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
Steve Cassidy, president of the Uniformed Firefighters Association of New York, has been named Grand Marshal of the 40th Annual Queens County Saint Patrick’s Day Parade to be held on March 7 in Rockaway Beach.
Cassidy leads the UFA, New York’s and the nation’s largest local firefighters’ union representing over 8,100 active and 14,000 retired New York City Firefighters. 2015 also marks the FDNY’s 150th anniversary.
“It is a great honor and privilege to be selected to lead the march for the 40th Annual Queens St. Patrick’s Day Parade,” said Cassidy.
“This event, and what it means to generations of Americans of Irish heritage, can simply not be measured. Our great nation was founded by immigrants, like my Irish grandparents and great grandparents, who came here to work hard and establish a better life for their children. For them to see one of their descendants honored at the head of the parade would bring great joy as it does to me.”
Queens Parade Committee Chairman Michael Benn said: “We honor members of labor and community organizations of Irish heritage who play a positive role in New York. Steve Cassidy is a prominent Irish labor leader who proudly promotes his Irish heritage and culture.
“Given this is the 150th anniversary of the FDNY and the significant contributions of New York City Firefighters across our city and locally, this was a natural selection.”
Cassidy’s Irish heritage is on both sides of his family. His maternal grandparents were Myles D’Arcy from Dune, County Limerick and Margaret Quinlivan from Bird Hill, County Tipperary. His paternal great grandparents were James V. Cassidy from Cavan, and Mary L. Connoly from Galway.
The Queens County parade, which attracts up to 50,000 spectators steps off 1 p.m. at Beach 129th St. and Newport Ave., then continues east on Newport Ave. (across Beach 116th Street) and down Rockaway Beach Blvd. It will end by the St. Camillus parking lot on Beach 100th St.
Meanwhile, this Saturday, Feb. 21, from 7 p.m. to midnight, the parade committee will also host its annual Queens County Ball at Antun’s on Springfield Blvd., honoring Grand Marshal Steve Cassidy, U.S. Representative Joseph Crowley as Gael of the Year, and John T. Dunleavy, Chairman of the NY City St. Patrick’s Day Parade, as Honorary Grand Marshal.
Proceeds from this event benefit educational, cultural and community activities in the Rockaways. Tickets are $100 each, tables are $1,000 and reservations are required. For tickets, sponsorships or journal ads, contact Michael A. Benn via email at email@example.com.
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.
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.”
(Gregory Harrington photo from Daniel D’Ottavio)
By Áine Ní Shionnaigh
Despite being tightly huddled inside a grey hoodie, Gregory Harrington still retains an air of elegance on a damp and dreary pre-Thanksgiving morning when we meet for coffee on the Upper West Side. As he displays apprehension about the impending snow, I chastise him for becoming like a native New Yorker. What he is actually becoming, is Ireland’s most recognized concert violin soloist; one who sweeps listeners away with the emotion of his music, emotion and connection, two words that consistently come up throughout our conversation.
The single most emotive connection that I have experienced in my lifetime was the first time I heard Gregory perform. It was in the opulent Beaux Arts Grand Salon of the JW Marriott Essex House Hotel, he took center stage and eloquently explained the background to the music he was about to play. The piece he appropriately chose for the Guest of Honor, Vice President Joe Biden was from Turlough O’Carolan, a renowned blind Irish fiddler. Joe Biden’s great-great grandfather was also a blind fiddler who immigrated to America. Sitting in the stunned silence as the haunting notes of gypsy and classical harmoniously fused, it was as if the spirit of the previous three generations of Biden’s were reincarnated with each note. Sitting near the Vice President, observing the emotions etched onto his face, I was never as proud to be Irish.
Gregory is as his music: articulate, eloquent, charming, with an underlying intensity. With his intense expression and innate sense of style, he is a modern day fusion of Clarke Gable and Laurence Oliver. He would look as equally at home on the Ralph Lauren runway as he does on stage at Carnegie Hall.
How early did it start for Gregory? At the tender age of 4, he was attending the Dublin Horseshow at the RDS with his mother, a bandstand with a string quartet caught his attention and changed the whole focus of Gregory’s future life. On hearing the violin, Gregory grabbed his mother’s coat sleeve with an intensity that required an immediate response, pointed to the violin and said ‘I want to play that’. Perhaps his mother had an innate intuition that this was not just a young boys passing whim, the very next morning she brought him to McCullough Pigotts on Suffolk Street and bought him a violin, he started lessons a month later. Tragically Gregory lost his very special supportive mother way too soon and way too early in life. She influences him and his music daily. There is an intensity that comes with the struggle to accept the loss of a loved one that never fully recedes and perhaps some of the poignancy of Gregory’s music comes from this. Listening to Gregory’s music, there are many emotions hidden under the surface, and we too are allowed a rare glimpse into our own deepest hidden emotions.
Gregory’s music is a combination of classical and crossover, his first three albums have all had varied focus. His most recent album launched last week is Bach: Transcriptions and Variations. Gregory has taken some of Bach’s most famous violin pieces and created his own arrangements. Gregory’s music can have a hint of edginess that is probably due to the unprecedented creativity that I have only found in Irish souls. He doesn’t feel that things should be categorized. Just because one is a violinist doesn’t mean that one can only play classical music, although Gregory wants to be known as Ireland’s greatest concert violin soloist, which he is already well on the way to becoming, he also wants to live his music life without total boundaries which is why he is also known as Ireland’s leading crossover artist. Thanks to Gregory Harrington I and countless more listeners have become aware that the violin is an instrument of enormous versatility and striking beauty with a nuance of expression that could possibly only be surpassed by the human voice. Gregory’s amazing Dad, James Harrington, who is a great support to Gregory, summed it up perfectly when we chatted at the interval of Gregory’s concert album launch in the IAC, “Aine, I have never heard anyone play a violin like that.”
Bach: Transcriptions and Variations by Gregory Harrington
A great holiday gift, gift with an experience. http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/gregoryharrington1
D’ainneoin a bheith cuachta go docht i gheansai liath, coinníonn Gregory Harrington aer ‘elegant’ fós ar maidin liath agus dur roimh an ‘Thanksgiving’ nuair a bhualamar ar an Taobh Thiar Uachtarach le haghaidh caife. Nuair a thaispeánann sé imní mar gheall ar an sneachta, tosaim ag magadh faoi go bfhuil se cosúil le duine dúchasach as Nua Eabhraic. Ach cad a bhfuil sé ag éirí i ndáiríre é no cheann de na veidhleadóirí clasaiceacha is aitheanta in Éirinn, ceann a scuabadh do dhaoine ar shiúl leis an mothuchain ata ina chuid ceoil, mothuchain agus ceangail, dhá focail a thagann suas go minic i rith ár gcomhrá.
B’é an nasc is chorraitheach amháin a bhfuil taithí agam i mo shaol na an chéad uair a chuala mé Gregory ag seinm a cheol. Bhí sé i Grand Beaux Arts Salon an JW Marriott House Essex Hotel House, Éireannach anaithnid roimhe seo dom, ghlac se lár an aonaigh agus mhínigh sé an cúlra leis an gceol a bhí sé ar tí é a imirt. An dara píosa a bhí le aoi speisialta, ar Leas-Uachtarán Joe Biden a raibh a seanathair mor ina fidléir dall Éireannach a thainig go Meiriceá. Roghnaigh Gregory piosa ceol ó Uí Chearbhalláin, fidléir dall clúiteach ó Céideadh, Co. Ros Comáin. Suí le linn an tost stunned mar a bhí a bhí na nótaí haunting, bhí sé mar má beochta spiorad an trí ghlúin roimhe sin de Biden le gach faoi deara. Ina shuí in aice leis an Leas-Uachtarán, breathnú ar an emotion eitseáilte ar Tá Gregory mar a chuid ceoil: a chur in iúl, eloquent, a fheictear, le déine bhunúsach. Lena léiriú dian agus tuiscint inbheirthe stíl, tá sé ar chomhleá lá nua-aimseartha de Clarke Gable agus Laurence Oliver. Bheadh sé breathnú go cothrom ar an rúidbhealach ‘Ralph Lauren no ar an stad i Halla Carnegie.
Cé chomh luath agus a thosaigh se ? Ag freastal an ‘Dublin Horseshow’ I mhaile Átha Cliath lena mháthair, thug se faoi deara ceathairéad teaghrán ag an Bandstand, agus a d’astraigh an fócas ar fad de shaol Gregory sa todhchaí. Ag éisteacht leis an veidhlín, rug Gregory a mháthar chum cóta le déine a mbeadh gá le freagra láithreach, aird ar an veidhlín agus dúirt ‘Ba mhaith liom e sin a imirt”. B’fhéidir go raibh an intuition inbheirthe nach raibh sé seo ach whim buachaillí óga, an maidin ina dhiadh sin thug sí air Lestor Piggots ar Shráid Parnell agus cheannaigh dó veidhlín agus ceachtanna. Go tragóideach chaill Gregory a mháthair iomasach an-speisialta ar bhealach ró-luath sa saol. Bíonn tionchar í féin ar Gregory agus a cheol gach lá. An duine a bfhuil streachailt acu chun glacadh leis an caillteanas de grá amháin riamh go hiomlán, b’fhéidir roinnt de na cheol Gregory ar a thagann as seo. Éisteacht le ceol Gregory s, tá go leor mothúcháin i bhfolach faoi dhromchla, agus táimid cheadaítear freisin le léargas annamh i ár mothúcháin is doimhne féin i bhfolach.
By Áine Ní Shionnaigh
Driving across the iconic George Washington Bridge on Saturday evening last, leaving the twinkling lights of Manhattan behind, the panoramic Palisades peer back at me through the darkness, and hesitatingly welcoming me to North Jersey. My usual vision of the broad expanse of the historic Hudson River is limited somewhat by driving rain and wind. I mourn the loss of endless summer evenings which have been bluntly replaced by this November blackness. Crossing the world’s busiest motor vehicle bridge, I can’t help but contrast it with the bridge in the center of my hometown of Boyle which has been the subject for countless photographs, postcards and publications since it was first built as a wooden structure in the 1750’s. The scale of one when juxtaposed with the other is hard to comprehend. The Boyle Bridge, although historical and picturesque is more akin to a bump in the road, its span accommodating on average three vehicles at one time. It is easy to see why in 1981, 50 years after the George Washington Bridge was built, it was designated as a Natural Historic Civil Engineering Landmark, largely due to the imposing exposed steel grafts.
Once over the bridge and officially in Jersey, the tempo changes, the GPS system kicks in out of necessity, the scenery is quickly forgotten as I scan the highway for exits. Surprisingly quickly, I reach my destination, the Graycliff Manor in Moonachie where the Bergen Council of Irish Associations of Greater Bergen County are holding their 2014 Grand Marshal Quentin Kennedy Jr’s Dinner and Celebration of Irish Culture.
I am greeted by the usual ‘Are you here for the Irish event?’ when exiting the car. Someday I’ll cause confusion by turning up for the Italian night! On entering the salubrious surrounding of the Graycliff, I am almost overwhelmed by the sea of Irish faces, 260 to be exact. As I’m looking for a seat, a woman passes me by with that open friendly countenance that is commonplace in the West of Ireland. I can’t resist remarking if she is from the West of Ireland, not only is she from the West, she is from the same County, County Roscommon and in fact she comes from Arigna which is just a few miles down the road from me. As is typical of West of Ireland hospitality, within a few minutes of meeting Mary Cullen , I am seated at a table in the corner in the midst of her all-embracing family, busy chatting about Doherty’s bakery in Boyle where Mary and one of her sisters, Kathleen worked. Her husband has been ousted from his seat to make space for me, it turns out he is one of tonight’s honorees; the recipient of The Turlough O’Carolan Award for Musical Achievement, James Joseph Higgins. Jimmy immigrated to the United States in February 1957 from Coleraine, Co Derry, where he was born and raised and started playing the bagpipes at the tender age of 12. Upon coming to the Unites States he played with many bands and in 1986, he founded the Bergen Irish Pipe Band and became the piping instructor and organizer. Since moving to Bergen County, over 42 years ago, Jimmy has been involved in a huge variety of Irish activities and has been such a great addition to Bergen County.
The second honoree of the night is Carmel Quinn who is the recipient of the 2014 Humanitarian Award. Carmel has spent the last five decades captivating the American public as a singer, comedienne, storyteller and humanitarian. She was born and educated in Ireland. She began performing locally in theaters, dance halls and went on to work for the BBC in Great Britain. In 1954 she immigrated to the United States where she began to appear as a regular guest on the Arthur Godfrey radio and TV programs. Following this she became a frequent guest on the top national TV shows, recorded numerous albums, acted in numerous stage productions, performed for John F Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson but more important than all that , she is a wonderful humanitarian donating so much of her time and money to charities in Ireland and the US. As I marvel at her youthful complexion, I realize it is probably more due to the fact that she carries out on a daily basis the best Irish tradition, helping those in need and serving as a shining example for the rest of us.
And our very own Ray O’Hanlon, well known editor of the Irish Echo and acclaimed author of two books, The New Irish Americans and The South Lawn Plot, is the recipient of the 2014 William Butler Yeats Award. O’Hanlon has a particular interest in the immigration issue, which his 1998 nonfiction book deals with from his first-hand experience of same. Ray is very proud to be the editor of the oldest Irish American newspaper in the country, which still provides a valuable connection for over 100,000 Irish, a connection which is not available on more ‘instant’ internet websites. His book ‘The New Irish Americans’ was the recipient of a Washington Irving Book Award.
All in all it was a wonderful night, organized by a wonderful organization. There was great entertainment provided by The Ridgewood Dance Academy and The Bergen Irish Pipe Band.
The Council of Irish Associations of Greater Bergen County strengthens Irish American culture in Northern New Jersey. In 1980, George P Gunning led a meeting in Paramus Park mall where various organizations gathered together and discussed the possibility of forming a Council. The Council was formed that evening and George P Gunning served as the first President. The Council’s first St Patrick’s Day parade was held on March 14th 1982, the 2015 parade will mark their 34th anniversary. The council operates as a 501©(3) charitable organization. Maith thu to all involved.
by Áine Ní Shionnaigh
Growing up in a small town of less than 2000 in the West of Ireland, my exposure to emergency services was limited. However, the house I grew up in was located directly across from the local firehouse, or as we called it in Ireland, the fire station. A few times a week, an unearthly siren howled through my house scaring the daylights out of me, especially during the dead of night. It was in the days before cell phones so the siren would signal the firemen of the town to come to the fire station. Most fires were relatively un-serious: chimney fires or overheated car engines. One fire however stays embedded in my memory, early on Christmas Eve morning, a fire accelerated by Christmas tree lights destroyed the house two doors up from me, our local firemen tried desperately to save the family but the mother and her two young sons tragically lost their lives.
Always a book lover, one of my first books was a flat hard backed book about a fire station; one colorful picture depicted the daily routine of the firemen sliding down the pole from their living quarters overhead. For years I tried in vain to peek into the darkness of the Boyle fire station to see the pole but was never rewarded with as much as a glimpse. In later years I sadly realized there never was a pole as the fire station was a single storey building and my beloved book was probably based on a firehouse in Brooklyn, New York rather than in Boyle, Co Roscommon.
Ireland was the only foreign country to declare a national day of mourning, following 9/11. I spent much of that day with my class, we organized a local prayer service and I saw another side of my 35 boisterous boys. In the days, weeks and months following the tragedy and horror of 9/11, all of the paintings and drawings hanging on the walls of my classroom in Athlone, Co Westmeath depicted the bravery of the firemen and policemen of NYC. These FDNY and NYPD officers had very quickly replaced the Superman, Spiderman, and Hollywood heroes of my 5th and 6th grade schoolboys.
In the freezing first days of January 2005, I moved to NYC where the Irish are intricately woven into the very fibers of the place and I quickly realized the extent of the Irish and Irish American extraordinary tradition of rushing to the aid of others in times of distress. On the Upper East Side of Manhattan, I found myself again in close proximity to a fire house, where I often stopped on the way home to silently offer a prayer for their lost members whose fading photographs adorned the windows. I hoped the glimmer from the melted novena candles symbolized some hope in this life for their loved ones left behind and in the next for the ones who were cruelly taken away.
On the fateful day of 9/11, the FDNY lost 341 firefighters and 2 paramedics, there were 75 firehouses in which at least one member was killed. The FDNY also lost its department chief, first deputy commissioner, one of its marshals, one of its chaplains, the beyond saintly Mychal Judge whose parents came from Keshcarrigan, Co Leitrim, as well as other administrative or specialty personnel. Shortly after the battalion chief of Battalion 1 witnessed American Airlines flight 11 crash into the North Tower, a multiple alarm incident was radioed. For the first time in over 30 years, all off duty firefighters were recalled. One off duty fire officer that day had swapped two twelve hour shifts with two colleagues so he could drop his mother to the airport for her return flight to Ireland. However on seeing the first tower burning from his rooftop, he immediately headed into Manhattan where he and his colleagues entered burning debris to pull out the trapped and injured. On that fateful day, Sean Cummins lost 87 colleagues, including the two men he swapped shifts with. I was honored to meet Sean recently at the Manhattan Club at the inaugural Irish Echo’s First Responder’s Awards where along with Niall O’Shaughnessy, he received the ‘Teamwork Award’.
The daily sacrifice of FDNY officers, more appropriately known as ‘The Bravest’ is staggering, never more so than on 9/11 when the waste of lives is still too much to bear. Thirteen years later, the sense of devastation is still palpable amongst the brothers of the FDNY. They along with the survivors of all the people who were lost on that fateful day are forever wounded. On a fateful fall day in 2001, ordinary men were asked to do extraordinary deeds. Some are still with us, some are not and we will never forget those who are not. Ar dheis Dhe go mbeidh a anam dhilis.
Ag fás suas i mbaile beag le níos lú ná 2000 daoine in Iarthar na hÉireann, bhí mo tacaiocht den sheirbhísí éigeandála go leor teoranta. Mar sin féin, bhi an teach a d’fhás mé suas I, lonnaithe go díreach trasna ón teach dóiteáin, nó mar a iarr muid é in Éirinn, on stáisiún dóiteáin. Cúpla uair sa tseachtain, chulathas siren minadurtha ag sileadh trí mo theach ag baineadh geit mor asam, is cuma cé chomh minic a chuala mé é, go háirithe le linn marbh na hoíche. Bhí sé sna laethanta roimh teileafóin phóca, ba comhartha e an siren, fir dóiteáin an bhaile chun teacht go dti an stáisiún dóiteáin. Bhí formhór na tinte sách unserious: tinte simléir nó innill gluaisteán ro the. Tine amháin, áfach, ata saite i m’aigne fos, go luath ar maidin Oíche Nollag, tine luathaithe ag soilse crann Nollag scriosta an teach dhá doirse suas uaim, rinne ár fir dóiteáin áitiúla gach iarracht an chlann a shábháil ach chaill an mháthair agus a bheirt mhac óg a saol.
I gcónaí i ngra le leabhar, bhí ar cheann de mo chéad leabhar leabhar árasán tacaíocht crua faoi stáisiún dóiteáin; pictiúr amháin ildaite a léirítear an ghnáthamh laethúil de na firemen sleamhnú síos an cuaille as a n-áitribh chónaithe lastuas. Ar feadh na mblianta, bhiodh mé ag peipeail isteach tri dorchadas an stáisiúin dóiteáin iMainistir na Buille chun an cuaille a fheiceáil ach bhí riamh bronntar leis an oiread agus is le léargas. Sna blianta ina dhiaidh sin thuig mé brónach nach raibh cuaille ann riabh mar a bhí an stáisiún dóiteáin foirgneamh aon stór agus is dócha go raibh mo leabhar bunaithe ar teach dóiteáin i Brooklyn, Nua-Eabhrac seachas i Mainistir na Búille, Co Roscomáin.
Sa bhliain 2001, sna laethanta, seachtainí agus míonna tar éis an tragóid de 9/11, gach ceann de na pictiúir agus líníochtaí a bhi ag crochadh ar na ballaí de mo sheomra ranga i mBaile Átha Luain, Co na hIarmhí, léirítear fir dóiteáin agus póilíní. Bhí na hoifigigh FDNY agus an NYPD ionad go han-tapa na laochra Superman, Spiderman, agus Hollywood mo buachilli scoile o ghrád 5 agus 6 ghrád.
Sa chéad lá ceomhar Eanáir 2005, d’astraigh mé go dtí Nua Eabhraic agus go tapa thuig méid an traidisiún urghnách Meiriceánach hÉireann ag brostaigh chun cabhair a thabhairt do dhaoine eile in am an anacair. Ar an Taobh Thoir Uachtarach de Manhattan, fuair mé mé féin arís i gheall ar chomh gar do theach dóiteáin, nuair a stop mé go minic ar an mbealach abhaile a chur ar fáil go ciúin paidir dá mbaill caillte agus a ngaolta a bhfuil a grianghraif cuireadh bród ar thaobh tosaigh an firehouse le mall coinneal Novena dhó.
Ar an fateful lá de 9/11, chaill an FDNY 341 comhraiceoirí dóiteáin agus 2 paraimhíochaineoirí, bhí 75 firehouses inar maraíodh comhalta amháin ar a laghad. An FDNY caillte chomh maith go bhfuil sé príomhfheidhmeannach roinn, coimisinéir leas-chéad, ar cheann de na sé ar marascail, ar cheann de na sé ar séiplíneach, an níos faide saintly Mychal Breitheamh a tháinig ó Ceis Charraigín, Co Liatroma do thuismitheoirí, chomh maith le pearsanra riaracháin nó speisialtachta eile. Go gairid i ndiaidh an príomhfheidhmeannach cathlán de Cathlán 1 chonaic American Airlines eitilt 11 tuairteála isteach sa Túr Thuaidh, bhí radioed teagmhas aláraim il, laistigh de na uair an chloig romhainn bhí 121 cuideachtaí inneall, 62 cuideachtaí dréimire agus 27 oifigigh dóiteáin imscaradh chun an ardán. Don chéad uair i níos mó ná 30 bliain, rinneadh athghairm ar gach comhraiceoirí dóiteáin ar dualgas.
Oifigeach dóiteáin amháin ar dualgas a bhí Mhalartaigh an lá sin dá déag shifts uair an chloig le dhá chomhghleacaithe sin d’fhéadfadh sé titim a mháthair leis an aerfort as a eitilt ar ais go hÉirinn. Ach ar féachaint ar an túr chéad dó as a rooftop, i gceannas sé láithreach i Manhattan áit curtha isteach sé féin agus a chomhghleacaithe a dhó smionagar a tharraingt amach na gafa agus gortaithe. Ar an lá sin fateful, chaill Sean Cummins 87 chomhghleacaithe, lena n-áirítear an bheirt fhear bhabhtáil sé shifts leis. Ba mhór an onóir dom bualadh Sean déanaí ag an Club Manhattan ag Gradaim Echo hÉireann Chéad Fhreagróir ar tionscnaimh nuair a fuair sé an? Gradam do?. Ar lá Titim chinniúnach i 2001, iarradh ngnáthnós fir a dhéanamh gníomhais neamhghnách. Tá cuid acu fós le linn, nach bhfuil roinnt, agus ní bheidh muid dearmad iad siúd nach bhfuil. Ar dheis Leitir dul mbeidh ar dhilis trá.
As the Golden Bridges conference gets underway in Boston, Mayor Marty Walsh has extended a hearty céad míle fáilte to delegates arriving from northwest Ireland and Belfast to forge new partnerships with leaders of Irish America.
In a statement welcoming the sixth annual conference to Boston, he said:
“I am thrilled to welcome the Golden Bridges conference to Boston, having just experienced the power of our city’s connection to Ireland as I never have before. My visit to Ireland in September was transformative on both a personal and a public level.
“As the son of Irish emigrants, it was meaningful for me to make Ireland my first international destination as Mayor of Boston. I came to a deeper understanding of my bond, and Boston’s relationship, with Ireland. And I gained a new appreciation for the strength we can draw from a transatlantic partnership as we move forward together in the global economy.
“Boston’s character owes much to the Northwest of Ireland. A rich tradition of cultural, political, and economic exchange between our two cities reaches down to the present day. Ulster has supplied Boston with leaders in business, in the arts, and in scholarship. And Boston’s thriving network of Irish organizations have hosted Ireland’s leaders, supported its economic development, and funded schools of all traditions. We share a deep bond.
“For a city like Boston, built by immigrants, an international relationship can have the strength of a family bond—because that’s what it really is. That’s why in Boston we are so deeply invested in our heritage. We never forget what immigration provided us, by way of our values, our resilience, and our love of family.
“In a time of great change, these relationships and these values have never been more important. That’s why our relationship to Ireland must be about more than nostalgic memories. It must be an active relationship, deeply understood and continuously renewed. Above all, this conference is an opportunity to strengthen this bond that means so much to all of our communities.”