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  5. Irish News Tidbits - February


Irish News Tidbits - February

I have pulled these headlines from our Irish Heritage Newsletter here in Seattle. If you find these interesting, let me know and I'll keep posting them each month! (Otherwise, I'll assume I'm just spamming you.) ;)

SEANFHOCAL - PROVERB Is teann madra ar a thairseacht féin. Every dog is bold on its own doorstep .

W B YEATS THEME This year's Irish Week events will mark the 150th anniversary of the birth of Irish poet William Butler Yeats. Born June 13, 1865, Yeats was one of the foremost figures of 20th century literature. He gloried in his Irish cultural roots, featured Irish legends and heroes in many of his poems and plays, and in 1904 helped found The Abbey Theatre in Dublin. He reacted to the Easter Rebellion in 1916 by writing "Easter, 1916," an expression of his complex feelings of shock and romantic admiration. Admired around the world, he received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1923. He died January 28, 1939 and is buried in Drumcliffe Cemetery, Co. Sligo, with his epitaph being words from his poem Under Ben Bulben: "Cast a cold eye / On life, on death. / Horseman, pass by!"

IRISH LANGUAGE TEACHERS CONFERENCE IN PORTLAND, OR The North American Association of Celtic Language Teachers hold their 21st Annual Conference from June 4-6 at Portland State University. This year's theme "Celtic Languages: From the Viking Age to Modern Times" will explore the effects of the Viking 'invasions' of the Celtic Nations beginning in the 8th century. The Association is a non-profit professional organization whose goal is to bring together Celtic language teachers and researchers in Canada and the United States and to foster contacts with others who are interested in promoting the teaching and learning of Celtic languages in North America. For more details, visit naaclt.org.

IRISH/IRISH-AMERICAN YOUTH OUTREACH One of the proposals of a diaspora strategy review presented to Ireland's cabinet on January 27 was for "an orientation course on what it is to be Irish" for young people with a connection to Ireland, similar to the Israeli Taglit-Birthright scheme which has seen more than 400,000 young Jewish people visit Israel over the past 15 years. Under the proposal, young Irish-Americans would be offered a free opportunity of spending up to ten days in Ireland learning about Irish culture and history. Such an Irish outreach program would provide a powerful new linkage between the Irish Diaspora and Ireland and would also provide a unique chance for young Irish-Americans to bond with each other and with their Irish counterparts.

IRELAND TOUR ON GOOGLE MAPS Google Street View has recently released a new collection of interactive imagery where you can take a cyber tour around many tourist attractions in Ireland to see the inside of historic buildings without leaving the comfort of your home.

FAMINE MUSEUM RECORDS ONLINE Ireland's Great Hunger Museum at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, CT, has put all of its Famine records online. The database contains about 1,500 articles and illustrations, collection of arts, artifacts and literature which relate to the Irish Famine between 1845-52. The museum contains the world's largest collection of Great Hunger-related art by noted contemporary Irish and Irish American artists as well as a number of period paintings by some of Ireland's most important 19th-century artists.

DEFENSE AGREEMENT A historic agreement on defense co-operation was recently signed between Ireland and the UK. Under the agreement, the Irish Army will train British soldiers in peacekeeping operations, while the Irish Army will be provided, free of charge, with equipment that is surplus to the requirements of the British army. Although the British army is one of the best equipped and most experienced in the world in combat operations, it does not have the Irish Army's experience in peacekeeping.

IRISH REFERENDUMS Only two of 18 recommendations for constitutional change made by last year's Irish Convention on the Constitution will be presented to Irish voters in next May's referendum: to permit same-sex marriage and to reduce the age of eligibility for presidential candidates. Irish Minister for Health Minister Leo Varadkar came out recently as a gay man saying the gay marriage referendum being held in May convinced him of the necessity to do so.

NO REFERENDUMS There will be no referendums held this year to provide a vote in Presidential elections to Irish citizens living abroad, or on reducing the voting age from 18 to 16, or on removing blasphemy from the Constitution. Ireland is one of only three European countries that has a blasphemy law on the books. The last known blasphemy case in Ireland was in 1855. More than 120 countries have provisions for their citizens abroad to cast a ballot, but Ireland does not currently allow emigrants to vote in either presidential or Dáil (parliamentary) elections.

FAMINE RELIEF (ACTION?) MOVIE A silver star and crescent are at the top of the Drogheda coat of arms to commemorate Turkey's assistance to Ireland in 1847 during the Great Irish Famine. That year, the worst year of the Famine, the Ottoman Sultan pledged a donation of £10,000 (about $1.7 million in today's money) to aid Ireland's destitute. However, Queen Victoria intervened and requested that the Sultan send only £1,000, because she had sent only £2,000. So the Sultan sent only the £1,000, but he also sent five ships full of food. Britain tried to block the ships, but eventually Ottoman sailors succeeded in secretly docking in Drogheda and delivered the food. Now a movie is planned about the event.

IRISH ANIMATED FOLKLORE MOVIE "SONG OF THE SEA" The LA Times says that the new Oscar nominated animated Irish movie, "Song of the Sea", is a wonder to behold. "This visually stunning animation masterwork, steeped in Irish myth, folklore and legend, so adroitly mixes the magical and the everyday that to watch it is to be wholly immersed in an enchanted world. It's a beautiful message, and one that's delivered with heart and graceful visual splendor. ... The day you choose to see this film is one you won't forget."

IRISH POETRY A shortlist of 10 Irish Poems has been chosen from public nominations as part of A Poem For Ireland project. Patrick Kavanagh's A Christmas Childhood, William Butler Yeats's Easter 1916 and Paul Durcan's Making Love Outside Áras an Uachtaráin, are three of the poems chosen as among Ireland's best loved poems of the last 100 years. Between now and Sunday, March 8, you can read all 10 poems and cast your vote on the A Poem For Ireland website (http://apoemforireland.rte.ie/shortlist/).

PRO-UNION Irish-American punk rock band, Dropkick Murphys, has told Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker to stop playing their songs at his rallies. Walker used the band's song "I'm Shipping Up to Boston" when he took to the stage at the Iowa Freedom Summit. The band posted on their Twitter page "please stop using our music in any way...we literally hate you!!! Love, Dropkick Murphys".

PENNSYLVANIA HISTORIC MURAL An historical mural painted on the outside wall of Marty Magee's Irish pub in Prospect Park outside Philadelphia, tells the story of Duffy's Cut, 57 Irish immigrants who died working on the railroad. It also pays tribute to Commodore John Barry, the Wexford man who is considered the father of the US Navy. It portrays the Molly Maguires, a group of Irish coal miners who fought and died for equality in Pennsylvania's mines, and Black Jack Kehoe, the leader of the Mollies.

1930s IRELAND IN COLOR An amazing collection of colorized photographs taken in the 1930s in Ireland have now been digitized by the University of California and can be viewed online for the first time. The images taken by American photographer Branson DeCou give us a rare glimpse into a way of life that has long since disappeared. The photos were originally taken in black and white and color was then added by DeCou with aniline ink. http://irisharchaeology.ie/2012/11/photos-of-ireland-in-the-1930s-the-past-if-a-foreign-country/

Photos of Ireland from the 1800s can be viewed on the National Library of Ireland's Flicker page https://www.flickr.com/photos/nlireland/with/12584715825/

February 8, 2015



Very classy! I would love to see more "headline" posts.


This is interesting, thanks. I wouldn't mind seeing it each month. I suspect the youth diaspora program will fall victim to lack of funds, but it sounds like an amazing idea. I would have participated had it existed when I was younger.


How about for my "birthright" trip, they just pay for my Irish Studies MA next year?


Best of luck with your studies. You must be familiar with all the sources of funding already, but (just mulling over possibilities ) this caught my eye:



That is awesome! Thank you for posting that link for us. I'll definitely have to put that on my to-look-into list. :D


I agree! Sending high school kids to Ireland is great, but even better maybe would be helping to fund those of us who are actually contributing to Irish and Celtic studies.


How can I tell if I'm Irish at all?


What do you know of your family history? What are the last names of your extended family?


Brown, Gershburg, Campbell, that's all I know. I know Campbell is scottish.


Brown is English and anything ending with *burg is usually German or Dutch. It doesn't sound like you have any Irish ancestry.

Of course, that doesn't mean you can't still learn about the culture and participate. It's just going to mean something a bit different for you than it will for someone whose family is Irish. :)


Yeah. I love Irish music.

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