by Áine Ní Shionnaigh
I like to think that West of Irelanders possess a unique determination and spirit, however, none more so than Lord Jeremy Browne Altamont of Westport House whose passing is deeply mourned this week. Thanks to his unique foresight, Lord Altamont leaves behind an enduring legacy for future generations and beyond. He leaves behind a 400 acre estate that has been in his family for over 300 years which is of enormous cultural, social and historical significance. He was a visionary and a law-changer. He almost certainly inherited some of the fighting spirit of his predecessor, famed pirate queen, Granuaile upon whose castle, the foundations of Westport House are laid. He was an ingenious business man who had no time for titles or splendor. Largely due to his influence, Westport town became known as a tourist location as far back as the 60’s long before ‘tourism’ became a familiar term.
Irelands remaining historic houses are a highly valuable resource. The houses and their contents are physical evidence of a life gone by, another life in another era, they help to define the cultural relationship between Ireland and the rest of the world. These historic houses with their estates, formal gardens, demesnes and parks continue to occupy a central position in the economic, historic and social life of the community in which they are built. The unique aspect of many Irish historic homes is that they are owned by the same family for several generations, thus the artefacts and archives that are contained within are handed down and the owners preserve valuable longstanding relationships with their local communities.
Jeremy Browne was the son of Denis Browne, 10th Marquess of Sligo, and Jose Gauche, and was educated at St. Columba’s College, Dublin and the Royal Agricultural College. His father inherited Westport House in 1951, and as a teenager, Lord Altamont spent his summers in Co Mayo hunting with Burns the gamekeeper, learning about the surrounding countryside. He always felt drawn back to Westport to help his parents, Lord Denis and Lady Jose Altamont to salvage and develop Westport House. The obstacles were immense, but as he wrote in his just published memoir, “A Life At Westport House: 50 Years A-Going: “My family had been through famines and wars, had been born in Westport, lived and died in Westport and at no point had any generation ever ‘given up’. After all, how could he give up, being that he was the 13th great grandson of the famed Pirate Queen Grace O’Malley.
He was married in 1961 to Jennifer June Lushington Cooper. Around this time, Jeremy decided to open the doors of Westport House to the public in an effort to save the historic stately home from decline – a fate way too many other great houses in Ireland have suffered. In the summer of 1960, over 3000 people visited the house. It has since become one of Ireland’s best loved attractions, currently having being visited by over 5 million visitors to date and was recently voted one of the Best Family Visitor Attractions in Ireland by Primary Times magazine. The couple have five daughters – Sheelyn, Karen, Lucinda, Clare and Allanagh. The title now goes to a cousin in Australia but due to Jeremy’s unique foresight, the house and grounds will thankfully be inherited by his five daughters who are all heavily involved in the family business. With the help of former President, Mary Robinson and local solicitor, Michael Egan, Jeremy took a private bill through the Senate in 1993 which successfully challenged the male succession law and ensured that the future of Westport house stayed with its rightful owners, his five daughters.
Grace O’Malley is the most renowned Irish female pirate also known as the Queen of Connacht. She was the chief of the O’Malley clan and ruled the seas around County Mayo. Westport House was actually built on the foundations of one of her castles. There is still an area of her original Castle in the basement of the House, now known as the Dungeons which is on view to visitors. The original house was built by Colonel John Browne, a Jacobite, who partook in the siege o f Limerick, and his wife Maud Burke. Maude Burke was Grace O’Malley’s great-granddaughter. At that time, the tide of the Atlantic Ocean rose and fell against the walls of the house.
The east front of the House as it is today, was built in 1730 by Colonel John Browne’s grandson, 1st Earl of Altamont, who hired the famous German architect Richard Cassels. It is built with the finest limestone taken from the quarry south of the estate farmyard and was executed by local craftsmen. Richard Cassels also designed Carton, Hazelwood, Russborough and Leinster House. Westport House was completed by James Wyatt, one of the great English architects who also laid out the town of Westport. On the south face of the House is the date 1778 and inside many of the ceilings, cornices and fireplaces are examples of his finest work. The Large Dining room is perhaps the finest remaining example of his work. The doors are mahogany, brought back from the family estates in Jamaica. There are still a number of original James Wyatt drawings on show. Other original items on show in Westport House, of particular interest, include a fine collection of old English and Irish silver, including 18th century Irish ‘potato’ or dish rings, Waterford glass, a library with many old Irish books and a Mayo Legion Flag which was brought to Ireland by General Humbert when he invaded the Country in 1798 and has ever since been in Westport House, which was occupied by his troops.
Westport House is located west of the Shannon and is one of Irelands’ most beautiful historic homes open to the public. The house enjoys a superb parkland setting with lake, terraces, wonderful gardens and magnificent views overlooking Clew Bay, the Atlantic Ocean, Achill, Clare Island and Ireland’s holy mountain Croagh Patrick. The grounds also afford a range of backdrops including the lake, woodlands, church and graveyard ruins, waterfalls and terraced gardens. It is a site that should be explored and visitors are guaranteed of a warm welcome and the best in food and Irish hospitality. Visit their website www.westporthouse.ie for more detailed information.
Is minic a cheapaim go bfhuil sort spiorad ag Iarthar na hÉireannaigh , afach, níos mó ná Tiarna Jeremy Browne Altamont, Theach Chathair na Mart a bhfuair bas an tseachtain seo chaite. De bhri a fadbhreathnaitheacht uathúil, d’fhag Tiarna Altamount taobh thiar oidhreacht buaine do na glúnta agus níos faide anonn. Fágann sé taobh thiar de eastát, 400 acra a bhí i lena theaghlach le breis agus 300 bliain a bhfuil tábhacht chultúrtha, shóisialta agus stairiúil ollmhór. Bhí sé ina aislingeach agus dlí-athruite. Ba chuis mhor, cinnte roinnt de na troid spiorad a réamhtheachtaí, banríon bradach, Gráinne Mhaol ar a caisleán, na fothaí Theach Chathair na Mart ag leagan. Bhí sé ina fear gnó nach raibh aon am le haghaidh teidil nó rudai mar sin. Den chuid is mó mar gheall ar a tionchar a imirt, bhí ar a dtugtar baile Chathair na Mart mar shuíomh turasóireachta chomh fada siar leis na 60’s, i bhfad sular tháinig ‘turasóireacht’ téarma an eolas.
Is iad tithe stairiúla na hÉireann atá fágtha acmhainn an-luachmhar. Is iad na tithe agus a bhfuil iontu fianaise fhisiciúil den shaol atá imithe, saol eile i ré eile, cabhraíonn siad an gaol cultúrtha idir Éire agus an chuid eile den domhan a shainiú. Leanann na tithe stairiúla lena n-eastáit, gairdíní foirmiúla, diméinte agus páirceanna a áitiú áit lárnach i saol eacnamaíoch, stairiúla agus sóisialta an phobail ina bhfuil siad tógtha. Is é an ghné ar leith de go leor tithe stairiúla na hÉireann go bhfuil siad ar úinéireacht ag an teaghlach céanna do na glúnta éagsúla, dá bhrí sin an déantáin agus cartlanna nach bhfuil cuimsithe laistigh láimh síos agus na n-úinéirí a chaomhnú caidreamh luachmhar seanbhunaithe lena bpobail áitiúla.
Ba e Jeremy Browne mac Denis Browne, 10 Marcas Shligigh, agus Jose Gauche, bhí a chuid oideachais i gColáiste Naomh Columba, Baile Átha Cliath agus Coláiste Ríoga Talmhaíochta. A athair oidhreacht Teach Chathair na Mart i 1951, agus mar dhéagóir, chaith Tiarna Altamount a samhraí i gCo Mhaigh Eo fiach le Burns, foghlaim mar gheall ar an tuath máguaird. Bhraith sé i gcónaí tharraingt ar ais go dtí Cathair na Mart chun cabhrú lena thuismitheoirí, a Thiarna Denis agus Lady Jose Altamont chun forbairt Teach Chathair na Mart. Ba iad na constaicí ollmhór, ach de réir mar a scríobh sé ina cuimhní cinn díreach foilsithe, “A Saol Ag Teach Chathair na Mart: 50 Bliain ag dul-:” Bhí mo theaghlach a bhí trí cogaí, rugadh iad i gCathair na Mart, bhí cónaí acu agus a fuair siad bás i gCathair na Mart agus ag aon phointe raibh aon ghlúin riamh ‘a thugtar suas’. Tar éis an tsaoil, conas a d’fhéadfadh sé a thabhairt suas, a bheith go raibh sé an ua mór 13ú an Banrion Gráinne Ní Mháille.
Bhí sé pósta i 1961 do Jennifer Meitheamh Lushington Cooper. Timpeall an ama seo, chinn Jeremy le doirse Theach Chathair na Mart ar oscailt don phobal i iarracht a shábháil an bhaile stairiúil maorach ó meath – ar bhealach cinniúint an iomarca tithe móra eile in Éirinn a d’fhulaing. I samhradh na bliana 1960, thug breis is 3,000 duine ar an teach. Tá sé tar éis éirí ó cheann de na nithe is fearr grá hÉireann, faoi láthair tar éis á cuairt ag os cionn 5 milliún cuairteoir go dtí seo agus bhí vótáil le déanaí ar cheann de na díol spéise do thurasóirí Chuairteoirí Teaghlaigh Fearr in Éirinn le Iris Bunscoileanna Times. An lánúin a bhfuil cúigear iníonacha – Sheelyn, Karen, Lucinda, an Chláir agus Allanagh. An teideal Téann anois le col ceathrar san Astráil, ach beidh mar gheall ar fadbhreathnaitheacht uathúil Jeremy, an teach agus na tailte a hoidhreacht buíochas le Dia ag a cúig iníonacha a bhfuil baint acu go léir go mór sa ghnó teaghlaigh. Le cabhair ó iar-Uachtarán, Máire Mhic Róibín agus aturnae áitiúil, Michael Egan, ghlac Jeremy bille príobháideach tríd an Seanad i 1993 a chuir dúshlán go rathúil leis an dlí comharbais na bhfear agus chinntigh gur fhan an todhchaí teach Cathair na Mart lena n-úinéirí dlisteanacha, a cúig iníonacha .
Tá Grace O’Malley bradach na mban is mó cáil in Éirinn ar a dtugtar freisin mar an Banríon Chonnacht. Bhí sí an príomhfheidhmeannach an clan O’Malley agus rialaigh na farraigí mórthimpeall Chontae Mhaigh Eo. Cuireadh Teach Chathair na Mart a tógadh iarbhír ar an dúshraith ar cheann de na h caisleáin. Tá fós limistéar a Caisleán bunaidh san íoslach an Tí, ar a dtugtar anois mar an dungeons atá ar taispeáint do chuairteoirí. Bhí an teach bunaidh tógtha ag Coirnéal John Browne, Seacaibíteacha, a raibh lathair i léigear Luimnigh, agus a bhean chéile Maud Burke. Bhí Maude Burke mór-gariníon Gráinne Ní Mháille ar. Ag an am sin, an taoide ar an Aigéan Atlantach ardaigh agus thit i gcoinne na ballaí an tí.
An os comhair soir an Tí mar atá sé inniu a tógadh, i 1730 ag ua Coirnéal John Browne, an 1 Iarla Altamont, a d’fhostaigh an t-ailtire cáiliúil Gearmáine Richard Cassels. Tá sé tógtha leis an aolchloch fearr a tógadh ón gcairéal dheas de chlós na feirme eastáit agus cuireadh chun báis ag aos ceirde áitiúil. Richard Cassels deartha go maith Carton, Collchoille, Russborough agus Teach Laighean. Cuireadh Teach Chathair na Mart i gcrích ag James Wyatt, ar cheann de na hailtirí mór Béarla a leagtar amach freisin an baile na Mart. Ar an aghaidh ó dheas an Tí é an dáta 1778 agus taobh istigh go leor de na huasteorainneacha, coirnisí agus teallaigh samplaí de a chuid oibre is fearr. Tá an seomra bia Móra dócha gurb é an sampla is fearr atá fágtha ar a chuid oibre. Is iad na doirse mahagaine, a thabhairt ar ais ó na heastáit teaghlaigh i Iamáice. Tá fós roinnt líníochtaí James Wyatt bunaidh ar taispeáint. Míreanna bunaidh eile ar taispeáint i dTeach Chathair na Mart, suim ar leith, tá bailiúchán breá de sean-Béarla agus airgid na hÉireann, lena n-áirítear 18ú haois ‘prátaí’ Gaeilge nó fáinní mhias, gloine Phort Láirge, leabharlann le go leor leabhar d’aois na hÉireann agus Bratach Léigiún Mhaigh Eo a tugadh go hÉirinn ag Ginearál Humbert nuair a tháinig sé ar an tír i 1798 agus bhí riamh ó shin i dTeach Chathair na Mart, a bhí ar áitiú ag a chuid trúpaí.
Teach Chathair na Mart suite taobh thiar den tSionainn agus tá sé ar cheann de na tithe stairiúla is áille na hÉireann ‘ar oscailt don phobal. Taitneamh as an teach suíomh fearann páirce superb le loch, ardáin, gairdíní iontach agus radhairc iontacha breathnú amach ar Chuan Mó, an Aigéan Atlantach, Acaill, Cliara agus sléibhe naofa na hÉireann Cruach Phádraig. Na forais acmhainn freisin raon backdrops n-áirítear an loch, coillearnacha, séipéal agus reilig fothracha, easanna agus gairdíní sraithe. Tá sé an suíomh ba chóir a iniúchadh agus do chuairteoirí a ráthú de fáilte te agus an chuid is fearr i mbia agus fáilteachais na hÉireann. Tabhair cuairt ar a láithreán gréasáin www.westporthouse.ie le haghaidh faisnéis níos mionsonraithe.
By Áine Ní Shionnaigh
This week marks the 15th anniversary of the tragic death of John F. Kennedy Junior, only son of President John F. Kennedy. JFK Jr. perished when the light aircraft he was piloting crashed into the Atlantic Ocean. Also on board the flight to Martha’s Vineyard was his wife and sister-in-law. The anniversary prompted me to ponder on the sense of tragedy that befell father and son.
The “Kennedy Curse” refers to the series of tragedies that have befallen the family. This “curse” is more likely, and in part, due to the fame, wealth, and power that brought the Kennedys attention in the first place, rather than anything as mysterious as a “curse.” A sense of tragedy became evident very early on in John Junior’s life. His dad’s state funeral was held on his third birthday. In a moment that became an emotional and iconic image of the 1960s, John stepped forward and rendered a final salute as the flag-draped casket was carried out from the cathedral. At the age of seven, he spent six idyllic weeks in Ireland with his mother and his sister where he visited, among many places, his great great- grandfather’s homestead in Dunganstown, County Wexford, and met with President Eamon de Valera. As an Irish person I will never tire of the subject of the 1963 presidential visit to Ireland, how Ireland embraced him, how he embraced the Irish, and thus began a love affair that will go down in the realms of history.
President John Fitzgerald Kennedy was, and is, someone to aspire to, someone to learn about, and of course, if you are Irish, someone to argue about. Countless books have been written and re-written about the person he was, the image he portrayed, the reforms he fought for, and the abrupt ending that is almost too tragic to comprehend. His assassination left us with the eternal questions:
Where would his thinking have led the country and the world?
What more greatness would he have been capable of achieving?
The tragic ending of President Kennedy’s life, less than five months after he waved goodbye to Ireland, ensured that his memory will never ever fade with the passage of time. To understand fully the magnanimous effect of President Kennedy’s visit to Ireland in those last days of June 1963, one should recall the economic conditions of Ireland at the time. As the 1950s drew to a close, Ireland was in a state of depression, there was shocking and appalling poverty.
Noel Browne‘s book “Against the Tide” gives some accurate insight into what real poverty was. The closed economy rule that had been adopted by de Valera ensured that we remained an island in every sense of the term. In the early 1960s, Sean Lemass began to adopt the “First Program for Economic Expansion” and a chink of light slowly appeared in what was a dark and bleak time. The stage was perfectly set for a visit from one of our own, the ultimate returned immigrant from1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington. His visit epitomized perfectly the coming together of the transatlantic story of Irish America and Ireland. President Kennedy of course meant even more to the Irish in America as he validated who the Irish were. He was the first American president who identified himself as Irish and Catholic and interestingly, there hasn’t been anyone since. In terms of “respectability” for the Irish, the Kennedy influence is unquestionable. So, on the 26th of June, 1963, when President John F Kennedy stepped off the plane in Ireland, Ireland embraced him and he embraced the Irish.
Many history books begin with his grandfather, Patrick, who had worked his way up in Boston and became a saloon owner and a politician. However, the real beginning, the fact that the President’s eight great grandparents were Famine immigrants of course resonated strongly with Kennedy. How could it not? On the subject of emigration, he remarked to the people of New Ross in County Wexford: “When my great grandfather left here to become a cooper in East Boston, he carried nothing with him except two things: a strong religious faith and a strong desire for liberty. I am glad to say that all of his great grandchildren have valued that inheritance”. Also on display in the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum is the Fitzgerald family Bible brought from Ireland by President Kennedy’s forebears. This same Bible was used when John Fitzgerald Kennedy took his oath of office as 35th President of the United States on January 20, 1961. The Bible is an 1850 edition containing a handwritten chronicle of the Fitzgerald family from 1857 and including a record of the birth of John Fitzgerald Kennedy on May 29, 1917. In 1948, Kennedy wrote a less well known book titled “A Nation of Emigrants.” The coldest cynic could not fail to be warmed by the images of John F. Kennedy, the President of the United States of America, the Harvard-educated great-grandson of Patrick Kennedy, back “home” in his cousin Mary’s cottage in Dunganstown, Co.Wexford cutting cake and having copious cups of tea , being introduced to his relatives.
It was noted at the time that when the crush of chaotic crowds threatened to become overwhelming and the security men stepped in to intervene, the president waved them away with the words “It’s all right, these are my people.” Most poignantly perhaps is that he told people afterwards that, that one Irish day at the hearth of his cousin Mary in Wexford, and indeed, the four days in Ireland as a whole, were the highlight of his life. His speech in Dublin to the Oireachteas was the first Dail Eireann speech ever broadcast. Unbeknownst to everyone at the time, this was the start of Ireland’s genuine economic growth. Kennedy talked about Ireland’s position in the world, he acknowledged that “Yes, you are a small country but……………”
And that is where the story of modern Ireland began: “my friends: Ireland’s hour has come. You have something to give to the world – and that is a future of peace with freedom”. He gave Ireland one thing: he encouraged Ireland to aspire to greatness. In a time of post colonialism, where countries were slowly beginning to crawl out of the claws of colonialism, Kennedy put Ireland at the forefront of this movement.
When President Kennedy returned to the White House after his Irish visit, he was so taken with the Irish experience that he not only bored his staff to death replaying home movies of his Irish trip, he also began to study the Irish language. Perhaps, in the Oval Office, he pored over dictionaries and grammar books and I suspect, even his brilliant mind was perplexed by a language that had so many tenses and clauses. Perhaps he wanted to have the privilege of being able to speak one of the oldest living languages in Europe. In the Irish language, you do not separate what belongs together. President Kennedy recognized this, and appreciated it. His trip to Ireland was transcendent. He arrived as an Irish Norman Fitzgerald, and left as an Irish Gaelic Kennedy. Kennedy had observed the Irish Army Officer Cadets in the Garden of Remembrance in Dublin and talked much about them afterwards.
These same cadets from the Curragh, Co. Kildare were flown over for his funeral to perform the final salute at his graveside. Can there be anything more poignant that the image of these young, uniformed Irishmen performing the final graveside salutes. These same soldiers represented the Irish people that President Kennedy felt compelled to turn back to and say “I’ll be back in springtime.” Little did anyone know, that long before springtime, so many would be standing silent, at a graveside in Arlington Cemetery, bidding President John Fitzgerald Kennedy a final farewell on his last journey home. And that 36 years later, no time at all really, the world would be saying farewell to his only son.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam, agus anam a mhac.
by Áine Ní Shionnaigh
Growing up in the West of Ireland, my exposure to the Fourth of July was limited to two iconic movies. As a young child, I remember watching the black and white grainy version of “Yankee Doodle Dandy” where the main star, George M. Cohan, was born on the Fourth of July, a fact which heightened the expectations about his destiny. This movie could not have contrasted more with Oliver Stone’s “Born on the Fourth of July” where as a young adult, I was deeply struck by the contrast between the idea of war and the reality of war. The atmosphere at the Fourth of July parade before Kovic (Tom Cruise) joins the Marines coldly conflicts with the horrific conditions that Kovic finds himself in at the Veterans hospital where he is admitted on his return from Vietnam as a paralyzed veteran. There is a dramatic sense of despair, disillusionment and disappointment. The experience of actually becoming a hero is a serious let-down. Some of the content of this movie became a reality for me this year when I became involved with some veteran organizations to discuss traumatic brain injury issues in conjunction with the Sarah Jane Brain Foundation.
Nine years ago, when I moved to New York City from the West of Ireland, one of the biggest observations I continually made was the sense of patriotism in this great country. I am gradually coming to understand and still learning about the intensity of the relationship between the U.S. and its military. America’s military history is at the core of the formation of the American Republic as we know it today.
The independence celebrated on this July 4th weekend was fought for by many who paid the ultimate price so that Americans could enjoy all the privileges and freedom that come with it. We also celebrate the Irish who fought so valiantly with General George Washington to win the War of Independence. When the American Revolution broke out, both Scotch Irish Protestants and Irish Catholics could be found in every contingent of Washington’s army. According to James O’Boyle’s “Life of George Washington,” one of the most daring group of soldiers during the Revolutionary War were the Green Mountain Boys, led by, among others, two Irishmen named Marion and Pickens. Men lie these later became the pioneers who would venture outside the range of the original 13 colonies and head west. The Scotch Irish from Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania were particularly prominent in the ranks of those Americans who took on and ultimately prevailed against the British. They had grown to love the country they had left, the northern parts of Ireland, and it was an affection that would see them bear arms in a bid to gain independence in their new adopted land. Their efforts did not go unnoticed. When things weren’t looking good for General Washington, he came out with a gem of a quote that showed the pride and trust he had in these sturdy men. “If defeated everywhere else, I will make my stand for liberty, among the Scots-Irish in my native Virginia.” But defeat was not something they had to worry about, and Washington would lead his army to victory and becomes the country’s first president.
In June 1776, representatives of the 13 colonies had weighed a resolution that would declare their independence from Great Britain. On July 2nd, the Continental Congress voted in favor of Independence, and two days later its delegates adopted the Declaration of Independence, a historic document drafted by Thomas Jefferson. One of the signatories was an Irish Catholic whose grandfather was born in Aghtery, a townland in County Offaly, interestingly the same county President Barack Obama traced his Irish roots to and visited in 2011.
Charles Carroll (September 19, 1737 – November 14, 1832), known as Charles Carroll of Carrollton to distinguish him from his similarly named relatives, was a wealthy Maryland planter and an early advocate of independence from Great Britain. He served as a delegate to the Continental Congress and Confederation Congress and later as first United States Senator for Maryland. He was the only Catholic and the longest-lived (and last surviving) signatory of the Declaration of Independence. He died at the age of 95 at his city mansion in the neighborhood of Jonestown in Baltimore.
Carroll was not initially interested in politics and in any event Catholics had been barred from holding office in Maryland. But as the dispute between Great Britain and the colonies intensified, Carroll became a powerful voice for independence. He wrote in the Maryland Gazette under a pseudonym. He became a prominent spokesman against the governor’s proclamation increasing legal fees to state officers and Protestant clergy. Eventually, word spread of the true identity of the columnist and Carroll’s fame and notoriety began to grow. He became a leading opponent of British rule, and served on various committees of correspondence. He also played an important role in the burning in Annapolis harbor of the “Peggy Stewart,” a ship which had been carrying tea to Maryland, and was destroyed on October 19, 1774 as part of the tea party protests.
Charles Carroll was elected to the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, and remained a delegate until 1778. He signed the official document that survives today.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt once noted something that I think speaks of the Irish contribution to the kind of loud and colorful celebration that marks the fourth day of the seventh month.
He told James Cagney: “That’s one thing I’ve always admired about you Irish Americans, you carry your love of country like a flag, right out in the open. It’s a great quality.”
I also greatly admire the love of country that every American possesses.
I hope you all have a wonderful Fourth of July.
by Áine Ní Shionnaigh
Patrick Donohue is a prominent Irish American lawyer who left his career as a lawyer to change the world for his daughter Sarah Jane, my daughter Grace Anne and countless others in the US and worldwide who have suffered a brain injury. Patrick is the perfect example of someone who has turned a tragedy into a triumph.
In 2007, Patrick set up the Sarah Jane Brain Foundation (SJBF) which is a 501c3 non for profit. The mission of the SJBF is to change the world for Sarah Jane and the millions of other children, youth and young adults who suffer from brain injury and other brain-based disorders by improving services, training and research in this country and beyond. Brain injury in youth can result in widespread impairments in cognition, motor abilities, behavior and social function. The brain remains in a developmental phase until around age 25 so recoveries are possible. However, recovery requires an integrated and individualized approach. There has to be a co-ordination between medical, educational and rehabilitation systems. SJBF’s Advisory Board is comprised of leading experts from the top major medical centers in the US and elsewhere, from Children’s Hospital Boston, Harvard Medical School, Mayo Clinic, Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital to name but a few.
In September 2013, SJBF launched the first and only school in New York City to educate and habilitate kids with brain injuries and other brain-based disorders – The International Academy of HOPE (iHOPE). The school currently has 19 students and will grow to 40 by summer 2014. The mission of iHOPE is to be the best school in the world for kids with brain injuries and brain based disorders and to translate it’s knowledge across the country and around the world by establishing other iHOPE schools.
Pediatric brain injury statistics unfortunately include more than half of our young veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with traumatic brain injuries, the average age of a veteran with TBI is about 19.3 years old. Recently the Sarah Jane Brain Foundation and iHOPE honored Sergeant First Class Cory Remsburg with the Col. Jack Jacobs Angel Award for his service to our country and for changing the way people think about brain injury. A roadside bomb in Kandahar, Afghanistan, on his 10th deployment, left Sgt Remsburg in a coma for three months, partially paralyzed and brain damaged. His father, Craig, a retired Air Force Reserve firefighter, and stepmother Annie, are his full time caretakers and accompanied him to the school where he lead the iHOPE students in the Pledge of Allegiance. When asked if he would return to war, knowing what he knows now, he replied, “in a heartbeat”. Such bravery and patriotism is not easily found.
The Sarah Jane Brain Foundation recently held a Conference in conjunction with the NFL, the title was “Finding Solutions to the Public Health Crisis” “Mild”/TBI/Concussion in Youth. The main speaker was Dr Sanjay Gupta who is the Chief Medical Correspondent at CNN and also Associate Chief of Neurosurgery at Grady Memorial Hospital. The conference was attended by top medical experts representing the top centers of excellence in Neurology and Sports Medicine from all over the US. The Sarah Jane Brain Foundation is working to prevent, identify, treat and eventually cure Pediatric Acquired Brain injuries which are the no 1 cause of death and disability for youth around the world so needs to be taken more seriously.
iHOPE school and it’s associated Foundation, the SJBF has the chance to change the lives of children and young adults that everyone else has given up on. It gives back hope in situations where hope is diminished.
“Hope is the thing with feathers
that perches in the soul,
And sings the tune–without the words,
And never stops at all.” (ED)
For more information about the Sarah Jane Brain Foundation, please visit: www.TheBrainProject.org
For more information about the International Academy of Hope, please visit: www.ihopenyc.org
Funeral services for labor leader John “Jack” Ahern will be held Friday through Sunday, from 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. at Fairchild Sons Funeral Home, 1201 Franklin Avenue, Garden City, 11503, (516)746-0585.http://www.fairchildfuneral.com/contact-and-directions
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Monday, June 23 at 9:45 a.m. at St. Brigid’s Church, 75 Post Avenue, Westbury, Long Island, NY. Interment at Gate of Heaven Cemetery, 10 W Stevens Ave., Hawthorne, in Westchester County.
Ahern, who was Grand Marshal of this year’s New York St. Patrick’s Day Parade, died after a long battle with cancer.
by Áine Ní Shionnaigh
Last week, I referred to a piece of prose “Welcome to Holland”, which employs a metaphor of excitement for a vacation to Italy that becomes a disappointment when the plane lands instead in Holland. “Holland?!?”you say. “What do you mean Holland ?? I signed up for Italy! I’m supposed to be in Italy. All my life I’ve dreamed of going to Italy.”
On the 2nd of January 2006, I personally landed in “Holland” when my beautiful daughter, Grace Anne was born. After a beyond perfect pregnancy, in one of the top hospitals in the world, something went terribly wrong and nothing could ever have prepared me for what lay ahead. A few hours after the birth, I heard those dreaded words that no parent should ever have to hear, “I have some bad news for you, your daughter has suffered a severe brain injury. She is currently on life support and it is doubtful if she will make it past day two”. In that instant, my life and the lives of many others changed forever.
The nightmare had begun, what should have been one of the happiest moments of my life, seeing my first born for the first time, became very dark, very quickly. When I saw my daughter she was unrecognizable, covered in a maze of invasive tubes, many taped to her cute little face. I couldn’t hold her or touch her. She was in an induced coma to try to prevent any further damage. I wanted to take her out and run away from the nightmare in which I found myself living. Instead of bonding with my daughter, I was bombarded with medical terminologies, MRIs and CAT scans of my newborn’s brain, where, as one doctor glibly put it “everything had been wiped out”, there was no longer any differentiation between the grey and white matter. I was even dissuaded from pumping my breast milk, advice I ignored as I wasn’t as ready to give up. Through endless meetings with doctors, specialists, a bereavement counsellor, a chaplain, the local funeral undertaker, I struggled so hard to find some small comfort in the idea that Grace Anne was an angel and would always be with me, something that no earthly person could ever be. She was christened on my birthday in the NICU and then the machine was turned off, a few tense moments passed and then Grace Anne revealed her ‘West of Ireland’ determination. She wasn’t quite ready for heaven yet, when the humming of the ventilator subsided, she took her first breath on her own.
I was told a complex multiplicity of medical conditions that my daughter would have. Any single one of these issues would be catastrophic on their own, I was taking in tens if not hundreds of them. I met with many different specialists all dealing with different aspects of Grace Anne’s condition. Any information was of course bad news. She left the hospital on Valentine’s Day with a diagnosis of severe quadriplegic cerebral palsy, severe seizure disorder, severe digestive disorder, severely impacted muscle tone, legally blind, and a myriad more conditions all caused by the brain injury.
One of the most difficult challenges was how to respond to people’s reactions, which is something I may write a book about someday, “What NOT to say to a parent of a child with special needs”. I constantly heard comments such as “such a shame and she is so pretty, she could have been a model”, “ you are great, I could never cope with that”, “God won’t give you a cross you can’t carry”. I ached to rewind my life, to have a life that did not revolve around therapies and doctor appointments and trips to the ER in the middle of the night that ended up being week long hospitalizations. Being a first time parent is an exhausting, puzzling experience anyway under the best circumstances. Being the parent of a child with a disability extends the parameters beyond the place to which most people can relate. The tension created by this isolation exacerbates the all-consuming grief. I was tired beyond belief; there were no answers only endless suggestions, which although well-meaning, become almost painful to hear. The answering machine was always full and I hadn’t the energy to listen to messages. In the beginning I needed to shut the world out to conserve what little energy I had left to look after my special child who also had severe gastric issues which meant she cried constantly all day long. The night was my only reprieve, to sleep and slip into silence. I badly needed extra help, extra kindness, extra compassion but I didn’t know how to ask for it. I had learned to put on as I called it ‘my suit of armor’ to stifle my feelings of absolute grief, sorrow and despair. I was in mourning but I couldn’t mourn the loss as Grace Anne had way more needs than a typical new baby.
Having Grace Anne changed the way I view my life. My priorities changed completely, what used to seem so important is so totally irrelevant now. Grace Anne has a great deal to offer the world. She has taught me the real meaning of unconditional love, happiness, perseverance and determination. Putting aside the medical issues, she is a cute red haired, blue eyed, freckle faced little girl who was born with a happy fighting spirit and seems tuned into a better quality frequency than the rest of us. If I ever take time to cry, she thinks I am laughing and she starts to giggle. I feel there is something deeper here, that she knows love and grief spring from the same well. Grief can wake us up and make us whole in a way we never were before. I almost feel I am a more complete person now than before.
Life did get better and the time came when I began to feel positive and energized again but only and I stress only, because I am lucky enough to live here in the US where it is recognized that the parent of a child with a disability needs professional help to assist them looking after that child. A situation with a child that needs 24hr care is overwhelming. Currently, with the help of my beyond amazing nurses: Diana, Imelda and Valerie, my life has become livable again, I can now see the light again at the end of the tunnel. I don’t want my life or Grace Anne’s life to be defined by her disability. Next week I will tell you all about Grace Anne’s amazing school: iHOPE, the International Academy of Hope, www.ihopenyc.org, which has succeeded in giving hope again to Grace Anne and I. iHOPE has the chance to change the lives of children that everyone else has given up on. Its purpose is to give hope to special children and their families and that it does. Grace Anne and I would love you all to join us at iHOPE on Thursday, June 26th at lunchtime 12 – 2 where I will host a special Irish American luncheon to introduce iHOPE to the Irish American community. I hope to see some of you there. www.ihopenyc.org for details. To be continued next week…..
A Dad with a Difference
by Áine Ní Shionnaigh
“We must never forget that we may also find meaning in life even when confronted with a hopeless situation, when facing a fate that cannot be changed. For what then matters is to bear witness to the uniquely human potential at its best, which is to transform a personal tragedy into a triumph, to turn one’s predicament into a human achievement. (Victor Frankl, A Man’s Search for Meaning). In my life experience so far, no one has epitomized this ability to turn a personal tragedy into a triumph, better than Patrick Donohue, Irish American, prominent lawyer, finance director, visionary, and Dad of Sarah Jane Donohue.
Patrick and I have something in common: we are both parents of children who suffered a brain injury and we are both 100% committed to helping them live the best lives that they possibly can.
In December 2006 when sending my annual Christmas letter to friends and family back in Ireland, I enclosed a poem as I felt it helped to explain the unexplainable. The poem was titled “Welcome to Holland”, which was written by Emily Kingsley, about having a child with a disability. The essay employs a metaphor of excitement for a vacation to Italy that becomes a disappointment when the plane lands instead in Holland. “Holland?!?” you say. “What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I’m supposed to be in Italy. All my life I’ve dreamed of going to Italy.” The metaphor is that the trip to Italy is a typical birth and child-raising experience, and that the trip to Holland is the experiencing of having and raising a child with special-needs. “But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy… and they’re all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say “Yes, that’s where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had planned.” In the end, however, the reader sees that the ‘trip’ is still well worth it: “But… if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things … about Holland.”
Interestingly these are the same lines Patrick Donohue recently chose as the opening lines for the short documentary he made to introduce iHOPE, his pioneering new school for children with brain injuries. Nine years ago on June 5th, also Patrick’s own Birthday, Sarah Jane Donohue was born at Manhattan’s Lenox Hill hospital, a healthy, happy baby with stunning brown eyes framed by exotic dark thick lashes. All was well with the world, or so it seemed. Tragically, 5 days later when Sarah Jane was in the safety of her own home, with her parents sleeping in the next room, she was violently shaken by her baby nurse, causing serious injury: breaking both her collarbones, four ribs and causing a severe Pediatric Acquired Brain Injury – PABI. Doctors were shocked at the severity of her injuries. On that night, Sarah Jane’s life and that of her family changed forever.
Gradually Patrick Donohue began a new career “changing the world for Sarah Jane”. He began by setting up a nonprofit advocacy group, The Sarah Jane Brain Foundation in 2007. Then in 2009, he put together an advisory board that drew together 75 experts in the field of brain injury from all over the US and Canada. The mission is to create a model system of care for children and young adults suffering from all Pediatric Acquired Brain Injuries in order to advance our knowledge of the brain fifty years over the next five years. This past September, Patrick founded the first school in NYC for children who have suffered a brain injury, iHOPE, the International Academy of Hope, which is groundbreaking in it’s treatment and approach to children with brain injuries. Sarah Jane attends this school as does my daughter, Grace Anne and it is changing their lives dramatically one day at the time. www.ihopenyc.org www.thebrainproject.org
When we face great challenges in our lives, we have two choices, we can lie down and let the challenge overcome us or we can decide to draw on an inner strength we didn’t know we had and continue our lives, armed with the determination that we are not going to let this adversity define us.
As Joe Biden recently said at an Irish American event here in New York : “there is something uniquely Irish about maintaining hope in light of tragedy, that the Irish know “that to live is to be hurt, but we’re still not afraid to live.”
To be continued next week ……
“Ní mór dúinn dearmad a dhéanamh gur féidir linn brí a fháil sa saol, fiú nuair déileáil le staid gan dóchas, nuair atá os ár gcomhair cinniúint nach féidir a athrú. Chun an méid sin ábhair is finné a iompróidh an acmhainneacht uathúil daonna ag a fearr, a bhfuil a chlaochlú tragóid pearsanta i bua, dul amháin isteach éacht daonna. (Victor Frankl). I mo shaoil go dtí seo, níl aon duine eiseamláir seo cumas chun dul tragóid pearsanta i bua, níos fearr ná Patrick Donohue, Mheiriceánach Éireannach, dlíodóir feiceálach, stiúrthóir airgeadais, aislingeach, agus Daid do Sarah Jane Donohue.
Tá rud éigin i gcoitinne idir Patrick agus mise. Tá páistí speisialta ag an bheirt again, leanaí a d’fhulaing díobháil inchinne agus go bhfuilmuid araon 100% tiománta cabhrú leo cónaí ar an saol is fearr gur féidir leo.
I mí na Nollag 2006 nuair a sheol mé mo litir Nollag bliantúil chuig mo chairde agus mo chlann ar ais in Éirinn, sheol mé dán freisin mar cheap mé gur chabhraigh an dán a mhíniú an rud nach raibh míniú. B’é teideal an dán “Fáilte go dtí an Ollainn”, a bhí scríofa ag Emily Kingsley, i dtaobh a leanbh faoi mhíchumas. Fostaíonn an aiste a meafar de cipíní le haghaidh saoire go dtí an Iodáil a thiocfaidh chun bheith ina díomá nuair a tailte an eitleáin ionad san Ísiltír. “Ollainn?!?” A deir tú. “Cad a dhéanann tú chiallaíonn Ollainn?? Shínigh mé suas don Iodáil! Tá mé ceaptha a bheith san Iodáil. Gach lá mo shaol a bhí mé ag tnúth le dul go dtí an Iodáil.” Is é an meafar go bhfuil an turas go dtí an Iodáil breithe tipiciúil agus taithí tógála leanaí, agus go bhfuil an turas go dtí an Ollainn ag fulaingt bhfuil agus tógála leanaí a bhfuil riachtanais speisialta. “Ach tá gach duine a fhios agat gnóthach ag teacht agus ag dul ón Iodáil … agus tá siad ag caint faoin an am iontach a bhí acu ann. Agus don chuid eile de do shaol, beidh tú ag rá “Tá, go nuair a bhí ceaptha agam a dul. Sin an méid a bhí beartaithe agam.” Sa deireadh, áfach, feictear an léitheoir go bhfuil an ‘turas’ fós fiú go maith é: “Ach … má chaitheann tú do shaol caoineadh ar an bhfíric nach raibh tú go dtí an Iodáil, ní féidir leat a bheith saor chun taitneamh a bhaint as na rudaí an-álainn an-speisialta … faoi Ollainn. “
Suimiúil b’iad na línte céanna a roghnaigh Patrick Donohue le déanaí mar na línte oscailt don chlár faisnéise gairid a rinne sé chun aird a tharraignt ar iHOPE, scoil nua ceannródaíoch do leanaí le gortuithe inchinne. Naoi mbliana ó shin ar 5 Meitheamh, freisin, lá breithe Phádraig féin, a rugadh Sarah Jane Donohue ag Lenox Cnoc ospidéal Manhattan, leanbh sláintiúil, sona, le súile donn doimhne, frámaithe le fabhraí coimhthíocha tiubh dorcha. Bhí gach rud go maith leis an domhan, nó mar sin a dhealraigh sé. Go tragóideach, cúig lá ina dhiaidh sin nuair a bhí Sarah Jane sábháilteacht sa bhaile féin, lena tuismitheoirí ina chodladh sa seomra eile, bhí sí chroitheadh foirtil ag a altra leanbh, is cúis le díobháil thromchúiseach: bhriseadh dá cuid cnámha múineáil, ceithre easnacha agus is cúis le dian Pediatric Gortú Inchinne Faighte – PABI. Bhí ionadh ar na dochtúirí ag an déine a díobhálacha. Ar an oíche sin, d’athraigh saol Sarah Jane agus saol a theaghlaigh go leor.
De réir a chéile thosaigh Patrick slí bheatha nua “ag athrú an domhain le haghaidh Sarah Jane”. Thosaigh sé le grúpa abhcóideacht, An Sarah Jane Brain Foundation i 2007. Ansin i 2009, chuir sé le chéile Bord Comhairleach a tharraing le chéile 75 saineolaithe i réimse an díobháil inchinne ó gach cearn na Stáit Aontaithe agus Ceanada. Is é an misean a chruthú córas múnla cúraim do pháistí agus do dhaoine fásta óga atá ag fulaingt ó gach ‘Acquired Brain Injury’ in ord lenár n-eolas ar an inchinn a chur chun cinn caoga bliain thar na cúig bliana atá romhainn. An Meán Fómhair seo chaite, bunaíodh Patrick an chéad scoil i NYC do leanaí a d’fhulaing díobháil inchinne, iHOPE, an Acadamh Idirnáisiúnta an Dóchais, atá úrnua i sé cóireáil agus cur chuige maidir le leanaí le gortuithe inchinne. Sarah Jane Freastalaíonn Sarah Jane an scoil seo mar a fhreastalaíonn mo ‘níon, Grace Anne agus tá athrú mór tagtha ar a saol cheana féin. www.ihopenyc.org , www.thebrainproject.org
Nuair a bhíonn dúshláin mór againn in ár saol, ní mór dúinn dhá rogha, is féidir linn a luí síos agus lig an dúshlán a shárú linn nó is féidir linn a chinneadh a tharraingt ar neart inmheánach nach raibh a fhios againn a bhí againn agus leanúint ar aghaidh lenár saol, armtha leis an gcinneadh nach bhfuil muid ag dul chun ligean seo angar shainmhíníonn.
Mar a dúirt Joe Biden le déanaí ag ócáid Meiriceánach Éireannach anseo i Nua-Eabhrac: “go bhfuil rud éigin uathúil an Ghaeilge faoi dhóchas a chothabháil i bhfianaise na tragóid, go bhfuil fhios ag na hÉireannaigh” is é sin le cónaí a bheith gortaithe, ach táimid fós nach bhfuil eagla a beo. “
Chun a bheith ar lean an tseachtain seo chugainn ……
Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum at Quinnipiac University, located at 3011 Whitney Ave., Hamden, CT. For details visit www.ighm.org or call (203) 582-8655. The Spring 2014 Program Schedule of Events is now available online.
Sea Marks at Irish Rep – Sea Marks, an Irish Love Story by Gardner McKay, directed by Ciaran O’Reilly, is now playing through June 15 at The Irish Repertory Theatre, 132 West 22nd Street (betw. 6th 7 7th Aves.), NYC. See www.IrishRep.org or call (212) 727-2737.
Irish Rep Gala Performance – The Irish Repertory Theatre 2014 Gala Performance on Broadway for One Night Only, Monday, June 9 featuring The Spectacular Songs of Lerner & Loewe. Introduced by Joel Grey and performed by a galaxy of Broadway stars. See www.IrishRep.org or call 212-727-2737.
Bloomsday on Broadway XXXIII Co-produced by Symphony Space and Irish Arts Center, Monday, June 16 at 7PM at Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway at 95th Street, New York. Tickets online or call (212) 864-5400.
Yeats International Summer School – The 55th Annual Yeats International Summer School will be held July 27 to August 8, 2014 at Yeats Memorial Building, Hyde Bridge, Sligo. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mass and Spiritual Events
The Sunday Mass is available on the following TV Channels; Channel 5, WNYW-TV 5:30 a.m.; WLNY Channel 10/55 9 a.m.; The Net (formerly The Prayer Channel) on Time Warner Channel 97 and Cablevision Channel 30 @ 6 pm on Saturday.
Corpus Christi Procession – The Seventh Annual Corpus Christi Procession of St. Sebastian Parish, Woodside, Queens will be held on Sunday, June 22 following the 1:15pm Mass. The Blessed Eucharist will be carried through the streets of Woodside by the Pastor, Rev. Kevin P. Abels. The Procession will make three stops along the route to bless three homes of parishioners, on 58th Street, 60th Street and 41st Drive. See www.stsebastianwoodside.org
J1 Summer Orientation Sessions 2014 – The Emerald Isle Immigration Center will hold J1 Orientation Meetings in Bronx and Queens from June 2-13, meetings in Bronx at 3pm and Queens at 2pm daily. Further info. call (718) 324-3039.
Understanding Ulysses – James Joyce Bloomsday Celebration: Understanding Ulysses. Introduction to ULYSSES, masterpiece revealed. Presented by Micheál ÓMáille, native of Connemara, Co. Galway, Professor, Historian Lecturer. On June 11 at 7pm at Middletown Township Public Library, 55 New Monmouth Road, Middletown, NJ. Further information at 732-671-3700 x 353.
Ancient Irish Genealogies – On Saturday June 21 at 11 am, at Bethpage Public Library, 47 Powell Ave., Bethpage, NY, the Irish Family History Forum will present Jerry Kelly from the Irish Studies Institute at Molloy College. Jerry will discuss the ancient Irish genealogical tradition within its context of Seanchas. Preceding the lecture, starting at 10am, family historian Kathleen McGee will moderate a help session for those researching their Irish roots. The Irish Family History Forum meets monthly at the Library. All lectures are free and open to the public. Visit www.ifhf.org
Seminar at Molloy College – The Irish Studies Institute at Molloy College will offer a directed research seminar in Ancient Irish Genealogy from 7-9PM on Tuesday evenings for 8 weeks from June 3 to July 22, 2014. To register contact Catherine Tully Muscente at (516) 323-4710 or email@example.com
Michael Brady Memorial Social – The Michael Brady Memorial Social/Seeking Vision will be held on June 8 at 6pm, at the Kerry Hall, 305 McLean Ave., Yonkers, NY. Music by Doonbeg musicians and friends. Donation $20. All proceeds are for the visually impaired people of Co. Clare. Further information at (516) 352-0749.
The Celtic Cruise – Celtic Charity Inc & AOH Div. 7 present The Celtic Cruise aboard the Spirit of New York to benefit the Emerald Isle Immigration Center on Wednesday, June 4. Featuring live music by Celtic Cross, The Cunningham Brothers, The Shay Mac Band. Hot and Cold Buffet Dinner, Full open bar. Board at Chelsea Piers Pier 62, West 23rd Street and 12th Avenue, NYC. For more info visit www.celticcharity.com or call 212-717-9955.
Goal USA 2014 Benefit Ball will be held on Friday, October 17 at Gotham Hall, 1356 Boadway, NYC. Secure a table and celebrate GOAL’s lifesaving work around the world. Information: Elaine, firstname.lastname@example.org
Daltai na Gaeilge Picnic Samhradh – Daltai na Gaeilge will hold their Annual Summer Picnic on Saturday, June 21 beginning at noon, at Monmouth Park Racetrack, Oceanport, NJ. Adults $15; Children $7:50. Register & pay online – www.daltai.com/events/regsummerpicnic.htm or call (732) 571-1988.
A Gathering of Drinans – A Gathering of those descended from the Drinans who emigrated from Co. Cork from 1800 onwards will be held on August 10 at the Tracton Arts and Community Centre, South County Cork. A genealogical, historical and social event organized by Professor John Drinan, New South Wales. Contact: email@example.com or call Eileen McGough at 011 353 21 4770676 for further information.
The Irish Arts Center located at 553 W. 51st St., NYC, offers programs for children including Irish Dancing, Celtic Harp and Gaelic Kids. See www.irishartscenter.org
Exhibition – Do you know anyone who emigrated from Co. Cavan? Cavan County Museum is currently working on an exhibition and looking for photos, tickets, letters and any other memorabilia associated with emigration. Our exhibition covers emigration in the past but also up to the present. If you have any items that would be relevant please contact the museum on 011-353-49-8544070 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Donegal County Council and the Donegal County Heritage Forum have joined with The Heritage Council to find out more about what Donegal people took with them when they emigrated to various parts of the world throughout the centuries. The Co. Donegal Heritage Office will publish a booklet based on the information collected and are keen to have people contribute their own stories about the items that their family took with them. This may include objects such as suitcases, their contents, small household items, tools, religious artifacts and photographs that people took with them at the time of their migration or letters that people sent home. If you would like to share your own family’s story or participate in this wonderful project please contact the County Donegal Heritage Office by e-mail at: email@example.com or by telephone at (074) 91 72576. For further information see website at www.donegalcoco.ie/heritage
An Siopa Leabhar ar-line go fior-luath at www.cnag.ie
For details of events at Glucksman Ireland House at NYU (readings, talks, lectures, film screenings, concerts and workshops), visit www.irelandhouse.fas.nyu.edu or call (212) 998-3850.
Abstract Works – Feargal Doyle will offer a series of moving and evocative abstract works based on places from his past, through June 16, at the Irish Arts Center, 553 West 51st St., NYC. More details at www.irishartscenter.org
The 20th Annual Catskills Irish Arts Week will be held from Sunday, July 13 – Saturday, July 19.
The Coleman-O’Grady Branch of Comhaltas will hold a Ceili on Friday, June 8 at 8pm in the Kerry Hall, 305 McLean Ave., Yonkers, NY. At 7pm the prize-winning pupils of the Erin Loughran School of Music will host a session. Come early and wish them luck when they compete at the all-Ireland Fleadh in Sligo. Information: 718-822-2791.
HOPe Ceili – The next HOPe (Helping Other People) Ceili will be held on June 29 at 4pm in the Kerry Hall, 305 McLean Ave., Yonkers, NY. Music by the Pride of Moyvane Band. At 3pm, there will be a session by the students of Erin Loughran. For details call (914) 237-2177.
Trad and Country Session – On Friday, June 6 at 7:30 pm, a Trad and Country Session will be held at the Irish American Center, 297 Willis Ave., Mineola, NY. Admission $10 per person. All musicians welcome. Details (516) 746-9392.
Irish Night Concert in Massapequa – The Ancient Order of Hibernians Div. 15 of Nassau County and Massapequa, L.I., will present an evening of Irish entertainment with live traditional music by renowned Irish entertainers on Saturday, June 28 at Brady Park on Front St., in the village of Massapequa Park, NY. Free admission. Further information at (516) 799-5413 or 516-798-0244.
Celtic Twilight Christmas – Phil Coulter and Andy Cooney will present a Celtic Twilight Christmas at Carnegie Hall on Monday, Dec. 8. For information call (516) 798-3014 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dance in Mineola – On Saturday, June 7 at 8:30 pm, a dance with Dennis Gallery & Celtic Justice will be held at the Irish American Center, 297 Willis Ave., Mineola, NY. Adm. $20 per person. Details at (516) 746-9392.
IBA Annual Awards Dinner – The 6th Annual Awards Dinner will be held on June 17, 6-9pm at The Westwood, 438 North Ave., Garwood, NJ. Honoring O’Connor Davies, Company of the Year; Richard C. Callaghan, Jr., R. Seelaus & Co., Inc., Man of the Year and Kerri Smith, Kerri Smith Academy of Irish Dance, Woman of the Year. Keynote Speaker: Mike Farragher. Dinner & Program, Live Music & Open Bar. Entertainment. Tickets $90 per person. Further information go to email@example.com
Satharn na nGael – Daltai na Gaeilge will hold (A Gaelic Saturday) an immersion course in the Irish language on Saturday, June 7 at The Irish Center, (aka The Commodore Barry Club), 6815 Emlen St., Philadelphia, PA. Details at www.daltai.com
Gaeltacht Week – Daltai na Gaeilge will hold a Gaeltacht Week, immersion course in the Irish Language, from Sunday, Aug. 24 through Saturday, Aug. 30 at Marist Brothers Retreat Center, 1455 Broadway, Rte. 9W, Esopus, NY. See www.daltai.com or call 732-571-1988.
Irish Arts Center Spring Season –The Irish Arts Center’s 2014 Spring season runs thru June 20. Featuring music, theatre, dance, film, literary events, visual arts and children’s events. See www.irishartscenter.org or call 866-811-4111. Sundays at Seven is held the 2nd Sunday of every month.
Irish Studies Institute at Molloy College – The Spring term of the Irish Studies Institute at Molloy College is now in session. The Institute offers classes in Irish Language and Gaelic culture at all levels for school age children and adults. Discounts apply including the Institute two-for-one program and 25 percent off for children. Details at www.irishtribes.com/molloy.html. To register call Catherine Tully Muscente at (516) 323-4710 and firstname.lastname@example.org
MA in Irish and Irish-American Studies at NYU’s Glucksman Ireland House. New scholarships available for MA in Irish and Irish American Studies in the following fields: Irish Literature, Irish History, Irish Music and Cultural Studies, Irish American Studies, Digital Scholarship. See www.irelandhouse.as.nyu.edu/
The Emerald Isle Immigration Center, Katonah Ave., Woodlawn offers Irish language classes on Mondays for beginners (9:30am) and advanced (10:30am). For further information call (718) 324-3039 ext. 101.
Irish Language classes for adults and children are now available at the New York Irish Center, 1040 Jackson Ave., Queens, NY. For more info. Email: Gaelic4Kids@NewYorkIrishCenter.org Family discounts available.
Irish Language Program at Lehman College Bronx. Registration is now underway for spring 2014 courses. See http://www.lehmangaeilge.org/
Irish Language classes at all levels are now available at Glucksman Ireland House Details, (212) 477-6177 or email@example.com
The Gerry Tobin Irish Language School is holding a new semester of free Irish language classes on Wednesdays at AOH Hall 27 Locust Ave, Babylon, NY. Details at www.scoilgaeilge.org or call (631) 521-1227.
Philo-Celtic Classes The “Philo-Celtic Classes” now available free on the internet worldwide at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/philo-celticsociety
Philo Celtic Society – The 20 Month Strategy for the Irish Language is now available from The Philo-Celtic Society at http://philo-celtic.com/20-month-strategy-for-the-irish-language.html
For the latest information on Andy Cooney’s concerts, trips, cruises and recordings visit www.andycooney.com
Andy Cooney’s Cruise schedule for 2014 includes Hawaii, May 29-June 8 and Canadian Irish Party Cruise, September 20-27. Call Travel Professionals 800-724-9511 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Andy Cooney All Star Cruise of Irish Stars to the Western Caribbean – Andy announces his star-studded Irish party cruise of the year – Western Caribbean Cruise of Irish Stars, January 18-25, 2015 featuring Andy Cooney and his Band, Ronan Tynan, Mike Denver and his Band, Paddy Noonan, Kathy and Andreas Durkin, John Whelan & The Cape May Ceili Band and many more Irish stars. Details, Travel Professionals 800-724-9511 or email@example.com
Andy Cooney’s Musical Tour of Ireland 2014 takes place October 6-16. For further information and reservations call Caddie Tours at 1-866-387-6759 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Paddy Noonan’s Caribbean Sunrise Cruise will be held August 14-23, Roundtrip from Port Liberty, Bayonne, NJ aboard Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas. Musical guests will include Jimmy Walsh, Tommy Mulvihill and PJ Cardinal. For information and reservations call 1-518-624-6699 or Seanachietravel@aol.com
Gertrude Byrne Promotions All Star Irish Caribbean Charter Cruise February 7-14, 2015, featuring Ireland’s superstar Daniel O’Donnell and many more Irish stars. For information call 1-800-356-4713 or 1-561-852-6376.
New Jersey Festival – The 44th Annual New Jersey Irish Festival will be held on Sunday, June 8, 12pm-7pm, at Monmouth Park Racetrack in Oceanport, NJ. See www.nj-irishfestival.com
Hoboken Irish Cultural Festival – The 3rd annual festival will be held on Saturday June 7, at Sinatra Drive, bet. 4th & 5th Sts., Hoboken. Featuring performances by McLean Avenue Band, Gold n’Brown, Garden St. Irish Step Dancers and Emerald Fire, Kerri Smith Academy of Irish Dance, Soda Bread Contest, Hoboken Hurling Club demo, vendors, sheep shearing demo, children’s activities and lots more. Details at 201-420-2207. Or email: email@example.com
United Irish Counties Feis – The 76th Feis of the United Irish Counties Association will be held on Sunday, June 8, 2014 at Saunders Trades High School, 183 Palmer Road, Yonkers, NY. Doors open at 8:00 a.m. Competitions start 9:00 a.m. sharp. Syllabus available online: www.uicany.org For questions or information UnitedIrishCounties@gmail.com
The 26th Annual East Durham Irish Feis will be held Saturday, August 23, 2014. Go to www.mjqirishcentre.com for more information.
Rockland Feis The 41st Annual Rockland County Feis & Field Games will be held, Sunday July 20th beginning 8:45am-8pm at German Masonic Park, 89 Western Highway, Tappan, NY (Exit 6E Palisates Int. Parkway). See www.rocklandcountyfeis.com Registration www.feisweb.com
The Celtic Heritage Hour with Joe Brennan Vogel Sundays 8 to 10 a.m. at 89.5 WSOU Seton Hall Radio. Details, (973) 761-9768.
The Leitrim Ceili will be broadcast on Tuesday at 8 p.m., and repeats on Wednesday at 4PM on 90.3 FM, WHPC. The station of Nassau Community College. Details, (516) 572-7438.
WFUV 90.7 FM presents the following programs: Saturdays, 8-9 a.m. “Mile Failte,” 9 am to Noon “A Thousand Welcomes” Noon to 1 p.m., “Thistle and Shamrock” with Fiona Richie. On Sundays, Ceol na Gael is broadcast from Noon to 4PM. Details, (718) 817-4550.
The “Irish Hour” airs over WKNY 1490 AM every Sunday from 8 to 9 a.m. Sponsored by AOH Div. 1, Ulster County. Listen live at www.wkny1490am.com on Sundays.
Raidio Failte is now available worldwide on the internet. Detailswww.raidiofailte.com and press ‘Eist’ or ‘Listen’ to hear Belfast’s only Irish language radio station. The first Irish language station in the North of Ireland includes music, Gaeilge, Scottish, folk, traditional and world music as well as news, chat, language lessons and craic. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or Tel. 011-447726572357.
“A Drop of the Irish” airs on WTBQ 1110 AM in Orange County NY, every Sunday at Noon and repeats Saturdays at 6 p.m. Also online at www.wtbq.com Host, Paul Byrne. Details, (845) 800-2124.
WRHU 88.7. The Long Ireland Show, hosted by Eileen Cronin airs on Saturdays 2-5 pm on WRHU 88.7 FM Radio Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY. Featuring county interviews, trivia and Irish music. From 5-8pm on Saturdays Kevin Westley hosts “That’s How I Spell Ireland.” Tune in for live webcast at www.wrhu.org
The “Voice of Erin” radio show is broadcast on Sundays at 4:30 pm, on New York’s WRTN 93.5 FM www.radioerin.com
Ireland Calls “Ireland Calls” a music and news summary from Ireland is co-hosted by Tommy Smyth and Treasa Goodwin and is broadcast on Saturdays at 6 pm over WVOX 1460 AM. Now available on the internet, log onto www.wvox.com and click on listen live.
“Ireland Then and Now” Kean University’s radio 90.3 WKNJ-FM hosted by Ed Callaghan and Fred Marder on Tuesdays from 4 to 6 pm. Details, (908) 737-3949 or www.kean.edu
“The Adrian Flannelly Show” every Saturday: New York Tri State regional radio broadcast area: 9AM-10AM WNYE 91.5FM – National Public Radio – HD1. 10AM – 12 Noon WVNJ 1160AM Details, (212) 935-0606 or email email@example.com
Celtic Hour from Seton Hall The Celtic Heritage Hour with Joe Brennan Vogel features music, news, reports and interviews Sundays 8 to 10 am, at 89.5 WSOU Seton Hall Radio. Details, (973) 761-9768.
Brendan Daly hosts WVKR, 91.3 FM, live Irish radio on Tuesdays, 10 am – Noon and Saturdays, 3 – 4 pm, from Vassar College, Poughkeepsie with news, music, GAA results. Details, www.IrishRadioNY.com
The “Irish Road Show” music, songs and information on the island of Ireland is worldwide at your convenience. Go to www.irelandsownradio.com Host, Martin Costello (732) 615-9002.
The Emerald Isle Immigration Center, Katonah Ave., Woodlawn, offers knitting classes on Tuesdays at 10am. Wool and needles are provided and finished products are donated to local charities and nursing homes. Details, (718) 324-3039 ext. 101.
The New York Irish Center, 10-40 Jackson Ave., Long Island City, NY, offers free services and events also classes in Irish dancing, music and language. For details, (718) 482-0909.
Emerald Isle Immigration Center For details of services offered at the Emerald Isle Immigration Center Woodside (59-26 Woodside Ave., Queens) and Woodlawn (4275 Katonah Ave., Bronx) call (718) 478-5502 for Woodside or http://www.eiic.org and (718) 324-3039 for Woodlawn.
HOPe Charity 2014 Golf Outing. The 7th Annual HOPe Charity Golf Outing will be held on Monday, June 30th at Rockland Country Club, Sparkhill, NY beginning at 10:30 am with breakfast. Register by June 10th as space is limited. www.hope-charity.org or call Loretta King 203-667-6347.
14th Annual Irish Sports Expo – The Friendly Sons of the Shillelagh Essex will host the 14th Annual Expo of Irish Sports on June 8, 12pm – 7pm., at Kelly Athletic Complex SHP, 648 Prospect Ave., West Orange, NJ. The event encourages Irish culture, traditions and camaraderie through Irish sport. Hurling matches will be played with teams from Ulster, NY, Hoboken, NJ, Rockland, NY and Allentown, PA, and a Rugby match between Montclair and Bayonne. Further info at 973-325-9338. www.facebook.com/ShillelaghClub
GAA Games Broadcast in Mineola – For information on GAA games to be broadcast at the Irish American Center in Mineola please call (516) 746-9392.
Join Goal USA’s 2014 TCS New York City Marathon Team. Guaranteed entry to the NYC Marathon on Sunday, November 2. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call (212) 831-7420.
Irish Heritage Night – The Brooklyn Cyclones, a Class A affiliate of the New York Mets, is hosting its annual “Irish Heritage Night” at MCU Park, Brooklyn, NY on Thursday, July 31 at 7pm. The team will give away specially made Shamrock Jerseys to the first 3,000 fans in attendance. Further information please call (212) 355-0400.
The Irish American Gaelic Society of Tucson meets third Sunday of month at VFW Post 549, 1884 S. Caycroft, Phoenix. Details, (520) 586-4513.
The Irish Foundation of Arizona meets first Wednesday of month, 7 pm, at Irish Cultural Center, 1106 N. Central Ave., Phoenix. Details, (602) 258-0109.
An Irish Music Festival will be held on August 21 at South Shore Music Circus, 130 Sohier St., Cohasset. Featuring Eileen Ivers & Immigrant Soul, Fighting Jamesons and Celtica: Pipes Rock. Further information, please call 781-383-9850.
WNTN-AM 1550 Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann promotes Irish traditional music and dance throughout the world. The weekly radio program is broadcast each Saturday from Noon to 1:30 pm on WNTN-AM 1550.
The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm. Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. Located at Columbia Point, Boston. Details, www.jfklibrary.org or (617) 514-1600.
Community Counseling Services (serving all nations) are offered at the Irish Immigration Center, 59 Temple Place, Boston. Details, (617) 542-7654.
For details of concerts and events in Massachusetts visit www.IrishMassachusetts.com
WGBH FM 89.7 broadcasts A Celtic Sojourn Radio Program, a selection of traditional and contemporary music from the Celtic countries on Saturday afternoons. Hosted by Brian O’Donovan. Details, (617) 300-5400 or email@example.com
Boston Radio Station WERS 88.9 FM, presents “Celtic Traditions” every Sunday from 6 to 8 a.m. Details, (617) 578-8890.
The Sean Folan Show airs on Boston Cable Channel 23A Fridays at 9 pm and on Norwood and Westwood Cable on Tuesdays at 7:30 pm. Details, (617) 983-9094.
WROL 950 AM Feast of Irish Music show, features news, music, weather and sports live from Ireland on Sundays from 1 to 5 pm. Details, (617) 328-0880 ext. 501.
For details and events at The Irish Cultural Center, 200 New Boston Drive, Canton, call (781) 821-8291 or visit www.irishculture.org
For a full schedule of events at St. Brigid’s Centre for the Arts and Humanities, home of the National Irish Canadian Culture Centre, 310 St. Patrick St., Ottawa, visit www.SAINTBRIGIDS.CA or call (613) 244-7373.
For details of events and happenings at Gaelic Park, located at 6119 W. 147th St., Oak Forest, call (708) 598-6800 or www.chicagogaelicpark.org
The Irish American Heritage Center, 4626 N. Knox Ave., Chicago, offers Irish cultural events and entertainment. For details, (773) 282-7035 or www.irishamhc.com For information, call the center at (773) 282-7035.
On Sunday evenings from 7-9, WCEV 1450 AM in Chicago broadcasts news and sports direct from Ireland also latest events and happenings at Gaelic Park. The program can be heard live over the internet on Sunday evenings at www.wcev1450.com Details, (708) 687-9330.
The Denver AOH meets second Wednesday of month in Denver Press Club. Details, (303) 439-0924.
The West Coast Irish American Club has moved its meeting location to the Scottish American Hall, 917 Louden Ave., Dunedin, FL 34698. Meetings are held the third Thursday of the month at 8pm. Further information at 727-784-3174.
The Sons and Daughters of Erin hold monthly meetings the third Wednesday of month at 6:30 PM, at San Marco Parish Center. New members welcome. Details, (239) 394-0229.
The Friendly Sons and Daughters of Ireland meet at 7 pm on the third Tuesday of each month at the Knights of Columbus Hall, Ravenswood Lane, Port St. Lucie. Details, (772) 873-6615; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Irish American Club of Central Florida meets second Sunday of month, 1:30 pm, at St. Mary Magdalene Church, Maitland. Details, (386) 668-0159.
The Hibernian Benevolent Society of Atlanta meets second Thursday of month, 7 pm, at Harp Irish Pub, Roswell. Info. (770) 640-0287 or www.irishatlanta.com
The Acadian Division of the AOH meets last Thursday of month at 6:30 pm, in meeting room at Lafayette Motors, 1515 Jefferson St., Lafayette. Details, (337) 856-9001.
Auditions for Irish Christmas Revels. Men and women (18 and over) are invited to the adult auditions for the 32nd annual Christmas Revels, a festive, fully-staged musical and theatrical production to be held December 6-14 at GW Lisner Auditorium. For more information about the audition please visit http://revelsdc.org/auditions.html
Reflections of Ireland on WHFC 91.1 FM, with host Ed McBride, is broadcast Sundays 4-6pm, and also on the web at www.whfc911.org Details, (410) 256-1010.
The Crotty-Doran Branch (Detroit-Windsor) of Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann holds classes in language, music, and dance every Thursday night at the White Heather Club, 150 Vester, Ferndale. Details, (734) 420-0962.
Gaelic League. Irish entertainment, featuring dance, ceili and tin whistle every weekend in the Gaelic League, 2068 Michigan Ave., Detroit. Details, (313) 537-3489.
The 7th annual Minnesota Irish Music Weekend will be held June 13-15 at the Center for Irish Music, 836 Prior Avenue North,, St. Paul. Information at (651) 815-0083.
Celtic Festival Missoula will be held July 25 & 26. A celebration of great Celtic culture featuring music, dance and food. Operating on a non-profit basis, with proceeds after expenses going to charity including the Friends of Irish Studies program at the University of Montana. The festival will take place in Caras Park in Missoula, alongside the Clark Fork River. Free admission. Email: email@example.com or call (406) 239-0105.
The Harp and Bard Irish radio program airs Sundays, 5 to 7 pm, on WMPG 90.9 FM or www.wmpg.org in Portland, Maine.
New York State
The Echoes of Erin radio program featuring Irish music and song, airs Saturdays, 4 to 5pm on WJJI 1440 AM in the Niagara Falls region. ”Echoes of Ireland” Radio show hosted by Sean Hennessey every Sunday, Noon to 1 pm on 1240 WATN, Watertown, NY.
The Cleveland Ceili Club holds set dance classes on Tuesdays 7:30PM at St. Clarence Church Hall, Lorain Rd., North Olmsted. Info, (440) 356-2999.
AOH Irish Festival – The 9th Annual AOH Irish Festival in Mont Clare, Montgomery County, will take place on June 6, 7 & 8 at St. Michael’s Picnic Grove, 203 Jacob St., Mont Clare. The three-day event helps raise funds for the AOH Notre Dame and LAOH Notre Dame Divisions who host this event. There will be an outdoor Mass on Sunday at 10:30AM. Along with a great lineup of entertainment Irish Thunder Pipes and Drums will perform along with Irish dancers throughout the weekend. Capping off the festival will be the Trio of the Belfast Connection with Joe Hughes from 3:30 to 6:30PM. Further information at (610) 277-2738.
The Philadelphia Ceili Group located at The Irish Center, Commodore Barry Club, 6815 Emlen St., Phila., will hold their 40th Annual Irish Festival on Saturday, September 13 featuring Irish Music, Dance and Celtic Culture. Details on their fundraising campaign to sponsor groups from Ireland are available at www.philadelphiaceiligroup.org
Echoes of Erin is broadcast on Sundays from 12:30pm – 2 pm over WEDO 810 AM and later in the day at www.wedo810.com. Hosted by Diane V. Byrnes. Details, (412) 781-6368.
Newport Celtic Rock Festival will be held Saturday, August 23 at Newport Yachting Center. Headlining the 10-hours of music will be Gaelic Storm, Eileen Ivers, Black 47, Tartan Terrors, Celtica-Pipes Rock and the Fighting Jamesons. See www.dodgeadv.com or call (401) 273-7310.
The Irish Society of Charlotte, founded in 1986. For information please call Margaret Shannon, (704) 541-6665.
For details of all Irish events in the Texas area; visit the Harp and Shamrock Society of Texas website, at www.harpandshamrock.org or email: Irishinsatx@aol.com editor’s email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Irish Radio Show hosted by Pat Troy and Jim Courtney features Irish music, news and sports every Sunday from 11am to Noon. Listen live or to an archived show anytime at www.wust1120.com