Archive : Category

Irish American Democrats back Hillary

POSTED ON April 14th  - POSTED IN News, News & Views

Stella jpg

By Ray O’Hanlon
rohanlon@irishecho.com

Hillary Rodham Clinton isn’t Irish American per se, but that matters for naught as far as the lobby group Irish American Democrats is concerned.

IAD said in a statement that Sunday’s announcement by Hillary Clinton that she is running for president was “exciting news for all Americans and for Ireland and Irish Americans in particular.”

“As Irish American Democrats we welcome the announcement,” the statement said.

The statement of welcome, while not actually using the word “endorse,” does effectively read as an endorsement of Clinton’s candidacy, and one issued just hours after it was unveiled in a tweet and online video.

And it leaves no apparent room for endorsing possible rivals to Clinton for the Democratic nomination – even though the most prominent name being mentioned in reports right now is in fact an Irish American: former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley.

The IAD statement, issued jointly by the group’s Washington, D.C.-based president, Stella O’Leary, and New York-based vice president, Brian O’Dwyer, said at the outset that Hillary Clinton needed no introduction to Irish America.

“Few would take issue with the claim that there would be no peace in Northern Ireland, fragile as it may be, without the direct involvement of President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary Clinton,” the statement said.

“We, along with many others, worked with President Clinton and First Lady Hillary Clinton on the Northern Ireland peace process that commenced with the granting of a visa to Gerry Adams, and culminated in the Good Friday agreement.

“Many would claim that the peace was inevitable, but it was not,” added the statement, which pointed to the historical distrust that had to be overcome.
And it continued: “Initially, the parties would not even acknowledge each other’s existence. We worked with First Lady Hillary Clinton and her Vital Voices campaign, enlisting Northern Ireland women, from both sides of the divide, to pressure the negotiators to compromise. Even today the situation in Northern Ireland remains tense and no candidate is more qualified, or committed, than Hillary Clinton to help us sustain that fragile peace.”
The statement does not only deal with the North, but also focuses on immigration and looks to a possible Clinton presidency for solutions to the current immigration impasse.
“This election, however, is not just about repaying debts, but also about looking to the future,” it stated.

And it continued: “Unjust United States immigration laws are in dire need of fixing. Irish America is so adversely affected by the provisions of the present laws that they are tantamount to a sign on the border ‘Irish need not apply.’

“Thousands of Irish are living in the shadows because of these unjust and cruel laws. American corporations are being deprived of the considerable gifts that the graduates of Irish universities are willing and able to provide.

“Despite the almost universal consensus that the immigration policies of the United States are badly broken, no action has been taken to fix the law.

Having visited Ireland numerous times as First Lady, as Senator, and as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton is well aware of the hardships these laws impose on Irish families, on both sides of the Atlantic.

“She will make it a priority to enact comprehensive immigration reform, in particular she is fully supportive of President Obama’s executive action that will allow many of our undocumented to remain in the United States to work and lead productive lives.

“We, as Irish American Democrats, will, throughout this campaign, do our best to ensure that Hillary Clinton is the next president of the United States.

“Her presidency will strengthen the bonds that exist between Ireland and America and will immeasurably help the struggling middle class to achieve equitable wage parity.

“She will break new ground as the first female President of America. Her presidency will benefit not only Ireland and Irish Americans, but will benefit all America. We are proud to support her.”

A new Irish comity for Capitol Hill

POSTED ON April 13th  - POSTED IN News, News & Views

Carney jpg

By Ray O’Hanlon
rohanlon@irishecho.

With a nod to a former time when political rivals Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill could debate, argue, shoot the breeze and conduct the nation’s business, a group of Washington, D.C. staffers have formed a new group that speaks of their lineage – even as they hope it will encourage civil speaking.

“Hill Irish” proclaims itself as is non-partisan, non-political, non-denominational and non-profit and a membership organization open to current and former congressional staff of Irish descent.
“Our objective is to return the Hill to the days of comity and to do this through our Irish roots. We will be educating our members about their Irishness and exposing them to the many blessings we of Irish ancestry share in music, culture, dance, literature, travel, food, sports and history,” said Hill Irish founder and spokesman, Keith Carney.
Carney grew up in New York but has been based in Washington, D.C. for 35 years. His family is from New England with its Irish roots in Cork.
Hill Irish is holding a launch reception this Friday, April 17.
Carney, who runs a broadcast news organization on the Hill called FedNet (it provides daily radio/TV coverage of Floor debates, press conferences and hearings) worked as a staffer on the Hill back in the mid-1980s designing computer systems for the Senate.
“When I first worked on Capitol Hill, and until recent times, there was a very congenial atmosphere. People could actually socialize and use their personal relationships to reach across the aisle and get things done.
“In the past five plus years working on the Hill has become so partisan, almost venomous between the Democrats and Republicans, and the staff has become very entrenched to the point of gridlock,” he said.
And he continued: “I ran into Susan O’Neill, daughter of Speaker Tip O’Neill, at an event in Washington about a year ago and I expressed to her that I truly missed the days her father was the Speaker of the House.
“She agreed, and felt that there are very few staff making their work on the Hill a true career anymore. Tip O’Neill was a man who used his Irish heritage as a tool to get things done, as did Ronald Reagan.
“These two, opposites in nearly every way, one a Catholic Democrat and the other a Protestant Republican, forged a friendship and a working relationship based upon their common Irish roots.
“This is the comity I am trying to bring back to the staff. Many of the current and former staff that I speak with about Hill Irish are excited to get involved. They too see the need for better social interaction on the Hill, and being Irish is a great way to start.”
Membership requirements are simple, according to Carney.
“You have to be a current or former congressional staffer, and you have to have Irish lineage.”
Hill Irish plan to hold a few large events a year and, according to a release, lots of smaller events depending on the interest of members.
“My philosophy is to provide information and outlets on getting in touch with your Irish heritage, and then let our members be as Irish as they want to be,” Carney said

It’s a long long way from Clare to here…..

POSTED ON March 19th  - POSTED IN News, News & Views

Lorcan Shannon NYC February 2015 Photo; James Higgins © 2015

 

 

 

 

by Áine Ní Shionnaigh

Lyrics that perhaps pass through Lorcan Shannon’s mind as he zigzags his way out of the morning madness of Grand Central and traverses a bustling Byrant Park to his new office ‘The Law Offices of Lorcan Shannon’ high up on the 39th floor of a midtown skyscraper that accommodates more persons than his native Co Clare.

Lorcan was born and raised in Doolin, a charming small seaside village on the northwest coast of County Clare on Irelands Wild Atlantic Way. Set against the rugged Atlantic Ocean and surrounded by the spectacular bare limestone landscape of the Burren, Doolin is renowned the world over as a place of breathtaking beauty and is a haven for traditional music.

Lorcan is a graduate of National University of Ireland, Galway and Duke University School of Law. He holds a Bachelor of Law (LL.B) and a Master of Laws (LL.M). He is also admitted to practice law in the State of New York and is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Speaking about the launch of his new business, he stated “I’m delighted to announce the opening of my Law Offices here in New York. I have been practicing in Immigration Law for 5 years so it felt appropriate at this time to open my own firm. I am really looking forward to being able to continue to provide for my clients at my new location. We deal with applications from all over the US and the Irish community are always are the heart of our business, so we are thrilled to be able to continue our personalized service under the advocacy of the Law Offices of Lorcan Shannon”.

Lorcan has joined a long tradition of renowned Irish lawyers, many of them from the West of Ireland, making their mark here in NYC. When I meet Lorcan, he displays that typical West of Ireland trait, on the surface, an extremely laid back relaxed attitude which fails to conceal a sharpness of intellect, knowledge and an eagerness and ability to solve the most complex issues that I have encountered previously.  He is without doubt one to watch.

Law and the quest for fairness and rights is a tradition of the Irish which has been enhanced and embedded in tradition by successive generations going back to the Brehon laws. The name Brehon derives it’s name from the Irish word Breitheamh which is derived from Breith, meaning “judgement”. The Brehon Laws of Ireland are among are the oldest known European laws. The Brehons of ancient Ireland were wise men of the family who memorized and applied the laws to settle disputes among members of the family. They are the compilations of generations of learned Irish. The Tudor lawyer John Davies described the Irish people with respect to their laws: “There is no people under the sun that doth love equal and indifferent (impartial) justice better than the Irish, or will rest better satisfied with the execution thereof…”

The Law Offices of Lorcan Shannon, a boutique immigration law practice based in New York City, officially opened last week. The full service immigration firm offers a personalized approach on all immigration matters countrywide in order to guide clients through the immigration process. The expertise of the office will encompass non-immigrant and immigrant visa solutions for clients from various industries and backgrounds and will specialize in providing immigration counsel to entrepreneurs, investors, specialized employees and multinational managers from a range of industries as well as artists, performers and athletes.

The Law Offices of Lorcan Shannon has also formed a strategic partnership with boutique commercial litigation law firm, John Murphy & Associates. Mr. Shannon is Of Counsel to John Murphy & Associates and provides expert immigration advice to an array of corporate clients on behalf of the firm. Like the Law Offices of Lorcan Shannon, John Murphy & Associates combines cutting edge expertise with transparency and personal service.

The Law Offices of Lorcan Shannon will routinely provide expert advice and assistance on O-1, E-2, E-3, L, H-1B, H-3, J-1, F-1, K, TN, and B visas, as well as immigrant visas. Mr. Shannon regularily gives talks and seminars on visa options to the Irish Community around the State of New York at various locations including the Irish Consulate. He will also be attending the Select USA Investment Summit in Washington DC this March to give advice on immigration matters.

The Law Offices of Lorcan Shannon are located at 1450 Broadway, 39th Floor, New York, NY 10018. Please contact Ph: 646 237 7262 or see www.lorcanshannonlaw.com  for further assistance on all immigration matters.

 

Teideal: Is bealach fada fada ó Chláir go dtí seo … ..

B’fheidir go dteann na focail seo trí aigne Lorcan Sionainne nuair ata sé ar a bhealach amach as Staisiun Grand Central agus trasnaíonn se thar Byrant Páirc Byrant chuig a oifig nua ‘Oifigí Dlí Lorcáin Sionainne’ ard suas ar an urlár 42ú de foirgneamh ard ait ina bfhuil dócha níos mó daoine ná a dúchais gContae an Chláir.

Rugadh agus tógadh Lorcan i Dúlainn, sráidbhaile cois farraige a fheictear beag ar chósta thiar thuaidh Chontae an Chláir in Éireann. Socraithe in aghaidh an Aigéan Atlantach garbh agus timpeallaithe ag an tírdhreach aolchloiche iontach lom na Boirne, tá Dúlainn cáiliul ar fud an domhain mar áit áilleacht thar bharr agus is tearmann é do cheol traidisiúnta.

Is Lorcán céimí de chuid Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh agus Ollscoil Scoil Dlí Duke. Tá Baitsiléir Dlí (LL.B) agus Máistir Dlíthe (LL.M) aige. Tá sé abalta dlí a chleachtadh sa Stát Nua-Eabhrac agus is ball den Eagraiocht Dlíodóirí Inimirce e. Ag labhairt mar gheall ar seoladh a ghnó nua, dúirt sé “Tá mé thar a bheith sásta a fhógairt go bhfuil oscailt mo Oifigí Dlí anseo i Nua-Eabhrac. Bhí mé ag cleachtadh i Dlí Inimirce feadh cuig bliana agus bhraith sé oiriúnach ag an am seo a oscailt mo ghnó féin. Tá mé ag súil go mór le bheith in ann leanúint ar aghaidh a chur ar fáil do mo chliaint ar mo shuíomh nua. Déileálfaimid le hiarratais ó gach cearn den Stát Aontaithe agus an pobal Éireannach atá i gcónaí i gcroílár ár ngnó, mar sin tá athas an domhain orainn a bheith in ann leanúint ar aghaidh lenár seirbhís phearsantaithe faoi abhcóideachta na n-Oifigí Dlí Lorcáin Sionainne “. 

Glacann Lorcan páirt den traidisiún fada dlíodóirí cáiliul na hÉireann, go leor acu ó Iarthar na hÉireann, ag déanamh a rian anseo i Nua Eabhraic. Nuair a bhuailim le Lorcan, léiríonn sé an trait tipiciúil sin o Iarthar na hÉireann, ar an dromchla, dearcadh ‘laid-back’ ach roimh an dromchla sin ta intleacht gear aige agus ta eolas agus díocas agus an cumas ceisteanna a réiteach is casta go bhfuil mé a bhíonn roimhe seo . Tá sé gan amhras ar ‘cheann chun féachaint.’

Is é an dlí agus tóraíocht ar cothroime agus ar chearta traidisiún na hÉireann atá feabhsaithe agus leabaithe i traidisiún ag na glúnta a chéile ag dul ar ais go dtí na dlíthe Brehon. An t-ainm Brehon, eascraíonn an t-ainm ón bhfocal Gaeilge Breitheamh atá díorthaithe ó Breith, a chiallaíonn “breithiúnas”. Is iad na Dlíthe Brehon na hÉireann i measc na dlíthe is sine i Eorpach ar eolas. B’iad na fhéineachais na hÉireann ársa fir ciallmhar an teaghlaigh a chruthu na dlíthe chun díospóidí a réiteach i measc bhaill den teaghlach. Is iad chnuasach na nglún de fhoghlaim na Gaeilge. Rinne an dlíodóir Tudor, John Davies, cur síos ar mhuintir na hÉireann i leith a gcuid dlíthe: “Níl aon duine faoi na gréine a doth grá cothrom agus ceartas níos fearr ná an Ghaeilge, nó eile níos fearr sásta leis a fhorghníomhú …”

D’oscail na hOifigí Dlí Lorcáin Sionainne, cleachtas dlí inimirce siopa atá bunaithe i Nua-Eabhrac, an tseachtain seo caite. Cuireann an comhlacht inimirce seirbhís iomlán cúrsaí an cur chuige pearsanta ar gach inimirce na tíre d’fhonn do chliaint a threorú tríd an bpróiseas inimirce. Beidh an saineolas na hoifige a chuimsiú neamh-inimirceach agus réitigh víosa inimirceach do chliaint ó na tionscail agus ó chúlraí éagsúla agus beidh speisialtóireacht i soláthar comhairle inimirce do fiontraithe, infheisteoirí, fostaithe speisialaithe agus bainisteoirí ilnáisiúnta ó raon tionscal chomh maith le healaíontóirí, taibheoirí agus lúthchleasaithe.

Castlerea Calling ………

POSTED ON March 5th  - POSTED IN News, News & Views

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.

Language and Resistance – Dr. Feargal MacIonnrachtaigh

POSTED ON March 5th  - POSTED IN News, News & Views

15.3.5. Feargal Lecture2- Lowell poster

 

 

 

 

 

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 ireland.house@nyu.edu

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 ireland.house@nyu.edu.

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

Cassidy to lead Queens County parade

POSTED ON February 26th  - POSTED IN News

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.

Steve Cassidy.

Steve 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 kroppyboy@aol.com.

In Dublin’s Fair City ………

POSTED ON February 13th  - POSTED IN News, News & Views

Feb 11th page 8

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.

The rise of Dublin as a global tech hub.

POSTED ON February 12th  - POSTED IN News, News & Views

Feb 4 2015 page 6

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.

New Orleans fundraising for wounded Garda

POSTED ON January 29th  - POSTED IN News, News & Views

Hanrahan jpg

 

 

 

 

 

By Irish Echo Staff

letters@irishecho.com

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.”

Violinist Harrington pulls the heart strings

POSTED ON December 17th  - POSTED IN News, News & Views

Gregory Harrington - pic Daniel D'Ottavio

(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

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/bach-transcriptions-variations/id918608449 

gregoryharrington.com * facebook * @harringtonmusic 

AS GAEILGE

 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.

Back to Top