Don't miss the 7th Annual Celtic Fling & Highland Game Feis!  See our Events section for more information.


The Common Ground

Vol. II, Issue VI


June  2005


News Updates







upcoming Events:


    •  25 - 26




in this issue


Check out this month's Events section for some exciting upcoming events, including the Pittsburgh Irish Rowing Club's annual St. Brendan's Cup Regetta, and the upcoming 7th Annual Celtic Fling and Highland Game Feis.


This month, Down is the county highlighted in our series, "12 Counties in 12 Months."  This county is home to Downpatrick and the Mountains of Mourne. 


In news from Ireland, PNC is expanding its workforce in Wexford and Navan, and Britain's Queen Elizabeth may be preparing for her first state visit to the Republic of Ireland.



letter from the editor


a few months ago I wrote in this space about the various invasions of Ireland -- how the Celts, the Vikings, and the Normans all made their marks and ultimately became "as Irish as the Irish themselves."  The British invasion, which dates back over 800 years, marked the beginning of the conflict that exists in Northern Ireland to this day.  Despite the longevity of this conflict, the still-tense relations between rival political leaders in Northern Ireland, and incidents of terrorist and criminal behavior in certain areas in Northern Ireland and the Border counties of the South, most observers note a reduction in the intensity of the ancient conflict.


Certainly, this long-standing conflict is not over yet.  Problems in the areas of policing, military presence, organized crime, political leadership, and other obstacles to transparent democratic processes continue to trouble Northern Ireland.  And the two governments -- the UK and the Republic of Ireland -- do not see eye-to-eye on every issue.  Both sides, however have come to realize the positive outcomes of cooperation.  Britain is by far, Ireland's largest trading partner.  And Irish expatriates make up a significant portion of a culturally diverse Britain.


Centuries ago, Britain attempted to stamp out Irish and Catholic culture.  Clergy members were executed and Catholics were denied rights.  Irish dance, music, and language were prohibited.  Beginning with the Gaelic Revival in the early 1900s, the traditions of Ireland began to be rediscovered.  This process of cultural recovery continues in Ireland today- and Britain is contributing.  Just this week, the British government announced it would release twelve million pounds to promote Irish language film and television in Northern Ireland.


This small news items is, in terms of Anglo-Irish cooperation, a major advancement.  Northern Ireland is officially a part of the United Kingdom but is also claimed by the Irish as part of their rightful domain.  In theory, Northern Irish policy allows for two traditions to live and thrive, side-by-side.  Both governments recognize the cultural diversity of Northern Ireland.


Another current news item reflecting the open society that is modern Ireland is the Gaelic Athletic Association's review of a rule that, until now, prohibited competition in non-Gaelic games at Croke Park, their national grounds.  Several county-level GAA leaders have supported opening Croke Park to soccer, rugby, and other games.  A majority vote to rescind this rule will move Ireland toward cultural openness and respect for the various groups who now call it home.


Every instance of cooperation between Britain and Ireland is a victory for peace.  While much work still remains in the process of reconciliation in Northern Ireland, I am confident that gestures of good will on both sides of the Irish Sea  promote the openness and compromise that will ultimately lead to better days for these two nations and the distinct yet diverse cultures.


Jim Lamb is the Vice President of the Ireland Institute of Pittsburgh, and can be reached at

12 counties in 12 months:


County Down is the eastern and southern most county in the Republic of Ireland.  The country covers 945 sq mi or 2,448 sq km.  The landscape is dominated by rolling hills and a large costal area, over 200 miles of coastline in fact.  County Down is in the province of Ulster and borders County Antrim to the north, County Armagh to the west, and the Irish Sea to the east.        Bangor is the largest town in County Down.  This seaside resort town is popular among golfers because of the beautiful views of the Irish Sea from the many courses.      






County Down is where, in the words of the famous song by Percy French, "the mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea."  Newcastle is another seaside town most famous for the Mountains of Mourne that over look the Irish Sea.  Slieve Donard is a highest peak in the Republic of Ireland, it climes to 2,796 ft/848m.


Banbridge is famous for a monument built is dedication of the late Captain Francis Crozier.  He died during his voyage that discovered the North-West Passage.                  Downpatrick’s cathedral is famous because it is the burial site of St. Patrick.  This town is rich in historical tradition especially in remembrance of Ireland's patron saint.  The Saint Patrick Heritage Centre educates visitors about the importance that County Down played in the spread of Christianity in Ireland. It is also the location of the County Down Museum.   


An area of County Down is known as Brontë Country, after Patrick Brontë (originally Prunty).  He was the father of Anne, Charlotte, and Emily Bronte.  These three sisters are remembered as famous authors from County Down. 

The main form of business and commerce in County Down is agriculture.  In the recent past tourism is showing potential especially in the costal towns, which attract golfers. 

For more information about County Down:

Please submit your feedback to:    Ireland Institute of Pittsburgh * Regional Enterprise Center

                                                        * 425 Sixth Avenue, Suite 300 * Pittsburgh, PA 15219 or

Call/fax our offices:   Telephone:  (412) 394-3900  *  Fax:  (412) 394-0502

To subscribe/unsubscribe or comment on this newsletter please send an email to:








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Queen Elizabeth may be preparing for state visit to Ireland


Irish President Mary McAleese recently traveled to London to participate in the 25th anniversary dinner for Co-operation Ireland, an Irish-based organization which promotes peace and development in Northern Ireland.  As part of her trip, McAleese met privately with Queen Elizabeth.  As reported by the BBC, after their meeting, McAleese stated, "The Irish and British governments are agreed that a visit should take place and the timing is for a decision by them in the light of the successful development of the political process in Northern Ireland over time."

PNC Expands in Ireland


As reported in the May 18th edition of the Post-Gazette, PNC Financial Services Group is planning to create 490 new jobs in Ireland, 200 in Wexford and 290 in Navan over the next five years.  This will bring the number of employees in Ireland to 1,000.  The unit of PNC located in Ireland is PFPC unite, which according to the Post-Gazette, "provides administrative services to mutual fund companies."


PNC has also hosted several participants from Ireland and Northern Ireland through the Walsh Visa Program, coordinated by the Ireland Institute.








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LIONS 1-1 in New Zealand Tour

As reported in last month’s Common Ground the British & Irish Lions have embarked upon the New Zealand Tour.  The team is composed of players from Ireland and Britain.  23 May 2005 the Lions tied with Argentina at Millennium Stadium.  4 June 2005 the Lions defeated the Bay of Plenty 20, a team from Mount Maunganui, New Zealand at the Rotorua Stadium.  The score of the match was 34 – 20, with the Lions victorious.  Next up on the schedule of matches, the Lions will take on Taranaki, also from New Zealand at the New Plymouth Stadium.  Pictured at left is Rob Howley, of the Lions.

World Cup 2006

In the World Cup Qualifying game the Irish lost to Israel by 2 goals.  The Irish, who were leading by 2 goals at one point in the game lost with only a few minutes left in the match.  Robbie Keane sustained an injury to his shoulder in the third minute of the game.  He will not be able to play in the next match.  Steve Finnan missed the game due to injury.  With only 4 matches left in the qualifying round, 2 at home and 2 away, the Irish need to boost moral in order to better compete to make it to the world Cup next summer.  Pictured is Brian Kerr, the manager of the Republic of Ireland's team. 















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The Pittsburgh Irish and Classical Theatre

The Pittsburgh Irish and Classical Theatre (PICT) was founded in 1996 by Andrew S. Paul and Stephanie Riso in an effort to expand and diversify Pittsburgh’s theatre scene.  PICT provides local audiences with high-quality, text-driven and affordable productions of classical and contemporary works while improving employment opportunities for local talent.  The organization has 1,200 loyal season subscribers and a continually growing annual attendance of between 12,000 and 15,000 patrons for four main-stage productions.  As a member of Theatre Communications Group, PICT has maintained a yearly position on the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s list of the city’s Top 50 Cultural Forces.

Current productions include:

●  Heartbreak House by George Bernard Shaw; June 2nd – 25th, 2005 at Charity Randall Theatre

  Stones in his pockets by Marie Jones; June 29th – July 17th, 2005 at Henry Heymann Theatre

  The False Servant by Pierre Marivaux, adapted by Martin Crimp; July 28th – August 20th, 2005 at Henry Heymann Theatre

  Henry by Thomas Kilroy (after Pirandello); August 25th – September 17th, 2005 at Charity Randall Theatre. Starring legendary Irish actor, Tony and Oscar nominee, Stephen Rea

PICT’s success has allowed them to develop an educational program that instructs, inspires, and entertains over 2600 students and teachers.  Part of PICT’s mission has always been to present plays rich in language, and thus they wish to encourage student writing. By developing a three-prong approach (3 “ACTS”), PICT aids teachers and their students with a writing experience related to their performance experience.  Furthermore, PICT has an active partnership with Duquesne University that allows students to participate in acting and playwriting classes and is involved with Educational Friend of the Theatre, Elderhostel and Carnegie Mellon Academy of Lifelong Learning programs.  Not only has PICT had a cultural impact on Pittsburgh, they have extended their efforts to support the next generation of theatre. 

Support the Pittsburgh Irish and Classical Theatre in their upcoming events!  For more information about PICT or show times, visit: or call (412)561-6000.




2004 golfers


Tune up your swing, gather your friends, and join the Ireland Institute for a day of golf, prizes, and plenty of fun!


Our Ninth Annual Golf Outing will be held Monday, July 11th at Fox Chapel Golf Club.  The day includes green fees, cart, brunch, refreshments, dinner, and prizes.  As our primary fundraiser each year, support of this outing help s to further our mission of promoting peace in Northern Ireland and economic development throughout all of Ireland


If you're not a golfer, support opportunities include tee signs, and golf program ads. 


Additionally, sponsorships are still available at several levels.  For more information, please visit our website at, or give us a call at 412-394-3900. 














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special events

June 25th-26th: The Irish Centre of Pittsburgh will host its 7th Annual Celtic Fling & Highland Game Feis beginning Saturday, June 25 at 11 A.M. at Mount Hope Estate and Winery in Cornwall, PA.  Admission to the festival is $21.95 for adults and $8.95 for children ages 5 to 11.  Tickets can be purchased at
This two day celebration of customs, music, dance and traditions of Celtic people feature 12 stages packed with Celtic music of the past and the rock infused music of today, official Highland Dance and Highland Games competitions, official Bagpipe Band competition and more than 100 Celtic craftsmen and merchants.
For more details, visit

 July 9th: The Pittsburgh Irish Rowing Club will have its Annual St. Brendan’s Cup Curragh Regatta at the All-States Marina in Glenfield, PA, starting at 9 A.M.  Come cheer on the NACA Champion PIRC as they compete against teams from across the U.S. and try to capture the St. Brendan’s Cup.  Call (412) 761-3897 or email for further details.

Formally known as the Pittsburgh Curragh Club, the Pittsburgh Irish Rowing Club was established in 1984 by Elaine Manning.  Over the past few years, PIRC has won several NACA championships and even sent a rowing crew to Ireland for a competition in 2000.  As one of the youngest and most talented clubs on the North American circuit, the PIRC has a bright future ahead.

We're always looking for events to include: If you'd like to include your next event in this newsletter, please send event information including date, time, location, admission cost, and contact information to

become a regular at these local programs!

  •  Listen to Echoes of Erin, now its in 17th year, every Sunday afternoon at 1:00 p.m. on WEDO, 810 AM.  Diane Byrnes has Irish music, news, and other great information

  • Paddy's Pour House located on Main Street in Carnegie, PA hosts live entertainment every Friday and Saturday night starting at 9:00 PM.  Tuesday nights join Dennis Murphy with "Get Educated and Entertained  as only 'Murph' can" from 8:00-12:00.  For more information visit their website or call (412) 279-0770.

  • Catch the Thistle and Shamrock every Sunday evening at 7:00 p.m. on WYEP 91.3FM for Celtic music performances and discussions.


Our Mission:

The Ireland Institute of Pittsburgh’s mission is to promote mutual understanding of the Catholic and Protestant traditions in Northern Ireland and economic development throughout all of Ireland. The Institute fulfills its mission by providing quality programs in job training, economic development, leadership development, educational alliances and reconciliation. The Institute is a change-oriented organization that collaborates with industry, educational and government institutions in the development of all programs.