Join us for the Ireland Institute's of Pittsburgh Christmas Concert, December 8th at Chatham College.


The Common Ground

Vol. III, Issue XI


November 2005


                  News Updates





upcoming Events:














in this issue


This month, our highlighted county is Sligo, located in the Republic of Ireland. 


You'll also find an update on the Northern Ireland peace process, an interesting bit about Thanksgiving, and lots of information about upcoming events including a Frank McCourt book-signing and the Ireland Institute's Christmas Concert.


Thanks to all who attended our reception for the new Walsh Visa group and the Host Family get-together.  Links to photos from both events are included below.



letter from the editor


An Ounce of Prevention


We are all familiar with the old adage, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."  The message is obvious, matter-of-fact.


It serves the various professions and trades as a basic pillar, a tenet, a principle that pervades all the work we are called to do.  Physicians, nurses, social workers, engineers, builders, plumbers, teachers, coaches, youth workers, counselors, public servants, parents, all of us understand that a small problem left unsolved, will sooner or later develop into a larger one requiring more resources to solve it.


Recent events across France and in other European countries have brought public attention to a problem that authorities failed to resolve years ago.  We have witnessed this spiraling problem here in the U.S., in Ireland and Northern Ireland, and around the world many times in our lives: a minority community, marginalized and mistreated, strains for respect.  When respect is not shown the minority community deteriorates than turns blindly to any value systems offering comfort and justice.  Enter fundamentalism, terrorism, war, death, and destruction, the tools of despair.


We learned since 9/11, in Iraq and elsewhere, that for every lost insurgent there are new recruits ready and willing to take up the fight, to vanquish the Western infidel and to perish for God.  The problem has bloomed across the globe.


An ounce of prevention, in the form of basic outreach to the minority community, could have prevented some of the current destruction we saw last week.  Authorities in countries and provinces and cities have to connect with these groups respectfully and sensitively to facilitate integration into the larger community.  They must accommodate the cultural and other traditions of the minority, and thwart the objectives of zealots and anarchists who fuel the fires of poverty and despair with false promises. 


I hear politicians, both conservative and liberal, talk of providing a "hand up, not a hand out."  This is the ounce of prevention.  And it must be comprehensive.  We have to encourage dialogue across religious, racial, cultural, socioeconomic and other divides to reach an agreed way forward.  We have to put in place facilities for training, jobs, healthcare, education, commerce, retail, and opportunities for personal development.  Without these basic facilities, communities will not thrive.


The opportunity to prevent these problems must be addressed today.  We cannot afford the human and material costs of the cure tomorrow.


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




12 counties in 12 months:


County Sligo is located on the west coast of the Republic of Ireland.  Counties Mayo, Roscommon, and Leitrim, and the Atlantic Ocean surround the county.  The Irish name for the county is Sligeach  which means “an area abounding in shells.”  Sligo is situated in the Connacht Province.  The population of the county is about 58,200 with the highest population concentrated in the county town of Sligo.  Total area is 1836 square km. 

The geography of Sligo is one of the most breathtaking in all of Ireland.  Scenic coasts offer views of the Garavogue River, the Coolery Peninsula, Konocknare, and the surfing beaches of Standhill, Rosses Point, and Enniscrone.  To the east, Lough Gill attracts tourists eager to partake in fishing, hiking, water sports, and cycling about the lake.  The Ox Mountains in the southern portion of the county draw hiking enthusiasts.  Other area attractions include Sligo Bay, ben Bulben, the Calkins Emigrations Museum in Cannaghanally, and the Drumcliffe Village, the resting place of William Butler Yeats.

W. B. Yeats was born in Dublin on June 13, 1865 and spent his childhood in Dublin, London, and Sligo, where his mother was born. County Sligo was so ingrained in Yeats' mind, he once remarked, “The place that has really influenced my life the most is Sligo.”  He was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1923 for literature.  The Irish Literary Theater was created in 1894 by Yeats and Lady Gregory to research Irish folklore.   A prolific author, his publications included: Mosada A Dramatic Poem (1886), The Wandering of Oisin (1889), The Celtic Twilight (1893), The Wind Among the Reeds (1899), a complication of his early poetic works, The Green Helmet (1910), Responsibilities (1914), The Wild Swans at Coole (1919), Michael Robartes and the Dancer (1921), The Tower (1928), The Winding Stair and Other Poems (1933), A Full Moon in March (1935), and Last Poems (1939).   On the 28th of January 1939, Yeats died in France, where he was buried.  In 1948 his remains were moved to County Sligo according to his dying wishes.    

For more information on County Sligo visit:


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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General John de Chastelain, who heads the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning, recently met with leaders of the Ulster Defense Association (UDA), which is the largest loyalist group in Northern Ireland.  de Chastelain's goal was to encourage the UDA leaders to disarm with hopes that other loyalist groups will follow suit. 

In other news, the Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF) ordered military units to stand down as of late October.  It is the first major loyalist group to make a major move towards peace following the Irish Republican Army (IRA) disarmament.  Also moving to  an end is a long-standing feud between the LVF and the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF), the other major Loyalist paramililtary group in the Northern Ireland conflict. 



This fall, Frank McCourt, the award wining author of Angela’s Ashes and ‘Tis will unveil his new book, Teacher Man.  The third addition to his trilogy details the ups and downs of his 30-year career as a New York City public school teacher. 

McCourt will meet readers, sign books, and discuss Teacher Man at the South Side Work’s Joseph Beth Booksellers on November 17th at 7pm.  Tickets are required to stand in line; they are free with the purchase of the book.  :: Pulitzer Prize-winning author Frank McCourt ::

For more information visit: or call Joseph Beth at 412-381-3600.






For Americans, Thanksgiving is a time for family, food, and football games.  It is a time to help those less fortunate, to remember those who are serving overseas in the military, and to count our blessings, what we are most thankful for.  But what does it have to do with Irish immigrants in America?

A feast marking what has become the modern day "Thanksgiving," was celebrated in 1621 between English settlers and Native Americans at the Plymouth colony. The modern menu is influenced by this first feast, with one major exception: the potato.  With the onset of Irish immigration, the potato became a poplar part of the usual Thanksgiving fare.

On Thanksgiving Day, as you dig into a heaping pile of delicious mashed potatoes, you can thank Irish immigration for your delectable plate full of spuds. 


Please join us December 8th at 7:00pm for our annual Christmas Concert, an evening of music, song, and verse as we celebrate this festive season.   The event will be held at the Eddy Theatre at Chatham College.  A reception will follow.

For tickets, please visit our website at, or call the Ireland Institute at 412-394-3900.




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Thank you to those who attended the Host Family reception on October 12, 2005.  The event provided an opportunity for our host families to meet one another.  The families shared stories of their hosting experiences with each other and the Ireland Institute staff. 

To view photos from the evening, please click here.


On October, members of the Pittsburgh community gathered to welcome the latest group of Walsh Visa participants to Pittsburgh.  Our thanks go to all who attended.  Your attendance was greatly appreciated by the participants as they adjust to life in a new country.

To view photos from this event, click here.



In the Spring and Summer of 2006, over forty young men and women from the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland are expected to arrive in Pittsburgh to participate in our Wider Horizons program.  These young people will receive two months of on-the-job training, personal development, exposure to American culture, and new insights into the problems at home through conflict resolution.  At the end of the eight weeks, the participants will return to Ireland, hopeful of securing employment and living in peace.

As an essential part of this program, we are looking for host families to house participants during these two separate eight-week long programs.  Those of you who have hosted participants in the past have our thanks for opening your hearts and homes.  No doubt you may be called upon again, but we also ask you to recruit any interested friends, neighbors, and co-workers.  Host Family help is vital in providing a positive and rewarding experience for the participants.











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The Irish Dream of getting to the World Cup came to an end with a scoreless draw to Switzerland on the 12th of October.  Qualifications for next year's World Cup came down to this game, which was a must-win.    Unfortunately Ireland under-performed when it was needed most from them.  After this game the manager, Brian Kerr, received his P45 in the post.  Also Roy Keane, the Captain, announced his second  retirement from international duties, having split with the squad during the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea.  After Kerr's firing, the hunt is on for a new manager. It's currently being put down to a four horse race, with ex-Celtic manager Martin O'Neill, Manchester United Manager Alex Ferguson, Manchester United player Roy Keane, and Aston Villa manager Davie O'Leary (the bookies favorite to take over the Irish hot seat). 

Ireland's Roy KeaneThe Board of the FAI (Football Association of Ireland) will now consider the implications of non-qualification and assess all the issues in respect of the senior International team, with a view to achieving success in future European Championship and World Cup campaigns, and growing the game throughout the country.

By Miceal O'Neill (2005 Rooney Fellow/Duquesne University)


Above, Ireland team Captain Roy Keane



















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Nov 11, 12, 13 & Dec 2, 3, 4 - Mrs. Shakespeare, Will's First & Last Love
Yvonne Hudson's one-woman, Off Broadway show will appear at the English Nationality Room in the University of Pittsburgh throughout November and December.  Hudson’s script portrays the life of Anne Hathaway through the use of Shakespeare literature and original writings.  For more information visit:

Nov 15 - Frank McCourt

The Ireland Institute of Pittsburgh and Joseph Beth Booksellers in SouthSide Works co-sponsor a book signing by Frank McCourt.  For more information visit:


Nov 18 - Ronan Tynan

Ronan Tynan, of County Kilkenny, Ireland will perform at Greensburg’s Palace Theater on November 18, 2005.  U2’s Bono put it best:  “When Ronan sings the clouds cry but the sun turns up sooner than it would have…” Tynan was first introduced on the international music scene as a member of The Irish Tenors.  For more information visit:

Nov 18 - Hooley

Hooley, a traditional Irish Band from Pittsburgh will be performing at the Claddagh Irish Pub in SouthSide Works from 9pm till midnight.  Hooley plays everything from slow airs to jigs and reels.  Music is accompanied by traditional Irish dancing.  For more information visit:

Nov 18 - Light Up Night

The first night of the holiday season will be celebrated all over Pittsburgh.  PPG Place & Plaza will host a variety of events including: the opening of the ice rink, musical performance by Sewickley Melody, Gingerbread house and train display opening, “Spirit of Giving from Around the World”, and the lighting of the Christmas Tree in the Plaza.  For more information visit:

Nov 23 - Mark Guiser

Mark Guiser performs at the Irish Centre Wednesday evening.  The event features Harp Lager.  For more information visit:

Dec 8 - Ireland Institute’s Christmas Concert

7:00pm, Chatham College, Eddy Theatre.  Please see the "Lifetstyles" section, above, for more details.

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.


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




One of the support services offered by the Ireland Institute includes furniture donation, collection and redistribution to the Walsh Peace Visa participants. The money they save, as they set up house, is realized immediately, and they are quite grateful to all Ireland Institute supporters who have kindly donated furniture and household items.

If you have any furniture or household items to donate, please contact the Institute at 412-394-3900. Our thanks and gratitude goes out to all involved.


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.