear Editor, I live in Shipley a small town in West Yorkshire England. My grandfather Wille Ryan moved to Shipley with his elder brother Richard (born 1896) in the 1920’s. Both came from Wilsbrook near Castlerea in County Roscommon Ireland. Richard left for New York in 1924 on the SS Cedric with his wife Ellen and son William. My mother and aunt are keen to trace their uncle Richards children. The passenger register indicates they were going to stay with Ellen’s brother a Joseph Cassidy who lived at 856 53rd street Brooklyn. I have contacted various organizations in New York. I have a bit more information from the 1940 census but appreciate your very busy and given the scale of immigration to the USA. I would appreciate any information to be sent to the editor. Kind regards David.
Ta rud éigin faoi Caisleáin an Riabhaigh, baile áit ar chaith mé an chuid is mó do mo shaol nuair a bhi me og. Tarraingíonn mé ar ais I gconai. An baile barántúla na hÉireann, atá lonnaithe in Iarthar Chontae Ros Comáin, nil tionchar ar bith on ardú agus titim dá cheann de na Ceilteach Tiger. Go heacnamaíoch, tá sé seo dúshlánach, ach coinníonn an baile ar chaighdeán nadurtha atá is tarraingtí. Le linn mo óige, chaith mé beagnach gach Domhnach sa Chaisleán Riabhach. Mo dhá seanaintini, Aintín Sis agus Aintín Win, a chuaigh thar lear go Chicago sna fichidí agus a thainig ar ais chuig An Caisleán Riabhach armtha le níos mó ná blas an Midwest. Chónaigh siad ar dheis ar an phríomhshráid i lár an bhaile agus fuair mé an eolais faoin mbaile agus a muintir trína súile. Bhí an tádh orm sa mhéid is go bhfuair mé am a chaitheamh leo an chuid is mó ag an deireadh seachtaine, am a meas mé ach go hiomlán anois. Má raibh an am ar ais agam, ba mhaith liom a dhéanamh rud amháin éagsúil, ba mhaith liom a iarraidh níos mó ceisteanna agus fanacht ar na freagraí.
Nuair a chríochnaigh mo seanaintini an mbunscoil i mbaile beag bídeach Monasteraden, Contae an Shligigh, ní raibh aon rogha acu, ni raibh aon mheánscoil, aon coláiste tríú leibhéal, aon postanna agus mar sin d’fhan siad sa seomra rangaa beag i ndiaidh a chéile ar ais ag díriú ar ‘needlework’, ealaín agus peannaireacht ag a barr feabhais. Ní nach ionadh nuair a thairg aintín scothaosta i Chicago deis, bhí siad inneallghluaiste go tapa ar fud an Aigéan Atlantach go Chicago. Chuaigh siad le áthas ina gcroí go dti an chathair nua seo i dtír a fhios acu aon rud faoi a bheadh greim a gcuid samhlaíochta, a chur ar fáil dóibh le cairdeas ar feadh an tsaoil agus grá, agus go deo a gcuid smaointe faoi na rudaí a saol d’fhéadfadh a bheith d’fhéadfadh a bheith ag a iomláine a athrú.
Ba iad na fichidi. Bhí an saol i Chicago go leor go tapaidh. Is maith liom a shamhlú go thiomáin siad glusteain, chuaigh said go dtí scannáin, d’éist said le snagcheol, chuaigh said go rince i gunai ag na páirtithe palatial. Chaith Aintín Sis (Mary McHugh) agus Aintín Win (Winifred McHugh) blianta fada caite ag obair ag Roebuck Sear i Chicago, ach sa deireadh thainig said ar ais agus socru iad i Chaisleán Riabhach, comharsana beal doras agus d’fhan said ann go dtí na hochtaidi nuair a fuair said bas.
An tseachtain seo caite, fuair mo chol ceathrair dialann i dtaobh mo thríú Grandaunt, Aintín Katherine nó Kit mar raibh aithne uirthi, thosaigh nuair a tháinig sí i Chicago. Léigh sé ‘Is é lá atá inniu ann an chéad lá den chuid eile de mo shaol’. Ba é an chuid eile den dialann bán, ba mhaith liom grá a líonadh i roinnt de na h leathanaigh bán, ach beidh mo shamhlaíocht a thabhairt dom ach go dtí seo. Aintín Kit (Katherine McHugh) Rugadh i 1892 i Monasteraden agus immigrated go Chicago le SIS agus Win. Mar sin féin, ní raibh sí é a dhéanamh ar ais agus ní raibh sí á labhairt faoi. Tá dhá scéalta a dúirt: go fuair sí bás i luí seoil, fuair sí bás nuair a bhí a leanbh 2 bhliain d’aois. Fuair sí bás i Chicago. Ní raibh mé riamh chuala a phós sí, nuair a phós sí, a bhfuil a leanbh, áit a bhfuil a leanbh. Ní fhaca mé fiú grianghraf de di. Chomh maith leis sin mo mhór-uncail Peter McHugh fhág Monasteraden do Cheanada. Rugadh é i 1896 agus fuair bás i 1949 i gCeanada agus iad siúd dá ach fíricí go bhfuil ar eolas faoi mo granduncle.
by Áine Ní Shionnaigh
The Barra Ó Donnabháin lecture is an annual lecture established by Glucksman Ireland House NYU in 2006. It commemorates Barra Ó Donnabháin, a beloved and influential teacher and advocate of the Irish language. Ó Donnabháin, from Leap, Co. Cork, took a degree in Irish and Latin at University College, Cork and immigrated to the US in 1963. One of the leading Irish linguists in the tri-state area, Barra wrote an Irish language column in the Irish Echo for many years as well as contributing essays and articles to a variety of other publications.
On Saturday next, March 7th, Dr. Feargal Mac Ionnrachtaigh who is travelling all the way from Belfast will deliver the tenth annual Barra Ó Donnabháin Lecture on ‘Ó Chumann Chluain Árd go dtí an LÁ DEARG’- Ag Tógáil Gaelphobail ón Bhun Aníos i dtuaisceart na hÉireann”; or, “From Cumann Chluain Árd to An LÁ DEARG: Building Gaelic Communities from the Bottom Up in the North of Ireland.” This lecture will be delivered bilingually in English and in Irish. There will be introductions by Professors Pádraig Ó Cearúill and Hilary Mhic Suibhne of Glucksman Ireland House NYU. To ensure a seat at this event which is already heavily booked, please call or email Glucksman Ireland House NYU on 212-998-3950 or email@example.com
Dr Feargal is one of the best examples of the success of Irish Medium Education in the North of Ireland. He is a product of Irish Medium Education, attending Colaiste Feirste in West Belfast which is the only Irish medium high school in the North of Ireland. He then attended Queens University, Belfast and completed his PhD thesis in 2009 which was published last year as a book: Language, Resistance and Revival: Republican Prisoners and the Irish Language in the North of Ireland.
This book has been widely acclaimed throughout Ireland, the UK and the US and the second edition is already being published. The contents of the book relate to a wide variety of research interests from sociolinguistics to identity politics and critical criminology. Dr Feargal works full time as a Project Worker with the Gaeltacht Quarter Irish Language development Agency, Forbairt Feirste. He is chairperson of Upper Springfield Irish Language organisation, Glór na Móna. He appears regularly as a commentator on Raidió Fáilte and Raidió na Gaeltachta and contributes Irish language opinions pieces to the Andersonstown News and Nósmag. He is also a prominent member of the Feachtas Dearg campaign. Further information: www.feargalmac.org
Dr Feargal will speak about the background to the demise of the Irish language as Ireland’s spoken language due to Ireland’s cultural colonisation under British rule.
A central part is his own personal experience growing up as a product of the Shaw’s Road Gaeltacht Community in the 60’s, a grass roots community force which started the first Irish medium education in the North of Ireland. He also analyses the politics of incarceration in the Long Kesh (H Block) prison and the role the Irish language played in the prisoners struggle against the overt cultural discrimination of the British state.
He will discuss the Peace Process in the North of Ireland and how the promises laid out in the Good Friday Agreement were still not adhered to which has resulted in a political reawakening taking place, again starting at grass root level culminating in last year’s historic Irish language rights rally, AN LÁ DEARG. This movement reawakening has indirectly resulted in two very significant victories for the Irish language movement in the North of Ireland in the past few months. As a result of an Lá Dearg rally, Irish medium parents from North Belfast organised themselves into Tuistí an Tuaiscirt, a campaigning group to try to get closure on the long standing demand for transport for Irish medium pupils. Following a long campaign, the department eventually agreed to follow through on promises made in the GFA to facilitate Irish medium education and provide the transport. Secondly and equally important, the department agreed to support the creation of a standalone Irish medium high school in Derry as up to now, kids had to be transported to Colaiste Feirste in Belfast. Although two significant victories were achieved towards the end of 2014 thanks to the political re-awakening and campaigning culture, there is still a lot more to be achieved, mainly the campaign for a rights-based Irish language act.
Feargal will be giving the following talks in Boston and Brooklyn in addition to the Barra Ó Donnabháin lecture at Glucksman Ireland House, NYU.
Thursday March 5th, UMass Lowell Boston 5 pm Reception 6 pm Talk and Discussion
Saturday March 7th, 7 pm Glucksman Ireland House, NYU, NYC
Sunday March 8th, 7 pm Rocky Sullivan’s of Red Hook, Brooklyn
Is é an léacht Barra Ó Donnabháin léacht bhliantúil a bunaíodh le Glucksman Ireland House NYU i 2006. Comóradh ar Barra Ó Donnabháin, múinteoir cáiliúil. Rugadh agus togadh Ó Donnabháin i Leap, Co. Chorcaí. Ghlac se céim sa Ghaeilge agus sa Laidin i gColáiste na hOllscoile, Corcaigh agus d’astraigh se go dtí na Stáit Aontaithe i 1963. Ceann de na teangeolaithe tosaigh Gaeilge sa cheantar trí-stáit, scríobh Barra an colún Gaeilge ins an Irish Echo ar feadh blianta fada, chomh maith le aistí cur agus earraí ar éagsúlacht na foilseacháin eile.
Ar an Satharn seo chugainn, 7 Márta, tá Dr Feargal Mac Ionnrachtaigh ag taisteal ó mBéal Feirste chun leacht a thabhairt ar an deichiú bliantúil Léacht Barra Ó Donnabháin ar ‘Ó Chumann Chluain Árd go dtí an LÁ DEARG’- Ag Tógáil Gaelphobail ón Bhun Aníos i dtuaisceart na hÉireann”. Beidh an léacht a sheachadadh go dátheangach i mBéarla agus i nGaeilge. Beidh an Ollúna Pádraig Ó Cearúill agus Hilary Mhic Suibhne na Glucksman Ireland House NYU ag deanamh aitne. Chun a chinntiú suíochán ag an ócáid seo a chur in áirithe go mór cheana féin, cuir glaoch nó seol ríomhphost Glucksman Ireland House NYU ar 212-998-3950 nó firstname.lastname@example.org.
Is é Feargal an shampla is fearr den Gaeloideachas i Tuaisceart na hEirinn. Is táirge é Feargal don Ghaeloideachas in Iarthar Bhéal Feirste, an taon meanscoil i Tuaisceart na hEirinn. D’fhreastail sé ar Ollscoil na Banríona, áit ar chomhlíon sé tráchtas PHD sa bhliain 2009. Dá thairbhe sin, foilsíodh an tráchtas mar leabhar anuraidh, dar teideal Language, Resistance and Revival: Republican Prisoners and the Irish Language in the North of Ireland le Pluto Press.
I ndiaidh rath na gcamchuairteanna leabhair in Éirinn, sa Ríocht Aontaithe agus sna Stáit Aontaithe, cuireadh an dara eagrán den leabhar amach. Sa bhreis air sin, tá neart alt agus páipéar foilsithe aige ag comhdhálacha acadúla ar fud na hEorpa bunaithe ar thaighde ildisciplíneach ar nós sochtheangeolaíochta, ceartas idirthréimhseach, léann Éireannach, stair na hÉireann, cultúir agus féiniúlachta, polaitíochta agus coireolaíocht chriticiúil. Is ball den Feachtas Dearg é Feargal a oibríonn go lánaimseartha mar oibrí tionscadail le Forbairt Feirste, eagraíocht forbartha Gaeilge sa Cheathrú Ghaeltachta, agus is cathaoirleach é ar Ghlór na Móna chomh maith, eagraíocht Ghaeilge san Uachtar Chluanaí. Is minic a bhíonn sé mar thráchtaire ar Raidió Fáilte agus Raidió na Gaeltachta agus é ag cur barúil na Gaeilge chun tosaigh i bpíosaí scríbhneoireachta in The Andersonstown News agus i Nósmag. Tuilleadh eolais: www.feargalmac.org
The largest small town in the world
by Áine Ní Shionnaigh
Last week, I wrote about the magical transformation of the Dublin docklands into the most highly regarded global business and technology hub in Europe. However, the real magic of Dublin is that it’s not only a tech hub but has always been a literary and creative hub which combines to give this city an energy and spirit that cannot be recreated elsewhere. Similar to natural beauty, you either have it or you haven’t and Dublin most definitely has it. Dublin is a master blend of youth and tradition which effortlessly produces an authentic cool vibe blending old Dublin charm and character with new Dublin cool and creative.
Dublin is the largest small town in the world. The original small-town feeling has not been lost. It is a haven for foodies and coffee connoisseurs alike. Craft butchers, traditional bakeries still lie nestled amongst European-style coffee houses and great restaurants boasting world cuisines using local organic raw ingredients. Dublin boasts an abundance of artisan offerings: local meats, artisan breads, craft beers, vintage whiskies and meads, all in all an eclectic mix of shops, cafes, galleries and restaurants.
To paraphrase Dan Barry when he was describing Pete Hamill, “if the cobblestones of the Dublin streets could speak, they would sound like” James Joyce, Jonathan Swift, Bram Stoker, Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw, Hugh Leonard and Maeve Binchy. Dubliners and indeed the Irish at large are renowned for being descriptive, historical and humorous; in short a melodic mélange of poets, artists, dreamers, fashionistas, foodies and storytellers.
You see Dublin has a long history of being a cosmopolitan trading center. Back in the ninth Century, the Vikings made medieval Dublin a trading center, world renowned for wealthy merchants, meat and fish sellers, bakers and brewers which is now being revived.
The physical remains of medieval Dublin can be seen today in the Cathedral Quarter around St Patrick’s and Christ Church Cathedrals and Dublin Castle which was the administrative center for medieval Ireland. Dublin is world renowned for its architecture, it developed from a rough stonewalled medieval town to a graceful Georgian city. It boasts some of the best preserved Georgian architecture in Europe – most famously: Trinity College, Irish Parliament House and The Four Courts.
For those looking for culture outside the hustle and bustle of the immediate city center, Dublin now has an ultra-modern enviable train and tram system, the DART and the LUAS that transport people to these small surrounding villages within a very short timeframe. Many of these villages are conveniently within walking distance of the city center.
Smithfield is the location of the old fruit and fish market, an intricate web of worn cobblestones and character. Urban art projects such as the Smithfield Art Tunnel and Block T provide gallery, studio and community spaces for visitors and locals. The Old Jameson Distillery is a delight to behold, opposite of which is what used to be my favorite haunt in Dublin, The Lighthouse Cinema, recently voted by Artinfo as one of the coolest cinemas in the world! Showcasing some of the best Irish and International films in the world. Stoneybatter is the original inner-city Dublin. It is one of the last bastions of Old Dublin. A strong community spirit abounds. It is currently full of artistic endeavors: screen-printers, gallery spaces, an internationally renowned publishing house and bookshop and a recording studio. The Stoneybatter Guild is almost like a mini Etsy providing artists with a commercial environment in which to nurture their art and make it into a sustaining business.
Further afield, fifteen minutes on the DART, north of the city lies the village of Howth, a historic fishing village, a haven for foodies who like seafood. Outdoor activities such s hiking, scuba diving and sailing abound. William Butler Yeats spent some of his childhood here in a cute cottage on Balscadden road that still bears his name.
Fifteen minutes on the Southside of the city is Dalkey, a Mediterranen like village, Dublin’s original seaside resort village. It boasts stunning views of the ocean and a range of outdoor activities from abseiling in Dalkey quarry to taking a dip in the nip at The Vico outdoor swimming spot. It is also bursting with literary tradition, Maeve Binchy was born and lived here as a writer and Hugh Leonard one of our most famous playwrights lived here and based many of his plays here.
What makes Dublin special is the people. Everywhere you go, Dublin is heaving with smiling people that lift your spirits and have time to talk. That’s the magic of the Irish, we still have time to talk, time to be.
Welcome to Dublin.
An tseachtain seo caite, scríobh mé mar gheall ar an claochlú draíochta na dugthailte Bhaile Átha Cliath ar an mol gnó agus teicneolaíochta domhanda is mó a mheas san Eoraip. Ach, ta se tabhachtacht a ra go bhfuil nios mo na mol ardteicneolaíochta I mBaile Atha Cliath ach i gcónaí bhiodh mol liteartha agus cruthaitheach a thugann fuinneamh agus spiorad nach féidir a cruthu in áit eile. Cosúil le áilleacht nádúrtha, tá tú ceachtar ‘sé nó nach bhfuil tú’ tá sé agus Baile Átha Cliath an chuid is mó cinnte é. Is i mBaile Átha Cliath ata meascán óige agus traidisiún a cruthaionn ‘vibe’ barántúla fionnuar cruthaitheah.
Is é Baile Átha Cliath an baile beag is mó ar domhan. Níl an mothú beag-baile caillte. Is tearmann é do ‘foodies’ agus ‘connoisseurs’ caife araon. Búistéirí ceardaíochta, báicéireachta traidisiúnta fós bréag ghleoite i measc tithe caife na hEorpa-stíl agus bialanna mór ag diol bain domhanda ag baint úsáide as comhábhair orgánach áitiúil amh. Stór Baile Átha Cliath raidhse de tairiscintí ceardaithe: Feoil áitiúla, arán artisan, beers ceardaíochta, fuisce beatha seanré agus meads. Siopaí leabhar d’aois i gcás ina bhfuil seoda ag fanacht le fáil ag taitneamh as na sráideanna ‘cobbled’.
Chun Dan Barry a athinsint nuair a bhí sé ag deanamh cur síos ar Pete Hamill, dá bhféadfadh ‘cobbles’ na sráideanna i mBaile Átha Cliath a labhairt, chloisfeadh siad fuaime mar James Joyce, Jonathan Swift, Bram Stoker, Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw, Hugh Leonard, Maeve Binchy, tá cáil muid ar a bheith tuairisciúil, stairiúil, humorous, is féidir le duine ar bith U2, Glen Hansard,
Melange séiseach filí, ealaíontóirí, briongloidoiri, ‘fashionistas’, ‘foodies’, scéalaithe agus na gormacha fíor a rugadh agus a togadh i mBaile Atha Cliath.
Tá an ailtireacht i mBaile Átha Cliath cáiliul ar fud an domhain, d’fhorbair sé ó bhaile meánaoiseach garbh go cathair seoirseach. Ta roinnt de na ailtireacht sheoirseach is fearr a chaomhnú san Eoraip : go hairithe, : Coláiste na Tríonóide, Gaeilge Teach an Pharlaimint agus Na Ceithre Chúirteanna.
Cad a dhéanann Baile Átha Cliath speisialta do na daoine. I ngach áit a théann tú, tá Baile Átha Cliath dubh le daoine a ardaitheoir do biotáillí agus ag am a labhairt miongháire. Sin an draíocht na n-Éireannach, tá muid fós am chun labhairt, am a bheith. Fáilte go dtí Baile Átha Cliath.
by Áine Ní Shionnaigh
Ireland is finally being officially recognized worldwide for what it is i.e. a great place to live and work. Recent accolades, to name a few, include: Forbes – Ireland is the best place in the world for ease of doing business, Citibank – Of the most competitive cities in the world, Dublin is the city with the best ‘human capital’, ECA International – Dublin is the second most livable location in the world for North Americans, Condé Nast – Dublin is fifth of the world’s top shopping destinations, well ahead of New York, Paris and London, Conde Nast – Dublin is one of the friendliest cities in the world, Travel Weekly – Ireland is the best travel destination in Europe, Global Traveler – Ireland is the Best Tourism Destination in the world, Lonely Planet – Ireland is listed in the Top 10 countries to visit for 2015. Dublin has also been the focus of numerous positive travel articles in The New York Times over recent weeks.
One of the most notable good news stories of late is the meteoric rise of Dublin as a global tech hub. Fairytale like, an area of wasteland at the Dublin docks has literally been transformed into the most highly regarded business and technology hub in Europe. Many high tech multinationals such as Google, Facebook, LinkedIn etc., are thriving here. Over 7000 highly educated tech professionals work and more importantly live in this small area around Grand Canal Dock. Tech start-ups from around the globe are literally queuing to set up base here. Just beyond the docks, PayPal, Amazon, Twitter, Zynga, Hub spot, Dropbox and the 2 NYC born Etsy and Gilt Goupe, to name a few have all followed Google and set up home in a city, which to put into perspective, is one fifth the size of San Francisco. This is the beauty of Dublin, it feels like the largest small town in the world.
So who was responsible for waving the magic wand that transformed drab derelict warehouses into techie filled trendy lofts? This is where the fairytale analogy ends as there is no magic, just astute Irish intellect and foresight. Successive Irish governments have developed an open economy and invested heavily to develop Ireland’s infrastructure. Much credit has to be given to IDA, the Irish government agency tasked with attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) into Ireland.
After the dotcom bubble burst, many of the European countries withdrew their foreign development offices from Silicon Valley. The IDA Ireland office in Palo Alto did not and continued to build relationships. One of these key relationships was with Google who began to eye Europe for a place to relocate to. Three times Google unequivocally stated their decision to move their headquarters to Neuchatel, a postcard pretty town in Switzerland instead of Ireland. This is where the determination and tenacity of the IDA shone through. IDA argued that, although Neuchatel had everything Google needed, it lacked one crucial factor, a suitable building which would cost easily in excess of $50 million.
Google wanted a property that resembled a village type, college style, campus environment. IDA had the perfect solution. They brought Google to see a rental on Barrow Street. This enlightened move by IDA was a watershed moment in the economic history of Ireland. Add to the equation: access to young talent from all over Europe, enlightened Irish public policy specifically the Tao Docklands Strategic Development zone which gives council planners the power to make decisions that cannot be appealed to An Bord Pleanala ensuring minimum delay for developers. End result: Google picked Dublin for its headquarters and that’s where the story of Dublin becoming a Global Tech Hub begins.
I took a stroll around Googles current base when I was home for Christmas, there are over 2500 staff, wonderful views of Dublin city, a stunning glass sky bridge that connects 3 of its 4 buildings, swimming pool, pool room, games room. More than 65 languages are spoken by employees from over 60 countries. Google and what followed has transformed Dublin’s city center and has done so much for Dublin city center inward investment.
What is the draw that Ireland has that makes IDA’s job easier in attracting all these multinationals and start-ups? Unequivocally the answer is talent. Ireland boasts the youngest population in all of Europe, Ireland is the only English speaking country in the Eurozone and provides an ideal hub for organizations seeking a European base. The brightest talent from across Europe is attracted to Ireland and offers a multinational and multilingual melting pot of skills. The VP of Dropbox, Sujay Vaswa confirmed this recently by stating “Our No 1 decision criteria when we were looking at where to expand Dropbox in Europe was. “Where is the talent?” The IDA have being collaborating with the Irish education system for years encouraging extra emphasis on science, math and technology. Ireland is renowned for its great academic institutions, there has always been a history of the Irish being great educators.
The magic of Dublin is that it’s not just a tech hub, it has always been a literary and creative hub, all of which are intrinsically linked. A freelance writer Ratha Tep actually moved there and is so happy to be living in Dublin city “with its ivy-swathed Georgian buildings, winding cobblestone side streets and amiable spirit”. “What I found was a newly energized city rich not only with jovial cheer, but also an abundance of artisan offerings and a creative, literary spirit”
After all, what makes Ireland special is the Irish themselves.
Teideal: Ta Baile Átha Cliath ag baint taitneamh as na h-amanna.
Faoi lathair ta mBaile Átha Cliath, Eirinn ag baint formhor na awards atá le fail: lena n-áirítear an dara chathair is fearr ab fhearr le Meiriceánaigh chun cónaí ann, ceann scríbe siopadóireachta is fearr os comhair Páras, Milano, Londain, ceann scríbe taistil is fearr, Forbes áit is fearr le gnó a dhéanamh agus fós ar an stádas cánach na hÉireann tá ceist amháin agus gan ach go bhfuil labhair riamh faoi.
Bhi tús iontach le 2014 de bhri an bhfógra i Nollaig 2013 ag na Stáit Aontaithe Bíobla, Forbes, a ainmníodh Éire an tír is fearr ar fud an domhan le haghaidh gnó, den chéad uair i sé rangú de 145 náisiúin.
Díreach thar na duganna, thainig PayPal, Amazon, Twitter, Zynga agus Dropbox, a ainm a lua go léir ina dhiaidh sin Google agus ar bun sa bhaile i gcathair, a bhfuil a chur i bpeirspictíocht, tá Eirinn nios lu na San Francisco. Is é seo an áilleacht i mBaile Átha Cliath, mothaíonn sé cosúil leis an mbaile beag is mó an domhan.
Mar sin, cé a bhí freagrach as usaid an draíochta a chlaochlú stórais tréigthe dorcha i techie líonadh nua aimsire. Tá sé seo nuair a thagann deireadh leis an analaí síscéal mar nil aon draíochta, ach intleacht agus suileacht cliste Éireannach. Rialtais i ndiaidh a Éireannacha a bheith forbartha geilleagar oscailte agus infheistíocht mhór chun bonneagar na hÉireann a fhorbairt. Tá cuid mhór creidmheas a thabhairt don IDA, an ghníomhaireacht rialtais na hÉireann de chúram hinfheistíocht dhíreach choigríche (FDI) a mhealladh go hÉirinn.
Jacqueline Kealy, John McConnell and Brona Crehan in “Pillow on the Stairs” at the Cell Theatre this month. [Click on image for larger view.]
PHOTO: CAROL ROSEGG
By Peter McDermott
After readings and workshop tryouts in 2014, all of the advice offered to playwright Brona Crehan could be boiled down to: “Do a full staging.”
Now, an off-Broadway production of her “Pillow on the Stairs” is at hand. Crehan herself will play one of the three roles at the Cell Theatre on West 23rd Street from Feb. 11 through Feb. 28, alongside Jacqueline Kealy and John McConnell.
“What follows creates a web of secrets and denials that binds this trio of ordinary, flawed individuals together for a lifetime,” announces the publicist’s handout about the subject matter, adding that it’s an “intimate story about love, loyalty, betrayal, and trust.”
The Dublin-born playwright said the starting point for the John Keating-directed play is: “Ever wonder what your life would be like if you had made one decision differently?”
“People have been very enthusiastic and supportive,” Crehan added.
“I’m wearing a number of hats. I’m producing and all that goes with that,” said the married mother of 8-year-old and soon to be 6-year-old sons. “It’s been quite a learning experience.
“I’ve surprised myself with fundraising,” she said. “I’ve never liked to ask for money.”
But she was impressed with the philosophy of the Irish Arts Center’s Pauline Turley, who said: “If you don’t ask the question, the answer is always going to be no.”
Actors Kealy and McConnell did not say “no” to Crehan when she came calling. She knows the pair, who are husband and wife, going back to 1996 when they were on stage in “The Lobby,” written by fellow Dublin-born playwright, Don Creedon. She was also introduced to another of the production’s actors Dave Davitt, who later became her husband.
“So, Don has a lot to answer for,” Crehan deadpanned
Performance of “Pillow on the Stairs” are, beginning Feb. 11, on Wednesdays, Thursday and Fridays at 7 p.m., with an additional performance on Saturday, Feb. 28. Tickets are $30, available at 800-838-3006 or www.thecelltheatre.org.
Between the Lines / By Peter McDermott
Lyndon Johnson with Dr. Martin Luther King and other civil rights leaders in 1964. [Click on image for larger view.]
YOICHI R. OKAMOTO, LYNDON BAINES JOHNSON LIBRARY AND MUSEUM.
A friend emailed from Ireland recently to say: “I was looking forward to seeing Tom Wilkinson’s portrayal of LBJ. I don’t think I’ll bother now.”
He directed me to a blog at the New York Review of Books penned by Elizabeth Drew. “By distorting an essential truth about the relationship between Lyndon Johnson and Dr. Martin Luther King over the Voting Rights Act of 1965,” she wrote, “‘Selma’ has opened a very large and overdue debate over whether and how much truth the movie industry owes to the public.”
My friend, being passionate about both history and politics as well as intellectually serious, believes it owes it a lot.
Drew continued: “The clear implication is that Johnson was opposed to a voting rights bill, period, and that he had to be persuaded by King. This story has now been propagated to millions of viewers, to the point where young people in movie houses boo Johnson’s name.
“But there was no struggle. This is pure fiction,” she said.
Drew wrote what some consider the best book ever on Watergate – “Washington Journal,” first published in 1974 when she was 39, and reissued by Overlook Press last summer. As a meticulous political commentator with a long memory, her criticism of historical inaccuracy carries some weight. She had this to say in the same blog post about a work telling the story of a series of encounters that took place in 1977. “Both the play and the movie ‘Frost/Nixon’ base the plot on a historical falsehood: Nixon agonizingly utters a confession he didn’t make; in fact it turns what he actually said on its head by leaving out some crucial works.”
Two decades ago, Anthony Summers, the County Waterford-based author of a much admired book about the Kennedy assassination, “Conspiracy,” took exception to Oliver Stone’s “JFK.” He said that the director could have made just as fine a movie by sticking to the facts.
Stone, though, has a peculiar relationship with facts. Interviewed on Amy Goodman’s “Democracy Now” at the time of the 50th anniversary, he made two ridiculously contradictory statements about the Zapruder film, which Goodman failed to call him on.
I’ll admit that I can be a bore sometimes about such things. Recently, when I raised my issues about Stone’s version with someone who writes about cinema, he said: “Yeah, but ‘JFK’ is a bloody great film.” And many believe the same thing about Alan Parker’s “Mississippi Burning,” which at the time of its release in 1988, a Time magazine columnist labeled a “cinematic lynching of the truth.”
Movie people, when defending their treatment of historical material, say that they are not documentarians, which is the position of “Selma” director Ava DuVernay. When you’re telling a real story, you’ve got to be creative, they say.
Then, there are those who feel that when telling a fictional story, you have to get real. James Joyce, for example, would often contact his connections back home to ask about some detail or other when writing “Ulysses.” You could see he’d have made a hard-core American Civil War reenactor, obsessing about buttons and threads and ensuring that the correct regional foods be consumed before a “battle.”
One could imagine, too, Joyce enjoying the atmospheric “Lincoln,” starring Daniel Day-Lewis, at least until being tripped up by some inaccuracy or other. It might be the moment when the president is introduced to two wounded soldiers, one of whom is called Kevin.
“Kevin?” he’d shriek.
There are 2,731 male Kevins listed in the 1940 U.S. Census, a small fraction of the number around today. But, the 1860 U.S. Census lists precisely four. Three of them, to be sure, were Irish immigrants of military age, and the fourth a baby, but it’s not a name any self-regarding reenactor would choose.
So, everyone has his or her own ideas about authenticity. DuVernay’s film is about history from below. She is not interested in another white-man-as-savior story. And so LBJ is a composite stand-in for all the well-meaning liberal politicians, including JFK, who dragged their heels on voting rights.
Amy Davidson of the New Yorker is among those who has defended DuVernay. “Her film is fair to Johnson; the portrayal is multifaceted and respectful,” Davidson wrote in a blog, “and fully cognizant of his essential commitment to civil rights. What ‘Selma’ is not, though, is cartoonish or deferential. Is that, again, the problem?”
Indeed, is it even possible to be “fair” to a complex, large-than-life figure like LBJ? Robert Caro has written four volumes so far of his “The Years of Lyndon Johnson” (he has yet to reach the events of Selma) and you might think he’s the last word on the 36th president. But not everybody finds his psychoanalytical take on him so compelling. Caro might respond – in the manner of DuVernay and most authors and filmmakers in the same position – “There’s just no pleasing some people.”
“Breezy Point” by Lisa O’Donnell, 2014, oil on board, 48 inches x 36 inches [Click on image for larger view.]
Clifden, Co. Galway, artist Lisa O’Donnell moved from London to New York in the summer of 2014 to research material for her art practice and to complete a three-month residency at New York Artist and Residency Foundation (NARS) in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. In this piece she recounts her experiences and explains the background to one important outcome of her time in the city, “Trasatlantcha,” her collaborative project with New York artist Maeve D’Arcy, which opens next week at the Irish Arts Center.
After three years living in London where I completed my Master of Fine Art at Central Saint Martins, I found myself on a path to New York. It seemed to be a natural progression from the work I had been making in London where I made paintings based on archived photographs and film footage relating to the Irish in London during the 1970s and ‘80s. The 1980s became the focus because many of my relatives had moved to London in that period and shared stories and experiences with me. Also on the MFA course I met New York artist Maeve D’Arcy who influenced my decision to develop the work about New York when she recommended an abundance of information and resources to research.
The move to New York was initially quite a shock to the system. Life as an artist and newbie to the city offered many challenges and new experiences — some good, some bad, some mad. But, I think it is important for people, especially artists, to force themselves out of their comfort zones and into new surroundings where they are faced with an array of experiences that develop them personally and creatively.
I spent the summer months before the residency collecting images, information and general research that served as the starting point and subject matter for the paintings created during the residency at NARS. I collected source material from the archives of The American Irish Historical Society and this newspaper. I am interested in the possibility that paintings are more effective than documentary photographs when interpreting history and memory. I explore how painting can represent these blurred and fragmented subjects, in this instance, relating to the “New Irish” in New York during the 1980s and early ‘90s. I narrowed it down to this period as it seems to be the last significant period of immigration. I tend to focus on smaller stories and images that reflect the social and cultural tendencies of the time. I steer clear of overly political images, not because I feel them unrelated or uninteresting, but because I don’t want to make sensational paintings. Also I feel these “smaller” more personal images/stories can be just as representative of political and serious issues of the time. The idea of the personal as well as collective memory and experience is important. I am interested in how these black and white documentary images can be raised from the archives and explored and transformed in a poetic way through painting.
The residency at NARS offered me an invaluable period of time and studio space to develop my work as well as the opportunity to be surrounded by many talented artists from New York and all over the world. The program offered professional development through panel discussions, artist talks and regularly scheduled studio visits with New York art professionals. We had the chance to meet with curators, critics, art historians, and gallerists to discuss our work in an intimate setting. During the residency I participated in a group exhibition at the NARS gallery and also a spoken word exhibition curated by Alessandro Facente who is the special projects curator at NARS.
New York similarly to London has many challenges artists have to face: how to support themselves financially; how to find one’s place and keep it, in a city and society that is constantly and rapidly confronted by gentrification and marginalization. None the less, artists, and creative people searching for motivation, inspiration and opportunity are drawn to New York’s energy despite the obstacles. The world class museums and galleries are on a par with London but there is something unique about New York and how art is extremely concentrated in certain areas: the rows of galleries in Chelsea, the clusters in the Lower East Side or Bushwick or Long Island City. Also, I found a really great spirit of do-it-yourself among the artists I have met in New York, whether it is organizing their own exhibitions, critique groups, talks, happenings or creating new audiences for their work. This is something I found really invigorating and it induced great momentum in my practice.
The results of the project will be on show in “Trasatlantcha,” a two-person exhibition with Maeve at the Irish Arts Center in New York from next Tuesday evening through April 2015. The premise of this exhibition consists not only of the physical work on show but the idea of bringing together two artists from two different places with two different experiences of the diaspora, exploring their associated histories and memories through their separate visual-art practices. Conversations about transience and their overlapping have been central to their dialogue, hence it is particularly poignant that this show will travel from New York to Ireland for the Clifden Arts Festival in September 2015.
“Trasatlantcha,” by Maeve D’Arcy and Lisa O’Donnell opened on Feb. 3 at the Irish Arts Center, 553 West 51 St., New York. Jonathan Goodman, a professor of Pratt Institute, moderated a discussion with the two artists at the opening. Gallery viewings by appointment Monday-Friday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call 212-757-3318.
By Irish Echo Staff
The Irish American community in New Orleans is rallying to the aid of Brian Hanrahan, the Limerick-based Garda who was shot and seriously wounded in a mugging in the city early Tuesday.
Garda Hanrahan is recovering from his wounds in hospital and has been visited by Ireland’s Honorary Consul in the city, Judge James McKay.
McKay is also a member of the National Board of the Ancient Order of Hibernians and the AOH is among those organization now spearheading a fundraising drive for Garda Hanrahan.
“Regrettably, Garda Hanrahan met a criminal element in our city. I am pleased that he is now meeting the compassion and support for which the Irish community in New Orleans is world-renowned,” Judge McKay said in a release Thursday.
In addition to the Hibernians, the New Orleans Emerald Society and Irish Network New Orleans are involved in the fundraising effort.
On Sunday, Feb. 1, there will be a fundraiser at the Irish House on St. Charles Avenue, while donations can also be made to the AOH Police Officer Fund, PO Box 19569, New Orleans, LA 70179-0569.
Garda Hanrahan, 31, is being treated in the intensive care unit at University Hospital after surgery to remove a bullet in his back. His wife, Emma, has flown to New Orleans to be with her husband. The couple have one child.
Garda Hanrahan, who is stationed in Newcastle West, Co. Limerick, was shot twice, in the lower back and thigh. His father, with whom he was on a driving holiday, had returned to their hotel and Garda Hanrahan was alone when attacked.
Hanrahan, a native of Killenaule, County Tipperary, stood up to his attacker, who had demanded money. When Hanrahan refused, he was shot twice, before his assailant fled on foot with $200 in cash that Hanrahan had withdrawn from an ATM.
The Times Picayune website, www.NOLA.com reported: According to the NOPD, Hanrahan and his father told police they were drinking together in the French Quarter until about 4 a.m., when the dad decided to call it a night and return to their hotel. Hanrahan told police he stayed out, eventually meeting an unknown man who offered to take him to a party. Hanrahan first stopped to withdraw $200 from an ATM.
A source familiar with the investigation said the men walked approximately two miles to the intersection of New Orleans and North Tonti streets, an often dark two-mile walk that would have taken approximately 40 minutes if started from the middle of Bourbon Street. Hanrahan told police once they arrived on New Orleans Street, a second man approached and demanded his money.
Hanrahan said he refused, and the man pulled a gun and shot him twice. The suspects went through the victim’s pockets, removed the $200, and fled together on foot, police said. Responding officers said they found Hanrahan laying in the driveway of a home on New Orleans Street, bleeding from the gunshot wounds.
Hanrahan was unable to provide a description of the gunman, police said.
“It’s very unfortunate,” NOPD Chief Michael Harrison said of Hanrahan’s shooting. “We feel this way about every citizen involved in a shooting.”