SUMMER 2014 / VOL. 14 ISSUE 2
News of Ireland
        and of Irish Interest
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Ború's Killing of Limerick's Viking King Reenactment Set July 26-27

Brian Ború's 10th century invasion of the monastic settlement of Scattery Island and the subsequent killing of the Viking King of Limerick and his two sons will be recreated in Co. Clare later this month.

The Scattery Island Festival on July 26-27 also features guided walks, lectures, music and song, and marine activities celebrating the island's association with St. Senan, the Vikings, Brian Ború, the Spanish Armada and later as a defense outpost for the British.

Uninhabited since 1979, Scattery Island - also known as Inish Cathaigh - is located approximately one mile from Kilrush in the Shannon Estuary and is home to a monastery founded in the early 6th century by St. Senan. The island features the ruins of six churches and one of the highest Round Towers in Ireland at 120 feet high. 

The reenactment of the raid on the island by Brian Ború and his the Dál Cais army is the main event of the upcoming Scattery Island Festival, which is part of the national Brian Boru Programme and coincides with the millennial anniversary of Ború's death at the Battle of Clontarf in 1014.

Academics and historians have for many years argued whether or not Ború broke sanctuary by killing on church land as he sought revenge for the murder by King Ivar of his older brother and King of Munster, Mahon. Most agree however, that the incident consolidated Brian's position as Mahon's successor and helped him in his quest to become High King of Ireland.

Dr. Catherine Swift, course director, Irish Studies Mary Immaculate College explained: "The Annals of Inisfallen state that Ímar, king of the foreigners, and his two sons, were killed on Inis Cathaig by Brian, son of Cennétig in 977AD. In an account given in the Annals of Loch Cé meanwhile, Brian sees a vision of St Senán condemning him for breaking sanctuary by killing on church land which is taken to be this incident. Whatever one's opinion is of the manner in which the Norse king was slain, it is clear that his death paved the way for Brian to enjoy unchallenged rule over his home Province of Munster."

Rita McCarthy of the Scattery Island Heritage & Tourism Group said the reenactment will be the focal point of this year's festival, the theme of which is 'Invade Scattery'.

Also taking place during the course of the weekend will be a Ceremony of Remembrance for past inhabitants of the island, a curragh Race, Music and Song with Inis Cathaigh Comhaltas, guided tours of the island by the OPW, talks on Scattery Island's environment and history, a treasure hunt for children and tours to the Napoleonic battery.

McCarthy continued: "We are inviting former island inhabitants and anyone with a connection with Scattery or indeed, its rich history to join us on the weekend of July 26-27th. Last year's inaugural festival, held as part of the Gathering Ireland initiative, proved to be a huge success with more than 5,000 people traveling to the island. This has helped to raise the profile of what has for many years been one of Ireland’s least known monastic settlements."

The Scattery Island Festival is part-funded under the Community Tourism Diaspora Fund, operated locally by Clare County Council, IPB and Failte Ireland. For more visit, see Facebook (Scattery Island/Kilrush Gathering), or contact Rita McCarthy of the Scattery Island Heritage and Tourism Group on 087-9731162 /

2014 Milwaukee Film Festival Call For Entries Closed

Milwaukee Film has accepted entries for the 6th Annual Milwaukee Film Festival (Sept. 25 - Oct. 9, 2014). Works of all genres, forms, and lengths have been considered. For a third year in a row, the festival offered free submission for all films.

"Our annual call for entries is an exciting time for the organization," said Artistic and Executive Director Jonathan Jackson. "Last year, a large portion of our local showcase was made up of filmmakers unknown to us. It’s a sign of a healthy film community that the filmmaking pool is expanding at this rate. We can’t wait to see what’s cooking out there this year."

Also returning in 2014 is The Milwaukee Youth Show, a showcase of short films by and for filmmakers ages 18 and under.

In its ongoing efforts to inspire and promote filmmaking in southeastern Wisconsin, Milwaukee Film offers a Filmmaker-in-Residence program each year to the filmmaker who receives the Cream City Cinema Award.

The Filmmaker-in-Residence program enables the winning filmmaker to make a new film using the support, guidance, and resources provided by Milwaukee Film, including:
* A camera package from North American Camera, valued at more than $10,000
* Complete post-production services provided by Independent, valued at over $10,000
* Mentoring and consulting services from Milwaukee Film and other industry professionals

Once completed, the Filmmaker-in-Residence film will premiere at the Milwaukee Film Festival.

Previous Filmmaker-in-Residence recipients include:

2013: Michael T. Vollman, Before You
2012: Chris James Thompson, The Jeffrey Dahmer Files
2011: Michael Hawkins-Burgos, Don’t Go
2010: Tate Bunker, Mickey Burgermeister
2009: John Roberts, Mary’s Friend

The Milwaukee Film Festival will also offer its annual Herzfeld Competition Award to one of the eight films selected to be a part of the Competition program, presented by the Heil Family Foundation. The winning film is determined by a jury of selected industry professionals, which in past years has included The Dissolve Editor Scott Tobias, Oscar-winning cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond, Music Box Films Head of Sales & Acquisitions Andrew Carlin, Rolling Stone Senior Editor David Fear, and Remote Area Medical co-director Farihah Zaman. In addition, non-juried audience awards, presented by Allan H. (Bud) and Suzanne L. Selig, are given to the top-rated short- and feature-length films based on audience ratings.

A crowd of 55,194 filmgoers attended the 2013 film festival, which screened 241 films and boasted 64 sold-out screenings. Among the line-up were award-winning films such as The Act of Killing, August: Osage County, The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete, Upstream Color, The Broken Circle Breakdown, and Short Term 12, as well as a sold-out Centerpiece Event featuring a screening of the silent Soviet classic Earth, with a live musical accompaniment by Milwaukee-based music ensemble, Altos (featuring members of Volcano Choir, Hello Death, and Collections of Colonies of Bees).

A record 212 filmmakers and industry professionals attended last year’s festival, including Paul Attanasio (Donnie Brasco, House M.D.), Elaine Stritch & Chiemi Karasawa (Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me), George Tillman Jr. and Michael Starburry (The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete), David Lowery (Ain’t Them Bodies Saints), Grace Lee (American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs), Steve Hoover (Blood Brother), Calvin Lee Reeder (The Rambler), Farihah Zaman & Jeff Reichert (Remote Area Medical), and Jack Turner (We Are What We Are).

Photos of the 2013 festival can be found on the Milwaukee Film Facebook page ( and Milwaukee Film Flickr page (

The 2014 Milwaukee Film Festival runs Sept. 25 – Oct.9, 2014. Passes and ticket six-packs go on sale in April, with the best prices available to Milwaukee Film Members. For information on how to become a member, visit

Tickets for individual screenings will be available through Milwaukee Film Festival Box Office starting Sept.10 for Milwaukee Film Members and September 11 for the General Public.

About Milwaukee Film
Film can entertain, educate, and empower. It can bring change on levels both intimate and epic. And it’s at its best as a communal viewing experience, with the best possible sound and projection. As a nonprofit cultural institution, Milwaukee Film’s mission is to communicate all of this to the city that we love, in a way that is both true and unique to Milwaukee.

Visit for information on the film festival and the organization, membership, special events, and to sign up for the weekly email newsletter ( Connect with Milwaukee Film on Facebook (, Twitter (, Instagram (, and the Milwaukee Film blog (

Milwaukee Film’s independent board is made up of the following members: Chris Abele; Donna Baumgartner; Tina Chang; Eva Chess; Robert M. Davis, DVM; Karen Ellenbecker; Jeff Fitzsimmons; Alexander P. Fraser; Bill Haberman (Past President); Carmen Haberman; Patti Keating Kahn; Tracey L. Klein; Mary Ann LaBahn; Steve Laughlin (President); Emilia Layden; Marianne Lubar; Sara Meaney; Steve Mech; Barry Poltermann; Bob Pothier; Joseph A. Rock; Julia Taylor. Emeritus members: Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and Jacqueline Strayer.

Foodies Can Follow 'A Taste of Lough Derg'

Food producers and restaurant owners surrounding Lough Derg have joined forces in an effort to promote the region as a food tourism destination.

'A Taste of Lough Derg 2014’, a pilot initiative for 2014, features 13 separate food events taking place in villages and towns along the shores of Lough Derg in counties Clare, Galway and Tipperary.

Continuing through mid-September, the series includes a Sunday Picnic at the lake in Killaloe, a butcher masterclass in Terryglass, farm walk and cheese tasting in Portumna, a BBQ garden party and talent show in Garrykennedy, and chocolate making and tasting in Tuamgraney and Newtown. The series also highlights the excellent country and farmers markets around Lough Derg.

The initiative is one of the recommendations of the Roadmap for Lough Derg, which was launched by the Minister in conjunction with the Lough Derg Marketing Strategy Group (LDMSG) and Fáilte Ireland in March 2014. 

The strategy has identified a number of areas to focus on over the period of the plan in order to achieve the vision for Lough Derg, which is to develop it as a key destination for water-based activities. These will be combined with a range of very high quality walking, cycling, heritage, culture and food experiences to entice visitors to stay longer.

"One of our objectives early on was to establish an initiative that showcased the local food sector, something that has not previously been done in a coordinated fashion," explained Joe MacGrath, chairperson of the LDMSG.

He added: "The local food tourism sector is fortunate to be served by a number of high quality artisan food producers and established chef-led restaurants. 'A Taste of Lough Derg’ brings these various elements together as a method of promoting Lough Derg as a destination for food and illustrating the food produce in the area. As well as being aimed at attracting new visitors to the region, we hope this series will also inform people in the surrounding area of the quality food providers and suppliers that exist on their own doorstep."

The participating stakeholders from around Lough Derg include Brookfield Farm, Tuscany Bistro, The Derg Inn, Lough Derg Chocolates, Sunny Meadow Farm, Good and Green, The Wooden Spoon, Larkin’s Bar & Restaurant, Killeen Farmhouse Cheese, Irish Seed Savers, Wilde Irish Chocolates, and Paddy’s Bar & Riverrun House & Cottages.

Áine Mc Carthy, tourismmarketingcoordinator for Lough Derg, commented: "The development of a new food tourism initiative is one of the objectives of the Roadmap for Lough Derg." This seeks to enhance the overall visitor experience around Lough Derg and to establish an identity that is unique to this region. she emphasize. "We are delighted to partner with local businesses to develop this initiative and further enhance the Lakelands ‘Lough Derg’ experience."

'A Taste of Lough Derg’ includes 'Walk, See & Taste' on Sunny Meadow Farm with a BBQ and Killeen Cheese Tastings, Portumna (Sun 13 Jul); 'Taste & Make' at Wilde Irish Chocolates Real Working Chocolate Factory, Tuamgraney (Thu 17 Jul); Pizza Picnic, Riverrun House & Cottages (Sun 20 Jul) Chocolate Demonstration and Tastings, Lough Derg Chocolates, Newtown (Fri 25 Jul); Tuscany Bistro World Cup of Forrestal Wines & Feast of Local Produce, Ballina (Thu 31 Jul); Scariff Harbour Festival 2014 feat. cooking demo with Chef Adrian Martin (Sat 2 Aug); Farm walk on Brookfield Farm All Ireland Permaculture Gathering feat. workshops, foraging, wild swimming, Coolbawn (8-10 Aug); 'Meet the producer' organized through Paddy’s Bar, Terryglass (Tue 12 Aug); ‘Making the most of it – 50+ foods from an Irish garden' at Good and Green, Annacarriga (Fri 15 Aug); Larkin’s BBQ Garden Party & Talent Show, Garrykennedy (Sun 24 Aug); A Celebration of Tipperary Beef and Lamb feat. Master Butcher demo & craft beer tasting, The Derg Inn, Terryglass (Sat 6 Sept); 'Apple Week' at Irish Seed Savers, Scarriff (11-14 Sept); and Sunday Picnics at the lake with The Wooden Spoon Killaloe (Sun 14 Sept).

A nominal charge applies to some events while others are free. Pre-booking is recommended. For complete details on each event, visit

Clare bids for National Diaspora Centre

Clare County Council has confirmed its intention to submit a bid to develop and operate the National Diaspora Centre that has been proposed by the Irish government.

The Local Authority’s proposal to have the centre located in County Clare was presented to and backed by Elected Members at the March monthly meeting of Clare County Council held at Áras Contae an Chláir in Ennis this evening.

Clare Mayor Joe Arkins welcomed the proposed bid, adding: "It is believed that an Irish Diaspora comprising more than 71 million Irish people exists worldwide. Being the host County for this new centre would clearly bring significant benefits for tourism, both locally and nationally. It would also generate significant jobs and further strengthen the already strong heritage tourism product that has been developed in Clare."

Clare County Manager Tom Coughlan confirmed the Council is examining a number of locations in the Bunratty area of Clare and is working in conjunction with Shannon Heritage on an overall bid proposal.

"Clare County Council feels that Clare has a huge amount to offer such a centre and a location at Bunratty offers excellent access from the motorway, is near Shannon International Airport and has an established tourism infrastructure. Over the years, Bunratty has also become known internationally for its status as a quality brand," he added.

Coughlan continued: "There is a major amount of work to be done and it is expected that the detailed criteria applying will be set out as part of the expressions of interest process. He went on to say that funding will also be a major challenge but admitted that is a challenge. "It is our intention to compile a strong and compelling case for Co. Clare and I am delighted that the members of Clare County Council have pledged their support to ensuring the most comprehensive bid is put forward, he added", however.

Clare County Council is currently in the process of appointing tourism consultants to assist in the formulation of the bid.

After securing approval from Government last week, Fáilte Ireland is shortly expected to make a call for expressions of interested parties to develop and operate a National Diaspora Centre. 

Responses to the call will be assessed initially by the Fáilte Ireland executive before their findings are submitted, alongside the expressions of interest, to a committee comprising an independent chair and representatives of relevant departments and other interested parties. 

Following consideration of the proposals submitted in response to the call, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Leo Varadkar, T.D will discuss the matter with the cabinet, and will advise the Government if suitable projects or partners have been identified.

Trinity Hosts Chancellor Merkel, Taoiseach Kenny

This past March, Trinity College Dublin welcomed the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, who was joined by the Irish Prime Minister, An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny. In her talk, she addressed Trinity students on the topic of "Europe in a Globalized World."

Welcoming Chancellor Merkel, Trinity’s Deputy President, Prof. Linda Hogan, said:

"We are delighted to welcome Chancellor Merkel to Trinity College Dublin, Ireland’s leading university which has produced some of the world’s great leaders across the sciences and humanities, including two Nobel Laureates, Samuel Beckett in literature and Ernest Walton in science. At the frontier of research and education, Trinity together with our international collaborators, will continue to tackle the major global challenges of our day, the challenges of aging, energy and environmental sustainability. As Ireland’s economy recovers we will work with Government to serve societal and economic development needs."

"We are particularly honored by Chancellor Merkel’s visit to Trinity today where over 250 German students are attending the University and enrich the diversity of the College’s multicultural campus."

More than 190 students gathered at the special event hosted by Trinity’s oldest student debating society, the Philosophical Society, to hear the Chancellor’s address. Among those gathered were many of the University’s German students. 

Trinity’s Deputy President, Professor Linda Hogan, opened proceedings and Ireland’s Prime Minister, An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, also spoke, following which Chancellor Merkel addressed the students. The discussion was opened to students and there was a question and answer session.

About Trinity College Dublin:
Trinity College Dublin is Ireland’s leading university across all international rankings, and is ranked 61st globally in 2013 QS World University Ranking Founded in 1592, it is situated in an historic campus at the heart of Ireland’s capital city, Dublin. Many of its alumni have helped shape history and include two Nobel prize winners – Ernest Walton for physics and Samuel Beckett for literature. 

Today, Trinity College Dublin offers a multicultural environment with 16,646 students from 122 countries. It is recognized internationally as Ireland’s premier university. Cutting-edge research, technology and innovation places the university at the forefront of higher education in Ireland and globally. I

It encompasses all major academic disciplines, and is committed to world-class teaching and research across the range of disciplines in the arts, humanities, engineering, science, social and health sciences. In areas such as immunology, materials science, and molecular biology and genetics, Trinity is among the world’s leading research institutions, and, in Ireland, almost one quarter of all spinout companies in higher education institutions come from Trinity. 

Trinity ranks in the world's top 1% of research institutions in 18 STEM fields, including immunology, materials science, and molecular biology and genetics. (Thomson Reuters Essential Science Indicators, in terms of research impact as measured by citations)

About Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Trinity College Dublin:

  • In the past two years, eight Trinity spinout companies have attracted almost €60 million in venture capital investment;
  • Trinity’s technologies are available for licensing in growth areas such as aviation, connected health, gaming and telecoms, new materials, and medical devices and therapies;
Since 2009, Trinity has averaged seven new spinout companies annually and 20 % of all Irish spinout companies in higher education institutions now stem from the University;

Trinity collaborates with eight of the top 10 information communications technology exporters in Ireland, and partners with eight of the top 10 medical device companies.

The university is also home to fabled The Book of Kells, a 9th century gospel manuscript written and illustrated by Columban monks. It is famous throughout the world for its beautifully intricate decoration and representative of Ireland as a seat of art and learning. The image of the Chi Rho page is the most celebrated image in the book, housed in Trinity’s Long Room situated in the University’s 18th century Old Library building. As well as its rich holdings of manuscripts and books the Old Library, also houses Ireland’s oldest harp dating from the 15th century and model for the emblem of Ireland.

St Patrick's Day Through the Years

Despite the stereotypes, most of the brashness now associated with St Patrick’s Day actually originated in the U.S. – leprechauns, the bright green clothes, the dyed beer. Even the dinner of corned beef and cabbage is an American invention.

In 2006, the Irish government decided to tap into this enthusiasm for celebrating our national saint by creating St. Patrick’s Festival; a week of events, gigs, tours, and street performances, crowned off with the parade through Dublin city centre.

Mass, Bacon and Rain

However, just 20 years ago, celebrating St. Patrick’s Day used to be a much more somber affair in Ireland. The focus was on the religious aspect of the day, as families dressed up to go to morning mass, with a sprig of shamrock pinned to their coats. Blessing the shamrock was also part of the Dublin parade.

After mass, people went home to get the dinner of bacon or roast chicken and potatoes ready. The men might slope off to the pub for a leisurely pint of Guinness with the other males of the neighborhood. Since the ‘80s, TVs in the living-rooms of rural Ireland were always tuned in to the Dublin parade. From this vantage point, the tanned and sequinned dancing groups from the US seemed like creatures of a superior species, their enthusiasm and permasmiles almost unnerving.

Parades were held in all the large towns, but they were a community effort and focused on regional industries. Tractors were a common sight, pulling trailers carrying floats sponsored by local businesses and clubs. The girls from the Irish dancing clubs were always out in force, but without the layers of fake tan and makeup they come with these days. People cheered to see their neighbors and relations in the parade. They did not need glamorous costumes, pounding music or fancy fireworks to make standing in the rain worthwhile. 

One tradition that has continued is the holding of the Gaelic Athletic Association club final in both hurling and football on St Patrick's Day. Croke Park has become the regular venue for this event, and it is a big draw for many people in Dublin for the festivities who wouldn't normally attend a GAA match.

The Irish Photo Archive has a collection of images of St Patrick’s Day from the 1950s through to the 1980s. They portray an Ireland that was pushed aside by the Celtic Tiger, but which has been remembered in the past few years with a lot more fondness. Which version of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations are best will always be a subjective opinion, but why not use our galleries to look back on the day through the decades.

The Irish Photo Archive is a collection of over 3.5 million negatives from the Lensmen Press and Public Relations Photographic Agency, founded in 1952 by Andy Farren and Padraig MacBrian.

These images record 60 years of Irish history – from visits by JFK, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Muhammad Ali, Grace Kelly, to events like the Rose of Tralee or political campaigns, down to snapshots of everyday life in the towns and villages across Ireland.

The archives are now attempting to digitize this collection, so that this valuable social history resource will be preserved and made accessible worldwide. The mission of the Irish Photo Archive and the work we have done so far has been praised by the leader of Ireland's government, Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, as has been its involvement of people on the JobBridge program, bringing unemployed Irish people back to work for Irish companies. Click here to listen to the Taoiseach's endorsement.

For more information:

Queen’s Discovery Signals New Cancer Treatment 

Cancer researchers at Queen’s University Belfast have made a breakthrough which could signal new treatments for women at high risk of breast and ovarian cancer.

Currently around one in 1,000 women in the UK carry what is known as a BRCA1 mutation - the same condition that prompted well-known actress Angelina Jolie to undergo a double mastectomy. They have up to an 85 per cent risk of developing breast cancer, and up to 40 per cent risk of developing ovarian cancer, in their lifetimes.

Until now, preventive surgery - mastectomy (breasts) and oophorectomy (ovaries) - has been the only way of reducing the risk of developing both types of cancers.

The new discovery by researchers in Queen’s Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology (CCRCB) may mean women affected with BRCA1 could use drugs, which are already available, to reduce their risk of developing the disease, rather than undergo irreversible surgery. In turn, such treatments would open up the possibility of some of these women, who might otherwise have an oophorectomy, still being able to have children.

The new research by Dr. Kienan Savage and Prof. Paul Harkin at CCRCB proves there is a direct link between high levels of estrogen and DNA damage, which causes cancer, in the breasts and ovaries.

Specifically, the scientists discovered that the cells of women with the BRCA1 mutation cannot effectively fight the very high levels of estrogen that exist in all women’s breasts and ovaries, leaving them vulnerable to DNA damage.

While this link between estrogen, breast/ovarian cancer and BRCA1 mutation has been suspected by the scientific community for years, it has not been proven until now.

The CCRCB’s Savage, who led the research, said: "This discovery is very significant in the management of women with the BRCA1 gene mutation. It’s the first really credible evidence that estrogen is driving cancer in women with a BRCA1 gene mutation. Because of this discovery, we now have the opportunity to propose an alternative treatment to surgery. It also opens up the possibility of pausing treatment for a period in order for women to have children, if desired.

"What also makes this exciting is that there are drugs already on the market which turn off estrogen production. In theory, we could use these drugs to chemically reduce estrogen production in women which could negate the need for irreversible surgery." 

The Queen’s-led research, which has been ongoing for four years, was carried out with funding from Cancer Focus NI and Cancer Research UK. It is carried in the latest edition of the prestigious USA-based journal Cancer Research.

Waugh, director of the Centre for Cancer Research and Cell Biology at Queen’s, said: "This breakthrough by researchers at CCRCB is great news for women with the BRCA1 gene and the cancer research community as a whole. It is pivotal in that it reveals more about the mechanisms behind breast and ovarian cancer.

"This work of Dr. Savage and Prof. Paul Harkin is further example of the world-leading research being undertaken at Queen’s which continues to advance knowledge and change lives."

Roisin Foster, chief executive of the Cancer Focus Northern Ireland, said: "Cancer Focus is delighted to fund this groundbreaking research into breast cancer, which has the potential in the foreseeable future to benefit women all over the world. We are only able to support this vital work because of the generosity of our local community."

The researchers are currently seeking funding to launch clinical trials and hope to do so within 12 months. It is envisaged that, in the first instance, a small control trial will be carried out using a combination of two drugs on 12 women for a period of three months, using biopsy, blood and urine samples to track DNA damage.

Ward Music Archives Wins Major History Award

The Ward Irish Music Archives, housed at the Irish Fest Center in Wauwatosa, Wis., has received an Award of Merit from the The American Association for State and Local History (AASLH. The archives was presented with a Leadership in History Awards for the Irish Sheet Music Archives website ( The AASLH Leadership in History Awards, now in its 69th year, is the most prestigious recognition for achievement in the preservation and interpretation of state and local history. 

The Irish Sheet Music Archives website is the online home of the sheet music collections found in the Ward Irish Music Archives of Milwaukee Irish Fest. Users can browse and search over 5,000 pieces of Irish and Irish American themed sheet music, and they can view full scans of sheet music in the public domain. More in-depth historical information is explored in the site’s Galleries section, featuring sheet music from various historical events, performers, and composers.

This year, AASLH confers 77 national awards honoring people, projects, exhibits, books, and organizations. The winners represent the best in the field and provide leadership for the future of state and local history. Presentation of the awards will be made at a special banquet during the 2014 AASLH Annual Meeting in St. Paul, Minnesota, on Friday, Sept. 19. The banquet is supported by a generous contribution from the History Channel.

The AASLH awards program was initiated in 1945 to establish and encourage standards of excellence in the collection, preservation, and interpretation of state and local history throughout the United States. The AASLH Leadership in History Awards not only honor significant achievement in the field of state and local history, but also bring public recognition of the opportunities for small and large organizations, institutions, and programs to make contributions in this arena. 

For more information about the Leadership in History Awards, contact AASLH at 615-320-3203, or go to

The American Association for State and Local History is a not-for-profit professional organization of individuals and institutions working to preserve and promote history. From its headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee, AASLH provides leadership, service, and support for its members who preserve and interpret state and local history in order to make the past more meaningful in American society. AASLH publishes books, technical publications, a quarterly magazine, and monthly newsletter. The association also sponsors regional and national training workshops and an annual meeting.

Going Bog-ing is Latest Irish Craze

Head along to Peatlands Park for International Bog Day on Sunday, July 27. Do you think you could face swimming through mud, slime and mucky water? Do you have the sense of adventure to take on the Northern Ireland Bog Snorkeling Championships?

If you have answered yes to these questions and think you are up for the challenge, then sign up for the Northern Ireland Bog Snorkeling Championships 2014 - contact details below. The event, which is now in its 10th year, attracts competitors from all over Ireland.

The Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) is once again hosting the event, which will be held on International Bog Day and will help raise awareness of the importance of our bogs.

This energetic sport is popular and gets people literally into the bog. Competitors have to swim two lengths of a 60-yard bog drain with the aid of a snorkel, mask and flippers and without using any conventional swimming strokes. Anyone over the age of 12 can have a go, it’s brilliant craic – and the good news is – it’s free to enter!

But there is a serious side to all this dirty fun. The lowland raised bogs are home to many important species of birds, insects and a wealth of unusual plants. Exploitation has dramatically reduced the area once covered by peatlands to a level where in Northern Ireland only 9% of lowland raised bogs and 14% of upland blanket bogs remain. This annual event has been designed to celebrate the beauty of bogs and to help make people more aware of peatlands and the threats they face.

Times: Bog Day begins 11 a.m., Bog Snorkeling begins at noon and runs until approximately 5 p.m.

And if you don’t fancy swimming in a bog drain? There’ll be plenty to keep the whole family entertained at this event with live music, face painting, arts and crafts, guided walks across the bog, traditional turf cutting demonstrations, peat-free gardening advice and demonstrations and walkabout characters, as well as food and drinks.

Irish Consul Appointed for North Carolina

By Stephen Smith

The Consul General of Ireland in Atlanta recently announced the appointment of Ireland’s first Honorary Consul for the state of North Carolina, Dr. John Young. Dr. Young has been a leading member of the Irish community in Charlotte for many years, having helped found the Irish Society of Charlotte in 1986 and served as its president. 

He is also the founder and chairman of the McLaughlin Young Group, a recognized leader in the area of human capital consulting. He is the author of "The Five Essential Leadership Questions: Living with Passion, Leading Through Trust."

Consul General of Ireland for the US southeast, Paul Gleeson, said, "We are delighted to have been able to appoint John as our first Honorary Consul in North Carolina. And it is already clear, from events we’ve hosted in Charlotte and Raleigh to announce his appointment, that it is a move which has been welcomed by our Irish community in the state, as well as our American friends. There is huge potential to deepen Ireland’s business, education and tourism links with Ireland, building on the direct air connection between Charlotte and Dublin, courtesy of US Airways."

Ireland’s Tánaiste (Deputy Prime Minister) and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Eamon Gilmore TD, said: "We are delighted to be appointing a first Honorary Consul in the state of North Carolina. The direct air connection between Charlotte and Dublin courtesy of US Airways provides huge opportunities in terms of boosting business and tourism connections between Ireland and North Carolina and we are confident John is the right man to help us in this endeavor."

The Ambassador of Ireland to the United States Anne Anderson, said: "Honorary consuls play a critical role for Ireland in the US, helping to provide essential consular services to Irish citizens and to deliver our trade, investment, tourism and cultural messages to new and diverse audiences. John’s appointment enhances this network of dedicated and articulate advocates for Ireland and we are delighted to have him on board."

On his appointment as Honorary Consul on a three-year contract, Dr. John Young said: "It is an honor to have the opportunity to connect Ireland, where I was born, and North Carolina, where I have lived for the past 30 years. Both the country and the state have incredible natural beauty, a commitment to education and culture, and a progressive business environment. I have always called both home, and look forward to further developing and nurturing the relationship between Ireland and North Carolina."

Young is a native of the Glens of Antrim in Northern Ireland. He emigrated to the United States in 1971 and he and his wife, Mary Pat, have lived in North Carolina for 30 years. They have two grown children and three grandchildren.

The opening of the first Irish consulate in Atlanta was the first new consulate in the US established by Ireland since the 1930s. The states of Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana and Arkansas have large populations and communities that claim Irish and Scots-Irish heritage. For 300 years and more, people from Ireland and of Irish and Scots-Irish descent have played a major role in the history and growth of this part of the United States.

Consul General Paul Gleeson said; "Through the Consulate, we hope to acknowledge and pay tribute to that tremendous work, just as we seek to building exciting and innovative relationships in business, science and culture for a new generation."

Burren College of Art Holds 20th Anniversary Alumni Exhibition

Burren College of Art (BCA) in Co. Clare celebrated its 20th Anniversary with an extensive alumni exhibition representing 40 artists from Ireland, England, the United States and South America.

The work in the exhibition, which runs to Aug. 8, responds to the theme "In The Middle Of Everywhere" through painting, drawing, photography, video, performance and installation.

The exhibition is located in the BCA Gallery and at specific sites throughout the campus, curated by Dr. Áine Phillips who has taught sculpture at the college since 1999.

"All the artists in this show have lived in the Burren and studied at BCA during their training either as Undergraduate, Masters level or Doctorate students and some as artists in residence and as visiting faculty," explained Phillips.

She continued: "Their diverse work reflects a profound engagement with this place, its culture and identity, often through the lens of the outsider or the global citizen, networked and connected to everywhere but richly experiencing the effect of being somewhere in particular, the Burren, with all its specific qualities and singularity."

The alumni represented in the show include many professional artists with significant international profiles such as Simon Bayliss (Cornwall), Colin Matthes (Wisconsin) and Mollie Douhit (North Dakota) who received the Hennessy Craig at the RHA in 2013.

Brooklyn-based Erinn Clancy’s work has been previously shown at the Guggenheim in New York, Lucy Stein (London) has been featured at Frieze Art Fair and the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. Rockstar Iggy Pop collects the work of Ben Roosevelt (Georgia) and Loren Erdrich (Brooklyn) has featured in Vogue Italia and exhibited with renowned masters Louise Bourgeois and Kiki Smith. Ken Fandell is collected by MOMA New York and MOCA Chicago. Irish alumni Emma Houlihan (Clare) has been commissioned by EVA and The Swedish Royal Institute of Art and Roisin McGuigan (Kerry) has exhibited at the Crawford Gallery Cork and MOCA Dublin.

List of Artists:
Jeffrey & Matthew Austin, Beki Basch, Simon Bayliss, Aoife Cassidy, Erinn Clancy, Marie Connole, Mollie Douhit, Collette Egan, Loren Erdich, Ken Fandell, Abigail Flanagan, Jan Pieter Fokkens, Stefanie Ford, John Freeman, Sean Patrick Gallagher, Arianna Garcia, Monique Given, Haynes Goodsell, Emma Houlihan, Eileen Hutton, Tracey Lee, Gail Madeuno, Hali Maltsberger, Colin Matthes, Roisin McGuigan, Jill Miller, Sean Naftel & Chris Attenborough, Joe O’Brien, Pam O’Connell, Beka Peralta, Jonathan Pivovar, Ben Roosevelt, Andrew Salomone, Lucy Stein & Shana Moulton, Zoe Shulman, Gala Tomaso, Ariel Williams.

The exhibition is supported by the Clare County Council Arts Office.

The dean of Columbia University's School of Art, a twice-nominated Turner Prize painter, a former Danish Minister for Culture and a leading art theorist from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago were among the confirmed participants in a program marking the 20th anniversary of Burren College of Art in Co. Clare.

Irish-born American painter and printmaker and twice Turner Prize nominee, Sean Scully also received an honorary doctorate.

Located at Newtown Castle in Ballyvaughan, the Burren College of Art specializes in delivering a range of contemporary fine art programs including photography, sculpture, painting and digital media, and in hosting leadership retreats and "audacious conversations" using creative methodologies. Postgraduate programs at the College have been accredited by National University of Ireland, Galway since 2002.

Mary Hawkes Greene, president and founder of the Burren College of Art (BCA) said the 20th anniversary celebrations were aimed at showcasing the success of BCA's alternative approach to education. It provides students the time and space to develop their individual talents amid the inspirational landscape of the world famous Burren, she pointed out.

She continued: "By facilitating discussion amongst leading art education innovators from around the world and by showcasing the works of our graduates, we are seeking to highlight BCA's contribution to the arts sector and to serve as a creative springboard for re-imagining what an art school can be at this moment of profound societal change.

Hawkes Greene added: "Creativity and Innovation are critical to our economic and social survival; nurturing creativity is what an art school needs to do. We believe everyone has the ability to be creative in whatever they do, and expanding this potential is our goal for the next 20 years."

"Establishing the College was in itself the creative act of a local, motivated by a passionate love of place and a vision to develop it appropriately. For the past two decades BCA has been the all-year round economic and social mainstay of Ballyvaughan and the wider Burren Region, our students breathing life into a community whose own youth have emigrated. The College has operated sustainably on a nonprofit basis without any operational funding from the State. We are very proud of this achievement and of providing an alternative educational model that is intentionally small and focuses on individual development," she concluded.

The BCA 20th anniversary celebration got underway on July 17 when stories of historical and contemporary alternative approaches from the US and Europe formed the basis for the two-day 'Ex-centric Alternatives' symposium. 

Contributors include Uffe Elbaek, former Danish Minister for Culture, founder of Kaos Pilots design school and of" The Alternative" political party; Professor Brian Butler, Director Black Mountain College Museum; Dr. Carol Becker, Dean of the School of Arts, Columbia University; Professor Sir Christopher Frayling, former rector of the Royal College of Art, London; Tracy Meisterheim, Blekinge Institute of Technology, Sweden; and James Elkins, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

The alumni exhibition, entitled "the Middle of Everywhere", opened on July 18, featuring the work of 40 BCA past students from the US, Mexico, Canada, UK and Ireland.

The Sean Scully honorary conferring takes place on Saturday July 19th and will be followed by The Best of the Burren - a banquet of Burren food and a recital by Ballyvaughan-born Naomi O'Connell who has become an international opera star, accompanied by Archie Simpson, founder of the Lismorahaun singers.

"Burren College of Art has grown organically from the Burren. Our 20th anniversary is a celebration of the creativity of this place and its people."

For more on the Burren College of Art, Newtown Castle, Co. Clare, and it 20th anniversary celebrations, visit

‘Aristocrats’ Set for Abbey

London producer and regular Irish American Post contributor Gerry Molumby reports that Brian Friel's classic play 'Aristocrats' is running at the Abbey this summer. It tells the story of what Brendan Behan called " an Irish castle catholic family" gathered as their father is dying. Molumby originally saw it at the Hampstead Theatre with a younger Niall Buggy playing the lead role of Casim. For more information:

Blog Awards -Ireland Map Developed

Bloggers across Ireland nominated their blogs in the 2014 Blog Awards-Ireland which champions the best blogs and bloggers in the country. The closing date for entries in the Blog Awards was July 11. For more information: Last year, Blog Awards Ireland saw 3,000 nominations with more than 800 individual blogs making it to the long list. This year, the information will be produced as an interactive map.

Categories ranged from Personal, Fashion & Beauty, Lifestyle, Diaspora, Irish Language, Humour, Health & Wellbeing, Politics, Best Blog of a Journalist and Best Blog of an SME and a Corporate. A ‘Parenting’ category was added for 2014. Bloggers entered from around the world and are invited to attend the awards ceremony in the Westgrove Hotel, Clane, Co. Kildare on Oct. 4, 2014.

All categories were judged by a panel of independent judges. The Best Blog post will be judged by public vote and then the top 10 will be judged by independent judges. For more details log onto

Singer Mary Black US Tour Finalized

Ireland's foremost female singer Mary Black has set the U.S. leg of her "Last Call" tour for this fall, beginning Oct. 23 at the Weinberg Centre in Frederick, Maryland. Considered Ireland's premiere female vocalist for more than 25 years, Black will be performing songs that span her lifelong and 11-album career during the three weeks of shows. 

Black, who plans to retire from touring, began her final tour earlier in the year with concerts throughout the United Kingdom, Europe and Japan. Earlier this year, in a message to all of her fans posted on her website, she announced her plan for one more tour:

"Music has been so good to me, I've loved touring the world for the last 30 years... I have made so many friends and have countless fond memories from different corners of the globe. So to my fans everywhere I'd like to thank you and let you know that I hope to get back again to all my favorite places in 2014, for one final tour - 'The Last Call.'"

"Le gach dea-ghui (with every good wish/prayer)," she said. 

Black has released 11 album studio albums, all of which have achieved platinum sales status and have included numerous hits. She has shared stages, TV shows and recording studios with many fabled performers, playing a frontline role in bringing Irish music to an ever-growing global audience.

Black last toured the U.S. two years ago in support of her most recent studio album, "Stories from the Steeples" on Blix Street Records, an album that received stellar reviews worldwide. 

Following is a sampling of reviewer commentary:

"Stories from the Steeples is a welcome return for one of contemporary folk music's finest voices and most original stylists; it is also a standout album in Black's solo catalog." -

"Mary's beautiful voice coupled with her unique ability to interpret the story of each song makes Stories from the Steeples an absolute treasure. Fans have been waiting six long years for a new album, and they will be over the moon about this one. This is a MUST HAVE album." -

"The interplay of joy and sadness, of love and violence, of pathos and humor heightens the tension and the tenderness. The intermingling of personal and political passion is essentially Irish."-The International Review of Music

Earlier this year, she has appeared with Judy Collins on her "Judy Collins Live in Ireland" special for PBS Television, recorded last fall at Dromoland Castle. The special is now available on both CD and DVD. Mary also appeared on the nationally-syndicated Woodsongs Old-Time Radio Hour, recorded in Dublin. That show is archived ( Black's "Last Call" U.S. tour dates are as follows:
October 23-Weinberg Center, Frederick, MD;

24-Colonial Theatre, Phoenixville, PA;

25-Birchmere Music Hall, Alexandria, VA;

26-City Winery, New York City;

29-Fitzgerald Theatre, St. Paul, MN;

30-Music Box Supper Club, Cleveland, OH;

31-City Winery, Chicago, IL:

November  1-Freight & Salvage, Berkeley, CA;

3-Harris Center for the Arts, Folsom, CA;

4-Benroya Hall, Seattle, WA;

6-Katharine Hepburn Center, Old Saybrook, CT;

7-Church of Sacred Heart, Southampton, NY;

8-Berklee College of Music, Boston, MA

White-Tailed Sea Eagles Viewing Point Opens

The public can now observe one of the first white-tailed sea eagles born in Ireland in over a century, courtesy of a new Viewing & Information Point that has been officially opened on the shores of Lough Derg in Co. Clare.

Located at Mountshannon Pier and operated by Mountshannon Community Council, the Golden Eagle Trust and Clare County Council, the new Viewing Point features telescopes and information and displays about the White Tailed Sea Eagles. The facility will remain open until the end of September.

Norway's Ambassador to Ireland Roald Næss joined Mayor of Clare Cllr. John Crowe in Mountshannon today in recognition of his country's close links with the Golden Eagle Trust's program to reintroduce the bird to Ireland.

The Mountshannon breeding pair, a six-year-old male and five-year-old female, were collected as chicks on the island of Frøya off the west coast of Norway by the Golden Eagle Trust. The birds were released in Killarney National Park before relocating to Lough Derg in 2011. The pair, named Saoirse and Caimin, created history in 2013 when they reared the first chicks to fly from a nest in Ireland in 110 years. The pair successfully hatched another chick in late April of this year.

Mayor of Clare Cllr. John Crowe welcomed the introduction of the Viewing Point which he said provides the general public with "a unique opportunity to view the birds at close quarters without disturbing them".

He added: "The breeding success of the Mountshannon pair is in no small part down to the wonderful work of the Golden Eagle Trust, Clare County Council and Mountshannon Community Council, as well as the goodwill and support shown by the local community. This Viewing & Information Point will help to further safeguard these impressive birds and their nesting activities, as well as to promote their ecology and conservation."

Norwegian Ambassador to Ireland Roald Næss described the increase in the number of nesting pairs of White Tailed Sea Eagles in Ireland as "encouraging" and expressed his delight that Norway has played a central role in the reintroduction program.

He continued: "Norway is home to one of the largest White Tailed Sea Eagle populations in the world and has been instrumental in helping organizations such as the Golden Eagle Trust to reintroduce the species to countries where the bird once flourished but is no longer found. Being able to view this breeding pair thrive here in County Clare is a tribute to everyone concerned and I hope the people who visit this Viewing Point truly value what is happening here."

Welcoming the official opening of the Viewing & Information Point, Dr. Allan Mee, White Tailed Sea Eagle project manager, commented: "We are very conscious of the risk of disturbing the birds especially during nesting periods, so we warmly welcome this structure which is purpose built and designed specifically for the purposes as a Bird Viewing and Information Point."

He indicated the project will help put Mountshannon on the map as the destination to come and enjoy perhaps Ireland’s largest and most spectacular breeding bird. "To have a nesting pair of eagles here on our doorstep is a unique and one that the local community in Mountshannon will I’m sure help nurture into the future," Allan added.

The Viewing Point will be maintained by Mountshannon Community Council, whose Chair John Harvey said: "Since the White Tailed Sea Eagles first arrived here three years ago, members of the local community have given tremendous support to the Golden Eagle Trust to ensure the birds were given every possible opportunity to thrive. The Community Council looks forward to welcoming people to the village and the Viewing Point, which we regard as a wonderful addition to the local tourism infrastructure."


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